Thread: E-One problems

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    Default E-One problems

    Hi all. We run all E-ones. We seem to have a tremendous amount of problems with them. Our Admin. is starting to audit this at our request to see if it is an E-one thing or if we should expect this with any manufacturer. As for our Dept., we run 7 stations, 8 companies. 7000+ calls a year. Here's a run down of some of the things we've experienced:

    New quint: Turbo shelled. Got that fixed, drive shaft fell out and knocked a hole in the transmission. All within a few weeks of being in service.

    New engine: Multiple electrical issues. Transmission switches to neutral while driving for no reason. Have to shut off and restart to get going again. AC problems. All within a few weeks of going in service.

    1998 Quint: Multiple problems over the years. Caught on fire in the station the other day.

    1996 quint: Has had 5 transmissions. Currently occasionally won't go in gear and have to restart to go

    2002 engine: Had pump fail on a couple different fires due to electrical problems. Multiple other electrical issues.

    1999 quint: Electrical short in the dash driving down the road a few years back filled with smoke.

    On all our rigs: Multiple electrical problems, AC problems, frequent break downs. Various broken springs.

    Several of our rigs short when it rains, sirens turn on by themselves, etc.

    We have an E-one dealer and service center in our City, which has led to the switch to these. Just curious what other Dept.'s experience with these and if it's just E-one. We sure seem to have a ton of problems. Thanks.
    Last edited by fyrmnk; 08-17-2006 at 11:02 PM.
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    Bro- Sorry to hear about your "E-Wonderfuls". Them having problems seems to be typical and date way back to the 80s.

    Did you get the extended warranty?
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 08-18-2006 at 01:21 AM.

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    Cal- I don't know about the warranty. Either way, it sure makes it hard to have confidence in your equipment when this stuff keeps happening.

    Maybe asking for new $1/2 million+ fire trucks to work is just being picky?
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    Last edited by toddmcbr; 08-18-2006 at 09:21 AM. Reason: spelling

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    Sounds like you local dealer/service shop is not doing their job. Ours have been running without issue since 1990.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    A lot of the problems are caused by mistakes at the factory. The drive shaft was supposed to have a safety cable around it to catch it if it falls out; It wasn't there. (They know they've had issues with the driveshafts falling out due to bolts loosening so they put the catch cable on it according to our dealer, how crazy is that?)

    The last blown turbo was due to a clamp not being tied down at the company and parts being drawn into it.

    Thanks for the other links. Didn't notice the Apparatus Innovtion section.

    Bones, just curious how many E-ones your dept. runs and miles used? Again, just trying to see if we're just "lucky" or what. Thanks.
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    2. 1990 Teleboom, 1995 Engine. The 90 runs about 200 calls per year, the 95 runs about 150. Not the volume you have I'm sure. But I have to be honest, I know of a company near me that is having way more issues with there manufacturer and local dealer than we have ever had. I won't mention there name cuz I may get another hand written note from them.

    (They know they've had issues with the driveshafts falling out due to bolts loosening so they put the catch cable on it according to our dealer, how crazy is that?)
    IMO, that is the most BS statement I ever heard from a dealer. Does anyone actually believe that?

    I know of many other departments in NJ that are very satisfied with their E-Ones and the local dealership.
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    Quote Originally Posted by fyrmnk
    We run all E-ones. We seem to have a tremendous amount of problems with them.
    No way.....You wouldnt pull our legs, would you?
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    [QUOTE=Bones42] IMO, that is the most BS statement I ever heard from a dealer. Does anyone actually believe that? [QUOTE]

    Don't know, but the final thing we were waiting on after the new transmission was the cable to be shipped from E-one and installed by the dealer.

    We have roughly 15 E-ones, from 1989 to present. Only 7 are front line rigs, the rest reserves. There have been times when we are out of reserves/call back rigs with all our front line rigs down.

    Again, we may just have the "luck" with them, but that's what I'm trying to find out.
    Last edited by fyrmnk; 08-18-2006 at 05:54 PM.
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    The Orange County Fire Authority (in Southern Calif.) has a large type 1 engine order coming from E-One. Before that is was KME, before that is was Pierce. Before that is was Seagrave.

    Why are they going through so many different truck makers? Two words- Low bid. I figured it was just a matter of time for E-One would sneak in there.

    Sorry about your woes, I am not trying to be a wise ***. I just sit back and look at E-One's history and wonder why they are still in business....low bid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU
    The Orange County Fire Authority (in Southern Calif.) has a large type 1 engine order coming from E-One. Before that is was KME, before that is was Pierce. Before that is was Seagrave.

    Why are they going through so many different truck makers? Two words- Low bid. I figured it was just a matter of time for E-One would sneak in there.

