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  1. #1

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    Default Need suggestions from the experienced. Brush Trucks

    Okay guys I'm new here and this is my first post, so be easy with me.

    Why I'm here is.... The company I work for is designing a new brush fire unit. We had built the units in the past and our area (NW Pa.) fire fighters are still using them. I believe the demand for these units stopped because of the way they were marketed. The only real source of marketing was word of mouth. I have never heard a complaint about one of these units, yet the furthest one from our locations is within 50 or 60 miles.
    Now years later the process of building this product is once again in the works. I'd like to hear from you guys about what would make these better for you the fire fighter. We don't know of any other machine like ours, so if you have or know of something similar please let me know.
    Our unit will fit in the bed of any standard size pickup or brush truck. Operates off a 13 horse powered Honda engine (electric start), producing 1000 psi @ 10 gallons per minute using a belt drive system. A 200 gallon poly holding tank. The frame for this unit is made of aluminum and allows for placement with a fork truck. 300 feet of supplied Ĺ hose is neatly placed on an electric powered stainless steel hose reel mounted on top of the unit. There are various chemicals that can be mixed with the water to enhance the machines performance, although all that info is not yet in. I will get pictures as soon as I can, as I'm sure I've made this thing sound like a monster. I'm just looking for some pointers from the guys who no the game, as it's much easier to incorporate new things in now rather than later.
    We believe this unit is well classified as a first responder unit, since it can be placed in a small truck to get in tighter spaces faster with no restrictions to the driver.
    We are currently working to make this unit pull double duty, with end result to not only preform as a brush unit, but also double as a mobile pressure washer.
    Feedback Please. Thanks


  2. #2
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Well.............

    As a Retired Career Firefighter, Part Time Forest Service Firefighter, and a Volunteer Firefighter for the past 51 years, with almost 30 as a Chief, I've seen a couple of Brush Trucks.

    Looking at your Specs, here's a few points from my perspective:

    13 Hp Honda - Not a bad power source, durable and fuel efficient, parts and service available almost anywhere.

    Pump - Here's a problem from a Firefighting Standpoint: In Maryland, our rigs need to be capable of Drafting from ponds, creeks, etc. AND we require more GPM (75-125) albiet at lower pressures (150-250 PSI). There are Pumps out there that work well for this, and with Honda power.

    Tank - 200 Gallons is reasonable, BUT on a minimum of a Ford F350, Chevy 3500, etc. A common problem with tank to truck ratios is that people try to put too much water on a small truck. If I were to put a tank on my F150, it would be a Max. of 75 gallons, where a F450 could do 250 Gallons. Tank and Water creates a lot of weight quickly, but when you add tools, hose, etc. the total weight of the vehicle skyrockets, and you need to have a Chassis/Powertrain assembly that will carry the load. Also - From a Safety standpoint: Are your Tanks Baffled to Firefighting Tank Standards? There is a big difference between a Tank designed for Firefighting and a Tank for say, Lawn Care (Weed Killer, Fertilizer).

    Reel - Personal preference only - I built up several units in recent years, and I don't use reels any longer. Several reasons, prime among them is saving Money and Weight. I prefer 1 inch Forestry Hose loaded in hose trays with several of them preconnected in different lengths.

    What we're working on, at least in this area, are more like small Fire Engines, using an F-250 to F-550 Ford 4x4 (or Equal) with Utility Bodies with Slip on Tank/Pump assemblies. And Yes, we're spending a bit more money, but the end result is worth it....
    Last edited by hwoods; 05-13-2009 at 11:33 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Many many mfg of pickup skid units already on the market similar to what you plan. With either high pressure pumps or with lower pressure/higher volume pumps. Cutthroat price competion.

    How are you going to be better/different? You're not going to get rich trying to break into the market.

