Drive axle inflation systems might not be the Holy Grail of truck maintenance, but they are in a position to cure a vexing problem. Tire pressure maintenance is time-consuming and costly, but there's no debating the savings from properly inflated tires. Inflation systems for trailers have proven their value in the market, but such systems for steer and drive axles have proven elusive. The problem with a steer axle is the solid spindle, compared to the tube-type axle used on a trailer. It's easier to route the airline through the tube to the spindle and on into the wheel hub with a rotary union and a stator than to work around a solid spindle. In drive axles, the natural barrier is the axle shaft itself.
Obviously eliminating the need for pressure check at all wheel positions will reduce maintenance costs, while at the same time improving tire life and fuel economy, if the experience with trailer systems is anything to go by. It will soon be possible to do just that. Currently four suppliers are in the later stages of development of inflation systems for tractors: Airgo, Aperia, Dana and Meritor (PSI). Meritor declined to be interviewed for this story, but the others have offered hints at what's soon to come, or is already on the market. Click to Continue
* On approved credit