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Not Wanting to do an Inspection Trip

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  • Not Wanting to do an Inspection Trip

    I have been asked my Chief to justify the need to do an inspection trip on the new apparatus that we are buying from Central States (Rosenbaur). The Cab is a Sparatan Diamond. The preconstruction conference was done at our department by the dealer (General Fire). We have budgeted the money to do one trip to the plant for a prepaint inspection and one trip the dealer to do the acceptance test. The Chief is now questioning doing an prepaint trip. Can anyone give me some good reasons for a this trip. He would like me to type a memo giving benefits. I would also like to hear any stories about any of the vendors listed above good or bad and what I should be looking for at the plant. Help me protect our investment.

    Jason Wilson
    Apparatus Coordinator
    Coos Bay Fire & Rescue

  • #2
    Cheaper to correct overlooked items and/or make changes before the apparatus is painted.

    Easier to find/fix problems at the manufacturer as opposed to the dealership, like what happens if the dealer can't fix it and has to send it back to the manufacturer?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?


    • #3
      On our last engine ('89 Duplex/Quality) we had two inspection trips to Quality Mfg. priced in. On our own, before the chassis was completed by Duplex, two of us took it upon ourselves to go there. In every case we found errors that had been made. Some were due to misinterpretation of the specs while others were just plain errors (ours or theirs).

      We also saw some things that we wanted to change, things that just could not be visualized without actually seeing it. Even though we had to pay the change order price (high), it was less than if we had gotten the vehicle and had to correct them later or live with it as was.

      To me, that alone justified the cost of going. I will say this: At that time, preconstruction conferences weren't as commonplace as they are today, and we didn't have one. Also, at that time, the web either didn't exist or wasn't used nearly to the extent that it is today. Many, if not most builders today post progress reports and photos on their web sites periodically.

      We are buying a Toyne, and they post photos either every week or every two weeks. It will be our first experience working that way. I'm anxious to see just how much you can pick up from photos. Even so, we have a final inspection trip scheduled to the factory. I know that there are some things that photos just won't show. And it's so much easier to correct things before the truck leaves their facility. I'll also go to Spartan's facility (on my own) to see the chassis (Gladiator) as it nears completion. And if I can finagle it, I'll even go to Waterous Co. to observe the pump being tested.

      Another point is that there's just no substitute for that personal connection. The people on the factory floor putting faces on the user, and vice-versa; there's an intangible value to it that can't be expressed in words or dollar bills.

      The last two engines before the Quality were Hahns. Their plant was about an hour and 15 minutes away from home. During the construction of one of them, I was in their plant every Saturday. I picked up some stuff there that was easily corrected. Also, what I learned about how these things are built more than made up for what it cost me to go there.

      So my vote is for going at least once to the chassis builder and at least once to the apparatus builder, more often if possible.

      NPFD801 or SAFETEK (or anyone else), any opinions?

      Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!


      • #4
        yea get a prepaint inspection it will help you spot anything that might be wrong a little easier. IMO.

        we have nothing bad at all to say about general fire or central states.

        we have 1 quint, 4 engines, 3 quick attacks, 1 heavy brush, and 1 6x6 tender from them. their service is great, the product is great and they really take care of ya after the sale. As a matter of fact my district has 3 engine/tenders on order with them right now.


        • #5
          If I had to make a choice between a pre-paint inspection trip and a final inspection trip to the factory, I would choose the pre-paint 100% of the time. Why? Because, as other have said, it is much more critical to find problems and make changes before the final coat of paint is put on.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Chauffer6
            If I had to make a choice between a pre-paint inspection trip and a final inspection trip to the factory, I would choose the pre-paint 100% of the time. Why? Because, as other have said, it is much more critical to find problems and make changes before the final coat of paint is put on.
            I could not agree more! Having been part of many apparatus purchases that did not have a mid inspection we've been burned many times. Usually small details that once the truck is in town you don't send it back to be changed. Its hard for many smaller communitites to wait an extra 2-3 months for a truck to arrive, not be accepted and returned to the factory for corrections. Of course you'll proabably only get the corrections if it was a manufacturers mistake.
            We just completed a mid inspection on a new peice. Yes, we found mistakes, ones that will be corrected and will make the truck much better. Had we not seen these issues, they would have been found at the final inspection and proabably let go to ensure proper delivery time. Again, minor details that would have been a nuisance for 20+ years. I can not see us ever buying another fire apparatus without a factory pre-build, and mid inspection. As for the final? Sure you might find something but at that point it has to be almost dealer correctable. Unless you've got time and money to burn, I'd go with a mid-inspection.


