Refurbishing Rigs


It’s incredible to think that there are many apparatuses that cost over one million dollars to build. The tariffs we are currently experiencing are sure to increase those price points, making it challenging for departments to keep their fleet up to speed. In 2009 when the economy was suffering, fire departments chose to refurbish apparatus as an alternative for purchasing new. Manufactures experienced a drastic decline in new truck sales, upwards of 40% and refurbishing rigs became popular again. While new truck sales are bouncing back, refurbishing is still a considerable option as departments are still monitoring their budgets closely.

In short, refurbishment can extend your apparatus ten to fifteen years on a truck that is ten or fifteen years old. The motivation for many departments is to use a still functional and strong body and replace the chassis which typically saves a great deal of money for municipalities. The cost is a fraction of buying new, potentially as high as a 60% savings on a complete refurb compared to a new rig coming off the line.

According to NFPA 1912, Standard for Fire Apparatus Refurbishing, there are two different levels of refurbishing. Level 1 is more in-depth where the vehicle gets a new drive train and the entire truck and its components are brought up to current NFPA standards. Level 2 brings the vehicle up to standards when the truck was built. Often, departments chose to refurb a rig in compliance with Level 2 standards but also include technical upgrades, such as replacing halogen lighting with LED lighting, adding chevrons for safety as well as rebuilding shelves inside the compartments. Refurbs become more complex when referring to aerials which can include replacing all cabling and wear pad. Pumping systems can require values and gauges to be updated if not completely overhauled.

Most refurbishing centers give the department power to chose what your specific needs are regarding upgrades and repairs. The first step is obtaining a full assessment of the apparatus to determine what your needs and wants are, as well as the cost to achieve those goals. Another refurbishing option is to transform an apparatus to another type, for example, repurposing an older pumper to a hazmat unit or even a mobile command center.

To learn more about apparatus refurbishing or to request an assessment on your aging vehicle, contact Legacy Fire Apparatus at

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