Volvo Trucks debuts lightweight fifth wheel system

Volvo Trucks North America, working in conjunction with Fontaine Fifth Wheel, has developed a new lower assembly that supports both the fifth wheel and the truck frame. This design also allowed engineers to reconfigure the fifth wheel top plate without sacrificing stability, strength or durability, the company says. The cast-steel top plate weighs 165 pounds.

“Fifth wheel system designs have historically been limited by the need to fit on top of the frame rails,” says Wade Long, Volvo Trucks marketing product manager. “This innovative frame-mount design eliminates unnecessary weight without sacrificing the refined ride and drive characteristics of a Volvo. Reducing vehicle weight lowers fuel consumption, costs and greenhouse gas emissions. We’re committed to providing customers with the safest, most fuel-efficient and most environmentally friendly trucks on the road.”

The integrated frame-mount system incorporates Fontaine’s top plate lock design that helps prevent 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 fifth wheel can handle a vertical load of 50,000 pounds and a drawbar pull of 150,000 pounds, typical for on-highway applications.