Commercial vehicles must be maintained to maximize uptime and safely operate on public roads. Every fleet is looking for ways to reduce the total cost of operation. Quality parts and quality repairs, although often costing more initially, saves the fleet in the long term.
But who is qualified to do kingpin repairs?
Know Who’s Doing Your Kingpin Repairs
When it comes to outsourcing work, it is imperative to ensure that the quality of the work being performed meets industry standards. Maintenance shops can get quite creative when trying to solve problems these days. Although something may look like it is a comparable solution, it is essential to ensure that there are controlled methods and an engineered solution behind the repairs being performed.
Kingpin Specialists has been refurbishing kingpins for over 20-years. Our technicians specifically work only on kingpins. We crawl under thousands of trailers every year performing fleet evaluations and identifying wear patterns. Before we begin a repair, a comprehensive evaluation must be completed to determine the trailer is eligible to have the pin refurbished.
Kingpins Specialists can refurbish the kingpin on any trailer which the OEM upper coupler has not been compromised and it passes our inspection. We only work on OEM equipment. If the upper coupler is compromised, we recommend replacing the entire assembly with an OEM upper coupler.
Refurbishing vs Replacing
Structural repairs require a specialist using an approved engineered process. Over the years, we have seen several creative approaches to repairing the upper coupler assembly and replacing the kingpin. When the kingpin is cut out and replaced, the integrity of the upper coupler assembly can easily be compromised. Although this process can be completed by a professional, many shop technicians just do not have the technical expertise to complete this kind of repair correctly.
Any time the structural components are being altered; it is important to ensure the process does not compromise the integrity. Typically, when someone attempts to replace a kingpin, they will cut it out with an oxyacetylene torch. This method, although effective to cut through metal, weakens the structural integrity and oxidizes the base metal. Once the upper coupler assembly has been altered by either trying to replace the kingpin or adding a partial plate, the integrity of the original upper coupler is compromised.
Kingpin Specialists refurbishes the kingpin by following a proven engineered process of building up a worn\damaged kingpin and machining it back to OEM operational specifications. We do not impact the integrity of the OEM equipment as our process restores the operational surface contact aspects of the kingpin and does not impact the structural connections of the kingpin to the upper coupler.
We provide a proactive maintenance approach by repairing the kingpin before it is outside of operational parameters. By tracking the kingpin wear, we can anticipate a fleet’s repair needs. Kingpin Specialists repairs units at a scheduled time which keeps the equipment in optimal condition without having to take the equipment out of service.
Upper Coupler Assemblies
The upper coupler is the backbone of a trailer’s structural composition. When a kingpin wears past its operational limit, one proven method to correct this is to replace the upper coupler assembly. This can be a costly process and take multiple days to complete. Over the years, we have seen different attempts to reduce this cost with shops creating custom upper coupler replacements. We highly discourage anyone from trying this. The level of engineering and testing required to complete this is not generally found in a typical repair shop.
Most upper coupler assemblies can last the life of the trailer. A worn kingpin or cracked bolster plate are the primary reasons they would be replaced. We recommend using a galvanized upper coupler assembly with a 5/16” or thicker bolster plate. This is extremely important for high-use equipment and northern region trailers that are exposed to winter road conditions. For southern areas and low-use equipment, a 1/4” plate is sufficient. Although the industry allows for a 3/16” bolster plate, we would not recommend anything under 1/4”.
No matter what type of upper coupler assembly you choose for your equipment, doing annual inspections and addressing wear issues is the key to getting the most life out of your equipment. Using our proactive approach to managing connection wear, we can keep the kingpin within operational specifications and reduce your fleets overall wear rate. This reduces overall repair needs and extends the life of your connection components.
Kingpin Specialists has an engineered solution that is performed by certified welders. 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? Call us at 1-888-221-7774 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.