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Thread: Sole Source ?

  1. #1
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    Post Sole Source ?

    Most builders say they are sole sourse manufactures , what happens when there is a problem with the chassis , aerial ladder , body , etc. The only builders that I feel are sole source are ( E-One, Kme , Pierce , Seagrave , ALF, Sutphen, Hme ) All the rest use someones chassis cabs and re-badge them as there own !... " Duh " forgot about ( Ferrara ).
    Last edited by NewJerseyFFII; 07-11-2006 at 07:52 PM.


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    Exclamation Beware of the bull!

    Even manufacturers who "build" there own chassis's aren't truely "sole source". All of the components that go into a chassis or body have their own warranties. What truely matters is finding a DEALER and MANUFACTURER who are going to work with you to solve any problems you may have; whether they are chassis or body related. And you will have problems; anyone who tells you differently is flat out lying to you. Nobody is perfect and what counts is what happens after the sale.

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    who do you first call when you have a problem? the local dealer, thats who. the dealer gets is fixed, even if it has to go to an engine or tranny place, the delaer gets it in there. Doesnt matter if the dealer reps a "sole source" brand or a brand that uses a spartan or hme chassis. I assume your starting the pierce is the true sole source head and shoulders above all argument again. the local outfit make sure the rig gets fixed, not the factory.

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    Well said by the two previous posts. Ask the boys at Pierce or E-One or ALF if they build the engine, tranny, brakes, radiator, etc. They don't. They are assembling the parts to build the chassis. If you have a Detroit engine and it takes a dump, all reputable dealers and manufacturers will take care of the problem reagrdless of how it was assembled. The Dealer is the biggest key. If you have a good dealer, you will be taken care of!!!

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    We're currently engaged in trying to get a problem fixed in a non-sole source apparatus. It is not as easy as you think. The manufacturers don't allow the dealer to make decisions on warranty work (at least not in this case). All warranty work must be approved by manufacturer who says the chassis people are to blame and we have to deal with them. In purchasing the apparatus we never spoke to anyone from the chassis company at all, just the overall builder. So you can talk about a good dealer all you want but if their no supported by the plant, its all out the window. With a sole source builder you need only talk to one place for all work, regardless of what type. Even the outsorced components (engine, tranny, pump) warranty stuff and work goes through the same reps. vs. the finger pointing. This has to be compounded when you the buyer, purchases your chassis/cab and have it shipped to the builder.

    In speccing a new tower we decided on sole source (all new apparatus). All the manufacturers we dealt with said that if a problem needed correcting, we or they would have it fixed and they would deal with who's responsible later on their end. Our may concern was immediate correction of any issues. This cannot be said of other non-sole source companies who do have this ability but becuase of the large number of variables choose to determine who pays before the corrections are made.

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    "Even the outsorced components (engine, tranny, pump) warranty stuff and work goes through the same reps. vs. the finger pointing." yes...it should be not matter what. Even soem of the "sole source" dealer/factory folks would point fingers at DD, cummins, cat, allison, meritor, etc.....i've had it happen.

    "All the manufacturers we dealt with said that if a problem needed correcting, we or they would have it fixed and they would deal with who's responsible later on their end. Our may concern was immediate correction of any issues. This cannot be said of other non-sole source companies who do have this ability but becuase of the large number of variables choose to determine who pays before the corrections are made." stuff still happens with the sole source. A good local dealer and Good builder is still the key.

    again....ive had instances with the "sole Source" products where finders were pointed and units sat in a shop while **** was thrown back and forth. so, i do not buy the argument anymore.

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    sorry...i meant fingers, not finders

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    Local dealer is the key, but there is more finger pointing in an "outsourced" situation than in a sole-source. Obviously no one builds their own engines, wheels, wire, light bulbs, or any of it. They all buy it from someone else. Sole source means that when the paperwork was signed to by from them, they are the warranty holder, not the manufacturers of the individual products. I believe some non-sole source builders also do this, but I don't know for sure. If they do, then they are acting like sole source. It's all about who is going to handle the warranty issues.

