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Working the National 1300A

Discussion in 'Cranes' started by Natman, Jan 3, 2017.

  1. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    I thought I was going to have to go back to bending nails today, as in out of the hoisting biz. Heard a loud, very loud, noise, then lots of black smoke, then a major loss of power. Once pulled over (on the interstate, of course) all seemed fine, tired it again and managed to limp off the exit without having to call AAA.

    A slow drive across town, to my mechanic's shop, where he correctly diagnosed the problem, before the hood was all the way up no less, as a blown hose on the turbo. I had assumed the worst, but 5 minutes later, with a new hose clamp (hose was good) I was back to being a big shot and gainfully employed again. The one bad thing about this biz, is with just one rig, if it's down I am 100% out of luck, and business. Luckily I was able to reschedule my 5 jobs in the next two days with only a little reshuffling.

    I need a backup machine, just something like the little 18 ton Elliott a friend (who I've sold two of my past rigs to) will have up for sale in a couple months, good enough for setting most truss jobs, and only 60K. A lot of the jobs I do, don't require the reach and heft of the 30 ton, and I could maybe even make it pay for itself by working it on the little jobs, plus have the peace of mind of having a fallback machine. I need to check with my insurance agent and see, what with me being able to only drive one at a time, what the hit would be from him.
     
  2. crane operator

    crane operator Senior Member

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    I know a guy with a little Mack that hasn't totally fallen in love with the whole boom truck idea (if you're really looking).

    But - I've got a operator that would gladly send you a 25 ton truck crane of mine though, he's loving my mack- 95' of main and no jib to swing and a nice ride- he's thrilled, gets a funny look on his face when I talk about getting rid of it.

    I've had all kinds of cranes sitting around this week that I could send you. But I'm afraid if I did send you a real crane, you'd be ruined for boom trucks forever, so maybe I better just leave you alone....

    If you get another truck, you'll need another operator- why have it just sit, you can go do 2 jobs monday at 8:00. If one of your 5 jobs goes long, you aren't making 5 phone calls. 60k isn't bad to double your work. My best 2nd operator for a long time was a semi- retired operator who would just work when I needed a hand, and it was a great deal. If you buy it and it sets, it won't be running when you need it.

    My wife's got family in boise and they say Idaho housing is really cranked up, so I'm glad you're busy too. Nice too that it wasn't a serious repair, its always a sinking feeling when something is broke.
     
  3. Knepptune

    Knepptune Senior Member

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    Indiana
    When one of those turbo hoses goes, it does make a very loud noise. If you've never heard it before it'll make your heart drop to your feet.

    Back when I wore a younger man's clothes I did a complete inframe on a cat 3126. Got everything back together and went for the test drive, hit about 30 mph and BOOM...talk about feeling sick. Fixed the intercooler line and truck ran great. Still see it around.
     
  4. The Peej

    The Peej Well-Known Member

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    Connecticut
    This just happened on my f500 with the 6.7. amazing how much thick black smoke it can produce
     
  5. The Peej

    The Peej Well-Known Member

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    The smoke
     

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  6. kenh

    kenh Well-Known Member

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    bonners ferry,id
    Rumor has it that oil from the pcv hose lubes the tubes, assisting in blow off,
    I put a Raccor "catch can "on my PSD, Nary a boot problem, also keeps nasty stuff out of the engine,
     
  7. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    Well the punch line is, my mechanic just blew me off that day when I asked how much, "catch ya next time", or words to that effect. Then the next day, and a half I billed for 18 hrs., AND got paid on site for those 4 different jobs, (super rare) a new personal best. I will slip him a 5 spot in appreciation..... as in 50 bucks, whether he wants it or not. Ha ha.

    All of these jobs could have been done with a smaller backup boom truck, though I would have had to reposition a few times on two of them. I agree Crane Op, machines not used a lot have more trouble, like airplanes. It'd just be a real luxury for me to get a call for work, and then decide which rig to take based on the need, my 30 ton is over qualified for a lot of my work, residential trusses and HVAC mostly. When I pick a 650 lb unit up and place it 30' away and 25' up, I sure don't need it, something like the little Elliott would do the job and I'd imagine I could charge nearly the same rate. Buying it from my Arizona buddy who I sold two of my past rigs to, would also be pretty stress free, pretty sure he would not shaft me too bad! Mostly though, knowing I had a backup would be a stress reliever. Any employees is something I prefer to avoid, even if it costs me money, I think I could feasibly run a smaller boom truck (having had 4 others, all smaller then the National, I know what they can and can't do) enough to keep it operational, several times a month at least.
     
