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  1. #1
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    Default commercial vs custom pumper

    our fd looked at pumpers today and we looked at both commercial and custom chassis for our department. The memberships concern is a commercial chassis that is too long for our township roads with a four door and top mount pump controls. The custom meets our needs better because of the shorter wheel base. The chief is not a fan of customs and now after seeing that the price is comparable to the commercial he is stating how unsafe the custom chassis is compared to the commercial that it is rolling over rating is greater. We the firefighters dont want to waste a large sum of money on a engine that will not meet all the needs of our township. What are your guys views?


  2. #2
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    If your Chief really thinks that a commercial cab/chassis is SAFER than a custom cab/chassis, you guys better try to educate him on this issue. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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    do you have any info on that

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    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    You should make him "PROVE" to you that a custom chassis is unsafe compared to a commercial chassis.
    The beauty of a custom cab/chassis is that you can order heavier duty axles, springs, etc. on a custom chassis, that you normally can't to with a commercial. You can get the OAL and WB that you need for your area and needs. Want top mount panel or side mounted, no problem. Heck, if you want, you can have it as a rear mount panel.

    The custom cab/chassis's are alot more safer than a commercial if it is spec'd right. If they weren't, then nobody would be buying them.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    Check out this article (see the link below) from Mike Wilbur of Emergency Vehicle Response. I have heard Mike and his partner, Tom Shand, speak at the Fire Expo in Baltimore over the past several years on this topic. There is a lot of additional info out there comparing the commercial cab vs a custom cab, both have their advantages and disadvantages, but in the safety area, custom cabs have proven to be better.

    http://www.emergencyvehicleresponse....tory.php?82255

  6. #6
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    thank you lead off that will help a great deal

  7. #7
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    Default

    Are you a staffed dept? Is there a need for the 4 or six man cab? If the commercial 4 door is too long, why dont you look into a side mount pump to shorten the length a little? Sounds like the members want a custom and the chief wants a commercial. This would be a inter-departmental issue that necessarily doesn't need to be taken elsewhere. Our dept has a policy sorta like the Vegas slogan, "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas". What happens at the dept stays at the dept.

  8. #8
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    International in the last couple of years has decided to use cab strength/rollover protection as a way to differentiate themselves from their competition.

    http://www.navistar.com/government/C...nformation.pdf

    Discuss with some custom cab mfg what standard they use for cab strength (top side front) and compare to that of commerical cab. I think you'll find the custom cabs are still stronger/safer than IH who is stronger/safer than Frtliner. I think you'll find that the cab made of welded extruded Al have the highest performance. If you go with a commerical cab and extruded body will provide considerable rollover protection to the cab occupants.

    I'm sure you've been to semi rollovers where the cab is flatten down to the level of the engine block. Will leave an impression on the crew. You won't find such damage in a custom cab rollover.

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    This would be a inter-departmental issue that necessarily doesn't need to be taken elsewhere. Our dept has a policy sorta like the Vegas slogan, "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas". What happens at the dept stays at the dept.[/QUOTE]

    you are right it is inter departmental issue ,but i am getting some facts before we decide as a department on which chassis to choose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by htvfd1426 View Post
    This would be a inter-departmental issue that necessarily doesn't need to be taken elsewhere. Our dept has a policy sorta like the Vegas slogan, "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas". What happens at the dept stays at the dept.
    you are right it is inter departmental issue ,but i am getting some facts before we decide as a department on which chassis to choose.[/QUOTE]

    You can get some good input and feedback on this forum but your truck committee should try to get out and talk to as many manufacturer reps as you can to get the info you need to make an informed decision. You'll get all sorts of opinions on this site but you guys have to sort it all out and get the facts.

  11. #11
    Forum Member HammerheadMedicFF's Avatar
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    FWIW my old department switched from custom to commercial chassis for two new engines. The chief has said he'll never make the same mistake!

  12. #12
    Forum Member islandfire03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by htvfd1426 View Post
    our fd looked at pumpers today and we looked at both commercial and custom The custom meets our needs better because of the shorter wheel base. The chief is not a fan of customs and now after seeing that the price is comparable to the commercial?
    The Custom chassis will cost between 25 & 40 thousand $, more than a commercial chassis depending on options. That is comparing a 4 seat custom against a 4 seat commercial.
    They are roomier and are designed for fire service duty.