    Sorry about your woes, I am not trying to be a wise ***. I just sit back and look at E-One's history and wonder why they are still in business....low bid.
    Low bid definitely has a big part in it. Also for us, being the "hometown" dealer has an influence. We've expressed the issues for many years on line. We're now being heard and the issue looked at, for what it's worth. Thanks again for all the feedback. I copied this post over in "Apparatus" also.
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    We have two - pumper and heavy rescue both from 1995. Our heavy rescue has leaned to one side since day one and they have never taken care of it. We' just grown good at tilting our heads. :-) The pumper was out of service as a bearing came loose on the cam shaft and tore a bunch of stuff up. This was a big p*ss*ng match with Detroit Diesel and International as the Series 40 we have is made by combining the top with the bottom of the other.

    We have just recently had a funny electrical issue with our pumper after it was taken out in a rainy day. Our repair tech. said it was a bad connection and seems to be fine now.

    Overall, I have to say we have been satisfied with them except for the service. Factory service sucks!!

    Granted we run about 150 - 200 calls with each truck a year so it's hard to compare.

    I would say every brand has their issues. Why are their Fords, Chevy's and Dodges? Each one of them has their quirks also. I think the same is true with apparatus.

    Good Luck.

    DPH

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    our aerial hasnt had that many problems.... 95 foot platform.

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    I'm glad this post was brought up, we are currently spec'ing out our new Midmount Tower ladder and have it narrowed down between pierce and eone for the bids. I like alot of the options on the E-one especially when it comes to the weight on the boom itself, compartment space and other nice little options, especially the outriggers but with all these problems everyone is bringing up that they are having with their apparatus I'm going to bring it up to the rest of the comittee to really look closely and find out some more information. The neighboring town just purchased an E-one Midmount and it has had a few kinks here and there but what new truck doesnt. so far they love it, another department little farther than where I'm from purchased quite a few E-ones and they think they are POS. So far the pierce is looking better and better.
    Andrew
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    I think that you have to look at multiple factors.

    Someone mentioned a couple years ago in a similar thread that when these problems pop up, they are in a very small area of specialty. By this I mean that there are only a few thousand rigs built for a national pool. Thus issues tend to be higher and more costly.....Albeit that this is unacceptable given the line of work and price tag that these unit entail.

    Secondly, and I think that this has a lot to do with it, many of these apparatus manufacturers are owned by some very large corporations and we all know that it simply comes down to the Benjamins. Get them built as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Hence we have units such as these. All of the small and true "custom" manufacturers are gone, bought up by major corporations, or absorbed into larger manufacturers. And the quality has gone downhill with it. Pierce is owned by OshKosh truck, E-One by Federal Signal, American Lafrance was owned by Freightliner who was in-turn owned by Daimler-Chrysler - yet it is owned by someone else now. Point being that the old specialty units that were made by Saulsbury with high precision, detail, functionality, and (more importantly) with an emphasis on customer satisfaction and use are all gone. And this is what we are left with.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but Sutphen is the only real small apparatus manufacturer left in the US is it not?

    Thirdly, low bid is definitely an issue here. If you can built it for less, and you know that by law the department / community will be forced (again, by law) to purchase your crappy product, then explain to me where the emphasis is for a company to improve, charge more for a quality product (and thereby lose business), and improve their operations?



    Oh for the glory days of quality apparatus: Crown, Mack CF, Maxim.......When they made trucks that would outlast, outdrive, outpump, and out almost anything that is produced nowadays.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaSharkie
    Correct me if I am wrong, but Sutphen is the only real small apparatus manufacturer left in the US is it not?
    Who is Smeal owned by? And Boise Mobile Equipment? Just wondering...

    A former department of mine had a pair of 1998 Pierce pumpers. They had quite a few problems from electrical, to engine & tranny to pump to body. Some body was Engineer inflicted though.
    These engines also had nearly 100,000 miles as 7 year old front line engines!

    I think you pay for what you get and you'll get out of it what you put into it. I think people need to treat these rigs with more TLC than they are shown. Granted emergency response is one thing, but to just bust them up because you don't personally own them is BS.

    *Mark
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    Quote Originally Posted by mark440
    Who is Smeal owned by? And Boise Mobile Equipment? Just wondering...

    A former department of mine had a pair of 1998 Pierce pumpers. They had quite a few problems from electrical, to engine & tranny to pump to body. Some body was Engineer inflicted though.
    These engines also had nearly 100,000 miles as 7 year old front line engines!

    I think you pay for what you get and you'll get out of it what you put into it. I think people need to treat these rigs with more TLC than they are shown. Granted emergency response is one thing, but to just bust them up because you don't personally own them is BS.

    *Mark

    Smeal is an independant company built in Snyder, Nebraska. They've got a fairly small place with very close knit, and HAPPY employees, all from small towns across the area.

