1. #1
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    Default Fire Pump repair costs

    We have a pretty big problem with people not knowing how to properly operate our fire pumps.

    At our last fire the RPM's on one of our trucks was maxed out, with (2) 1 3/4" lines being used sparingly for overhaul.

    The lines were maxing out at around 100 PSI, the hose lines were bouncing up and down.... well i ran over and started shutting down the throttle, and watched in horror as the pump started catching up and spiked the PSI on the hose lines to over 350 PSI.

    After a few seconds i got the PSI down to a acceptable levels.

    Im trying to drive home the point to our Chiefs that the level of training on pump operations is severly lacking.

    If this pump was continued to run at max RPM and cavitating, how much would that repair typically cost? Im assuming that worse case the impeller would start to break apart?

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    Worst case scenario is that you cause damage to the pump housing. Cavitation will cause pitting inside the pump housing, eating it away. once it eats away enough that the volute is compromised, or it eats a hole in the housing, you're going to have major problems. The pictures show some of that kind of damage.

    If you're talking about a cast midship pump with damage to the housing, you have to replace the whole pump. The bottom and top of the pump are matched, so they can't just make a new part. Replacement is likely going to be $20-30K (not including labor).

    If it's just an impellor assembly, it seems like they're between $5-10K, but I can't remember exactly. A quick call to whoever you have service your pumps or buy parts from should get you a price.
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    TY Catch for your write up

    In your opinion, when a pump cavitates ( we have a 15 yr pierce with i think a waterous 1500 gpm pump )

    does the needles bounce around 99-100 PSI while the hand lines jerk around?

    I think what i witness'ed was the pump moving so fast it couldnt generate water pressure, hence causing the PSI to stop at 100 in this case?

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    It appears that your department needs to remove this pumper from servcie until it can be repaired by a certified fire pump mechanic.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    I am not much on the pump, but I looked over some notes from a pump class I took and found this:

    (I put a star and "do not do" as the header )
    4 stages of cavatation:

    1. Pump pressure does not respond to throttle
    2. Pump starts to rattle/ping
    3. Increase in throttle results in decrease in pressure
    4. Truck starts jumping up and down

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    Quote Originally Posted by magik20 View Post
    TY Catch for your write up

    In your opinion, when a pump cavitates ( we have a 15 yr pierce with i think a waterous 1500 gpm pump )

    does the needles bounce around 99-100 PSI while the hand lines jerk around?

    I think what i witness'ed was the pump moving so fast it couldnt generate water pressure, hence causing the PSI to stop at 100 in this case?
    Based on the limited info, you may have had a cavitation issue going on. What I'm putting my money on is that someone had the pump wound up so far it was outrunning whatever supply you had to it, which can certainly cause cavitation. I am positive you had a problem somewhere between the ground a pump panel.

    If you guys don't have some kind of driver/operator training, this incident is a prime example of why you need some. Step 1 would be to get out the owner's manuals for your pumps. If you can't find the manuals, check the manufacturers' website. Give them a call and see about getting a CD version, which seems to be the standard these days. Make sure guys know how to operate each particular pump and how to maintain it.

    From there, see about getting some formal driver/operator training. Depending on how things are set up in your state, there may be a state-level agency that will provide the training, or you might be able to get an instructor from a nearby department to come do the training. I've done a lot of training for our neighbors for a meal on a Saturday.

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    You might want to test that hose before using it again as well.
    IAFF

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    Default Pump Training

    I would recommend that your department conduct pump operator training for your members.

    Since operating pumps is serious work and pumps are a big ticket item, the time and funds invested in pump training will be well worth spent.

    I've known several dept's that lacked both in pump maintenance and pump operator training. Pump mechanics made a good living off those departments!

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    Definitely should be tested to determine the difference between pump damage and operator error (to include, just exceeding it's capacity). The central station in our department has the device to do the underwriters test on the pump. We have to do that annually at least anyhow. I've pulled the pump apart on our 1000gpm Seagrave. Not extrordinarily complex work, but the thing is darn heavy (we used four guys to lift the rotor out safely.

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    Default Waterous 1500 2 stage

    Paid eight thousand dollars for a rebuild 5 years ago. Pumped failed its annual and the parts kit was five with the labor being three. The Mech told me later the pump housing is Bronze and is worth more then the engine its in (87 Seagrave).

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    I wish we knew what we're up against. We have a 1970 Waterous pump in a 1986 GMC/FMC pumper (long story) that had to be downrated last year when it couldn't quite hit 1000gpm. We're cool with it rated 750, since we're well covered on ISO with our two 1250gpm engines, but it is first due from our substation and I worry that its performance will continue to decline. Next pump test late this summer...
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Truck_3 View Post
    Paid eight thousand dollars for a rebuild 5 years ago. Pumped failed its annual and the parts kit was five with the labor being three. The Mech told me later the pump housing is Bronze and is worth more then the engine its in (87 Seagrave).
    Yep, it's bronze and the alleged "wear ring" doesn't ever seem to wear as fast as the housing. We also blew the pump transmission on the seagrave once. Pretty interesting to see the oil come out gold colored (lots of ground up bronze).

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