When it comes to repairing the kingpin or replacing the upper coupler assembly kingpin refurbishment has proven to be an ideal solution. Trailer owners or operators rarely will replace the kingpin proactively. Typically, the fifth wheel will get adjusted and can be serviced, but the trailer’s kingpin is usually neglected until it exceeds its operational wear tolerances. At that point the excessive amount of slop or wear is already causing extra stress on the rest of the connection components, causing the fleet’s wear rate to increase.
When you add kingpin refurbishing to your list of preventative maintenance procedures, you’re able to proactively address the wear of your connection components. By repairing your kingpins proactively and reducing the variance across your connection components, you can keep wear rates manageable and extend the connection component’s service life expectations.
What Are the Other Benefits of Kingpin Refurbishment?
The most cost-saving aspect of kingpin refurbishment would be the reduction of downtime. Trailers are often purchased in groups and as those groups of trailers wear, they can all require service in a relatively similar timeframe.
When you have a group of trailers that need service at the same time, you can run into part shortages and capacity issues with the service shop or technicians. This can turn a budgeted repair into a costly and business-impacting issue very quickly. Once on-site, each of our technicians can perform the kingpin refurbishment on 4-5 trailers a day. We can even bring in multiple technicians over a weekend to complete large-scale projects, therefore limiting the impact on your daily business needs.
Kingpin refurbishment is also very cost-effective and a greener way to complete repairs. We focus on repairing the worn aspect of the assembly, compared to swapping out the entire assembly. If you have a trailer that is less than 10 years old and the kingpin has already worn out, replacing the entire assembly is a sure way to fix the issue – but it’s a costly and sometimes excessive approach to the repair.
On the other hand, cutting into the assembly and altering its structure composition by replacing the kingpin may be less costly, but can create all sorts of liability issues if not done correctly. With our refurbishment process, we do not alter the manufacturer’s structural assemblies. We perform a non-invasive spiral overlay weld to the kingpin, building up the material that has been worn away. Then we machine the kingpin back to the manufacturer’s operational specifications.
Can All Kingpins Be Refurbished?
When you come across a trailer that has excessive wear or has reached its operational threshold, you need to evaluate the entire assembly. If the bolster plate is cracked or the upper coupler assembly is structurally compromised, then a new upper coupler assembly should be installed.
Why Proactively Repair a Kingpin?
A proactive fleet will ensure that all of their kingpins are at or above the recommended wear limit. By making sure all kingpins in the fleet are in good working order, the lifespans of the fifth wheels will be extended as well.
When we begin working with a fleet, we generally focus on getting the most damaged trailers back into compliance. By working with the most worn kingpins first, we can preserve the maintenance budget while making a meaningful impact on the fleet’s connection health.
We want to ensure all the trailers that are in service are operating within the operational threshold. After we have addressed the priority work, we begin educating the service technicians and fleet managers about the wear patterns of the fleet and how connection management works. We then create an ongoing maintenance plan to monitor and repair the kingpins on all your trailers.
By performing yearly inspections, tracking the wear of the fleet we are able to identify wear patterns and anomalies. We can predict future repair needs and help identify additional factors that are causing damage to your trailers.
Identifying the wear on a kingpin early and repairing it quickly eliminates the added costs we’ve discussed in this article and can save thousands of dollars.
Kingpin Refurbishment Done with an Engineered Process
Kingpin Specialists has an engineered process that is performed by welders certified in the specific weld application needed for professional kingpin refurbishment. This method is a proven, tested, engineered process, and we’ve been helping fleets like yours for over two decades. We complete repairs on site. A typical kingpin refurbishment takes approximately 2 hours from start to finish. Once completed, the trailer can go back into service and overall downtime is minimal.
If you are responsible for fleet maintenance on commercial vehicles, why not take the first step and have Kingpin Specialists perform an inspection and report on the condition of your fleet?
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