Always visually check this!!!

Discussion in 'Questions From New Drivers' started by JonJon78, Sep 7, 2021.

  1. Moose1958

    Moose1958 Road Train Member

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    As to a tug test! There is nothing wrong with getting into the habit of tug testing. If some jackwagon yanks your 5th wheel pin a tug test will show it's released. When backing under you have to get out anyway to hook up the lines and "gasp" walk around and check things, so why not check that 5th wheel? My father taught me how to care for a 5th wheel. I inspected mine every time I dropped! I inspected mine when I was sitting in my home terminal waiting on a dispatch. I really makes me sad that so many of today's drivers can't do a proper inspection of a 5th wheel. One of the most important things on that tractor and it's virtually ignored!
     
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  3. Lostmykey

    Lostmykey Light Load Member

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    While I’m under the trailer checking the fifth wheel, I’m also checking the cross members. I also go under again at the tandems.

    I wish I’d remembered to get the video off my dashcam but I recently saw a 28’er food service trailer being pulled in the interstate missing about 3ft of its bottom rail. All I saw were the ends of it’s crossmembers; I’d specifically adjusted my dashcam toward it while crawling thru a traffic jam.
     
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  4. Moose1958

    Moose1958 Road Train Member

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    I know this subject is really easy to demagogue and to be honest whatever way you do it, just DO IT. I never was one to get under to place eyeballs on the 5th wheel jaws. I'm not saying I never did it, just saying I did not make a practice of doing it all the time. As I said I always kept a watch on the condition of those locking jaws and after backing under I just checked to make sure the 5th wheel was under the front plate of the trailer with NO large unexplained gaps. Knowing the condition of the 5th wheel along with a simple visual check served me very well during my career.

    This topic of broken and bent 5th wheels is one that over the last 15 or so years has really puzzled me. All of you drivers that drive for a large (1000+) carrier, go ask the shop boss how many 5th wheels they have to either fix or replace every year? Careless drivers are hard on them along with Brakes and Clutches. It is really amazing how the average driver today will neglect their 5th wheel!

    When you back under and this is done correctly your 5th wheel should lift the trailer up about 2 to 4 inches. You don't have to pound the heck out of that 5th wheel either. While it doesn't sound possible, I have seen kingpins bent because of this really bad habit some drivers have. Just drive fast enough to slide the front lip of the trailer strike plate up the 5th wheel and then engage the locking jaws. You will know this has happened when the handle has gone back in.

    I will debate this subject all day long (and have many times before)! If you take care of your 5th wheel and inspect it every chance you get AND keep it greased, then all you have to do is properly back under! I have thousands of hookups under my belt, I only lost one during those years, and that was the one I wrote about this morning! But, of course, you should always do as you were taught AND more importantly do what makes you feel safe. This is what it all boils down to. What was good for me may not be good for you, neither one of us is right or wrong! Anybody that attempts to say otherwise is talking out of both sides of their mouth just to hear themselves talk!
     
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  5. Magoo1968

    Magoo1968 Medium Load Member

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    I got lucky my first year of driving I saw a guy hook to a spotted trailer at coke . He pulled out of door he made it halfway in front of me when trailer fell I hopped outta bunk and saw his trailer with broken landing gear blocking me .. after sitting 4 extra hours and watching two trucks lift the nose of the 60,000 lb trailer and block it up so a tractor could hook up to unload it . I got paranoid about checking fifth wheel every stop I still do 25 years later lol
     
  6. MiFamilyGuy

    MiFamilyGuy Light Load Member

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    I dropped a trailer once right around the time I had just enough experience to get complacent. I even stuck my head under there and took a look but obviously I wasn't really paying much attention to what I was looking at. I pulled out of the slot and turned left towards the guard shack. The thud that I heard as the trailer slid off the side was sickening. I had to crank it up by hand high enough for the yard truck to get under, and since I damaged a few cross members and ripped the air lines off the back of my truck I also had to call safety. It was embarrassing but it was also a lesson that has stayed with me. That was December of '06 and it hasn't happened again. I've never moved another trailer without getting a solid look at that jaw, fully engaged.
     
  7. firemedic2816

    firemedic2816 Heavy Load Member

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    Yup do this all the time any butt head will dislocate his shoulder before that slider will come out
     
  8. tscottme

    tscottme Road Train Member

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    You can park so NOBODY can pull your 5th wheel release. Come to a stop, pull your red valve. Pull tractor forward, like a tug test, pull yellow valve.
     
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