How to Grease a 5th Wheel? Step by Step
Did you know that you are supposed to regularly check and grease your fifth wheel hitch at least after every three months or 30,000 miles of travel? Regular greasing of the fifth wheel helps to prevent unnecessary accidents due to drying out.
This article explains the steps you should follow when greasing your truck’s fifth wheel when to grease it, what grease to use, and the effects of not greasing your fifth wheel. So keep reading.
The grease to use on a fifth wheel
On a fifth wheel hitch, you will find several moving parts that need regular lubrication. These moving parts include the locking assembly, whose main purpose is to prevent sliding of the king pinout of the saddle. The integration of several moving steel parts in a fifth wheel calls for regular lubrication.
Therefore, you have to use the best lithium-based grease that is water-resistant to ensure the effective turning of the truck and the trailer. That said, white lithium grease is the best and most common lubricant that many truck drivers and recreational vehicles owners use.
The white lithium grease is available for sale at any auto parts near you. When applying this lithium grease on your fifth wheel, ensure that it reaches all the parts that constantly move, paying special focus on the locking bars and jaws’ interlocks.
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When should I grease my fifth wheel?
There is no specific rule of how often you should grease your fifth wheel. However, various scenarios determine when you should apply grease on the fifth wheel. These scenarios include;
- Before commencing on any trip
Before starting a trip, you are always advised to check your vehicle to ensure everything runs smoothly. Lubricating the fifth wheel is part of this checkup. If the fifth wheel appears dry, you should use lithium grease to lubricate all moving pivot points. Do not forget to lubricate the slider unit, too, if the fifth wheel system has one.
- After every three months
According to fifth-wheel manufacturers, you are supposed to provide maintenance services to your fifth wheel after every ninety days. Greasing your fifth wheel is part of the maintenance practices.
- After every 30,000 miles
Also, according to manufacturers of fifth wheels, to ensure your safety and the safety of other road users, you should maintain your truck’s fifth wheel every 30,000 miles. Greasing is also part of the maintenance.
- When the fifth wheel gets dry
Sometimes it happens that the fifth wheel dries up quickly, mainly due to prolonged exposure to adverse weather conditions such as hailstorms and the scorching sun’s heat. In such a scenario, the fifth wheel demands greasing to prevent rusting and the semi-trailer from binding.
Do fifth wheel hitches need grease?
It is essential to note that greasing fifth wheel hitches is as necessary as performing other maintenance services to your truck and trailer. Here is the reason, most often, grease attracts foreign materials that may build up on your fifth wheel after traveling for some miles.
This leads to the accumulation of debris and dirt on your fifth wheel that may dry it up. In this case, and as mentioned earlier, you need to apply grease on the fifth wheel hitch to avoid rusting and binding of the semi-trailer. Greasing also facilitates easy turning of the truck at the pivot points without causing wearing and tearing.
Video Overview: 5th Wheel Hitch Maintenance
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How do you grease a fifth wheel hitch?
Do you know the standard procedure that you should follow when greasing a fifth wheel hitch? Don’t worry. Here is a step-by-step procedure that you can follow;
- Begin by cleaning the fifth wheel hitch. Cleaning the fifth wheel hitch entails removing the accumulated dirt, debris, and old grease from all contact surfaces between the fifth wheel and the trailer.
- You can use compressed air to remove this hardened matter off the fifth wheel hitch and trailer contact surfaces.
- For detail cleaning, you can also use a putty knife of a preferred brush. However, it would help if you always were careful not to damage any parts of the fifth wheel hitch when using these tools.
- For scenarios where there is an extreme buildup of old grease, dirt, and debris, you might be forced to dismantle the top plate. In this case, you will use a solvent to clean the surfaces of the fifth wheel.
- After all the surfaces between the fifth wheel and the trailer are clean and dry, apply enough grease on the trailer plate with the help of high-pressure lithium grease.
- Ensure you spread the grease evenly across the contact surfaces using an appropriate spreader.
- Be careful not to apply excess grease as it may lead to a polluting rig or slippery catwalk.
- To lubricate all the interior moving parts with grease, it would be best if you manipulate the fifth wheel’s core bumper by forcing it to move away from its seat. The idea here is to trip the mechanism. Use a huge screwdriver to disconnect the wedge and jaw and press the lithium grease on this separation space.
- To spread the grease, use the locking key to open and close the jaw.
- You can now attach the trailer for advanced grease spreading between the moving parts.
Video Overview: How to Grease 5th Wheel | Trucking Smart
What happens if you don’t grease your fifth wheel?
There are severe consequences of not regularly greasing your truck’s fifth wheel. The most immediate effect is the extreme buildup of dirt, debris, and old grease. After some time, the fifth wheel will become dry or freeze out in the winter seasons.
The fifth wheel’s moving parts and contact surfaces will begin wearing out due to reduced lubrication between them. As a result, the consequences while on transit may be detrimental because the trailer may separate from the tractor and lead to serious accidents, loss of life, serious injuries, and loss of goods. Therefore, not greasing the fifth wheel is dangerous to the driver, the truck, and the road users.
Now that you know the step-by-step procedure of greasing a fifth wheel hitch, we hope that you will regularly check and grease your fifth wheel. You can also share this information with your relatives and friends who are truck drivers or who own detachable recreational vehicles.
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