We are needing an aerial and have found some used ones. What should I be looking for within these units?

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We are the county seat and the courthouse is the largest building. It would take at least a 50' ground ladder to reach the top.
When was the last time it was certified? Pump tested? Air supply tested, if equipped? How much $$$ are you talking to spend. We recently got a used Snorkel from Vincennes, IN for $1, and we have so far put about $11k into fixing it. It gets tested tomorrow.

I have found two from a dealer I have bought two apparatus from in the past 2 years. They are $27,000 each. That is what scares me a bit on buying used because of all the extra hydraulics etc. than requires upkeep. How much did you estimate to repair it before you received it?
Used aerials have a lot more potential pitfalls than do used engines, unless you have someone who is VERY familiar with them. This is especially true for quints - they have all of the potential used engine pitfalls along with the used aerial pitfalls.

The primary issue (this comes from an old truckie) is that if the used engine fails, it may cost you a burning building, but if the aerial fails, it is a lot more likely to cost you a firefighter or two.

That said, my department has two used TDAs (tractor-drawn aerials) that were extensively rehabbed and then put in service. We have a terrific shop, led by a Deputy Chief who used to be a division manager for a major apparatus manufacturer. That really helps.

It's still expensive, and the upkeep is essentially continuous, unlike most new aerials.

The other thing with purchasing used aerials is that you get what is available, not necessarily something that really fits your needs.
We estimated $25,000. This truck sat since 1997, when Vincennes got their Tower. They needed space for a new ladder, so the reserve aerial had to go, thus the $1 price tag.

Luckily for us, the pump had to be rebuilt after an extremely large fire Vincennes had where they sucked some very large rocks through this and another engine. Insurance paid for that so the pump was good to go. The aerial rig on the other hand needed some attention as did the out riggers. All the out riggers were repack and two of the main cylinders were repacked (the ones at the pivot in the front). During our last certification test we had the boom in the air with the truck off and hydraulics locked open (they do that for an hour), when we restarted the truck to take it higher the hydraulic PTO quit. TOTALLY QUIT. We don't have a price for that yet, but it's back on and is being tested today.

All I can tell you is to see when it was last tested and if it passed with flying colors or by the skin of it's teeth. BTW UL testing is about $1500 a pop.

Are you looking for a snorkel, platform tower, ladder or other? Mid mount or rear mount?
A tower is too much for us, definitely. Snorkel or ladder. Have not seen many mid mounts. What I have found so far are rear mount.
Chief:
We acquired our used aerial, a 1978 Mack/Baker '75 in December 2001, also for $1. The unit had been removed from service by one of our neighbors after they acquired the replacement unit. Going into the project I knew that the unit was NOT certifiable as an aerial in its' present condition, and after assuming title I sent the unit to the shop where it had received all of its' service for an evaluation. (For $1, if it was totally junk, I could sell it for scrap at a profit.) I knew the piece had a major hydraulic issue in the main boom.

The chosen shop completely disassembled the unit, rebuilt the hydraulics, totally repaired the boom (cracks, etc.) and had the aerial certified. They also did necessary body work to repair corrosion. The bill for the refurbishment was in the neighborhood of $42,000, for which we got what amounted to a 1978/2002 aerial. There HAVE been some other items that needed replacement since, such as the umbillical reel and cable to the bucket, as well as a few minor hydraulic issues (Not in the main boom). The unit operates like new, and has easily passed each successive recertification including analysis of the hydraulic oil.

We work the heck out of the unit, and we are exploring the option of remounting the aerial on a new chassis.

The bottom line for us is that we knew the deficiencies of the unit going in, and received no surprises.

I would echo the comments of the respondents with regard to careful examination of service records and inspection reports on any unit you are considering, regardless of the source. If buying from a dealer, I would insist on that the certification be complete and clean prior to purchase (By a reputable third party inspection company) and again, carefully examine the report.

Hope this helps.

J.A. Lorenzetti
144Truck
Yes, it does. It is not a certainity we'll get one, but I feel obligated to research as much as I can. Just want us to have the best fire dept. we can for our town. Thanks,144Truck
Here are some of the things to look at. Latest aerial certification, latest pump certification (if its a quint). Does it have Maint. Records? Why is it being sold? (Damage, needing serious overhaul of hydralics/aerial unit, de-certiifed, etc.) If this is your Departments first aerial unit, I would not recommend a Snorkel. Articulating booms are the most difficult to operate, train on, and safely operate. I would strongly recommend a "straight stick" or platform. Easier to train on and much safer to operate for those new to Truck Company Operations.
IMHO a straight, rear-mount, not a quint, will give you far less headaches to begin with. But, you have to get what you think bests fit you operational capabilities. The quints around here run daily. The weight and stress put on them causes them to be OOS more times than not. The weight of a quint could also make it difficult if you have hilly terrain. KISS it if this is your first aerial.

Hey Chief, we just bought a used tower and we requested the following, Ladder Test, Pump Test, Maintenance records, and visited and went over the unit at least five times. We ended up buying it and put alot of time and work into it. Would I do it again? Probly, tehe nice thing about this it was close and the chief and I are now good friends, aplus when a problem or question comes up. The pictures are befroe and after pics. Anything is possible.
just in case the top picture is after and the bottom when we looked at it.

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