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What Are Your Opinions On HME Apparatus?

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  • What Are Your Opinions On HME Apparatus?

    Since the first of the year Smeal (part of Spartan ER) and Danko have parted ways. Danko had been a long time dealer for Smeal in our area (Nebraska and surrounding states) and a dealer nationally as well. Previously Smeal built engines and ladders with Danko building tankers, grass rigs and ARFF apparatus while also being a dealer for Rescue 1 and Maintainer for rescue trucks. Since they have parted ways Danko has become a dealer for HME apparatus.

    I have seen HME apparatus at FDIC a couple times but never really gave them a hard look because we didn't have a dealer in the area. Over the years I have checked out their website and some of their products in the same manner I have checked out other builders nationally in an effort to remain somewhat informed in the apparatus industry. As with all manufacturers there are things that intrigue me.

    Since I have no first hand knowledge about HME apparatus I was hoping to hear from those that have operated them. What do you think about the quality? What do you think about their service after the sale? Are they willing to build trucks that aren't "cookie cutter" trucks? Does anyone run an HME pump and how is that working out compared to Hale, Waterous, Darley, Rosenbauer, etc.? What do you like about the apparatus? What don't you like about them? Every department can have a different process for specifying an apparatus. I'm not interested in how the Chief or apparatus purchasing committee screwed up in your opinion. I'm interested in how the apparatus works based upon how it was designed.

    Thank you for your time and views,
    Walt
    Train like you want to fight.
    www.kvfd.net

  • #2
    This is my opinion, coming from a guy that sold rigs for a few years, so I looked at the competition a lot. I've been out of that game for a while now. But stuff doesn't change that fast.

    Their chassis are behind the other big guys in my opinion. Not junk, but just much more simple and utilitarian. I didn't see anything earth shattering in their new one that was introduced at FDIC, but I also didn't look all that hard. We had a rental on an HME in my department for a few months - probably a 2007 or 2008 model year. It was absurdly loud for cab interior noise coming from the engine. Not sure what the cause was, but you could barely hold a conversation between the engineer and officer without yelling. The engine was a Cat motor, doubt that would make a difference but who knows. Otherwise it was functional enough.

    I will say that their stainless bodies are beautiful. I think they're as good as anyone's out there for fit and finish. If you like or don't mind their chassis, I'd strongly look at their product. I know nothing about their new pump line.
    "Share your knowledge - it's a way to achieve immortality." - Stolen from Chase Sargent's Buddy to Boss program

    Comment


    • #3
      We have two currently and have two more under contract now. Our first is a 2006 and the second is a 2013. I have no knowledge of their new stainless steel pump, because we run Hale Qmax's.

      We run Cummins L9 in the first two and will be getting ISX12's in the next two. The cabs we have are relatively quiet compared to other older trucks we have had.

      I believe that the service after the sale is controlled more by the dealer than the factory. We have a good dealer who we have had a service relationship with for over 20 years, which started before we bought the HME's.

      As for their customization I think they will do most things with in reason but do tend to like to stay within previously engineered solutions. That being said they have a pretty wide range of bodies and combinations that they have done the engineering on. Lets face it, we are not engineers (for the most part) and the laws of physics always apply.... you want to have a fair amount of thought and engineering done to make sure the truck lasts for 20 years.

      I would say that 85-90% of most trucks are similar for tank and body basic design. Unless you really need some super special compartment ANY manufacturer will want to stay with something tried and true.

      We have had good luck with the stainless body and corrosion has not been and issue even in our northern Vermont climate with winter salt and brine on the roads.

      The W chassis is kind of entry level, but they have upgraded it even since 2013. SFO is short but it has it's place. Spectr was the big block solution and top of the line until the new AF1 hit.

      This link will get you to our trucks.

      As background, I was Chief for 14 years and have been the committee chair on 7 new purchases and a couple used. So I am not totally naive.

      Comment


      • #4
        npfd801,

        Thank you for your views. I know in today's age most people want gizmo's and such but there is something to be said for simple and utilitarian.

        I also appreciate your view as a former salesman because I know that even though you're competitors you form friendships with many other salesmen and 'talk shop' when potential customers aren't around. It gives you a different kind of insight.

        Thanks for the information,
        Walt
        Train like you want to fight.
        www.kvfd.net

        Comment


        • #5
          ChiefDog,

          Again, this is the type of stuff I'm looking for. I also agree with your points about the dealer regarding service and the engineering portion.

