Center Point Steering

Now that I’ve moved to a new home my morning commute has increased by 25 mintues. That’s a big jump from the ten minutes it used to be on a bad day. But don’t shed a tear for me yet. My new route into work takes me by some of my favorite locations in the area on a daily basis. Yes, I can now keep twice a day tabs on Tracey Road Equipment and Allied Spring. There is a silver lining to every cloud.

Passing by the other day I noticed out of the corner of my eye a large blue truck with an even longer hood. My gut said Hendrickson but mind said no way, they went extinct decades ago. Stopping by on my way home my gut was proved victorious by the sight of the “Hankasaraus” Hendrickson.

Truly, this is one of the find of the year. It doesn’t take much too make me happy. Over the decades Hendrickson was a regular user of International cabs from the ComfoVisions of the 50’s to the S-Series of the 80’s. The particular model is sporting the Fleetstar cab so we can peg the age of this truck to the early 70’s.

Take a moment to check out those front hubs. I’ve often seen that style on Hendricksons and Emeryville Internationals but never thought much of it. I just figured it was certain style of hub and nothing more. As with most assumptions they tend to be wrong. Those pointy looking hubs are the predecessor to power steering known as Center Point Steering. Now I’ve never stopped to think about how a wheel turns on a rim before but apparently it makes a difference to how it is mounted and that in turn makes a difference to how easy a truck steers. In a center point system the weight of the wheel and the front steer axles is balanced near perfectly between the inside and the outside of the rim. This balance in turn makes the truck easier to steer to at highway speeds. Rockwell was the producer of such axles and they were popular among older truckers of the time who were wary of relying on the up and coming invention of power steering.

Apparently a truck with center point steering and power steering was impossible (from the factory) as these two mechanical forces when joined together collapse the truck in on itself and create a black hole. But seriously, the two are not mutual technology. If you have clearer thoughts on center point steering or Hendricksons let me know with a comment.

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