Saturday, December 10, 2011


It's the Holidays! 

What better time to thank our customers.

Our Parts Department is offering some sweet deals on crane parts in general.  Right now for a limited time, they have a discount on parts you may need for your boom truck.  In addition, there is a very good price on pallet forks, also for a limited time. 

Get them now and be ready for the spring thaw!

Check out the specials in the "NEWS" section on our website. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011


13 ton HIAB knuckleboom Ready to go to work.  This knuckleboom has had an OSHA inspection completed in our shop effective date of  08/19/2012.                                   


Behind the cab mount with an Air-Lift tag axle - coupled with a 66,000 GVWR, we are talking payload.

13 1/4   ton maximum capacity, wireless remotes, pintle hook, 7 way electrical plug, Air-Ride driver's seat, Mercedes 410hp with a 10 speed Fuller... this is a real nice unit.

Check the Runnion website for more info. 

UNIT 3505U

Friday, September 23, 2011

23 Ton National Crane 990

Taken in trade, just run through our shop - serviced, painted, lubed, fueled and ready to work.

Unit has an OSHA inspection sticker current through February 2012. 


Unit includes a front outrigger for 360 degree stability, Burst-O-Speed winch, hydraulic oil cooler - excellent roofing machine (or any continuous, repetitive cycle duty).

The truck has a 240 horsepower Ford 7.8 liter deisel, Fuller Road Ranger RT-7608LL 10 speed trans with a driver controlled differential.  GVW rated at 52,000lbs - 18,000lb front axle.

 118,000 miles on truck, 7,360 hours on the crane.

 Check the Runnion website for more info. 

UNIT 3501U

Friday, September 9, 2011


Runnion Equipment Company has been selling cranes since 1975.
We think that is a long time.

 Earle Runnion sold this National 5T to a customer way back in 1963 - only the second crane manufactured by National Crane back in the Waverly, Nebraska days.

1963 - NATIONAL CRANE 5T46  S/N N6307

This crane was traded-in in 1999, fully operational and is now owned by Runnion Equipment Company

Stop by and see it if you are in our area.


Let’s say you need to regularly lift 6 tons and - after finding the crane you have been looking for - you pull out of the Runnion parking lot with your new Palfinger knuckleboom – happy with the state of the art in cranes …..wondering how you ever got along without it.

In fact, since you just got back from a trip to visit the family in Athens, you think, "Boy, I could have shown those guys how to lift some stone."

But then, there is this –

FOR SALE:  638bc Model Year Polyspastos.  3 ton capacity with winch.  6 ton capacity with optional treadmill.  Will consider trade for good condition War Chariot or Athens Time Share.

                                                                                  638BC ?????    

                                                          Like they say, what is old is new again........

This whole crane thing starts with a Greek gentleman by the name of ARCHIMEDES. He spent a great deal of time investigating “mechanical advantage” and is usually remembered for popularizing the use of the lever. Arguably the most famous quote attributed to him is:

         "Give me a place to stand on, and I will move the earth."

Check it out here:

While churning out a whole stable of inventions based on geometry, area, weight and volume, he had time to come up with the block and tackle which, together with his knowledge and experience with the lever led him to create a crane of sorts which has been known through the ages as Archimedes Claw – a crane like device with a boom, tackle, winch and hook which was to be used to protect the Greek city of Syracuse from attack by the sea.

If an enemy ship approached the sea wall, the boom was swung over the wall, the iron hook lowered (winched down) to the ships hull (preferably below the waterline) the operator was given the signal to “boom-up” and the bad guys on the ship (along with their weapons and equipment) were abruptly moved opposite the lift point of the ship.

More models of The Claw here:

While the Greeks brought the mobile crane into general use, it was the Romans (as you would expect) who perfected the device adding capacity and mobility and assigning engineers specifically for crane development and crane operation in the field.   Using multiple cranes, they were able to lift stone weighing 60 tons.  Multiple crane lifts and coordination are difficult today even with our modern communication systems. 
Maybe the first Operator's Union?


Relief Carving on a Roman Contractor's Tomb showing building material being hoisted onto the roof of a construction project - by a good sized crane with some serious reach.


Great information from a fellow crane company:

More on the tomb of a Roman contractor:

For a short look at ancient cranes:

For the best primer on the subject of crane history, look no further than “Low Tech” magazine:

Don’t overlook Wikipedia’s entry:

More about cranes through the middle ages here:

Friday, June 3, 2011


Who does your annual crane inspection?

Why should I have my boom truck inspected by a dealer like   Runnion – I can get it done cheaper by an inspection service??

