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  • Experience with KME?

    I did a search for KME and didn’t find a thread so if it exists I apologize for the duplicate.

    We received a 100’ KME Aerial Cat mid mount platform four months ago and we have found several problems.
    - Intercom mounted unprotected at the turntable so tree branches hit it and it’s already damaged.
    - Breathing air fillter in the bucket, and regulator at the turntable is leaking.
    - The aerial will not work 90% of the time. The PTO engages but the out riggers and high idle will not work. The truck has to be turned off, including the master, and turned on and it will start working. Sometimes this is repeated 5X.
    - The automatic outrigger set up will level the truck but does not lower as it’s supposed to.
    - Plastic cable tray on the 3rd fly section broke.
    - Power steering will not work at times. The truck has to be turned off and on to get it to work.
    - Bucket controls are very jumpy even after the factory rep adjusted them.
    - The ladder will not retract fully using the bucket controls. The turntable has to be used to fully retract the ladder.
    - The most recent was the “Automatic Stow” feature was used and the outriggers retracted and then tried to level the truck while they were fully retracted.

    A neighboring department had several quality control problems with a similar KME mid mount. According to our mechanic KME did not return phone calls for a month about these problems. Recently they agreed to come get it for repair. Has anyone else had problems? BTW the spec. committee did not recommend this truck because of several problems that local departments were having with them (engines and ladders) but the chief decided to award the bid to KME.

  • #2
    I dont know what happened with your search, but there have to be at LEAST a dozen threads about problems with KME, and I know of at least one regarding KME Mid Mount towers.

    Call KME and ask them about the one unit that the Philadelphia Fire Department returned to them, and refused delivery of a second......KME will probably hang up on you. Then call Philladelphia Fire Headquartes, ask for the Apparatus & Equipment Officer, and the first thing he will probably ask you is "Do you have about an hour to chat?" or "I'm sorry, I cant talk for that long right now, let me get your number and I will call you back when I have an hour to spare."

    Or, KME & Philly both may possibly say "Sorry, due to ongoing litigation, we will not discuss the issue."
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    • #3
      I just finished reading several threads. I didn't find any info on the KME Aerial Cat, but I may have overlooked it.
      One thing I noticed was a brand war on some posts. This thread is not intended to bash KME. I was just curious if our problems are unique or common.
      Thanks

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      • #4
        Local dept around here has a KME engine I believe it is a 96 or 97.

        About 2 months after they took delivery numerous things started going wrong from the pump not engaging to windows falling out of the raised roof.

        Well after about 8 months of court battles they lost and are now stuck with the truck.

        To say the least they now use their old 1977 VanPelt/FordC8000 as their first out rig.

        From these forums I would say there is more bad than good about KME so if people bash the brand dont take it personal.

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        • #5
          Kme Ladder Experience

          Sounds like you have a major problem with your sales rep & dealer service , we have a 2005 Kme Excel pumper and it runs fine without any major problems. Our dealer in New Jersey is ( J.B. Hunt ) they are very good to work with and a phone call away if there is a brake down . Make a phone call to Mr. Kovatch and talk to him about the poor service you have been gettting !...
          Last edited by NewJerseyFFII; 08-20-2006, 06:03 PM.

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          • #6
            Nothing personal here. Some of the posts ended up as a bashing contest between preferred brands instead of providing good information and I didn't want that to happen. The committee recommended Pierce but we got KME so now we are stuck with it. BTW does KME use a elctronic steering control sensor to help control steering? I've looked at the owners manual and didn't see anything about it. I can't figure out why the power steering does not work at times. Fluid is good and when it works it is smooth so I don't think that air is in the lines. Seems like it's an electrical problem since turning the truck on / off corrects the problem. If it is a mechanical problem I'm not sure if on / off would make it work.

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            • #7
              To: Ladder5B , Is your Kme chassis a " Predator " model , if so it will have a ( Class 1 ) mulitplex electrical system a solid state device . It has computer and telephone modem ready interfaces so Kme can reprogram , repair , or diagnose problems right in your fire station !...

