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Thread: Glider Kits

  1. #1
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    Default Glider Kits

    I want to pick the brains of some mechanics/factory sales reps out there.

    My department has a 1986 Ford C8000 Grumman pumper. It has a Cat 3208 10.4 liter diesel, Allison Automatic transmition, and Waterous CM 1250 GPM Two Stage Pump. The motor, trany, and pump are all in flawless shape and there is only maybe 300 hours on the motor and even less on the pump. No rusting.

    If we were purchasing a new pumper on a custom chassis,(or commercial chassis) how difficult would it be to reuse these pieces? We would of course supply your engineers with the exact model and serial numbers of the pieces so they could get specs from their respective mfg's.

    Let me know what you think. Thanks!


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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    I would be worried about warranty issues. Would the manufacturer give a drivetrain warranty? How long? For what? Who's gonna fix it if something goes ker-blooey?
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    What you're dealing with is, as your thread title infers, is the basic glider kit. E1 played around with them at one time as did, I think, Spartan. I don't know if they or any other fire chassis people are still doing them or if not, would consider doing one.

    Gliders used to be very common in the trucking industry. I haven't heard too much about them in recent years so I don't know how much that's still being done, If a commercial chassis will suit your needs, I'm sure you could do something there. Actually, I'm somewhat surprised that they aren't making a resurgence. What with the challenges being presented trying to comply with 2007 and 2010 EPA regs, that would be one way to stave off the problems.

    One thing to be aware of, though, is that tilt cab or cabover chassis have become pretty much extinct. A few people are still building them, mostly for trash packers and the like. Autocar and Mack are probably the two biggest. And if you really feel lucky, American LaFrance's Condor. But your 3208 might be a bit anemic for some of them.

    A variation of the glider at one time was what was known as a powered glider. It was the same thing as a glider except that it came with your choice of someone's new or factory rebuilt engine, already installed.

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    Default More on Gliders

    The idea of powered gliders could have a lot going for it, but in your case it may not. The only real option for you would be another 3208, and if yours is OK, why bother. Any of the six cylinder engines except for the small ones (C block Cummins and the like) would have a peak RPM of 2100 or 2200. Your 3208 is much higher. So to go to one of the sixes you would wind up having to change both the rear axle ratio and the pump drive ratio. Both can be done, but at a cost.

    With respect to chassis, if you're looking at conventional cabs, International, Freightliner, Peterbilt, Kenworth and Ford all have four door crew cabs available. International, in particular, is making a concerted effort to understand and market to the emergency services.

    The Autocar chassis that is used for trash packers is the former White Xpeditor which Volvo inherited when they bought White. Under both White and Volvo, a very few of them were converted to four door open space crew cabs. Fontaine Truck Modification Co. did them, and did a really nice job of it. When Volvo bought Mack they had to divest that cab or the Mack MR because they would have pretty much had a monopoly on low cab forward trucks. They sold off the Xpeditor and the Autocar name to a startup company.

    Back when we were working on specs for our now Toyne/Spartan I talked to Autocar about the possibility of doing one for us. The answer that I eventually got back was that Fontaine was not interested in doing it. At a "Friends of Autocar" meeting a few months ago I got to speak to an Autocar executive about it. I don't know whether anything will ever come of it.

    In the meantime several companies including Toyne and Swab and possibly others have built some pretty decent "penalty boxes" for the Mack MR. I'm sure that if they put their minds to it they could do the same for Autocar. So there are some possible options for you for glider kits.

    FWDbuff's comments about warranties are well taken and need to be considered. I have always been intrigued by the idea of a glider. Reality is, though, no one is going to accept responsibilty for the whole package. So you would need to be prepared to be your own warranty adminstrator.
    Last edited by chiefengineer11; 11-18-2009 at 09:54 PM.

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    When I worked for a truck leasing business in the 80's, we did quite a few glider kits. They were usually for tractors that had been wrecked with under 100k on the odometer. The process was fairly straight forward ,put the wreck in one bay and the glider in the next, unbolt the drive train and reinstall in the new chassis. We did find some issues with older to newer electronic control systems adaptation.
    A 1986 3208 Cat does not have the current electronic engine /transmission controls and emissions pkg. so that interfacing with a new chassis electrical system may be a lot more of a problem than it's worth. Everything today is fly by wire so you would need a lot of custom adaptation.

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    I wouldn't recommend it.

    I know it's nearly new as far as use is concerned, but it's still 24 years old. So much has changed, some not so good, but for the most part, apparatus are better and safer today. Consider taking a look at Annex D of 1901 too.

    Let it go IMO.

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    Problem with 3208's is no matter how well you maintain them, at 24+ years the heads start "working"on the block and erode around the gaskets. Plus the cylinder walls can start weeping(coolant electrolysis) unless you're RELIGIOUS about keeping grounds pure and keeping the antifreeze at the perfect PH. I love that little engine but it is NOT nor ever was,designed to be a Fire truck engine. Oh,I know there were a lot of them doing the job but they were DESIGNED as a light duty parcel delivery engine. So you really need to weigh all your options before going with that particular setup in a glider. If after considering all your options,you decide to go there you have my support and condolences. T.C.

