1. #1
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    Default Non traditional tanker (tender) chassis. What's your view?

    At this point our department is not currently putting together specs for a tanker but it is on the horizon (1-2 years out). Most likely it will be a vacuum tanker, 3,500 gallons, 500 gpm pump. To give you an idea of equipment: (2) 200' 1 3/4" lines, (2) 2 1/2" discharges, 200' of 3", dump tank, hard suction and water supply equipment. Looking at a tanker, not tanker/pumper. Due to how we respond we need seating for 2 and not a "crew".

    All of our tankers have conventional chassis under them, that is the way it has always been done. Commercials are usually cheaper than customs and they work for tankers. Not looking to buck common sense and I have no problem with tradition if it still applies.

    Eliminating the "nose" of a commercial would shorten the overall length, improve turning radius and improve driver visibility. I have seen Spartan four door and commercial cab over chassis tankers before. I was thinking along the lines of a Mack Terra Pro chassis for purpose of illustration. Something with two seats, low cab height and functional for a tanker.

    Have any of you seen something like this? What would you recommend? What are your concerns?Pro's/con's? What do you think of this idea?

    Thank you,
    Walt
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    How about a 2 door Spartan ER? Don't have a pic.

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    Default Here is a couple of pics of a Spartan 2 door

    Here are some photos of a two door Spartan. Think I might have one with a tanker body kicking around too.
    Attached Images Attached Images   

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    When we specked out tanker (non vacume) we went round and round about this.... Custom cab, or commercial. We spoke with thedifferent fire apparatus mfg's and We looked at and spoke with Peterbuild and Kennworth in reguards to their cabs. Kennworth's was not only a nicer cab, but they have all the info they need to build a cahssis for any fire apparatus builder...they pretty much talked us into it. Now I'm not a fan of 2 different builders when it comes to chassis/body on a fire truck, but I have to admit that Kennworth was great to work with. We actually got more updates from them when our chassis was being built than we did from the final mfg while they were finishing it. They were great to work with, and if I had to go commercial chassis again, I would most definitly go with a KW.
    Now in reguards to the 2 builders KME & KW, we have had some minor issues....as soon as we call KME they immediately point the finger at KW... so we take it to our local KW service center...they look it over find the problem then actually take the time to explain why it's not thier problem...with proof...then it's another month of fighting with KME to get it fixed, who by speck was sole source provider.
    http://www.mvfd5.com/tanker5.php
    Last edited by RoofTopTrucky; 12-15-2009 at 04:38 PM.
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    This is the type of stuff I'm talking about guys! Already contacted Spartan to get info, I didn't know they did just two doors.

    RoofTopTrucky, before you talked with KW and decided to go with them can you let me know some of the pro's and con's of commercial vs. custom if you recall?

    Anybody run something like this so they can give input on custom vs. commercial??

    Thanks guys,
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFWALT View Post
    Anybody run something like this so they can give input on custom vs. commercial??

    Thanks guys,
    Clearly the one thing custom has over commercial is that their designed with more safety features and cab strength seems to be far better. Looking at tons of pics of crashes reveals that a far greater number of rolled over commercial cabs sustain crushed cabs/entrapped firefighters vs. the custom cabs.

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    Default Commercial Cabover

    We operate a 1999 Volvo/New Lexington Tanker with a cab over chassis which has seating for two. It is a 2100 gallon eliptical tank with 1000 gpm pump, 23'8" OAL with a 143" wheelbase. It is designed for limited manpower operations with a set of controls for the side and rear dumps located in the cab.

    http://www.bruinvfd.com/apparatus.htm

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    One problem you might run into with a heavy tanker and a "cabover", either custom or commercial.

    With a shorter wheelbase cabover, the front axle sits back farther and gets under the tank more, hence more weight is on the front axle. Is the front axle going to handle the weight? Depends on the configuration, but front axles are more limited on weight options. The manufacture may not be able to give you what you want if it is to heavy on the front end. The conventional cab puts the steer axle farther to the front, getting it out from under the weight of the tank better.

    There is a tanker I know of on a spartan chassis ( I think a short 4 door cab ) that was built by a reputable fire truck builder. When the dept took delivery and filled it with water it steered very hard. They weighed the tanker and found that the steer axle was 1000lb overloaded and they had not put any equipment on it yet, just water. It had a 22K steer axle, the biggest they were told they could get.