          We also run Hale Qmax's but I'm still curious. We also run Cummins and have a few different models but have no complaints. Having a Cummins dealership in town is part of the reason we run Cummins and Onan generators. Only makes sense.

          I also appreciate your views as a Chief because not only do you get the views of the troops, you also get the 'behind the scene' views that many don't appreciate.

          Thank you for the information,
          Walt
          Train like you want to fight.
          www.kvfd.net

          Comment


          • #6
            We have 2, a mini-pumper on an F-550 chassis and a Silver Fox pumper.

            Since it sounds like you are asking more about full-size engines, I will focus on the Silver Fox. We got it a couple years ago, it was a new demo unit. From what we were told it sat on a dealers lot for a year before it was sold and brought to us. Being a demo, we obviously had very little that we were able to customize. I believe it has a Hale pump, 1250 gpm. Not sure if it's even an option, but I wish it had MIV's. The rear 2.5" discharge is not capable of flowing foam and it can't be piped that way (now at least) according to our dealer. Since we put it in service, it has had a leak of some sort, be it water, oil, coolant, etc. That could be from sitting for a year, but I find that hard to believe. It just went to a shop other than our dealer this week and they fixed 3 different leaks in/on/around the engine. That's after our dealer has had it a couple of times for the same/similar issues. It has a rattle from the engine compartment while driving. It is not overly loud in the cab; conversation can be had without headsets. I wish the heat/AC controls were all in a central location- this one has controls mounted on the rear of the doghouse that the driver and officer can both reach, and it has controls mounted above the windshield that only the driver can reach- and those are not lit with dash lights either which made it really, really interesting coming home from a fire in the middle of a blizzard in March since I didn't remember those controls were there.....

            All in all, I'm much happier with the Silver Fox than the old commercial cab it replaced. Time will tell how it will hold up, but so far it's been ok. Like has been mentioned, dealer support is paramount. Our dealer sells a ton of trucks, but support after the fact (at least in my eyes) hasn't been stellar.

            Comment


            • #7
              My volly FD owns an HME Ahrens Fox built in 2005. It has a 370 HP Cummins engine, 2000 gpm pump, 1020 gallon water tank and a Foam Logix foam system.

              We had an issue with the Onan generator having a hydraulic leak that was repaired under warranty. Recently we had an issue with the pressure governor that was handled under warranty. Other than that it has been a workhorse for us with no serious issues. I would not hesitate to buy another HME.
              Crazy, but that's how it goes
              Millions of people living as foes
              Maybe it's not too late
              To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank you both for your input. Again, this is the type of information I'm looking for.

                defelix22000us,
                Being a demo there is often little you can do customize the truck without spending big bucks. I'm a little curious about the MIV statement. Since it's a 1,250 gpm pump it should have dual 6" intakes but in your case are they capped or is there an external MIV installed and you were wanting an internal MIV? The leaks that were fixed, were they from the engine or other locations? Even though we'd probably only be looking at them for engines I'm still interested in the same information for anything they build. It's not often that you have a builder that does one product great and the rest poorly but it does happen. Usually the quality applies to everything. So does the service and I'm sorry your dealer isn't meeting your expectations.

                FyredUp,
                Considering you've had the rig in service for about 15 years and it's your department's workhorse that says quite a bit. Is this your volunteer departments only HME? Regarding the generator and pressure governor, components fail but it sounds like you got good warranty service on them. It doesn't matter the brand of apparatus, some will love them and others will hate them. Even if it's your favorite brand of apparatus and all your favorite brands of components, things will fail sooner or later.

                Thank you gentlemen and please keep the information going.
                Walt
                Train like you want to fight.
                www.kvfd.net

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by FFWALT View Post
                  Thank you both for your input. Again, this is the type of information I'm looking for.

                  FyredUp,
                  Considering you've had the rig in service for about 15 years and it's your department's workhorse that says quite a bit. Is this your volunteer departments only HME? Regarding the generator and pressure governor, components fail but it sounds like you got good warranty service on them. It doesn't matter the brand of apparatus, some will love them and others will hate them. Even if it's your favorite brand of apparatus and all your favorite brands of components, things will fail sooner or later.

                  Thank you gentlemen and please keep the information going.
                  Walt
                  It is our only HME. We are a 2 engine, 1 tender, 1 brush rig small volly FD.

                  Personally I would not hesitate to buy another HME. It drives nice, pumps great and is set up compartment wise and shelving and equipment storage as we needed. We had them build us 2 front bumper crosslays that hold 200 feet each of 2 inch hose, as well as having 2 crosslays over the pump that hold 300 feet of 2 inch each. The rear hosebed carries 1400 feet of 5 inch hose and 2 beds of 3 inch capable of holding 500 feet each.


