PSA: Kingpin & Locking Jaw

Topic 22649 | Page 1

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Splitter's Comment
member avatar

Please please please, get under that trailer every time you hook onto a different one. Had an army (6) mechanics & yard dogs out on the lot lifting a trailer that detached from the the tractor. Luckily it happened here at Sprimo They were able to lift if with a giant forklift, drop the landing gear & the yard dog go under it to take it for inspection.

Hopefully that load had enough time on it. In reality, a two second scoot under the trailer to make sure that locking jaw was completely wrapped around the kingpin would’ve saved this driver a ton of aggravation, time & money. I would’ve taken a picture but it felt like rubbing salt in an open wound.

Again, get under that trailer & look!! Thank you Rainy for drilling this in my head.

Yuuyo Y.'s Comment
member avatar

But this is one of the things we have to learn to look for to pass the PTI test rofl-3.gif

Rainy D.'s Comment
member avatar

But this is one of the things we have to learn to look for to pass the PTI test rofl-3.gif

True, but on two different trucks, my locking jaws appeared to completely surround the pin, but did not fully lock. In the winter, the lube can freeze and harden into basically a rock. im guessing it is whatever brand of lube Prime uses. Four times i had to be pressure washed to remove the encrustment so the jaws could work properly. It LOOKED fine.

Anyway, yes, i drilled into Splitters head to slowly pull out and watch that skid plate and trailer. IF you are going to lose it, it is better to have it drop on the frame, drop the landing gear and drop the air bags to get back under it.

Unfortunately, a company can choose to list something like this as an accident because the forklift could be counted as a tow. we had a forum member this happened to, but i dont remember the company.

But hahhahha....im so glad Splitter is seeing this stuff in action. Otherwise it was me just nagging and lecturing lol

OOS:

When a violation by either a driver or company is confirmed, an out-of-service order removes either the driver or the vehicle from the roadway until the violation is corrected.

Rob T.'s Comment
member avatar

Great reminder for us all. It's never a good thing to happen, but I'm glad it wasn't you that dropped it.

Yuuyo you'll quickly realize when you get out there that many drivers don't even exit the truck when they log their pre/post trip. There have been times I've gotten into a truck (slipseat) and find something wrong with the first couple things I check. I've gotten in trucks with low coolant or burned out lights. When coolant is low I have to go buy a jug for $15 then company reimburses me. They do not want us doing anything to the trucks except adding coolant or washer fluid. I then have to sit and wait for mechanic to show up because another driver decided to be lazy. I'm paid hourly so it doesn't necessarily make me lose money by burning up the clock but I then have to work harder to get back on schedule. We had a driver that's no longer employed with us, who was one of the types who didn't inspect his truck, that left the truck with one of his drive tires halfway off the rim. The shuttle guy who came in after him noticed it but didn't write it up, instead he dropped the trailer where it was and pulled truck out the way just enough for that lazy driver to deal with the next morning and cause him to be late

Splitter's Comment
member avatar

But this is one of the things we have to learn to look for to pass the PTI test rofl-3.gif

Agreed but as Rob stated above, so many “drivers” get in & out of the cab without even glancing at their trucks. One tiny issue caught early can save us from a huge headache like the driver I saw today. Everyone stay safe!!

DAC:

Drive-A-Check Report

A truck drivers DAC report will contain detailed information about their job history of the last 10 years as a CDL driver (as required by the DOT).

It may also contain your criminal history, drug test results, DOT infractions and accident history. The program is strictly voluntary from a company standpoint, but most of the medium-to-large carriers will participate.

Most trucking companies use DAC reports as part of their hiring and background check process. It is extremely important that drivers verify that the information contained in it is correct, and have it fixed if it's not.

G-Town's Comment
member avatar

Coupling, one of my favorite topics, for several reasons. Splitter, very glad you had an opportunity to witness this on someone else's dime. You'll likely never forget it.

I've seen my share at the Walmart DC, one occurred directly in front of me when an outbound loaded truck dropped the trailer, almost rolling over the tractor. Rather violent, fortunately no injuries, no damage, the driver was lucky. Keep in mind this occurred about a 1/4 away from where he initially coupled up.

It's easy to perhaps overlook this, because it's so routine, but arguably one of the most important series of safety checks we perform. If done incorrectly, incompletely or not at all the results can be catastrophic. As follows:

Deadly Crash in Audobon PA

This happened less than 1 mile from a Walmart I frequently deliver to. Dropped trailers don't always occur in the protective confines of a terminal yard. This was a runaway.

Scary, right? Heck yeah. Of all the preventable accidents that occur; a dropped trailer can be completely avoided with virtually no skill, just discipline.

