My department is currently considering the possibility of repairing a heavily damaged apparatus. This vehicle is 32 years old and needs approximately $12,000 in repairs to the mechanical systems. In addition to these repairs the frame of the vehicle is heavily dammaged due to corrosion and is nearly rrusted through and wavy in areas. The cost of repairing the frame is as of yet unknown. Does anyone have any information on why these repairs are a bad idea and should not be attempted? I fell there is a sever safety issue with this course of action as well as a lack of sense financialy. All opinions and any info would be greatly appreciated.
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Thread: Repaired Apparatus Frame Safety?
06-15-2007, 10:15 AM #1
- Join Date
- Oct 2004
Repaired Apparatus Frame Safety?
06-15-2007, 11:00 AM #2
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
- New Hampshire
Not worth the money
You are 100% correct in your feelings on fixing this truck. A 32 year old truck is not worth the $12,000.00 to repair it let alone the cost of fixing any frame corrosion. Without seeing the amount of damage to the frame rails I couldn't tell you what would be required but from past experience with apparatus frame issues you are looking at an extremely expensive repair. I have put more units than I can count out of service for good due to frame issues. Most of the time when asked to give an estimate on frame repairs as you are describing my answer is “you don’t have enough money”. And if you do repair this truck you still have 32 year old truck that is worth how much, a few grand. Take a look at Annex D of 1901 and maybe it will help you convince the powers to be that they are wasting their money. Does your state require inspections on fire apparatus? If so is it done legally or just a sticker thrown on by the town garage? You might cause problems for yourself but have a DOT inspector come in and look at the truck. Not only is your safety in jeopardy but that of anyone on the road with that truck as you are tooling around. I can email you some info I have on apparatus safety issues and replacing old apparatus if you give me your address. PM me here or my email at email@example.com
06-15-2007, 12:58 PM #3
- Join Date
- Apr 2007
- Fremont NE
Tell your people 15-20 years is usually the industry standard accepted service life. Your apparatus is likely too old to have a sticker like this but it would still be something to point to because technology and safety concerns have not changed in that much in that area in the last 30 years. Whatever repair $$ estimate they come up with for something with frame problems - $$$$ Double it. Not worth it.
One thing will lead to another and to another. Most apparatus these days have dedicated placards on the frame warning against welding, drilling and repair. TL
Last edited by SSIaerialmanTIM; 06-15-2007 at 01:09 PM.
06-15-2007, 06:29 PM #4
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
NFPA Annex D
Live By It
A 32 year old truck should be brought up to minimum recomendation of safety
As for what is truck currently worth
How much does it weigh
06-15-2007, 10:37 PM #5
Here's another way to look at it.
If the truck is that bad off, it will need a major dissassembly, repairs, possibly upgrades, and all the finish work for what is still 32 year old technology. Take your 12,000 dollars, add the repairs which I'm sure will be $10,000 or possibly far more, and add the pain-in-the-***** factor, and you could very well either buy a solid 15-20 year old engine for much less, or possibly be close to the cost of a "newish" smaller style apparatus.
You can find some damn good, fully compliant pumpers on Firetec and other resale sites for under $30,000. And honestly, don't expect to pay anywhere near the list price on those sites for the older stuff. A local dept just sold a fully operational 1975 Ford 1050 gpm pumper with low miles in flawless condition to a local farmer for $2500. There is just no market for the old girls.
Or if you can find another few grand, a 1985+ rapattack or shorty pumper with maybe even a CAFS unit is often far more effective than a 1975 era 1050gpm pumper. You may be able to get into that for less than $40,000 or so.
Don't risk your personal security or the civil and criminal liability of trying to revive a dead horse.Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!
06-15-2007, 10:44 PM #6
Here's a few examples:
For the $12,000 (list price; again, negotiate) you are already budgeting, you can get into a nice 89 custom KME with a big pump and low miles like this:
Or here are a few others:
You have to do your due diligence and get them inspected, and expect a few thousand in transport expenses (flight out, fuel back, etc.) but this might be a better way to go than your current money pit.Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!
06-16-2007, 10:38 AM #7
- Join Date
- May 2000
- Wheaton IL
Unless the rig has historical value and will spend the rest of it's life at parades or musters I would spend the money on a good used piece. What is it? if not to unusuall you can probably get a newer used one and be able to part out your old rig.
Many manufacturers made the EXACT same rig for decades ALF, Seagrave, Mack. I'd push for that route.
06-17-2007, 09:28 AM #8
The money pit
As everyone above has stated , trying to refurb an antique is a bottomless money pit. We looked into rebuilding a 1982 mini pumper/brush truck a few years ago. By the time the bids came in we would of spent over 50 K to have a modernized 25 year old truck that was only worth about 12 k. a lot of the money was to rebuild the chassis and repair corrosion issues.
We do have a 1952 parade truck that has been kept in running condition but not for front line service.
06-21-2007, 12:34 PM #9
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
If the rig is black over yellow it should be removed from service, taken out in the street and shot. Then replace it with a nice red one.
06-22-2007, 12:01 AM #10
- Join Date
- Jun 2007
As a Air National Guard Firetruck Mechanic and a full time firefighter I would insist on buying a newer apparatus . here are my points for this reasoning.
1 it is illegal to repair the frame of a fire aparatus by dot standards
2 cost will be more than a newer used apparatus.
3 man hours to repair if you try it yourself will be in the thousands
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