    Smeal builds an excellent fire truck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mark440
    Who is Smeal owned by? And Boise Mobile Equipment? Just wondering...
    I forgot about Smeal, but that is why I asked if Sutphen was the last small shop.

    Never heard of Boise though. I know that there are several small local/regional joints out there. Probably run better than the stuff put out by the "big boys."

    Point being that they are accountable to their people and their customers. As it was pointed out, they are probably happier employees too - which leads to better workmanship.

    Best rig I ever worked off of was a 1986 Maxim Pumper. Truck was old, beat down, a bit rusty, but ran smooth, had balls when you needed it, and was much better than any of the newer rigs that the department ran - being Pierce and E-One.

    Personally, I rode mostly E-Ones when I was career and POC. Decent rigs, workmanship could have been better, but we did not have any major issues if I recall.

    A thing to remember about these rigs.....The more bells, whistles, and baubles that you put on the unit - the more things there are to go wrong. And since everything is electronically controlled and likely wired into everything else.....if one things goes crazy, then something else is going to as well.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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    Thumbs up Well...........

    We've never had an E-one and probably never will. Over the years, we had Macks 1945 to 1965, Ward LaFrances from 1965 to 1985, and since then, Spartan Gladiator 10 man Cabs, Hale Pumps, 871 Detroits, Allison Automatics, and bodies by Grumman, Marion, and Quality. I personally prefer the smaller builders. We placed a Pierce Engine in service in Feb. 05, and we have had no problems worth mentioning.


    Side Note - Todd - This thread will get more reads, and more replies here, in one day, than it would get in a month, anywhere else.
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    Lightbulb

    A fire truck is the sum of it's parts...

    Engines come from Detroit Diesel, CAT, Cummings, Mercedes Benz et al.

    Transmissions come from Detroit Diesel Allison, Eaton, Spicer, etc al.

    Drivelines come from Eaton, Spicer, et al.

    The Pumps come from Hale, Darley and Waterous et al.

    Air and hydraulic lines comer from Parker Hannafin and other manufacturers.

    Wiring harmesses come from diffeernt manufacturers.

    Batteries, radiators, alternators, AC units, power steering units, air brakes, wheels, suspenion components, tires, and paints all come from different manufacturers.

    If someone is having a probklem with the transmisson... do you blame the builder of the rig or the builder of the tranny? How about the motor? Pump? Wiring?

    That's why there are warranties.

    Of course, there are people specing out rigs that shouldn't be allowed to choose what kind of dog food to feed the family pet!



    Here's are some novel concepts...

    Ask the firefighters who will actually be driving and working off the rig for their input instead of a relying on a fire cheif who hasn't driven any type of fire apparatus in 20+ years to spec a rig, or worse than that...have an apparatus sales rep tell you what you need. Remember..they get a commission.. the more they can sell, the bigger their commission check!

    Spec out a rig right, for the kind operating conditions and terrain of the area instead of looking for the cheapest way out.

    Don't waste money on geegaws, doodads and hoobiedoobies that you will never or rarely use.

    Ask for a list of communities that have apparatus made by the manufacturers you are interested in. Spend some time visiting and talking to not only the administration, but the firefighters who work off the rigs daily and the mechanics that maintain them before making the decision.

    Most of all... read each bid carefully, taking into consideration the appartus builder's expereince in building the type of rig you are looking for, and try to convince the politicians that low bid isn't any good if the rig has to keep going out of service, which means using a reserve rig, which already had more than likely been through hell and back and costs more to maintain.

    Just my 3 cents worth.. Captains have to pay a little more
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    Gonzo, you are 100% correct......But when you slap them all together at breakneck speed, because your parent company, "237differentcompaniesallownedbyonecorporategiant, Inc" wants you to build them as fast as humanly possible, because after all, quantity (not quality) equals profits.........Then when it comes to warranty issues, deny, deny, deny.........
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff
    Gonzo, you are 100% correct......But when you slap them all together at breakneck speed, because your parent company, "237differentcompaniesallownedbyonecorporategiant, Inc" wants you to build them as fast as humanly possible, because after all, quantity (not quality) equals profits.........Then when it comes to warranty issues, deny, deny, deny.........
    I deal with financing new and used apparatus each and every day, so I see great rigs and I see junk. We have a lot of major banks that we put the deals together and likewise we look at rigs for them.

    But for a few exceptions, I've not seen too much of a pattern of reliablity per the manufacturers, because there is only 1 of 3 pump manufacturers, a few diesel manufacturers and tranny is either manual or an Allison, etc. I've seen excellent E-One, Pierce, Seagrave, Mack, Sutphen, ALF and others and I've seen junk too! I've seen 10 year old trucks to be better quality/reliablity than brand new ones and I've seen 15-20 year old rigs, refurbed in the past 7-10 years, that beat rigs only 5 years old with less than 5K miles and/or 2K hours on them.

