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  1. #1
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    Default Manual Pump Shift Override mechanism

    Some of you may have heard of the 5-fatality apartment fire in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood last Saturday, and that the first-in engine couldn't pump water.

    It was reported that the engine wouldn't transfer from road to pump gear.

    Now the department is investigating what went wrong with that apparatus (a mid-90's E-One).

    Turns out that this rig--and all of Seattle's engines--don't have a manual pump shift override lever.

    Now, the victims in this fire didn't stand a chance anyways--not matter if the rig had pump correctly, because when this first engine arrived on-location, smoke and flames were pouring from every opening of this structure.

    However the mention that this engine wouldn't go into pump gear, and that their (the SFD's) entire fleet of engines don't have manual pump shift override features, really astonished me.

    In another forum, I was told by a couple of firefighters that these features are UNCOMMON in most fire engines. With that, I call major BS on this.

    Almost every rig I've pumped on/operated had this feature. Every E-One, KME and Pierce had this feature. The only two rigs that didn't--were Darley's.

    So, I ask all of you: Do you have manual pump shift overrides on your apparatus?

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    Only on the trucks that were pre-quint concept. All the quints and FRVs do not have manual pump shift overrides. Hopefully the next batch will. Funny thing we had talked about this less then a month ago in the station. one of those what if things.

    FYI we are running 2000 GPM Hale pump

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    All I am going to say is this:

    I can't believe that the NFPA has NOT made it mandatory for all engines to have a secondary means of engaging the pump. As well, the builders to make it an option. This should be mandatory for the reasons such as this. Sh^t happens, and you need to have a back up plan. (if I'm wrong concerning the NFPA, please post it)

    I find it really disgusting that they request a secondary braking system, but not a secondary means of putting an engine into pump gear. Hopefully this incident will make changes to that effect.

    As for my rigs, all of them have a manual bypass to engage the pump. Not having it, is retarded.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    As I noted in the other thread, every engine I've worked on had the manual override somewhere. Like FIREMECH1 said, they're usually a T-handled pull lever that moves in and out upon actualtion, manually or when the air switch works. Only one was under the pumphouse requiring laying under the pump. The newest engine with it's rearmount pump has the lever mounted right off the pump along the pumphouse wall. I too am very surprised this is not as common as I assumed. I'm willing to bet many have them but just don't know it, while some may not have them at all, but I'd think this would be a simple redundancy that makes too much sense to skip.

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    Man, I never thought of that way. NFPA requiring us to have two braking systems, but not a secondary system to engage the pump?!?!

    I'm going to do some research to see how to get this NFPA standard changed. I too am amazed that this is not required.

    Thanks for the responses guys. Glad to know I wasn't in La-la land when I was told they (manual pump shift) were uncommon, as I knew they actually were.

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    Default pump shifts overrides

    Pump shift override is an option that should be standardized by all of the manufacturers,
    so truck committees all over the country dont have to remember to ask for one ; but should be put there anyways. Otherwise you have a $400,000 toolbox carrying water that you cant use.

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    Agreed.

    With all the push for safety, it is rather concerning that this is not a mandated item to have on a pumper. If the switch fails, before pump engagement or during, not being able to move the water to the fire puts so much in jeopardy. I'd be willing to help get NFPA to push this through, for what it's worth. Let me know if I can help.

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    Other than the 1938 Seagrave, our 2002 E-One CAFS pumper has it. No other trucks in our dept have it and I was adamant when I spec'd this truck. This truck is first in and I would have not have had it any other way.

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    where does this one end???? do you have a back up for the electronic throttle/pressure governor? (more prone to fail than the pump shift) a back up for warning light activations? a back up for the back up? back up system for the electric o2 valves on ambulances? an extra defibrillator in case your fails? as far as the secondary braking systems mentioned above, its not in case you lose your brakes, its to give added braking/stopping ability.

    In the Washington instance, was it really a failure of the pump shift or some other issue?

    By the way, who knows how to properly use your manual pump over ride?