There are basically three fifth wheel preventables; high-hook (as Splitter witnessed the resulting drop), over-riding the kingpin and undercutting the fifth wheel. They are all caused by the height of a spotted trailer; if too high, high-hook or over-riding the kingpin completely. If too low, undercutting the fifth wheel, potentially damaging the trailer, or skewering the trailer is a possibility. All preventable. All caused by the same thing; not checking trailer height before attempting to get completely under it.

The devil is in the details. Every time I get under a trailer, when lining up the tractor I stop when the rear drive tires are just about even with the lower edge of the trailer. I then G.O.A.L. to determine the height of the trailer, if too high or low I adjust accordingly. This step requires no skill, just discipline and about 30 seconds of time. Due to the nature of my job, I've performed this check literally over 1000 times...it's never let me down, catching the height issue before it causes a problem. I do this check every time I get under a trailer. Without fail.

0109506001528043079.jpg

The above image shows a trailer set way too high; could result in High-hook (locking only the lower flange of the kingpin) or overriding the kingpin completely.

Once I've done the above G.O.A.L./ height adjustment, I roll down my window before proceeding in reverse. The reason? Sound. The positive coupling of the jaws locking the kingpin emanates an unmistakable "ker-thunk". If you don't hear that, something might be amiss.

Then I do two tug-tests. Next before hooking up the pigtails, as Splitter suggested, I shimmy under the trailer directly in front of the landing gear, making sure the jaws surround the kingpin, there are no gaps between the trailer and the fifth wheel plate, and finally making sure the unlocking bar is under the fifth wheel with only the unlocking handle visible. I never skip any of these steps.

If you perform the checks as described, the likelihood of a dropped trailer reduces to almost zero. As Splitter advised, never skip checking to ensure a positive coupling occurred. Can be lifesaving, please take it seriously.

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

Splitter's Comment
member avatar

Coupling, one of my favorite topics, for several reasons. Splitter, very glad you had an opportunity to witness this on someone else's dime. You'll likely never forget it.

I've seen my share at the Walmart DC, one occurred directly in front of me when an outbound loaded truck dropped the trailer, almost rolling over the tractor. Rather violent, fortunately no injuries, no damage, the driver was lucky. Keep in mind this occurred about a 1/4 away from where he initially coupled up.

It's easy to perhaps overlook this, because it's so routine, but arguably one of the most important series of safety checks we perform. If done incorrectly, incompletely or not at all the results can be catastrophic. As follows:

Deadly Crash in Audobon PA

This happened less than 1 mile from a Walmart I frequently deliver to. Dropped trailers don't always occur in the protective confines of a terminal yard. This was a runaway.

Scary, right? Heck yeah. Of all the preventable accidents that occur; a dropped trailer can be completely avoided with virtually no skill, just discipline.

There are basically three fifth wheel preventables; high-hook (as Splitter witnessed the resulting drop), over-riding the kingpin and undercutting the fifth wheel. They are all caused by the height of a spotted trailer; if too high, high-hook or over-riding the kingpin completely. If too low, undercutting the fifth wheel, potentially damaging the trailer, or skewering the trailer is a possibility. All preventable. All caused by the same thing; not checking trailer height before attempting to get completely under it.

The devil is in the details. Every time I get under a trailer, when lining up the tractor I stop when the rear drive tires are just about even with the lower edge of the trailer. I then G.O.A.L. to determine the height of the trailer, if too high or low I adjust accordingly. This step requires no skill, just discipline and about 30 seconds of time. Due to the nature of my job, I've performed this check literally over 1000 times...it's never let me down, catching the height issue before it causes a problem. I do this check every time I get under a trailer. Without fail.

0109506001528043079.jpg

The above image shows a trailer set way too high; could result in High-hook (locking only the lower flange of the kingpin) or overriding the kingpin completely.

Once I've done the above G.O.A.L./ height adjustment, I roll down my window before proceeding in reverse. The reason? Sound. The positive coupling of the jaws locking the kingpin emanates an unmistakable "ker-thunk". If you don't hear that, something might be amiss.

Then I do two tug-tests. Next before hooking up the pigtails, as Splitter suggested, I shimmy under the trailer directly in front of the landing gear, making sure the jaws surround the kingpin, there are no gaps between the trailer and the fifth wheel plate, and finally making sure the unlocking bar is under the fifth wheel with only the unlocking handle visible. I never skip any of these steps.

If you perform the checks as described, the likelihood of a dropped trailer reduces to almost zero. As Splitter advised, never skip checking to ensure a positive coupling occurred. Can be lifesaving, please take it seriously.

Huge thumbs up! Very well stated too!

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

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