    Where I do see a difference is if the local dealer "helps" in writing the RFP specs and ads proprietary items in there which cannot be substituted. When the dealer has more specifics per the AM/FM/CD radio than they do the comm radio, you may wish to do some "tire-kicking" on that bid! (I've actually recently seen this!) Watch out for over-building on certain things, which make the rig more profitable for the manufacturer and the dealer . . . after all, they've got the bid anyway, because only they have the outriggers or some other proprietary parts in the RFP that are a must and cannot be substituted.

    Take a look at what they're recommending for axles and other elements and then compare these to other similar rigs on the market and in service. Generally you won't need axles with those load capacities to carry Mt. St. Helens and look at the HP of the engine in relation to the pump and the tranny...you can have 1 billion HP, but if the tranny only has a certain speed capacity, the rig will only go that fast. Pretty much they all can get to 35 mph in 25 sec. Thus, don't pay for more HP on a very expensive diesel, if it greatly exceeds your requirements and what makes sense. The 10# in a 5# bag, if you know what I mean.

    Get the truck you need, not one that is bigger/newer than some other ego-rival department's new rig. If you want a parade winner, get the rig you need, parade it all over town (in driver training) and buy yourself your own trophy! If you're going to put a 2000 gpm pump on it, make sure you also put a larger tank (larger than 500-750), because if you need a lot of water volume, then you need a lot of water, except for a quint doing a deluge in a surround and drown operation, because if the stick goes up . . . the structure is coming down. Getting 2,000 gpm on your new pumper, because some other department has a 1,500 gpm on their new rig is not a legitimate reason or requirement in the configuration.

    If the manufacturer also "finances" it, watch about that price and the quality, because if you have another major bank who is financing, it appears for the newer apparatus that the manufacturer seems to be able to get these out the door and into the bays quicker and on-time, with less issues, than those they internally finance and won't worry about something getting out about their products having problems. Somewhat like putting a purchase on your credit card and having recourse, rather than paying cash or using store credit.

    I've actually seen some of the used apparatus and emphasis those which have been refurbed in recent years to be the better rigs and better deals. When you talk to a selling department's engineer and they've excellent maintenance records and talk with pride about the rig, like Scotty on StarTrek, chances are this is a great rig, and you just have to compare the mileage/hours on it, the call volume of the selling department with your own requirements, etc.

    If you're going to get a brand new rig, in addition to warranties, get the manufacturer to add a performance bond to the quality of their rig and delivery date. Here is another way to protect yourself and your department. This way, even if you use the manufacturers financing, you've some means and third party looking over their shoulder as they build those compartments and turn those screws and bolts. If more departments did/required this, then the quality for all manufacturers and service from dealers would improve significantly.

    If you're going to get a newer used rig, talk with that selling department and their engineer. Get a copy of the maintenance and refurb records. Make sure the pump or stick is certified.

    If you have a problem rig, once in a while this happens, because someone else's parts can fail, or there was some human error involved in the construction process; this is simply something that will occur from time to time. If you don't have super warranty coverage and a performance bond, this isn't the manufacturer's or the dealer's fault or onus . . . this mistake and human error rests upon you, your department and your truck committee.

  23. #23
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    Thumbs up And.............

    A few questions that I have posed to Apparatus Reps when working on specs for a new rig:

    Why can't I have an alternator that will power all of my electrical NEEDS????

    Why can't I have Manual Overrides to ensure critical functions when the electronics fail????

    Where is the Federal D.O.T. requirement for (insert a lot of items here)????

    Are you aware that Maryland Law prohibits applying that NFPA Standard in this state???? (Maryland law prohibits any controls over the emergency lighting equipment that are not operated by the driver. Specifically, the device that shuts down some lights when you apply the parking brake)

    You would not believe the answers that I've gotten. One Sales person told me that a State could not pass a law that conflicted with NFPA Standards. Several have triggered the end of the discussion by using that famous line "Oh you don't need that". It's my money, and I'm buying what I want to buy, not what the dealer wants me to buy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaSharkie
    A thing to remember about these rigs.....The more bells, whistles, and baubles that you put on the unit - the more things there are to go wrong. And since everything is electronically controlled and likely wired into everything else.....if one things goes crazy, then something else is going to as well.
    I know a company near me that received a new aerial that will swear by this statement. No major problems, but a large number of minor issues with all the "bells and whistles" stuff. The sad part is that they accept that. I don't. Just because you add a lot of stuff doesn't mean it doesn't have to work. This is far from the first piece the company ever made and they should have these issues worked out. Lack of detail leads to lack of quality.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Thumbs up Absolutely!!.................

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Lack of detail leads to lack of quality.

    Outstanding. THAT sums it up VERY well!......
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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