Runnion Equipment Company can offer you choices - something you don't get from the inspection service guys with the clipboards.  You can decide on our full service, top-of-the-line annual “OSHA Inspection Service” or you can choose our basic “Annual Inspection”. You can choose to do the easy repairs yourself or you can have us do all the repairs. You can choose to have the inspection done here at Runnion Equipment Company or you can have it done at your location. You can choose from several optional dealer services that we offer to keep your crane in top operating condition and you can also choose to drop your crane off and use one of our chase cars (subject to insurance requirements), or we can arrange to send a driver to pick up and drop off your unit.

It’s no secret, boom trucks are getting more and more complicated and the new OSHA standards are strict. Current inspections are required on all government jobs and General Contractors, Construction Managers and site owners are developing their own requirements for cranes operating on their jobsites which can be even more restrictive. Cranes are high profile and OSHA is very active in regard to crane safety.  At Runnion, the factory trained technicians who inspect your cranes are also the same people who operate and repair your crane. They will recognize things that are going wrong with your crane that others may miss - things that need to be addressed and acted on before they turn into major issues.

Runnion Equipment Company has inspected thousands of cranes during our 35years of business. Our technicians know boom trucks and can draw from 10 to over 25 years of repairing and operating cranes here at Runnion. We take pride in the fact that Runnion Equipment Company is the oldest National Crane dealer in the country and that we are classified as a National Crane “Elite” dealer. The unique “Elite” designation is awarded by the factory after careful scrutiny - it requires regular factory schooling by our technicians and our Parts Department personnel as well. Among the requirements, we are also expected to maintain a large amount of stocked parts and to be able to provide emergency field service. National Crane wants to make sure that customers are receiving professional service, timely turnaround and equipment that is fixed properly as per factory recommendations. To maintain our Elite status, we go through a compliance review twice a year. We invest time and money in our Product Support people and our diagnostic tools in order to provide you with the solutions to your crane problems. 



The premium annual “OSHA Inspection Service” offered by Runnion Equipment Company is a thorough, invasive, diagnostic “physical” and operational test, which includes preventive maintenance aspects. This is the same service that we perform on our own rental fleet each year. It is designed to get your crane in top operating condition and to give the crane owner detailed information that is needed to make decisions about the equipment he or she owns.

To that end, included as part of the premium service, when we complete the in-depth inspection, diagnostics and operational tests, we are able to provide the owner with a detailed written estimate for the repairs that are required in order to correct the deficiencies noted. The estimate will include a section listing optional items such as suggested factory recommended maintenance that is specific to your machine and its’ current life-cycle and you will also be advised of “Runnion” suggested items which may include developing issues that were discovered by our technician and you may wish to address now, or upgrades that can improve the performance of your crane.

The “optional” items on the estimate are just that – “optional”.  You decide.  

The repair items that are necessary to correct operational and safety related deficiencies are required and MUST be completed (by you or by Runnion) within 30 days of the inspection date before we will issue an Annual OSHA Inspection sticker.

Once the necessary repairs are made, you will receive our detailed OSHA Inspection report that notes the deficiencies our technicians found during the inspection process and the dates that the deficiencies were corrected (by you or by Runnion). This is the paperwork that must stay with the crane; it is the paperwork that OSHA will want to see when they inspect your crane.

This premium OSHA Inspection Service includes hands on and “covers off” investigation and maintenance items that the independent inspection companies would never attempt. Your machine will have its mounting, rotation and gear box hardware checked for proper factory torque values; we will measure deflection and condition of the rotation bearing, deflection and operation of the boom and related components including the wire rope. We will separate the pump and PTO in order to check the spline wear and put them back together with hi-temp grease applied and you will be advised on the percentage of wear on this most critical of all hydraulic components. In addition, the boom and outriggers will be thoroughly greased, a new factory hydraulic filter will be installed and gearbox fluid levels will be checked along with a full operational test of all crane functions. While the cost of our OSHA Inspection Service can run from $600 to $1,000 - in the end, the low price of a “walk around”, “clip-board” inspection will long be forgotten should a preventable accident or breakdown at a critical time find you in court.

Keep in mind that when we affix the Runnion Annual OSHA sticker to your machine, we are certifying that your machine has been inspected as per OSHA Subpart CC, 1926.1412(f), all deficiencies found were corrected and it is operating as per factory specs as of the date of the inspection sticker.  