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              • #8
                It seems that KME has had more share of problems than the others. I dont see why anyone would have anything to gain by telling the problems that they have had. No one wants a unreliable rig.
                What amazes me, is that people still by these trucks. Do they only get business because not every apparatus committe investigates the builder, and they are low bid?

                Remember they are good if you want to Keep Mechanics Employed!!

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                • #9
                  I know if you do a search for "KME Problems",, there will be well over 100 threads listed. Yes, some of them will not apply because they are the E-One vs KME vs Pierce type threads.

                  I can say from experience that KME does/did have some issues. We had some, but we ended up getting them worked out to the Fire Chief's satisfaction.

                  Every manufacturer has their problems. I GUARANTEE it!! It's just a matter of how good your service is after the sale. Part of that is on your sales rep and what kind of service you get from them. The other part is on the actual manufacturer.
                  The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
                  We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........
                  IACOJ

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by NewJerseyFFII
                    Sounds like you have a major problem with your sales rep & dealer service , we have a 2005 Kme Excel pumper and it runs fine without any major problems. Our dealer in New Jersey is ( J.B. Hunt ) they are very good to work with and a phone call away if there is a brake down . Make a phone call to Mr. Kovatch and talk to him about the poor service you have been gettting !...
                    WHile it certainly sounds as if the dealer is not helping enough, one would expect any peice of apparatus to work a little better than this at month #4! Too often people here want to blame the dealer for poor service, which may happen, but the manufacturer built the truck with the problems. The list of problems is similar to what we heard and saw while researching our new tower, and why we didn't ever think we'd buy a KME. In all fairness I've heard nothing but good things on their engines and rescues, but next to nothing good abut their towers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by NewJerseyFFII
                      To: Ladder5B , Is your Kme chassis a " Predator " model , if so it will have a ( Class 1 ) mulitplex electrical system a solid state device . It has computer and telephone modem ready interfaces so Kme can reprogram , repair , or diagnose problems right in your fire station !...
                      It is a Predator with a multiplex system. I don't think the computer can diagnose the problem because there was not a fault code (That's what I've been told). Anyway, it's a moot point because some of the problems have to be fixed at the factory. I'm not the mechanic. I drive the truck on my shift and sat on the spec. committee so I've taken an interest in the problems.


                      "I dont see why anyone would have anything to gain by telling the problems that they have had."

                      Thanks for the input but I totally disagree with you. By telling people the problems we have had a pattern may be established of common issues. With common issues you may find common solutions to these problems. That is why I stated it's not a brand bashing contest at the beginning of the thread. I documented legitimate problems in hopes of finding legitimate solutions. At least I can go back to my mechanic and say "Hey, a lot of people are having the same problems it sounds like a design fault so tell them to fix it right". It it's not a common problem is it an operator issue? Is it a training issue? That is why I mentioned the exact problems.


                      "WHile it certainly sounds as if the dealer is not helping enough, one would expect any peice of apparatus to work a little better than this at month #4! Too often people here want to blame the dealer for poor service, which may happen, but the manufacturer built the truck with the problems."

                      The story continues! The dealer sold out 4-6 weeks ago.


                      Thanks for the responses

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                      • #12
                        KME = Keeps Mechanics Employed

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ladder5B

                          "I dont see why anyone would have anything to gain by telling the problems that they have had."

                          Thanks for the input but I totally disagree with you. By telling people the problems we have had a pattern may be established of common issues. With common issues you may find common solutions to these problems. That is why I stated it's not a brand bashing contest at the beginning of the thread. I documented legitimate problems in hopes of finding legitimate solutions. At least I can go back to my mechanic and say "Hey, a lot of people are having the same problems it sounds like a design fault so tell them to fix it right". It it's not a common problem is it an operator issue? Is it a training issue? That is why I mentioned the exact problems.
                          I've been studiously staying out of this one because I don't want to be in the postion of bashing anyone, regardless of what I think of them. But with any luck, my comment now won't do that.

