A kingpin refers to two different automotive parts: one is found in some (particularly older vintage cars) automotive steering mechanisms and the other is a vital part of the fifth wheel coupling that connects a trailer to its prime mover or tractor truck.
It’s All About Steering
Back in the age of horse drawn transportation, you needed to turn or pivot the front axle so that both wheels on the cart or stage coach (etc) would turn together and allow the vehicle to easily follow the horses in a new direction. A simple pivot pin allowed this to happen and it was often referred to as a king pin. Because early automobiles were very much designed and built around horse drawn vehicle technology a similar pivot pin was incorporated into the early models. However, by the time of Ford’s Model T, designs were beginning to change; particularly with regard to positioning and number of pins. This accelerated during the 1930’s along with the development of independent front suspension systems; which replaced the real pins with virtual ones incorporated into wishbone spring and ball joint arrangements to pivot the wheels for steering purposes; while also smoothing out the ride and giving greater control of the vehicle’s steering.
Today, king pined suspensions are somewhat obsolete; however, since they are able to carry heavier loads they may still be found on some heavy trucks. But, their main usage today is to link a semi-trailer to its towing truck, tractor unit or dolly (leading trailer) – this is what is meant by the term “fifth wheel coupling”. Some RV’s also use this configuration with the coupling installed in the bed of the towing vehicle.
If They Break; They Have To Be Repaired
Whatever type of pivoted steering pin we are looking at, its repair is more than just a simple disassemble, replace and put back together process. With Truck Kingpin Repair In Chicago, ensuring the correct alignment of the repaired assembly is a prime safety requirement and well established repair shops like those of Wilrae Inc are very aware of this and work accordingly.
To get expert advice, check out the site Wilrae.com.