SAF Holland Fifth Wheels – Complete Product Buyer’s Guide

SAF Holland Fifth Wheels – Complete Product Buyer’s Guide

Fifth wheels in the heavy-duty transportation industry are like sports referees and umpires – when they’re doing their jobs correctly, people hardly know they’re there. But when they fall short, their failures have an instantaneous impact, are always inconvenient and sometimes disastrous.

This is why it’s imperative to ensure that every vehicle in your care, your professional livelihood and countless human lives are protected by a proven, trusted brand such as SAF-HOLLAND. A global leader in the manufacturing of chassis-related, heavy-duty truck and trailer parts, SAF-HOLLAND introduced the very first terminal tractor-specific fifth wheel more than 50 years ago, makes the most popular fifth wheel in the world today, and recently developed the first-ever completely grease-free fifth wheel. Suffice it to say, they know their way around a fifth wheel.

Shopping for Fifth Wheels

Whether your role in the commercial transportation industry is business owner, truck operator, fleet director, purchasing manager or parts installer, you are well aware of the ramifications that selecting a reliable fifth wheel can have on the entire operation. As we said at the outset, when you make the right purchase, you hardly give it a second thought outside of keeping up with some routine maintenance.

Trucks and trailers can perform their jobs, product gets delivered on time, and everything in the supply chain runs like clockwork. The wrong purchase, however, translates to time spent on the side of the road, costly repairs and maintenance, missed delivery deadlines, damage to your reputation and, God forbid, the constant potential for a highway disaster.

So, before we discuss the specifics of SAF-HOLLAND’s product lines, it may be helpful to review some of the fifth-wheel basics that must be considered before making a purchase. The circumstances of the job type, certainly, are important considerations when selecting the best-equipped fifth wheel, especially for specialty applications such as end dumps, tankers and severe off-road transportation such as logging jobs.

The cargo must match the weight-bearing and weight-pulling capacities of the fifth wheel, naturally, but more complex jobs will require deeper research into a product’s features and options to ensure the right choice. Aside from special circumstances, however, the three main concerns with regard to finding the right fifth wheel are height, pulling capacity and vertical-load capacity.

The height of the fifth wheel refers to the distance from the top of the unit to the ground when the fifth wheel is parallel to the ground in a level, horizontal position. Pulling capacity or drawbar capacity refers to the maximum weight that can be horizontally towed by the fifth wheel, usually between 70,000 pounds and 200,000 pounds. Similarly, the vertical-load capacity refers to the recommended vertical downward force that can be safely applied to the fifth wheel, typically between 50,000 pounds and 70,000 pounds.

With that out of the way, let’s look at what SAF-HOLLAND does so well that it makes the most popular fifth wheel on the planet, the HOLLAND FW 35. This top-plate model spawned the product series of the same name, which also includes the FW33 model and FW31, all of them with 55,000 pounds of vertical-load capacity and 150,000 pounds of drawbar pull.


The foundation for all of SAF-HOLLAND’s present-day innovations in the category, the FW35 is not only the world’s most popular fifth wheel but also among the most versatile. Designed for years of reliable performance, the manufacturer achieved its goal of redefining standards for function and value with its top-plate model and expanded on them with other models.

The FW33 is designed specifically for the vocational industry and includes the manufacturer’s patented Low-Lube technology that eliminates the use of grease on the top-plate surface and between the top plate and bracket, reducing cost and time. The FW31 saves even more time and more money through the use of SAF-HOLLAND’s NoLube technology that eliminates the use of grease on the top-plate surface, between the top plate and the bracket and in the lock mechanism.

The technology also saves the driver from having to re-grease on the road, provides a smoother, safer ride, preserves the environment and avoids citations and fines for excessive use of grease.

SAF HOLLAND / Heavy- and Severe-Duty Series

Long-regarded as an industry leader, SAF-HOLLAND’s heavy-duty and severe-duty fifth wheels are constructed with super-heavy-cast steel, a highly fortified rib structure and finely crafted metallurgy. The result is an entire line of extra-capacity fifth wheels that boast exceptional vertical load capacities of up to 165,000 pounds and pulling capacities of up to 200,000 pounds.

The fifth wheels in the heavy-duty and severe-duty series from SAF-HOLLAND are globally recognized for their top-of-class strength and durability under virtually any operating conditions and applications.

SAF HOLLAND / Terminal Tractor Series

The manufacturer created the first fifth wheel for terminal-tractor use more than 50 years ago and still maintains the standards for strength, speed and durability in the class today. The HOLLAND FW35TT has a vertical-load capacity of 80,000 pounds and a 50,000-pound pulling capacity designed for the increased load and coupling demands of terminal operations.

At 50,000/100,000 vertical-load capacities (single cylinder/twin cylinder), the FW2800 and 2900 are designed with MOv-On technology an an In-Cab Air Release System to convert standard road tractors into cost-efficient yard-spotters for railyard operations, piggybacking or marine applications.

SAF HOLLAND / FW17 and FWAL Series

With a 50,000-pound vertical-load capacity and a 150,000-pound drawbar pull, the FW17 is lighter than competing products because of its patented thin-walled steel casting, making it a solid, cost-effective choice that still delivers top quality and durability for highway fleets.

The FWAL (55,000/150,000) is forged from the same alloy as Alcoa’s aluminum truck wheels, making it one of the lightest if not the lightest fifth wheel on the market.

Moving Forward

If we’ve convinced you that SAF-HOLLAND’s legacy in the design and manufacture of fifth wheels, backed by its commitment to ensure that your vehicle spends more time on the road than in the garage, is enough to get you to invest in some parts, then it’s just a matter of how to proceed. We don’t have to tell you that time, convenience and cost are at the heart of the transportation industry, but we will tell you that they also set us apart from the rest of the heavy-duty vehicle parts aftermarket industry. is a proven leader in aftermarket heavy-duty truck parts with more than 10 million SKUs available at the touch of a key. We are a virtual one-stop-shop where vehicle operators, business owners, fleet managers and repair and maintenance technicians come to find the parts they need to get their heavy-duty trucks and trailers back on the road and earning money.

Our prices are more than competitive, and there are almost always deals to be found at if you just look or ask online. In fact, it’s our service that really separates us from the competition. Based on our massive inventory and lightning-fast shipping capabilities, there’s a strong chance we’ll have your rig back on the road and earning you money sooner than anyone else will.