Friday, November 20, 2009

Engine 17 Gets Hosed

So Dad is perusing Craigslist, looking for stuff, because, you know, there's stuff out there.

Lo and behold he stumbles on a listing for old fire hose, and he has contacted the offering party for more information and then lets me in on what he's up to.

It is my intention to outfit Engine 17 with equipment appropriate to the period when she was new, so I ask him a little more about it. I would prefer old style cotton-jacketed hose, or at least I'd like to avoid the new plastic stuff that we use today, but seriously, can I afford to be all that picky right now?

Really, I am not even looking for equipment for the most part unless - like this - it falls into my lap. Paint and mechanicals are more important to me, overall.

As it turns out, it is the Northshore Fire Department that is unburdening itself of old hose no longer fit for duty. It can carry water, sure, but for various reasons is no longer fit for use on the rig when lives are on the line. And what is available? Lots of 5" LDH.

So, Dad picks up 400' of LDH. Does that make his Buick wagon a "Hose wagon" while he's carrying it? Yes, of course it does.

So, while Engine 17 did not carry this stuff in 1970, she most certainly did by the time she was retired from Tacoma front-line duty in 1987. So, OK, I can work with that. And.... there is that word.... FREE.

So, thanks NSFD and BC Jones, for the donation to old Engine 17, which is very appreciated. And I promise if for some goofy reason we actually deploy and charge a supply line at a SPAAMFA muster and one of these things lets go, it won't be your fault. If your name is still on the hose (I haven't seen it in person yet), I will be sure to remove it and protect you!

And now, a new 'want' to go with this stuff: A Storz-compatible steamer intake gate.

There's always something, isn't there?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Some Random Pics and Comments

Engine 17 is now probably pretty much parked for the season. It's going to be a long dry spell on the blog. Perhaps I can fill it with pictures and comments about not much. I mean, really it provides no special value or progress on the project, but allows you to get a little closer to the rig than otherwise.

So, here she is, parked under cover. So far the precipitation is staying more or less off the left side, but I am watching things to see how that goes. I may install a hanging tarp or something on that side if necessary. Heated and sealed storage would be best of course, but not really an option right now.

I remember looking at this panel as a kid (on Engine 8, but same thing) and just not being able to make sense of it. Water goes in somewhere and out somewhere, and I see the valve controls, but other than that...??? As I look at it now, it is not a mystery any more, although some of the components are of course old school by today's standards. I guess that's what almost 17 years of fire service experience does for you. It is clear there will be hours spent cleaning and tidying this panel up.
Driver's front fender kick plate. I'm not sure if this can be re-chromed or not. The officer's side plate is pretty much pristine, though. Although there are plenty of locations on Engine 17 which suggest rust and age, it is amazing to me how little there really is when you think about the kind of life a fire engine leads and that she is about 40 years old.
More later, I suppose. If there is any part of the engine you'd like to see much more close up, let me know.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Engine 17 Takes in a Service Call

Another beautiful day, perfect for taking 17 out, time permitting.

However, time was not on my side, lots of projects to do today.

One of the projects: Restarting the dead '99 Suburban Diesel that has been languishing at the back of the driveway for months. We'd like to get its brakes fixed and its 4WD working again before the snows come. Seeing as how we live at the 1000' level at the foothills of some southwestern Washington mountains, snow and slippery inclines are a part of winter life.

Suburban was dead. Really, really dead. Someone in the family below the age of 6 - not naming names - is likely responsible for the dome lights being turned on at some point in the past.

Hooked up the charger, and set to full boost. Fifteen minutes later, could barely get it to turn over. If you've never had to deal with it before, just know that dead Diesels are HARD to start.

Time is short.

Calling Engine 17.

She's got two big battery banks, you know.

Pulled her on over, hooked her up, and ran the throttle control to bring up the RPMs on the faithful Detroit Diesel plant.

It still took about 20 minutes of that to get the 'Burb to start! With a cloud of smoke and protest it came to life. Got the 'Burb down to the shop, hopefully with a good charge on its batteries in the process.

Thanks, 17!