Heavy-Duty Axle Oils

Authored by: Allan Zieser, STLE, CLS

When we think of heavy-duty axles, we tend to think of wheel bearings in hubs. But let's not forget about the other components that require oil as well. We are also talking about differentials in trucks and drive units in heavy-duty equipment, such as crawlers and backhoes. As with other areas of lubrication, there are multiple types of lubricants that are required. We often wish for a single lubricant that can handle all the applications but, as of today, that lubricant does not exist.


We will start with wheel bearings; they are found in most trailers and axle assemblies and often require a lubricant that can last as long as is possible mainly because these bearings are rarely taken apart  - typically only if there is an issue with them. So, a high-quality lubricant is vital to maintain these bearings.  We recommend Chevron Delo Syn-Grease SFE NLGI 0 grease.


Delo Syn-Grease SFE EP is a high-performance grease specifically engineered for trailer wheel-ends operating in a wide range of conditions. Delo Syn-Grease SFE EP is manufactured using polyalphaolefin (PAO) synthetic base oil, a polyurea thickener, rust and oxidation inhibitors, extreme pressure additives, and a special combination of friction-reducing agents. It is gold in color with a smooth, semifluid texture. Delo Syn-Grease SFE EP is formulated to perform in the demanding conditions of high and low temperatures. The polyurea thickener in Delo Synthetic Grease SFE elevates the dropping point to 230°C (446°F). This high dropping point equates to excellent high-temperature stability up to 190°C (375°F). In addition, the high viscosity index (VI) of the PAO synthetic base oil allows for excellent flow properties at low temperatures, allowing Delo Syn-Grease SFE EP to operate at temperatures as low as -45°C (-50°F).


Differentials require a different type of lubrication; we are working with heavily loaded gears in extreme conditions that require lubricants that will not break down in these conditions. The two main options for modern equipment are the Chevron Delo Syn-Gear XDM SAE 75W-90 and the Delo Gear ESI SAE 80W-90. These are multi-viscosity oils that allow the gears to move freely in cold temperatures but also provide maximum protection when the temperatures rise.


Delo Syn-Gear XDM lubricants are recommended as rear axle and differential lubricants in over-the-road and off-road vehicles when operating under severe conditions and in extremely cold or hot environments. Delo Syn-Gear XDM lubricants meet and exceed the requirements of API Service Categories GL-4, GL-5, and MT-1. In addition, they are approved for:

  • Dana SHAES 256 REV C (SAE 75W-90 only)
  • Meritor O-76 Extended Drain
  • SAE J2360 (formerly MIL-PRF-2105E)
  • STEMCO PPS+ and PPS wheel end systems (SAE 75W-90 only)

Delo Syn-Gear XDM approvals apply to both viscosity grades (unless indicated otherwise). In addition, Delo Syn-Gear XDM SAE 80W-140 meets the requirements of Dana SHAES 256 REV A. Delo Syn-Gear XDM SAE 75W-90 is recommended for Dana and Meritor axles with 500,000-mile service intervals and supports Dana’s 750,000-mile axle warranty coverage for line haul service.


Delo Gear ESI SAE 80W-90 was field-tested in more than 100 on-highway, Class 8 trucks with drain intervals of 500,000 to 750,000 miles. The product showed excellent field results in axles manufactured by Dana, Meritor, and Mack. It is approved for the extended drain specifications of both Meritor and Mack.


Delo® Gear ESI®:

• meets the performance requirements of API Service Categories GL-4, GL-5, and MT-1

• are qualified for SAE J2360 (formerly known as MIL-PRF-2105E)

• are approved for Meritor TP-9539 up to 500,000 mile initial and service fill (refer to manufacturer’s recommendations for extended drain lubricants)

• SAE 80W-90 is approved for Mack GO-J PLUS up to 500,000 mile initial and service fill (refer to manufacturer’s recommendations for extended drain lubricants)


Gear drives offer their own challenges as far as a lubricant is concerned. The Chevron Delo® TorqForce® Series of drive oil provides protection in both high and low temperatures and are available in SAE Grade 10W, 30, 50, and 60. Chevron Delo® TorqForce® is also available as a multi-grade lubricant for harsh conditions as well.


Delo® TorqForce® products are recommended for use in Caterpillar and Komatsu, transmissions, final drives, and wet brakes as well as Allison, Dana Powershift, Tremec/ TTC, Vickers, and ZF transmissions, torque converters, and hydraulic systems.


Under normal ambient temperatures, hydraulic systems will use the SAE 10W viscosity grade. SAE 10W and 30 are recommended for mobile hydraulic systems where operating requirements are severe.


Transmissions will use the SAE 30 viscosity grade. Delo® TorqForce® products are also recommended for heavy-duty off-highway automatic transmissions requiring an SAE 10W, 30, 50, or 60 fluid.


Final drives will use the SAE 50 viscosity grade at normal temperatures and the SAE 60 at high ambient temperatures.


In order to meet Caterpillar specifications, Delo® TorqForce® products are not friction modified. Thus, they are not recommended for equipment made by other OEMs who require friction modified fluids in order to assure smooth and quiet brake operation. For example, many farm tractor OEMs require fluids such as Chevron 1000 THF in order to eliminate brake noise. Delo® TorqForce® products are approved for:

  • ZF TE-ML 03C (SAE 10W, 30)
  • ZF TE-ML 07F (SAE 30) Delo TorqForce products meet:
  • requirements of Allison C-4 (SAE 10W, 30)
  • service requirements of Caterpillar TO-4

Delo® TorqForce® products are recommended for:

  • Dana Powershift (SAE 10W, 30)
  • Komatsu KES 07.868.1
  • Komatsu Dresser
  • Tremec/TTC
  • Vickers 35VQ25 (SAE 10W, 30)


Delo® TorqForce® MP is a high-performance lubricant designed for use in transmissions, final drives, and hydraulic systems requiring a fluid meeting Caterpillar TO-4 or TO-4M as well as Allison C-4 requirements. It is also recommended for transmission and hydraulic systems manufactured by Dana Powershift, Komatsu, Komatsu Dresser, Tremec/TTC, Vickers, and ZF.


Delo® TorqForce®​​​​​​​ MP is manufactured using a unique blend of base stocks and additive technology. As a result, this product provides both excellent low-temperature pumpability and high-temperature film thickness.


The fluid is designed for both newly developed and older model drive train components.


Delo® TorqForce®​​​​​​​ MP is compatible with new and traditional seal and clutch materials. The frictional characteristics of the fluid are retained over the life of the lubricant. Components are protected from wear, even in severe service and under high loads. It helps protect precision parts against wear under high load conditions by controlling the formation of corrosion, varnish, and sludge.


As you can see, we have a wide range of options when it comes to heavy-duty axle related lubricants. Be sure and contact your Ottsen Expert to find out which lubricant is the right one for you!