Volvo Trucks Introduces Innovative Lightweight Fifth Wheel System

Volvo Trucks in North America now offers a new fifth wheel option, installed directly into a truck’s frame.

Volvo Trucks in North America now offers a new fifth wheel option, installed directly into a truck’s frame. The smaller, lighter design preserves ride and drive quality while weighing up to 100 pounds less than current standard-duty fifth wheel systems.

Working in conjunction with Fontaine Fifth Wheel on the new system, Volvo Trucks in North America developed a new lower assembly that supports both the fifth wheel and the truck frame. This design allowed engineers to reconfigure the fifth wheel top plate as well, without sacrificing stability, strength or durability. The cast steel top plate weighs just 165 pounds.
“Fifth wheel system designs have historically been limited by the need to fit on top of the frame rails – this innovative frame-mount design eliminates unnecessary weight without sacrificing the refined ride and drive characteristics of a Volvo,” said Wade Long, Volvo Trucks marketing product manager. “Reducing vehicle weight lowers fuel consumption, costs and greenhouse gas emissions. We’re committed to providing customers with the safest, most fuel efficient and most environmentally friendly trucks on the road.”

The integrated frame-mount system incorporates Fontaine’s top plate lock design that prevents high hitching of the trailer kingpin, as well as a secondary lock. Air actuation with in-cab release – operable only when the parking brake is engaged – is an available option. The new fifth wheel can readily handle a vertical load of 50,000 lbs. and a drawbar pull of 150,000 lbs, which is typical for on-highway applications.

Volvo Trucks’ new fifth wheel option will be on display at the Volvo booth during the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council 2011 Annual Meeting and Transportation Technology Exhibition, Feb. 8 to 11 in Tampa, Fla.

Volvo Trucks’ new integrated fifth wheel system, developed in conjunction with Fontaine, saves up to 100 lbs. over current standard-duty systems.

Volvo Trucks North America’s operations and products are guided by the company’s three core values: Quality, Safety and Environmental Care. The Volvo VN and VHD trucks are assembled in the United States at the New River Valley Plant in Dublin, Virginia, while Volvo engines for North America are assembled in Hagerstown, Maryland. Both plants are certified to ISO14001 environmental and ISO9001 quality standards.

Volvo Trucks North America is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks, buses and construction equipment, drive systems for marine and industrial applications, aerospace components and services, and one of the world's leading producers of heavy-diesel engines (9-16 liter). The Group also provides complete solutions for financing and service. The Volvo Group, which employs more than 90,000 people, has production facilities in 19 countries and sells their products in more than 180 markets. Volvo Group sales for 2010 amounted to $36.7 billion. The Volvo Group is a publicly-held company headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Shares are listed on Nasdaq OMX Nordic Exchange and are traded OTC in the U.S.

February 7, 2011

For further information, please contact Brandon Borgna, Volvo Trucks North America, phone 336-393-2143, email