FireTruck Diary

My experiences restoring and playing with a 1960 Ford C-850 Fire Engine

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   Monday, July 29, 2002
Hot Rod Engine
Here's a fantasy of one of my painting ideas if I do't do a straight restore (which I go back and forth on every single day.)

{done with The GIMP photo editing tool}

In Pursuit of the Obvious
Every time I think the horror of owning a 27000 pound unmoving lump of steel subsides, the truck dies again. This weekend, I tried moving it into the street to take some pictures. I started the truck up, sweet and easy as always, and began the slow but persistent set of operations to get it out of the driveway.

This takes a while, since I have to park the truck flush against the fence on one side of the driveway to allow pedestrian access to the back of the house. I have to move the truck back and forth easing it into the center of the driveway to be able to actually back out. About 4 moves into this ungainly ballet, the truck backfired hideously and died. From that point forward it declined to start again. I used up two cans of starter fluid, each spray would get the engine to turn over, but not run. I lifted the hood. (At this point of this message I am grinning broadly since lifting the hood on a tilt-cab is a big endeavor. The lift assist springs are old and tired so it's more of a 'clean and jerk' action on my part.)

I sprayed the carb with carb cleaner. I checked the spark plugs (and found that one had been disconnected from the distributor long enough to allow a tiny critter to move into the contact.) I went ahead and checked the oil, cleaned the fuel strainer in the carb and checked all the linkages.

I climbed under the truck and found and banged on the gas tank (the gage is dead.) It seemed empty! Ah-ha! So I decided (while on my back on a creeper) to unscrew the drain plug at the bottom. 2 minutes later, covered head to toe in gasoline (with a sloshing puddle of gas in the back of my coveralls,) I got the plug back in. The tank was _not_ empty. I dipsticked the tank and found 4 inches of gas. Yes, in retrospect my sequence was flawed.

I found and disassembled the fuel filter (big motha') and got it back together. None of this did anything to help it start.

I finally decided to pour some more gas in, since perhaps 4 inches wasn't enough. I got 5 gallons into her (I keep a lot of gas around for my ridiculously oversized generator.) A few moments to refill the filter and voila! She runs.

I've got to get the gas gage fixed. This also doesn't bode well for A) the gas mileage, which I currently estimate at 2-3 MPG and B) the amount of gas used while pumping. I put 10 gallons of gas in it when I bought it, I've driven it less than 6 miles and had it idling for no more than 50 minutes and pumping for no more than 15 minutes. All of that must have used up the 10 gallons. The gage consists of a rheostat (potentiometer, variable resistor) attached to a float in the tank and a heating coil around a thermocouple in the gage. You can test the gage by applying 3 volts across the terminals to (hopefully) get a 'full' reading. Kinda cool.

Live, learn, pay.

Index of Post Titles:

Vital Statistics:
1960 Ford

534 cid
5-speed Gas
277 horsepower

27000 lbs. GVW

Young Fire Equip.

1000 gal. tank

500 GPM Hale
Midship Pump
Type QSHD-2,

Ferrell Fire Co.,
Ferrell, NJ

Buchanan VFD,
Buchanan, TX