    No matter who it is, the dealers must get permission from the parent company to perform the work or get it performed. We have units from both types of builders. Both have gone to Stuart and Stevenson for Detroit Diesel warranty work because they are better equipped to handle it than the mechanics for the two dealers. Both were under warranty and handled by the dealers with permission from the parent company. When we had a chassis issue with the non-sole source trucks, the dealer could not get permission to fix it under warranty because it was expensive and the manufacturer could not get clearance from the chassis company to let the dealer perform the work. This was funny, because both chassis and builder are owned by the same parent company, so they got the bill no matter who "paid" for the work. With the sole source trucks it is their chassis, they handle it no matter what. It doesn't mean they won't end up in a fight, one of the recently failed dealers in Houston was owed a ton of dough from the sole source manufacturer for warranty work that the dealer performed.

    They all have their goods and bads. Many of the other folks in the know around here will agree, if you build it right, require the right performance metrics from the builder, you'll have no problems regardless of badge. I've had no recurring problems in helping people out with trucks from any one builder, it was always a bad dealer. Spec what you want, have a reason for why you want it that way, and make sure you're getting what your taxpayers are footing the bill for.

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    B79er....good post. my own dept had a warranty on several units where there was the sentence where warranty issues for some components would eb covered by the component people. When we had a problem, we called the dealer, and they said they would call the component supplier and have them fix our problems. So again, it was a sole source unit, but the dealer, not the factory stepped up to the plate for us. the dealer even told us he was having problems getting paid by the manufacturer for warranty work and may have to work out payment before he would fix issues. They did fix the stuff anyway and worried about payment after. Again my feeling the "sole source" stuff is merely marketing hype.

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    As I noted, we have a current issue with this. Outsourced chassis and builder claims problems with the chassis/cab are not their problem. They've sent us to the cab/chassis builder. Both the original builder and the cab/chassis builder specifically have told us to go direct and not through the dealer as all "warranty" work must be approved above the dealer. Now, I'll give you that the right dealer might take it upon themselves to fix the problem first and sort out the details later, but I'm betting that thats rarer than the norm. For those of us who do not have significant numbers of apparatus from one dealer, their incentive to take one for us is a little less. I'm not saying you shouldn't by other than sole-source, given your dealer, rep and builder, fleet maintenance shop, and service centers this could be a better option. For us, there are few(maybe one) longtime dealers in our State. And currently, no dealer affiliated service centers unless specifically specced by the municipality. To minimize issues we want a sole source builder who will address all issues. We do have quality engine, and transmission centers and to that end we never had issues, its always other than drivetrain type problems that the finger pointing has come from. And even in non-sole source issues the day to day problems and annoynaces probably are handled well most of the time, but let's see when the issues causes a major components failure, high cost repair or injury/death?

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    I'm in agreement that a GOOD dealer will facilitate any issues you might have.That being said;in today's legitinous society everybody tries to weasel out of a legitimate repair. Sole source has some advantages but again falls into the about the same category,only as good as the people supporting it. I feel RFD's pain on the issues he's experiencing,a classic case of pass the buck(fault).If it was my decision,I would NEVER buy a galvaneal body but that does NOT excuse the LACK of support after the sale.Of course I'm not one that takes getting put off lightly,as anybody that knows me very well knows.The sqeaking wheel gets the grease and a SCREECHING wheel;well you get the drift. T.C.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 07-13-2006 at 09:07 AM.

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    101: I'll second the motion on NO GALVANEAL!! This was clearly one of the biggest mistakes our department has made with regards to apparatus. The unit in question returned to service (less the use of the unsafe rear seats) after a complete sandblasting and paint job. The service shop said not to expect more than another 4-5 years on the rest of the body. This is a 1999 galvaneal body unit. The unit is beyond its body warranty. It certainly would have paid to go over the apparatus with a fine tooth comb in the months preceeding the warranty's running out, as we certainly had the issues then, but it was not "bad" enough to require immediate work? I'm recommending that we put all the warranty dates in the service log for each apparatus, so as we near these dates we can scrutinize, document and report every detail before the warranty runs out.

    The second part of the issue for this particular unit is the cab/chassis rear facing seating which has developed cracks in all places where the seats are bolted or welded down. This is where Rosenbauer/Central blew us off and told us to contact HME directly. I withhold any judgement on HME's ability to rectify these defects until we have a more definitive course of action. To their credit they were atleast open to review digital images and discussing corrections from day one, unlike the builder.

