ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Hi guys and girls welcome back to TruckinNutz! I’ve missed being here more than you can imagine. First my band had our first practice in 2 years, then I got sick and lost my voice for over two weeks. Then I ended up spending a weekend in Dallas and couldnt record. But alas I am back!
First order of business. Since I’ve been taking Trulicity I’ve turned into the incredible shrinking man. I was stuck at around 240-250 lbs for awhile now. But as of March 3rd I am down to 226.5!
I no longer have any pants that stay up. It feels awsome!
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I changed the order of the series. Today we are going to talk about the fifth wheel. Because it makes sense to talk about it before we hook up to the trailer.
This may turn into a longer than usual episode but its an important part of your truck and trailer and is overlooked by nearly every driver out there. So its a very important episode.
The Fifth Wheel
The term fifth wheel comes from a similar coupling used on four-wheel horse-drawn carriages and wagons. The device allowed the front axle assembly to pivot in the horizontal plane, to facilitate turning. Basically a wheel was placed on the rear frame section of the truck, which back then only had four wheels; this wheel that was placed on the frame was the “fifth wheel”, hence the name.
Today’s fifth wheels allow the trailers to slide into the fifth wheel and lock into it, and are a very reliable unit when maintained and serviced properly. The engagement of the king pin into the fifth-wheel locking mechanism is the only means of connection between tractor and trailer; no other device or safety mechanism is used. Couplers and pintle hooks use safety chains in the event of a trailer separation while going down the road. Trailer-to-trailer connection can also be made by using fifth wheels.
Inspection and Maintence
“Like any safety-related component, the fifth wheel needs to be in good operating condition to do its job properly. “It’s important to maintain the fifth wheel because it is the sole component that connects the tractor to the trailer,” says Rob Nissen, director of field sales for SAF-Holland.
Fifth wheel manufacturers recommend performing fifth wheel maintenance every three months or 30,000 miles.
“You need to lubricate it through all four seasons,” says Charles Rosato, field service manager for Fontaine Fifth Wheel. “That also gives you four chances to inspect it each year.” If you choose not to do that, you should at least clean the locking mechanism every six months or 60,000 miles.”
“A maintenance manual from SAF-Holland sums up the importance of fifth wheel maintenance. “Failure to properly maintain your fifth wheel could result in tractor-trailer separation which, if not avoided, could result in death or serious injury.”
Nissen says, “To me it is worth an hour of your time to clean the fifth wheel, look at it, check the adjustment, and relubricate it before putting it back on the street, because one failure can be catastrophic.”