1. #1
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    Default Experience with KME?

    I did a search for KME and didn’t find a thread so if it exists I apologize for the duplicate.

    We received a 100’ KME Aerial Cat mid mount platform four months ago and we have found several problems.
    - Intercom mounted unprotected at the turntable so tree branches hit it and it’s already damaged.
    - Breathing air fillter in the bucket, and regulator at the turntable is leaking.
    - The aerial will not work 90% of the time. The PTO engages but the out riggers and high idle will not work. The truck has to be turned off, including the master, and turned on and it will start working. Sometimes this is repeated 5X.
    - The automatic outrigger set up will level the truck but does not lower as it’s supposed to.
    - Plastic cable tray on the 3rd fly section broke.
    - Power steering will not work at times. The truck has to be turned off and on to get it to work.
    - Bucket controls are very jumpy even after the factory rep adjusted them.
    - The ladder will not retract fully using the bucket controls. The turntable has to be used to fully retract the ladder.
    - The most recent was the “Automatic Stow” feature was used and the outriggers retracted and then tried to level the truck while they were fully retracted.

    A neighboring department had several quality control problems with a similar KME mid mount. According to our mechanic KME did not return phone calls for a month about these problems. Recently they agreed to come get it for repair. Has anyone else had problems? BTW the spec. committee did not recommend this truck because of several problems that local departments were having with them (engines and ladders) but the chief decided to award the bid to KME.

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    I dont know what happened with your search, but there have to be at LEAST a dozen threads about problems with KME, and I know of at least one regarding KME Mid Mount towers.

    Call KME and ask them about the one unit that the Philadelphia Fire Department returned to them, and refused delivery of a second......KME will probably hang up on you. Then call Philladelphia Fire Headquartes, ask for the Apparatus & Equipment Officer, and the first thing he will probably ask you is "Do you have about an hour to chat?" or "I'm sorry, I cant talk for that long right now, let me get your number and I will call you back when I have an hour to spare."

    Or, KME & Philly both may possibly say "Sorry, due to ongoing litigation, we will not discuss the issue."
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    I just finished reading several threads. I didn't find any info on the KME Aerial Cat, but I may have overlooked it.
    One thing I noticed was a brand war on some posts. This thread is not intended to bash KME. I was just curious if our problems are unique or common.
    Thanks

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    Local dept around here has a KME engine I believe it is a 96 or 97.

    About 2 months after they took delivery numerous things started going wrong from the pump not engaging to windows falling out of the raised roof.

    Well after about 8 months of court battles they lost and are now stuck with the truck.

    To say the least they now use their old 1977 VanPelt/FordC8000 as their first out rig.

    From these forums I would say there is more bad than good about KME so if people bash the brand dont take it personal.

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    Post Kme Ladder Experience

    Sounds like you have a major problem with your sales rep & dealer service , we have a 2005 Kme Excel pumper and it runs fine without any major problems. Our dealer in New Jersey is ( J.B. Hunt ) they are very good to work with and a phone call away if there is a brake down . Make a phone call to Mr. Kovatch and talk to him about the poor service you have been gettting !...
    Last edited by NewJerseyFFII; 08-20-2006 at 07:03 PM.

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    Nothing personal here. Some of the posts ended up as a bashing contest between preferred brands instead of providing good information and I didn't want that to happen. The committee recommended Pierce but we got KME so now we are stuck with it. BTW does KME use a elctronic steering control sensor to help control steering? I've looked at the owners manual and didn't see anything about it. I can't figure out why the power steering does not work at times. Fluid is good and when it works it is smooth so I don't think that air is in the lines. Seems like it's an electrical problem since turning the truck on / off corrects the problem. If it is a mechanical problem I'm not sure if on / off would make it work.

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    To: Ladder5B , Is your Kme chassis a " Predator " model , if so it will have a ( Class 1 ) mulitplex electrical system a solid state device . It has computer and telephone modem ready interfaces so Kme can reprogram , repair , or diagnose problems right in your fire station !...

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    It seems that KME has had more share of problems than the others. I dont see why anyone would have anything to gain by telling the problems that they have had. No one wants a unreliable rig.
    What amazes me, is that people still by these trucks. Do they only get business because not every apparatus committe investigates the builder, and they are low bid?

    Remember they are good if you want to Keep Mechanics Employed!!

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    I know if you do a search for "KME Problems",, there will be well over 100 threads listed. Yes, some of them will not apply because they are the E-One vs KME vs Pierce type threads.

    I can say from experience that KME does/did have some issues. We had some, but we ended up getting them worked out to the Fire Chief's satisfaction.

