1. #1
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    Default Used Pumper Advice please

    We have seen a clean and well maintained Beck Ottawa pumper 1991 , I know that they are no longer in production , but appear to have been built to a high standard/spec and liked by the Fire depts that used them . I note that they were made in CA so a lot of the units are from Fire Depts in the SW so no rust , the unit is required for Film/photo set work and Fire safety/exhibitions displays but must be in working order be able to pump/drive etc ,but not parade condition ! , budget is $35,000 .

    I like the idea of Beck because as they are out of production they appear to be not as in demand as say a Pierce ,E One ,Seagrave or KME by hard pressed Fire depts looking for second life apparatus.

    Clearly reliabilty is important here as some of the film sets are hundreds of miles apart , your input and knowlege would be much appreciated, as an ex FF and now fire buff I took on this assignment with much interest , however I hope that I can get this right as I would rather not drop the ball in front of my peer group , thanks in adavance.

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    The few I'm familer with had some driveline vibration problems. You might give it a good test drive to make sure nothing's shaking.

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    I don't have any hands on experience with Beck or Ottawa. I do know that Ottawa was a major builder of yard spotting tractors, some of the most demanding work there is in the trucking industry.

    The running gear on virtually all fire chassis is off-the-shelf highway truck stuff. The pumps, too, are pretty standard. The differences between fire apparatus is in how the parts are put together, the plumbing of the pump, and the sheet metal work.

    Some things that needs to be clearly understood: Fire trucks, unless they served in big cities, usually have very low mileage/hours, although the hours may be disproportionate to miles. That's just the nature of the business, we see alot of idling time. Also, the miles shown on the odometer may be high compared to what's actually on the wheels, because most speedometers/odometers run while we're standing still pumping water.

    What you need to be aware of in a chassis of that age range is this: It's highly likely that it has a two-cycle Detroit Diesel engine, and a hydraulically controlled Allison transmission. All good items, there are literally millions of them still in service around the world, especially the Detroit engine. It's probably the most versatile engine ever produced and can be found almost anywhere there's a machine that's run by a diesel engine. That's not to detract from Cummins, Caterpillar or any of many other diesel engine makers.

    Because of the ubiquitousness of that engine, parts are available and surely will be for many years to come. But what I'm seeing is that even the DD dealers and distributors may not be stocking those parts at the level that they did in the past. So you may call for a part and find that you have to wait a day or two for it to be ordered in. I've had that happen already.

    Ditto service. The technicians who could disassemble, rebuild and reassemble them are aging and disappearing. The ones who are replacing them grew up on electronic engines, and just don't have the same approach to diagnosing and repairing.

    The two cycle Detroit engine went out of production in the early 90s. The reason is, that try as DD might, they just couldn't get it into emissions compliance any more. So if that issue could rear its head, be forewarned.

    The hydraulic type of Allison transmission (very likely an HT740) has also been out of production since the mid to late ninties, but parts and service should also be available.

    The truck probably has a Hale QLD or QSD pump. There's lots of them still around doing a good job. I'm sure that Hale will continue to support them for a period of years, but I have no way of knowing for how long. They used to have a funny habit of after so many years, they got rid of all of their old parts. Some things, valves, primers, other external parts you could always find something that could be made to work. Internal parts could be another story.

    If you understand and are prepared to deal with all that, you probably are looking at an engine that will give you good service for as long as you need it.

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    Done that and Chief Eng, yes got all that thanks , your right...spec is a Detroit Diesel 8v71T of 425 HP with an Allison 740 , and a Hale two stage 1500 gpm pump ,based on your input it seems it may be worth waiting for a later series 60 motor based unit with a newer Allison box to come through , due to the mainly occasional use I am hoping that the emmisions side can be held off for the moment . The prop guy is quite keen on the distinctive sound of the V8 DD but may have to accept another motor in this regards .

