Our job for this 1946 Fire Truck was to get it running and road worthy. It came to us with an engine problem, so we’re evaluating engine building or other options.
A bit of history – These engines were originally Lycoming’s which were built for and used in the 1930s Auburn Speedsters. American LaFrance started using them and when Auburn went out of business, American LaFrance bought the rights to the engines, made some small changes and it then became an American LaFrance engine.
This type of engine building is very costly, so it was decided to get a good used engine, if one could be found.
It has taken a long time, but with the help of the customer we were able to come up with another complete engine (which was a running engine) and another truck for parts. The second engine was older, 1936, (80 years old). The second engine arrived and we checked everything out to see if it was usable, cleaned, did some repairs and got it ready to install. These are very large and heavy V12s. We fabricated a large extension for our tow motor to hoist it. It really worked out quite well considering the weight of this V12.
Once cleaned up and painted, into the chassis it went. A loud cheer went up when it started up and ran good but definitely had a fuel issue. At this time we checked out all the other components. The Stromberg carburetor was not operating correctly, fuel lines were jury rigged, the fuel pump was leaking as well as the water pump, rebuilding these units was the only way to go. We dropped the fuel tank, which consisted of some nasty old gas and rust, and decided it should be cleaned and resealed, including rebuilding the sending unit.
The wheel cylinders and master cylinder were all seized and the brakes were locked. The clutch was completely burnt up, the flywheel and pressure plate had very deep, large cracks and not usable. We located a good, used flywheel and parts for the pressure plate in New England and had them rebuilt. The flywheel itself is a good 100 lbs.
Next was rebuilding the clutch assembly and servicing the rear axle and transmission including front and rear brake service as well as replacing the master cylinder.