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....Another bad accident with an antique rig (PPP Muster, Hbg Pa. 7/13/2013)


1958 F.W.D.
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ANTIQUE FIRE APPARATUS OWNERS: There have been two high-profile accidents within the last two weeks involving antique rigs- one having a fatality. The most recent one (yesterday) occurred during the parade for the annual Pennsylvania Pump Primers Muster in Harrisburg, Pa. Although the reports are still unclear as to what happened, at least two, if not three rigs were involved and one was towed away. This accident also may have involved some parked cars. Thankfully there were no injuries reported with the PPP/Harrisburg accident. Both of these accidents are being attributed to a sudden and total loss of brakes. Again reports are third-hand and investigations are still underway, however it goes without saying:

**ARE YOU PERFORMING PROPER PREVENTIVE MAINTENANCE?**
*ARE YOU PERFORMING PRE-TRIP INSPECTIONS OF YOUR DRIVELINE EQUIPMENT?*

No, you are not delivering freight, you are not operating the vehicle every day and you are not putting high amounts of miles on it weekly. However that DOES NOT RELIEVE YOU from ensuring that your antique rig is road-worthy and safe to drive- not only for yourself and for other motorists. Additionally, just because many states (Pennsylvania being one of them) relieve you from annual safety inspections- does not relieve you from the due diligence of ensuring your rig is ready to go.

In light of these occurrences, I predict annual safety inspections to be mandated by SPAAMFAA for members very soon. Are you ready? Are you ready whether you are a member of SPAAMFAA or not????

TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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Here here!

It always disturbs me that someone will buy an antique apparatus and not go through the brake system to ensure it is in proper operating condition. As we all know the old stuff does not use dual master cylinders, so a failure of any line will result in the complete loss of brakes.

Brake fluid is hygroscopic (unlike WC Fields it likes and attracts water) so it will cause steel lines to rust out from the inside. One of the necessary evils of owning an old rig is replacing the brake fluid on a regular basis to prevent this and replacing old brake lines even if they look ok from the outside. If you plan to keep the rig for awhile and you don't want to do this than use stainless brake lines; the expense is worth it.

If the rubber hoses have any cracks or brittleness they must be replaced as well. I always replace them all when I do the brakes on a truck. I also use brand new hardware if I can get it. Trying to save $50.00 to $100.00 by not replacing them seems pretty foolish to me.

If you are not mechanically inclined than suck it up and take it to a shop to have it done. It is part of the price of ownership and compared to the cost of fighting a lawsuit, or worse, it is cheap.

Money, sex, and fire; everybody thinks everyone else is getting more than they are!

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Did the Harrisburg accident occur in the parking lot or on the street? I saw the striking rig as it was towed past the muster - significant front end damage. I saw two people in it when it came into the Farm Show parking lot - was surprised that no one had a least minor injuries.

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Mack458; What kind of rig did you see on the hook?

Carl, if the information I received is correct, it is the WLF Fireball owned by a NJ gentleman who is a regular at the PPP muster. Souces state the accident was not his fault, that he was rear-ended.

TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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The truck I saw was the Ward LaFrance. From what I saw it only had front end damage but I was viewing it from a lower angle and from the right side. The truck had damage to the right front end with the sheet metal pushed into the passenger door. The passenger door was pushed back significantly at the bottom, not so much at the top. I did not notice any rear end damage but I was focused on the front end.

I remember commenting to someone when it pulled into the parking lot that is was a well restored or very clean original truck.

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The truck I saw was the Ward LaFrance. From what I saw it only had front end damage but I was viewing it from a lower angle and from the right side. The truck had damage to the right front end with the sheet metal pushed into the passenger door. The passenger door was pushed back significantly at the bottom, not so much at the top. I did not notice any rear end damage but I was focused on the front end.

I remember commenting to someone when it pulled into the parking lot that is was a well restored or very clean original truck.

