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  1. #1
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    Default Pump Shift pump-to-road mistake

    As usual I predicted it was only a matter of time. Worst case scenario for me, the "mechanic" and know it all. . I just wish I had gotten around to installing an air line lock controlled by the Allison signals sooner. I had the idea the day we took delivery. But never did.

    I'll try and make a long story short. Our driver idled the 2000 KME Excel-Hale QMAX150 down the other night and attempted to shift to road without going to neutral first. This is the first time its ever happened in 8 years for this truck. I can't express how many times I've stressed and stressed the procedure for pump shifting. The guys all know the deal and what to do. And more importantly I've told horror stories of what happens when failure to shift properly occurs.

    But alas he suffered a breakdown and failed to do so. When I heard the grinding for about 5 seconds I instantly knew what was going on...althought nobody else did. He threw it back into pump gear with the air shifter. The noise ceased and he went throught the proper procedure fine. It was pretty loud too.

    Neutral, neutral, neutral first. But thats just not what he did this time. And he's a good guy with alot of experience.

    Anyhoo...all I can think of at this point is to drain the 80W90 (mad cause I just changed it), check for metal and refill. Hopefully I don't find some teeth pieces and lots of metal. My drains have always been very clean.

    Should I expect major damage? Since there is no real way to visually inspect the internals...should I assume all OK if I find no major metal? Carry on?


  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2Chief View Post
    As usual I predicted it was only a matter of time. Worst case scenario for me, the "mechanic" and know it all. . I just wish I had gotten around to installing an air line lock controlled by the Allison signals sooner. I had the idea the day we took delivery. But never did.

    I'll try and make a long story short. Our driver idled the 2000 KME Excel-Hale QMAX150 down the other night and attempted to shift to road without going to neutral first. This is the first time its ever happened in 8 years for this truck. I can't express how many times I've stressed and stressed the procedure for pump shifting. The guys all know the deal and what to do. And more importantly I've told horror stories of what happens when failure to shift properly occurs.

    But alas he suffered a breakdown and failed to do so. When I heard the grinding for about 5 seconds I instantly knew what was going on...althought nobody else did. He threw it back into pump gear with the air shifter. The noise ceased and he went throught the proper procedure fine. It was pretty loud too.

    Neutral, neutral, neutral first. But thats just not what he did this time. And he's a good guy with alot of experience.

    Anyhoo...all I can think of at this point is to drain the 80W90 (mad cause I just changed it), check for metal and refill. Hopefully I don't find some teeth pieces and lots of metal. My drains have always been very clean.

    Should I expect major damage? Since there is no real way to visually inspect the internals...should I assume all OK if I find no major metal? Carry on?
    Probably not. It's a more common error than you might expect. I've made it myself a time or two. We all know the procedure and its importance, but we all suffer from those occasional mental lapses. You report that your guy realized what he had done and moved immediatly to correct it. So this one, in reality, should be no worse than grinding gears while making a shift with a manual transmission.

    I think Hale still uses magnetic drain plugs as Waterous does. You can check it for anything unusual. Since you're the mechanic you already know to expect small amounts of stuff on the plug. If you really want to get serious about it, send a sample to a lab for analysis.

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    It certainly does happen a lot. Enough to wonder why interlocks are not standard anyways.

    I've seen it done it two or three times on our pair of engines (when they were new) with no noticable damage, but our sister dept did it once on an identical new truck and they grenaded the gearbox first time. Had it fixed, but the mechanic missed a cracked part on the rebuild, and it blew up again two weeks later.

    After checking the drain plug and fluid, I would run the pump up high and hard for a good functional test. Better to fail in the yard under controlled circumstances, then on the fireground with a crew on the line...

    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    You are correct about the magnetic drain plugs Chief, both are still using it. I too would not expect any damage from one grind (a little fine fuzz on the magnet is normal, any chips big enough to feel between your fingers and I'd be watching it closely, if it looks like modern art sculpture; call a tech) . The real problem would occur if it didn't grind, at least on a Hale. Waterous don't like to grind and if you look at how they lock up in pump you can see the teeth are much smaller than Hale's and could wear out prematurely.

