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  1. #1
    ultrafire
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question KME pros and cons

    My department recently went out to bid for a new pumper. KME, which was not involved in preparation of the spec, came in the low bid by 10 percent. I am trying to find out the pros and cons of this builder. Any thoughts out there?


  2. #2
    N2DFire
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    My Department runs a 1994 International/KME Engine 1000 GPM/1000 Gal.(picture available at http://www.geocities.com/n2dfire72 ). We are a pretty rural department and only run about 100-130 calls per year (no EMS work).

    To date we have never done anything to the truck other than routine maintainance. We are quite happy with the performance of KME. So much so that they are building our new tanker.

    It will be an International Chassis as well - 1500 Gal. can't remember if it's 1000, 1250, or 1500 GPM. However I'll have complete specs and pictures as soon as we put it in service.

    Take Care - Stay Safe
    Stephen

  3. #3
    Fyrtrks
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    KME appears to only be interested in the larger trucks. They bid our small rescue the first time at $115 K+ Then we rebid it and they came in at $79K with only one major delition a cascade system the original bid did not include the new style fill station that was an extra.
    Now they tell us they can't get a chassis till September and won't deliver it till Christmas. I know that there are chassis sitting on the ground waiting for bodies and they can be delivered in 2 weeks or less. Heck a body can be built and complete in less than 2 months.
    The city next door bid a ladder and KMartEngineering came in low but the fire chief got stuck with it by the city manager.
    A town near by has 2 KME and they just changed to Pierce each company spec's it's own truck but people I know thought they would be all KME, must be not all's well in mudville
    I worked with many KME's in the army and they were junk then and that has left a bad taste in my mouth ever scence.

    [This message has been edited by Fyrtrks (edited July 31, 2000).]

  4. #4
    wofd1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I could tell you horror stories about all truck manufacturers, But i wont go there. I will say check them all out, most of the makers are reliable builders. What goes wrong with a truck is the builders fault? Where do they buy there parts? Do they build there own pumps, valves, engines, trannies, etc. I stated it once before on this forum there is an a*@ for every seat. So check em all out. The only ones that have to be happy are your department members not your neighbors.

  5. #5
    Fyrtrks
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    WOFD1 you are correct the is an ***** for every seat. I don't know if the neighbors are/will have many problems. I hope they don't because none of us can afford to have apparatus down because of poor workmanship. The other thing we must all remember is that the build it but we usually tell them what we want on it and they spec it that way.

  6. #6
    FIREXFIRE
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    KME

    Keep
    Mechanics
    Employeed

  7. #7
    FireMedicHarding
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    We have a '97 Aerialcat, 98 pumper and just took delivery of another pumper. We encountered some initial problems with the autolevel feature with our ladder but seeing that it was the first one off the line with that feature, problems were expected. They took good care of us and continue to do everything they can to make good on warranties and keep us happy.

    ------------------
    Joe Harding
    Firefighter/EMT-P
    Fishers Professional Firefighters Local 416

  8. #8
    Brian McGowan
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    My department has a 1995 KME renagade 1250 pump, its currently back at the factory (for the third time)since September for the same problem, loss of power. There not sure if its a engine, transmission, or wiring problem, and this truck has spent over twelve weeks at the two different repair shops in Masachusetts per KME, and out of service for weeks in the station, before we drove it back to Pennsylvania, a ten plus hour ride.
    KME was the low bid (almost twenty grand)when we "had to" go with them per Town Hall, in our area they low bid in several towns that had been E-1, and most have not bought there next truck from KME!
    KME has been helpful in trying to get the truck to work, and they will return a phone call, but I believe there product is marginal. And when all else fails they tell us to bring it down, we bought a fire truck not an over the highway long haul truck.
    Thank goodness our new E-1 pump will be in at the first of the year the twenty-five year spare E-1 rehabed pump can rest, it has been used more than the five year old KME for the last year.

    This is my opinon and does reflect my departments or unions view point.

  9. #9
    cra539
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    folks, just remember a cheap truck is cheap for a reason. Look beyond the looks and shine.

