Tag axle can be described simply as an axle that is able to carry a wheel but does not have the power to drive it, thus it earned the name "dead axle". It is generally equipped with a wheel on each side although there are trucks these days that possess a dual-tired axle with two wheels on every side.
The tag axle basically gives your truck the benefit of being able to carry an additional load, from 10,000 pounds to 20,000 pounds more. It also decreases the distance between the rearmost axle to the rearmost part of the vehicle thus increasing the rear overhang departure angle of the truck's body and frame for a lesser chance to have contact with the roadway especially on sloped surfaces or uneven ramps. Tag axles today are manufactured with an additional air brake drums set for an assured stopping mechanism.
How the Tag Axle Is Positioned
A tag axle is a trailing axle found at the back of the drive axle and has the capacity to be elevated so as not to touch the roadway in case it is not needed. They are attached with the aid of a pair of tag arms with a lever arm each. The lever arm is interconnected to the truck frame through a linkage arrangement with a hydraulic cylinder connected to it for proper alignment. The linkages have the capacity to lock the tag arms to a point that they can sufficiently maintain the wheels upon contact with the road surface. The same linkages should not cause the tag arms to pivot upward and raise the wheels above the road surface.
How Tag Axle Works
Tag axles are typically found on semi tractors, semi trailers, farm equipment, and other heavy vehicles. They are lowered when necessary allowing the weight of the vehicle to spread over a larger area. Since they are lifted when not used, the tires are saved from unnecessary wear and you also save on fuel. Most of the tag axle systems are air-operated. The truck driver controls the axle with a switch right inside the driver's cubicle. The added air in the tag axle takes off weight of the rest of the axles on the truck.
The Range of Convenience
The diversity of the tag axle with respect to its capacity allows the driver to obey vehicle weight restriction that may be encountered when passing through weight-limited roads. Several roads have restrictions requiring vehicles to hold a definite amount of weight evenly distributed to all its axles. The driver will be able to vary the weight displaced by each axle upon the surface of the road by adjusting the amount of pressure that the axles push against the road. Subsequently, the driver may also choose to lift the tag axle under foul weather putting heaviness on the drive axle to create better traction and control of the vehicle. When moving into a tight and an unyielding spot, it will also help if the driver lifts the tag axle to allow the truck to turn easily rather than sliding and dragging an added axle around like on a parking lot.
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