Has anyone had an aerial or tower rechassised? I have a 1997 Sutphen Tower with a frame rusting out. I was wondering what percentage you save off of buying a whole new apparatus?


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Hate to say it, but your best option may be a new aerial.
We are getting 2 new trucks soon because one of the trucks frame was cracked. The truck was sent to the mfg to see if anything could be done...it was mentioned the machine used to turn out the frame is no longer around and that some type of repair used for cranes could be attempted, but nothing of which was proven for such a rig. In the end it was decided that since this is a life safety apparatus, the chance was not going to be taken.

If you talk with the mfg, they may be able to replace the frame, but the cost most likely will still be steep. The question then becomes if you want to have a new frame with the old engine, aerial, etc and have future problems? the cost savings today may not mean squat for the future.
I haven't had any experience with refurbing a ladder. My department did several years ago look at remounting a pumper. After upgrading everything to current NFPA specs, for another $30,000, we could purchase a new pumper. It really wasn't as cost effective as we thought.
Thanks Guys,

Not what I wanted to hear. The ladder is in good shape and money is tight.
Oklahoma City just saved close to a million dollars doing aerial remounts and they look great.
Brian your correct Brother there was approximately $175,000.00 or more saved on two (2) 95' Platforms and two (2) 135' Aerials and that's per a truck and there was three (3) additional 50' booms with an approximate cost of $80,000.00 or more per a truck. Thats a huge savings for Okla City, now thats alot of money...And let me make a note of this all these trucks was E-one's with aluminum ladders and approximately 20 years old and that speaks for allot on an aerial and how much Okla City uses them...I dont know of any other company out there on the market that can say that. Plus with the money saved that can put another truck on the front line or whatever else you may need PA firefighter that is if your aerial device passes ECE or SAE third party testing...
Even if the ladder is visually in good shape, has the ladder been recently been tested to NFPA standards? Has the ladder been inspected for microcracks or had the beams and rungs X-rayed? How about the degree of wear to the slides, pulleys, cables, etc?

Then there is the torque box, the hydraulics, the outrigger system, and related components. Some of them are not in places that are easy to inspect.

Before deciding on a remount, you need to make sure how an extensive the remount will really be.

The other component is deciding who does the remount. Specifying the original manufacturer may be the most expenxive remount option, but it is the only one I'd consider without really good evidence that another bidder could actually do the work to factory standards.

There are good remounts that will give several years of good service, particularly if the ladder company is not very busy and in climates where road salt or sea air don't cause corrosion problems. On the other hand, if you're not careful, you may end up with a new-looking old fire truck that isn't dependable.
We have all of our aerial apparatus tested annually by a certified 3rd party inspection service. The ladder itself is in great condition.
Even if the ladder passes the annual inspection, if you haven't checked the hidden parts of the system, you need to do so before making the refurb decision.
Ben any time you do a third party testing thru a manufacture the entire ladder is checked from head to toe and even before it is sent back into service two (2) different UL inspectors have to certify it. The riggings that a ladder has to go thru is unreal before it is certified to go back into service, now granted there maybe some shade tree guys out there that claim they are ladder certified inspectors but you’re always going to have that. Your best bet PA is go back to whom your ladder was built by and start there, Like I said before if your ladder passes its still cheaper to drive another chassis under it and when that manufacture is done with it you wont be able to tell, it was even a used ladder setting on top of that truck.
Chief, I understand that - but just because the ladder can pass a test to NFPA specs doesn't mean that the non-ladder components that will be moved during the rechassis are in good enough shape to make the rechassis worth it in the long run.

I've seen a couple of really nice ladder rechassis jobs that only lasted a year or two prior to major failures in the hydraulic system, major corrosion problems, etc.
Ben what was the two (2) trucks you have seen that was rechassised? Not calling you out or anything but I would like to see what department it was and how long ago it was done and who made the truck and who done the repair just any o'l documentation. I mean if the ladder was steel then I would understand the longevity, but if it was aluminum then I would like to see documentation. As far as the running gear and the torque box, I know of one manufacture out there that has a life time warranty on those items and with that being said if the ladder passed testing and all other working components passed as well then I can not see justifying the expense of buying a whole truck and the time it would take to get one verses driving a new chassis under a refub ladder and the turn around being half the time and half the price....Make Since?
And in the case of OKC doing there aerials everything below the ladder section was brand new, only the aerial device was reused. And it still saved them allot of money and the down time was minimal...

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