  4. #4
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    My dept's brush truck is a bit unique, its a 5/4 ton military pickup style truck. Based on military ratings it can probably carry about 4000lbs in the bed. We have a 300gal tank, a 12hp 300gpm pump that supplies a hose reel and two other hand lines (usually 1" soft forestry hose) and has fittings to pump to and fill from 1.5" and 2.5" attack lines if it were being used in a pump chain up a mountain. We carry 300ft of 1" soft hose, 200ft or 3/4" soft hose, 200ft of 1.5" attack line and 20ft of 3" hard suction for drafting. The truck also carries a chainsaw, leaf blower, assorted hand tools and medical supplies.


    Thoughts on your truck:

    You definitely want to be able to draft. 1/2" hose is too small. I would at least 3/4" if not 1" on the reel. The soft forestry hose is really nice, you should get some to keep on the truck. Put in some plumbing so you can run a second line, and fill from various other sources (1.5", 2.5", etc.) if you don't have it already. How many gpm can your pump put out at 50psi? 100psi? You would want to be able to move a hundred gpm at 50psi or so. You also better have a few replacement belts on hand. Is the belt exposed? If it gets wet will it still drive the pump ok? Do you have the ability to be part of a pump chain?

    Also, is it really necessary to have this truck do dual duty as a pressure washer?
    Last edited by KB1OEV; 05-13-2009 at 09:53 PM.

  5. #5
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    He is using a high pressure/low volume pump. Usually a piston pump. Different way skin the cat. You're discussing a traditional low pressue/medium volume pump. Can't do both with the same pump.

    Several hundred gpm @150psi on pickup???? You talking a 50+hp pump, not a 11hp Honda/Briggs.

    300gal on a CUCV (m1008) is way overloaded. 150gpm is the appropriate load. Lots of conversion info at http://www.roscommonequipmentcenter.com/fepp.html

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    He is using a high pressure/low volume pump. Usually a piston pump. Different way skin the cat. You're discussing a traditional low pressue/medium volume pump. Can't do both with the same pump.

    Several hundred gpm @150psi on pickup???? You talking a 50+hp pump, not a 11hp Honda/Briggs.

    300gal on a CUCV (m1008) is way overloaded. 150gpm is the appropriate load. Lots of conversion info at http://www.roscommonequipmentcenter.com/fepp.html
    You are correct on the gpm and pressure. I wasn't crunching the #'s correctly. Post has been changed to correct this.

    As for the loading, you made an assumption about the truck I was talking about. We aren't using a m1008 or even something that most would call a pickup. Think of it more as a single rear axle deuce and a half. Only 2 were produced that I know of. They are spec trucks for the military, and did not get the contract, so they were never mass produced. The loading plate on the inside of the truck claims a payload of something over 3000lbs. If 300gal water weighs around 2400lbs, then we are probably operating around the limit with pump/plumbing/tools. The truck still handles just fine and the springs still have lots of travel. It works great and we get lots of complements on it. Too bad there are no more out there.

  7. #7
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    I'm not sure about the vegetation in Pennsylvania, but around here 10 gpm wouldn't even be considered for mop-up. I've been on wildland fires where 40 gpm wasn't doing the job. Even if you only carry two or three minutes worth of water, I wouldn't even think about putting less than a 125 gpm pump on a brush rig, especially since we draft at practically every fire we go to.

    If you scroll down near the bottom of the first page on the following post, I've got photos and specs of our firefighting fleet posted:

    http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=103234

    We've gotten pretty well sold on the Briggs and Stratton Vanguard engines over the last few years. They are very reliable and have plenty of power. One engine has a belt driven pump built by Cascade. I DO NOT recommend belt drives. We've had the belt break on us once during a fire and another time we had trouble with a pulley and had to send the unit back to Oregon to be re-machined (factory defect). We only buy direct drive pumps for wildland fire fighting now.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by KB1OEV View Post
    You are correct on the gpm and pressure. I wasn't crunching the #'s correctly. Post has been changed to correct this.