    What you are hearing in the grind is just the ends of the beveled splines of the output shaft trying to mesh into the shift gear. Not to say its something you don't want to avoid, but I've seen gear boxes come out of 30 year old trucks with just a bit of wear on the ends of those teeth. If somehow you timed it just right and the gear actually was able to couple up then you'd have a problem, at a minimum it would stall the engine, at worse it could blow up a u-joint or break some solid component of the drive line. Only seen that once.
    Last edited by Fire304; 10-08-2008 at 07:36 PM.
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    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Glad someone brought this up. We have two pumps, one from 1990 and one from 2000. Both with the typical air shifters. We were told that stopping in Neutral was BAD BAD BAD BAD and could wreck the thing.

    Now during an academy pump operator course, they tell us to always always always stop in neutral or you'll blow it up.

    What gives?
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    NM, not sure why they would have told you that. Both Hale and Waterous transfer cases are relatively unchanged for the last few decades, and for the most part if you don't stop in N you will grind them when shifting and eventually cause problems.

    Now if your pumps are PTO driven its possible the rules are different. Also, any chance you're mixing those instructions up with how to shift a 2 speed rear end?
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    Now during an academy pump operator course, they tell us to always always always stop in neutral or you'll blow it up.

    What gives?
    The ever steady lowering of standards to certify people as qualified instructors. Too easy for too many people to become qualified when they really don't know what they are talking about.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  8. #8
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    Red face Pump Shift

    Our rigs are set up so when you are in pump mode and the rear wheels are disconnected the speed-o-meter is showing roughly 30 mph depending on throttle setting. We were taught to always stop the air shifter in neutral and wait for the speed-o-meter to go back to 0 mph before shifting back to road gear. This means the drive shaft coming out of the back of the trans has stopped turning and the slider gear in the pump will now slide back over a non-rotating splined shaft. The wonderful grinding noise reminds you when you don't follow this procedure. OUCH!
    Last edited by donethat; 10-09-2008 at 09:29 AM.

  9. #9
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    This is definately a transfer case pump shift. We don't have two-speed rear ends, at least the vehicular kind anyway. I was taught that the middle position is ONLY in case of a malfunction and will allow you to operate the manual transfer case shift on the pump panel.

    For 10 years, I've always been taught the following
    Road to Pump
    - Brake set
    - Transmision in Neutral
    - Throw from road to pump and do not stop in the middle!
    - Transmision shift to drive

    Pump to Road
    - Idle
    - Transmision shift to Neutral
    - Wait for MPH to reach zero
    - Throw from pump to road and do not stop in the middle
    - Transmision as required.

    Now, the part about not stopping in neutral is something that has come from mechanics and engineers. Not something anyone has been told from Hale or Waterous. Now that I see there is an issue here, I am going to follow up with both Hale and Waterous to find out for sure and put to rest the he said she said.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    This is definately a transfer case pump shift. We don't have two-speed rear ends, at least the vehicular kind anyway. I was taught that the middle position is ONLY in case of a malfunction and will allow you to operate the manual transfer case shift on the pump panel.

    For 10 years, I've always been taught the following
    Road to Pump
    - Brake set
    - Transmision in Neutral
    - Throw from road to pump and do not stop in the middle!
    - Transmision shift to drive

    Pump to Road
    - Idle
    - Transmision shift to Neutral
    - Wait for MPH to reach zero
    - Throw from pump to road and do not stop in the middle
    - Transmision as required.

