Friday, June 14, 2013

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Q2B Installed

Well, that was more of a chore than I anticipated.

First off, let me just gripe a bit about the rats nest under the dash.  Surely some of this is leftover from the removal of radios at some point, but... really?  I looked it over when I brought 17 home and was annoyed at the time, but it had been a while and I forgot how annoying it was.  Look at this mess!

So there was a random, small, single-conductor wire sticking out where the Q used to go.  Much too small to be a supply for a Q, so I thought maybe it was for the siren brake.  Verified that there was power to the siren brake button, but wherever it went after the siren brake (disappeared into an anonymous wire bundle), it did not come out at the pedestal.  Starting at zero, then.

Also, there was still a wire to the Q's foot pedal, which also still had power.  And once again, the sending end disappeared into an anonymous bundle never to be found again.

Clipped back both the random wire at the pedestal, and the siren pedal wires, and securely capped off the hot ends until such time in the future the more complete rewiring can be done and those removed.  Unlike the old stewards of E17, who just disconnected random crap and left it to lay there, dead ends and random-access grounding lugs and such.  GAH!

Ran a new 4-gauge wire right from the battery selector switch to a new 150A circuit breaker, then under the cab to a new starter solenoid.  Stole a hot lead from the solenoid's source and ran a 12-guage to the foot pedal then back to the solenoid actuator terminal.

By the way, I found that my cheap hand tool cutters were no match for 4-gauge wire!  Glad that piece didn't put my eye out when it came off!

4-gauge wire - 1  ----  cheap wire cutters - 0

Then there was the siren brake needing attention.  Ran a new 12-gauge line from there to the pedestal before finding that I had a bad section of wire.  Tested for continuity, and it failed.  Wow, was that frustrating, how often do you get manufacturing defects in wire?  What a chore!  Removed the bad section and restrung it.  I am not a fan of butt-end connectors and prefer all-new wires and terminals, and the siren brake was no exception.  While attempting to remove the terminals from the old siren brake, the 43-year-old circuit board lost a chunk.  Thankfully you can still get this exact starter-type switch at NAPA for about $8.  Short delay, but onward.

Original siren brake switch, may it rest in "pieces"
Got it all finished late last night at about 9:30PM.  A little late to play without annoying the neighbors.

So here it is this morning.

Got a sweet video of the beast winding all the way up and waking up the chickens for miles around (sort of obscure C.W. McCall reference there).  Just as soon as we figure out how to get that video off of my son's iPod, we'll post it here.

Engine 17 has a SIREN, baby!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Q2B - with video

Got an excellent deal from a friend for a Federal Q.  In the early days I wanted to do paint before anything else, but this was driving my crazy, taking 17 out and having just a dinky parade siren widget.  People want a SIREN.

This Q was originally a flush mount, but I also got a pedestal and cowl for it.  Trouble was, for some reason the flywheel housing had been rotated 180 degrees, making it impossible for the pedestal and siren brake to co-exist.  Taking it apart to fix that, I got stuck needing an impact wrench to release the bolt holding the flywheel (the four screws to release and rotate the housing are behind the flywheel), and I don't have an impact wrench.

Took it to the shop guys at work and struck a deal.  If they'd give me ten minutes and access to an impact wrench, they could play with the siren.  They just ended up brushing me aside and doing the work anyway, because guys in coveralls are unable to stand and watch a guy in slacks and a tie do anything at the workbench.

Situation resolved, the Federal Q2B is now ready for installation on E17.  Enjoy the show.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Living in a Fire Station is apparently of national interest

We had a structure fire near our place recently, and due to extremely good luck and favorable circumstances, we were able to save the house.

Yeah I got there first, but I do not deserve full credit, as I could not have stopped the fire completely without all of the help that showed up after I did.  I don't have permission to name names, but let's give it up for the other crews that came out and did the bulk of the work.

The local paper decided, instead of an article on the fire, to do a feature on our newly-discovered status as a live-in family at a fire station:

Volunteer firefighter operates out of rural home in Bear Prairie

I guess no one minds a pat on the back once in a while.  But really, I do love this job, no credit or rewards are required, and I honestly would have been happier to continue to fly under the radar.  Anyway, due to how these things work (when one gets spotted in the media and owes the crew ice cream), this kind of coverage necessitated delivering ice cream enough to cover all shifts at six nearby fire stations across four fire districts.  Cha-ching!

But it gets better.  Or worse, depending on how you see these things.  Firehouse Magazine decided to pick it up:

Rural Wash. Station aka Home Has No Siren, No Pole

And now I hear that the Daily Dispatch also has it linked from their front page.

(Update, now Fire Engineering has picked up the story as well: Volunteer Firefighter Operates Out of Rural WA Home)

I am getting Facebook requests for ice cream from friends all over the country.  Wisely, some of them are noting that ice cream doesn't ship well, and are suggesting certain beers instead.

One of my co-workers turned one of the media photos into this hilarious meme:

Through all this, somehow Engine 17 has escaped mention.  If someone can think of a magic way to turn this media attention into a fundraiser to help fund the restoration 17, that would be terrific.

