The Diff is in the Detail

Having safety as its number one priority, followed closely by durability, SRH Milk Haulage has specified its latest Kenworth prime mover with Dana Spicer D46-170D(P) tandem drive axles – featuring a full-time lube pump – combined with Bendix Spicer ADB-22X disc brakes.

SRH Milk Haulage was founded in October 1996 by Scott and Regina Harvey with one truck and one trailer, following the attainment of a contract with Dairy Farmers to deliver milk to its factory at Hexham near Newcastle.

The business was originally based at the Harvey’s home at Aberglasslyn, and in 2001 a yard was secured at 160 Racecourse Road Rutherford where they built their first shed, which is still in use today.

Since its inception in 1996, SRH Milk Haulage has secured various contracts in New South Wales with the likes of Dairy Farmers, Parmalat, Saputo, Norco, A2 and Richmond. In July 2012 the company made the huge leap over the paddock to Western Australia, where it established farm milk pick up for Lion (formerly Dairy farmers) and then in 2013 secured a contract with Brownes Dairy.

In 2017 SRH Milk Haulage commenced in Victoria, acquiring a contract with Parmalat in the Gippsland area followed by a Lion contract. Fast forward to today and SRH Milk Haulage now operates a fleet of 68 trucks and 100 tankers over the three states, with all of the tankers running disc brakes.

The company recently acquired three new Kenworth prime movers – and has also ordered one of the highly sought after T410 SAR Legend units – for its linehaul operations, all of which feature disc brake equipped Dana drive and steer axles.

“It all comes down to safety,” says Scott Harvey when asked about his reasoning for going down the all-disc brake path.

“Disc brakes are far more efficient than drum brakes, that’s for sure.” Scott says he has spec’d the Kenworths for longevity as he plans to keep them for at least five years and then assess how they are standing the test of time. He says for this reason he wanted the driveline components to be bulletproof and believes that Dana diffs and drivelines are exactly that. “We’ve been using Kenworths with Dana components for the last 15 years and we’ve had a terrific run with them,” he says.

“The drivers like them too, which is an important factor because they tend to look after them better.”

SRH Milk Haulage runs a new Kenworth T610 SAR pulling a 26-metre A-double in Victoria and two T610s hauling 25-metre B-doubles doing linehaul – one on the east coast between Coffs Harbour and the Gold Coast and the other covering various trips in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

The Kenworths are on contract maintenance plans with PACCAR and Scott says he is very happy with the way the company is maintaining them so far.

Speaking about the Dana Spicer D46-170D(P) tandem drive unit that is fitted to his latest Kenworth, Scott says he believes the added force-fed lubrication for the power divider is the icing on the cake for what is already an outstandingly durable drive axle arrangement.

The unit features a driver-controlled power divider lock, dual cross-wheel diff locks, a ratio of 4.3:1 and a ground capacity of 20.9 tonnes.

It has a gross combination mass (GCM) rating of 90 tonnes. “I have no complaints whatsoever about this new pump system Dana has introduced and I will be specifying more of them in future Kenworths,” he says – adding that the T410 SAR Legend he recently ordered will have one fitted to it.

“Lubrication is one of the biggest issues with trucks – whether it be turntables or axles – so anything that betters lubrication means the components are going to last longer, there’s no doubt about that. Using good quality oil and having it pumped directly to the critical axle components is definitely the best way to go.”

As the power divider is located at the top of the carrier, splash lubrication in a conventional diff may not always reach the bearings and gears in the ideal quantity.

This was the impetus for Dana developing the force-fed lubrication system for its drive axles – to ensure the power divider, also known as inter-axle differential, receives optimum lubrication in all aspects of vehicle operation from low speed off-road to cruising at 100km/h on the highway.

An added bonus with Dana’s pump system is that a full-flow filter is incorporated which removes metal and other foreign particles that find their way into the oil.

SRH buys its Kenworths at Gilbert and Roach Hexham, with the help of sales representative Ray Williams.

Ray says the Dana steer and drive axles are an ideal fit for SRH due to the company’s preference for disc brakes. “Dana offers a really good package with its disc brake axles,” Ray says.  “The steer axle is a D2000F Heavy Duty unit with a capacity of 9.1 tonnes.”

Said steer axle features the same Bendix Spicer supplied Dana ADB-22X disc brakes with 430mm diameter rotors as the drive axles.

Also part of the package are the Spicer SPL 250 main driveline and SPL 170 inter-axle driveline – both of which are sealed for life and maintenance free. Having formerly sold another brand of truck, Ray says he previously didn’t have a lot to do with the Dana product lines, but that has all changed since he started selling Kenworths.

“Now I suggest and recommend Dana driveline components on pretty much every truck I specify,” he says.

“The whole package from the axles to the brakes and the universal joints are all very high quality and built to last.”

Dana’s warranty terms, according to Ray, are very good, too. In the case of the latest units bought by SRH, they are covered by a standard four year/ 800,000km warranty.

He also has a lot of time for Dana Australia’s Area Sales Manager – Commercial Vehicle, Jock Pickford.

“Jock’s support and product knowledge are really helpful – he’s always willing to assist our clients when needed,” Ray says – adding that he likes the fact that Dana products are locally manufactured.

“I’ve had a tour through the Dana factory at Keysborough in Melbourne and I really liked what I saw,” he says. Echoing this sentiment is Scott Harvey, who reiterates that he is very happy with the performance of the three Dana equipped Kenworths he now operates.

“From my point of view, in the last five years Kenworths have improved out of sight in terms of being more suitable for a fleet operator,” Scott says. “These days good drivers are hard to find so we need to make it as easy as we can to attract and retain them.”

Scott maintains that familiarity within a fleet is important and the easier it is for drivers to get out of one truck and into another the better.

“The comfort and safety levels of Kenworths have improved markedly over the last few years and while they’re not quite at the European truck standards yet, they’re getting mighty close,” he adds. For this reason, Scott notes he is looking to standardise on Kenworth bonneted trucks with Dana drivelines for his linehaul fleet.

The strong product support the company receives from both Dana and Kenworth, in addition to the reliability and durability of the products, is a winning combination for SRH Milk Haulage.

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