Thread: KME?

  1. #1
    StanCap
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question KME?

    My department is considering purchasing a KME pumper/tanker. We are not very familiar with this company. Does anyone have any feedback on their trucks?

  2. #2
    BRAD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I have dealt somewhat with KME, most of our engines when I was in the Air Force were kme's and we have two @ work and my volunteer fd has one also. I have not delt with the company as much as independent dealers. Here in Alaska we are obviously a long way from the factory. The Kme's in the AF were of poor design due to the fact that people who know absolutley nothing about fire trucks usually get to order them and alot of them. The newer version was a commercial style chassis compared to the first generic ones were nicer and seemed to hold up well to the weather in ND and AK (some were 4x4 and 4x2).
    The truck we have here at work is a '99 and is well designed w/side mount pump insulated for extreme cold weather and a 1000 gal. tank w/seating for 4. It also has all wheel drive and is very smooth and runs very well with 470 hp underneath. So far it has not had any major problems other than a broken rear discharge pipe from hose testing. I love the way it drives and handles for a fire truck.
    My vol fd has a '94 KME renegade top mount w/seating for 8 it is 32' w/1000gal. It is also all wheel and winterized. This truck other than lacing more water is a dependable rig and has stood up well to the thousands of runs it has been on. It has a 350 cummins and it drives like a big truck, no major problems other than the usual maintenance for a truck this age ie: rear wheel seal, pump packing ect. The truck does well for the conditions up here and I have never heard anyone complain that has driven it.
    Now that I have told you about my trucks let me tell you this: I think that KME is a very good company and stands behind their craftsmanship and service (even though my vol Fd has done warranty work for other KME's in the area) I personally feel they are a reputable manufacturer and can build just about anything you ask for. Just remember when you are designing a new piece of apparatus that you are not trying to reinvent the wheel, you have to sit down and say what do we need. Then you have to say what do we want and what can we really afford. I am on the apparatus committee at my vol fd and we are also looking @ a pumper tanker also. We are still in the infency stage and have along rough road ahead of us.
    One local fd put out specs for a 2500 gal pumper /tanker and KME came in with the low bid. Good luck !

  3. #3
    rudedog
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    We have a 96 KME rescue pumper-the poly tank has started to leak-(2 others in my area have had to have tanks replaced) the aluminun foam tanked had a mild steel nipple coming out of it- and we have had lots of minor problems. Its not junk, but it doesnt seem as well built as a Pierce

  4. #4
    wofd1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Just my 2 cents worth. We have a 93 kme sfd renegede. it was our first new truck in 20 years. We spent 2 yrs specing it out the way we wanted it, traveled and looked at a lot of manufacturers. We felt kme was a well built truck, craftsmanship is good, well designed for us. I can tell horror stories about all makes but everybody expects something different. The truck committee we have right now is talking to 2 manufacturers for a 2500 gal/1500gpm pumper/tanker to be ordered in late 2001. KME is 1 of them. Get input from all members on there ideas. Most importantly remember to put it in specs exactly the way you want it.
    stay safe-stay low

  5. #5
    ArmyTruckCompany
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    When KME first became popular (back towards the early 80's they were also known as Car-Mar) they were the new guy on the block, and had a lot of homework to do. They did the homework, started putting out a somewhat dependable product, but then they got the same disease that Seagrave and E-One have- You can't build a custom firetruck in an assembly line fashion as rapidly as possible. (For a while Seagrave wouldn't even talk to anyone but big cities unless you handed them a suitcase full of money) Philadelphia is having a LOT of problems with their KME's- engine, transmission & pump problems......All due to installation.

    Seems to me that Pierce is the way to go- you pay for it, but they are dependable, and if it does malfunction, they do what they have to if it's under warranty to repair it.

    Lets all give a moment of silence in memory of the REAL firetrucks: Hahn, Ward Lafrance, Maxim, Mack, the OLD ALF and Ahrens-Fox!!!!!!