As one good friend reminded me in the midst of this craziness and my fretting about overexposure, I guess this is my 15 minutes of fame and I should just ride it out and enjoy it.

OK, I'll try.

....  gaaaaaah!!!!

Friday, May 3, 2013

The return of Engine 17

Last year late in the Summer I discovered the front tires were deteriorating, and the breakdown was rapid. Without funds handy to replace the 11R22.5's she had to sit. The cracks got so large that I feared a blowout, so I blocked up her front and deflated the tires.

Seeing a fire engine on blocks is a sad, sad sight. I feel so much guilt every time I look at her!

Then, sometime over the winter, one of my rather young children apparently turned the battery on to play with the pretty lights, and didn't turn it off. By the time I discovered this, the batteries had to have been drained completely dead for weeks. Not sure the batteries will be recoverable or not, that is a little outside of my area of expertise.

However, a friendly benefactor has come forward to assist me with purchasing replacement tires and possibly batteries if needed, and I have a good "in" with a local firefighter who works on large trucks who is willing to bring a service rig up to the house to replace 17's tires on the spot.

Hopefully she'll be back on the road soon so that the tales may continue.


A couple of years ago I registered at so I could get help from the members there. At some point I requested a change to my username, which was granted, but my login never worked again. The password recovery script just locked up with a database error for the longest time. Now it appears to go through, but email ever arrives. No email address was provided for the admin. New registrations were disabled. I have been locked out of for well over a year. I've dropped some notes on Facebook to try to find out who runs the place to get that fixed. If any of you, my faithful and patient readers, happen to know who that is, please let me know.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Ending the Hiatus, and a Tale of Fun

Man it has been soooooo long since I posted, I am so sorry.  I resolved that I needed to write something and get back in the groove, and then noticed that it is two days short of a year since the last post.  I have failed to keep you all entertained and informed, I hope you can forgive.

After obtaining the collection detailed in the previous post, it has been a little more fun to be out and about in an old fire engine that is no longer naked.  The big master stream device, the hard suction, the ladders, and various hoses packed where they go, all makes a better picture.

Speaking of pictures, I have a new camera phone and will try to remember to get some new pics with the equipment installed.

And of course, the Tale of Fun:

My daughter asked if I could take her to the Homecoming dance in E17, and the answer was a resounding Of course.  How about eight people?  Well, not enough seatbelts for that, so we compromised.

E17 arrived at the local burger drive-in a mile or so from the dance, and picked up the party.  Thanks to having the new stuff from the Equipment Grab, there were now four sets of old turnouts available, and the guys in the group each donned a yellow lid to go over their tuxes.  Brilliant.  Everyone piled into the hosebed, and we proceeded slowly and carefully towards the high school.

The kids were waving and hollering hello at everyone they saw, and of course everyone waved back.  Who doesn't wave at kids riding on a fire engine?

But the best part was the arrival.  You see, everyone who is someone at Homecoming wants to impress their dates with stretch limos and stretch Lincolns and stretch Hummers, making a scene as small groups arrive in their fancy rides.

So, there's a long line of a few hundred teenagers waiting in line at the door to get in as expensive cars continue to arrive, and suddenly...

Engine 17 is on scene.

Yes, as we pulled through the parking lot, lights and siren came on and we drove right up to the front door, delivering the eight most-noticed dance attendees of the night.

After that, all those spendy rides were just a long line of cars for the commoners.  You can't beat a fire engine entrance.

For the win.  Have fun at the dance, kids.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Equipment Grab

So, Dad called me out of the blue yesterday. I'm at the fire department's surplus sale, he says, and asks what I might need, and describes some of the stuff lying around. And the prices. Dirt cheap prices!!

He cleaned up, and sounds like he had more fun than even I would have had. He only found out about the sale the day before, not enough time for me to arrange to be there myself.

Long story short, through the silent-bid process he secured the following for Engine 17:

A ground base for securing a deluge monitor.

A 2.5" siamese.

A 2.5" threaded to 3" Storz elbow.

A triple 2.5" inlet deluge monitor. $150!

Twenty-one lengths of miscellaneous hose. Some are knotted (damaged or unfit for use) but this stuff is mainly for decoration, so it is perfect. $5/roll!

Three lengths hard suction, $15 each (only have room for two, so the odd one is up for re-sale at cost). Three ladders, also $15 each. I would have liked a roof ladder and an extension ladder, but I'm not complaining, since E17 presently has zero ladders.

They also have numerous sets of older used turnouts for sale, but without the proper credentials (active FF and note from your agency to prove it) you can't buy them on the spot. I can arrange the credentials easy, so if the price is right I might grab 2-4 sets for costume use when I have riders in a parade of some such.

Score! Thanks Dad!

Also have a neighbor who is thinking about loaning 17 for standby duty while he does some logging nearby. Depending on cost, we may arrange for him to repair 17's tank-to-pump leak and pneumatic pump shift actuator - making it pump capable for his needs - as payment. We shall see.

Summer is pretty much here. Fingers crossed for progress.