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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2002
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    Ascutney, VT
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    Default Central States Fire Apparatus

    I'd like to hear about the negative and positive experiences of other departments who have purchased apparatus from Central States. Our department took delivery of a Central States pumper built on an HME chassis in April of last year and we still haven't gotten all the bugs out and are having an incredibly difficult time getting warranty service. We are NOT happy with Central States so far.


  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    VERMONT
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    105

    Angry Too Late Now

    Hello 51,

    What can I tell you that you don't already know. Our Chief bought a Central States in 1994 going against much of the department and even our in house Emergency One Dealer. And we've had problems ever since. It has been one thing after another with our truck. I will admit that 25% of our problems is this the Intersmashable Chasis they built it on but I think alot of this could be blamed on the guy that spec. it. Not sure how familar he was with Firefighting. As for the Body well what do you want to hear. It's been in the Paint Shop ALOT. Central States has an obvious paint process problem. They'll admit to it and have tried to fix the process. Every truck we see from Central has paint issues. They finally offered to paint our entire truck but ran out of money after they got done with the cab and only fixed spots on the body. VERY VERY POOR job. Actually something a company and our chief should be ashamed of. I think the body looked better before they messed with it.

    We've had everything from Pump and Foam problems to Electric Ladder Rack Fails, Burned up Hydro Generators, Valve Fails, and even Structural Failure.

    We're buying a truck now and I told the Chief point blank this department will never own another Central States!!! As for Service well keep calling them. Our expierence is you get results depending on who your talking with. The only one we have any luck with is the previous owner that runs things at the plant.

    I know what happened. Central got to big to fast. They Design Dept isn't up to the task. Their saleman don't know how to say NO to anyone. They build anything good or bad. And the bads turn into Nightmares. We have a truck in Vermont that won't pump. And Central has admitted they've done all they can. We have a truck in Swanton that they built that Violates Navistar Rules on center line of gravity.

    There other problem is there trying to do everything the TOP 5 manufactures are trying to do and they aren't getting it right. We had Electric Ladder Rack problems. Actually someone alost got hurt when one end Piston mount froze and sheared off. Allowing the racks end to fall toward the ground. This almost was a big accident. Gears Fitting and Bearings weren't where they should had been.

    This companies has alot of problems and not just with our truck. The first fix to this would be for them to limit there product line and try and do a few things very well rather than trying to do everything. But it is apparent from hope of their own NEW Custom Cab and Chasis Design that this isn't part or their plan. Everyone do yourself a favor and stay far, far away from these guys. If you already have one of their trucks then i hope you have some real good local shops to do the work and if not then you better be a real good lier and tell them your going to buy trucks from Central States for the next million years and then you'll get some good warranty work out of them.

    Thanks for listening,
    GB

  3. #3
    IACOJ Agitator Adze39's Avatar
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    Apr 2000
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    In a van down by the CT River!
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    2,771

    Default

    We're expecting delivery in the summer for a Central State/HME rig...

    640, how many of your problems are actually due to improper maintenance as opposed to just it being a crappy truck?

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Mar 2002
    Location
    Ascutney, VT
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    2

    Default Central States Pumper

    The problems with our truck started when they unloaded it from the flatbed they shipped it to us on and we found tears in the vinyl on the pump panel. Then we found out the discharge gates were mislabeled. Then somebody noticed the rotating warning lights on the rear were both amber, not red and amber the way we specced them. And there were no heated mirrors, which we also specced. Then our deputy had a problem with the retarder while driving it. Then we had a problem with the throttle at the pump panel working. Then we noticed that the strobe warning lights seemed to "fade out" for no apparent reason. Did I mention the fact that the transfer from "Pump" to "drive" failed a couple of times? Or that one of the strobe lights installed on the front of the rig filled up with water? Or that the scene lights filled up with water? Oh, yeah, the truck almost burned up because no brackets to hold the batteries were installed on one side and the batteries shorted out, causing a considerable amount of smoke to pour out from under the truck. The headlight switch failed, as did the windsheild washer switch. And I think I should mention that the power cable to the primer motor also burned off.

