1. #1
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    Default Looking for input on KME pumpers...

    Greetings Everyone...
    I'm a Fire Department Mechanic for a small municipality in NY and we are currently looking to purchase a new pumper for our fleet..Right now the department is talking about a KME pumper, but unfortunately I have no experience with this company or it's products..So I'm looking for any opinions (yes,I know, everybody has one)or any kind of information from departments that run a KME truck..Your help would be greatly appreciated...Thanks..

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    Default KME

    In my department we have 3 KME's (1992 rescue/pumper, 1997 pumper/tanker, 2000 Quint). Overall we are pretty happy with them. First all I will start out by saying that I'm a Pierce man. I think Pierce builds a very good truck and the finish work is outstanding. I help spec. out the Quint and the rebuild of the tanker/pumper that was involved in a accident. We are in the process of specing out a straight rescue to replace the R/P. We will probaly go with KME because we are big in having a standardized fleet were very thing runs and operates the same. And I think that if your department can do this it is the way to go especially if your all volunteer. There is no difference between trucks form one to the other. The big thing that sold us on KME was the salesman and that the factory is only a two hour drive so we would go up weekly to check on the progress of the truck to catch any problems that come up. I can say that KME has come a long way from our 1992 to our 2000. Plus they are very custom when it comes to doing different things. Not to take anything away form E-one and Pierce which we had one of both at one time but having the factory so close makes it nice.

    Actully when we were specing out the Quint it came down to the E-one and the KME and we liked the E-one alot but at the time we already had two KME's and we had a chance to standardize everything and KME was giving us a brake on the price, because we already had two and they wanted our buisness.

    There is always alot of rumours about different company's, but I can tell you this when you buy a new truck there is always going to be problems. Alot of it is micky mouse stuff. Plus there is always something you miss and say later that I wish we did this or that. The big joke with KME is that it stands for Keep Mechanicns Employed. But I think that they are no worse off then any of the other ones. Hope this helps.
    "You can't volunteer to be a doctor on the weekends"

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    Thumbs down

    The department I used to work for had a 2001 KME Rescue. I must say that they have progressed but I still would not buy one, they have upgraded thier electrical and have made other advances but not enough. I delivered your Saulsbury/Mack Rescue many years ago even though we parted ways I would not hesitate to buy a Saulsbury. One of the only true builders of Satinless Steel is Seagrave they build a complete SS truck other than cab structure. I would also recomend to you R.D. Murray or Sutphen for Stainless Steel. It seems that KME is low bidding state wide. Iwould carefully check them out check out random units and not reccomended ones from the sales rep. Maybe they are changing but they are not there yet as far as I am concerened
    Fyrtrks

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    Default

    As the fire department mechanic I suppose you are mainly interested in the mechanics of the apparatus. You should have a say in the engine,transmission,brakes,and the pump if you are going to work on it. All apparatus manufacturers can supply these same components,so accessibility to these parts would be your main concern. Again all manufacturers can handle this,but some seem to be better at it then others. So make sure the specification addresses accessibility at the start and that the apparatus builder does not have any problems with your requests.

    If you are looking to have repair work done by the manufacturer then I agree with 10-75K that distance to the apparatus plant is something to be considered.

    No matter which apparatus builder you decide on you must stay involved. Good luck in your final decision!

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    well from personal experience I would never own a KME again, nothing but problems. the only truck I have seen that is worse is the E-one.

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    s0231198- say it isnt so.

  7. #7
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    Default KME Pumpers...

    Hey s0231198..
    Sounds like you've had some terrible experiences with the KME trucks..Perhaps you'd like to go into detail about the problems you've had that have given you this outlook on these trucks...I attended the Fire Apparatus Show here in NY yesterday and looked at a KME top mount pumper, it was a nice truck, but I did notice a few things that I had some concerns about...but of course you know when it comes to showing equipment, the company will try to show the nicest piece that they have built..The Fire Department has been specing the new pumper around a Spartan chassis, a 60 series Detroit with an Allison transmission and running a Hale midship pump...We'll have to see what happens being that nothing is etched in stone...we also have more meetings coming up in regards to the bids...
    Thanks for your help...

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    Default

    We have a 1993 KME top-mount pumper. We have been extremely satisfied with it. It has been trouble free except for our self inflicted battle wounds. I did the specs on truck and spent alot of time looking at stuff around our area for ideas, etc. it was built to our specs, the way we wanted it. We spent several saturdays at the factory in PA prior to and during construction. I can tell you our department has had bad experience with saulsbury tanker, rescue, & refurb. We are currently looking at a new KME pumper tanker. within 2-3 months it should be finalized. There are several KME trucks in our area since 1991. 3 have been delivered in the last 4 months. There is a factory branch in Albany and one in Mass. Our experience with KME branch in Albany has been supurb. its an hour away for us. Icould tell you horror stories about every manufacturer in the business, and the same goes for personnel vehicles as well. You can contact me by email for any questions or info. stay safe!

