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Fire Trucks and oil changes #4713277
04/01/18 01:58 PM
04/01/18 01:58 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,662
South Dakota
otis24 Offline OP
otis24  Offline OP
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 1,662
South Dakota
My brother-in-law is a volunteer firefighter. His town, like scores of others across the country, has a 1941 fire engine. I asked him about oil changes and he said that they tried to change oil about twice per year. If you think about it, how much mileage do these vehicles see each year? I'm guessing that these vehicles would be the perfect candidate for a once every ,2 or 3 years OCI. Also, wondering about the lubrication needs of these vintage vehicles and how well they are served by modern lubricants. Any other fire fighters that have experience with this?

Last edited by otis24; 04/01/18 02:00 PM.

1991 Chevrolet K1500 (4.3, 4x4, 86k miles)

2016 Dodge Grand Caravan
(3.6 V6) 46500 miles
Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: otis24] #4713287
04/01/18 02:08 PM
04/01/18 02:08 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,218
Wet side WA
JohnnyJohnson Online content
JohnnyJohnson  Online Content
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,218
Wet side WA
Cheap insurance its a beach when your fire truck breaks down on the way to the fire!


2004 Corolla 124786
Out: VML 5w-30 TG4967 OCI 5007 Miles
In: EDGE EP 5W-30 Bosch 3311 122537 7-18-18
2006 Duramax 74277
Out: T6 5W-40 M1-303
In: T6 5W-40 XG9100 74705 4-22-18
Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: otis24] #4713314
04/01/18 02:59 PM
04/01/18 02:59 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 374
Va
FFeng7 Offline
FFeng7  Offline
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 374
Va
The department here does annual oil changes and complete preventive maintenance on all the trucks. Mileage is probably way under the recommendation from the engine manufacturer.


2002 Dakota Quad Cab 4x4-Delo XLE 10w30-Fram PH16 Filter
2007 Cobalt LT-Supertech High Mileage Synthetic 5w30-Parts Plus Filter
Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: otis24] #4713326
04/01/18 03:20 PM
04/01/18 03:20 PM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,400
Georgia
AVB Offline
AVB  Offline
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,400
Georgia
I serviced the fire engines for a small vfd at my last job. We did an annual service when the DOT inspections were due.

Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: otis24] #4713329
04/01/18 03:22 PM
04/01/18 03:22 PM
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,226
Waco, TX
Linctex Offline
Linctex  Offline
Joined: Dec 2016
Posts: 6,226
Waco, TX
I once served on a VFD in the early 90's that had a 1947 Chevy truck with 19,000 original miles.

You could eat off of any part of it!


"The evidence demands a verdict".
(Re:VOA)"it's nearly impossible to actually know the particular additives that are in there at what concentrations."
Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: otis24] #4713340
04/01/18 03:30 PM
04/01/18 03:30 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 11,844
Idaho
CT8 Offline
CT8  Offline
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 11,844
Idaho
Tell B.I.L. thanks I appreciate the volunteer firemen more than can be shown.


2015 Ford F150 2.7
2018 Ford F350 6.2
Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: otis24] #4713344
04/01/18 03:32 PM
04/01/18 03:32 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 543
NE Ohio
knerml Offline
knerml  Offline
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 543
NE Ohio
I am sure they use hour meters, especially the amount of idling those engine do...


2015 Hyundai Elantra Sport 2.0 GDI Mobil 1 5W20 & OEM/Mann W811/80 Filter
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Castrol Edge 5W40 & OEM/Mann W811/80 Filter
Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: otis24] #4713356
04/01/18 03:40 PM
04/01/18 03:40 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 5,432
Soviet State of Washington
PimTac Online content
PimTac  Online Content
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 5,432
Soviet State of Washington
In this case with the op in So Dakota the climate must play a role. Imagine sub zero temps and then start up and run. Iím sure they have block heaters but still these engines do get abused, no doubt.

In the USCG, our lifeboats had warmers running year round on the Detroit Diesel engines that were onboard but going from zero to 2800 rpm in winter with the intake water near 40F or less where we were gave the engineers heartburn. Those engines held up very well.


2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring

Valvoline Advanced Synthetic 0w20
Mobil 1 M108A EP filter

Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: otis24] #4713369
04/01/18 03:51 PM
04/01/18 03:51 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,348
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Chris142 Offline
Chris142  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,348
Deplorable in apple valley, ca
Racing to a fire with a 218 cuin flathead. LoL


02 Wrangler durablend 10w40
87 F250 traveler 15w40
04 Tahoe super-s 10w30
Z400 castrol T 10w40
Can am maveric edge 5w40
57 case tractor 15w40
Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: PimTac] #4713386
04/01/18 04:15 PM
04/01/18 04:15 PM
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,028
Middlesex County CT
simple_gifts Offline
simple_gifts  Offline
Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 12,028
Middlesex County CT
Originally Posted By: PimTac
In this case with the op in So Dakota the climate must play a role. Imagine sub zero temps and then start up and run. Iím sure they have block heaters but still these engines do get abused, no doubt.


We had an adequately heated firehouse in NH when I was a volunteer; You realize pumpers have 500 gallon water tanks?