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    More important would be to have regular checkouts of the apparatus for issues to catch before they become major. Many departments have quarterly checkouts that involve creepers and they go over the truck from head to toe. At any given point anyone in the department can check a sheet to see what is wrong with a truck. Unit checkouts are more than just fluid levels and if the thing will start at shift change or en route to a call. Most apparatus problems start small and build because no one looks for them or does anything about them while they are small. I'm not saying put the thing in the shop at every leak, but they all need to be looked at regularly from bow to stern.

    In the department I ran with up north part of being cleared on the truck was knowing how it all was put together and knowing how to perform basic troubleshooting to know whether or not the truck needed to be fixed immediately or it could wait for the next scheduled maintenance. Too many people want the responsibility of being behind the steering wheel during the run, but after that they get the "it's not my truck" attitude.

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    Our old 1972 Mack cf 600 was built from " Gavaneal Steel " and we had very little rust on the cab or body after many years of driving in rain & snow with road salt on the new jersey highways !...MAYBE THEY USED BETTER MATERIALS IN THOSE DAYS.

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    2 points... you see alot of refurbed CF's cause there were alot of RUSTY CF's. Seems most manufacturers have the rust thing figured out. The 70's were a bad time for rusty rigs.

    We have had good luck with KME and RD Murray using other manufacturers chassis. We write our purchase contract to state that the general contractor is responsible for administration of all warranty work and will provide us with a single contact for all claims. Both manufacturers agreed to this and although they are mostly out of warranty, we have had nothing but good luck with both.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er
    More important would be to have regular checkouts of the apparatus for issues to catch before they become major. Many departments have quarterly checkouts that involve creepers and they go over the truck from head to toe.
    Thuis is what is done here. We have the daily shift change fluids, starts checklist. Then once a week they get a thourough inspection. During the normal 200 hr service they get the full treatment (2-3 months for most frontline). We have noted many issues during these checks.

    The problem comes with how much rust is too much? If we took care of every surface spot each week the truck would be OOS alot. So you let a little spot get bigger and then at some pint it is corrected and the cycle starts again. Over time lots of rust was found, cleaned up and re-covered. Many places up inside and behind body mounting structure is where the major issues were found in our case.

    The cab issues were found on a fluke. I imagine that we could have run this way for years (more as its probably been that way since the first year) if the person who noticed the cracks had been looking out the window at the right time. The stars aligned and the cracks were illuminated by the sunlight through the window while the cab was up. Short of steam cleaning and going over the undercarraige and cab often, I don't believe this would have been caught.

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    Any rust is too much. As long as the truck is washed regularly to get road salt or other corrosives off of the paint, then it should last. Check the paint warranty too, with the exception of dings and dents to compromise the integrity of the paint it should last through the whole warranty, and if it isn't then it needs repainting. On their dime. That's also why I've seen a couple departments put that epoxy underneath, the stuff like the spray on truck bed liner. Maybe not all of the moving parts, but the underside of the body is what will rust first anyway so covering those areas practically eliminates the rust issue.

    I know a few places that do steam clean the underside after checking for leaking fluids. Of course I know the opposite too and no one knows how to raise the cab, how to lube pump handles and other basics. My own personal view is take care of it like you paid for it to make it last. Although it really isn't that big of a deal, it's not like anyone's life depends on the trucks staying in service and operating properly...

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    While I don't personally know the shops credentials, the tech that was in charge of correcting our rust issues seemed to think the surfaces had not been properly dried before paint had been applied originally. He noted impurities in the galvaneal sheeting like pockets of rust within the metal? The rust issues basically came from the inside vs. scratched and dings causing rust fromthe outside.

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    Then that's a warranty issue because it was doomed from the factory. IMHO anyway. Not worth much on the open market sometimes.

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    Talking Hmmmmpfff

    Sole Source is a sales gimmick. I'm a sales man, I should know. I tell all of my customers exactly what has been said here, SERVICE IS KING!! If anything you should request no divided responsability for the warranty work. Truely, many of the newest "sole-source" manufacturers get their chassis' built for them by Spartan. But they warranty them. Just my two bits!!
    I have but one ambition in life and that is to become a firefighter.

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