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  1. #1
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    Default New vacuum tanker

    While waiting for our grant approval, positive thinking, could I have your thoughts on our proposed vacuum tanker. We will only use it as a tanker to keep total purchase cost down,adding our own pump if needed, 3500gallons. Hilly terrain, some gravel roads but we also need the ability to answer MA calls over decent roads. Obviously rural dept., no hydrants and under 100 calls/year. Any thoughts from users? I know it can be a Ford versus Chevy preference thing but after speaking to some manufactures they seem to just run down their competition rather than explain their own products. Many thanks in advance.


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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by penman View Post
    While waiting for our grant approval, positive thinking, could I have your thoughts on our proposed vacuum tanker. We will only use it as a tanker to keep total purchase cost down,adding our own pump if needed, 3500gallons. Hilly terrain, some gravel roads but we also need the ability to answer MA calls over decent roads. Obviously rural dept., no hydrants and under 100 calls/year. Any thoughts from users? I know it can be a Ford versus Chevy preference thing but after speaking to some manufactures they seem to just run down their competition rather than explain their own products. Many thanks in advance.
    Why would you even consider adding your own pump "if needed." If you need the pump (making the rig a potential attack piece or giving it the ability to supply water under pressure) it should be engineered and installed by the manufacturer, at the manufacturer's facility. They need to be able to ensure proper weight distribution and installation. This will protect everyone in the future, should there be any warranty claims for the chassis, body, or pump.

    Additionally, I would think you have a better shot at the grant by having a pump on board, and including wording in your narrative that the piece will have multiple roles (trucking water, supplying water, attack pumper, etc.)

    Sure, we all like to do stuff in house when possible, but something as complex as adding a pump should be done professionally, if not for the mechanics involved, then for the cosmetics!
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Why would you even consider adding your own pump "if needed." If you need the pump (making the rig a potential attack piece or giving it the ability to supply water under pressure) it should be engineered and installed by the manufacturer, at the manufacturer's facility. They need to be able to ensure proper weight distribution and installation. This will protect everyone in the future, should there be any warranty claims for the chassis, body, or pump.

    Additionally, I would think you have a better shot at the grant by having a pump on board, and including wording in your narrative that the piece will have multiple roles (trucking water, supplying water, attack pumper, etc.)

    Sure, we all like to do stuff in house when possible, but something as complex as adding a pump should be done professionally, if not for the mechanics involved, then for the cosmetics!
    Sorry but to clarify, I was thinking only of a small portable pump to use in a brush fire not for an attack pumper. Thanks for your good comments and of course you are correct on the pump question.

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    Does not change the point by FWD. You're spending $350k (if you get lucky with the FG) on a big vac tanker. How are you getting water to your tank to pump line? Tap one of the fill pipes? Bore a hole somewhere in the vac tank? At least spec for the mfg install provision for future tank to pump line (if it is possible).

    E-One (WaterMaster) has 500, 750 1000gpm PTO pumps available on their vac tankers.

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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by penman View Post
    Sorry but to clarify, I was thinking only of a small portable pump to use in a brush fire not for an attack pumper. Thanks for your good comments and of course you are correct on the pump question.
    So how much extra would it cost to:

    1. Buy the pump
    2. Hang the brackets for a box or some kind of platform assembly off the frame rails. Are you going to drill holes in the frame rails and completely void the warranty for the chassis?
    3. Install a VEHICLE MANUFACTURER APPROVED tank-to-pump line?

    No offense intended penman, but your line of reasoning of cost savings just doesn't add up, pardon the pun.... (even for a small brush fire pump.) I bet the factory could do it cheaper, faster and better (with warranty approval) than you could do it in-house.

    If you are getting a grant to get a new truck, then get the grant for the entire truck. Go for the gold. The feds will look at the fact that either you need the truck or you don't. They won't care if it's a supply tanker with a pump on it, even a big pump. Word your narrative to include "this tanker could also potentially be used as a mass decontamination unit, as it has a (1000, 1250, 1500GPM) pump, with xxxxx hoselines.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by bendone View Post
    Volunteer labor is Free
    You know it. But all I'm looking for is feedback from those who have and use vacuum tankers. I know you are a minority but you are the experts. What kind, did you have any problems, manufactures support, steel/aluminum, tips, are you happy with it, etc.

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    E-One is the only large apparatus mfg with a vacumn tanker in their line. Where have distirbutors for pre and post sale support.

    They work. Suck up water fast and dump fast. I don't think dump any faster than a well designed tanker.

