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    Default Quint Purchase and Maintenance Costs

    My department is considering buying a 75' quint to add to our firefighting force. The big question is how much does an apparatus such as this cost to maintain? Above and beyond fuel and oil, what are the yearly costs such as aerial ladder inspection(s), hydraulics maintenance and costs of that nature?
    We are considering a single rear axle and I was told that will chew up tires because of the weight. Is that true? Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. I'm a retired city firefighter and the department I am a member of now is rural and I am getting into areas such as those mentioned above that are new to me....so....help. LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by AFDCaptainRet View Post
    My department is considering buying a 75' quint to add to our firefighting force. The big question is how much does an apparatus such as this cost to maintain? Above and beyond fuel and oil, what are the yearly costs such as aerial ladder inspection(s), hydraulics maintenance and costs of that nature?
    We are considering a single rear axle and I was told that will chew up tires because of the weight. Is that true? Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. I'm a retired city firefighter and the department I am a member of now is rural and I am getting into areas such as those mentioned above that are new to me....so....help. LOL
    I think it might help to get a better feel for the setting the vehicle will be used in.

    I'm not sure on the cost aspects since I'm not involved with that area of ours, however I'd imagine that your looking at atleast a few hundred dollars per year for ladder testing and other aerial PM.

    As for the tires, it depends on it's usage. If this unit will be assuming "first out" status over currently using an engine, then you'll definately see a faster wear rate with the tires since it's likely to be bigger and heavier than that engine. Our Quint tends to need tires more often than our Engine and both see fairly equal usage.

    However, if it's going to be used as a "second out" for fires and maybe not normally respond to MVAs, wires calls, etc, then the tire wear shouldn't be too big of a deal with "light" usage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AFDCaptainRet View Post
    We are considering a single rear axle and I was told that will chew up tires because of the weight.
    I, personally, would not want to put any more than 300 gallons on a 75' stick; any more then that I would want a set of twin screws under there, but that's the trucker in me coming out.

    And those 75' single axle quints are more known for chewing up brake shoes, not tires!

    EDIT: spelled "tires" wrong!
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 05-12-2010 at 07:23 PM.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post

    And those 75' single axle quints are more known for chewing up brake shoes, not tired.
    Shoes, drums, and seals!!!!!!!

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    If you happen to have a straight stick aerial, and an engine already, then you can almost come up with a number on the costs. Take half of what you have for the engine, and the full cost of the straight stick per year, and you'll be very close to the number for a quint.

    Tires are not an issue really on a single axle. On a tandem, that's a different story. Brakes are the worst enemy. You will burn through them more quickly, due to the weight.

    Depending on your maintenance schedule, and how thorough it is, you can expect it to be down for at least a week, maybe 2.

    Hope that helps you a little.

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    Third party testing runs us about 600.00 per year. You also have to figure the timing of getting the testing company in your area.

    I would also figure at least another 1000.00 for maintenance costs for the aerial portion per year. (Above and beyond your normal pump service testing costs you have on your engines.)

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    As an estimate, I'd use $1,000 annually for NFPA-third party aerial certification testing. Someone just quoted 600.00, but I've not found anyone that inexpensive. For pump testing, about 250.00 annually.

    A quint will consume about 50 percent more fuel than a pumper due to the larger engine requirement. As FWD stated, your brakes will wear faster along with tires.

    A common problem is trying to combine a pumper and aerial on a single axle. You have to accept sacrifices because you a looking at a multi-function apparatus. Those sacrifices as compared to a full-fledged ladder or engine can be a shorter aerial ladder, less water, difficult hose accessibility, inadequate storage, ect.

    A quint is like a Leatherman or Gerber multi-tool. Does it have a knife? Yes. Does it cut s good as a dedicated knife? No. Does it have a screwdriver? Yes. Does it work as good as a true screwdriver? No.

    You are very smart to consider operational cost; most department's I know overlook it. However, it's a recurring expense that never goes away as long as you own the rig.

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    We get our 75 footer tested annually for right around $600. That's the stick itself, plus all hdyraulics. Ground ladders are another cost on top of that. However I'm in the midwest and I see you're on the coast, so I'm guessing third-party may cost a bit more than where I'm situated. $1,000 is a good starting point as mentioned earlier. Same goes on the pump test cost.

    Its a single axle as well. Never had any brake issues, tire either. However we've had plenty of airline and electrical problems in the past few years, plus now major hydraulic issues. Presently its OOS and plans are to keep it that way. Then again, it was built in 86 and bought in 87, so no one is really complaining. Its been a good truck for us.

    I'd take the average maintenance cost of your pumpers and increase that by around 35%-40%. That should cover oil, hydraulic and other yearly expenses. If you're running it front line, I'd consider a 50% increase over the pumper average. I'd rather estimate higher than come up short and be begging for money later if it was me doing the budget.