Needless to say, riding on the back (1980s) was discouraged in the winter lol


2004 Prius; 97K ML Syn 5W-30
2007 Yaris 71K 0w-40 Castrol
2006 B2300;130K;ALM


Was driving an ox cart; Now on the USS Enterprise
Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: Chris142] #4713402
04/01/18 04:36 PM
04/01/18 04:36 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 33,077
ME
eljefino Online content
eljefino  Online Content
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 33,077
ME
Originally Posted By: Chris142
Racing to a fire with a 218 cuin flathead. LoL


I live within earshot of a 55 MPH 2-lane highway with 4-way stop and a mild uphill grade. The Harleys get to bang up through the gears. Fire Engines just make a BLAAAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH noise and don't pick up any revs. LOL

I think my town still has a 60-year old Six-by for a forestry vehicle. I cannot imagine it having speed.

Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: otis24] #4713403
04/01/18 04:41 PM
04/01/18 04:41 PM
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 842
KS
FordBroncoVWJeta Offline
FordBroncoVWJeta  Offline
Joined: Apr 2016
Posts: 842
KS
My home town has a 1922 Stutz fire truck.


17 Volkswagen Jetta 1.4T
15 Honda CRV 2.4
12 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0
01 Pontiac Sunfire 2.2
Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: otis24] #4713412
04/01/18 04:47 PM
04/01/18 04:47 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,036
iowa
Traction Offline
Traction  Offline
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 1,036
iowa
I just acquired a 1950 Chevy 4100 fire truck with only 2300 miles on it. Got it running, and now need to deal with the brakes, and old tires. These old engines don't have oil filters either. Mine will be lucky to see 100 OCI.


Certified Tire Service Instructor since 2009
50 Chevy Fire Truck
13 Tahoe Pursuit
97 C5 Corvette
00 BMW M Roadster
02 Camry
12 Camry
81 Camaro
55 Chevy C4
Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: simple_gifts] #4713450
04/01/18 05:50 PM
04/01/18 05:50 PM
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 5,432
Soviet State of Washington
PimTac Online content
PimTac  Online Content
Joined: Mar 2017
Posts: 5,432
Soviet State of Washington
Originally Posted By: simple_gifts
Originally Posted By: PimTac
In this case with the op in So Dakota the climate must play a role. Imagine sub zero temps and then start up and run. Iím sure they have block heaters but still these engines do get abused, no doubt.


We had an adequately heated firehouse in NH when I was a volunteer; You realize pumpers have 500 gallon water tanks?

Needless to say, riding on the back (1980s) was discouraged in the winter lol


Totally understand. I was just thinking of the engine oil. Referring back to the lifeboat scenario, we would unplug the shore power and take off bow and stern lines while the engineer down below opened the sea chest valve and set up the electrical and whatever else. When he hollered okay, I hit two buttons to start the respective engines. At that same time the deck crew threw off the lines. In a emergency situation as soon as I could clear the dock I floored both throttles. At that moment the effects of the heated oil and coolant in the water jackets disappeared as the cold water dropped the temps pretty quick. I would notice that after 1-2 minutes the engines ran much better. The initial throttle up produced some smoke as well.

In a normal call with no life threatening urgency we would take it easy for the first 5 minutes give or take. It depended on the weather and temps. On the PNW coast, water temps are pretty cold even during summer. I should also add that these Detroitís had turbos as well IIRC.


2017 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring

Valvoline Advanced Synthetic 0w20
Mobil 1 M108A EP filter

Re: Fire Trucks and oil changes [Re: otis24] #4713470
04/01/18 06:16 PM
04/01/18 06:16 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 5,857
Kalifornia Kollective
BrocLuno Offline
BrocLuno  Offline
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 5,857
Kalifornia Kollective
Yeah, but there are extenuating circumstances. I was a Fireman and then an Engineer (fire apparatus) for 7 1/2 years in my earlier life. Worked Forestry fire program and city stuff.

You have to understand the small and medium engines (the actual trucks, not the motors) are usually vacuum assisted brakes and they go from off stone cold to full RPM and full load accelerating out of the barn in like 45 seconds. The older trucks are carb'd and have manual chokes. They may run rich for up to a minute as they come up to temp...

The larger engines are air brakes, but they are hose hooked to the shop air compressor, so they do not have to wait to build air pressure. They also go from stone cold to full RPM in maybe a few seconds longer.

We changed oil at 500 miles, grease, brake adjust, etc. New air cleaner element or wash the oil bath after every fire outing. They can be pumping under substantial load in smoke and embers. Things get filthy quickly ...

Our trucks were mandated to run Delo 400 15W-40 unless they were at Susanville, Truckee, or some other very cold spot. Then they got 10W-30. This was before anyone heard of 5W anything ... No synthetic oils. All premium dinos. Even then the reasons were given for better (thicker) residual film strength on cold start. They sit in a big garage and never freeze, so it all works fine.

If we were on extended fire duty (like I did three fires in a row ending up in SoCal), we had to come off the line to get serviced at 1,500 miles - no questions. And we beat on those trucks mercilessly day in and day out. Stone cold to 70 MPH as fast as you could shift them. Runs from NorCal to LA on the governor the whole way. The only time they idled was between assignments. Maybe an hour here or there. Or, they idled all night long if you were on perimeter watch. Had to, to keep the batteries up and the radios hot ...

A fire trucks life is not as easy as it seems ... Yes, they would go over 100,000 miles if they did not age off the line first. A commercial truck on the same chassis would be expected to go over 300,000 w/o major engine work. We might roll a set of rods and mains in at 50,000 miles. Usually when they were getting clutches ...

Last edited by BrocLuno; 04/01/18 06:21 PM.

Formerly in marine engineering. In an earlier life I owned my own petroleum tank truck, and hauled for the majors and independent's.
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