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Fifth Wheels and Turntables: Ensuring Smooth Trailer Articulation

In the logistics industry, where Australian and New Zealand heavy duty truck operations thrive, achieving smooth trailer articulation is crucial. At the core of this are high quality truck and trailer coupling parts, specifically, fifth wheels and turntables. Without optimal functionality from these components, trailers cannot seemlessly hitch and unhitch, and vehicle manoeuvrability is impeded.

The Significance of Fifth Wheels and Turntables

Fifth wheels and turntables are (literally) pivotal systems in trucking. A fifth wheel is a coupling device that connects a truck with a semi-trailer, enabling articulation between them. Simultaneously, a turntable allows for rotating and pivoting movement. These components contribute to semi-trailer stability while allowing enough articulation for effective motion and navigation on diverse terrain.

Parts of A Fifth-Wheel Coupling

The fifth wheel coupling system comprises two main parts:

  • Fifth wheel: This is a fixed, U-shaped coupling device with a flat surface attached to the truck chassis.
  • Kingpin: This is a metallic part that protrudes below the trailer skid plate, often referred to as the “central turning axis for the truck and semi-trailer.” The kingpin slots into the truck’s fifth wheel from the trailer side. The skidplate surface of the semi-trailer, with the kingpin situated in the middle, rotates inside the upward-facing fifth wheel.

Types of Fifth-Wheels

Several types of fifth wheels are used on trucks, each designed for specific applications. They include:

  • Stationary Fifth Wheel: These are the original fifth wheels (also referred to as fixed fifth wheels) and are optimal fwhere the kingpin settings, axle loads, and length of the semi-trailers within a fleet are consistent. As a general guideline, stationary fifth wheels tend to be less heavy than slide mounts, so they provide the advantages of simplified maintenance and weight reduction.
  • Sliding Fifth Wheel: A sliding fifth wheel also acts as the connector between the truck and semi-trailer, but features a mechanism that enables the fifth wheel to slide back and forth. Unlike stationary fifth wheels, they are not fixed on the truck chassis and can move longitudinally along the frame rails. The sliding fifth wheel allows the redistribution of weight towards or away from the front (steer) axle when you alternate between trailer types or deal with significantly varying loads.

Selecting The Right Fifth Wheel

Choosing a fifth wheel that matches your truck configuration, capabilities, and towing needs is essential. This will ensure secure attachment, safe towing and optimal vehicle performance. Here’s how you should approach the selection process:

  • Consider Towing Capacity and Weight
  • Understand how your Trailer Weight may vary
  • Enlist Professional Help

It is challenging to maintain a proper balance of stability and mobility throughout your trailer’s life, given the constant pressure and wear that fifth wheel components encounter. Consequently, your choice of replacement truck coupling parts can significantly impact your truck fleet performance and longevity. Opt for quality, trusted aftermarket truck parts within Australia and New Zealand, like Fuwa, Saf Holland, Jost, and York.

These brands are renowned for their quality and reliability, providing the foundation for efficient, safe trucking. They are adaptable for use on all trucks, from popular Japanese trucks like Isuzu, Hino, and Fuso to the the long haul American trucks like Kenworth, Freightliner and Western star and heavy duty European trucks, including Volvo, Scania and Mercedes.


Investing in the high quality truck and trailer parts is the cornerstone of ensuring smooth trailer articulation. It is crucial to equip your Fuso, Hino, Kenworth or Volvo truck with high-quality aftermarket parts to ensure safe operation and maximum efficiency for your truck fleet.

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Disclaimer: Multispares provides this Blog Page as a service to the industry. All blogs are written by people independent of Multispares. Any views and opinions expressed do not represent the views and opinions of Multispares management, staff, contractors or related parties. The information contained in these blogs should not be relied upon as accurate and Multispares accepts no responsibility for any consequences that may be either directly or indirectly attributed to use of this information.