Later today I learned that it was indeed the fully restored 1963 Ward Lafrance owned by a close friend of mine. I have not spoken to him, going to let things cool off for a few days and maybe call him later this week. It has hydro-vac juice brakes. Many rumors that he lost the brakes and rear-ended another rig.

TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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What a shame. Randy, not to change the subject, but I have had many discussions over the years concerning the tiller man on a ladder truck. I maintain when they are taking a turn, say a right hand turn, then he would turn the steering wheel to the right just like the driver of the tractor, that would turn the trailer wheels left to make the corner, am I correct? Paul

RONCETTI

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Paul, the tillerman turns the wheel OPPOSITE the tractor's steer axle. The whole idea is to keep the trailer as straight/inline with the tractor as possible and when possible (sometimes articulation is needed like around a VERY sharp corner.) I was taught to pick a point on the tractor's cab- maybe a center antenna or a marker light and to keep the center of the tiller cab (the steer column) as close to that center point as possible. If the tractor is making a right hand turn, YOU TURN LEFT. This keeps the entire vehicle straight.

The other thing that you have to do is to count your turns by 1/4ths. Every good tiller company has the wheel marked in some fashion with an arrow pointed straight up for "centered." When you make a turn, its always a good idea to announce in your head or out loud as you turn the wheel..."One fourth. One half. Three fourths....." and so on.....That way when it's time to recover (straighten the trailer steer axle back out as you finish the turn around a corner) you can recover backwards the same number of turns that you originally made by announcing in reverse the 1/4 turns you made- or else you could cause the trailer to dog-leg or crab track and wipe out cars or trucks parked or waiting on either side of you.

TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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Hi Randy, So I was wrong and actually the loser in the arguments. I understand the wheels have to go left on a right hand corner but wouldn't it be easier to gear it so the tiller man just steers like he's driving a car or the tractor even though the wheels go the opposite direction, he can still do his 1/4 turn compensations? Paul

RONCETTI

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The story I got from an attendee was that a 1924 Prospect owned by a PPP member with mechanical brakes struck a parked car, supposedly after the "loss of brakes", and that vehicle was in turn rear ended by another truck in the parade (the WLF??).

It would be nice to get the full story from someone in the know.

Money, sex, and fire; everybody thinks everyone else is getting more than they are!

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I understand the wheels have to go left on a right hand corner but wouldn't it be easier to gear it so the tiller man just steers like he's driving a car or the tractor even though the wheels go the opposite direction, he can still do his 1/4 turn compensations? Paul

Try to do a mental picture of how a trailer tracks behind the tractor, especially if the driver cuts the corner too closely with the tractor. The wheels of the trailer cut an angle to the inside of the tractors path resulting in struck curbs, parked cars , etc.

The job of the tiller person is to steer the wheels of the trailer in the same track as the pulling unit to prevent that. Going around corners is actually pretty intuitive and easy, what throws a lot of trainees is trying to keep/get the trailer in-line with the tractor when they are going straight.

A good tractor driver makes it so the tiller person doesn't have to do much, but if he/she wants they can make life miserable for the tiller person by cutting every corner short. The real trick in tillering is backing the trailer up. The steering wheel is turned in the opposite direction of where you want to go and will get you talking to yourself very quickly.

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Money, sex, and fire; everybody thinks everyone else is getting more than they are!

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So fxf, you just turn the steering wheel in the direction you want the wheels to go and forget that your not driving a cat or tractor. In other words you steer the wheel in the direction you want the trailer to swing. The other thing I noticed that most ladder trailers had single wheels, not dual, wasn't that a lot of weight for just 2 wheels. Paul

RONCETTI

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Try to do a mental picture of how a trailer tracks behind the tractor, especially if the driver cuts the corner too closely with the tractor. The wheels of the trailer cut an angle to the inside of the tractors path resulting in struck curbs, parked cars , etc.