    On going through the forum's you do pick up on the preferences of some Fire Dept's for various apparatus , the main concern coming through is the relablty aspect , electric's in particular seem to be responsible for a lot of head aches and problems , may be on this occasion we should go for an E-One or KME , I have seen a couple but they have been ex City trucks so pretty beat up . I am aware of the main dealers such as Fenton and Fire Truck plus etc , but some one mentioned keeping an eye on truckpaper as a lot of rigs get placed on there direct from Fire Dept's , what's your thoughts on this side of things .

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSBEC View Post
    Done that and Chief Eng, yes got all that thanks , your right...spec is a Detroit Diesel 8v71T of 425 HP with an Allison 740 , and a Hale two stage 1500 gpm pump ,based on your input it seems it may be worth waiting for a later series 60 motor based unit with a newer Allison box to come through , due to the mainly occasional use I am hoping that the emmisions side can be held off for the moment . The prop guy is quite keen on the distinctive sound of the V8 DD but may have to accept another motor in this regards .

    On going through the forum's you do pick up on the preferences of some Fire Dept's for various apparatus , the main concern coming through is the relablty aspect , electric's in particular seem to be responsible for a lot of head aches and problems , may be on this occasion we should go for an E-One or KME , I have seen a couple but they have been ex City trucks so pretty beat up . I am aware of the main dealers such as Fenton and Fire Truck plus etc , but some one mentioned keeping an eye on truckpaper as a lot of rigs get placed on there direct from Fire Dept's , what's your thoughts on this side of things .
    I didn't want to scare you away from what you are looking at. It's a good combination; it's earned its place in the annals of the fire service. I just wanted to make you aware of some what (I think) you need to be mindful of.

    The two cycle DD sound is indeed unique and legendary. For the uses that you describe, it might be appropriate. Depends on what time period you hope to recreate, and how accurate you want your depiction to be.

    DD Series 60 engines have also made their mark in the fire service. The electronic "World" transmissions are incredibly smooth shifting compared to the HT740s.

    A caution on early 60 Series and World transmissions: The advancement of computer systems and electronics is so mind bogglingly rapid that even there, early ones could present parts and service problems. I think that we're on the fourth or fifth generation of DDEC electronic engine control systems. They advance so quickly that I wonder if technicians have a chance to become really skilled with them before the next generation comes out. The old two cycle engines and the hydraulic transmissions were pretty much the same for many years. The parts interchangability among the various two cycle engines is unreal.

    You really need to consult with a good, old time Detroit person and there are many around. One such is a friend who has been very good to us down through the years with his advices is Bill Mahon of Penn Detroit Diesel Allison in Philadelphia. Call him at 215 335 0500. Tell him what you're up to and I'm sure he'd be generous with his advice and opinions.

    Having never purchase any used apparatus, I can't give you a good handle on dealers. I do have a good friend who is a chief in the next county from us. His department bought a "gently used" piece through Brindlee Mountain Fire Apparatus in Alabama. He has all good things to say about them. We did explore one with Fire Trucks Plus but never followed up. We did get good vibes from them. There a number of good dealers around, but the universal caveat has to apply - they're still selling used cars. So check them out - get references, if that's the way you want to go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSBEC View Post
    electric's in particular seem to be responsible for a lot of head aches and problems , may be on this occasion we should go for an E-One or KME .
    If you are worried about electrical problems then you might want to look at another Mfr rather than the two you quoted.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    If you are worried about electrical problems then you might want to look at another Mfr rather than the two you quoted.
    Ditto!! I couldn't have said it better.

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    Gents thanks for the input...all undertsood , Chief Eng has made a good point , curiously the early 1990's were indeed a change over point in terms of the advent of 1st generation electronics into the mechcanicals of course I had forgotten about this ( I left the service in 1990 ) , just to confuse matters one truck that has become a front runner is a Pierce Lance from 1990with a DD 8vT and DDEC control it has 80k plus mile's and a few pump hours but appears to have been well serviced by the city and not too beat up in side etc , I guess it comes come down to price , certainly the equivalent Beck is a third of the price of the Pierce unit for example being right up to our limit of 35k .

    I am also looking at a Seagrave rig but as mentioned both these companies products appear to hold their value over other makes , there is though an awful lot of rigs around...you are almost spoilt for choice .

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