By Russ and Tiña De Maris
One of the most neglected areas for fifth wheels, the hitch, can be one of the most cantankerous. Having a “stuck” hitch release can really take the joy out of the lifestyle, yet it’s easy to care for problems before they come up.
Fifth wheel hitches having moving parts, and the locking assembly that prevents your king pin from sliding out of the saddle usually has plenty of steel parts that mesh together. They need lubrication. If you’ve misplaced (or like most of us who bought used never had) the manual, here’s a quick routine.
Where it’s possible, rotate your hitch up and around so you can see the “underside” of the assembly where the gear works and other moving parts are hiding. They may be hiding from view, but if you get a view, you’ll find these parts don’t hide from the rain too well, and rust is a stalking enemy. How to lube ‘em? Unless you’re directed otherwise, use white lithium grease, available from auto parts stores and Amazon.com. It doesn’t take much, a small tube should do you up right. Catch any meshing parts, and be sure to lube where the jaws or locking bar slides through.