Decisions on transmission, axle and differential options have a significant effect on total cost of ownership.
Powertrain options not properly matched to the site can lead to excessive wear on tires and components, downtime, and lifetime maintenance costs much higher than they should be. An examination of the work site’s conditions, loading and carrying cycles, and expected performance are required to make the optimal decision regarding a loader’s powertrain.
- Transmission Options: CASE wheel loaders throughout the product line come standard with a 4-speed transmission. This 4-speed transmission is relatively common and perfectly suited for work in applications with short cycles such as feed lots, stockpiling, aggregates plants, truck loading, etc. The 5-speed transmission is used for applications where there is considerable travel or roading. The 5-speed transmission improves acceleration, travel speeds and climbing power, and can ultimately improve fuel efficiency. This may be particularly helpful for certain operations in municipalities, agriculture, quarries, etc. The best choice will result from an understanding of the amount of travel required.
- Differentials: With the Open/Conventional, power (torque) is delivered equally to the left and right tires for the axle, although the speed may change (like the inside tire spins more slowly than the outside tire). There is no input required here from the operator – the system just operates as it was intended. With Limited Slip a greater percentage of tractive effort is provided to the tire with better traction to help power through changing conditions (like slippery terrain, or transitions from dry to wet environments). This also provides for consistent drive power in slippery conditions on side slopes. Limited slip is ideal for snow removal applications or when operating on loose, uneven ground. It is generally not recommended for use on improved surfaces, where tire scuffing can occur due to steering, which gives the appearance of tire slip based on the system’s design. Locking Differentials provides up to 100 percent of the available power, equally to the left and right wheels. Traditionally best used by experienced operators or where condition variances are expected. Ideal for applications involving constant operation on improved surfaces and short cycle loading applications. The locking differentials provide more power to the ground when digging into a pile, and the sintered bronze brake discs increase performance and life. Locking differentials are designed for heavy duty, high capacity operations and are rated for use with heavy-duty axles.
- Axle and Differential Combinations: The standard axles are ideal for working in mud, unfinished or otherwise soft/soupy conditions. Those that come standard with limited slip differentials deliver power to the tire with better traction to help power through challenging underfoot conditions while also preventing the tire that does not have traction from scuffing or experiencing excessive wear. Heavy-duty axles on CASE wheel loaders offer a hydraulically locking differential on the front axle and an open rear axle (although dual open differentials are optional on select models). These axles are more robust and designed to handle hard-working production environments. It is generally recommended to run heavy-duty axles for loaders operating mostly on improved surfaces (pavement, hard-packed gravel) — this is especially accurate in applications such as waste handling where solid tires are used. The actuation of the diff lock provides high traction with both wheel outputs locked together. The open rear differential provides lower frictional losses in the axle, ultimately increasing fuel efficiency and reducing tire wear. This axle/differential combination is ideal for high hour, large-scale production environments with solid underfoot conditions. Other applications where heavy duty axles are recommended include foam-filled tires, tire chains, applications where consistent pushing is performed (basement digging, waste, etc.), short cycle truck loading at low speeds (below 6 mph), high break use environments and the use of oversized attachments (such as log grapples). Source