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Meritor Automotive Has Introduced Preassembled Drive Axle Wheel Ends

MERITOR Automotive Inc has announced the availability of the new UWE-90 unitized wheel end on its 23,000-, 34,000- and 40,000-lb gross axle weight-rated single and tandem drive axles. The announcement was made at the 2000 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky.

The wheel end, utilizing SKF bearing and seal technology, is preassembled, preset for preload, permanently lubricated, and sealed for the life of the component, minimizing wheel end maintenance.

The new drive axles with unitized wheel ends are designed for linehaul and city delivery applications, and will be available in early 2001 through all major North American original equipment manufacturers.

"By reducing wheel end maintenance, we estimate this premium wheel end has the potential to reduce life-cycle costs by $4,000 or more as compared to conventional wheel ends, during the typical first owner's use of one million miles, said Brad Arnold, vice-president and general manager of Meritor's Heavy Vehicle Systems axle business. "The savings multiply when truck operators specify Meritor's Easy Steer Plus front steer and TB Series trailer axles with unitized wheel ends as well."

The lightweight assembly eliminates seal installation and bearing adjustment, and saves 110 pounds per tandem axle over ductile iron hubs, making it the lightest hub on the market. Other features include:

*New 90mm barrel spindle end on axle housing for increased durability;

*Precision assembly with inner races selectively machined and matched to specific hub cup dimensions to determine precise cone fit. Precise bearing setting control is achieved when assembled by Meritor at final assembly;

*Four seals for maximum sealing capability. The inner seal keeps grease inside the assembly and protects brake shoes from wheel bearing grease. An outer seal keeps wheel bearing grease separate from axle lubricant. Two additional internal seals prevent axle lubricant from traveling along the spindle and contaminating wheel bearing grease or brake shoes;

*Unique three-piece wheel end hardware, designed for the high clamp load required for bearing setting, consists of a large flat washer, a locking clip with bend over tab, and an octagon heavy-duty nut; and

*Axle carriers common to conventional Meritor drive axles which provide greater parts commonality, assisting the speed of servicing for truck technicians and reducing parts inventories.

The UWE-90 is available on Meritor's RT-34-145, RT-40-145, and RT-40-160 on-highway tandem drive axles and RS-23-160 and RS-23-186 single drive axle models. The unitized hubs are also available on Meritor axles compatible with Cummins Signature 600 high torque engine using Smart

Torque technology. This unique technology provides more engine power and allows the use of a lighter axle, providing a significant cost savings and increased payload for the truck operator.

Axle manufacturing and final assembly of the UWE-90 hub unit to the axle are performed at Meritor's Asheville, North Carolina, facility.

The company offers the new drive axle with unitized wheel ends as a complete assembly with Q Plus cam brakes (16.5-inch x 7-inch and 16.6-inch x 8-inch), hubs, and drums. The assembly is covered by Meritor's five-year/750,000-mile linehaul warranty.

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