09-26-2000, 05:22 PM #1HYTHE FIRE DEPARTMENTFirehouse.com Guest
Cutting 'A' post with combi tool for dash roll
The other night we were practicing with our new Holmatro CT 3150 combi tool. All things went well until we reached the point where we were going to do a dash roll.
We made the cut on the 'A' post below the dash for the roll. Right now we do not have a ram, so we were attempting to do the roll with the combi tool. Unfortunately the roll did not work as well as we had hoped.
We made a relief cut on the rail under the hood behind the strut and tired again. This did not help at all.
Finally, we ripped enough of the sheet metal of of the 'A' post to see that our origional cut on the 'A' post did not make it all the way through. Thus, we could not effectively roll the dash. It appears that the sheet metal, plastic trim and other materials bunched up in the tip of the tool, and thus did not let the combi tool blades cut all the way through. Once we made the complete cut with a recip saw, we were able to roll the dash at least 10 inches which was not bad considering the equipement we have.
My question is, does any one have any experience using the combi tool, and can give us some tips on how we can make sure the cut on the 'A' post makes it all the way through?
[This message has been edited by HYTHE FIRE DEPARTMENT (edited September 26, 2000).]
09-26-2000, 08:41 PM #2RSQLT43Firehouse.com Guest
You have just answered your own question, the combi-tool is not the best tool for that job, the cip saw is so perform the cut with the cip saw.
I find that people who use a hydraulic cutter to make the relief cut in the A post, usually have the tool sitting on the front seat initially, this works in training, but not if you have a patients legs there, another plus to using the cip saw is that you can cut through the A post, all the way through the fender this makes for even less resistance when rolling, or jacking the dash, wichever you choose at that time.
09-27-2000, 10:35 AM #3Lewiston2CaptFirehouse.com Guest
My department has a Hurst Mavrick tool and we have fond that if you use the tool similar to a pair of scissors it works fairly well. Dont make the first cut as deep as you normally would, instead allow the metal that will get pinched in the tips of the tool to become part of your second cut. It may take a little more time but you wont have to change as many saw blades in the process.
09-28-2000, 07:06 AM #4MetalMedicFirehouse.com Guest
I'm not sure I am following your description here. As I understand it, the bunching up of materials at the tips prevented the cutting surface from making the shear of the metal... is that correct? If this is the case, how were you able to cut your notch to place the spreader to make your lift. If this is not the case, could the problem be that the spreader did not have enough force to defeat the remaining structure of the lower A post beyond what you did manage to cut?
Holmotro you say,,,, high pressure tool relying on the pump capacity to generate force instead if the pump volume as a low pressure tool does. Would have been a great place to see the two systems side-by-side.
Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.
09-28-2000, 12:54 PM #5HYTHE FIRE DEPARTMENTFirehouse.com Guest
MetalMedic, I do not think you understand my description. The problem was that although our cut did not completely separate the A post, we did manage to make a large enough cut to get our tips in to attempt the roll. But because the A post was not completely cut all the way through, the roll did not evolve as hoped. All we managed to do was mangle the crap out of the A post. It was not until after we looked for the reason why the roll was not working that we saw that the cut was not made.
I highly doubt the pump pressure or make of the tool has anything to do with the reason why the cut did not make it through. I think it is more our lack of experience with this type of tool (hence the training) that did not allow us to make the full cut. If we would have had a standard cutter, we would not have had the problem. What I am looking for is tips and suggestions from people who use combination tools on a regular basis.
We made the cut 2/3 of the way below the dash. The A post was wider (from front to back) in this area. Would it have been better to cut further up? Or should we strip the sheet metal from the A post and cut perpendicular to the post? These are the tips I am looking for. On Monday we plan to cut up some more cars and focus on this one aspect. If I have a few tips under my belt, it might save us a few trial and errors.
Thanks for your input.
[This message has been edited by HYTHE FIRE DEPARTMENT (edited September 28, 2000).]
09-28-2000, 04:55 PM #6RSQLT43Firehouse.com Guest
Please trust me on this, H.R.Ts are not always the answer,if you had a dedicated cutter, and the patients legs were not in the way, it would work fine, but this is one area where the combi-tool is not the best choice.
As for changing blades, I just put on an extrication drill for my dept. and used the cordless cip saw to cut six posts, four hinges, and then two relief cuts to jack the dash, the blade still had plenty of life left,I believe that if you buy quality blades, and practice with the cip saw, that it is the best cutting tool on the rig.
09-29-2000, 01:08 AM #7MetalMedicFirehouse.com Guest
Ok.. now I think I have the picture. When you began the roll, your spreader simpley pushed away metal and did not displace the dashboard. I can visulaize that now. The previous posts about the combi-tool not being the best is probably the best answer I see. I have not used a Holmotro combination tool, so I am not sure how deeply it can cut into an "A" post. My experience is mainly with Phoenix, but since it has exposed links, it may be able to bite deeper.
In days past, I recall being trained to make just a small releif cut on the lower "A" post and letting the spreader do the rest. Unfortunately, as the metals seem to get weaker in automobiles, I have seen the problem of moving sheet metal and not structural metal all too often. From my experience, this is less of a problem with a ram doing this evolution.
Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.
09-29-2000, 01:54 AM #8Hosekey21Firehouse.com Guest
Here is a good link to extrication.com and Ron Shaw's discription with pics of a Modified Dash Roll. With tips on what to check if it was not successful. I hope this helps.
