FireTruck Diary

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

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   Sunday, September 01, 2002
Decomissioning & Mystery Solved?
I've actually been getting some real work (as opposed to paper-work) done!

I've gotten DeTruck decommissioned. There is no remaining reference to a real fire dept. on the truck. I got the driver's side door sticker off. Lotsa glue remained behind,

but I was able to get it off quickly this time. I sprayed a citrus based extra-strength solvent on it and left it overnight. The next day I really couldn't tell any difference, but it might have helped. I sprayed the glue down with the solvent and applied the 'ten foot rule' to find the perfect scraper. I needed something that would scrape the glue off at least semi-ergonomically in short order without taking any paint off. The ten foot rule is an esthetic that strives to solve every problem with the materials in a ten foot radius. In this case I scored a perfect ten by reaching down and taking the plastic cap off my 20 ounce bottle of Dr. Pepper. A circular motion a la 'Karate Kid' took the goo right off as long as it was kept wet with solvent.

I masked the front of the truck:

and used a red spray paint that matched as close as I have any reason to hope for. I masked in an octagonal pattern with two loooong sides. Four coats of paint and it no longer read 'VFD BUCHANAN VFD'. A moment of silence please...... Now on to the future! The contrast between the two colors is a bit greater than this picture shows, but it's really not too bad.

It'll be a good base to paint some new name on. As a note, it doesn't pay to spray paint, even outside with a light breeze, without a mask. I did the first coat that way and yes, this is the result of blowing my nose:

Hey, it's educational.

My ongoing plan to clean as much rust (including large chunks) out of the tank as possible has been progressing. Despite not succeeding to get the cleanout plug removed:

I did get the screen out of the 2.5" suction inlet which is the next lowest point in the supply side. I hosed out the tank as well as I could, which wasn't really very good due to the internal baffles that block my access. I let this stream run out until it was clean. Then I filled the tank with about 600 gallons and let it rush out through the system. The tank suction (tank to pump) valve is astonishingly stiff,

I have to get under the truck and move it with a 15" crescent wrench. Very difficult. Something is amiss. Penetrating oil hasn't helped yet.

I really need to get the cleanout plug out. It gets sprayed with penetrating oil daily. With the pump and pipe system full of water I got the ability to track down a big leak under the truck. I had thought it might be a fried relief valve, but a bit more effort allowed me to take a guess at why the engine might have been on the sales block.

There is a big 4" inlet on each side of the engine. They meet on the inlet side of the pump. At their top there is a smartly bubbling leak:

I haven't gotten a decent picture of it yet, but it's dead in the center of that pic. I suspect it to be a VERY expensive repair. But it might not matter to me given the small amount of pumping I intend to do. At least that's what I won't stop telling myself.

I bought a bunch of 'rope lights' to put on the engine. I'm going to park it out front this week and string lights on it for a party this coming weekend. Pix forthcoming.

In other news I'm expanding my thread inventory. The gated wye
that I bought a while back for less than $40 has NPSH (forestry style) threads on it's two 1.5" outlets. I either have to buy adapters and keep all my hose NST threaded, or get some NPSH gear. I took the chance that NPSH gear might go cheaper since it's less common. And indeed I scored two 1.5" NPSH nozzles for $9.00 (which is very cheap.) Now I'm waiting to score NSPH hose. I'll have a full set with the wye, hoses and nozzles. That will give me three 1.5" 'attack' hoses and nozzles with a 2.5" 'supply' hose and my hard suction for drafting (almost sounds risque :-)


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