So, in reading a few of the articles on the front page today, I came across an article about a department in New York that wants to purchase a new ladder truck. Now I don't know all of the information as far as call volume on the ladder truck, if it was refurbished by the manufacturer or by a local company. That being said I am a big fan of volunteer departments refurbishing apparatus. Not only is it cost effective, I think the last figures that I saw on a factory rebuild were around 100k for a rebuild when a new apparatus would have cost about 300k if not more.

Now in reading that article it seems like the truck was rebuilt a few years ago so a new truck would just be adding onto costs that to me are a waste, again not having all the information on the truck itself. I know of a department in my area that had a few old Mack pumpers that were sent for factory rebuild in like 1996 that are in their reserve fleet and still being used in training and if a front line apparatus goes down. As well as a large department in the next state over that is still using an old Ladder truck from the 70s that has been rebuilt a few times as a reserve apparatus.

So with that being said what is your take on the situation..

Rebuild apparatus or Purchase new

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It becomes a cycle of diminishing return depending on the age and what work needs to be done. One of my POC FDs had a 1974 Mack CF engine, we had 2 companies come in and give us estimates to refurb it and possibly enclose the cab.  A  refurb to include fixing any body rust and paint, replacing wiring, rebuilding the pump and valves, resealing the metal tank, updating warning lights and other chassis work was over $100,000.  We never even asked for the price on the enclosed cab hearing that.  Why dump that much into what was then a 35 year old rig?  Fiscally that would have been idiotic.

The other side is I would like to know where you can buy a new aerial for $300K.  The reality is unless you are buying bare bones nothing apparatus today you can expect to spend roughly $350k to $700k for an engine, and between $500k to over a million dollars for a ladder truck depending on whether it is a Quint, a tower or a straight stick.  Refurbing a ladder truck and only dropping $100k doesn't buy you much, probably not more than rust repair, repaint and some lighting upgrades.  I'm not sure that would make me feel very secure if we are talking about a 25-40 year old ladder truck.

Too many people look at a refrb as making the rig pretty again and not really digging into what needs to be done to make it safe, efficient, and proper for continued service.  if done right, on a rig that it makes sense to do it to, refurbs can be a cost effective way to extend service life. Done wrong, or on a rig that shouldn't even be considered for a refurb, it is a waste of time and money and adds to the difficulties of those responding on it.   

The prices that I put up were just a number to show differences, Wasn't saying for a fact that it would be 300k, so i do apologize if it came across that way I should have been more specific. Most apparatus that I have seen had done were mainly on engines either replacing chassis and power train or making improvements from their Ill see if i can find some of the photos of the apparatus that I have seen that have been refurbed and worked out. 

I know trucks that were built in 1980 that are still first out apparatus in some departments with a factory rebuild in the mid 90s to early 2000s most apparatus now a days are built to last at least 20 years if maintained properly with 10 years front line and 10 years to possibly 20 years in reserve service from the manufacturers that I have spoken with now most of those are local and not big name that use alot of chassis that are easily interchangable

So I am going to do some more research in this aspect and see what I can find would love to make this a conversation thread although it does seem that the forums here and starting to die out a little bit

WOW!  I expected this to be a lively discussion.  Guess I am kind of disappointed.

you and me both I would have loved to have this become an actual conversation instead of just the two of us going back and forth.  Thinking these forums are starting to take a downturn a little bit.

Maybe it's the storms out east?

possibly but seems like it has been going on for a few weeks now not just during the storms

Refurbs, in order to make sense need to be done long before a rig is run into the ground.

defiantly needs to be done before the apparatus is ran into the ground. But in response to kyle's post I have never seen a refurb come close to a new apparatus even with a drivetrain refurb and an update we did one on a quint that had been wrecked and only cost us about 250k when a new quint would have been easily 500k or more

Depends on how it is done.  Too many people look at a refurb as rust repair, lighting updates, and pump maintenance.  That is NOT a true refurb.  The truth is the pump may need to be completely rebuilt or replaced, and the engine and transmission may need to be rebuilt.  Axles, brakes, wiring may all need to be replaced.  The rig may need to be disassembled to do proper repairs.  Sometimes the glider kit idea is better than rebuilding and updating the body and components.

We looked at taking the 22 year old  SS tank off our old 85 GMC C80 tanker and placing it onto a new truck. We were looking at $135,000 to do so. When said and done we would have a New Truck with a 22 year old tank on it. Knowing that the truck would not be replaced for another 20 years we decided that we couldn't take the chance on the tank holding up for another 20 years.

We also had the 91 Chevy Bread truck for a rescue. If we had a 5 year old drive it then we stayed under the Max weight limit on the truck. So we looked at having the suspension redone and making the needed repairs to get it back up to safe and proper working conditions and the cost to do so was over $85,000.

We paid  $267,000 for a New Tanker. No extras on it. Tax Payer money. We paid $16,000 for a 2001 heavy rescue form our own account. We had to make some changes and repairs plus paint which cost around another $2000.00.

I sold the old rescue for $8300.00 to a guy in NJ that started a mobile communication emergency vehicle out of it. I also sold the old tanker to a department in TN for $16,000 that went to the village and they put that money toward the payments on the new truck.

So i guess after looking at refurbishing 20 year old fire apparatus and the cost that goes with it, I'm not sure why you would. I realize that some departments don't have the money to buy new trucks. If you keep looking there are always good used trucks that may need some work but will be cheaper then refurbishing a old truck.  


My Company has a 16 year old Tower. We started the replacement process over a year ago. Currently have a Rear Mount Tower that just doesn't meet our needs in a North East Urban area=====Tight Streets and not alot of set backs with no more than 5 story buildings. This led us to purchase a 1973 Aerialscope with the hopes of remounting it onto a new chassis. From three manufacturers prices came back at $798K to 980K. Taking a very similar spec and looking at new we received prices at 1 million to 1.15 million. Which is the smarter purchase? Our money people pushed toward new. Mostly because they didn't understand the remount process.....

The whole thing is a tough decision. Its a shame to see so many used pieces just sit and rust away, but you have to make the best financial decision.

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