LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Freightliner has announced it will be the first to offer rack and pinion steering on heavy-duty trucks.
The company made the announcement that rack and pinion steering will be available on the Century Class S/T, Coronado, Columbia, Classic and Classix XL models, at the Mid-America Trucking Show. Availability will begin later this year, the company said.
Freightliner president and CEO, Chris Patterson, said rack and pinion steering provides improved control and responsiveness, is lighter and has fewer moving parts than traditional heavy-duty truck steering systems.
“Similar to passenger cars, rack and pinion components consist of a horizontally mounted rack and vertically mounted pinion,” he explained. “It mounts to the front axle by two brackets and is connected to the steering column by an intermediate steering shaft.”
The new steering system is about 45 lbs lighter than traditional heavy-duty steering systems and drivers will enjoy a greater sense of control, Patterson said.
Freightliner got the idea from working with Pikes Peak Hill Climb racer Mike Ryan.
“The lighter weight and extreme precision required to race up a 14,000 foot mountain are the same qualities needed by on-highway trucks to increase payload and maneuver through traffic or in cramped loading docks,” said Jonathan Randall, director of product marketing with Freightliner.
Patterson said there are more than 450 Freightliners with rack and pinion steering in field testing today. Limited production is slated to begin mid-year on the Century Class S/T and the Columbia 120. The system will be offered on other Freightliner models in 2007.
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