Refined Simplex fifth wheel debuts at MATS

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — ConMet has refined its popular Simplex fifth wheel, introducing a number of improvements at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

Among the most noticeable changes is the redesign of the rod handle, making it more user-friendly. The handle is now J-shaped, so drivers will better be able to use an extension rod for the quick and easy release of the jaw while uncoupling.

“The new handle is quicker, cleaner and easier for drivers,” says Rob Edstrom, vice-president of sales and marketing with ConMet.

Another enhancement is a larger top plate surface area that maximizes the connection between the tractor and trailer. The redesign also results in increased strength, improved service life and better handling, says Edstrom. The top plate eccentric pin now offers more precise slack adjustment in the jaw, and the re-engineered jaw offers improved durability, the company says.

“The new jaw can be retrofitted to existing fifth wheels,” says Edstrom.

The Simplex fifth wheel now features only five moving parts, which the company says enhances the driver experience thanks to reduced maintenance and better ease-of-use. The refinements will be applied to both the Simplex and the Simplex II, however the changes won’t go into effect until July. The well-used fifth wheel is standard equipment on Freightliner, Volvo, Mack and Sterling trucks and is available as an option on Western Stars.

In another announcement, ConMet said it is bringing back the popular Simplex 400 fifth wheel, which is designed for severe service applications. It was originally known as the Simplex 400C.

“The (Simplex 400) was taken off the market so the top plate could be retooled,” says Edstrom.

That retooling is now complete, and a much-improved Simplex 400 will be available to the industry in July, he adds. The Simplex 400 is popular among tanker operators because of its ability to reduce the sloshing affect of liquid loads. Edstrom says the 400 is known as a long-lasting and very durable fifth wheel, ideal for the harshest operating conditions.

“The Simplex has a long history of outliving the tractors that it sits on,” he says.

The cushioned locking system offers slack-free coupling and aids in load dampening, according to ConMet. It also offers an easy jaw adjustment process. The Simplex 400 boasts a vertical load capacity of 70,000 pounds with a trailing load rating of 200,000 pounds. The top plate is made of a one-piece steel casting that offers improved durability and reliability. The 400’s mounting system has also been updated and is now compatible with the lube-free pivot system found in all other Simplex fifth wheel products.

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