Warning About International Trucks Fifth Wheels....

Topic 2345 | Page 1

Page 1 of 1
Woody's Comment
member avatar

I'm not sure if the truck I'm training in is a 2013 or 2014, but when I climbed in a couple weeks ago it had 30,000 miles so this is a new truck. It is an International with the in cab release for the fifth wheel.

I was up around Chicago this weekend, it was snowing and the roads were covered with slush and grime. We made our delivery which was a drop and had to travel about 45 miles to another shippers yard to pick up an empty. I backed under the empty, did a couple of tug tests and proceeded with my trailer inspection. I did my visual checks of the fifth wheel along with the typical checks you need to make when you pick up an empty trailer.

I drove up to the guard shack so he could confirm the trailer is empty, closed my doors and went on my merry way. A mile or so down the road I had to stop for a red light before making a right hand turn. There is a car a ways down the road so I wait. My trainer gives the hand wave signal wanting me to go but it's my first time on snow and something is telling me to be patient so I ignore him. Once the car passes I proceed to turn right on the red light and the trailer drops off the fifth wheel in the middle of the road!!! Keep in mind this was after a total of three tug test and visually inspecting the release arm and locking jaws. I had also already driven one to two miles and completed four turns.

We cranked up the landing gear (thank god it was empty) and my trainer jumped in to hook to the trailer and drag it out of the street. He backed into the trailer 5 to 7 times before it finally latched and we got it to the side of the road. A couple hours later breakdown shows up and spends 45 mins repairing the airlines so we could get down the road. He doesn't have everything he needs but has enough to get us moving safely. The bill he sends to our company is about $580 wtf.gif

The next day our safety department has us drive to our nearest terminal (Joliet) to have the fifth wheel inspected. When my trainer first called breakdown after it happened they kept saying it must not have been hooked up right. I spent the entire night and time riding to the terminal going over it in my mind wondering what I had missed. My trainer was driving as I did not have hours available.

We arrived at the terminal and they got our truck right in. We pulled into the bay and told the mechanic how we had hooked to the trailer, performed the tug and visual checks and had driven about a mile before it dropped. His first question was had we been bobtailing? We told him we had to bobtail 45 miles to pick up the trailer. He said this is an issue they have been seeing with the internationals. It's not a problem in the summer time but in the winter and the roads are mucky the exposed cylinder of the release arm can get dirt and grime on it preventing the lock from fully engaging. He said visually everything looks correct, the arm can be as little as 1/4 of an inch from its proper position so it's really hard to see.

I was asked to go into the lounge to wait while they dropped the trailer to check things out. My trainer went back out with them during the inspection. He told me later that they had the same thing happen to them during testing. There is a tool they use to simulate a kingpin and set the locking jaws. They used the tools and the jaws locked and appeared closed. But then they moved it around enough the jaws popped back open!

When we were done I asked the mechanic what we could do to prevent this. He said do not bobtail. I laughed and said that is not an option so he said to keep a can of lubricant with us and after bobtailing make sure the cylinder is clean and lubricated so it can fully lock. I had asked him to show me the part before hooking back to the trailer but he didn't. So the next time we drop a trailer I will have my trainer show me exactly what he is talking about and if possible ill snap a pic to show everyone what to check for.

I'm just glad I waited on that car and the trailer dropped where it did instead of on the highway I was about to get on. This learning experience could have been a tragedy. I still do not know if the company is going to say I was at fault.

No matter what truck you drive please take the time to do ALL of your checks when hooking to a trailer, but if your in an International be aware of this issue and be extra careful if you have been bobtailing in less than perfect conditions.

Woody

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

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.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

Svetlana K.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow, thanks for the info, I will remember this when I get to hook up. Glad you listened to your feeling of not going. Take care out there.

Jerry's Comment
member avatar

Im driving a 2013 international prostar eagle+ and had an issue connecting to a trailer last night, however i had not been bobtailing. it took about 4 hits before the latch engaged properly. this is good to know and might not only apply to bobtails.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Tracy W.'s Comment
member avatar

I honestly can't believe they are sending those machines out with defective fifth wheels. The same thing that happened to you will happen to others, and it may have more serious consequences!

