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The winter season has passed already, and now it is time to go camping and enjoy ourselves in nature with the other adventurous campers! Even though sometimes the winter season is missed because of the nice and cozy experience with a nice hot cup of coffee and winter barbecue joy with your friends and loves, now it is a color time for the campers. The weather is more suitable for their adventure, and they want to explore more and more camping spots. That makes us rethink the maintenance of the fifth wheel hitch, which is a vital part of these camping experiences.
We want you to enjoy this cheerful term with the people who like camping like you! However, at the beginning of each season, we need to take care of our trucks and the fifth wheel hitch. Having this cheerful holiday or even planning it makes us ignore this maintaining process because it is not as fun as these plans. Yet, to enjoy these moments with a clear mind, we need to clean our hitch first! We need to be conscious not only of our safety but also of the others on the highway, but do not worry because we consider every single detail that you need to check out before hitting the road.
You are going to travel many miles, and your truck and the hitch might be damaged, or they might have gotten damaged before, and you might have missed these, so first of all, you should make sure that the mechanic and the system you have is working well. We want you to be conscious because it is way more serious than it sounds. As you travel many miles to explore your favorite vacation spots, dirt, grime, grease buildup, and even damage to your towing equipment could arise.
Let's explore some of the steps you can take to keep your 5th wheel hitch well-maintained and operate at its best. If you follow these steps, you will travel safely and enjoy your adventure without any concern at all! It is not tricky at all, but all you need is to follow the steps in order. We know that you, as a camper, will be happy to follow each step, and many even enjoy a bit of this process as you are taking care of one of the most important things for you.
The fifth wheel maintenance is essential when you have a hitch in your truck. There are many ways to check out your fifth wheel hitch, and you may want to follow these steps, which would be the healthiest call before traveling. Maintenance of the fifth wheel hitch is vital to your and others' safety. To protect yourself and others on the highway, you should take some steps, and we are going to explain those in this article. In this article, we are not only exploring which precautions should be taken before traveling with your fifth wheel and also why you should be careful and check out this mechanism regularly. Here are some essential steps that you should follow before traveling with your fifth wheel. Let's start this journey!
Removing dirty grease makes is the starting point because it is all made from metal. It will have grease and some other dirty particular on it. Cleaning is essential before starting the maintenance process. We suggest you remove the grease and debris from the hitch as much as possible. This process will help you to understand the mechanism and see your hitch better so that you can inspect it and maintain it. We recommend you to use always fresh grease, especially before winter; removing old grease will be helpful before it gets stuck into the hitch and makes this cleanup process harder than it has to be. At the beginning of every season, you should degrease and inspect your fifth wheel so that it will be working as if it is brand new even if it is not.
If you do not prefer to clean up the old grease on your hitch, that may cause a problem. Sometimes you might want to put off this cleaning process, which is totally understandable. It is not as fun as the adventure it brings into your life. Camping brings such jot into our lives that makes us addicted and passionate about it. However, if you do not clean the old grease on the plate and add new grease, the old grease can pick up contaminants that cause it to freeze in cold temperatures. That will cause you to lock your system and not let it work properly, so to prevent this unhealthy consequence, you should need cleanup and remove the grease on the hitch every season. This will also help you to see the tools you need to be cautious of because while it is not clean and covered with dirty grease, you will not be able to understand the process and unfortunately, you will not apply the other necessities, which we will be explaining next.
As an owner of a fifth wheel, you should inspect all parts of it for signs of damage. There might be some problems, such as the lockjaw, throat, and pivot points might be damaged because they are the parts that are the most likely to be damaged. Components may also have fallen off, and welds may break. Test parts that move to see if they still have their full range of motion. You can also read the DIY installation of the fifth wheel hitch article to figure out which shape it needs to have when you first connect the hitch to your truck.
Corrosion and rust can set in and cause parts to malfunction. They become stiff, and when they get stiff and do not work well as they should, there might be a very dangerous outcome because the coupling of your fifth wheel is dependent upon timing. Therefore, you can witness the trailer, and the hitch can lock into place. Replace any part that needs to be replaced promptly.