    As for the loading, you made an assumption about the truck I was talking about. We aren't using a m1008 or even something that most would call a pickup. Think of it more as a single rear axle deuce and a half. Only 2 were produced that I know of. They are spec trucks for the military, and did not get the contract, so they were never mass produced. The loading plate on the inside of the truck claims a payload of something over 3000lbs. If 300gal water weighs around 2400lbs, then we are probably operating around the limit with pump/plumbing/tools. The truck still handles just fine and the springs still have lots of travel. It works great and we get lots of complements on it. Too bad there are no more out there.
    Post some photos? Or better yet get on over to steelsoldiers.com with some photos. A significant trend in modifing surplus M35 6x6 duece by removing an axle and shortening the frame/bed to create pretty much what you apparently have. Reportedly makes a very handy diesel utility "pickup".

  9. #9
    Forum Member FortechFEO's Avatar
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    Bandit PM me. I'll be in PA the second week of June. I have worked for the Forest Service in Montana, Washington, and California. I'm pretty familiar with slip in systems.
    "The probability of someone watching you is proportional to the stupidity of your action."

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    Post some photos? Or better yet get on over to steelsoldiers.com with some photos. A significant trend in modifing surplus M35 6x6 duece by removing an axle and shortening the frame/bed to create pretty much what you apparently have. Reportedly makes a very handy diesel utility "pickup".
    I've seen the deuce mod to remove an axle, its a pretty neat setup. I would say our truck is a little smaller than that would be, but not much. I will get some better pics next time I am at the station, but here is a link to one.

    http://firenews.org/mass/WindsorB1.jpg

    To give you an idea of the size, I'm 5' 10", and the bottom of the windshield and side windows is about even with the top of my head.

  11. #11
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    it looks sort of like an M715 Kaiser jeep, lots of Mass. departments used them for brush trucks
    "If you can't be a good example, the you'll just have to be a terrible warning."

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    Quote Originally Posted by KB1OEV View Post
    I've seen the deuce mod to remove an axle, its a pretty neat setup. I would say our truck is a little smaller than that would be, but not much. I will get some better pics next time I am at the station, but here is a link to one.

    http://firenews.org/mass/WindsorB1.jpg

    To give you an idea of the size, I'm 5' 10", and the bottom of the windshield and side windows is about even with the top of my head.
    That is certainly unique. Looks like a mil standard cab and an M101 trailer body on the back. A photo of the data plate (on dash if there is) would be of interest. What does it have for an engine?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorboyVFD View Post
    I'm not sure about the vegetation in Pennsylvania, but around here 10 gpm wouldn't even be considered for mop-up. I've been on wildland fires where 40 gpm wasn't doing the job. Even if you only carry two or three minutes worth of water, I wouldn't even think about putting less than a 125 gpm pump on a brush rig, especially since we draft at practically every fire we go to.
    I don't know what vegetation is like in PA, either, but we've got numerous departments here that utilize high-pressure/low-volume pumps religiously. Our two primary fuels are grasses and hardwood foliage, with hay-type crops coming in the mix at times.

    The high-pressure systems work well for us as it pushes the water through the fuel. When dealing with grass, the water stream gets down through the grass to the dirt level and can cool larger areas with less water. The same goes for the leaves on the ground in the woods.

    We're actually getting a system similar to this (not 1000 psi, though) placed on our Polaris. We'll be able to maximize our water with the lower gpm's and still do as much as a standard brush truck with a lot more water, but higher gpm pump.

  14. #14
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    Then all we need is to reduce an 1-1/2" discharge to garden hose thread and stick our 2,500 psi gasoline powered pressure washer on the brush rig. It would make the water go a lot farther, but then we did take the booster reels for our Engines because of low GPM flows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerJake72 View Post
    it looks sort of like an M715 Kaiser jeep, lots of Mass. departments used them for brush trucks
    Its the same vintage as the 715, but a lot bigger (taller mostly).


    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    That is certainly unique. Looks like a mil standard cab and an M101 trailer body on the back. A photo of the data plate (on dash if there is) would be of interest. What does it have for an engine?
    Well the engine is an interesting story. This truck was being used by GE in the 70s to test transmissions they were developing. At that point, either this one or the one other truck they had had a 6 cyl multifuel engine in it. When the dept got this truck, I believe it needed a bell housing and a few other things. It ended up with a chevy 350 (might be the big block version) coupled with a 4 speed standard transmission and dual range transfer case. Its not a big engine, but the gearing is pretty low and it has plenty of power.