The basic inspection service that we offer is our “Annual Inspection” which is our low cost, “inspection only” alternative aimed at those customers who feel that they thoroughly maintain their cranes over the year or that their crane has had little use over the year, or for the customer who may simply wish to have a competent third party opinion on a piece of equipment they are interested in buying or selling.

You may find a lower priced inspection service – but you get what you pay for. At $350, our low cost alterative is a better value than any cheap inspection offer around.

With this basic “Annual Inspection” option, one of Runnion’s experienced, factory trained service technicians will set up, operate all functions and visually inspect your crane for up to two hours. When he has completed his inspection, our technician will brief you or your operator on his findings, issue an inspection sticker for your crane and furnish you with a report that documents the operational and safety deficiencies that he noted as well as required general maintenance items that need attention.

This service is an operational and visual inspection and therefore no greasing, torquing, or spline service is done on the equipment. Since our technician performs no mechanical investigative work or diagnostics, no written estimate of repairs is offered with this option.

In some cases, we may be able to give you a range of possible repair costs, but due to the nature of the equipment we work on, it is common sense that what may seem to be a simple fix on the surface can actually be a complicated repair once we have an opportunity to trace the cause of the problem – particularly with foreign or older machine models. While some items, missing safety stickers for instance, are an easy fix and we can give you a price over the phone, our Service Manager may prefer not to estimate the cost of correcting operational issues without getting the crane into our shop in order for our technicians to do more investigative work.

Finally, if after reviewing the inspection documents, you decide to upgrade to our full OSHA Inspection service within 30 days of the basic inspection, we will apply the cost of the basic inspection to the full service option. You won’t pay for the operational and visual inspection twice.


Note again that either of our inspection services can be performed at our facility or yours (as long as you have a secure area with space enough in which we can fully open up and service your crane safely without interruption). Certain major component repairs may have to be conducted at our shop for safety and efficiency. If you are concerned about dropping your crane off at our facility and losing an operator for a day, remember that we have courtesy cars for our customers to use as well as a pick-up and drop-off service. We also will discount our rental units for customers who need to replace a piece of equipment while we work on theirs – we can swap cranes so you don’t lose any time. The OSHA inspections on our rental fleet are performed annually so you can be assured that your rental unit will have a current OSHA sticker and will be accepted and able to work on government job sites.

For your convenience, while your equipment is at our service facility, besides repairing and rebuilding telescoping and knuckleboom cranes, Runnion can coordinate dielectric testing on your bucket truck and annual DOT and Safety Inspection services to be performed on your chassis.

Basic chassis service can be handled here in our shop and for more in- depth service, including transmission and engine work, truck painting, tire repair and body upfitting; we have several truck dealer and independent truck partners in the area to which we can shuttle your unit, allowing us to be your one stop shop. We will coordinate the repairs for you so you deal directly and only with us. 

Runnion Equipment Company is a full service, traditional equipment dealer that has been helping our customers for over 35 years.  Our Safety Seminars and Free Maintenance Seminars are designed to help crane owners avoid headaches and expensive repairs.  We own and operate our own fleet of boom trucks; we are intimately familiar with telescoping and articulating cranes.

In short, we can provide a range of inspection services and upgrades that the “clip-board” guys cannot.

We like to hear from and we listen to our customers’ requests and suggestions in regard to services and products that they would like to see us offer, so feel free to contact us or stop in to visit anytime – we can keep your boom truck working the way it was designed to and we can save you money.

Friday, May 27, 2011


An annual "inspection" is just that - an inspection.  The results of the inspection usually require some actions.

I have a sticker on my crane noting that it was inspected within the year and as far as I am concerned, I am in compliance with OSHA.

Some new customers have come into our shop with annual inspection stickers from independent “Inspection Services”, but aside from a lengthy checklist indicating visually inspected items and deficiencies noted, they have no paperwork from the inspector indicating that the deficiencies were corrected. OSHA is very specific on the “comprehensiveness” of the annual inspection and the steps to take in regards to correcting deficiencies that are noted in the annual inspection, which includes taking the crane out of service for safety related issues until the correction is made.  Be aware that not all “Annual Inspections” are equal.  If you have your crane inspected and an inspection sticker slapped onto it but the deficiencies have not been corrected, your sticker and your “Annual Inspection” are worthless. The information that is generated from an inspection needs the direction of the crane owner to repair or replace the crane or to take it out of service until repairs can be made. The “inspection” is only half of the requirement! If your crane has been inspected and is not operating as designed with all safety equipment in place, you are not in compliance with OSHA.

