Fifth wheel maintenance, it’s a dirty job but somebody has to do it, according to TTC (Truck and Trailer Components).
The Fifth Wheel is a major part of every day life up and down our highways and byways. Maintenance is key to effective and efficient service life, with manufacturers specifying a typical maintenance regime of 90 Days or 30,000 miles, not that long for some vehicle operators.
The winter is particularly hard on fifth wheels. All of the road muck and road salt gets thrown up to contaminate the fifth wheel grease turning it into something that represents grinding paste. With the colder weather thickening the grease, then the fifth wheel can become hard to release. If it is hard to release then it will most likely be hard to hook up. These symptoms indicate that a service could be beneficial.
This service regime typically covers degreasing the fifth wheel and associated mounting brackets, inspecting for cracks in the fifth wheel assembly and mounting parts, checking moving parts for wear and damage and checking the smooth operation of locking mechanisms and release mechanisms.
So, you have just returned the vehicle to the road with a beautifully serviced fifth wheel assembly and a couple of days later it is back in, the fifth wheel has been knocked for six, it happens. The engineer undertaking the work mutters about ‘wasting their time’, the person who pays the bill mutters about ‘the cost of the time and the parts’.
Clearly there is a training need if the fifth wheels are being regularly knocked for six. However, there is also a way of minimising the cost outlay with the use of Fontaine Fifth Wheels from TTC, part numbers 881257, 8525, 40524, 40523. This enables the replacement ‘Top Plate, Pins & Bushes’ kit to be used 40621.