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Fifth Wheel Maintenance

OK, so how many of you are thinking about your fifth wheel right now? Probably not many, right? Well like everything else on your truck, it needs maintenance. Here’s a list to help you check your fifth wheel and make sure you’re good to go.

First, you’re going to need to clean the gunk off that fifth wheel. Some folks go so far as to steam clean it; others simply scrape and clean it with a brush and solvent. You should know that steam cleaning is recommended not only for the top plate, but the jaws and legs, as well.

Next you’re going to inspect the upper area and edges for any damage. This can simply be wear and tear, or something more excessive – like missing parts or cracks. You’re going to need to find a straight edge, too, because you’ve got to check the flatness of the fifth wheel. Cracks are obviously bad. Finding them can be tricky if you’re not steam cleaning the fifth wheel, but if you check underneath it, you can see any grease making its way through a crack.

Look at the jaw area. Is there any damage or excessive wear? You should have a test pin from your manufacturer. You’re going to use this to engage the locking mechanism. Check the release handle as well. This needs to be straight and secure. Look for any missing parts. Adjust the locking mechanism.

You’ll want to examine the bracket pins and legs for any type of damage (slack, wear, or cracks).

Check those Zerks. Obviously, grease fittings should be intact and unclogged.

This is the point where you’re going to need the square. Review the flatness of the bolster plate, as well as the kingpin. You’re looking for any deformities in either one. No one likes it, but if/when you find damage in either one, you’re going to need to replace it.

Check your kingpin for wear, as well. You’re going to need a kingpin gauge for this.

Now that you’ve made it through the inspection, hopefully without needing to replace anything, it’s time to look at the necessary maintenance. First, lubricate the jaw and locking mechanism. You’re going to do this with a silicone based spray lube, or some other light oil.

Let’s give the zerks something to do now. You’re going to use the grease gun for the bracket pin zerks to lube the surfaces above the pin.

Now for the top plate. While many drivers and mechanics apply high quality grease all over the fifth wheel, you only need to grease the rear part, as the action of connecting a trailer will apply the grease to the rest of the fifth wheel.

Note: Not all of these steps apply if you have a fifth wheel with a Teflon disc. The disc is the lubricant.

East Coast Truck & Trailer Sales is your Auto Transport Equipment and Towing Parts Superstore. We offer a variety of truck parts and maintenance supplies for car haulers, tow trucks, wreckers, car carriers, auto haulers, heavy trucks, rollbacks, flatbeds, and car trailers. We also offer detailing and maintenance services – we can clean, fix, and/or replace your fifth wheel. Call us today at 1-888-231-4316  and make an appointment! In the market for a new or used truck? Check out our new inventory or used inventory online.



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