            • #7
              I would agree that the trip is probably in your best interest. However, in the event you decide not to take the trip - ask for lots and lots of detailed pictures.


              • #8
                When you are spending hundreds of thousands and in some cases up to a million dollars for a new rig, how much would round trip airfare, a rental car and a couple of nights in a hotel cost in comparison?

                Pre delivery inspections are a no brainer as far as I am concerned!
                ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY


                • #9
                  Inspection Trips

                  Depending on the complexity (features) of the spec at the very least you should do a Final Inspection to ensure compliance to the spec's and that it's what you thought you were getting. Remember everyone can have a different interpretation of "what they thought" they were getting.

                  PRE-CONSTRUCTION I always have the Pre-Con at the factory to allow the customer to see and look at a variety of apparatus under construction to look at different ideas/suggestions as to seating, compartmentation etc.

                  PRE-PAINT is a good idea if the apparatus is complex or has a number of features and design that are a change from your previous apparatus so that you ensure it's what you thought you were going to get and so that if you find an issue IE: Compartmentation Layout/Shelving-Trays etc. you can make those changes. BUT remember if you want to reinvent the wheel it's going to cost $ as the builder has a higher cost factor for changes done at that date.

                  FINAL This should be mandatory to ensure the truck is built in accordance with the spec's and any and all Change Orders mutually agreed upon during the process. NEVER just let the dealer do it for you because if there are issues it's a lot harder to fix things once the truck is delivered!


                  • #10
                    I would agree with the others, do the pre-paint. You did surprise me when you said you budgeted a pre-paint inspection. We're waiting notice on when ours is to the Central plant, but (I don't know if it's dealer or Rosenbauer) it's paid for. I would think with a couple hundred thousand dollar piece of apparatus this would be standard practice.


                    • #11
                      Just remember that if your specs include inspection trips, they're built into the cost of the rig. No manufacturer is going to fly you for free!
                      Career Fire Captain
                      Volunteer Chief Officer

                      Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!


                      • #12
                        The fact that people have alot of problems with new apparatus because manufactures are building so many trucks now a days they can get sloppy on there work. I hate Central we have 3 and nothing but problems due to design issues, if we coulda been at the plant when they built these trucks they might have been able to correct the problems. Maybe not. Sometimes it takes seeing something in person not just on paper to make the light come on.


                        • #13
                          Make sure you go for the prepaint inspection

                          We didn't on our 2002 Central States engine and had a couple things missing and couple of extra's added. Our chief felt it was a wash and let it go, we had deleted the deckgun in the final specs but left the plumbing. When we got the truck it was also minus the plumbing but had chrome wheels and and some other cosmetic upgrades. Would have rather had the deckgun plumbing but we didn't make the trip for the pre-paint inspection.

                          I wish Central States would send pictures like other manufacturers. We have a pumper-tanker on order and is scheduled to be delivered Nov 15 but we haven't heard anything from Central States or our dealer about the pre-paint conference. I have a bad, bad feeling that I will be applying for a second grant extension :^(


                          • #14
                            Most dealers I have dealt with include trips to the factory for pre-paint and final inspection in the price quote. On every occasion, we had deleted all trips from all quotes and then paid our own way to the factory for both inspections. It was cheaper to do the travel on our own than for what we were being charged for the trips in the price of the truck. That's a good way to save several hundred dollars (depending on how many people are going) that can be put back into the truck itself.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BoxAlarm187
                              Just remember that if your specs include inspection trips, they're built into the cost of the rig. No manufacturer is going to fly you for free!

                              Box is correct here. If they are built in and then the department or city has paid for them, GO. If you care not to, then stay at home, drink your favorite drink and take whatever the maker of the ride will deliver to you. But, if it isn't what you expected or spec'd, keep your mouths shut. You had the chance to go and inspect the ride in its building stages.
                              Never put that much confidence in any maker or fire apparatus. They do make mistakes. All of them!

                              Make It Happen

                              Never forget 9-11-2001
                              343 Brothers Who Were MURDERED!!


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