1. #1
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    Default Cold weather tanker shuttles.

    What do you think is better? Draining pump completely or leaving it wet and circulating every chance you can to keep from freezing up. Also, what can be done to keep fill valves on back of truck from freezing? Any tips?

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    If you leave drains open, as water runs out the drains it should thaw out everything enough to allow it to be closed. Much of this depends on just how cold it is. As far as the fill valves on the back, I'd open them when the tank is empty and the truck is on the road to refill. As the water runs through the inlet, it will thaw it. Water that is not frozen flowing through an open valve will usually loosen it up enough to operate it.
    Don't forget to bump your primer pump. The water in the primer can freeze up and then it's useless. Saw a pump operator pull the primer one cold night when we were hauling water about 5 miles, and nothing happened except all the lights on the truck dimmed down. This was followed immediately by smoke rolling off the primer pump and wiring. We were lucky enough to get the primer disconnected before the wiring burned back to the batteries.

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    We don't do tanker ops, but my son-in-law does on his VFD, so I asked him.

    He said they keep one of those liquid fertilizer tanks that you pressurize by hand full of anti-freeze. When done dumping water into the drop tanks, the driver sprays down both the fill and dump areas as needed. He said it works fine for them, and nothing gets frozen open or closed.

    Not sure if it helps, but is an idea.

    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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    FM -

    That is a good idea.

    Our tankers all have gas powered pumps on them and are started before leaving the station with water recirculating. When they dump the driver will leave a little bit of water on to be able to run the pump. We have never had any problems with valves being frozen. The only other cold weather thing we do with tankers is leave the hydrant lines cracked open so that the line doesn't freeze (make sure the water is going in a ditch or yard and not the road).

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    Never thought of the anti-freeze idea. Would RV anti-freeze work in just a spray bottle? Have to give it a try. We drain our pumps, but sometimes have problems with couplings on the fill lines.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wischief View Post
    Never thought of the anti-freeze idea. Would RV anti-freeze work in just a spray bottle? Have to give it a try. We drain our pumps, but sometimes have problems with couplings on the fill lines.
    Don't really see why RV anti-freeze wouldn't work as well, unless it was pre-diluted.

    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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    Get you a gallon of de-icer and a good quality spray bottle. Also most tank to pump valves will eventually leak and a little water in the pump will freeze (and cause havoc)way faster than a full pump. Unless you have a real tiny pump the mass will usually hold the heat untill you get on scene and circulate. Red ball type gloves are nice for the guys hooking up the tanker at the fill site.
    ?

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    lol if only there was a way to stop ice from freezing up the face mask regulators for SCBAs.....but we use the RV Anti-freeze for ours it works fine and Vaseline on the intake couplings stops water from sticking around.

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    For cold weather ops. a propane torch should be there as a last resort. Dribbling warm recirc. water from the booster can quickly thaw a frozen coupling.

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    Here in the Catskills we have our tankers set up with pump house heaters (either electric or engine coolant) with a belly pan below the midship pump. If we are going to have a really cold spell we will still drain the pumps.

    On our old '72 that we just took out of service that had a front mount pump we would drain and then wrap an old turnout coat around it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3260e View Post
    What do you think is better? Draining pump completely or leaving it wet and circulating every chance you can to keep from freezing up. Also, what can be done to keep fill valves on back of truck from freezing? Any tips?
    3260e

    Firemech may be your best resource for this one as he is a mechanic and I am not.

    I know your post title deals with tanker shuttles but what is the configuration of the tanker you are running (ie tank size, pump size and location)? The following is my VFD's experience with both our engines and tankers (tenders).

    Although I live in NY and many people may not think it gets cold in NY I can tell you that it does. Although not the not the "norm" winter temperatures around here at night and in the early morning tend to be around -10 to -20F without the wind chill. I live on the Canadian Border (Northernmost Part) and run with a smaller rural department. We leave our pumps wet and occasionally run long mutual aid. Here is our rational...

