Seven steps to properly prep fifth wheels for coupling

Seven steps to properly prep fifth wheels for coupling

The following steps are recommended by SAF-Holland for preping your fifth wheel for coupling. However, the company recommend that you follow your specific fifth wheel manufacturer’s instructions.

1. Prior to coupling, you must inspect the fifth wheel and mounting. Perform and verify the following:

  • Tighten loose fasteners;
  • Replace missing fasteners;
  • Repair/replace missing, cracked, or otherwise damaged components;
  • Clean grease grooves if a large amount of debris is present;
  • Lubricate fifth wheel-to-trailer contact surfaces, if needed;
  • Inspect fifth wheel mechanism.
  • Lubricate dry or rusty components;
  • If it’s a sliding fifth wheel, make sure both plungers are fully engaged;
  • Inspect air line connections; and
  • Make sure fifth wheel is in appropriate position for weight distribution on the tractor. For proper positioning of the wheel, refer to manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Make sure coupling area is flat, level and clear of persons and obstacles.

3. Tilt ramps of fifth wheel downward.

4. Make sure locks are open. If locks are closed:

  • Manual Release: If equipped with a manual secondary lock, first pull secondary release handle and hook on casting. Pull the release handle completely out.
  • Air Release: Set the tractor parking brake and pull the fifth wheel release valve until locking mechanism opens and locks in place. Release the pull valve. Release the tractor parking brake.

5. Visually inspect fifth wheel throat to ensure locks are completely open and ready to accept kingpin.

6. If locks are not completely open, check the following:

  • Specifically for the Holland FW35 Model: Shaft adjustment nut and washer are away from front of wheel.
  • Release handle is in extended “open” position.

7. If both of these conditions exist, the fifth wheel will still be able to be coupled even though the lock jaws appear closed. The movement of the kingpin into the fifth wheel jaws will allow them to open and successfully couple. If either above conditions do not exist, repeats Steps 4 through 6.

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