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Truck steering

Product Spotlight: Suspensions & Steering

March 25, 2024
A look at the latest suspension and steering offerings from 10 companies that steer the commercial vehicle industry.

Bendix

Designed as a driver assistance technology—not a driver replacement—the Sheppard Steering Assist System integrates with the Bendix Wingman Fusion collision mitigation system to help address unintended lane departures and help mitigate side-swipe crashes. According to Bendix, the steering assist system is built on the dependable Sheppard HD94 steering gear, which offers a quick steering ratio for fewer hand-wheel turns, ideal for large wheel-base vehicles.

The system uses existing hydraulic steering power and magnetic torque overlay technology to actuate the steering gear. This compact design uses minimal space and weight to efficiently bring steering assist features to the market. The steering assist system works with the Wingman Fusion system, which may detect lane lines and vehicle position to deliver enhanced steering assist performance.

Cummins 

Meritor’s FastSet No-Ream King Pin Kit is designed for most axle applications. By eliminating the need for reamers, presses, and the pressing-in of bushings during installation, FastSet simplifies the aftermarket installation and repair of front steering axles. These kits are designed so that spiral bushings are easily installed by hand using the FastSet T-Handle tool, compatible with all FastSet spiral bushing sizes. According to the company, the grooved pattern on the kingpin not only facilitates straightforward installation but is designed to provide enhanced lubrication. The kingpin bushings require no reaming post-installation into the steering knuckle, resulting in cost, time, and labor savings. Available in various pin diameters and lengths, these kits are tailored to suit diverse application needs.

EMCO

EMCO’s 22.5K HD leaf springs are American-made for trailer OEMs, the aftermarket, and fleets. EMCO uses state-of-the-art fatigue testing and finite element software for modeling. It also employs in-house salt spray and hardness testing to ensure product quality. Each 22.5K leaf spring is identified with a manufacturer’s lot code for full traceability and control. EMCO is ISO 9001:2015 certified, and its products are manufactured in robotic cells for quality and consistency. The company keeps a catalog of heavy-duty trailer leaf springs in stock, ready to ship immediately. It also keeps enough on hand to cover orders of various sizes, reducing customer wait time.

Gabriel North America

Gabriel's FleetLine 85000 series shocks have a larger 1 5/8-inch bore for improved durability and tensile. The 360-degree arc-welded end mount and forged solid steel eye rings are said to reduce end mount failure. A self-compensating piston seal provides consistent damping ability and reduced fade throughout the life of the shock. Super-finished chromed piston rods are said to be corrosion-resistant, perform better, and last longer. Custom-blended high-temperature fluid reduces friction and wear in extreme operating conditions where applicable. Ten-stage valving equips drivers with maximum comfort and control, enhanced durability in harsh operating environments, and self-cleaning functionality for more extended performance, according to Gabriel.

Hendrickson

Hendrickson’s Airtek Nxt, an integrated front air suspension and steer axle system, combines the Steertek Nxt steer axle and air suspension technology with a lightweight, integrated clamp group design. The company says its air suspension technology protects drivers from road irregularities and hazards. The integrated design provides additional ride quality, driver comfort, and roll stability compared to traditional two-leaf front spring suspensions. Airtek Nxt is up to 155 lbs. lighter than comparable content to improve load capacity and help enhance fuel efficiency. It was designed with fleet maintenance in mind, using durable bushings that require no lubrication. Additionally, Steertek Nxt offers service intervals up to 100,000 miles, while its two-piece knuckle design eliminates the need to remove the kingpin to service the knuckle. The Airtek Nxt is available in capacities of 12,500 and 13,300 lb. on the Freightliner Cascadia and Western Star 57X. 

Hutchens Industries

Hutchens 9700 Series trailer suspensions are versatile and can be assembled in single, tandem, or multi-axle configurations with weight capacities from 12,000 to 25,000 lb. per axle. According to Hutchens, the 9700’s axle spacings, from 42 to 121 inches; wide variety of mounting heights; and the ability to adapt to round, square, or rectangular axles further enhances its versatility. All 9700 Series suspensions are available with fabricated or cast steel spring hangers. These hangers come in various styles designed to fit numerous mounting requirements.

Link Manufacturing

Link says its family of auxiliary suspensions provides convenience and performance advantages for upfitters, body builders, OEMs, and fleets. Link’s steerable and non-steerable auxiliary axles are adaptable and can be tailored to enhance productivity. Link’s 8K, 10K, 13.5K, and 20K steerable, and 13K, 17K, and 20K non-steerable suspensions offer various installation options and features, allowing fleets to meet diverse requirements. The auxiliary axles use Link’s patented Swift Mount Brackets, reducing installation time by up to 20%. The company says its steerable auxiliary suspensions can enhance performance, strength, and uptime for work trucks and HD vocational vehicles. Its non-steerable 20K lift axle, for tag or pusher positions, incorporates patented features for easier installation, increased stability, and durable performance. According to Link, its auxiliary suspensions can also reduce downtime, leading to a lower overall cost of ownership. The auxiliary suspensions can help ensure compliance and maximize each vehicle’s load-carrying capacity, all while using stock chassis.

Stemco

The QwikTie tie rod assembly from Stemco was designed to increase simplicity and safety. According to the company, this highly adaptable solution is engineered to accommodate more than 80% of the straight tie rod lengths in the market with only two part numbers. From 57 3/8 to 73 7/8 inches, QwikTie ensures a precise fit from grease zerk to zerk, featuring an even clamping force that prolongs alignment, reducing stress on other suspension components. Plus, Stemco said its intuitive color attributes lend to quicker identification and a more accurate installation.

SAF-Holland

SAF-Holland dubs its Neway ADZ “the industry’s lightest weight vocational drive axle air-ride suspension.” Available in 23,000 to 26,000-lb. per axle capacity models with an 8.5-15-inch ride height range, it can be engineered in single, tandem, or tridem axle configurations. According to the company, it is durable enough for heavy-duty and severe-duty vocational environments but light enough for over-the-road applications. SAF-Holland says its design increases durability and stability while optimizing weight savings to increase payload and operating efficiency. Using a proprietary, lightweight, one-piece integral lower module, the ADZ provides improved roll stability and handling characteristics with linear roll-rate control technology, the company said. In addition, it’s compatible with drum or air disc brakes.

ZF

Sachs claims its shocks are crafted to offer reliable, long-lasting durability while prioritizing safety and comfort. According to the company, its shocks offer longevity and bolster safety measures. With proper handling and wheel rebound, drivers gain control over their vehicles, resulting in predictable stopping, maneuvering, and acceleration. Furthermore, Sachs said its shocks ensure a smooth and comfortable ride for the vehicle operator and their cargo. Its shock absorbers are tailored for commercial vehicles, designed to enhance handling, safety, and efficiency and meet OE manufacturing specifications.

About the Author

Jenna Hume | Digital Editor

Digital Editor Jenna Hume previously worked as a writer in the gaming industry. She has a bachelor of fine arts degree in creative writing from Truman State University and a master of fine arts degree in writing from Lindenwood University. She is currently based in Missouri. 

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