    Example: Spartan furion bottom level custom with 330 hp engine , allison 3000 trans and set up for 38k gvw will run in the neighborhood of 145k. International 4 door with same drive train and gvw with a pretty nice option package will come in at 122k.

    Those prices are from quotes given 2 months ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HammerheadMedicFF View Post
    FWIW my old department switched from custom to commercial chassis for two new engines. The chief has said he'll never make the same mistake!
    Hey Hammerhead - I'm originally from Fort Worth. How does the FWFD like the Spartan/General Safety pumpers they've been buying over the past several years compared to the FreightShakers? I think I know the answer but thought I'd ask anyway.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeadOff View Post
    Check out this article (see the link below) from Mike Wilbur of Emergency Vehicle Response. I have heard Mike and his partner, Tom Shand, speak at the Fire Expo in Baltimore over the past several years on this topic. There is a lot of additional info out there comparing the commercial cab vs a custom cab, both have their advantages and disadvantages, but in the safety area, custom cabs have proven to be better.

    http://www.emergencyvehicleresponse....tory.php?82255
    Ditto on Mike's presentations and thoughts on Customs over commercial. He has tons of pictures to support this as well. In fact if you look at one of the Fire rags (maybe even FH) from the last few months, there is an article on apparatus accidents and it seems that commercial cabs fare far worse in accidents than customs. I'm pretty sure your chief has it bass ackwards.

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    I will echo the thoughts that the custom cab is a stronger cab than the commerical. A couple of other things is that a custom cab is built for the fire service. It is built stronger and tougher because it is going to take a beating. Take a look at a commercial cab that is 10 years old and it will look like it has been rode hard and put away wet, then look at a custom cab. You should be able to see the difference. We have a commerical cab as our frist out right know that is a 2000 model and it is showing it's age. We also have a 1998 custom cab with more miles and hours on it and it looks alot better than the 2000. Also the custom cab does not have near the cab noise that the commerical has. The other thing is the turning radius should be tighter on the custom. We have a new engine on order and it is a custom. The two main reasons that the Chiefs allowed us to spec a custom. Saftey of the cab and turning radius.

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    Quote Originally Posted by htvfd1426 View Post
    you are right it is inter departmental issue ,but i am getting some facts before we decide as a department on which chassis to choose.
    Is the Chief a member of the Truck Committee? If not, tell him to produce his concerns in writing, and to cite credible sources with backup research. And if he can't, tell him to go away.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Is the Chief a member of the Truck Committee? If not, tell him to produce his concerns in writing, and to cite credible sources with backup research. And if he can't, tell him to go away.
    Or is the chief the truck committee?

    Back when we was more volunteer than career, a former Chief was just that. We asked us what we wanted and then wrote a set of specs. He had never written a set of specs and had no clue on what to do. Some of the things we wanted as firefighters were not included because he wanted something else that he thought was a better idea. The next thing we knew, a new truck was on order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    Or is the chief the truck committee?

    Back when we was more volunteer than career, a former Chief was just that. We asked us what we wanted and then wrote a set of specs. He had never written a set of specs and had no clue on what to do. Some of the things we wanted as firefighters were not included because he wanted something else that he thought was a better idea. The next thing we knew, a new truck was on order.
    Which is precisely why no one person should be in charge of purchasing something as complex as a piece of apparatus.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  19. #19
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    I agree completely. We now have a truck committee that reports to the operations chief. The committee does everything, the chief is a checks and balances to make sure the committee doesn't do something stupid. Everything has to be approved by the committee.

  20. #20
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    We have a truck committee that consists of members of each shift, two call members and an A/C. The Chief stays almost completely out of it, except to say, he does have the final say about the overall projects and a few specific requirements that we must ensure get accomplished. Ultimately, the COD is responsible to the municipality for all FD purchases, so ignoring him is not really an option. Thankfully ours has trust in his committee.

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