Previewed recently at the Brisbane Show the new DAF LF 6X2 is all about the new model and lifting of the pusher axle. Unfortunately, in Australia, the concept of a pusher axle that can lift out of the way when it’s not needed is just something we are not used to. Simpler to engineer are lifting tag axles in the 6X2 and 6X4 space. In Australia, we deal with the 6.0 to 6.5-tonne front axle mass limit which has limited their popularity.
In Europe different front-axle weight rules make axle placement less critical. When European truck manufacturers are looking to import their truck brands to Australia, they have to see if any of their configurations can be matched to the needs of an Australian truck buyer.
The DAF LF 28 6X2 is a beneficial addition to the range of DAF trucks offered in Australia. Although aimed at a crowded market, it is offering something new and different. This new configuration can load up to its 23.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass, but once the mass at the back drops below 6.4 tonnes the pusher axle can be retracted.
The truck will work at its 23.5 tonnes gross vehicle mass as long as necessary, and when the load gets down to a manageable level for a 4×2, the axle is raised saving fuel and tyre wear. Any time when a load diminishes in transport, or the truck is fully loaded on a one-way journey, having a truck that can turn into a 4×2 with tyre and fuel savings and greater manoeuvrability is a huge advantage.
The trucking industry has been a tad sceptical about 6×2 configurations as they have the potential to lose tracking on the single drive axle. Variations in the road surface or driving through speed bumps or gutters can cause the drive to spin.
Thankfully DAF has an effective solution, if there is a loss of traction, the driver pushes a large button on the dash and the pusher axle lifts then stays lifted until the truck gets up over 30Km/h whenthe axle drops back down and begins working again. This unique lifting system is part of the trucks electronically controlled air suspension’s electronic control unit, rather than being controlled separately it can be an aftermarket system and fitted later. The axle can be controlled from outside the vehicle, or inside the cabin and can only be lifted if the mass on the axle is under 6.5 tonnes. This is just one example of the ingenuity of DAF truck part engineers.
To ensure there is no uncontrolled overloading of the drive axle DAF recommends the operator should always load the truck with the pusher axle down. Once loaded the driver can switch the axle to lift, if it doesn’t rise up, they know the truck is too heavy to run as a 4×2