What does this dolly part really do?

Discussion in 'Saia' started by Dracula, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. Dracula

    Dracula Well-Known Member

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    I started to hook a set using the last dolly on the yard. It was one of the older red type of dollies. I noticed that someone had bent the 5th wheel release arm, no wonder that it was the last dolly on the yard. Whoever did it not only bent the release arm but also managed to tear off the metal flap that rotates down and covers the top part of the release arm, when the release arm is retracted due to being hooked around a kingpin. You usually have to move the flap out of the way to pull and lock the release arm out. It looks like it was designed as a safety feature, looks are deceiving.

    I was wondering if this hook was going to be safe without the metal flap but then it occurred to me that the red dolly fifth wheel is the same, looks the same to me, as the fifth wheel on most of the gray dollies and most of the tractor fifth wheels. The flaps on those units are not the same flat design, that you find on the red dollies, but are cut at an angle. Those angle cut flaps couldn't be a safety feature because they couldn't stop the arm from releasing in the event of some kind of failure of the fifth wheel.

    What is the purpose of the flap? Apparently, Saia doesn't consider the flap a safety feature because the company has been buying equipment with the angle cut flap for years. I asked a very experienced shop mechanic what does the flap do, and he said, I don't know it's just there.

    So, know I am asking you? What does the flap do and if it is not there, what does the DOT do about a missing flap if you get inspected.
     
  2. Virginia Tech

    Virginia Tech Active Member

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    I have wondered the same thing. My thoughts are it is just a visual tool so you can verify the arm is all the way in. I like the flat bar like we have on the new trucks and gears. Or the old ones that have the big bolt on the front of the fifth wheel.
     
  3. Virginia Tech

    Virginia Tech Active Member

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    On a side note the reason the handles get bent is because drivers think there driving abilities are better than they actually are. If the dolly isnt somewhat straight to the pin and the pin gets against the handle the handle gets bent. A CGO driver a couple months ago pulled in the yard with a hooked set and the handle was broke off. We had to use a dock plate hook to open the 5th wheel while he pulled out. Ive seen guys spend 20 min trying to back there dolly up hooked to there front trailer (blocking everyone else from getting thru) because they are to lazy to drop the gear and spot it with the tractor.

    Some days I can back my gear up hooked to the trailer and it looks like I know what I'm doing. Other days I have to admit that I suck......drop the gear (out of the way) and then pick it up with the tractor.
     
  4. Jack Knife

    Jack Knife Well-Known Member

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    it is a safety latch, you should have to move to lift the handle to pull.
     
  5. PearlyJoe

    PearlyJoe Active Member

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    It sounds like a simplex fifth wheel, if the safety latch doesn't fall in place over the release arm it should be red tagged and fixed. YOU COULD LOSE YOUR TRAILER!
    Halfway into the video it shows the action and the position of the safety latch. I hope this helps.
     
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  6. Dracula

    Dracula Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the feedback. On the video, you see the kingpin slide into the groove and the fingers lock around the kingpin. The large finger from the right goes first and then the other finger comes from the left and overlaps the first finger. This is a successful lock that you are suppose to verify by looking in from the back. If you verify that the fingers have clamped around the kingpin, then doesn't that tell you that the fifth wheel release arm is fully retracted just like the latch falling over the arm. If so, then why have the latch?
     
  7. SIKOFITALL

    SIKOFITALL Member

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    We have a smattering of equipment here at FedEx Frt due to us being a combination of 3 different LTL Company's . Those being American Freightways ( my company ) , Viking , Spartan , and Watkins "sorry 4 ", and we have many different 5th wheels due to this. The 5th wheel your talking about is a simplex. You should have that little flap that rotates down but you don't need it sir. Sometimes they need a replacement pull handle and rebuild the 5th wheel and the handle has a little cut back in it and it wouldn't work right if that flapper was there. Bottom line , w/ the simplex 5th wheel when you couple your tail look into the jaws ( back of pin ) and you'll see a little chunk of metal ( about an inch ) coming over from left side in front of main latch , if you see this your good sir , hope this helps !!!
     
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