Mechanics Roundtable Discussion August 7, 2008 Glastonbury CT The following is a summary of the topics discussed and ideas generated at the August 7, 2008 roundtable discussion between a group of mechanics and fleet managers from municipalities around the state. Thirty participants from 19 towns and cities engaged in a frank and open discussion of some of the hot topics affecting municipal fleets around the state. Some time was also spent on generating topics of interest and importance for future sessions. The discussion was focused mainly on getting ideas on how different towns are handling specific fleet issues. There was a great exchange of information between the towns; ideas that had been tried as well as their level of success, frustrations with budgets, and compliance with regulatory guidelines. Corrosion: The first and largest issue was how the towns are handling corrosion issues related to winter maintenance. Some towns are experiencing an increase in corrosion issues due to a change in the amount of chemical anti-icing materials they are using. Other towns have also changed their winter maintenance programs and have not seen a marked increase in corrosion problems. From the discussion, it seemed to be a case of cleaning equipment after the storm and protecting equipment in anticipation of contact with corrosive materials. Lining undercarriages and parts that may get into contact with corrosives has been very effective for the Town of Bloomfield. They line pick up beds, oil pans and other parts in an effort to protect the equipment form contact with the materials. The Town of Monroe just had a chassis lined and will test it out this winter. Granby, Westport and Burlington all have indoor wash facilities to help get the corrosive material off the equipment after a storm. Granby is looking into using an undercarriage wash as well. The most important aspect of a successful equipment washing program seems to be to wash the equipment as soon as possible after the storm and to wash it completely. South Windsor is having success with using “Lubriseal” to protect their equipment. Some other tips shared among the group were to avoid double chassis as the salt can get inside and fatigue the parts, to be watchful of “V-Bodies” because the salt hardens and causes the “V-Body” slip ins to get stuck if not washed properly and to pay special attention to any aluminum parts as they are particularly susceptible to corrosion. Power Draws on Batteries: Several towns have had to deal with radios and other special equipment drawing power off vehicle batteries when the vehicles are not in use. This seems to stem mostly from after market dealers not connecting wiring properly. There are several brands of equipment to help with this issue, including Lescor, Galls, MAQ, and BearCom and most towns use them to control battery power loss. The other point made was to get copies of the wiring maps form the manufacturer and installer so it is clear where the connections were supposed to be made. Other ideas and tips: NAPAFix.com is a great website that contains a searchable database that is full of different types of mechanical issues and how to solve them. It focuses mostly on light duty trucks and cars but can be very helpful in pinpointing solutions to difficult problems. CAM2 fuel can be used to help winterize small motor equipment such as weedwackers and lawn mowers. The best way to get trained as a new mechanic is to get ACSE master certification. It will provide education on all industry standards and guidelines. Future of T2 Mechanics Series: Some time was spent on working with Mary McCarthy, the T2 Training Specialist to help identify important topics and a workable structure for future mechanics training opportunities. It was suggested that the structure be similar to that of a roundtable; a short presentation by a technical expert (vendor or agency) followed by the opportunity to share ideas and experiences on the topic. Some of the topics of importance were: Alternative Fuels Emission Regulations Diagnostics of Seasonal Performance Issues Computer Controls It was also suggested that we invite different manufacturers to come and present on maintaining their particular equipment so the mechanics have an opportunity to talk with a manufacturer’s representative to get solutions to some of the more common problems associated with a particular part or system. For example, have someone come from Allison Transmissions to speak about their product and provide tips for maintaining them. Overall, this was a very productive session and the participants indicated both at the end of the session and on their evaluations that it was very useful and important to continue having similar classes.
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