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    Only two of our engines have an override, both of them have Waterous pumps in them. The trucks with Hales do not have overrides. New 2010 engine with a Waterous does not have an override. Have had the override freeze up in 0 degree weather. Tried to break the override loose on scene and could not get it to break loose. Had to get it inside to get it to thaw the cable out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ffp20 View Post
    where does this one end???? do you have a back up for the electronic throttle/pressure governor? (more prone to fail than the pump shift) a back up for warning light activations? a back up for the back up? back up system for the electric o2 valves on ambulances? an extra defibrillator in case your fails? as far as the secondary braking systems mentioned above, its not in case you lose your brakes, its to give added braking/stopping ability.

    In the Washington instance, was it really a failure of the pump shift or some other issue?

    By the way, who knows how to properly use your manual pump over ride?
    What kind of imperical data do you have to support the statement "...do you have a back up for the electronic throttle/pressure governor? (more prone to fail that the pump shift)..."?

    I've never had a throttle or governer fail, however I've had the pump not go into gear on a couple of occassion. Now this is usually because of " butt gears" situation, whereas the splines don't line up (a known issue with residual torque in Allison Trannies), but is easily resolved by placing the transmission in reverse momentarilly, and then re-trying the pump shift procedure.

    I think you're missing the point here thought. No one is suggesting that you go hog wild, and have a back up for everything, however having a manaul pump shift for you pumper seems pretty reasonable to me.

    Any yes, I know precisely how to manually shift every rig in our fleet into pump gear.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sirhcdeer1
    I've never had a throttle or governer fail, however I've had the pump not go into gear on a couple of occassion. Now this is usually because of " butt gears" situation, whereas the splines don't line up (a known issue with residual torque in Allison Trannies), but is easily resolved by placing the transmission in reverse momentarilly, and then re-trying the pump shift procedure.
    Right now I have a batch of 50/50 engines with either the D60's, or ISM's. I have had the hand throttle fail on D60's several times, and only once on the ISM. Either way, I keep one of each on my service truck.

    And just to let you know, you made my night. Someone posted about a problem with having a "torque" problem going into pump gear. My response was operator error, by doing it too fast. As well, I recommended that they should put it in reverse, and try again. I'm glad there are operators (as you) that actually have a clue.


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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    Quote Originally Posted by ffp20
    where does this one end???? do you have a back up for the electronic throttle/pressure governor? (more prone to fail than the pump shift) a back up for warning light activations? a back up for the back up? back up system for the electric o2 valves on ambulances? an extra defibrillator in case your fails? as far as the secondary braking systems mentioned above, its not in case you lose your brakes, its to give added braking/stopping ability.

    In the Washington instance, was it really a failure of the pump shift or some other issue?

    By the way, who knows how to properly use your manual pump over ride?
    The electronic throttle/pressure governor does have a backup/default mode, so you can still flow water. If you didn't know that, then the rest of your post is what it is. EPIC FAIL.

    I never said the secondary braking requirement was put into place in case of brake failure. It was said to show the priority of what the NFPA has required. To not mandate a back up of the pump gear operation, is freaking stupid.

    Carry on, some where else.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    Post It is in our specs

    It's in our specs that every new truck comes with a manual override. I can't say all the trucks in the fleet have it but I would hazard to guess 90% of them do. And I know that at least some of that other 10% are manual shifts anyway.

    And I too know how to shift all the overrides and maunal shifts.

    I have had my Governor control fail onsite during a major call. It autmoaticly kicked into RPM and I was able to continue my flow without interuption.....Funny it was about 5 minutes after the salt water I started being fed hit the pump....LOL Damn salt water. On top of that so long as the pump didn't come out of gear I could still flow water even if the whole governor control "dissaperad" since I can control the rpms of the truck with the throtal in the cab. ( Hard to do but it is possible)

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    Quote Originally Posted by MColley View Post
    On top of that so long as the pump didn't come out of gear I could still flow water even if the whole governor control "dissaperad" since I can control the rpms of the truck with the throtal in the cab. ( Hard to do but it is possible)
    Some of the new trucks I have worked on you cant even do that. Once you put the pump into gear hitting the gas pedal in the cab does nothing. D*** electronics!

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    We just had a situation where our first in pump would not engage. All of our pumps have a manual lever, so I crawled under to give it a tug, but it turned out to be a broken shifting collar, so I couldn't move it even with the manual pull rod.

    It should be a pretty easy retro fit...depending on space. Our manual pull rods is a simple rod bolted on to the triangular metal plate that the air switch normal activates.

