Proper hitching technique into front steer axles

Service & Repair Truck Parts and Service Staff January 15, 2014

According to Hendrickson, a vehicle equipped with a front steer axle (like the Hendrickson STEERTEK and STEERTEK NXT) can be towed by any of the following methods for on-highway or on-roadway applications. The following are listed in order of preference by Hendrickson.

Method 1: Wheel lift (ideal towing procedure)

Method 2: Towing the vehicle from the rear

Method 3: conventional axle fork lift *

Method 4: Spring eye and hanger lift (may require the remove of fairings)

Hendrickson says it also recommends an alternative axle fork method for its STEERTEK NXT that requires standard tow forks and designated lift points. The company outlines the method below.

  • Place a spacer on the boom to provide adequate clearance between the oil pan and the boom if necessary.
  • Lift the vehicle in order to place space under tires. Hendrickson says this will provide sufficient room under the axle to locate forks in the proper position.
  • It is recommended to maintain air in the air springs to help prevent damage to the air spring bump stop while towing the vehicle. An alternative air source may be necessary if the engine or compressor will not function. If the air spring is punctured, tow the steer axle suspension with the air springs deflated, the company says.
  • Release the tractor brakes.
  • Install safety traps prior to towing the vehicle – it is preferred to use nylon safety straps. Hendrickson says chains have a tendency to bind and may cause damage to the axle.
  • Use a tow fork such as a Miller Short Frame Fork or a comparable fork.
  • Install the fork in the boom properly. Hendrickson says the proper tow fork location is centered between the locknuts on the axle spring seats.