Low-lube fifth wheel fleet strategy

Holland Hitch unit doesn't require lubrication grease Holland Hitch says its new 3500 Series Model FW33 LowLube fifth wheel features a special design that maintains a low-friction surface between the fifth wheel, upper coupler and brackets without any need for lubrication or grease.The "guts" of the system are replaceable lube-plate inserts made of nonabrasive urethane that are molded to a steel backing

Holland Hitch unit doesn't require lubrication grease Holland Hitch says its new 3500 Series Model FW33 LowLube fifth wheel features a special design that maintains a low-friction surface between the fifth wheel, upper coupler and brackets without any need for lubrication or grease.

The "guts" of the system are replaceable lube-plate inserts made of nonabrasive urethane that are molded to a steel backing plate for greater durability. The inserts fit into cast recesses of the fifth wheel's top plate and are secured by studs and lock nuts.

The LowLube approach was developed in response to customer feedback. "When we talked with fleet customers," says Sam Martin, executive vp-engineering, "we discovered they had concerns about fifth wheel lubrication costs, environmental problems, and in general, difficulties in dealing with grease. Those concerns paralleled our conclusions that the best long-term solution is to eliminate lubrication requirements completely. Our LowLube technology is the first step in doing that."

According to Martin, LowLube is being offered initially with Holland's 3500 Series fifth wheel, which offers a capacity limit of 55,000-lb. maximum vertical load and 150,000-lb. maximum drawbar pull. It may be offered on other Holland models in the future. However, the maker specifically does not recommend using the technology on dump trailers or in heavy specialty hauling applications or in bulk hauling of highly abrasive materials.

Holland states that the urethane inserts in fifth wheels have been in service for over 300,000 mi. with various test fleets.

The company says managers of test fleets report these advantages for the LowLube product: savings on grease and maintenance costs; extended maintenance intervals; better environmental compliance in the shop and on the road; potential savings on steer-tire wear; and improved driver productivity and satisfaction.

Bridgestone/Firestone has unveiled the R270 steer/drive rib radial truck tire, designed for use on all 10 tractor-trailer tire positions. The company points out that fleets wishing to simplify tire inventories and rotation patterns can now do so by using this multi-position tire.

The tire maker says that in the past, using rib radial tires on every axle meant settling for shallow tread depth patterns and thus shorter life cycles for the tire. The R270, however, offers 22/32nds of tread depth - 15 to 22% deeper than typical rib radials - so longer tire life can be achieved.

The R270 incorporates the company's Defense Groove design and patented Equalizer Rib to combat irregular wear patterns. It is available in both 295/75R22.5 and 285/75R24.5 sizes with a "G" load rating.

Gunite's new dual step piloted (DSP) brake drums offer a bi-level piloting system designed to help mechanics properly install and seat the drum quickly and accurately during routine wheel-end maintenance. The DSP system uses the hub's wheel pilot to align the drum onto the hub's brake drum pilot. Check www.gunite.com.

Brake-cooling devices called BrakeTURBINES are installed (five minutes per wheel end) within the brake drum to create a cooling, turbine effect inside the drum. The louvered, stainless-steel devices offered by Stemco collect air and force it out between the drum and the friction material whenever the wheels are in motion, dissipating heat and expelling brake dust and other debris. Check www.stemco.com.

A lightweight, pre-assembled front lift mechanism has been introduced by Tuthill Transport Technologies for use with its Reyco Granning 23/25/30 AR series air suspensions.

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