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    I pretty much agree with PoorBoy, but based on his previous posts, I'd say we're in pretty much the same situation here in Oklahoma.

    A 10 gpm 1000 psi pump isn't going to cut it here, at least not for direct fire attack. If you're doing mop-up, or want to drag the hose into the woods to put out a pretty simple ground cover fire, it would probably work.

    We need more volume for our typical grass fire.

    We also just rigged one of our grass rigs to draft, and will probably make that the standard after we give it a go over the next 12 months.

    One last note on volume....I also want a set up so that if it goes bad, I've got enough volume to defend the truck (and my crew) if I have no other choice. Wouldn't feel comfy if I knew all I had was a 10 gpm high pressure hose.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    I go along with HWOODS on his reply. We built a new truck last year. We bought a GMC3500 that someone had ordered for snow removal and it happened to be fire engine red. We started with a 13 horse Honda pump and added a full size primer (from a class A pumper with 1250 gpm pump). Added our own manifold that allows us to attach 2 - 2.5" fill lines for drafting and filling tankers, 1 - 1.5" line for larger fires, and 100' of garden hose on a reel for light grass and cornfield fires. Added space for 2 backpacks along the side and hand tools under the tank and pump assembly. Then added a rear bumper and rack around the bed for safety and hanging the hard suction hose. The only thing we paid a third party for was the lighting package and striping, same company did both to the current NFPA standards. This is our second brush unit and because it is lighter (other unit is a dually with contractors box bed) it has many additional capabilities and uses.
    As with any new vehicle, DEFINE WHAT THE THING HAS TO DO. Then plan from that forward to what additional things would be nice for it to do. Then match that to budget and plan, plan, then plan again.

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    SilverCity (and anyone else interested), we came up with what we think is a fairly unique primer set-up on our brush units. I dislike exhaust primers because we had one occasion where a pump motor was water-locked and damaged. We use 3.5 or 5.0 gpm diaphram pumps on the two units we built. They are as fast or faster to prime as exhaust primed pumps through the same hard suction.

    http://www.flojet.com/products/indus...1988/index.htm

    I'm not sure what they go for these days, but the 5.0 gpm on our 6x6 was $100 when we bought it. Priming through 20 feet of 2.5 inch hardsuction, a floating dock strainer, lifting about 8 feet we get a draft within 45 seconds of hitting the switch. Quick, simple, reliable, and cheap.

  19. #19
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    Talking salt grass is what we fight (drought index 780)

    talk to the people your trying to sell to. Our department is building one as i type working with F350 dully heavy duty suspention single cab 4 door cab have a tendency to twist on ruff terrain and then it never quite again doors leak had alumu bed built by locals.$ saver and wieght saver then rino sprayed for traction an cut glare off the bed steps to get on the back .we use a 18hp 150gpm and 70 gpms at full throttle and split to a header with 6 1" full port valves 2 for front work stations left/right sides 1 works the 1/2" 200' hose reel 1 works the front spray nozzle on drivers side front bumper this comes in useful for vol fire dept 1 for pump circulation ajustable for needs and 1 for forestry hose dont worry about the gpms to much your nozzle will be your controller for useage of water real important.400 gal full baffle tank we carry 300gal for the first run if the ground can handle it we fill it up better to have the ability to carry more when needed 2" full port valve for quick filling of truck. pump has drafting still weight under 12.500 with 3 personal on board and tools needed and full tank and please when you sell a 4x4 to a dept make it a true 4x4 we had to install a detroit locker in the front NO truck manufacture offers this so you have to add it and we need it. and please Basic insides nothing fancy OK A/C VINYL (cloth sucks) work lights that can be controled by the guys fighting the fire. just my imput OH BUILT FOR $49.862.00

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