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    If you are going to spend that kind of money, $500,000 plus for a Quint with a 75 foot stick, spend maybe $25,000 more and have tandem axels on it. This gives you better handling, breaking and wear on brakes and tires.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    If you are going to spend that kind of money, $500,000 plus for a Quint with a 75 foot stick, spend maybe $25,000 more and have tandem axels on it. This gives you better handling, breaking and wear on brakes and tires.
    Had a 100' Single and a 100' Tandem. Both handle about the same, SLIGHTLY better braking with the Tandem but MUCH more tire wear than the Single had. A lot will depend on what the operating GVW is. Loosely put,how much equipment are you hanging on it and WHO'S Ladder. A TANDEM DOES NOT insure a better handling Rig by itself. Parked side by side there was little WB difference in our two Trucks. The ONLY advantage was the cramp angle on the new one. T.C.

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    Not going to argue the pros or cons on this, but I will post this, as this is what I had from several years back, that was picked up on another forum.


    One came debate this issue until the apparatus sits and rust takes complete hold!




    Single or Tandem Axles on 75 Foot Quints??


    Tandem of course!!

    A 75’/500 gallon Quint with a heavy duty ladder (500 lb tip load) and a full complement of ground ladders places an unacceptably heavy load on a rear axle.

    The weight of the apparatus itself, along with the weight added by water, personnel, equipment and hose all must be considered.

    With a 31,000 pound single rear axle, most 75’/500 gallon Quints are over rear axle capacity when actually in service.

    Contrary to what some apparatus manufactures would lead one to believe, there is not a significant weight savings associated with an aluminum ladder. In fact, there is less than 200 pounds of weight difference in the actual aerial device between a 75’ heavy duty aerial and the aluminum aerial. Both weight about 7,000 pounds!!

    In attempts to “loose weight” in a 75’/500 gallon single axle Quint, several other areas of the overall apparatus design may be compromised, some examples include the following:

    • Size and strength of aerial lift, extension and stabilizer cylinders may be minimized.

    • The aerial hydraulic pump may be run off the engine’s power steering pump rather than a dedicated PTO.

    • Body materials and structural support of the body may be lightened.

    • Frame liners and reinforcements that improve chassis ride/handling may not be used.

    In short, in attempting to stay under 31,000 pounds on the rear axle, other elements of the overall apparatus design must be compromised.

    Another tactic that is sometimes suggested is to have a customer insert wording into their specifications stating that the apparatus “must not exceed the front or rear axle weight rating at delivery.” This, of course, presents a major problem because the customer then has the burden of limiting their equipment or hose load for the life of the vehicle.

    The supposed principle advantage of a single axle Quint is that it is more maneuverable. In this case, perception does not match up with reality. In any single axle Quint application, the rear axle is located further to the rear, in order to shift additional weight forward. With a tandem rear axle, this not necessary. As a result, the tandem has a shorter wheelbase and a better turning radius.

    Single Axle Tandem

    Wheelbase 219’ 213’

    Turning Radius 37.28 ft 36.43 ft
    (curb to curb)

    It is important to state that the overall length of the body is about 36” longer in the tandem axle application. This added length offers two (2) benefits:

    • A smaller front overhang for the aerial ladder

    • A longer, larger hose bed. This makes hose racking and packing easier.

    Maintenance with a single axle is more as there is more break wear and suspension wear as well. Better handling and breaking are another advantage of the tandem axle design. In the tandem, there is more tire surface in contact with the road and there are more brakes working. The tandem provides more stable handling and better breaking, making is a safer vehicle.

    Cost is another consideration. The cost difference between a 75’ single and a tandem is approximately $20,000. The cost of the tandem is greater, it is important to put this cost difference in perspective. Over the in service life of the Quint, the extra cost approximately $800.00 per year, is very little. Based on a twenty year life of the apparatus. It is entirely likely that this cost would be more than offset by reduced maintenance costs, making the tandem a better investment when view from this perspective.

    Bottom line is what the department can afford at the time of the bidding and the awarding of the bid vs. what they will be spending over the life of a single apparatus rig, against a tandem axle rig.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Quote Originally Posted by AFDCaptainRet View Post
    My department is considering buying a 75' quint to add to our firefighting force. The big question is how much does an apparatus such as this cost to maintain? Above and beyond fuel and oil, what are the yearly costs such as aerial ladder inspection(s), hydraulics maintenance and costs of that nature?
    We are considering a single rear axle and I was told that will chew up tires because of the weight. Is that true? Any help you can give me will be greatly appreciated. I'm a retired city firefighter and the department I am a member of now is rural and I am getting into areas such as those mentioned above that are new to me....so....help. LOL



    Hey Capt, can you unlock your PM function or provide an e mail so I can send you a name and number to contact about your question??
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    Not going to argue the pros or cons on this, but I will post this, as this is what I had from several years back, that was picked up on another forum.


    One came debate this issue until the apparatus sits and rust takes complete hold!




    Single or Tandem Axles on 75 Foot Quints??


    Tandem of course!!

    A 75’/500 gallon Quint with a heavy duty ladder (500 lb tip load) and a full complement of ground ladders places an unacceptably heavy load on a rear axle.

    The weight of the apparatus itself, along with the weight added by water, personnel, equipment and hose all must be considered.

