Volvo Trucks offers an interesting new fifth-wheel option, installed directly into — not onto — a truck’s frame. It’s said to be a smaller, lighter design that preserves ride and drive quality while weighing up to 100 lb less than current standard-duty fifth wheels.

Working with Fontaine Fifth Wheel on the new system, Volvo developed a new lower assembly that supports both the fifth wheel and the truck frame. This design allowed engineers to reconfigure the fifth-wheel top plate as well, without sacrificing stability, strength or durability. The cast-steel top plate weighs just 165 lb, the company says.

Unlike ordinary fifth wheels, which have historically been limited by the need to fit on top of the frame rails, this integrated frame-mount design eliminates unnecessary weight. It incorporates Fontaine’s top-plate lock design that prevents high hitching of the trailer kingpin, as well as a secondary lock. Air actuation with in-cab release – operable only when the parking brake is engaged – is an available option. The new fifth wheel can readily handle a vertical load of 50,000 lb and a drawbar pull of 150,000 lb, which is typical for on-highway applications.

This new fifth-wheel system will later be available on Mack trucks, we believe.

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