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    I can tell you one thing that KME is junk. A company does not get the nickname Keep Mechanics Employed for no reason. If you are looking for a cheep truck and do not care about quality, crafsmanship, and durability then i would consider a KME. Something else to look into is the reputation of the KME service center in your area, I know the service centers upstate NY are ok but I know the one on Long Island is not good at all.

    I would recommend Saulsbury, a high quality top of the line truck there prices are not too bad either. Not as cheep as a KME but remember you get what you pay for. I know all there service centers in New York are good. And I know there service center on the Island is great, they do all Saulsburys FDNY service work.

    Also look at ALF I donít know about their service centers, the only thing is who knows how much longer they will be in business.
    Last edited by ladderman; 02-05-2002 at 08:55 AM.

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    dear mr.ladderman!
    opinions are like as*#@*$+, everybody has one. u 2! we have 3 saulsbury units soon to be none! have a nice day GOD.

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    ladderman. ashamed enough not to put city dowN?

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    Angry

    Hey Laddergirl.......I guess you would like Saulsbury since you are an E-1 junky. Don't you get tired of dogging manufactures out? Oh thats right.....you buy trucks for the whole state of new york. I keep forgetting that you are an expert.

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    Unhappy

    Gentlemen let us not bash one another. Those of you whom do not like one manufacturer or another please do not bash another brother or sister because of our view on one of our prefered trucks. Ladderman may be a bit more vocal about his dislike of KME but he does not just limit his recommendations to just Saulsbury. Please let us remember that Saulsbury is a Federal Signal division and not a E-One division. You can get a Saulsbury on any Chassis including Segrave Spartan and HME. WOFD I am glad that you can replace three units all at once just remember this that if you had all these problems with Saulsbury you might just have the same feeling a few years down the road with your KMEs.

    Please don't get me wrong everyone has thier bad trucks and everyone is hopefully getting better.

    Once again Saulsbury and I parted ways many years ago and I would still recommend them as well as R.D. Murray and Sutphen for stainless steel.

    I am in apparatus sales and prefer my companies unit over any other but it would be advertising here in the forum.

    I won't play that game.

    Thanks

    Fyrtrks
    Fyrtrks

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    Fyrtrks..whom do you sell for?

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    MeterMadness,

    Once again I don't belive in advertising here. This is a fourm and and advertising is not allowed. Opnions are one thing but openly promoting your product in this free forum is not right in my view. I will tell you the company I now represent built the first modular ambulance body.

    Thanks for understanding
    Fyrtrks

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    Let me explain myself, why are there so many manufacturers. People here do not seem to remember that the likes and dislikes do not just cover fire trucks. Automobiles, pick=ups, suv's, vans, tv's, etc. My point is that every manufacturer of a product has problems. I could go on forever but i wont. I put a township where im from unlike so many other posters. I dont hide my identity with a from "a big city", or any of the other posters. My opinions are mine not of the department, but i do have a lot of influence in it. An old car salesman told me a long time ago that thers an *** for every seat. he rights, otherwise there would only be 1 manufacturer of products, every body has and is entitled to an opinion, if you do not know for sure of problems, only going on rumors, keep it to yourself and have the guts to post a real name on the post> have a nice day.

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    You get what you pay for. I would not buy another KME. My county has six departments in it. The county does a truck rotation of funding one truck each year. Each department is responsable for specing and choosing what they need at the time. KME sold three trucks in our county starting in 93, all three of these were sold BEFORE the first one was delivered.

    All three of these dept.'s have come around on roation again. NONE has bought a KME. Two bought true custom built trucks by a small but reputable regional builder. The third did not invite KME to the table.

    All three of the kme trucks had electricle problems starting from the begining. Two of them have had the same things go wrong wireing harness in the cab. and the electricle box in back of the L-1 lowside compartment filling with water.

    On ours the lightbar was kicking breakers on the very first call what did they do put bigger breakers in still no fix. This went back and forth I personally sent the registerd letters to KME not the local dealer they basicly said tuff stuff.

    Oh! and I forgot to mention that the rear wheel cames off one side.

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    We have a 1997 KME and are pleased with it. We have had a few electrical problems, but we attest those to the chassis itself. Overall, it is a good truck for the money, but be careful what chassis you buy. We can't complain about our truck as far as the firefighting side is concerned, a little disappointed in the chassis. OK a lot disappointed. We probably will never have another chassis by the same manufacturer, that is if I'm on the truck spec. committee for the next one anyways.
    Brian Hehl
    Firefighter/NREMT-Paramedic

    Remember, any person you make mad, may be your help at the next call....

