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Reliance Fire Company Fire Truck Museum and Antique Fire Truck Restoration Facility

1938 Ahrens Fox HT Restoration

1938 Ahrens Fox HT ex Sandusky Ohio.  Hercules HXE engine, 1000 gpm 6 cylinder AF pump.

Picture in about 1948 after repaint by Sandusky. Note lack of decoration.

The HT was Fox's last attempt to sell the piston pumper.  Manufactured from 1937 to 1952, a total of 65 were produced.  With a four speed transmission, the truck could run 65mph easily.  Rated at 1000 gpm, departments routinely got 1300 gpm during pump tests.  Our example is unusual due to the single rear tires.  It was the 25th unit off the line, serial number 3445.  It also has a specially ordered 6 volt Oldsmobile clock in the dashboard.

Hercules Engine
The HXE was a widely used engine. 210 HP, 935 cu. in. 6 cylinder

Transmission countershaft with stripped 2nd gear

During our first drive after starting the truck, second gear made a terrible noise.  After removing and disassembling the transmission we know why.  The above picture of the countershaft shows the extensive damage to second gear, second from left.  We're searching for a better countershaft but it's more likely this one will need to be repaired. 

The rebuilt HXE engine mounted in the frame.

Major body and engine parts have been installed and the truck was driven outside!

The reassembly continues.

In July of 2009, the HT went home for a visit.  On the way to Indianapolis for the national SPAAMFAA muster we stopped off and gave the active and retired FFs in Sandusky a chance to see their old truck.  We also photographed it in various spots around town where it had been shot years ago.  It was a great trip.

The HT on the ramp of Sandusky Station 1

The pump.

The new trucks are truly huge. The HT was a big rig in it's day!

The nozzle on the back step was donated by Asst. Chief Mike Yost.

The HT crosses the finish line at the Indy 500 Speedway

The truck is a blast to drive.  It has lots of power and, with no muffler, a great sound.  Second gear is always a challenge but it'll run 65 mph on the radial tires we put on all day long.  At the track they made us all go slow, but I did manage to zoom it up to 40 mph just after the photo was taken.
We've also pumped it several times.  It flowed about 800 gpm at 1000 rpm through a deluge set, we're going to try it with a bigger tip next time but we'll have to secure a larger water supply! 


The truck before disassembly and blasting.  The truck had been stored in an unheated shed in Sandusky and the block and heads were cracked by freezing water left in the engine.  We found a spare motor with the correct dual spark plug heads and replaced them.  We also repaired the cracks in the block.  The engine was started for the first time in many years in fall of 2004.
The brake cylinders were sleeved and rebuilt, as was the brake booster.  The radiator was boiled out and repainted and the aluminum shell, which had cracked into 4 seperate pieces,  was repaired and polished prior to starting.  
Much of the chrome had been redone several years ago.  It was bolted on to test fit, then removed again.
The fenders had been removed, blasted, epoxy primed, and replaced several years ago. 

The engine, steering gear, and water tank have been mounted.

The pump transmission is almost ready to be installed.

The pump is almost complete, the Roto Ray needs to be mounted on the small air chamber.

The truck is essentially complete although we still have some minor work such as windshield wipers to complete.   Thanks to everyone at Sandusky FD for all their help and kindness during the visit!