This is a very basic rule that we are sure you already know, but still, it is essential to remind ourselves, as the owner of a fifth wheel, we need to replace the lines every 500,000 kilometers for standard usage. We also have to check the bracket liner thickness to see if it is strong enough and can handle the next travel. We must follow this process every time to maintain our fifth-wheel hitch and replace any worn or broken liners. This is important not only for our safety but also for others.
Before each trip, what you want to do is lubricate the plate surface of the hitch and pivot pin grease fitting. You can use automotive chassis grease or a plastic lube plate in this step. Using lithium grease would be a great way to lubricate the pivot points of the moving parts within the hitch. This is also really important because the hitch is all steel, so you need to have that lubrication to keep those parts from locking up or rubbing against each other, etc.
Then the blue plastic plates tell you the lead plate, which must be 12 inches in diameter or larger to properly distribute the kingpin weight so that it just means the plate that we're going to use instead of greasing the skid plate surface. It has to be 12 inches in diameter or larger, and then before each trip or maneuver, operate the handle to check if the jaw opens and closes freely. That is something that you should always check if you want the system to work well. That's why you should make sure that all the pins are in place and everything's secured, so you are not going to lose anything on the way by causing a hitch failure.
There are six areas on the hitch that you need to lubricate. These are basically the holes you have on the hitch and plate. You should apply water-resistant lithium grease to the contact surfaces between the fifth wheel and trailer, including yoke tips, cam profile, yoke shaft, secondary lock, release handle, and where the kingpin makes contact. Before each trip section, you want to make sure and lubricate these points. If your fifth wheel slides, you may want to lubricate the slide path on the base plate as well. There is also something else that you should consider before installing. These 6 parts should have been lubricated before installation, and you should lubricate them now again with the lithium grease.
You should make sure that the lack is holding. Once you are done with the cleanup process and lubricating the mechanism, you will need to test the kingpin and make sure that it sits correctly and that the latch works. There is also another way to test this, which is safety too. You can use a lock tester to ensure that the lock is functional. However, the safest option is always test-driving, but we recommend you to make sure that you are going to test it somewhere isolated or with few cars as much as possible. Your safety is always our priority, and we care about you.
It is also critical to figure out the tow capacity of your vehicle, and the weight of your trailer is crucial in this process. Estimating the tow capacity is an essential subject to study on. There are numbers that your truck and the tow can carry, so you should find the proper number for your vehicle. In this case, you are the best doctor of your truck and 5th wheel, so check out the capacity depending on your car and the tow. You could get the numbers actually from the maintenance section in the book you will receive with the kit.
The main guidance tells you to recheck the tightness of all hardware in every thousand miles, and it also gives you the torque specifications for the bolts. Anchor assemblies should be lubed every six months with lithium grease to keep assemblies moving freely, and check them before each trip section and the lubrication area section in the manual.
*** Remember that you will need to take the skid plate off the hitch for cleanup. In this way, your cleaning process, lubricating, and understanding of the mechanical system will be more straightforward. You will want to remove the skid plate before starting to maintain your hitch.
*** To lubricate your hitch and the plate, you can also search for the white lithium grease. It is also very recommended, and you can get this at any auto parts store.
*** Make sure that you provide grease, and spray the first two outer brackets down with the grease.
These are all you need to do to maintain your fifth wheel hitch and safety journeys. Our camping and travel plans are getting sharper as the summer comes. Owners of the fifth wheel hitch are more excited than anyone because they create their journeys on their own, and they are the most adventurous people. There is also another article that explains how to do DIY installation of your fifth wheel hitch if you are planning to do it yourself and you are an amateur on this adventure!
We hope this article helped. We are willing that it is useful for understanding this long process, and we want you to consider the steps you need to take to maintain your hitch. As you can see, the fifth wheel hitch is not hard to operate unless you ignore these steps. If you need extra assistance with your fifth wheel hitch or any other product of ours, you can always contact us anytime you need us, and we will be there for you and support you always! have a nice and safe journey!