    When you drain a pump a small amount of water is still around fittings and valves. Without the thermal mass of the water that is at the same temperature of your truck bays your pump will get cold very fast and *may* cause things to stop working like valves etc, even when you go tank to pump, assuming that after your travel time your tank to pump still works. Relatively speaking you need a lot of energy to reduce the temperature of the wet pump to frozen solid. Our sog's state that when the temperature is below freezing as soon as the truck is placed in either staging or standby it is placed in pump gear and water is recirculated. This has been our experience and we have never had a problem and live in a cold area of the country. I have also not heard of any neighboring departments have problems with pumps freezing (everything else usually freezes but big dollar pump repairs due to cold are unheard of around here, unless you have an unskilled, inept, or lazy operator). We do not have any exhaust routed pump heaters or electric heaters - nor do we use any kind of baffling that protects the pump from the cold.

    When it is super cold good luck on the back fill valves. We do and continue to have problems with them. Unless absolutely necessary we do not use them when it is "wicked" cold. When rigs are completely encased in ice we generally make preparations to make the units drivable and then just park them in the stations until they thaw out (this takes hours) before putting them back in service. Propane torches, salamander heaters and the like generally do more damage than help. Just time and some steady station heat help to solve the problem.

    Welcome to the suck!

    Hope this helped - NoCoFire
    Last edited by NoCoFire; 04-16-2011 at 12:10 AM.

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    Default Thanks for the advice!

    Thanks to all for the advice. We run two tankers, a 2000 & a 3000 gal., both with 750 pumps. We run them "wet". This winter we froze the feeder tubes to the master intake and master pressure gauges on one of them even though we did circulate every chance we could. Gauges were covered under warranty (not labor though). We also had an issue with the fill valves freezing for the first time (in 50 years). I like the idea of the antifreeze in the pump-up spray bottle!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 3260e View Post
    Thanks to all for the advice. We run two tankers, a 2000 & a 3000 gal., both with 750 pumps. We run them "wet". This winter we froze the feeder tubes to the master intake and master pressure gauges on one of them even though we did circulate every chance we could. Gauges were covered under warranty (not labor though). We also had an issue with the fill valves freezing for the first time (in 50 years). I like the idea of the antifreeze in the pump-up spray bottle!
    We had a "somewhat" mild winter here compared to last year (and others), but it still hit -20 on a few days. That being said, I think I replaced more Master Intake and Pressure gauges, as well as individual discharge gauges than ever before. Most were not because of the extreme cold temps, or any other wild extreme. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason for them freezing up, but they do.

    With you, we also run our pumps "wet", and haven't had any issues doing so.

    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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    Default Another thought

    In reviewing some of the ideas, I can't help but wonder if leaving valves open while empty and running back to the fill site is a good idea or not. There always seems to be a little water left in the tank even after dumping. With this in mind, I would worry that the open valve would be putting water on the road and possibly creating icey conditions for the shuttle drivers. Just a thought.

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    3260 - in my opinion --- bad idea - the area will be slick enough already. along with the spray bottle of deicer (not antifreeze) we keep oil dry and de-icer granules.
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    3260 - in my opinion --- bad idea - the area will be slick enough already. along with the spray bottle of deicer (not antifreeze) we keep oil dry and de-icer granules.
    As well, dumping water on the roads with Q. Public driving on them, is hazardous to them as well. Close it up and make your run to your refill site.

    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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    Usually no matter how hard you try tankers/tenders always seem to drop water after being filled and running back to the scene. We call that "tanker tracks" usually can be used by Mutual Aid companies or the nosey public find the fire (sarcasm). That said when we have had a winter fire with a tanker shuttle we try to have County Highway or Township plowtrucks out on the route from water supply to the fire to throw some salt down.

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    We don't usually have problem with tankers freezing but we see the pumpers freeze up. WE purchase small salamander heaters that run off kero and 110v on each pumper. Once things are set up pumping the operator sets up the heater. A keeps pump warm, keeps operator warm and can thaw equipment that freezes.

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    Anyone using "Firemans Friend" (autoclose) tanker fill valves in cold climate? In theory less freeze problems. Interested in how they have worked.

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