  10. #10
    firefighter4u
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Our department has two KMEs, one a commercial and the later a custom. Both trucks are very reliable. We have had some problems with after-market things like sirens, strobe lights, etc. We are not very happy with our salesman. It seams like the only time we hear from him is when we are looking at buying a new truck. All in all though, they have been a pretty good truck. Just like all other brands, some are good, some are not!

  11. #11
    ultrafire
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Thank you for your input. Just one clarification: This is not a cheap truck. We got five bids that ranged from $295,000 to $338,000. The components are similar from one bid to the next. I still have not been able to find where the price differences lie.

  12. #12
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    As a matter of practice, we turn KME salesmen away at the curb. There's no sense wasting their time by letting them spend any time in the station, 'cuz they're not selling us anything. I personally know a few people who've been unfortunate enough to be assigned to or who have bought KME rigs, and not one has anything good to say about them.

    Well, OK, there's maybe ONE good thing...they put really cool bells on the front bumper if you're willing to pay extra for them. FIREXFIRE hit this one right on the head.

  13. #13
    wofd1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    And i probably have a list just as long for Pierce, E-One, and every other manufacturer including ford,chevy & dodge. Everybody likes or expects something different thats probably why they make so many models. bye

  14. #14
    pokeyfd12
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I'm very interested in this post because our first KME will be delivered next week. The truck is for our other company and I wasn't involved in the spec or inspection process but from what I'm told, the truck committee was very impressed with the construction all the way through to the pre-paint inspection. The truck was painted a week or two ago and the pre-delivery inspection is in a couple of days. I guess I'll get back to everybody on the final word upon delivery.

    We have had our share of lemons. We have a bunch of Pierces and we used to have a couple of Seagraves. Pierce has become a very sore subject in my county. Just about every Pierce delivered in my county has had numerous problems, from rust to electrical problems to mechanical design flaws. The salesman for the area hasn't helped things by being almost abusive when the local fire apparatus mechanic asks for parts. But that's the salesman.

    The thing I have found with apparatus is that custom doesn't mean perfect and stock doesn't mean junk. We've been bailed out numerous times by our line production pumper while our custom apparatus is out of service for problems.

    Peace and stay safe.

    Lt. Kevin C. (aka Pokey)

  15. #15
    st34ff
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Arrow

    We just took delivery of our second KME truck. Our first one is a 1996 KME Aerialcat 75' Quint. It is a great truck overall, but.. we had trouble with the wiring on the truck. The crimp connectors were done improperly. We took it up to KME and they fixed it for us. We just got a 2000 KME Custom Pumper. It should be in service at the end of the month. It is replacing a 1985 Pierce arrow. If you want some pictures of the trucks, check out our web page. www.chalfontfireco.8m.com

    Kyle

  16. #16
    FFTrainer
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    Bottomline is someone, somewhere has had problems with any and every manufacturer so there will be negative feedback to be found. Every manufacturer can and will deliver a lemon over time, however that can be found in anything you will ever buy right down to a toaster in your kitchen.

    We took delivery of a KME over a year ago and the few minor problems we had were resolved almost immediately and were followed up on for customer satisfaction.

    There are so many things that go into a successful delivery and making a good name for yourself. Your salesperson plays a big part in your satisfaction since he is who you will deal with the most, but your local service rep and the local service facility will be important too.

    What it comes down to is spec what you want/need. Award the bid to who best meets your specs and hope that you're not the unfortunate recipient of the lemon.

    Good luck!!!

  17. #17
    LeoVincent
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    KME is a huge company that grew out of a family empire. Huge companies have many pluses and minuses. The specifications are the one tool you have to keep them honest. Any manufacturer can build to specification, but few will agree to. They will submit a bid that is not to spec and trust that you will not look closely enough to catch the differences.

    Look at the spec carefully, and you will probably find where that extra 10% went. Of course KME is marketing on a national basis, so they can afford to sell at a loss in some areas and still be getting 30% ROI in others. They were strong in ARMY contracts in the past, I am not sure if they still are. When they were, everyone else came second to the contract.


    ------------------
    Leo Vincent
    Fire@westcoastvintage.com
    Seeking Firewolf Industries Items!

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