    Every manufacturer has their problems. I GUARANTEE it!! It's just a matter of how good your service is after the sale. Part of that is on your sales rep and what kind of service you get from them. The other part is on the actual manufacturer.
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
    We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........
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    Quote Originally Posted by NewJerseyFFII
    Sounds like you have a major problem with your sales rep & dealer service , we have a 2005 Kme Excel pumper and it runs fine without any major problems. Our dealer in New Jersey is ( J.B. Hunt ) they are very good to work with and a phone call away if there is a brake down . Make a phone call to Mr. Kovatch and talk to him about the poor service you have been gettting !...
    WHile it certainly sounds as if the dealer is not helping enough, one would expect any peice of apparatus to work a little better than this at month #4! Too often people here want to blame the dealer for poor service, which may happen, but the manufacturer built the truck with the problems. The list of problems is similar to what we heard and saw while researching our new tower, and why we didn't ever think we'd buy a KME. In all fairness I've heard nothing but good things on their engines and rescues, but next to nothing good abut their towers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NewJerseyFFII
    To: Ladder5B , Is your Kme chassis a " Predator " model , if so it will have a ( Class 1 ) mulitplex electrical system a solid state device . It has computer and telephone modem ready interfaces so Kme can reprogram , repair , or diagnose problems right in your fire station !...
    It is a Predator with a multiplex system. I don't think the computer can diagnose the problem because there was not a fault code (That's what I've been told). Anyway, it's a moot point because some of the problems have to be fixed at the factory. I'm not the mechanic. I drive the truck on my shift and sat on the spec. committee so I've taken an interest in the problems.


    "I dont see why anyone would have anything to gain by telling the problems that they have had."

    Thanks for the input but I totally disagree with you. By telling people the problems we have had a pattern may be established of common issues. With common issues you may find common solutions to these problems. That is why I stated it's not a brand bashing contest at the beginning of the thread. I documented legitimate problems in hopes of finding legitimate solutions. At least I can go back to my mechanic and say "Hey, a lot of people are having the same problems it sounds like a design fault so tell them to fix it right". It it's not a common problem is it an operator issue? Is it a training issue? That is why I mentioned the exact problems.


    "WHile it certainly sounds as if the dealer is not helping enough, one would expect any peice of apparatus to work a little better than this at month #4! Too often people here want to blame the dealer for poor service, which may happen, but the manufacturer built the truck with the problems."

    The story continues! The dealer sold out 4-6 weeks ago.


    Thanks for the responses

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    KME = Keeps Mechanics Employed

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ladder5B

    "I dont see why anyone would have anything to gain by telling the problems that they have had."

    Thanks for the input but I totally disagree with you. By telling people the problems we have had a pattern may be established of common issues. With common issues you may find common solutions to these problems. That is why I stated it's not a brand bashing contest at the beginning of the thread. I documented legitimate problems in hopes of finding legitimate solutions. At least I can go back to my mechanic and say "Hey, a lot of people are having the same problems it sounds like a design fault so tell them to fix it right". It it's not a common problem is it an operator issue? Is it a training issue? That is why I mentioned the exact problems.
    I've been studiously staying out of this one because I don't want to be in the postion of bashing anyone, regardless of what I think of them. But with any luck, my comment now won't do that.

    One of the organizations that I belong to is the Technology & Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations. That group is celebrating its 50th anniversary. TMC is an organization of fleet maintenance managers and executives. One big thing that led to its formation is captured in 5B's comment about sharing problems.

    Motor carrier fleets frequently purchase a bunch of trucks at a time. Might be two, might be twenty, might be 200 or any other number. And invariably, problems would crop up with some or all. In most cases, many of the trucks from one builder would come down with the same problem(s).

    The fleet manager would get ahold of the sales organization and complain about them. The almost invariable response would be, "You're the only ones we've heard that from, you must be doing something wrong. No one else is having that problem, we never heard of it before."

    After TMC formed, and the members started meeting periodically, sharing their experiences, suddenly the truck manufacturers began to change their tune. No longer could they go into a fleet shop and BS a person one level above a shade tree mechanic. Now they found out that they were dealing with managerial and executive level people, many with college degrees and many who began their careers on shop floors.

    Now, most truck builders and component suppiers have (non-voting) memberships in TMC. When TMC meets, the manufacturers send representatives. When the customers speak, they LISTEN! TMC, with input from manufacturers, has developed a set of "Recommended Practices." It now is in two volumes. One is Recommended Maintenance Practices, the other is Recommended Engineering Practices.

