PORTLAND, Ore. — Aimed at improving several aspects of driving performance, Freightliner Trucks has made available rack and pinion steering for its line of heavy-duty trucks, a component that until now has been used only in automobiles and light trucks.
Offering several benefits that result in optimal performance and maneuverability, including a 45-pound weight reduction, rack and pinion steering is available on Freightliner Coronado, Columbia, Century Class S/T and Classic/Classic XL trucks.
“With benefits like reduced maintenance, increased driver comfort, less driver fatigue and improved engine access, rack and pinion steering is an ideal component for operators who want to Run SmartSM,” said Jonathan Randall, director of product marketing for Freightliner Trucks. “As an industry leader, we strive to offer innovative business solutions that positively impact performance and efficiency.”
The idea for offering rack and pinion steering on Class 8 trucks originated when Freightliner Trucks engineers were working with Pikes Peak International Hill Climb record holder Mike Ryan. The Freightliner Century Class S/T driver is one of almost 150 drivers who annually ascend Pikes Peak in a race to the top.
Engineers spec’d Ryan’s truck with rack and pinion steering due to its light weight, steering precision, and durability – critical elements needed for the Hill Climb.
Once engineers saw how well rack and pinion steering performed on the tough terrain, they determined that all heavy-duty trucks could also benefit from its features.
“Rack and pinion’s accurate and responsive steering, as well as its light weight, makes it an ideal component for on-highway trucks that need to increase payload and maneuver through traffic,” added Randall.
The manufacturer also cites examples of reduced tire replacement and because rack and pinion steering is mounted to the front axle, the system temperature remains cooler, therefore improving the durability of seals and hoses.
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