January 28, 2010

OK, I admit it takes someone making a comment to prompt me to get back on and add to this blog. Blogging is supposed to be a daily or at least weekly activity, not once every six months or so. I will try to do a better job.

In the last post I talked about the discouragement I encountered after having our painters look at the project, but just a month or so later, after posting a request for help on a high school alumni web site, that discouragement all went out the window. I was contacted by Dale Golden, a guy who was one year ahead of me in school and also grew up in the Happy Valley area. As a matter of fact, Dale shared with me that it was nearly a daily routine for him and one of his friends to go down the hill to the fire station where they would play on the fire trucks, one of which just happened to be the original Fire 32. As it turns out, Dale works at a large auto body shop in Portland and has offered his skills in body and paint.

Before getting too deep into that story, I want to go back to the summer and talk some more about work that had to be done to the body before going to the sandblaster.

One amazing aspect of this project is that there is little to no body cancer, something that I attribute to three things: (1) Good metal, (2) Red oxide primer, (3) and it is a fire truck and was well cared for throughout its life. The one spot I did find cancer was under the left side mid body rubrail. For many years, I thought I would be able to weld up the holes, use a little body filler and be done. When I started welding, it just blew out the holes and got worse, so I got out the sawzall and cut the rubrail off the truck. Our press brake at work is not set up to make such a tight bend, so I called around and found Parks Metal, a very sophisticated machine shop in Aloha, Oregon. Parks not only was able to fabricate what I needed, but made an additional piece just in case I needed it, and only charged me $35. They have my business now!

This first picture shows the side body after I cut off the rotten rubrail. 

This picture show the rubrail after I welded it on to the body. You can see the tight bend and the end pieces Parks welded on as part of the deal.

The picture below shows the modified booster reel compartment door. When the pumper was in Alaska, the fire department removed the left side booster reel and replaced the door skin with a solid panel, making it a normal compartment. I was able to find the half round material in a restoration catalog, and it matched the other side perfectly. Using the right side booster reel door as a pattern, I cut the panel out and welded on the half round. Later on I will fabricate a new support frame for the reel that will be mounted inside the compartment. The reel itself was actually designed for use on oil delivery trucks, as it held 1 1/2″ rubber hose.

This picture shows the upper corner of the left side pre connect compartment, where there was a fair amount of damage. Based on the damage to the body and the fact that there was a new skin on the compartment door, I concluded someone pulled the truck out of the station bay with the door sticking out. The sad thing is that these doors slide into the body so they are out of the way, so this is damage that should never have occured. Since I did not have the skills to cut out the damage and weld in a patch, I straightened it the best I could and used the welder to build up material, then ground it off to the right shape. With a little bondo, this will be good as new.

This picture shows the patch panel I welded into the lower rubrail to repair damage that occured from a tire chain coming loose on the way to a call. Both side were damaged, but this was the worst and required new material. The other side has damage that occured on the way to a house fire on Christmas day in 1979. The damage was repaired by one of our firefighters who was a trained body man, and was well hidden until the sandblasting blew out the bondo.

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