    Our spec referenced Recommended Engineering Practices in many places. One builder came back with "What's all this?" and "Who's TMC?" And that manufacturer has a TMC membership! The last meeting I went to, they had a rep there. Same old bullbleep, different setting.

    There's a lot more, but the point that I want to make is this: Sharing our knowledge and experience isn't superfluous, it's very important. We have everything to gain from it.

    Here in Montgomery County, Pa., we have an Engineers' Association. We meet every couple of months, and guess what we talk about. As a bonus, my TMC membership gets me access to component suppliers' people who I can tap as guest speakers. You can't place a value on the knowledge that we gain.

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!
    Last edited by chiefengineer11; 08-21-2006 at 05:59 PM.

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    Ladder5B
    If i can ask, what department do you run with and where are you located at. Reason being i agree with getting your points out about the issues with the vehicle, i run currently 3 KME's in my department, 2 pumpers and a 102' tower and just purchased a 4th KME pumper, predator chassis, now i am located about 15 miles from the plant where they are built, and i am friends with a very large amount of people at KME. due to most of them live in our surronding communites and most are also firefighters, reason i am posting is, i would like to help you get your problems solved. i agree every vehicle runs into issues. but i would like to help you get back on track with yours. So if you can give me some information on your vehicle i would be happy to make a contact and help get your problems corrected. even if you would like you can email me also, c229@ptd.net I understand a few people on here would bash KME even if they gave them a fire truck, and you are more then welcome to, but again as i always say, those that live in glass houses should not throw stones, i could come on here and rip a few manufactors for issues that my neighboring departments had with there vehicles, will I, NO, that is not professional in any manner. So yes i am pro KME, have no reason not to be, so if you want to write me with your issues please do and i will see if i can do my best to help you out, stay safe out there

    Donald

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    Its ok to like KME or anybody else for that matter. The bashing is not always based on issues or such but perceptions real or imagined. Thus some places will NOT so much as entertain a visit by a certain company's reps. Why? Cause they have a jaundiced view of all of that firms output. Its not something concrete. Its taste or a vision of the department all this all that or split orders of 2 of the better preferred.

    Yet even the large metro departments that are having some serious problems and have refused some new deliveries which are now in a legal tug-of-war, still that same department has an enormous fleet of that builder's other kinds of vehicles. So, they are looking to refurb all these units to extend their life-span and usefulness. No doubt the original builder will get a fair shake on that project as to snagging a refurb contract.
    Last edited by oldestwiseowl; 08-22-2006 at 03:49 AM. Reason: omission

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM
    Too often people here want to blame the dealer for poor service, which may happen, but the manufacturer built the truck with the problems.
    Exactly. I'm not sure why people insist on putting the onus on the dealer either, especially when it involves issues related to the MANUFACTURE of the apparatus, not the service of it. Last I checked, dealers don't build the trucks.

    Now, I would agree that if you have a lousy dealer, you'll have trouble getting factory defects, warranty work or other service issues worked out. That goes without saying. But to put the blame on the dealer for factory issues/defects just four months into the life of the truck is bordering on absurd.

    When we spec'd our midmount tower a few years ago, we looked at KME, ALF and Pierce. KME was at the bottom of everyone's list for quite a few reasons. The ALF faired a bit better, but in the end neither could match the build quality, features or customization we got with the Pierce. Is it a perfect truck? Of course not, but any issues we did have when it was new were corrected immediately. There were two notable issues we had. Firstly, a few days after delivery and while out training, the torque converter on the transmission had a catastrophic failure (an Allison issue, not Pierce). A few days later the truck was flatbedded to the local Detroit Diesel service center for repair and has been fine ever since. Secondly, the bucket seemed to drop a bit over time while bedded. The Pierce engineers looked into it and decided to upgrade the pistons on the bucket with larger ones. They were replaced on our truck and wrote into the spec for all future trucks, as well as offering to retrofit for any other customer having similar issues. I don't think you can ask for better factory support than that, and our dealer is top notch as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chauffer6
    Secondly, the bucket seemed to drop a bit over time while bedded.
    This sounds oddly the opposite of some issues we were told about where the bucket lift out of the cradle while at idle witht he PTO engaged. My understanding was an issue with the "auto bucket levelling" system. Evidentially Rocky Hill, CT's truck did this unbeknownst to them and didn't quite fit under a train trestle on the way back to the station.
    As a matter of fact Chauffer6, on our tower tour last summer we tried to see your Hillcrest Peirce tower, but no one was around. Nice station! Couldn't get in to to see the truck, but the hall? Nice.