    ------------------
    "Loyalty above all else, except honor."

  6. #6
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation


    K_eeps
    M_echanics
    E_mployed

    ArmyTruckCompany hit the explanation right, square on the head. The last KME salesman that showed up at our station was politely shown the door. 'Nuff said.

  7. #7
    N2DFire
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    StanCap,

    My Dept. has a 1994 International/KME Engine 1000 GPM/1000 Gal w/ command style pump console
    and a 2000 International/KME Tanker
    1250 GPM/1500 Gal w/ street side pump console.

    The tanker is not yet in service - but we love the Engine (so much that we bought the Tanker and waited an extra 4 months for an identical chassis).

    Seeing as how you are a fellow Virginian - if you'd like to come down (up, over ???) to Ferrum and look / drive our rigs - please e-mail me and I'll get with the Chief and see what we can work out for you.

    Take Care - Stay Safe
    Stephen

    [This message has been edited by N2DFire (edited October 27, 2000).]

  8. #8
    ffnbs
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Unhappy

    We have a 1996 KME with a 55' squirt. We have had many problems with electrical. Found out 2 years after we got it that the monitor at the tip of the squirt wasn't even hard wired, was running off of the battery backup system the whole time. Our first piece of aerial equipment so we learned the hard way. In my opinion, and I won't speak for the department, service is absolutely brutal! We just recently had to make an emergency purchase of a new pumper, to replace an '84 Grumman, and you guessed it- we got stuck with another KME. The PIERCE was another $25,000 and it didn't come with in-line foam and some other add-ons we needed, which KME was willing to do for us in a short amount of time. The KME rides fine- no problems there, but demand some kind of service agreement and watch out for those pesky electrical problems such as ladder rack switches, generator start/stop switches, and once or twice a month the truck will start but it won't go into gear- you have to shut down and start it over again. (touch-pad transmission selector)

    I've heard about serious problems with the PIERCE QUANTUM from a member of another department, don't know the technicals but they aren't going with PIERCE for their next purchase, I do know that.

    [This message has been edited by ffnbs (edited October 23, 2000).]

  9. #9
    ffnbs
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by ffnbs:
    We have a 1996 KME with a 55' squirt. We have had many problems with electrical. Found out 2 years after we got it that the monitor at the tip of the squirt wasn't even hard wired, was running off of the battery backup system the whole time. Our first piece of aerial equipment so we learned the hard way. In my opinion, and I won't speak for the department, service is absolutely brutal! We just recently had to make an emergency purchase of a new pumper, to replace an '84 Grumman, and you guessed it- we got stuck with another KME. The PIERCE was another $25,000 and it didn't come with in-line foam and some other add-ons we needed, which KME was willing to do for us in a short amount of time. The KME rides fine- no problems there, but demand some kind of service agreement and watch out for those pesky electrical problems such as ladder rack switches, generator start/stop switches, and once or twice a month the truck will start but it won't go into gear- you have to shut down and start it over again. (touch-pad transmission selector)

    I've heard about serious problems with the PIERCE QUANTUM from a member of another department, don't know the technicals but they aren't going with PIERCE for their next purchase, I do know that.

    These are my opinions only and not the opinions of my department or local.
    [This message has been edited by ffnbs (edited October 23, 2000).]

  10. #10
    FyredUp
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I used to work as a civilian firefighter on an Air National Guard base and we had a KME P-18. It was a solidly built piece of apparatus and gave us no problems mechanically at all.

    Now before any Air Force FF's jump on me about the P-18...Yes, it was a morphodite that was poorly designed for the task it was intended for. NOTE...I said poorly DESIGNED. It was designed by a committee of Air Force people hiding in an office somewhere, not firefighters. I am saying the rig was well built and trustworthy.

    I would have no trouble accepting a KME Fire Appapratus rig if I was sure of the design and specification process and that the specs that we submitted were adhered to. Of course I would demand the same from any manufacturer out there.

    Take care and stay safe,

    FyredUp

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