Ask the Expert: What factors need to be considered when specifying service-free drivelines versus those that need to be regularly lubricated?

Oct. 3, 2016
This is an ongoing debate that is sure to continue for a long time.

Q: What factors need to be considered when specifying service-free drivelines versus those that need to be regularly lubricated?

A: This is an ongoing debate that is sure to continue for a long time. At Dana, we support both options because it is entirely up to the fleet to decide based on their maintenance preferences and, more importantly, their maintenance practices.

If you are a fleet that struggles with a sound maintenance program, especially keeping up with maintenance intervals, proper greases, and other procedures, service-free has its advantages and we will support virtually any application.

On the flip side, if you are a fleet with a good maintenance program and use the proper grease, re-lubrication is absolutely the best for your driveshaft. Over time, the old grease inside your universal joints deteriorates. Tiny particles contaminate the grease and accelerate the wear of the bearing surfaces. A properly re-lubricated driveshaft will provide maximum life. 

We would much rather have the fleet flush out the old and put in brand new grease – a minimum of NLIG Grade 2 or better synthetic is best. Dana’s SPL® product line comes factory filled with the best synthetic available.

Ultimately, the choice is up to the fleet and Dana supports either. In fact, our service-free kits and those requiring lubrication are 100 percent interchangeable. Meaning if you currently specify re-lubeable universal joints and want to try service free and mix population you can interchange the universal joints with no additional component changes or hassle.

Another important point is that service-free does not constitute maintenance free. You still need to do regular inspections that are laid out in our service manuals. You always want to check splines and joints for looseness and any tubes that might have been dented. These are inspection procedures that absolutely must be done.

Service-free or re-lubrication: it’s a debate that will continue forever. Knowing that, we are always listening to the voice of the customer and are more than willing to provide both options. With Dana’s 100 percent interchangeability, our intent is to take a little of the stress out of the decision.

Information provided by: Dana Incorporated

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