FireTruck Diary

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

This page is powered by Blogger.
   Tuesday, July 30, 2002
A different kind of company.
The truck was built by Ford in their Louisville plant. It then went to Buffalo, New York to be turned into a fire engine by Young Fire Equipment. From 1932 to 1991, over 2000 Case/Cayasler/Young (the various company names) trucks and engines were built.


I work in the tech industry. My job title is 'Information Ecologist'. I've worked for companies for whom 5 years is a rich corporate life. My industry often looks on resume's that have more than 4 years at a single job as suspect. I'll be 40 this year, I've never worked anywhere for more than 5 years. What must it have been like to work in a company that has operated from the a single location for 59 years? I know that there are tens of millions of people in the U.S.A. who potentially have a solid idea of this, but most of my generation is not included, or at least not the ones I know (blue or white collar.)

The company that made the pump, Hale has an even longer history. They started making pumps in Radnor, PA in 1914 and are now part of a multi-national German/British/American company called IDEX. They also make the Jaws of LifeĀ®.

What an interesting snapshot of American industry. The brave little company fighting and dying, the specialty manufacturer becoming part of the world economy.

My generation is more defined by the 401K than the pension. My companies make things that exist in the mind and silicon. Wispish, transient things expected to live a few years and die. Nothing at all like a 27,000 lb. rolling sculpture of iron and steel. What are the odds, that even with my best work, there will be someone 41 years from now who looks on what I've done for a living and shudders with reverential joy? Who finds it iconic of so many American dreams and myths? Who wants to learn about me because of the product of my labors? Humbling.

I got a copy of the 'build card' from Hale Pumps today. The were very helpful when I emailed with the serial number of the pump and asked for any documentation. They didn't have more than a large index card of the 'as shipped' configuration, but it's nice info to get.

I learned that the pump type is QSHD2 and the impeller type is QS-16-10. I knew both of those numbers, but now I know which things they refer to. For the deep pump enthusiasts, here's the rest of the relevant statistics:

  • Pump Body Drop: 10 5/16"
  • 500 Gal. 150 Lb. Rating
  • 2 Discharge Valve, Threaded, 2 1/2" N.S.T., Type BL-45
  • 1 QL-178 Exten. (R.S.)
  • 1 2486 Exten. (L.S.)
  • 2 2267-4, Threaded, Hale 5" O.D., x 4 T.P.I.
  • 2 Suction Tube Cap
  • 2 Suction Tube Strainer
  • 1 Drive Unit, On Rear
  • 1 Relief Valve, Type QL-F, Control PM
  • 1 Pump Priming, Type VHQL
  • 1 VH-G108 Priming Pump, Oil Tank Assembly
  • 1 Priming Valve ZMQ
  • 1 Vacuum Valve VS
  • Gears

    • 7 pitch
    • D.U. Ratio 1:1.863
    • P. Pump Ratio 1:2.28
    • Replacement, Parts List No. 1037, 7/21/60

  • 2 HHB-98 Adapters, with Caps and Chains, 2 1/2" N.S.T. x 1 1/2", N.S.T.
  • 2 159-6 Flanges (L.S.)
  • 1 10D340 Strainer

Thanks Hale!

A sign of affection...
As I think about restoration vs. 'art car', I can't bring myself to ignore some of the care that has been given the truck in the past. I've always been amazed at how fire engines and trucks get the loving detail touches that other vehicles seem to go without. Most delightful to me is gold leaf. While most of it has worn off my engine, there are still big sections of the detail painting and gold leaf it was given when new:

Whatever I do, it will have to honor and celebrate those hand painted signs of affection that others gave her before me.

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