Shop Tickets, Fuel Receipts Help to Check Maintenance
The third record form (the first two were described last month) is a shop ticket or work request. It is initiated by either the driver-operator or the department mechanic and submitted for approval to the fire chief or the deputy responsible for maintenance.
If the work is done by a fire department mechanic, an itemized listing should be made on the form for record purposes. If the work is done by an outside mechanic, either in a municipal or private garage, then the record of parts, hours of labor and lubricants can be omitted as the garage will submit an itemized invoice which will become a part of the maintenance record for that vehicle.
Fire departments with repair shops use record forms developed for their specific use. Unfortunately, no two fire departments use the same form. Some of these forms provide an excellent record of time out of service, hours of required maintenance, costs and general performance. Others are not in such detail. The record in many instances is entirely a matter of individual effort as to the information supplied. In some departments the record form is not much more than a ruled sheet, deficient in much information which should be a matter of record.
Form suggested: For the smaller fire department, a suggested form is shown in Figure 1. This is on a 5 X 8 sheet, the same size as the apparatus record card to standardize on file size. It can be reproduced easily on a stencil and run on white, pink and yellow paper. The sheets can then be collated in groups of three and stapled together. Different colors make proper identification of copies a simple matter.
In the medium-size fire department with several fire trucks, a standard lettersize form, 8 1/2 X 11, is usually used.
By courtesy of Fire Chief Wayne Swanson, a copy of the Rockford, Ill., Fire Department maintenance record form (Figure 2) is reproduced. One of the notable features is that the third, or shop file copy, is on heavy card stock to withstand shop handling and preserve the record in better condition. Also note that the record sheets are serially numbered in groups of three copies. This serial numbering is a definite aid at the year’s end to be sure you have all the repair records when compiling the maintenance record for the annual report and to figure the budget for the coming year.
This record is also useful to show when maintenance has reached a frequency and cost that justifies replacing the vehicle. And such information can be valuable in determining certain specification details related to power, performance and electrical equipment. It may also indicate the suitability of a manufacturer’s product to render the required service.
Fuel receipt form: A receipt form is used by some fire departments to provide a record of the use of fuel, engine oil and hydraulic fluid. Used in duplicate, it provides a check on the amount and type of fuel; amount, SAE viscosity and brand of engine oil; and amount and type of hydraulic fluid for each vehicle as well as a grand total. The receipt form is small, approximately 3 x 5 inches (Figure 3).
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It is important to have a record of the type of fuel being supplied for a particular vehicle so that the mechanic will know if the proper type has been furnished. Certainly premium fuel does not need to be supplied for a gasoline engine that does not require it. No increase in power is provided by premium fuel when it is not required. While NFPA Standard No. 19 requires that gasoline engines in fire apparatus shall produce their rated power and operate with standard octanerated fuel, not all engines furnished to the fire service comply with this important requirement. It is left to the fire department to find out the hard way that some engines require premium fuel.
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As one fire chief exclaimed when he learned why the engine pinged in his new pumper, “So that’s why it knocks badly on acceleration or when going up a grade, but runs nice and smooth on the level when it is not pulling hard!”
Some autos used by departmental officers require a premium fuel and it should be used when recommended by the manufacturer.
Carbon accumulation in the combustion chamber or improper ignition or valve timing are possible causes of pinging, so check these thoroughly, the last two even on a new engine, before deciding a premium fuel is needed.
Indication of trouble: When the condition of detonation or pinging exists during acceleration or on a grade, it indicates trouble ahead unless corrected. The normal explosion pressure of approximately 600 psi suddenly jumps to 1,200 psi or higher, causing the engine to overheat and run rough. If allowed to continue, the extreme pressure will shorten bearing life and soon piston rings will stick and break. The higher temperature carbonizes the oil, reducing cylinder lubrication. When the piston rings break, the heat path from the piston to the cylinder wall is interrupted, preventing proper heat transfer. The result is a burned hole in one or more pistons.
Diesel fuel must also be carefully selected. Sulfur content must be low and a substitution of No. 1 for No. 2 will spell trouble. If the brand you are using is satisfactory, stay with it.
Engine oil records are important. For example, if they indicate oxerfilling, change in SAE viscosity or API service classification or brand name, they should be checked out immediately. Some engines with hydraulic valve lifters are very sensitive to overfilling of the crankcase and a very disturbing tappet noise can develop from this condition. Otherwise, it will cause excessive oil consumption, smoking, and possible spark plug fouling.
Substitution of a cheaper oil, even though marketed by the same refiner, is asking for trouble. A cheaper oil which may be satisfactory in light-duty vehicles will not render satisfactory service in fire apparatus, as some fire departments have learned to their sorrow.
The receipt record permits the mechanic or officer to spot these changes or substitutions and take corrective action.