    Having said that, it shows the beauty of a centrifical pump. Next truck in hooked up and we pumped right through the broken engine, since all the lines were already deployed and ready to go.

    p.s. Every member who go through our pump classes learns where that rod is and how to use it.
    Last edited by Saltspringfire; 06-17-2010 at 07:28 PM.
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    Be careful what you wish for because you might get it. My 1997 Pumper was delivered with a manual override for the pump shift. Since it was not part of the specifications I questioned it and was told that it was an NFPA requirement. To be honest about it I never researched it to find out if it was or was not mandated I accepted the statement at face value and lived with the override. It lasted four years until I finally removed it.

    It was as others have stated a “T” handle attached to a cable which is clevis pinned to the rear of sliding transfer gear shaft on the pump transmission. The “T” handle moves in and out when the pump shift is cycled and here lies the problem. If the solid shaft section becomes bent when the handle is ion the out position the apparatus won’t shift out of pump gear. This as it turns out is a fairly common occurrence. If the handle becomes bent when the apparatus is in “road” gear then it won’t shift into pump, much harder to do but not impossible.

    If your preventative maintenance isn’t up to par and the cable section becomes corroded you will never move the thing either in or out. Those of you who can remember the old veneer cables on pre 1991 throttles or on ladder PTOs will recall some of the corrosion related freeze problems especially in areas with heavy road salt use.

    The pump shift override had created more problems with that vehicle going in and out of pump than the override ever would have corrected. These problems were responsible for the truck being out of service.

    This entire discussion operates under the assumption that the pump didn’t shift because of an air shift problem, may be the pump shift mechanism is working perfectly and the air pressure was low when they tried to engage the pump. Low air pressure = no pump shift. Catastrophic failure of air driven pump shifts happen but aren’t common, there is almost always warning signs that something needs service or repair.

    Those of you who think that you can control the throttle from the cab are driving apparatus built before 1991, or you already have electronic/maintenance/service issues telling you there is something wrong with your apparatus and it needs to be diagnosed and corrected. 1991 was when the last of the cable actuated throttles with direct connect linkages were replaced with electronics. Yes I know the knob on the pump panel looks the same, turns the same but if you look behind the pump you will see that the back of the throttle control does not have a cable attached to it, but a rheostat with two wires. When you shift into pump the foot throttle in the cab is disabled and engine speed control switches to the pump panel throttle.

    Training and in particular comprehensive operator training remains the key to making sure your apparatus will work when and how you need it. If the operator doesn’t understand every aspect of what the apparatus is doing when you shift into pump he cannot troubleshoot it to make sure it is not human error instead of mechanical or electronic failure. If it is mechanical or electrical failure in the field with today’s apparatus you’re put of service at the scene period.

    The NFPA apparatus standard is not written to make sure that no civilians die in a fire or accidents, it is done to make sure that the vehicles safer for firefighters and firefighting operations. Hence things like secondary braking and minimum ladder strength and performance requirements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpecCapt View Post
    Those of you who think that you can control the throttle from the cab are driving apparatus built before 1991, or you already have electronic/maintenance/service issues telling you there is something wrong with your apparatus and it needs to be diagnosed and corrected.
    That would be incorrect. It may be correct for your trucks but it is not correct for everyone. We have 2-1998, 2000, and 2002 engines that all can be controled from the foot throttle in the cab. I am unsure if the 2009 or 2010 engines can. I can also bet you money that there is no E/M/S issues with those trucks.

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    SpecCapt, I see your point. What about having the manual pump-shift handle recessed into a "pocket" in the side of the pump panel? A door over it would help to keep road debris out of it, but it would still have room to move in and out without worrying about getting accidentally bent.

    Just a thought.

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    I've never had a need for a backup/manual pump shift. Use the Jake brake on EVERY drive.

    I can't think of a new pumper I've inspected that had anything obvious that looked like a manual pump shift. Pierce, E-One, Central. I've never seen such listed in a spec. Certainly unlike on a "program" truck which covers most of those sold in the US.

    Our new 2007 M2-112 operates using the driver's accelerator quite nicely when pump is in gear.

