Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

William Keat




Baja, Steering Rack, Racing Vehicle


The steering system within a vehicle is a vital aspect of operation and performance. The Baja society of automotive engineering (SAE) challenges students to design and manufacture an off-road vehicle to compete in a series of racing challenges. The team of engineers works together to discover challenges in design, manufacturing, and business. The steering system for the Union College Baja Team 2023 vehicle is designed as a rack and pinion mechanism, fulfilling the team designated requirement of 1.5 inches of travel per side. The mechanism has a link-to-link distance of 17 inches, and a steering wheel rotation of 172 degrees to account for the length of travel. The system consists of a round gear rack, a 16 teeth metal gear, high load ball bearing, ultra-low friction oil embedded sleeve bearings, a press-fit drill bushing, and inline ball joint linkages. One of the focus points of the steering system was the durability of the middle housing, where failure has occurred in previous years. Using a static load of 3g (2100 lbf) the housing portion of the steering system achieved a factor of safety of 7.2 discovered using finite element analysis, while the key receiving a shear stress applied by the torque of the wheel achieved a factor of safety of 1.5. The manufacturing techniques for this system include CNC machining, water jet techniques, and various assembly and fitting methods. A bearing and support system was put in place to emphasize the stability of the system. On May 4-7, 2023, the vehicle competed at the annual competition in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with a final overall score of 208.41.



Rights Statement

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted.