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ALF (Gasp!) question


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I know this is a Mack forum, and I've owned a couple fire trucks, including a B-85 that I still kick myself for selling, but I know that fire truck people tend to like and know about ALL different types.

Besides my B-42 dump, I also currently I own a 1949 ALF pumper (see pic) that I sent off to a repair shop a couple years (yes - years) ago. They have not been able to get it running (there's a much longer story, but I won't bore you with it), and seem to have actually dug a hole that they can't climb out of, and now it's sitting out behind their shop deteriorating.

Is there anyone here that knows of anybody in the Northeast (RI/CT/MA) that is capable of getting an old ALF V-12 running, including synchronizing the carbs? The carbs have been rebuilt by the V-12 shop in TX, but the truck was not running when I dropped it off, and they did not solve the not-currently-running problem (it had run a few months before when it was garaged for the winter) first. So now they have the carbs back, but no baseline to start with to get it going again.

Anyway, they've given up and have actually offered to buy the truck from me. But I have a lot of work into it, and hate to let it go. So if I can find someone that thinks they can get it going again, I'm very tempted to try one more time before taking up his offer and just finding another truck (maybe another B?)...

Any leads would be appreciated....

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cf685f on this site has rebuilt a couple of 700 series with V12's. Try PMing him. Are you a member of the RI SPAAMFAA chapter? Surely someone in the club will know of someone who has ALF V-12 experien

I know this is a Mack forum, and I've owned a couple fire trucks, including a B-85 that I still kick myself for selling, but I know that fire truck people tend to like and know about ALL different ty

i am wondering why they want to buy it from you when they "cant get it running" it really sounds to me like they know exactly what is wrong with it, and have someone waiting to buy it for a lot of mon

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my curiosity makes me reply to your question .is the engine built by alf or is it some other mfgr.? what does the shop tell you will the eng not fire at all or does it try to start and then not run? curious to know more about it

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my curiosity makes me reply to your question .is the engine built by alf or is it some other mfgr.? what does the shop tell you will the eng not fire at all or does it try to start and then not run? curious to know more about it

Excellent question and affects the carb answer.

The carb rebuilder should have the base settings for idle set on the rebuild by a wire gauge and a basic setting for the mixture screws should also be set (about 1/2 turns out). I would ask them.

Setting are do with a TACH, Vacuum Gauge (Good) or a Uni-Sync Gauge (Best)

Pointless to give more info until carlotpilots question is answered. Than I'll give you the same procedure I use to to sync and balance Corvair and Jaguar carbs.

"OPERTUNITY IS MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS DRESSED IN OVERALLS AND LOOKS LIKE WORK"  Thomas Edison

 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’

P.T.CHESHIRE

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cf685f on this site has rebuilt a couple of 700 series with V12's. Try PMing him.

Are you a member of the RI SPAAMFAA chapter? Surely someone in the club will know of someone who has ALF V-12 experience.

Have you checked to see if there is an ALF owner's group on facebook?

If it is a carb issue fuel sprayed into the carb should make it fire. If not them I'd look for an ignition issue. Troubleshooting 101; all it takes to run is fuel, air and a properly timed spark. It may not have power or run smoothly, but it should run.

One last thought; are you sure the batteries are hooked up correctly? Maybe positive ground? My bet it it will turn out to be something simple that a "modern" mechanic has never seen like a positive ground.

And a not so subtle dig; Mack always claimed the the ALF and Seagrave v-12's were more gimmick than substance and that a Mack 6 cylinder would outperform either engine with a higher degree of reliability.

judging from your comment we are dealing with an american la france built v-12 engine correct?

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judging from your comment we are dealing with an american la france built v-12 engine correct?

Very odd v engine, valves are horizontal.

Since the V-12 shop was involved in the carbs/ engine and since all they do are ALF V-12 series engines, maybe they know of a tech near you?

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"OPERTUNITY IS MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS DRESSED IN OVERALLS AND LOOKS LIKE WORK"  Thomas Edison

 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’

P.T.CHESHIRE

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thats some what like a scripps marine

I think Scripps was in on the original design or licence produced a similar engine for WWII USN use in tenders and such.