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    but any issues we did have when it was new were corrected immediately.
    Wish we could say that.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM
    This sounds oddly the opposite of some issues we were told about where the bucket lift out of the cradle while at idle witht he PTO engaged. My understanding was an issue with the "auto bucket levelling" system. Evidentially Rocky Hill, CT's truck did this unbeknownst to them and didn't quite fit under a train trestle on the way back to the station.
    As a matter of fact Chauffer6, on our tower tour last summer we tried to see your Hillcrest Peirce tower, but no one was around. Nice station! Couldn't get in to to see the truck, but the hall? Nice.
    Well, what would happen is that the bucket would be pretty level after you bedded it, but over a few hours time it would drop enough that the front of the bucket was actually resting right on the diamond plate on top of the rear section of the body. Once you powered up the PTO, the bucket would perk right up, leading us to believe it was a hydraulic leak issue at first. I know they replaced the two bucket pistons with slightly larger ones, which completely alleviated the problem. As far as I remember, they determined it to be an issue across the board, but I could be wrong. It has been 4 years and I'm getting a bit senile in old age lol. Actually, the funny thing is that if you look at the bucket now when bedded, it actually sticks UP quite a bit, which is something we should probably correct before we hit something with it (although that obviously hasn't been an issue...yet). I suppose that's only a matter of manually adjusting and resetting the auto-level. Really the only gripe anyone has about the truck is the rear overhang, and we've already smashed it up pretty good on a mutual aid call. Obviously that's an issue with most midmount designs, but it still takes a lot of getting used to. It certainly doesn't help when guys drive it like they're driving one of the pumpers.

    Sorry about no one being around, we would've been more than happy to take you guys out for a ride and let you play with the truck if we knew you were coming. As far as the station, well...let's just say that sometimes beauty really is only skin deep.
    Last edited by Chauffer6; 08-22-2006 at 11:02 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Wish we could say that.
    Yeah, that sucks and I know the feeling. Our relationship with Pierce dealers hasn't always been a great one. A few years back we decided to take a firm stand with the factory, and I'm glad we did. I don't wanna go into details publicly, but there were some changes made that we benefited from and have been pretty content since that time.

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    Default To: Bones42

    I was told by a few local fire departments that " Fire & Saftey Services " of Piscataway, N.J. , the Pierce dealership is very good to deal with on warranty type problems on fire apparatus !....
    Last edited by NewJerseyFFII; 08-22-2006 at 08:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NewJerseyFFII
    I was told by a few local fire departments that " Fire & Saftey Services " of Piscataway, N.J. , the Pierce dealership is very good to deal with on warranty type problems on fire apparatus !....
    That's who we deal with now, and we're quite happy with them. Stand up guys.

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    Donald:

    I am with the Terre Haute Fire Department. We are located approx. 70 miles west of Indianapolis on I-70.
    I appreciate the offer to contact your friends at KME but remember that I didn’t encourage it. I hate to have unpaid vacations for breaking the chain of command. However, if you want to make the call and say “Hey, I heard Terre Haute was having problems can you help them out?” that would be great. As a side note the truck is out of service and a factory rep is picking it up and taking it back to the factory for repairs.

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    With the last Pierce we got they were very good. With the latest one, it almost seems as if they aren't quite familiar enough with the new systems to adequately repair them. I'm sure they will get it all straightened out, it's just taking time. I'm just not a big fan of "accepting" lots of minor issues on something new just because it's new and there is so much on it. Also, they have been excellent salespeople to work with as far as the entire speccing/purchasing process. I'd highly recommend them for that.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    With the last Pierce we got they were very good. With the latest one, it almost seems as if they aren't quite familiar enough with the new systems to adequately repair them. I'm sure they will get it all straightened out, it's just taking time. I'm just not a big fan of "accepting" lots of minor issues on something new just because it's new and there is so much on it. Also, they have been excellent salespeople to work with as far as the entire speccing/purchasing process. I'd highly recommend them for that.
    I hear ya Bones, and I definitely agree. It is frustrating when the dealer's service dept appears to not be keeping up with the new technology introduced by the manufacturer. Sometimes I almost feel like there is so much competition out there that the manufacturers rush the new bells and whistles out quicker than they have a chance to properly train their sales and service network.

    We've dealt with F&SS's service dept a few times already, and on balance have been pleased with the results. Then again, we haven't had any issues to date with the midmount's multiplex system. I have heard of other depts having issues with it though. The only experience we've really had with the service dept was for mechanical or collision damage repair.

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