                  Crazy, but that's how it goes
                  Millions of people living as foes
                  Maybe it's not too late
                  To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by npfd801 View Post

                    We had a rental on an HME in my department for a few months - probably a 2007 or 2008 model year. It was absurdly loud for cab interior noise coming from the engine. Not sure what the cause was, but you could barely hold a conversation between the engineer and officer without yelling.
                    The engine noise is pretty loud in our cab too. What we were told is it is the fan style and that we should have specced a clutch fan to reduce fan noise.

                    We have just gotten used to the noise.
                    Crazy, but that's how it goes
                    Millions of people living as foes
                    Maybe it's not too late
                    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by FyredUp View Post

                      The engine noise is pretty loud in our cab too. What we were told is it is the fan style and that we should have specced a clutch fan to reduce fan noise.

                      We have just gotten used to the noise.
                      Our dealer told us to specify the clutch fan to reduce the noise... probably why we don't have the noise issue unless the fan turns on.

                      Another reason that the dealer is critical for information like that as well as service after the sale.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FFWALT View Post
                        defelix22000us,
                        Being a demo there is often little you can do customize the truck without spending big bucks. I'm a little curious about the MIV statement. Since it's a 1,250 gpm pump it should have dual 6" intakes but in your case are they capped or is there an external MIV installed and you were wanting an internal MIV? The leaks that were fixed, were they from the engine or other locations? Even though we'd probably only be looking at them for engines I'm still interested in the same information for anything they build. It's not often that you have a builder that does one product great and the rest poorly but it does happen. Usually the quality applies to everything. So does the service and I'm sorry your dealer isn't meeting your expectations.
                        Sorry, I missed this.....

                        Our Silver Fox is an engine/pumper. There is no MIV at all, the steamer intakes were capped when we got it. We have since gotten a TFT intake valve for LDH supply, but to draft we need to either take the cap off the other side or take off the TFT valve. I know an external butterfly would solve the issue, but an internal electric MIV is something we would have spec'd more than likely as it works very well on our tanker.

                        As for the leaks, I think most of it has been from the engine or components on the engine. We did have the relief valve for the bumper line spraying water one day during training for no apparent reason. The engine leaks have been 'fixed' by the dealer, then to the outside shop most recently. I think it still continues to drip on the bay floor, tho at a much more reduced rate.

                        The 2.5" rear discharge should be capable of flowing foam, IMHO, even though it supposedly is not possible. We have had a situation where we had several hundred feet of 2.5" supplying another several hundred feet of 1.75" & 1.5" on a forestry incident. In order to get foam up the hill for mopup, the line had to be disconnected from the rear, then adapted to the pony section off the 1.75" crosslay. This may be a dealer issue more than an HME issue too, I don't know

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by dfelix22000us View Post
                          Sorry, I missed this.....


                          The 2.5" rear discharge should be capable of flowing foam, IMHO, even though it supposedly is not possible. We have had a situation where we had several hundred feet of 2.5" supplying another several hundred feet of 1.75" & 1.5" on a forestry incident. In order to get foam up the hill for mopup, the line had to be disconnected from the rear, then adapted to the pony section off the 1.75" crosslay. This may be a dealer issue more than an HME issue too, I don't know
                          Our 2005 HME Ahrens Fox has 4 - 2 inch preconnects with foam. Two bumper crosslays and 2 over the pump. Add to that 2 reas 2 1/2 discharges are also plumbed with foam. So I guess i am surprised when they say they couldn't do it.
                          Crazy, but that's how it goes
                          Millions of people living as foes
                          Maybe it's not too late
                          To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by FyredUp View Post

                            Our 2005 HME Ahrens Fox has 4 - 2 inch preconnects with foam. Two bumper crosslays and 2 over the pump. Add to that 2 reas 2 1/2 discharges are also plumbed with foam. So I guess i am surprised when they say they couldn't do it.
                            Your truck shows it can be done and HME will do it IF it was designed from the start to do it...

                            I think it was that the truck was a demo unit and the dealer wouldn't / couldn't redesign the foam system for the additional lines. Some options have to be thought of and designed for right from the start. If the foam system installed could only handle a max flow of X it can't be 2X. Also if it was a direct inject system, the flow meter is set up for specific discharges on a manifold. If you want more lines those lines have to come off that manifold that has the foam injection.

                            Just a thought....

                            Comment

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