Just one man's view from the flames.
09-29-2000, 02:03 AM #9BuckFirehouse.com Guest
On my pumper we carry a Hurst combi-tool. I havn't used a Holmatro combi before.
When making my relief cuts on the kick plates, I use the spreader tips to pinch the metal first, then I make a pie cut. I cut in from two angles and cut out a pie shaped piece of metal.
This method has worked for me many times on a assortment of automobiles, but not always. Luckly my next in pumper carrys a complete set of tools.
You just have to use the tool to learn it's limitations. Hope I helped.
Hythe, if you would please come back and tell us how it went on monday.
Watch what you say, somebody might be listening!
09-29-2000, 11:35 AM #10mark/cvarcFirehouse.com Guest
Be careful making cuts perpendicular to the "A" post. Depending on make,model,year there may be fuel lines brake lines etc. in the path of your cut. Althought with a combi tool the depth of cut may not be a problem, it is with a dedicated cutter. We did a cut like this on an extication and cut through the fuel line which ran down the rocker panel on the drivers side.Surprise! We now only cut parallel to the rocker panel.As was noted earlier a recip saw is a better way.
10-02-2000, 10:43 AM #11HYTHE FIRE DEPARTMENTFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for all of your input. We will be giving all of your tips a try tonight. From what I gather, the recip saw may be the best answer. In any case, I will try to take some close up pictures so you can see what we are doing. I will try and post the pictures once they are developed so you can critique what we did.
10-03-2000, 11:04 AM #12HYTHE FIRE DEPARTMENTFirehouse.com Guest
We had our practice last night. We used several of the tips and techniques presented in this post. On the driver side, we met with little success until finally we found the meat of the A post, and the dash rolled like it should. When we went to the passanger side, we made the roll with a few minor problems, but all in all it was performed quickly and succesfully. We did acheive the result we wanted.
We learned that we can make the cut we need with the combo tool using them like a pair of scissors. However, we have made the decision that most likely we will make the cut with the recip saw as it is quicker and more precise.
Bottom line is that we will be able to afford a ram next fall, and in the mean time we should be able to cope until we turn high tech.
I took a few pictures of the bad roll, and the more succesful roll. As we live 60 miles from the nearest photo shop, it will be a week before they are developed. Once they are, I will try and post a few if they turned out.
Thanks for your help.
10-03-2000, 04:16 PM #13RSQLT43Firehouse.com Guest
You didnt ask for an opinion on this, but Ill give you mine anyway, instead of buying a ram, buy a 32 in. spreader, it is a better bang for the buck, it will also make your dash lift alot easier.
10-03-2000, 05:19 PM #14HYTHE FIRE DEPARTMENTFirehouse.com Guest
We had origionaly though about purchasing a large spreader, however, due to our limited budget at the time $14,500 CDN, we opted for a 5 year plan. The first step was to purchase the combi tool and spend money on a good pump that we could build on in the future.
The next step in our plan is to purchase the ram. In 2002, we plan to purchase a dedicated cutter. 2003 will see the purchase of a large spreader, and finally in 2004 we might pruchase an additional pump. This was the best plan we could come up with considering we only have around $6,000 - $8,000 CDN to spend each year on extrication equipment.
The spreader would be great, because that is what we all learned to use when we took our course from the Alberta Fire Training School. But reality bit us in the *** and we had to make the best choice within our limits.
10-04-2000, 11:41 AM #15MetalMedicFirehouse.com Guest
I think the ram is the way to go. There are some places where a ram is a better choice than a 32 inch spreader. It is good to have that option available to you when you need it. Look at a bigger spreader sometime down the road. I expect them to get lighter and even easier to use in the future...
Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.
10-04-2000, 06:34 PM #16Carl AveryFirehouse.com Guest
IMHO I vote for the Spreader to do the dash Lift, that gets the ram out of the work area and presents a decrease trip hazard. Also remember there are other options too. Including an Old stand be the Hy-lift Jack. I like to have a 99.9% Technique as my first out the door, but any and everything can happen. Remember "if Sh_t did not happen, we would not be in business". Explore all your options, pick a 99 percenter but have others in your MENTAL TOOL BOX (owe that one to B J Lamb of NYS OFPC)
Carl D. Avery
10-05-2000, 12:15 AM #17MetalMedicFirehouse.com Guest
Interesting that you would consider the ram to be a trip hazard. I was considering posting that the spreader created a trip hazard. With the ram, your tool is within the permimiter of the vehicle. With the spreader, it can extend beyond this, out in the area where you may be working. I don't walk across wrecked cars through the passenger compartment, so I don't get to concerned with tripping over the ram I place in that area.
Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.
10-05-2000, 07:13 PM #18Carl AveryFirehouse.com Guest
Interesting perspective Metal, I just do not like the ram in the Door way and having to work over and around that to remove the patient. I will concede that trip hazzard may not have been the best choice of words. Keep 'em coming Metal and any body else. We all learn when we share our views on this stuff!
Carl D. Avery
10-06-2000, 09:49 PM #19Jim GreeneFirehouse.com Guest
When useing the ram to roll the dash ,when the ram is fully extended you can put a wedge in the relief cut & then back the ram off. The wedge in the relief cut will only allow a little backwards movement. Then you can remove the ram.
Sometimes you don't need the wedge.
We teach you put the wedge in just to make sure.
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