The job of the tiller person is to steer the wheels of the trailer in the same track as the pulling unit to prevent that. Going around corners is actually pretty intuitive and easy, what throws a lot of trainees is trying to keep/get the trailer in-line with the tractor when they are going straight.

A good tractor driver makes it so the tiller person doesn't have to do much, but if he/she wants they can make life miserable for the tiller person by cutting every corner short. The real trick in tillering is backing the trailer up. The steering wheel is turned in the opposite direction of where you want to go and will get you talking to yourself very quickly.

Carl is dead on when it comes to a good or bad driver (tractor) ......makes all the difference in the world. Some guys.... all you have to do is basically hold the wheel straight. Others you struggle to keep up....I was taught when backing up.....hold the bottom of the steering wheel and just push it in the direction you want to go....hands never leave the bottom....or bad things happen. Like soda machines on the apparatus floor self-destructing!!!!
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The story I got from an attendee was that a 1924 Prospect owned by a PPP member with mechanical brakes struck a parked car, supposedly after the "loss of brakes", and that vehicle was in turn rear ended by another truck in the parade (the WLF??).

It would be nice to get the full story from someone in the know.

Carl, that version is completely dead wrong. I spoke to the owner of the WLF today and got it straight from the horses mouth. Call me tomorrow.

TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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. The real trick in tillering is backing the trailer up. The steering wheel is turned in the opposite direction of where you want to go and will get you talking to yourself very quickly.

Backing is easy if you remember to hold the wheel at the bottom and turn it in the direction you want the trailer to go in.

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TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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wouldn't it be easier to gear it so the tiller man just steers like he's driving a car or the tractor even though the wheels go the opposite direction, he can still do his 1/4 turn compensations? Paul

NO.

This was tried by by Seagrave at some point, and it failed miserably. Not only is the true steering needed for navigating streets, but it is also useful for when you need to position the rig on a fireground for most efficient use of the aerial. A good driver and a good tillerman will get that rig into places a short wheelbase engine company could only dream of. Better to have the true directional steering so that everyone is on the same page without confusion. I know of at least two rigs built by Seagrave with the reversed gearing and they were converted back to true directional in a rapid orderly military manner.

TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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NO.

This was tried by by Seagrave at some point, and it failed miserably. Not only is the true steering needed for navigating streets, but it is also useful for when you need to position the rig on a fireground for most efficient use of the aerial. A good driver and a good tillerman will get that rig into places a short wheelbase engine company could only dream of. Better to have the true directional steering so that everyone is on the same page without confusion. I know of at least two rigs built by Seagrave with the reversed gearing and they were converted back to true directional in a rapid orderly military manner.

RONCETTI

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OK, Its making sense to me now. My dorm room was across the street from the busiest fire station in Boston on Huntington Ave. I remember it was common practice for them to return to the station using sirens because usually by the time they started backing in they were off to another fire and sometimes just go right by the station. It was located about 500 feet from a busy intersection also. Huntington was the main road for commuters coming into the city from the west as the Mass Pike wasn't there yet. In the center was the trolly line with two sets of track boarded by sidewalk making the tracks like any normal rail line sitting on ties. I remember sometimes those trucks couldn't get through the 2 lanes of traffic and would go straight across the street over the curbing and the tracks, I then understood why there were always wreckers towing those trucks back for repairs in Dorchester.

RONCETTI

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My dorm room was across the street from the busiest fire station in Boston on Huntington Ave.

That is the same truck company, L26, where Lt. Kelly was killed when they ran the ladder truck into a building last year. Very sad event.

My Dad and I used to catch a ride with the DC that was quartered there every now and then when I was a very young lad.

For years the BFD never turned the red lights off on the rigs, coming or going, but I can never recall them using sirens to return. They did hold with tradition and rang the bell on occasion when returning. (The original purpose of ringing the bell was to signify that the apparatus was returning, not responding, before red lights and sirens were used.)

Money, sex, and fire; everybody thinks everyone else is getting more than they are!

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