    Now, the part about not stopping in neutral is something that has come from mechanics and engineers. Not something anyone has been told from Hale or Waterous. Now that I see there is an issue here, I am going to follow up with both Hale and Waterous to find out for sure and put to rest the he said she said.
    That's is the way I've always done it; it's as was passed down from an earlier generation. Middle positions on the pump to road shifter are, to me, fairly new. Waterous Electromatic shifters switches had only two positions, Road or Pump. Many of the earlier air shifters were either one way or the other. FWDbuff's FWD has a manual shifter, a stick next to the transmission stick. It only has Road and Pump.

    Our 2007 Toyne has an electrically operated (their design), Waterous air shifter which does have a middle or neutral position. It does get used in conjunction with the manual override.

  11. #11
    Forum Member Fire304's Avatar
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    OK, I think we might be talking about 2 different neutrals, NM are you talking about the middle position on the pump shifter? If that's the case it doesn't matter*. The original post was referring to shifting the pump while the tranny was still in 4th.

    *Disclaimer, as a practice I could see where teaching people not to stop in the middle position for fear that an operator might leave it there and not complete the shift might be a good idea. Both Hale and Waterous air shifters use a double acting piston, in other words the pump will stay in gear until the shifter is forced to move. When you put the pump shifter in the middle position all you're doing is taking the air pressure off the shifter piston, nothing moves. There have been cases of operators accidentally moving the shifter to the middle (failing to fully shift the knob) and then throttling up resulting in a "truck jumping into gear" scenario. The shift from road to pump is not completed until the shifter is moved all the way from one position to the other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire304 View Post
    OK, I think we might be talking about 2 different neutrals, NM are you talking about the middle position on the pump shifter? If that's the case it doesn't matter*. The original post was referring to shifting the pump while the tranny was still in 4th.

    *Disclaimer, as a practice I could see where teaching people not to stop in the middle position for fear that an operator might leave it there and not complete the shift might be a good idea. Both Hale and Waterous air shifters use a double acting piston, in other words the pump will stay in gear until the shifter is forced to move. When you put the pump shifter in the middle position all you're doing is taking the air pressure off the shifter piston, nothing moves. There have been cases of operators accidentally moving the shifter to the middle (failing to fully shift the knob) and then throttling up resulting in a "truck jumping into gear" scenario. The shift from road to pump is not completed until the shifter is moved all the way from one position to the other.
    I can see where my reference to "neutral" could be unclear. In this case I was describing neutral on the pump to road shifter as opposed to on the main transmission. Clearly distinguishing between them is important. My apologies for not being more precise.

  13. #13
    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire304 View Post
    OK, I think we might be talking about 2 different neutrals, NM are you talking about the middle position on the pump shifter? If that's the case it doesn't matter*. The original post was referring to shifting the pump while the tranny was still in 4th.

    *Disclaimer, as a practice I could see where teaching people not to stop in the middle position for fear that an operator might leave it there and not complete the shift might be a good idea. Both Hale and Waterous air shifters use a double acting piston, in other words the pump will stay in gear until the shifter is forced to move. When you put the pump shifter in the middle position all you're doing is taking the air pressure off the shifter piston, nothing moves. There have been cases of operators accidentally moving the shifter to the middle (failing to fully shift the knob) and then throttling up resulting in a "truck jumping into gear" scenario. The shift from road to pump is not completed until the shifter is moved all the way from one position to the other.
    100% correct. [EDIT: on the "Disclaimer"]

    When going from road to the middle, you are still in road mode. When you take it to pump mode, are you in pump gear, and can pump water. After pumping, and moving the shift knob to the center, you stay in pump mode. And as said, all that does is take pressure off the cylinder, but, it is still locked. Until you move to road, will it disengage from pump mode, and transfer to road mode.

    There is really no reason to stop or pause at the middle. Your not changing anything, from where you were. A fluid movement from road to pump, pump to road, is all you have to do. Everything else will do the work.

    I can't add anything that has already been said, concerning checking the drain plug, and any particles. That's been covered pretty good.

    FM1
    Last edited by FIREMECH1; 10-10-2008 at 02:43 AM.