  8. crane operator

    crane operator Senior Member

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    sw missouri
    In my area natman, most of the "little" crane work has disappeared. Most framers have a telescopic forklift, the biggest of them reaching 54' with 10k of capacity. The "sign" guys with their little round pole trucks have taken up the 30' away 300lb stuff. Granted- I kind of gave it away with a 3 hour minimum. But they will work cheaper than me, because for them its just side money.

    The second crane can get you out of a real bind, and make a super stressful event, be just a slight inconvienence. As in "hey I'm broke down, its my engine and I won't be back up for two weeks" vs "hey, I'm having some trouble with the crane and I've got to go back to the shop and get the other one, I'm going to be a hour late".
     
  9. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    Running hot water, I have it on board. One of those cheap solar water heaters, but it's lasted 10 years, 1 gallon capacity, I jjust lay it on my behind the cab toolbox for gravity flow. Nice for washing your hands, after forgetting to put your gloves on and having to jump out of the cab to show the carpenters the right/my way of rigging a 60' truss with 5/8" sheet rock on it so it doesn't snap in half like the first one.....lifting it from behind the house I couldn't see it but trusted them, once it got in my view I saw that it was 50/50 chance of folding whether I set it back down or set it in place. No one near it, for sure, it made it halfway and it folded but no damage to anyone or anything, and they field repaired it. But after I got my hands dirty and rigged the second one it flew perfect, I'm no neat freak but this little water bag improves my outlook.
     
  10. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    Forgot the picture, that little clear bag laying on the deck, by the bracket that secures my 1 IMG_20180613_143902296_HDR.jpg 5 ton load block.
     
  11. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    Not crane related but sort of....over the weekend I attended one of the bigger fly-in's in Montana, and part of the fun is the spot landing contest. Third place was 26', second place was 14' out, then they announced my landing.....ON THE LINE! Sure I'm a experienced pilot (46 years now) but I'm kind of cheating by spending so many hours in the National these days, mostly swing trusses as fast as possible (high cycle time I mean to say.) I mean both activities are just hand/eye coordination, at least compared to some other pilot who spent all week in the office pushing paper. Crane op's make good pilots, and versa vice.
     
    classictruckman likes this.
  12. Impact

    Impact Senior Member

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    Occupation:
    Owner
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Congratulations. Impressive
     
  13. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    A buddy who does concrete work managed to tip his telehandler into the excavation while off loading his forms. I was there in 45 minutes and it took a 6K pull to get him out. I made sure he understood the need to not side load me as he drove out using the rear wheels while I held the front up, it went slick. The foundation had been overdug and backfilled fur IMG_20180815_143131764.jpg ther out then normal, so I made sure to stay plenty far away as we didn't need two pieces of equipment in that hole.
    I am adding on to an outbuilding at my home, excavating it today, and am going to need a 9' high retaining wall/foundation wall as I am cutting into the hill side, and jumped at the chance to help him out, ha ha, I almost hope he does it again and needs more help from me.
     
    mwelding likes this.
  14. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    After waiting almost 4 months to get paid by an HVAC outfit in a town about 50 miles from me, and after 3 phone calls, several mailings, and one in person office visit last week, I paid a second visit early today, parking the boom truck so I'd be blocking their only yard access, and also blocking 2 cars in the front lot. I took the keys out, and turned on my cell phone to record, and walked in the back/shop door. I was greeted by a surprised office girl who immediately told me no one was allowed "in back." I told her, again, who I was and why I was there, "remember, you told me last week you'd mail the check.?" I then told her I was accidentally blocking their parking and access so let's cut me a check real soon. Now we were up front, and another office lady (no guys, yet) starts talking to me, explaining how the owner of the commercial building had called them (he was on my side, and had told me THEY were responsible for the bill, several weeks ago) and "clarified things." Turns out, supposedly, that the HVAC outfit had thought the owner was paying for the lift, and that's why I didn;t get paid. No mention of the fact that I sent THEM a bill, called and faxed several times, was there last week, etc., and basically brought it to their attention months ago who was expected to pay.