"OPERTUNITY IS MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS DRESSED IN OVERALLS AND LOOKS LIKE WORK"  Thomas Edison

 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’

P.T.CHESHIRE

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Katrina Falk in Morristown, Indiana used to have a piece of "The V-12 Shop" down in Texas. Don't know what the current status of her involvement in that is, other than she moved to Indiana about a year or year and a half ago. She probably knows more about those V12 (lycoming) engines than all of us guys combined. If you are on Facebook, look her up, might be worth your time to do so.

TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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my curiosity makes me reply to your question .is the engine built by alf or is it some other mfgr.? what does the shop tell you will the eng not fire at all or does it try to start and then not run? curious to know more about it

It's a Lycoming.

TWO STROKES ARE FOR GARDEN TOOLS

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I'm pretty sure I heard it was originally an aircraft engine that was modified for vehicles.

when fire trucks fly LOL I think you`re right that sure is a complicated looking mess for a truck thats supposed to be ready to run instantly

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Wow - thanks for all the responses.

I'll try to hit some of the highlights of the issue/project here:

- Yes, it's an oringinal ALF V-12 Lycoming design motor.

- I'm not a mechanic (that's why I sent it out), so I'm not sure what the shop has or hasn't done exactly, except for re-wiring all 24 spark plugs, which I told them that I had already done right before they got the truck, and to send the carbs out to get rebuilt. However - they are a shop that works mostly on modern diesel fire trucks, and I think he thought it would be a nice "nostalgia" project, and then found out that ALF V-12s are not "normal" motors.

- Since the truck ran in the fall of '12, and then would not start in the spring of '13, when I sent it off, I suggested that I assumed it was ignition/points/coil, etc. Seems to me that those should have been tried first, as they are fairly easy to check, but, again, I'm not sure what they've done or not done, and after 2.5 years, I think it's fruitless to keep working with this shop. Hence, my request for another shop lead. I think he realizes that they are in over their head and out of the realm of what they normally work with.

- I am familiar with Katrina and the V-12 shop. We used to communicate on the ALF user's group, as we both have ALF 700 pumpers, but that site seems to have disappeared in the past year. I have tried to contact Katrina, and all the other contacts listed on the V-12 Shop site, and got no response, so I can only assume at this point that they are either not still there, or simply aren't interested in this particular project. I also can't afford to ship the truck to TX and back. At that point, it would probably make sense to take the current guy's offer and sell it to him.

- I agree that the carbs should have come back set up at least somewhat ready to run, but, since I can't get ahold of Katrina or anyone at the V-12 shop, I can't verify that.

- I'm a "paper" member of the RI SPAAMFA group. Was given a membership last Christmas as a gift, but since my truck has been out of commission, I haven't really been involved with the group, but that will be my next direction to head for inquiries if I opt to continue. I think if the truck were still home, finding a local "guy" through them would be helpful, but since it's already at an out-of-state shop, and not really near RI, at this point, it probably makes sense to find another actual shop that work on it and have it towed there, as simply getting advice from someone doesn't do me much good.

Bottom line is that I don't want to spend $400 to have it towed home, only to have a dead truck sitting in my yard with no other options, so I have to decide if I can find another shop to tow it to without having to make it a full time job, or just take his offer to buy it and look for another rig....

If I had any mechanical ability, I'd just bring it home and find someone to help walk me through the issues, but since it's in western CT, and is not garaged at this point, the more I think about it, I'm thinking that I'll probably just take this guy's offer to buy it....

I'll read through the responses again, and reply to a couple of the threads directly.....

Thanks again!

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that sure is a complicated looking mess for a truck thats supposed to be ready to run instantly

That is why I tell anyone who asks about getting an antique fire truck to steer away from the ALF v-12's. The trucks are an icon in the American fire service, but the engines can be a nightmare.

