Hello everyone. I just wanted to share some pictures of an awesome Ward Lafrance/Maxim that I am proud to say I am restoring and showing off at truck shows and musters. I wish I could say I was completely happy about it, but the events leading to me getting the truck are not exactly what I dreamed.
A few months ago our only attack engine had failed its pump test and the testing agent told us the impeller was going bad, which is an expensive repair. We are a small department with an even smaller budget, so I reached out to my brothers and sisters on these firefighter web sites I belong to and within days, I started to chat with an assistant chief about an hour away from us, and he said they just got a brand new engine, it was due to arrive within 2 weeks and they had an older 1980 Ward they were going to scrap. In fact, that NIGHT they were going to strip it and bring it to the scrap yard, which broke their hearts because it was still an excellent truck with lots to still offer, but they couldnt sell it and they didnt have the space to keep it. He told me that it was ours to have if we picked it up.
They saved us...BUT...Our "commisioners" were too proud, too silly to not put this truck in service, they told me "We dont want other peoples junk!" ?!?!?!?!?! I told them that beggars cant be choosers, and I worked with a truck like this in a past department that was a 1978 Ward and it was a work horse. They still wanted to spend the money to fix their Ford Front mount 2 man cab 1000/1000 from 1986. They spent thousands of dollars and when we got the engine back, it BARELY passed the second pump test, the truck would barely put out 500 GPM's with TWO 6" inch suction hoses drafting.......They still put it back in service, so now we have an engine that will barely give us 500 GPM's as our front line attack.
This baby that I have now still pumps full capacity with very little work and is still a gorgeous truck. I salute the department that gave us this truck and was not going to let my department get rid of it without trying to get it myself and be able to take proper care of it, so to the department that gave us this, do not worry, I will restore it to its former glory and show it at musters and shows. I will take pictures and send them to you as I progress and keep you posted...Thanks again from those of us that wanted the truck, you will be remembered through this truck and all i accomplish with it.
Goos luck with the restoration Moose! Too bad your department couldn't get the commissioners to put it in service, it looks like a clean engine that was well taken care of. What are some of the things you have planned to do to it?
Why take someone's junk when we can keep our own! Pride can be a funny thing.
Moose the Engine looks good. A little cleaning and a polish. I would suggest getting some history about the rig and copies of any photos from the original department, put them on a story board for display at the musters that you attend. Enjoy your project, it can be very rewarding.
I am glad someone had the sence to save a nice unit that still works. I hope the restoration goes smoothly. Keep us posted.
Thanks guys. @ Nathan, I plan to take it to working musters in Syracuse NY. They have an annual muster and competition with antique apparrattus drafting from a large pond, with judges and trophies, then a dinner/award banquet. I have an in-law that does this and he always talks about it, I started to get interested in it, and now I have the truck to do it. I will ask a few friends in my department to come with me as I will need guys manning nozzles and help to set the truck up and draft, and we will use the deck gun too. Its usually a lot of fun.
@ John and Ron, thank you and I will. I will keep you posted and when I clean it up a bit I will post after pictures. It has some rust on the side of the cab under the axe mounts, Im planning on cleaning up the rust and installing some diamond plating to cover it up, should look nice!
Question for anyone actually reading this thread...LOL
This truck has two batteries on the drivers side and 2 on the passengers side, they are dead because the truck has been sitting in my apartment complex for 2 weeks now. How do I go about charging/jumping these batteries? Could I jump it with a car or truck? Or do I need to get a battery charger and plug it in for a few hours first?
Second, this truck has the trickle charger, where you need to be plugged into a hard line to charge the batts, is there a way to get around this so the batts wont go dead without having to start it every morning and night?
Thanks in advance.
I know you could try jumping it with a larger vehicle like a 1 ton or larger as that would have a larger system for doing so as it is done in my area sometimes but I can check around this weekend and get back to you.
You can jump it off with a regular vehicle although it might take a little while to build up enough charge to crank the engine. A good battery charger would be needed to actually charge the batteries.
Once fully charged, the the trickle charger would maintain the charge. If you don't plug in the charger, it does not pull anything out of the batteries. My guess is the batteries are probably older than a couple of years old. If so, you might consider replacing them. Even one weak battery will draw the others down.
I would NOT recommend trying to "jump start" a truck such as this that has multiple batteries with a smaller single-battery vehicle! Your fire apparatus has multiple batteries for a very specific reason! And that reason is because the starter requires MASSIVE amounts of current to turn over the larger motor in your apparatus. (Does it perchance have a diesel engine?).
Also, with the arrangement you describe, I am thinking that you prabably have a series-parallel battery system. 4 6-volt batteries (2 on each side wired in series to provide 12 volts each) and the 2 banks of 2 are then set up in parallel to provide 12 volts at the heavy amperage required to spin up the starter motor.
If you were to attempt to "jump start" this apparatus with an ordinary vehicle, you could either run the risk of improperly connecting to the battery banks and damaging both vehicles, or you WILL fry your electrical system in your vehicle by overloading its electrical system trying to spin up the heavy load. This COULD result in not only burnt electrical components, but possibly a battery explosion on your vehicle!
Proper procedure (and costly) is to replace ALL of your batteries with fresh ones. (You're looking at $300 or more) and when you do, if you do, infact, have the older series-parallel system, you might consider (with proper guidance) changing over to 2 heavy 12 volt batteries (1 in each side) to take the place of the older and more expensive 6 volters.
Also, yes, keep the shore power connected (at least for now) to keep the batteries "topped off" to make starting easy and safe.
This post is based on my personal ownership of 2 Class-A pumpers, a heavy rescue squad, and an antique utility unit. And 40+ years in the Fire Service.
Keep up the great preservation work! It's good to see these things saved from the scrap heap and let others see how they REALLY looked like!
You might consider joining your state antique apparatus association or SPAAMFAA where you can find/meet some great folks who are always willing to help other apparatus preservationists!
Also, if you search here, I believe there is a thread about privately owned apparatus here.
Let us know how it goes!
You are one dedicated FF, maybe crazy too haha.
Your dead battery problem is common with rigs like yours, not being exercised, which is explanable because of cost and time needed.. Keeping lead acid batteries charged at least as much as discharge, parasitic drain, while not in use, is key.
Try getting a 1-2 amp (minimun) solar charger and installing it on the roof facing southernly. The US Army had that problem with it's fleet and this worked well. A good quility solar charger can gather energy even in winter climates. Good luck.
Thank you. Yes, my father-in-law is a member of several of these groups and has a fleet of trucks including 2 fire engines; a 1958 Ward Lafrance and a 1959 "B" Model mack. My wife and I got married using the '58 Ward as our Limo (Cheaper AND better looking than a Limo, and my father-in-law proved to be a great Limo Driver!!) We were supposed to drive around the village with us on the back step after the ceremony but she backed out last minute because she didnt want to get her dress dirty...and she is a firefighter as well!!! LOL
I plan on joining one of these organizations now and going to the shows with my in-laws and my daughter. She loves to ride in this rig when I drive it, has a big smile on her face too!! (Just like her daddy did when I was her age!!)
I got it started with the help of a friend and his generator, and our battery charger from the FD so thanks to everyone for the advice, you saved my Ford Taurus from blowing up!!! LOL (My wife thanks you too!)
What other work besides the battery issue are you planning on doing to the engine? From the pics it looks to be in pretty good shape body wise. Is it just mostly mechanical or did you luck out and don't have to do a whole lot to get it up and running smoothly?
I have photo from last year's Big Rig Truck Show which actually had an area designated for old emergency vehicles. A bunch of old fire engines and even an old ambulance were there if you would like me to post some of the photos.