                          One of the organizations that I belong to is the Technology & Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Associations. That group is celebrating its 50th anniversary. TMC is an organization of fleet maintenance managers and executives. One big thing that led to its formation is captured in 5B's comment about sharing problems.

                          Motor carrier fleets frequently purchase a bunch of trucks at a time. Might be two, might be twenty, might be 200 or any other number. And invariably, problems would crop up with some or all. In most cases, many of the trucks from one builder would come down with the same problem(s).

                          The fleet manager would get ahold of the sales organization and complain about them. The almost invariable response would be, "You're the only ones we've heard that from, you must be doing something wrong. No one else is having that problem, we never heard of it before."

                          After TMC formed, and the members started meeting periodically, sharing their experiences, suddenly the truck manufacturers began to change their tune. No longer could they go into a fleet shop and BS a person one level above a shade tree mechanic. Now they found out that they were dealing with managerial and executive level people, many with college degrees and many who began their careers on shop floors.

                          Now, most truck builders and component suppiers have (non-voting) memberships in TMC. When TMC meets, the manufacturers send representatives. When the customers speak, they LISTEN! TMC, with input from manufacturers, has developed a set of "Recommended Practices." It now is in two volumes. One is Recommended Maintenance Practices, the other is Recommended Engineering Practices.

                          Our spec referenced Recommended Engineering Practices in many places. One builder came back with "What's all this?" and "Who's TMC?" And that manufacturer has a TMC membership! The last meeting I went to, they had a rep there. Same old bullbleep, different setting.

                          There's a lot more, but the point that I want to make is this: Sharing our knowledge and experience isn't superfluous, it's very important. We have everything to gain from it.

                          Here in Montgomery County, Pa., we have an Engineers' Association. We meet every couple of months, and guess what we talk about. As a bonus, my TMC membership gets me access to component suppliers' people who I can tap as guest speakers. You can't place a value on the knowledge that we gain.

                          Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!
                          Last edited by chiefengineer11; 08-21-2006, 04:59 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Ladder5B
                            If i can ask, what department do you run with and where are you located at. Reason being i agree with getting your points out about the issues with the vehicle, i run currently 3 KME's in my department, 2 pumpers and a 102' tower and just purchased a 4th KME pumper, predator chassis, now i am located about 15 miles from the plant where they are built, and i am friends with a very large amount of people at KME. due to most of them live in our surronding communites and most are also firefighters, reason i am posting is, i would like to help you get your problems solved. i agree every vehicle runs into issues. but i would like to help you get back on track with yours. So if you can give me some information on your vehicle i would be happy to make a contact and help get your problems corrected. even if you would like you can email me also, [email protected] I understand a few people on here would bash KME even if they gave them a fire truck, and you are more then welcome to, but again as i always say, those that live in glass houses should not throw stones, i could come on here and rip a few manufactors for issues that my neighboring departments had with there vehicles, will I, NO, that is not professional in any manner. So yes i am pro KME, have no reason not to be, so if you want to write me with your issues please do and i will see if i can do my best to help you out, stay safe out there

                            Donald

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                            • #15
                              Its ok to like KME or anybody else for that matter. The bashing is not always based on issues or such but perceptions real or imagined. Thus some places will NOT so much as entertain a visit by a certain company's reps. Why? Cause they have a jaundiced view of all of that firms output. Its not something concrete. Its taste or a vision of the department all this all that or split orders of 2 of the better preferred.

                              Yet even the large metro departments that are having some serious problems and have refused some new deliveries which are now in a legal tug-of-war, still that same department has an enormous fleet of that builder's other kinds of vehicles. So, they are looking to refurb all these units to extend their life-span and usefulness. No doubt the original builder will get a fair shake on that project as to snagging a refurb contract.
                              Last edited by oldestwiseowl; 08-22-2006, 02:49 AM. Reason: omission

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