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

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Hi I think lycombing originally designed the engine in the early 30s for auburn to use in their one of there cars and when they closed American lafrance modified it with dual ignition for its trucks. I have a 1938 junior 400 pumper with that engine mine only has one 2 barrel carb and has always been a good runner. I had trouble starting it at one point and when you got it running it ran bad. My truck has a manifold vacuum pump primer on it. When you pull the primer knob it closes one side of the carburetor off and opens another valve to that side of the intake manifold which sends the vacuum to a priming tank. On mine the second valve got stuck open and half the engine had no manifold vacuum. Mine also has a pump governor that controls the engine speed to the pump output which is mounted under the carb if yours has one it may not be fully open. On a hill the truck does sound kind of Lise an airplane. Dean

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my curiosity makes me reply to your question .is the engine built by alf or is it some other mfgr.? what does the shop tell you will the eng not fire at all or does it try to start and then not run? curious to know more about it

Before I bought it there, I had tried to get it running after being stored for the winter. It would not start, and seemed to not be getting any spark. Since my garage is a bit damp, I assumed that the points probably needed to be cleaned replaced (and a couple of mechanic friends agreed), or that a coil had failed. When talking to the shop, they have never really told me what they looked at, or tried, but just keep insisting that nothing that they have tried has worked.....

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cf685f on this site has rebuilt a couple of 700 series with V12's. Try PMing him.

Are you a member of the RI SPAAMFAA chapter? Surely someone in the club will know of someone who has ALF V-12 experience.

Have you checked to see if there is an ALF owner's group on facebook?

If it is a carb issue fuel sprayed into the carb should make it fire. If not them I'd look for an ignition issue. Troubleshooting 101; all it takes to run is fuel, air and a properly timed spark. It may not have power or run smoothly, but it should run.

One last thought; are you sure the batteries are hooked up correctly? Maybe positive ground? My bet it it will turn out to be something simple that a "modern" mechanic has never seen like a positive ground.

And a not so subtle dig; Mack always claimed the the ALF and Seagrave v-12's were more gimmick than substance and that a Mack 6 cylinder would outperform either engine with a higher degree of reliability.

Ha! My B-85 had the 6 cyl, and always ran great and had plenty of power! I miss it!

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Since the truck ran in the fall of '12, and then would not start in the spring of '13,

This is obviously something simple, and unless the shop royally screwed something up trying to fix it, I would bring it home and find a mechanic to come to your house to get it running.

If they want to buy it as compensation than I would ask them to pay for the tow to your house, or the shop of your choice, in lieu of that.

I sent you a PM with a couple of leads to possibly help you out.

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

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i am wondering why they want to buy it from you when they "cant get it running"

it really sounds to me like they know exactly what is wrong with it, and have someone waiting to buy it for a lot of money once you sell it to them for a song and dance.

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when you are up to your armpits in alligators,

it is hard to remember you only came in to drain the swamp..

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i am wondering why they want to buy it from you when they "cant get it running"

it really sounds to me like they know exactly what is wrong with it, and have someone waiting to buy it for a lot of money once you sell it to them for a song and dance.

That was my thoughts also. Paul

"OPERTUNITY IS MISSED BY MOST PEOPLE BECAUSE IT IS DRESSED IN OVERALLS AND LOOKS LIKE WORK"  Thomas Edison

 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’

P.T.CHESHIRE

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I"m not a firetruck specialist but from what said I agree on the matter of "something simple".

Those shop guys seem "too high cualified diesel techs" to not be able figure out a gasser issue or as was mentioned above have no much interest in bringing the truck to life. Too might be the both reasons.

I'd try to take a look to a common mechanic who just used to deal with old Camaro's or other big carb gas cars.

That sure is truck and with a complicated engine but the general princips are almost the same.

I'd do it right at the yard it is now for first, to not spend cash on towing.

By the word from your point that it was running and and then didn't start after some storage while it might be just a gas quality issue.

And would say it's a nice looking truck, I too hope you'll not have to sell it.

Vlad

Никогда не бывает слишком много грузовиков! leversole 11.2012

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Hmmm..... I thought he only did Macks. Does he work on other makes as well?

Yes, he does.

Никогда не бывает слишком много грузовиков! leversole 11.2012

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