Compromised Pin the Inspector Missed
 Many crane owners mistake an inspection sticker for a clean bill of crane health. We have even heard of crane owners buying inspection stickers to put on their cranes themselves. From time to time, we hear from customers who say they have decided to use an independent inspection service because they don’t seem to find many things wrong with their cranes while the inspectors at Runnion Equipment Company do! At Runnion, the factory trained technicians who inspect your cranes are also the same people who operate, maintain and repair the cranes in our rental fleet every day!  They certainly do find things wrong or things that are going wrong which other inspectors miss!  For a crane owner to pick his inspection company based on how little an inspector finds wrong makes little sense.

Think of the annual inspection as a doctor’s physical. Personally, I want my doctor to tell me all the things that he finds wrong with me, discuss his findings with me and finally let me decide how I choose to take action. If he only takes my temperature and checks my pulse, I don’t know if that qualifies as a physical, on the other hand, if I do get a full and complete physical and yet I take no action at all based on the doctors’ advice, what was the point of the physical? No matter how complete the physical, in the end it only tells you what needs to be addressed – so too with your annual crane inspection.

Note however that OSHA requires you to maintain and retain the annual inspection forms for a minimum of 12 months (see page 85).  Think about it - you will be required to produce the inspection forms if (when) OSHA asks for them. So, if you have had your crane inspected and operational safety related deficiencies have been noted on the inspection form and you choose not to repair those items and a failure/accident takes place, the first thing OSHA will do is to ask to see the inspection form and when you give it to them, you will have just handed them solid proof that you deliberately decided not to address a documented safety issue.

The attorneys will have the next shot at your paperwork.

The intent of OSHA with the inspection process is to ensure that your equipment is operating properly and safely so that your employees, other trades and the general public are not endangered during the use of your equipment. Getting your crane inspected and not repairing documented deficiencies is contrary to this policy.


As part of the services we offer at Runnion Equipment Company, we keep track of our customers’ annual inspection dates and call or otherwise contact them to remind them at least 30 days in advance when their cranes are due for inspection. We have noticed that certain of our customers are electing to delay or forgo their annual / comprehensive OSHA inspections. Reasons we have heard tend to lean toward the economy. Contractors aren’t busy so their crane use may be down or they may actually have a spare unit sitting idle in the yard. Sometimes the cost of the inspection and related repairs seem to be a line item they feel they can sacrifice as a result of their budget cutting. It is a bad idea – pure and simple.

Why do I need an “annual inspection” on my boom truck?

According to our research as well as our personal experience as crane owners, annual maintenance cost for a boom truck should average between 3%-5% of the purchase price of the crane (not including the truck chassis) per year.

A $100,000 National Crane series 800D for example, will end up costing approximately $3000-$5,000 per year which includes routine maintenance and repair or replacement of wear and tear items.

Should maintenance not be performed yearly, the repair cost will likely carry over to the next year. Broken parts and leaky hydraulics rarely seem to fix themselves over time.

While it is the responsibility of boom truck owners to manage the day-to-day maintenance of their equipment and perform (and document) daily, weekly and monthly inspections, a thorough yearly inspection by trained and competent Runnion technicians will point out developing or hidden maintenance issues and give you the chance to have them corrected before they become emergency field breakdowns - a crane stuck in air with the operator, signalman, maybe a roofing crew and subcontractors standing around waiting can be big dollar item – particularly when you add in contractor backcharges and legal costs (if applicable!).

Outside of this “regular maintenance” aspect, safety is the actual number one issue and the annual / comprehensive inspection is a requirement of OSHA.

The new OSHA standards for Cranes and Derricks details the “Annual/Comprehensive” inspection requirements in section 1926.1412 paragraph (f) – the list is truly, quite comprehensive and includes a requirement for “disassembly as necessary” (see page 81). The penalties for noncompliance can be hefty and can only multiply if an accident occurs and you do not have proof of your annual inspection and the repairs that were completed to bring the boom truck and its safety equipment into proper operation.

These then are the three reasons why you need to have your “Annual OSHA Inspection” done;
1) It will save you money in the long run.
2) It will give you peace of mind knowing that your equipment is operating properly and
3) It is required by OSHA – (see number one and two again!)

Friday, April 8, 2011


Each spring and fall Runnion Equipment Company holds a  FREE  Boom Truck Maintenance Seminar here at our Lyons, Illinois location.

Customers from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin make it a point to send their operators and maintenance people to take advantage of the opportunity to hear from our Shop Superintendent, meet our Product Support people and to get some one-on-one hands-on time with our Technicians, learning the correct steps and proper products with which to maintain their truck mounted cranes. We cover a lot of material for both telescoping and knuckleboom cranes.