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    We've been spec'ing manual pump overrides on our rigs since at least 1992. All 20 front-line engines (Pierce Quantums with Waterous pumps) and 5 reserves (again, Quantums with Waterous) have them. Ability to manually override the pump engagement is a portion of the department's driver/pump-operator school.

    Our pumpers are wired to allow the in-cab accelerator to still control the throttle of the pump, which came in handy in about 2003 when the first arriving engine on a working fire found that the pressure governor on the pump panel would not increase the throttle. The department's chaplain was on the scene, so he was put in the cab and told to hold the accelerator at 1350rpm (which equals 150PSI +/- on our rigs) which he did until later arriving engines were established to pump through the first-due engine. Quick thinking by the DPO.
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    SpecCapt made a good post concerning the manual engagement cable and pump gear operation. Until we annexed a volley dept., we never had a Pierce rig, much less 2 of them, until then.

    After the annexation of the two Pierces, did we get repair requests of them having problems going into pump mode. The main air shift worked, but they had to complete the movement into pump gear by pushing in the T-handle for the manual engagement. Once I replaced the cable for them, the issue was taken care of.

    As for the hand throttle controls, we have 2 of them. One at the pump panel, and one on the dash board. If the pump panel one takes a dump, then they can use the dash mounted one. As soon as you're in pump mode, the foot feed is disabled. Both the D60's and ISM's have a three wire connector on them.

    I do need to make a correction. We do have 2 rigs with Hale pumps that do not have a manual over ride. I found this out while putting in service 2 new rigs, that would put the 2 Hale pumps in reserve status today. Both are 1994 twins.

    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa
    I've never had a need for a backup/manual pump shift. Use the Jake brake on EVERY drive.
    And you wonder why I call you the "Idiot Out Wandering Around".

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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
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    Who covers Carter Lake, anyway?

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    I've never had a need for a backup/manual pump shift. Use the Jake brake on EVERY drive.
    What does the Jake have to do with a manual pump shift and backup throttle controls?

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    I would like to know a few more details of the Seattle Engine in question.

    Is it possible that it had a PTO driven pump? Those can be rated up to about 1,250 GPM if I recall correctly.

    If it was a PTO on an Allison World tranny, it had to have a hot shift PTO, as those are flywheel driven, not turbine driven. If those don't receive adequate hydraulic pressure and flow from the tranny, they won't shift properly.

    If it was a midship design, then was the shifter pneumatic, electric, or manual? Was it a Hale, Waterous, or Darley? Hale uses straight cut gears. I assume they do this because straight cut gears are easier to engage than angle cut or helical cut gears. The downside is that straight cut gears are noisy, producing a "whine" that is distinctive. Although it's irrelevant when you're standing next to a 450 HP diesel running at 1,300 RPM.

    The pneumatic shifters on modern midship pumps are super reliable. In 20+ years I have yet to see one fail, although I have no doubt that they occasionally do. They are as reliable as the service brakes. Occasionally, we hear tales where service brakes fail. Is that cause to require every Fire Truck in North American to have an backup manually-powered service braking system? (notice I said service brake, not parking brake)

    A few of our American LaChance chassis have pneumatic shifters, but the control valve is electrically operated. This is a terrible design as an electrical failure in the switch prevents pump shift from occurring.

    Several other trucks in our inventory have had governor problems. Sometimes the circuit indicating the pump is in gear fails, preventing the governor from generating a throttle signal. In some trucks the throttle pedal remains active allowing the operator to increase throttle by laying two hydrant wrenches on top, and moving them farther forward or backward to change the pressure on the pedal. Many other trucks ignore throttle signals from the pedal when in pump mode. There appears to be no standard among builders on this issue. Other times the pressure transducer fails, but an operator can still switch to RPM mode to pump.

    Hearing about the failure on one truck on the opposite side of this continent is not sufficient evidence to convince me that requiring every midship pumper in North America to have a manual shift override is a good idea. Deciding that your truck will have one is great. Making that decision for everyone else might not be.

    My Dept has about 40 Hale pumps, and only two Waterous. All have air shifters. Recently, our Garage started removing the manual override shifters because a few were binding and preventing the pump from shifting properly. While I don't agree with that solution, it has yet to be a problem.
    Quote Originally Posted by Car651 View Post
    What does the Jake have to do with a manual pump shift and backup throttle controls?
    The comparison was made earlier in the discussion.
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