    I don't know how the manufacture overlooked this issue when they designed the tanker, but keep it in mind when you are looking for a cabover.
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    Another option you might consider is something like the Rosenbauer Tactical Tender. Link is below. They put the pump in a rear mount configuration. Plus is that you can shorten the wheel base of the vehicle. Negative is that you loose your rear gravity dump.

    http://www.rosenbaueramerica.com/del...detail/?id=276

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    DFDMAXX, I had considered that possibility and it could be a potential problem with a 3,500 gallon rig. I am also a fan of having a little more GVW available than what NFPA recommends due to the Velcro effect in the fire service. It would all depend on what is available when we get started.

    viperfire1, Rosie is coming out with a lot of interesting apparatus. I see what you mean with the design but we will probably stay with the vacuum because it works well for us and is worth the extra money. We will also not be looking at all the "extras" that are finding their way onto todays tanker/tenders. We want to haul water, relay to an engine or grass rig and maybe, just maybe, fight a little fire. No sarcasm intended but if a tanker is tied up fighting fire it's not delivering water to the scene. It's OK if it's close and you want to be able to put a dumpster out but it's primary role is water delivery. Again, I'm not knocking what departments do. If it works for you great, and I understand the reason to have multiple operations in one vehicle. For our department we are looking for a basic vacuum tanker.

    ejfeicht, that's the type of concept I'm thinking of. How did that rig work out for you? What were the opinions from the drivers seat?

    What else do you guys have out there? I enjoy this type of discussion and to see what people think and what they operate. No reason to recreate the wheel.

    Thanks,
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    FFWALT when the tanker was purchased we had zero hydrants and we relied solely on tanker shuttles for water supply. Since then we have had a large municpal water system installed and are currently over 85% hydranted. The only areas without hydrants are on the fringes of the response area where mutual aid is already responding with tankers. The unit was designed for use with minimal manpower and has electronic dump valve controls mounted on the center console of the cab which contol the rear and side dumps. All controls are easily accessed by the driver to permit a one man operation if necessary. With the quick connect rear fills the driver never really needs to leave the cab during shuttle operations, rapid loading and unloading. The primary design was for dump and go style operations but it can also function as a nurse tanker if needed. It was also designed that it could function as a backup engine if necessary with a 1000gpm pump. It carries two 1 3/4" preconnects that run along side the tank in pullout trays for ease of reracking the hose. We also carry one SCBA on the officers side of the apparatus in the cabinet directly behind the cab. The short OAL and shortwheel base make it ideal for ease of turning on small rural access roads. The Zico dump tank rack is nice as it brings the tank right down to an easy height for loading and unloading it.

    As the dynamics of our district have signifcantly changed we are changing our primary response apparatus. This unit is being replaced with a CAFS engine with a 1000 gallon booster tank which will better serve our purposes. We will be operating with 2 engines rather than an engine and a tanker on initial response in the hydranted areas of the district. In the fringe areas mutual aid tankers will be assigned on first alarm assignment.

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    Default 2-Door Mack

    From personal experience the problem I have found with the 2 door Mack Chassis like the one pictured earlier in the thread is unless you have a bunch of guys that are small like bean poles the cabs are quite compact. I don't think they offer a tilt steering in them but i'm not sure

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    If it were me, I would contact the company that you plan to buy the vacuum tanker from and get their insight into what kind of chassis they prefer to work with to put their tanker onto. There could be some price differences in how the units will be assembled that would influence your decision.
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    One of the Vacum Tanker franchises was purchased by E-One and they also make a nice custom 2-door chassis... maybe worth a phone call to your local dealer.

    I can attest to the short chassised tanker issue - There's one in the county here (http://www.vincentfire.org) that was built by S&S on a short Spartan chassis. This rig, however being very manuverable, is very obnoxious to handle when you're up to speed. The front end is heavy feeling around town but once you get up to speed it can sometimes be all over the place. Now, those who drive it all the time have ZERO problems with it, but people like me that would drive it once or twice a year as a fill in can get it where it needs to go but not without some white knuckles and a bunch of angina.

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    http://www.westamptonfire.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by MetalMedic View Post
    If it were me, I would contact the company that you plan to buy the vacuum tanker from and get their insight into what kind of chassis they prefer to work with to put their tanker onto. There could be some price differences in how the units will be assembled that would influence your decision.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DFDMAXX View Post
    One problem you might run into with a heavy tanker and a "cabover", either custom or commercial.

    With a shorter wheelbase cabover, the front axle sits back farther and gets under the tank more, hence more weight is on the front axle. Is the front axle going to handle the weight? Depends on the configuration, but front axles are more limited on weight options. The manufacture may not be able to give you what you want if it is to heavy on the front end. The conventional cab puts the steer axle farther to the front, getting it out from under the weight of the tank better.

    There is a tanker I know of on a spartan chassis ( I think a short 4 door cab ) that was built by a reputable fire truck builder. When the dept took delivery and filled it with water it steered very hard. They weighed the tanker and found that the steer axle was 1000lb overloaded and they had not put any equipment on it yet, just water. It had a 22K steer axle, the biggest they were told they could get.