    With a 31,000 pound single rear axle, most 75’/500 gallon Quints are over rear axle capacity when actually in service.

    Contrary to what some apparatus manufactures would lead one to believe, there is not a significant weight savings associated with an aluminum ladder. In fact, there is less than 200 pounds of weight difference in the actual aerial device between a 75’ heavy duty aerial and the aluminum aerial. Both weight about 7,000 pounds!!

    In attempts to “loose weight” in a 75’/500 gallon single axle Quint, several other areas of the overall apparatus design may be compromised, some examples include the following:

    • Size and strength of aerial lift, extension and stabilizer cylinders may be minimized.

    • The aerial hydraulic pump may be run off the engine’s power steering pump rather than a dedicated PTO.

    • Body materials and structural support of the body may be lightened.

    • Frame liners and reinforcements that improve chassis ride/handling may not be used.

    In short, in attempting to stay under 31,000 pounds on the rear axle, other elements of the overall apparatus design must be compromised.

    Another tactic that is sometimes suggested is to have a customer insert wording into their specifications stating that the apparatus “must not exceed the front or rear axle weight rating at delivery.” This, of course, presents a major problem because the customer then has the burden of limiting their equipment or hose load for the life of the vehicle.

    The supposed principle advantage of a single axle Quint is that it is more maneuverable. In this case, perception does not match up with reality. In any single axle Quint application, the rear axle is located further to the rear, in order to shift additional weight forward. With a tandem rear axle, this not necessary. As a result, the tandem has a shorter wheelbase and a better turning radius.

    Single Axle Tandem

    Wheelbase 219’ 213’

    Turning Radius 37.28 ft 36.43 ft
    (curb to curb)

    It is important to state that the overall length of the body is about 36” longer in the tandem axle application. This added length offers two (2) benefits:

    • A smaller front overhang for the aerial ladder

    • A longer, larger hose bed. This makes hose racking and packing easier.

    Maintenance with a single axle is more as there is more break wear and suspension wear as well. Better handling and breaking are another advantage of the tandem axle design. In the tandem, there is more tire surface in contact with the road and there are more brakes working. The tandem provides more stable handling and better breaking, making is a safer vehicle.

    Cost is another consideration. The cost difference between a 75’ single and a tandem is approximately $20,000. The cost of the tandem is greater, it is important to put this cost difference in perspective. Over the in service life of the Quint, the extra cost approximately $800.00 per year, is very little. Based on a twenty year life of the apparatus. It is entirely likely that this cost would be more than offset by reduced maintenance costs, making the tandem a better investment when view from this perspective.

    Bottom line is what the department can afford at the time of the bidding and the awarding of the bid vs. what they will be spending over the life of a single apparatus rig, against a tandem axle rig.
    Studies are great,But I've HAD both types of vehicles(300 water NOT 500)AND I'm RELATING what I KNOW based on having EACH of them. AND depending on the variants I listed YOUR results could be different. This is OUR findings based on OUR responses and response area. A tandem MAY or May NOT be the BEST choice. REGARDLESS of the authors inclinations. There are SEVERAL ways to increase braking on a Single and for many applications the Tandem MAY be a better choice. But NOT ALL. Just another viewpoint,based on experience.Said it before and I'll say it again: On an investment of this size and expense,DO your homework,ASK the questions. But in the end,do what is RIGHT for YOUR community/Agency. T.C.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    Studies are great,But I've HAD both types of vehicles(300 water NOT 500)AND I'm RELATING what I KNOW based on having EACH of them. AND depending on the variants I listed YOUR results could be different. This is OUR findings based on OUR responses and response area. A tandem MAY or May NOT be the BEST choice. REGARDLESS of the authors inclinations. There are SEVERAL ways to increase braking on a Single and for many applications the Tandem MAY be a better choice. But NOT ALL. Just another viewpoint,based on experience.Said it before and I'll say it again: On an investment of this size and expense,DO your homework,ASK the questions. But in the end,do what is RIGHT for YOUR community/Agency. T.C.


    I can base my information on 20 quint units, 15 - 75's 500 tanks and 5 - 105's 300 tanks and also on those from other department that have more or less. Most say the same thing, we wish we had bought them with tandems, but the next bunch will be that.

    I can say that one of the 75's, 500 tank, is a single rear and that ride gets more tires and brakes than the others do on a yearly basis.


    But everyone has different opinions and that is why there are various makers of fire trucks as well.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Well you got me beat on Tank and quantity. Our Tandem is WAY harder on rubber than our single EVER was. NEVER did brakes on the Single and it will be a FEW years before we do 'em on the Tandem(New in 08/09. Like I said, different places will have different results. T.C.

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    Here's a rhetorical question to consider:

    Is the quint in your dept.: 1) A pumper with an aerial device or 2) An aerial truck with a pump, hose, and water.

    C6

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    In OUR case,LADDER with extras. T.C.

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    @ AFDCaptainRet... I can't reply to your PM if you can't receive 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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    I can receive them....I think. I thought I shut off the "block" on my profile. If I didn't please tell me what to do and I will. Thanks in advance.

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