    Meanwhile, the first office lady had gone down the hallway, and returned, with a guy who was about 3' wide, well over 6' tall, and AT LEAST 300 lbs., with not much fat. And a beard about 16" long. And about 40 years younger then me. Just then, the other lady was telling me, finally, that they'd cut a check tomorrow, now that "it was all cleared up." This gave me my out, so I didn't have to butt heads with the big guy, and could also save face (he was so damn big, his appearance totally defused the situation, (to my credit, I looked him in the eye and said "how you doing, you the guy that writes the checks") no he said, he was just a peon, a tin bender, if he had been my size (and I had a chance to not get crushed in 2 seconds) and the guy who called me for the job, it would have continued to escalate/I would have kept running my mouth. It's great being self employed, I get to do EVERYTHING, including collecting on way past due bills. When and if I get my check, I will mail them a receipt, along with a note that any further work will require cash, in advance. I's not the money, it's the idea of getting cheated, disrespected I guess, that sets me off, after months and months of BS. How do you guys handle billing? In almost 20 years I have never actually been totally screwed except one time, for just a few hundred bucks, and the guy had earlier given me thousands of dollars of work and was going bankrupt, that didn't bother me at all as he was upfront about it. I'm super easy going and non demanding, until after about 3.5 months, then I turn into a real jerk. One good thing I think, I'm 69, so my age probably saved me today, and I got to somewhat play the tough guy role and got away with it, ha ha.
     
  15. Impact

    Impact Senior Member

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    A grain elevator has been oweing me for over a year. Phone calls, visits, emails. Just couldnt get them to pay. Couple of weeks ago, they broke down and needed me. Were begging me to send a crew. Not till you pay up. They finally did, and I sent a crew. I sent one against my better judgement. It was a buckey elevator repair. Top head bearings out about 100’ in the air. Someone had worked on it before us. 2-7/16” shaft, straight, no journals. They had already paid someone else to work on it. They installed 2-13/16” bearings. Yikes. They told me they had the right bearings. They had 2-1/4” bearings. I guess they can read a measuring tape, until theyget into the little lines? Lol
     
  16. Natman

    Natman Senior Member

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    Enough whining about not getting paid......

    A couple weeks ago, I set a large solar array, 3.4 KW, fabbed by me in my shop and then trucked (tractored actually) to my neighbor's place about 1/2 mile up a dirt road. The rack is one of many I've built over the years, using "that looks about right" engineering. The benefit for me is I can do all the busy work in my shop, in between my usual hoisting jobs, my spare time. Then when I show up onsite, I am in and out quickly, I am the only outfit in my area doing solar work who has his own boom truck, and I beat them all in installed price, it's a nice little side biz.

    The rack bears on steel pipe bolted to the girder trusses, using standard plumbing roof jacks to water proof eveything. The pole mount array in the back of one pic is one we put up 5 years ago.
     

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  17. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    I would have just said I'm here to pick up my overdue check. There's nothing the big guy or anyone else could have done. He threatens you or puts a finger on you, you have him charged. You say you're not leaving till you get a check, what are they going to do, call the cops? They hired you so they should pay you. Sometimes it's easier to take some off a bill but cranes aren't cheap to run and this was a commercial job. Residential jobs can be worse. I had a job where the guy wanted about $1200 worth of landscaping done. The only part I couldn't do was rototilling his front yard because it was mostly clay and packed like concrete. He asked if I could mix some mushroom manure in his garden. Sure except he had 3 tandem loads delivered and it was about 10" deep. I said no rototiller goes that deep but went home and brought back a cultivator to get into the dirt below. I had yards of baler twine to remove from the rototiller. He was very happy with the work until it came time to pay. Then he complained about everything. I should have looked into having him charged with uttering a threat though. I lowered my bill about 1/2 and left. He told me "I broke the arm of the last guy that tried to overcharge me when I built the house". I still I think I should have looked more seriously into having him charged. The other thing I've done is pay $25 and file a claim in small claims court. NOBODY wants to go to court because they didn't pay what they owed for work done.
     
  18. Hank R

    Hank R Senior Member

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    In 78 I was driving tuck and the boss man said remember where we graveled the driveway at Taylors Mill, he said meet me there in 30 minutes he took the loader and I hauled 3 good sized loads away and left driveway in a mess. Owner came home and said you can not steal my gravel Stan said 3 months you have not paid for it so I am taking my gravel back . I left Stan followed next day he came with a cheque and he was told to go pound sand.
     
    hosspuller likes this.
  19. Welder Dave

    Welder Dave Senior Member

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    There's a couple jobs I felt like driving by and having an accident where a gallon of round up spilled on the lawn.
     
  20. hosspuller

    hosspuller Senior Member

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    A hand sprayer filled with glyphosate makes an excellent writing tool in a lawn. The message stays for a long time.