Northwest Military Blogs: McChord Flightline Chatter

March 30, 2017 at 1:53pm

627th airmen identify vehicle issue - saves Air Force $68k

Senior Airman William Schlee (left), and Airman 1st Class Justyn Zangwill, detangle hoses on a McChord Field fire truck, March 21, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Photo credit: Senior Airman Divine Cox

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According to Micromain Corporation, doing preventative maintenance on your vehicle is one of the easiest ways to save money in the long run.

Maintenance airmen from the 627th Logistic Readiness Squadron learned first-hand just how important performing preventative maintenance really is.

"The 627th Civil Engineer Squadron fire fighters were out working and noticed a couple issues with their fire truck," said Nicholas Deleon, 627th LRS Heavy mobile equipment mechanic leader. "So they brought the fire truck to us to figure out what the issues were."

Airman 1st Class Justyn Zangwill, 627th LRS fire truck and refuel maintenance journeyman, said when they were testing the truck, they noticed the fire truck wasn't driving and pumping water at the same time like it was designed to.

"We noticed a couple issues with the truck when we tested it in the compound," said Zangwill.

Once the airmen isolated the problem, they had to remove the engine and the power divider assembly, to locate seven broken bolts and a broken spring inside the torsion coupler.

"We've been told by an outside corporation that the engine with the power divider is something they don't use anymore, but it can break every five years," said Zangwill. "One was replaced before I got here, so it was a matter of time before it needed to be fixed again."

Zangwill said the power divider and the torsion coupler is a very important piece to the fire truck.

"The torsion coupler compress everything together when you engage the pumps, but the torsion reduces the shock on the springs," said Zangwill. "The power divider (pump and roll), will engage the pump, so you are able to drive forward while pumping out water or foam. If you engage the pumps and the truck automatically starts trying to take off, that means there's a problem. Which in this case was the broken bolts and springs we found."

Because of the quick response and knowledge of the small three-person fire truck maintenance shop, the airmen saved the Air Force thousands of dollars.

"I estimated that this project would have cost us close to $70,000 if we would have contracted it out," said Deleon. "The closest company we found that does this project was in Canada, and we would have had to ship the entire vehicle and pay for parts and labor."

The airmen provided a solution that took three weeks and only cost the Air Force $2,000 in parts.

Zangwill said he was glad that the maintenance shop was able to find the problem and fix it.

"Everybody knows that one of the Air Force missions is moving people and cargo," said Deleon. "The planes aren't allowed to take off unless there are aircraft fire trucks on the flightline ready, in case of an emergency. If we weren't here to fix the fire trucks, then the planes couldn't take off and complete their mission."

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