  14. #14
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    From "Operating Procedures," pg 35 of Hale's Muscle Pump Manual:

    4. Shift the truck transmission to the NEUTRAL
    position.

    5. Move the in-cab pump shift control valve from
    the ROAD position to the PUMP position. The
    shift warning lights should come on in a
    second or two, indicating a complete shift.
    If the truck manufacturer has used another incab
    valve to achieve pump shift or has an
    electric switch, follow the instructions supplied
    with that valve.

    6. After pump shift is completed, put the truck
    transmission in the proper pump operating
    range or gear. For most pumpers this will be
    direct drive.
    So there you have it, Hale does not mention anything about stopping in pump neutral. I imagine Waterous is the same.

    While digging for this, I also found a note on their new K series gear box:

    The K Gearbox is an option on Hale's popular Qmax and Qtwo muscle pumps. It is rated for up to 550 HP engines. Optional anti-crash gearbox design prevents shifting while in drive.
    Maybe you need some of these 2Chief
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    On Waterous pump transmissions there is no need to stop in the neutral position while shifting from road to pump or pump to road. Just passing through the position will vent the air pressure from the position you were previously in. The center position can be used to shift the pump manually as it will bleed air pressure off of both sides. Sometimes, in some apparatus, while shifting from pump to road position and waiting too long after putting the truck transmission in neutral you will experience grinding due to the fact that the truck transmission has neutral driveline torque and will start to spin in opposite engine rotation at a high speed.

  16. #16
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    Lightbulb Pump Shift

    Our rigs are set up so when you are in pump mode and the rear wheels are disconnected the speed-o-meter is showing roughly 30 mph depending on throttle setting. We were taught to always stop the air shifter in neutral and wait for the speed-o-meter to go back to 0 mph before shifting back to road gear. This means the drive shaft coming out of the back of the trans has stopped turning and the slider gear in the pump will now slide back over a non-rotating splined shaft. The wonderful grinding noise reminds you when you don't follow this procedure. OUCH!

    My Bad!
    What I should have said is the "Transmission Shift lever is shifted to neutral and you wait for the speed-o- to go to (0 mph) and then you shift the pump shift air valve from pump to road. When you are buying and fixing and not useing everyday, the memory gets a little fuzzy.

  17. #17

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    As a habit, I always stop in the center position for a second before heading into pump or road and have never ground anything. The center position, is beneficial if the truck had a manual pump shift as a backup. I speced a manual pump shift on our first in CAFS engine as a backup if the air shift fails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2Chief View Post
    As usual I predicted it was only a matter of time. Worst case scenario for me, the "mechanic" and know it all. . I just wish I had gotten around to installing an air line lock controlled by the Allison signals sooner. I had the idea the day we took delivery. But never did.

    I'll try and make a long story short. Our driver idled the 2000 KME Excel-Hale QMAX150 down the other night and attempted to shift to road without going to neutral first. This is the first time its ever happened in 8 years for this truck. I can't express how many times I've stressed and stressed the procedure for pump shifting. The guys all know the deal and what to do. And more importantly I've told horror stories of what happens when failure to shift properly occurs.

    But alas he suffered a breakdown and failed to do so. When I heard the grinding for about 5 seconds I instantly knew what was going on...althought nobody else did. He threw it back into pump gear with the air shifter. The noise ceased and he went throught the proper procedure fine. It was pretty loud too.

    Neutral, neutral, neutral first. But thats just not what he did this time. And he's a good guy with alot of experience.

    Anyhoo...all I can think of at this point is to drain the 80W90 (mad cause I just changed it), check for metal and refill. Hopefully I don't find some teeth pieces and lots of metal. My drains have always been very clean.

    Should I expect major damage? Since there is no real way to visually inspect the internals...should I assume all OK if I find no major metal? Carry on?
    I think this is a case of the bark being worse than the bite. The transfer case sounds like it's trying to eat itself, but, in several years of teaching new pump operators, we've never disabled one. Believe me, we tried.......

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