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    Default Pump and water tank booster heater

    I am a former civilian CFR FF for the WiANG and we had a a crash truck with a booster heater that was designed to keep the pump, piping, gauges, AND the water tank from freezing. It was a diesel fuel heater that ran off from the main diesel fuel tank for the engine. What sent me back to thinking about this was a training burn we did on December 7th, it was down in the single digits and 2 pumpers froze up and it was a real hassle to thaw them out.

    Most of the current pump compartment heaters simply do not supply enough heat and they are primarily designed to keep the gauges from freezing. I began to think about adding a booster heater and having the pump panel inside a roll up door to keep it warm until arriving on scene.

    Anybody done anything like this? Or even seen one on a structural engine?
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    I've not heard of a booster tank heater, but the pump compartment heaters we've recently installed are hot water heaters and they really do a decent job. I can get a brand name when I go in to work on Monday. For the gauges we primarily use heat tapes. Also, you might want to add a heat shield below the pump - I'm not sure how effective they are, but every bit helps.

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    The one on our engine that froze up is a hot water heater, there is a heat pan below the pump, and it still froze so hard it took roughly an hour of running hot water into the pump to get the main pump drain to actually drain.

    The booster heater on our Crash Truck was a 150,000 BTU hot water heater that was rated for sub zero standby's and pump ops. I can tell you it had a heater outlet in the cab and it got so hot in there that we would either do standbys in shorts and a t-shirt in the winter or if we were bunkered out we would hve the windows open! To me it just seems to make sense if we can prevent the pump, piping, and tank from freezing when we are out on those long calls or accidents.

    But as I said I have not seen or heard of a booster heater being place on a structural engine.
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    Were the pumps being circulated? If not, why not?
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Were the pumps being circulated? If not, why not?
    Mostly because the engines were being driven down the road.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 12-21-2013 at 07:24 PM.
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    the ARRF truck probably had a southwind heater installed on it. We had them on equipment in the Navy that was destined for arctic uses.

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    The crash rig was a Teledyne/Timoney/Twin Disk/Detroit Diesel/E-One P-23. It was a hangar queen piece of junk. The funny part was when it worked it was a beautiful piece of machinery, a sweet smooth ride, easy to operate, and fun to drive.

    But I digress, the Booster heater was diesel powered and ran from the rigs fuel tank, when the truck was running it ran from the trucks power system, when the truck was not running it had to be plugged into a shoreline to power the booster heater. The reason I am interested in this is it seems foolish to me at this point not to plan for these subzero temps as part of the spec for the rig. I don't believe thereis enough heat energy from the normal cooling sysytem to produce enough heat to prevent freezing like a booster heater can do.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Mostly because the engines were being driven down the road.
    You and your feeble excuses!

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    Quote Originally Posted by captnjak View Post
    You and your feeble excuses!
    Best I could do on short notice!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Were the pumps being circulated? If not, why not?
    This was my initial reaction as well.

    Anytime a apparatus with a pump is parked outside in freezing weather, it should be drained of all water. If it ain't drained, it should be left circulating water, and that won't last for long. Even when the pump doesn't freeze, the bleeders and small lines attaching relieve valves and gauges can freeze in minutes driving down the road at a modest speed.

    Espar makes a series of coolant heaters that burn diesel fuel to heat coolant. They draw only a few amps of 12V electricity, that operates a small water pump. The biggest one I see listed has an output of 27,000 BTU. That could easily be adapted to keep a pump from freezing, I would think.
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    I asked about a booster heater. Believe me this isn't my first winter in wonderland and whether the pump is drained or not would be irrelevant if we had a booster heater. Which was my original question. We ran them on crash trucks and never froze a one even when we did hours of standbys without circulating through the pump.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 12-24-2013 at 09:15 AM.
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    The other major difference is that the crash trucks were designed from the ground up for the heating system. The compartment doors, pump housing and other areas subject to freezing had extra insulation in them to help retain heat.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rayr49 View Post
    The other major difference is that the crash trucks were designed from the ground up for the heating system. The compartment doors, pump housing and other areas subject to freezing had extra insulation in them to help retain heat.
    AND THAT was the kind of info that is helpful. I was not looking to retrofit what we already had but we are in the process of speccing a new engine and I was wondering about the practicality of a booster heater to keep the pump, piping and tank from freezing. We had already decided to have the pump panel in a compartment to help keep it warm and to slow the freezing of the discharges. The booster heater was just an idea.
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    If your pump is freezing up before you arrive on the call location there is something wrong! Sounds like heat shields need to be installed and a better heater set up installed. We had in my old department a front mount that we freeze in any thing colder then 32 degrees, I had a canvas tarp cover made and we had a 1/4" copper tube wrapped around the pump and some of the discharge manifold that was off the engine cooling system,it seemed to work good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperFire123 View Post
    If your pump is freezing up before you arrive on the call location there is something wrong! Sounds like heat shields need to be installed and a better heater set up installed. We had in my old department a front mount that we freeze in any thing colder then 32 degrees, I had a canvas tarp cover made and we had a 1/4" copper tube wrapped around the pump and some of the discharge manifold that was off the engine cooling system,it seemed to work good.
    The heat shield WAS in place and the pump heater WAS running at the time.
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    Sounds like some additional work is need to insulate the pump and plumbing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperFire123 View Post
    Sounds like some additional work is need to insulate the pump and plumbing.
    On that engine...yes. But the question revolves around changing specs for a new engine to include an additional heater to prevent freezing.
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    webasto makes some coolant heaters and Espar has this line of aux diesel heaters.
    http://www.espar.com/products/fuel-o...ic-sector.html