    Maintenance? Well, Central States told us the closest "WARRANTY" location was a four-hour drive from out station. If we wanted them to come to us, WE had to pay for it. After one trip to that service center, they changed to a different one, located in Vermont, but they haven't been much help. We haven't seen -- or heard from -- the dealer or his representative since the truck was delivered, but we'd been warned about that, so we aren't surprised.

    We bought our previous truck from Dingee Machine Co. in Cornish, NH, just across the river. First of all, we've only had a few problems with that truck and they've fixed them right away. The truck our Central States replaced, a 1968 rig we bought used from a dept. in NY State, was actually more dependable when it left than this new one is.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
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    Nov 1999
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    VERMONT
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    105

    Default If YOU LOVE Fire Trucks then place read this

    As I said ealier we had problems with our truck. You can decide if it was our poor Maintanenceor a poor build job. Just some back ground. We have 7 Rigs Total and run 350 calls a year with a 28 member organization. Annual Operating Budget of 54,000 and Capital Expenditures of another 50,000 a year.
    THE LIST:
    1.Rear Diff. was not wired
    2.Forgot to install secondary Pump Primer
    3.Foam Pro was plumbed wrong and did not work
    4.Front Suction Hitting Wheel RH turns cutting coupling gaskets
    5.Pump Panel Cover Ripped
    6.Battery Conditioner stopped working
    7.Cooked Our Hydraulic Generator. Incorrect Setup at Fact. off warr.
    8.Many marker lights continusly out
    9.Can't keep working bulbs in Bumber Light (too much vibration)
    10.Engine Fan Clutch
    11.Structural Failure @ Cab Add-on Central States Design
    12.In house Air and Battery Saver Auto Eject replaced
    13.Ladder Rack Mount Sheared Off and Rack Fell
    14.Structural Failure @ Cab Add-on
    15.Ground Lights Falling off truck
    16.Truck Completed Painted (well almost)
    17.Ladder Rack Electrical
    18.Driverside Running Board Rusted Off
    19.Front Suction Air Valve Not Working
    20.No Pump Panel Lights
    21.No Ground Lights
    22.Several Altenator Replaced
    23.More Ladder Rack Electrical Problems
    24.Pump Panel Cat Walk almost came off
    25.Foam System Problems
    26.Pump Compartment Heater Died twice.

    I think we've got the Bugs almost worked out of it. That's why we recieved Delivery of a 2001 Sentry II for Emergency-One During July.

    Good Luck Guys; We foundly referr to these guys as "Central Mistakes"

    Thanks for Listening and Please Spread the WORD!!!
    GB

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    22

    Default

    Central States has one of the best reputations of the small manufacturers.

    Havent heard of any problems with the ones I know about near me. In fact Castle Rock Colorado has Central States equipment exclusively and loves them.

    It isnt wise to say a company doesnt care, or doesnt try to fix problems, every company has lemons including mercedes and high end auto companies. Many times it's what a department does do or does not do in it's bid, inspection trips, initial training and delivery and maintenance that causes problems.

    Some departments buy a new truck, yet never visit the factory, never do a final inspection when they can ask questions, have things moved or adjusted before it is shipped. They want bargian basement prices and problems is then what you get.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 1999
    Posts
    27

    Default

    We've got 2 of them and haven't had any real problems that can be blamed on CS, the main issue is with E2, a '94 Freightliner, on more than one occasion the transmission would lock, meaning wherever it was, neutral, reverse, wherever, it would not shift out of that position. I arrived on scene with it once, stopped, shifted to neutral, put the pump in gear, and the tranny wouldn't come out of neutral, took about 3 minutes to get it to work, with guys hollering for water to douse a brush fire near a home, that is not the fault of CS though, they didn't build the cab and chasis.
    David Brooks,
    Captain, NRFR
    Newmarket Fire & Rescue
    Newmarket, New Hampshire
    http://www.NewmarketFire.com
    (All opinions are my own)

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