At the recent Mid-America Trucking Show, Portland, OR-based Freightliner LLC unveiled a host of new component offerings that will be available on its trucks starting late this year.
The first is a rack and pinion steering option available for the Freightliner Century Class S/T, Coronado, Columbia, Classic and Classic XL Class 8 modeld. According to Jonathan Randall, director of product marketing at Freightliner, the idea of using rack and pinion steering on heavy-duty trucks was a result of work done by Freightliner engineers with Pikes Peak Freightliner Century Class S/T racer Mike Ryan.
“The lighter weight and extreme precision required to race up a 14,000-ft. mountain are the same qualities needed by on-highway trucks to increase payload and maneuver through traffic or in cramped loading docks,” he said.
Rack and pinion steering consists of two components: The rack is a horizontal shaft with teeth, which intersects the pinion at a 90º angle. Turning the steering wheel turns the pinion, moving the rack to the left or right, thus steering the wheels, Randall explained. This provides more accurate and responsive steering while slicing 45 lbs. of weight out of the steering control system.
Another option is a no-idle climate-control system for Freightliner’s Century Class S/T, Coronado and Columbia tractors. Called the Bergstrom NITE (No-Idle Thermal Environment) system, it is designed to keep the sleeper compartment cool in hot weather and warm when it’s cold outside.
NITE has four rechargeable batteries that supply electricity to a hermetically sealed air-conditioning unit and an auxiliary heater powered by a generator. The entire system adds only 345 lb. to the truck’s overall weight, said Randall. The air conditioner pumps out 3,500 BTUs of cooling capacity and the diesel fuel-operated heater generates 2,900 to 7,500 BTUs per hour.