BTS 19: Dana unveils 46K Drivehead in Brisbane

Dana Australia releases Dana 46K Drivehead for heavy haulage

BTS 19: Dana unveils 46K Drivehead in Brisbane
The Dana 46K Drivehead has been designed to achieve 1.2 million kilometres as a benchmark.


Driveline component manufacturer Dana Australia has debuted its heavy-duty Dana 46K Drivehead as part of its showcase for the Brisbane Truck Show.

The Dana AU-70-SLS is designed and manufactured locally for heavy haulage in Australia’s unique operating conditions.

Check out our story on Dana Australia's Melbourne factory opening here

In its goal to achieve 1.2 million kilometres as a benchmark for life-to-overhaul of its driveheads, Dana has also developed an innovative force-fed lubrication system to increase protection of the critical components inside the differential and minimise wear in heavy-duty linehaul Australian applications.

One of the issues with differentials operating under extreme conditions, such as linehaul B-double work, is heat build-up. With the relatively small amount of oil contained within the diff housing and limited heat transfer from the housing, diff oil temperatures can reach as high as 130°C in high ambient temps. Over prolonged periods this can degrade the oil and also lead to inadequate lubrication for the vital parts due to thinning of the oil.

Dana AU-70-SLS driveheads are generally running up to 15°C cooler than conventional units under similar operating conditions, according to Dana Australia engineering manager Tony Robinson.

"We’re seeing the improved thermal efficiency due to the fact that we’re running oil lines external of the carrier," Robinson says.

"This potentially could provide the benefit of improved oil durability.

"In Australia, trucks are road speed-limited to 100km/h, so after a typical B-double on a linehaul journey reaches 100km/h the engine is constantly bumping the speed limiter, which simultaneously reduces the power then reapplies it on an ongoing basis. Every time this happens it sends a very mild load through to the drivehead, which over long periods can lead to wear in gears and bearings and shorten the unit’s life.

"In the heavy haulage sector with Gross Combination Masses (GCM) above 140 tonnes, road speed is usually no higher than 85km/h, so bumping the limiter isn’t an issue but other wear factors due to the higher GCM come into play."

Robinson said Dana’s focus was to address potential concerns with long-term durability of its products.

"We want to consistently achieve 1.2 million kilometres as the benchmark for life-to-overhaul of our driveheads," he says.

"For this reason we started looking at what we could do to better lubricate the critical components inside the differential to minimise wear caused by the various stresses and enhance long term durability."

Dana’s 46K tandem drivehead is commonly used in B-double prime movers with GCM ratings of up to 70 tonnes and oil capacity of 19.1 litres. At present there are 20 trucks fitted with the modified driveheads operating across Australia.

"We’ve been trialling the system for nearly two years and the results have been very positive," says Robinson.

"Our earliest units have done 650,000km and we’ve disassembled a couple and found negligible wear in the critical areas."

Leveraging core capabilities, Dana Australia sourced a specialised gerotor pump from its Brevini subsidiary, and integrated and modified to suit commercial vehicle applications. This system provides enhanced lubrication throughout the PDU to reduce friction and wear, and at the same time cooling the lubricant. 

As part of a product improvement program to increase the durability of the driveheads, the AU-70-SLS has been built and designed locally from premium materials sourced to increase its durability including forged, heat-treated steel and new aluminium components.

The large crown wheel on Dana D170 family, including the AU-70-SLS provides maximum strength and higher power density while reduced driveline torsion helps limit vibration and wear. A high clamp load for reliable performance is achieved through 16 large M20 bolt ring gear fasteners, with a high capacity gearing and bearing system especially suited for high horsepower/torque engines.

The AU-70-SLS ratio coverage from 3.73 to 4.78 allows maximum performance for B-double application. With a large 17.7 inch hypoid gear set and bearing system, greater strength provides added durability.

"We are extremely proud of our local design of the Self Lubricating System, achieving the goal of reduced component wear and improved thermal efficiencies, resulting in a longer service life, particularly under Australian B-Double operating conditions," says Robinson.

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