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Fifth wheel coupling: Wikis

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A Fifth Wheel, already coupled
The fifth wheel on a semi truck

The fifth wheel coupling provides the link between a semi-trailer and the towing truck, tractor unit, leading trailer or dolly. Some recreational vehicles are in a fifth wheel configuration, requiring the coupling to be installed in the bed of a pickup truck as a towing vehicle. The coupling consists of a coupling pin (or king pin) on the front of the semi-trailer, and a horseshoe-shaped coupling device called a fifth wheel on the rear of the towing vehicle. Sometimes called a turn-table in Australia and New Zealand, especially if it's a rotating ball-race-bearing type.

The term fifth wheel comes from a similar coupling used on four-wheel horse-drawn carriages and wagons. The device allowed the front axle assembly to pivot in the horizontal plane, to facilitate turning.

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