Face it, while they are a money and time saving tool to many industries, boom trucks are not cheap to buy nor are they inexpensive to own and operate. Add to this the fact that OSHA and all crane manufacturers require documented daily, weekly, monthly and annual maintenance and inspection procedures (the lack of which will find you paying hefty fines or voiding warranties); it is without a doubt in the crane owners’ best interest to make sure his people know what they are doing.
Greasing the boom - everybody gets a turn

Keep in mind as well, that the required inspections are designed to catch problems before they become critical. To that end, employees have to be able to recognize when an issue can be handled “in house” and when it is time to call the professionals. An additional bonus is that trained employees can better document and explain to our Service Manager and our technicians, just what is happening with their crane when they do bring it to Runnion for crane repairs, annual inspections or scheduled maintenance services.

Our Free Maintenance Seminar is always held on a Saturday usually starting at 8 am (donuts and coffee are served) and it runs until 11:30 formally or until everybody has their questions answered.

We always have our Product Support people at the seminar -

Product Support Dude

offering special pricing on the parts, tools and lubricants you need to keep your crane well maintained – (everybody gets a giveaway or two as well). It is always a good time filled with crane stories as there are many years of crane experience represented in the group from which to draw from.

Manufacturers’ reps for the cranes we sell also show up from time to time and make themselves available for questions.

While the seminar is free, we do ask that you call and register for the event so that we have an idea of how many people to expect.

To register;

Call Frank Fitzgerald at 800-824-6704 or email,

One more item to note - the first telescoping crane and the first knuckleboom crane customer to register get their cranes lubed for free (since we will use them in the demo)!

Friday, March 11, 2011


As members of the ILMDA (Illinois Lumber & Material Dealers Association)

Runnion Equipment Company will be exhibiting at the 2011 Illinois Construction Supply Expo which is being held at the Peoria Civic Center and Hotel Pere Marquette from March 21st to March 23rd in Peoria, Illinois.

Palfinger Knuckleboom
 Co-sponsored by ILMDA and the Home Builders Association of Illinois, the “Supply Expo” features an exhibitor area occupied by vendors and suppliers offering building products and solutions geared toward the lumber and building material industry – be sure to visit Runnion Equipment Company at our booths 228 / 229.

Palfinger Crayler

As suppliers of truck mounted telescoping cranes, trailers and transportable forklifts, we want you tell you why we consider ourselves to be the best in the business and how we can help you to save money.  Ask about our "Show Special"!

National Crane

Whether you are interested in replacing equipment, trying to tame your crane maintenance and repair costs on equipment you own, or if you are thinking about renting a crane, transportable forklift or bucket truck to try out for the short or long term – we know we can offer you a range of solutions tailored to your business size and budget.

Educational seminars and workshops at the Supply Expo offer attendees an opportunity to stay on top of changes in the Lumber and Building Materials Industry and to find out about new ways to grow their business.

Finally, we are all familiar with the old saying that begins with “All work and no play..etc,...”, so to keep things even - make sure that you don’t miss the Texas Hold’em Tournament and be sure to take advantage of the blackjack tables. It is all for a good cause as a free-will donation of $25 will go to:

The ILMDA College Scholarship Program.

If you are a local or regional material supplier or building component contractor in our area, do not miss this show.


Peoria Civic Center and Hotel Pere Marquette 

March 21st to March 23rd in Peoria, Illinois.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Valentines Day gift?.    The 2011 Chicago Blizzard's 20" of snow - is going away.  We are finding all kinds of neat stuff in the deteriorating drifts here at Runnion.

Now come the floods -  

and a chance to see the DesPlaines River up close..... (from the Hoffman Dam?)

The economy seems to be a version of the same thing.  Thawing and good news, but new challenges lurking.

There is this good news from  Manitowoc   and this good news from  Palfinger - good news if you are a shareholder (or a dealer!).

Good news from the Wall Street Journal - we are spending more

Bad news on fuel prices... expect this to telegraph down to us consumer types. 

Bad news on the Federal Deficit.

With all the Good News / Bad News, it is obvious that depending on your niche, certain segments of the economy are doing well.  Note this key takeaway:

The bottom line is that we all have to dig ourselves out.....

This is the time of year that our customers bring their cranes in to get inspected and repaired to be ready for the spring building season.  Our Service Department is busy at this time of year and we have special pricing available if you need work done on your transportable forklifts - whether you own a Crayler or one of several competing brands.  We service them all.