5th Wheel - I am checking that the 5th wheel is securely mounted to the tractor frame and there are no missing, damaged, or loose bolts. If it is a sliding 5th wheel, I will check that all safety latches and pins are present and in place. I am looking from the rear and checking that the jaws are locked around the kingpin, the kingpin is not bent, and no space exists between upper and lower 5th wheel. I am checking for cracks or breaks in the platform structure which suports the 5th wheel slide plate. I am making sure the release arm is in the locked position and the safety latch is over the locking lever.

Tractor Rear
Picture of fifth wheel from the rear
Picture of the suspension on the tractor of an 18 wheeler.
Picture of suspension on tractor of big rig.

Wheels - I am checking the inside wheel on the front drive axle to see if it is bent, damaged, or cracked. I am checking for any welds which are not factory. These are not allowed and would put the truck out of service if found. I am checking the outside wheel on the front drive axle to see if it is bent, damaged, or cracked; and there are no welds which are not factory. I am checking the space between the dual wheels and tires for misalignment and that there is no debris between them.

Lug Nuts - I am checking the lug nuts for missing nuts and tightness. Rust around the nut may indicate they may be loose. Nuts should be checked with a lug wrench.

Axle Seal - I am checking the axle seal for leaks. I am checking level of the oil (if seal is transparent).

If your tractor has two drive axles, repeat Hose through Axle Seal sections for the rear drive axle.

Splash Guards - I am checking that the splash guards are securely mounted and not damaged.

Identify the following items being checked as inside or outside (on duals) and on which axle.

Hose - I am checking the hose and couplings to the brake chamber for the left side of the front drive axle for any cracks, wear or leaks.

Brake Chamber - I am checking the brake chamber for the left side of the front drive axle for air leaks, cracks, and missing, damaged, or broken parts; and that it is securely mounted.

Suspension - I am checking the spring mounts for cracked or broken spring hangers, missing or damaged bushings, broken or missing bolts, u-bolts or other axle mounting parts. I am checking at each point where they are secured to the frame and axle.

I am checking for missing, shifted, cracked or broken leaf springs. If coil springs - I am checking for broken or distorted coil springs. If equipped with torsion bars or torque arms - I am checking to see that the torsion bars and/or torque arms are securely mounted and are not damaged. If air ride suspension - I am checking the air ride suspension for damage or leaks.

Shock Absorber - I am checking the shock absorber to see that it is securely mounted, the bushings are good, and it is not bent, damaged, or leaking.

Slack adjusters - With the wheels chocked and brakes released I am checking that the slack adjuster does not move more than 1 inch when pulled. If greater than 1 inch, the brakes will apply unevenly and should be adjusted. I am checking for any missing, damaged, or broken parts. The angle between the pushrod and adjuster arm should be slightly over 90 degrees with the brakes released and slightly less than 90 degrees with the brakes applied.

Brake shoes and linings - I am checking for grease or oil on the brake linings, if they are worn, and if there are any missing, damaged, or broken parts.

Brake Drum - I am checking the left side front drive axle brake drum for cracks, dents, or holes. If the brake drum has a crack 1/2 the width of the friction area it will put the truck out of service until replaced.

That completes the Tractor Rear Section, continue to the Trailer section.
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