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    Thanks for all of the advice.

    I think we would have the motor completely examined to verify it is still in as good of shape as I think it is. If it is in pristine condition, I would have it rebuilt, and add some of the more modern features as a CAT mechanic told me was fairly easy.

    I don't understand some of the questions about NFPA 1901 annex D. I know what it is. I am not talking about reusing an old chassis. I am talking new everything except engine, pump, and trany which would have electronic controls added when necessary. Annex D mostly deals with chassis electrical and safety features which would be all new and just as compliant as a new pumper.

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    The one issue that no one has yet touched on is how are you going to be funding this project ? If you are utilizing local, state or federal funds in either the form of grants, low interest loans or bond issues there are many other issues that can come into play on a project such as this. Even if the department has the money to fund this up front you still will have mulitple issues with warranties that would need to be overcome.

    You also need to look at and be prepared for the "what if" the rebuilt motor and transmission would need replacing during the 15-20 life expectancy of this apparatus. Would you be able to replace it with a new emissions motor and drive train in the same amount of space without undergoing major chassis modifications ?

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    Simple answer,NO! The 3208 met the emissions for it's time. Reman's are still available.But as a prior issue engine,remanned it DOES NOT have to meet 2010 emissions, if used in a glider type configuration.If it were me,I'd marry up a later model motor to my existing tramsmission and pump,but that's just me. T.C.

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    As mentioned E-One does gliders. Would be into a custom cab but that would at least eliminate one mfg from the warrenty/responsible chain (that is the commercial cab mfg).

    http://e-one.com/products.htm?id=50

    Any reason you wouldn't reuse the rear end. Major expense there and commonly reused with glider.

    Freightliner is active in gliders kits but no all models.
    Last edited by fireinfo10; 11-20-2009 at 03:32 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireinfo10 View Post
    Any reason you wouldn't reuse the rear end. Major expense there and commonly reused with glider.
    As I recall, in order to have a vehicle made from a glider and still fall under earlier standards (EPA, etc), two of the three major components must come from the original vehicle. Those would be the engine, transmission and rear axle. If the engine were to be replaced, you would need to use the trans and rear.

    Even though to us, the pump is a major component, very few gliders are fire trucks. So I have to doubt if the pump would count. It would be interesting to know if either EPA or IRS (they get very involved in trucks) has issued a ruling on that point.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ejfeicht View Post
    You also need to look at and be prepared for the "what if" the rebuilt motor and transmission would need replacing during the 15-20 life expectancy of this apparatus. Would you be able to replace it with a new emissions motor and drive train in the same amount of space without undergoing major chassis modifications ?
    Isn't this a problem with any motor and transmission, even new. After 15 years its probably not warrantied anymore so if it goes out you are still stuck trying to find components that will fit in your chassis? Can anyone relate how they handled a problem like this?

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    The first mistake would be using the Cat 3208 motor. Many I have dealt with and have talked to say its a throw-a-way motor, one of the very few poor Cat motors.

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    Is the 3208 a V-8, non turbo. If so we had two of them, couldn't get out of it's own way. In a Ford C-8000 cabover FMC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ctxffman View Post
    Is the 3208 a V-8, non turbo. If so we had two of them, couldn't get out of it's own way. In a Ford C-8000 cabover FMC.
    Yeah v-8, a lot of the older ones I've been around were naturally aspirated. I think that they also have turbos.

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    Thumbs up CAT 3208 Engine

    Natural aspirated was 215 hp. and turbo was 250 hp. Marine version was rated at 350 hp. I think. You could adjust the rack setting on the fuel injection system and pick up some additional hp.
    I know of a tractor puller who claims he was getting 1,000 hp. from his CAT 3208. I believe it had four turbo-chargers on it. Of course, a somewhat reduced service life. lol

    For a small rural fire department it was an OK engine. Rarely does a small volunteer department put 100,000 miles on a rig. Engine can be bored out .030" and be rebuilt like a car engine block. Probably good for 150,00 - 200,000 miles total life with a rebuild along the way.

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    Astually early versions could be rated at 160-180 HP. I had one in a twenty ton(rated)LN9000 Ford towtruck that was a 210,a pretty common rating. I've still got the truck with a little over a mill on the clock,second engine. 4-600,000 was not uncommon if you took a little care of them.As I mentioned earlier,it was never DESIGNED to be a fire truck or HD engine.We had a whole fleet of them at the local concrete company when I worked there.Hauling 9 yards of 'crete every day(the 250 hp version). But they did a good job and had a reasonably long life despite NOT being designed to do this. Still,it IS NOT an engine I would choose if I were rehabbing a Fire engine. I don't know how much longer Cat is going to support them,when I checked last most parts were still available. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by farmerfire1156 View Post
    The first mistake would be using the Cat 3208 motor. Many I have dealt with and have talked to say its a throw-a-way motor, one of the very few poor Cat motors.
    The early 3208T engines were not sleeved and were considered to be "throw-aways" but later engines were sleeved and could effectively be rebuilt several times.

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    You SURE about that? I've NEVER seen a sleeved 3208 unless they were bored then sleeved. T.C.

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