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    What chassis is yours on? is it a commercial cab or a custom? two of the ones that had problems yes the problems are in the chassis. But it is the KME chassis, KME does their own chassis some of that wonderful sole sorce that some people spout about.

    No I know that some people will now want to start out about the advantages of sole sorce. But none of it is any better than the dealer.

    The other draw back to it is they have you forever.and you gotta pay their price.

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    TRK4, its on a commercial chassis, and the KME part has not given us but one problem and that is the door open sensor has messed up one on door, but we just bypassed that.
    Brian Hehl
    Firefighter/NREMT-Paramedic

    Remember, any person you make mad, may be your help at the next call....

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    Lets all look at the fact that all firetruck builders have the good stories and the horror stories. What I beleive is to research the dealers and their products in your area. See which one is willing to build the truck you want not what they are going to build for you. What is their service like ? My department has bought Pierce for years, this April we will take delivery of our first ALF Eagle. In this state of Wisconsin I have three of the big manufacters with in 50 miles. Pierce is in our service area. When writting the specs for this new truck we wrote a ISO 9001 standard in our specs. If you are not up to date what this is , it is a quality assurance program that covers the building of the truck from the raw materails coming to the plant through the finished product. This standard cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to get and to regester every 6 months.
    How many runs do have in a year? Are the people giving you their feedback telling how many they are running. There is a big difference in running a 100 calls a year versing 2000 calls a year. are your trucks on the road every day doing insecptions and fire prevention are you running EMS also. My department runs 1500 calls a year, our trucks are on the road doing every thing else also.
    Take a good look at the warrenties and the service. How hard is it to get parts ? Do they offer a true 24/7 service. Paint warrenties are starting to change ALF is said to by going to a 10 year at 100%, Pierce is said to be dropping to a 3 year at 100%. You have to look at everything and make your up your mind and go with the best feeling. You are trying to get the best quality truck at the best price.

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    I would like to get more detail from the people having problems with their KME's. I am in the processes of buying two new trucks and would like to hear what is wrong. We are getting a rescue pumper and mid-mount platform. The general bashing is of no value. I have 3 peirces and having nothing good to say about them and less than that about our EVI. So I am asking for your help into going into greater detail. Problem, age of vehicle, material constructed of ect.. I would also like to hear from people in the mid-west using KME.

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    Default Looking for input on KME pumpers

    I am with USAF fire protection(Air National Guard side) and they have been using KME(both fullsized pumpers and mini's) since the mid to late 80's. From what I can tell, they have not had any problems with these vehicles.

    My career department, (of which is US Army) has a 1986 KME brush truck/tanker that has given us NO problems. We just sent it off to be rehabed by Pierce.

    My volunteer department, just took delivery of a 2002 KME mini pumper in December. No problems to note as of today.

    Hope this helps you out.

    Capt. Brad Breiler
    Oak Grove FD
    Oak Grove, KY

    Currently deployed with TN ANG in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Southern Watch.

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    TCFD326
    Excellent request,but like your statement about your Pierces,people seem to have a favorite apparatus builder and if their department buys another they will find fault with it.

    As it has been posted early all new apparatus has some problems and the important thing is how the apparatus builder deals with them.When you really look at the problems most of the time it's components that all apparatus manufacturers use and that have been requested by the department. Example,we have had alot of problems with our water and foam gauges(MC Products). We have now switched to Tank Vision gauges by FRC. We have ordered two new pumpers with these gauges even though we have not been able to completely field test them (sometimes you just have to believe the advertisement). To me that is the real problem,sometimes you have to spec out components that you have not been able to fully evaluate,not the apparatus builders fault.

    True,a couple of years ago the electrical wiring was a big factor with different builders,but now they meet NFPA requirements and if they don't shame on the department that is dealing with them.

    Also when a dept.has a problem with a new piece of equipment most of the time members of the committee should have found the problem at the final inspection if they had been doing their job.

    Just as departments have their horror stories so do manufacturers have theirs. Like a dept.that their only concern is the fancy paint and lettering. True a dept.has the right to decide what's important to them,but do not do a manufacturer an injustice by saying they are inferior when they can supply the same engine,transmission,and pump at a lower cost,just because of a paint job!

  25. #25
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    Default Our KME's

    Like everyone else has said - everybody builds the perfect truck and everybody builds a lemon. Look at who builds what you want - in your price range - that will service what they sell (and get it ALL in writing before any $$ changes hands)

    *********** Off the Soap box now ***************
    We have 2 KME's both on Navistar 4900 2 Door Chassis.
    One is a 1994 1000GPM/1000 Gal Engine, the other is a 2000 1250GPM/1500Gal Pumper/Tanker.

    Pictures can be viewed at http://n2dfire.tripod.com/stationbio.html

    Questions can be directed to me via e-mail in profile.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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