    But I'm not convience that improve overall operation of a tanker shuttle. 1 vac tanker out the many operating in a shuttle gains you what? You still need a pumper at the draft site to fill the other 11 tankers so why not just fill 12? Send the vac tanker to an alternate site and then you need to man it with a hookup crew or alternatively the driver has to dismount to hookup the suction (and looses time).

    OK so you get all tankers in the area as vac and each has a $50k vac pump. You could have bought one heck of a draftsite/supply pumper for that price. Or for less $ could have installed a PTO pump module on the tankers. Then you want supression capability and you have to add a PTO pump to the truck.

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    We run a vac tanker, (old oil field truck) 2 3" dumps very slow, ours can only do one thing at a time(suck or supply).

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    Default Vac Truck

    My department has had a vac truck since 1994. We are extremely happy with it. As a rural vlounteer department we dont always have the manpower to have a draft site set up. We usually have one person who runs the tanker and fill times are right at 5 minutes for 3000 gal. One thing I wish we could have done though was put larger intakes on the tank. Other than that I cant complain one bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrodromeo View Post
    My department has had a vac truck since 1994. We are extremely happy with it. As a rural vlounteer department we dont always have the manpower to have a draft site set up. We usually have one person who runs the tanker and fill times are right at 5 minutes for 3000 gal. One thing I wish we could have done though was put larger intakes on the tank. Other than that I cant complain one bit.
    Many thanks. That's exactly the kind of feedback that I'm looking for!

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    Built one in 2002, intake to water was 18' off a bridge, 3,000 gals. in three mins. Flipped switch in other position, pressurized tank, opened intake/dump valve and blew drop tank across parking lot. Filled tank again, opened intake/dump then flippped switch to pressure position. Put 3,000 gals. in drop tank 60 secs.
    The A/C is not cold enough, the warning lights are not bright enough, siren is not loud enough, the C.D. player skips every time we jump a curb, cab doors only open to 89.5* and it's been like this since day one!!!!

  13. #13
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    Neiowa,the E-one entry is recent with them buying out the interest of Southern Fire.EAM in Florida and Firovac also build vaccumn tanks. The Firovac tank is a VERY nice unit with a lot of forethought for the Fire service put into it.
    Gallon for gallon you CAN get a vac tank to dump in about half the time of a conventional with a 10" Newton. We're seriously considering one to replace our aging conventional tanker.
    Last edited by Rescue101; 06-02-2009 at 08:57 AM.

  14. #14
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    Penman;

    If you would like email me and I can send you some pictures of our Vac Truck or I would be more than happy to talk to you on the phone.

    fire49@delnortefire.com

  15. #15
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    While my department does not own one, several departments around mine do operate Firovac vacuum tankers (the company is located in the county). Having seen these unit "mature" over the years I can tell you that Rescue101 is correct in that a lot of forethought has gone into those units. The designed is a firefighter who is constantly "tweaking" the design to make improvements when he learns of one that can be made.

    We have about a 50/50 mix of conventional and vacuum tankers in the county and they can play well together at a fire. Once you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each, they tend to compliment each other on the fire scene to provide improved water supply. I don't think you would be unhappy to have one in your station.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    Default mike carver

    We own a 3500 gallon water master. Would not accept anything less than a 500 gpm pump with 2 treconnects and two 2.5 for discharges. Feels mighty bad to pull up to a simple 2 bedroom and look at the homeowner Helps on the way trust me we tried the vacuum tanker with no pump/ after the first one was bought with no pump it will nnever happen again the pump let them install it/ love our water master had it for 4 years. put out a lot of fires.. you said mountains, when our state GA deploys strike teams we keep the big gallons on the bottom and small tankers to the top. Somthing to think about

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikecarver View Post
    We own a 3500 gallon water master. Would not accept anything less than a 500 gpm pump with 2 treconnects and two 2.5 for discharges. Feels mighty bad to pull up to a simple 2 bedroom and look at the homeowner Helps on the way trust me we tried the vacuum tanker with no pump/ after the first one was bought with no pump it will nnever happen again the pump let them install it/ love our water master had it for 4 years. put out a lot of fires.. you said mountains, when our state GA deploys strike teams we keep the big gallons on the bottom and small tankers to the top. Somthing to think about
    Thanks for the great info Mike. If we can I will definitely go with your suggestions. We were concerned about the added cost of the new emission motors and making the computer cuts. I wonder how much the E One buy out will affect cost at Water Master? Any problems with the tank?
    Ed

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