    I don't know how the manufacture overlooked this issue when they designed the tanker, but keep it in mind when you are looking for a cabover.
    You can get a 23K front. C/O doesn't affect axle loading as much as placement and WB does. Both are workable once you know what tank and body you're going to use. T.C .

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    Lightbulb

    The town next door to us has a 1,500gpm/4,000 gallon pumper-tanker on a Mack cabover chassis. I don't know if it's overloaded or what, but it sure sounds horrendous coming down the street. The loudest truck around, for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFWALT View Post
    This is the type of stuff I'm talking about guys! Already contacted Spartan to get info, I didn't know they did just two doors.

    RoofTopTrucky, before you talked with KW and decided to go with them can you let me know some of the pro's and con's of commercial vs. custom if you recall?

    Anybody run something like this so they can give input on custom vs. commercial??

    Thanks guys,
    RFD made a great point.... crash worthy-ness. Most of your commercial cabs are made of plastic and fiberglass with some light gauge metal, as apposed to a custom wich most of them are a "cage" design made from steel or aluminum extrusions.
    At the time we were looking, my chief was able to gather crash test statistics from both Pete and KW, KW came out on top, another reason we went with them.
    Commecial cabs are designed for over the road use....long high way runs and the like....you know basic tractor-trailor work. Customs are built specificaly for the fire service, designed to with stand the rigers of running the hard from the word go. In my opinion it shows, if you could look at a comercial pumper and a custom pumper that have the same hours, number of runs and so on, you would se the custom held up better over time compaired to a comercial.
    On a custom, you can get a smaller wheelbase becuase the cab is shorter, or more body behind the cab.
    Now like I said one of the main reasons we went comercial was cost, the other was, traditionaly, in our area, tankers are on commercial cabs. Like I said, we looked ata everything, hell we even paid attention to the condition of the rigs that wrecked on the highway in our first due to see how they held up in the accidents.
    All in all we couldn't be happier with our Kennworth, it has exceeded our expectations and is very well built. When it comes time to replace it, I would imigine that it will be on another KW chassis.
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    We currently run a Mack cabover that was built by Gator fire trucks. It is great for turning radius, but will beat you to death on the road. Not very easy getting in and out of the cab, but has been a good truck overall.

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    Thanks for all the input guys.

    We currently have a Water Master vacuum tanker which was bought out by E-One. We'll see how that goes. If they stay in La. we'll probably go back to them if the company continues to operate like it did before the purchase. If it's the same product only with a different label it's no big deal. Think about General and Central States falling under the Rosenbaur umbrella. Some people love what is made in the General plant branded Rosie but hate what is made at Central and branded Rosie.

    We have a E-One stick and an ARFF. Stick was purchased used and the ARFF we didn't have any say in but it fell into our lap after the fact. Not the best scenario to start with in either case I admit but we are not happy with how things were constructed and how they hold up. There are also some in our area that have had some problems and the E-One dealer screwing customers over before losing the dealership didn't help. Again, whatever works for you go with. I just don't think we will be dealing with them but we all know how things change in a matter of years.

    Keep the thoughts coming. Thanks again.
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    So bad dealer was canned and replaced with a new (who will in theory actually take care of the customer)?

    I looked a cabovers in our pumper tanker project a couple years ago. Without going to a custom chassis, most likely cabover for a tanker looked to be to be Mack and Condor chassis.

    Only operator I found that had several of both (who could objectively compare the two) was a large concrete pumping business. Some parallels with fire service. Very heavy large and expensive trucks. They strongly prefered the Condor. Somewhat more expensive but they found the Condor to be more comfortable, significantly more cab room, and less expensive and easier to maintain.

    Condor has gone thru some turmoil with the ALF problems but now apparently back under Freightliner.

    http://www.freightlinertrucks.com/tr...-model/condor/

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    Neiowa: I think thats an old link to freightliner. Still has sterling and condor on it.

    Alf [patriarch partners} has ownership of the condor line and is producing it in SC. Don't know how many are coming off the line . found 18 units listed on the eagles nest. not a high production count. Too bad because it would make an excellent low cab tanker chassis.

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    neiowa you are correct about E-One changing reps to one that should theoretically take care of the customer.

    Thank you for the suggestion about the Condor. About 10 years ago Freightliner was putting out the Business Class chassis that were used on a lot of fire apparatus. Doesn't appear to have been a good time for FL but I did heard they have improved in the last couple years. Anybody have input on FL trucks within the last 5 years or so? I know they had merged with ALF and then are separate again but how are they doing in putting a good product in the market?

    What about the Macks?

    Thanks,
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    One of the issues of Firehouse from the past 2-3 months has a two door heavy rescue truck from Lubbock, TX that is a Pierce I believe.
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