Upfitting

Apr 5th, 2013 | By | Category: Jack Schrock's Blog

J_Schrock copyHeavy-duty wreckers can be called on to do much more than just recovery and towing, and the difference between total and partial performance can often be measured by the extent of upfitting.

For example, a hydraulic-driven electric generator can make a big difference at the accident/incident scene. To clarify, this is an AC generator that is permanently mounted in the wrecker and driven by the same hydraulic system that powers the wrecker — it can run for hours on end without attention. It can provide lights that clearly illuminate the work area, along with electric power for portable tools that speed the process or make it safer.

In the beginning (and still in some markets) T & R often competed with the gin pole rig from the local salvage yard. These are truly “wreckers” because they are primarily used to throw wrecked carcasses around while pulling engines and other components for salvage. At best they might be equipped with a few hand tools along with a cutting torch for rapid “disassembly.”

Next time out, take a close look at the fire engine on the scene. It is fully equipped to deal with most any situation involving fire and rescue and that’s where I’m trying to go with this blog. A HD wrecker straight from the factory needs “upfitting” if it’s going to do the total job. Blocks, rigging, tools, straps, chokers, chain, generator, lights, first aid equipment, etc., widely separate the HD wrecker from the modestly equipped rig in both performance and cost. Hey, the gin pole rig has a place in the salvage yard and oil patch, but it is not very well equipped for HD recovery work, especially in high density traffic areas where fast recovery times are critical.

Put yet another way, that fully equipped fire engine cannot be compared to a two-ton stake truck with a water tank. Ditto your fully upfitted HD wrecker is in a class all by itself and deserves to be compensated accordingly.