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Freightliner trucks to offer rack and pinion steering on heavy-duty trucks.

The old adage of the car business about "racing on Sunday, selling on Monday" refers to how innovations that begin in racing can very often find their way to production vehicles.

While it's not in the car business, that saying now also applies to Freightliner Trucks, which used what it learned in a truck racing venue to develop its new rack and pinion steering system available as an option on the Century Class S/T, Coronado, Columbia, Classic and Classic XL Class 8 models later this year.

Freightliner said rack and pinion steering increases control and responsiveness and has fewer moving parts than the integral gear steering system used on most heavy-duty trucks. In addition to providing more accurate and responsive steering, it is also 45 lb. lighter than integral gear systems with spring suspensions, allowing for greater payloads. And because rack and pinion steering has fewer parts and pivot points, it offers more accurately controlled wheel direction, the company said.

According to Jonathan Randall, director of product marketing at Freightliner Trucks, the idea of using rack and pinion steering on heavy-duty trucks came from Freightliner engineers working 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," Randall said.

The rack and pinion steering system consists of the rack, a horizontal shaft with teeth, which intersects the pinion at a 90[degrees] angle. Turning the steering wheel turns the pinion, moving the rack to the left or right, thus steering the wheels.

"Freightliner has always been ahead of the curve, technologically speaking." Randall added. "Being the first in the industry to offer rack and pinion steering on our trucks is another example of our dedication to provide our customers with the most advanced, efficient products on the road."

In other developments, Freightliner subsidiary Detroit Diesel Corp. launched its redeveloped Series 60, MBE 4000 and MBE 900 diesel engines and indicated its preparedness to meet the new emissions standards set to take effect next year. "We're definitely ready for EPA '07," said Carsten Reinhardt, president and chief executive officer of DDC. "We have been working on not just meeting the new emissions standards, but enhancing our three engines set to launch next January. We also have our service, technical support and manufacturing teams ready to support the engines."

The 2007 Series 60 heavy-duty engine's Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) System has been optimized to dramatically cut N[O.sub.x] formation, DDC said. The newly designed system features a high-capacity, tube-and-shell EGR cooler that is more rugged than the previous model.

The redeveloped Series 60 also offers lower oil consumption--nearly 40% lower than previous versions--because of the introduction of a new monotherm piston design, changes in oil control ring geometry and a smoother bore finish on the cylinder liner.

Other changes include an electronic variable geometry turbocharger designed to automatically adjust its boost across the operating range and deliver quick lift on the low end, where turbo lag would otherwise occur. A new fuel injection system incorporates dual solenoid Electronic Unit Injectors that provide exact fuel metering and enable independent injection pressure control, DDC said. Additionally, the system features a redesigned harness for more robust performance and greater accessibility.

The '07 engine will also include DDC's next generation electronic control system, DDEC VI. For 2007, the system employs a more powerful microprocessor, increased memory and enhanced diagnostics. The DDEC VI systems also control the operation of the exhaust aftertreatment system that includes a Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) and a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF).

"The 2007 Series 60 represents a tremendous amount of investment, design, engineering and manufacturing to bring a solid and highly reliable and durable product to market," said Tim Tindall, director of the EPA '07 Program for DDC. "I've been with Detroit Diesel for over 30 years, and this is by far the most extensive program in terms of testing and preparedness that I've seen. We are excited about the redeveloped Series 60 and introducing it for the Class 8 market for EPA '07."

DDC also announced that the standard displacement on the 2007 MBE 900 medium-duty diesel engine will grow to 7.2 L. Previous MBE 900 models covered the power range with four different engine configurations. The 2007 MBE 900 will feature just one displacement, which will offer more power and durability. The MBE 900 is available in ratings from 190 hp to 300 hp and 520 to 860 lb.ft. torque. The 2007 MBE 900 will also have a 350 hp and 860 lb.ft. torque rating available. The rating is designed specifically for the recreational vehicle, fire truck and emergency medical service applications.

The MBE 4000 heavy-duty diesel engine also has new torque ratings along its power range, which runs from 350 to 450 hp with 1250 to 1650 lb.ft. torque. The MBE 4000 can now be specified with 370 hp with 1250 lb.ft. torque. For customers with weight-sensitive applications, the MBE 4000 now offers 450 hp rating with 1650 lb.ft. torque.
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Title Annotation:HEAVY-DUTY TRUCKS
Publication:Diesel Progress North American Edition
Date:Jul 1, 2006
Words:866
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