Tracy

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Starcar's Comment
member avatar

Well...if you don't have an incab release, then I don't think you'd have the canister to get jammed up...maybe newer isn't always better.....I've never been a fan of "cornbinders" anyway....

Roadkill (aka:Guy DeCou)'s Comment
member avatar

Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but can't you just lock your jaws shut while your bob-tailing and THEN open the latch when you're ready to hook up??

Howard P.'s Comment
member avatar

After reading this, I'm glad I don't have the in-cab release on my Freightshaker. Getting out and pulling the handle isn't that much work.

Glad nobody got hurt. Just shows that "going with your gut" is always good policy.

Cheers, Howard

guyjax(Guy Hodges)'s Comment
member avatar

Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but can't you just lock your jaws shut while your bob-tailing and THEN open the latch when you're ready to hook up??

Yes you can but it still will not keep dirt and road grime from getting in while bobtailing.

Bobtail:

"Bobtailing" means you are driving a tractor without a trailer attached.

Woody's Comment
member avatar

Um, correct me if I'm wrong, but can't you just lock your jaws shut while your bob-tailing and THEN open the latch when you're ready to hook up??

Yes you can, but if they never let anyone know that it is an issue you wouldn't think to do it. As the mechanic said they so not see problems during the summer, only during the winter when the roads are so sloppy. So guys that run these units all summer don't know to do anything different.

And I agree with those that have said its not hard to pull the handle. Ya gotta get out anyway to connect or disconnect airlines and do inspections, so to me the in cab release is not a big convenience just yet another part to have problems with.

Woody

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.
Page 1 of 1

New Reply:

New! Check out our help videos for a better understanding of our forum features

Bold
Italic
Underline
Quote
Photo
Link
Smiley
Links On TruckingTruth


example: TruckingTruth Homepage



example: https://www.truckingtruth.com
Submit
Cancel
Upload New Photo
Please enter a caption of one sentence or less:

Click on any of the buttons below to insert a link to that section of TruckingTruth:

Getting Started In Trucking High Road Training Program Company-Sponsored Training Programs Apply For Company-Sponsored Training Truck Driver's Career Guide Choosing A School Choosing A Company Truck Driving Schools Truck Driving Jobs Apply For Truck Driving Jobs DOT Physical Drug Testing Items To Pack Pre-Hire Letters CDL Practice Tests Trucking Company Reviews Brett's Book Leasing A Truck Pre-Trip Inspection Learn The Logbook Rules Sleep Apnea
Done
Done

0 characters so far - 5,500 maximum allowed.
Submit Preview

Preview:

Submit
Cancel

This topic has the following tags:

Safe Driving Tips
Click on any of the buttons above to view topics with that tag, or you can view a list of all forum tags here.

Join Us!

We have an awesome set of tools that will help you understand the trucking industry and prepare for a great start to your trucking career. Not only that, but everything we offer here at TruckingTruth is 100% free - no strings attached! Sign up now and get instant access to our member's section:
High Road Training Program Logo
  • The High Road Training Program
  • The High Road Article Series
  • The Friendliest Trucker's Forum Ever!
  • Email Updates When New Articles Are Posted

Apply For Paid CDL Training Through TruckingTruth

Did you know you can fill out one quick form here on TruckingTruth and apply to several companies at once for paid CDL training? Seriously! The application only takes one minute. You will speak with recruiters today. There is no obligation whatsoever. Learn more and apply here:

Apply For Paid CDL Training

About Us

TruckingTruth was founded by Brett Aquila (that's me!), a 15 year truck driving veteran, in January 2007. After 15 years on the road I wanted to help people understand the trucking industry and everything that came with the career and lifestyle of an over the road trucker. We'll help you make the right choices and prepare for a great start to your trucking career.

Read More

Becoming A Truck Driver

Becoming A Truck Driver is a dream we've all pondered at some point in our lives. We've all wondered if the adventure and challenges of life on the open road would suit us better than the ordinary day to day lives we've always known. At TruckingTruth we'll help you decide if trucking is right for you and help you get your career off to a great start.

Learn More