Freightliner racing toward rack and pinion

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While Mike Ryan was piloting his 1250-hp Freightliner Century Class S/T up the face of Pikes Peak last June – on the way to his eighth hill-climb victory – he probably wasn’t thinking about steering systems for ordinary trucks.

But Freightliner engineers, who for years have worked with Ryan on his race truck, have decided to work with him again to develop a rack-and-pinion steering system for the company’s everyday, Class 8 work trucks.

According to Freightliner, rack-and-pinion steering increases control and responsiveness, thanks to fewer parts and pivot points than internal-gear systems, which currently are the norm for heavy-duty vehicles. It’s also lighter – Freightliner says its system will save about 45 pounds.

The new rack-and-pinion system will be offered as an option on Freightliner’s Century Class S/T, Coronado, Columbia, Classic and Classic XL later this year.