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    I would write the cold weather protection as a performace spec. Most of the major manufacturers that are on the GSA contract or those who sell in cold climates should have an engineered solution. I don't remember the USAF spec, but it seemed it was freeze protection to -40 F.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rayr49 View Post
    I would write the cold weather protection as a performace spec. Most of the major manufacturers that are on the GSA contract or those who sell in cold climates should have an engineered solution. I don't remember the USAF spec, but it seemed it was freeze protection to -40 F.
    Excellent idea. Thank you for that. Kind of kicking myself for not thinking of that because I am very big on writing performance specs for preconnect discharges.

    I don't remember what the temperature rating was either anymore but I believe the booster heater on our P-23 was rated at 150,000 BTUs. It would roast you right outof the cab if you were fully bunkered out!
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    I was a USAF active duty firefighter from 1965 to 1985. The 0-11A and 0-11B series crash trucks had gasoline fired heaters in a lower left front compartment. They would cycle on and off when activated and ran through a purge cycle at the end of each run period.

    They were known for failing to do the purge cycle and your first hint was usually when the igniter activated and the compartment door blew open with an accompanying fireball!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rayr49 View Post
    I was a USAF active duty firefighter from 1965 to 1985. The 0-11A and 0-11B series crash trucks had gasoline fired heaters in a lower left front compartment. They would cycle on and off when activated and ran through a purge cycle at the end of each run period.

    They were known for failing to do the purge cycle and your first hint was usually when the igniter activated and the compartment door blew open with an accompanying fireball!
    Dang it! I missed the cool stuff like that. I worked for the WiANG as a civilain firefighter from 1989 to 1991. We had P-2's, P-4, P-19, and a Brand new P-23. The only one with a booster heater was the P-23.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    I asked about a booster heater. and whether the pump is drained or not would be irrelevant if we had a booster heater. Which was my original question.
    And the product I linked to boosts the amount of heat in the water system. Is it enough? I don't know. You're doing a some "outside the box" thinking, which is what typically produces improvements in our tools.
    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Believe me this isn't my first winter in wonderland
    I didn't expect it to be seeing as you're in Wisconsin. But it's someone's first, otherwise we wouldn't be discussing frozen fire trucks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by txgp17 View Post
    And the product I linked to boosts the amount of heat in the water system. Is it enough? I don't know. You're doing a some "outside the box" thinking, which is what typically produces improvements in our tools.I didn't expect it to be seeing as you're in Wisconsin. But it's someone's first, otherwise we wouldn't be discussing frozen fire trucks.
    Frankly, until you spend a winter in single digits or sub-zero perhaps you should try not being so smug.

    Sometimes it doesn't take much residual water in a pump to cause havoc in the cold.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Dang it! I missed the cool stuff like that. I worked for the WiANG as a civilain firefighter from 1989 to 1991. We had P-2's, P-4, P-19, and a Brand new P-23. The only one with a booster heater was the P-23.
    The P-2s were set up for booster heaters also. I think the heater if installed was in the right side compartment just above the fuel tank cap. The body and doors around the pump compartment and water tank were heavily insulated with sheets of styrofoam. I also recall the rebuilds to change them from gas engines to diesels. The transfer cases and axles were not upgraded to handle the additional torque. That resulted in a number of trashed transfer cases and broken axels.

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