Best Fifth Wheel Lube Plates
A fifth wheel hitch can handle up to more than 30,000 lbs. of load behind a pickup truck that weighs almost half the trailer’s overall mass. If you can imagine how hard your vehicle effectively hauls the full weight of an RV, then you can probably appreciate the amount of force it takes for the fifth wheel hitch not to lose its hold on the kingpin. But it also stands to reason that tremendous force can produce a lot of friction.
If you are one of the towing motorists who has noticed the frequent dreadful sound of scraping and clunking metal while on the move, every expert will also tell you the same thing. It’s normal because of friction and vibration. The concept of a fifth wheel lube plate is meant to tell you that you don’t have to put up with it.
Lube Plate vs. Greasing
The basic function of a 5th wheel lube plate is to prevent friction and vibration from gradually impairing the fifth wheel hitch. In effect, many auto consumers have been bought by its unique performance. Yet there are still old-school proponents who favor the honest endeavor of manually greasing hitches and couplers.
Anyone can maintain a valid argument against lube plates by virtue of personal preference. But certain objective factors always put lube plates above manual greasing and maintenance. For one thing, two significant American patents published in 1989 (US4805926 A) and 2006 (US7036839 B2) serves as a conceptual blueprint for developing ‘self-lubricating’ measures.
Concepts like these are obviously driven by a certain degree of market demand. You can fairly say that the general idea motivating fifth wheel lube plates is to minimize human effort. In the highest likelihood of you smearing motor oil on your fine clothes (or anything else), wouldn’t it be nice to just simply avoid that unnecessary mess?
Top 7 Fifth Wheel Lube Plates
The volume of fifth wheel hitch plates distributed in retail outlets may be too prodigious to keep track one by one. However, there are certain models that make it into the competitive cut. Take note of these products being widely featured online:
Reese 83003 5th Wheel Lube Plate
- Item weight: 2.38 lbs.
- Disk size: Custom Shape
Among several fifth wheel hitch plates that try to assume a unique aesthetic look, you can say that only this model seems to enjoy a stellar success. The Reese 83003 is the closest thing to what you may describe as the realization of the 2006 US patent blueprint that strenuously highlights the ‘perforated body’. It snugly coats the shape of a standard fifth wheel hitch instead of assuming a typical shape of a disk lining the upper base of the king pin. By its design principle, you can easily associate it to a mobile phone casing.
You may need to drill a few holes into the hitch head to match the lube plate’s perforation, locking it securely for permanent use. Fortunately, there is a comprehensive instruction guide that helps you fasten the 6 nylon nuts and bolts into its sockets. This item is comparatively heavier than most disk-shaped varieties.
Reese Towpower 83002 5th Wheel Lube Plate
- Item weight: 2.4 oz.
- Disk size: 10 inches
This item is precisely matched with Reese fifth wheel hitches that can manage both 16,000-lbs and 22,000-lbs capacities. In a sense, this lube plate is fairly versatile. Apart from its good performance, the retail price serves as one of the best features the model possesses.
Considering that it is less than an inch thick, there are certain doubts regarding its material durability. Among the particularly mentioned disadvantages concerns the potential damage it causes in the uneven (low level) coupling of the king pin and fifth wheel hitch. In such cases, the lube plate may be crumpled and ends up complicating the simple attachment of the trailer and the pickup truck.
Tulga TC3106-003 Fifth Wheel Liner Plate
- Item weight: 10 lbs.
- Disk size: Custom Shape
If you’re looking for another unique option among the several fifth wheel hitch plates, this model could pique your interest. Similar to the Reese 83003 variety, this lube plate is meant to be attached to the head of the fifth wheel instead of the upper king pin base. This pair of thick polyurethane liners is fitted with bolts, guaranteed to take the brunt of heavy abrasions.
If budget is a core concern, buying this product may require longer deliberations. It roughly costs almost ten times the average price of standard disk-shaped lube plates. Another glaring disadvantage of this item is that it only matches four fifth wheel hitch models by Jost International, namely: JSK37UWA, JSK37UWB, JSK37UWL, and JSK37UWR.
Camco 44674 Fifth Wheel Lube Plate
- Item weight: 9.6 oz.
- Disk size: 12 inches
One of the most interesting features of this brand of 5th wheel lube plate is that you can choose a cheaper 10-inch variety that sports the same exact material traits. Like the Reese 83003 and the Tulga Liner Plate, this model comes in a sleek jet black color that melds with the usual obscurity of the king pin base. Similar to most superior models, it also has the ability to muffle the metal clunking and lubricate high-friction towing.
While some may attest to its durability, an overwhelming volume of consumer reviews consider its longevity to be below subpar. At best, it can only be used within 3 to 4 years. In worst cases, it completely breaks down or causes unnecessary complications in less than a year.
Husky 34914 Fifth Wheel Lube Plate
- Item weight: 0.96 oz.
- Disk size: 10 inches
Among the list of fifth wheel lube plates mentioned in this list, this model is obviously the lightest item to handle. At the same time, buying this product is also very light on the budget. With only around 5 millimeter thickness, this fifth wheel lube plate is surprisingly resilient and capable of withstanding a certain degree of physical tension.
Ordinarily, you can easily insert this lube plate into a wide variety of standard trailer king pin sizes. However, some consumers report a certain degree of difficulty fitting this disk into some trailer couplers. In fact, one customer describes using a hammer to forcefully shove this lube plate into a thicker king pin.
Curt 16722 Fifth Wheel Lube Plate
- Item weight: 9.44 oz.
- Disk size: 12 inches
Manufactured by a competitive brand that maintains the tradition of building quality fifth wheel hitches, this model also sports its own distinct advantages. For one thing, it is arguably the only variety with uniformed grooves lining the inner ring of the disk. These gaps are designed to sluice out oily and grimy residue from intense friction and physical abuse.
Like every renowned fifth wheel lube plate, the Curt 16722 is fairly easy to assemble through the king pin shaft. However, several consumers also complain about occasional tightness that prompt additional exertion on the part of the owner. But if there is one real downside to this product, it is the fact that it only has one-year warranty compared to other types that come with a standard two-year service contract.
Lippert 286160 Never Fail Fifth Wheel Lube Plate
- Item weight: 1 lb.
- Disk size: 11.5 inches
Judging from its namesake alone, there’s a good chance that choosing this model can be worth an investment. This brand of 5th wheel lube plate may assume a very boring disc shape, but what it lacks in aesthetics truly makes up for its material substance. For one thing, the Lippert Never Fail lube plate is fashioned from extra-durable modified polymer (see polyamide).
As far as retail price is concerned, frugal consumers may argue for the needed discount if one should compare it to the average lube plate cost. For a product that comes with its share of technological edge, it’s curious how some consumers complain about the erroneous size of its king pin cavity. In fact, some customer review describes how one resorted to taping the disk on the king pin base due to its very loose center.