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    Default Mid-Mount Tower vs Rear Mount Straight Ladder

    I am sure this is a topic that has been discussed on these forums before, being new to this forum I wanted to gather some imformation as to the pros and cons of these types of ladder trucks.
    We are are small all volunteer department in Maryland that will soon need to replace a 1996 Spartan/Aerial Innovations(could be wrong on the name as they are out of business and were located in Alabama) 75' Quint Rear Mount, 400 gallon tank, 1250 pump. Although this unit somewhat serves our needs adaquately we really do need a longer ladder and need to keep a quint type of unit. The standards for our county have also changed and we now need a min. 95' ladder to meet the current standards. This has restricted our quint responses to mostly our first due and we miss out on a number of incidents with the 75' ladder. Most of our first due is rural and non-hydrant. We do have limited access because of narrow drives with some of our first due dwellings so manuverability and turning radius is important (no tillers).Our station SOP has us responding first with the quint followed by our 3000 gallon tanker for any structure fires. This works well most of the time but being all volunteer our concern is that the tanker will not respond in a timely manner or it will be out of service for some reason, hence the reason for the quint, a 500 gallon tank would be nice on the new truck. Our next due company, also all volunteer, is roughly 7-10 minutes out.
    The main question is which unit is most manuverable and can you get a 500 gallon tank on a Mid-Mount. Only Sutphen shows it as an option in their brochures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by totheroof View Post
    I am sure this is a topic that has been discussed on these forums before, being new to this forum I wanted to gather some imformation as to the pros and cons of these types of ladder trucks.



    We are are small all volunteer department in Maryland that will soon need to replace a 1996 Spartan/Aerial Innovations(could be wrong on the name as they are out of business and were located in Alabama) 75' Quint Rear Mount, 400 gallon tank, 1250 pump. Although this unit somewhat serves our needs adaquately we really do need a longer ladder and need to keep a quint type of unit.


    The standards for our county have also changed and we now need a min. 95' ladder to meet the current standards. This has restricted our quint responses to mostly our first due and we miss out on a number of incidents with the 75' ladder.


    Most of our first due is rural and non-hydrant. We do have limited access because of narrow drives with some of our first due dwellings so manuverability and turning radius is important (no tillers).Our station SOP has us responding first with the quint followed by our 3000 gallon tanker for any structure fires.


    This works well most of the time but being all volunteer our concern is that the tanker will not respond in a timely manner or it will be out of service for some reason, hence the reason for the quint, a 500 gallon tank would be nice on the new truck. Our next due company, also all volunteer, is roughly 7-10 minutes out.


    The main question is which unit is most manuverable and can you get a 500 gallon tank on a Mid-Mount. Only Sutphen shows it as an option in their brochures.



    Your best bet is a rear mount.



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    The Sutphen SP 95' and 100' trucks are very nice in my opinion. We had a demo 100' truck that we were able to maneuver around very tight streets. We were extremely impressed with how it was able to make turns. We cover a small village on a lake that has narrow streets and tight intersections. We would have never thought it would be able to make it, but we were proven wrong. I would highly suggest talking to one of their salesmen and see if you can get a demo to try out. They have a new truck that we saw - the SL 100 - but it does not have a platform. This truck had a nice, short wheelbase too.
    SP95


    Demo truck (SP95) they have available per their site:


    Demo SL100 truck per their site:

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    Most rear mount sticks 95'- 105' have a O.A.L. of about 41'-42' and mid-mount towers are in the range of 47 feet. Try looking into a Aluminum aerial ladder from E-One, Pierce, or Sutphen with a 500 gallon water tank.
    Last edited by WoodbridgeFFII; 07-19-2010 at 07:59 PM.

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    You discuss narrow drives, maneuverability, and turning radius...and then follow that up with "no tillers". I'd say get yourself a "quiller" with a 500 gallon tank. A tiller is your solution to the 3 concerns you mentioned, so I'm a bit perplexed as to why you say no tiller.

    Anyways, here's a nice photo of a local one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by totheroof View Post
    so manuverability and turning radius is important (no tillers).
    Ok, I'm confused. Esplain, because when a good driver and a tillerman are paired up, it's easy to get a tiller into places you couldnt even get an engine company into.
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    Quote Originally Posted by totheroof View Post
    We do have limited access because of narrow drives with some of our first due dwellings so manuverability and turning radius is important (no tillers).
    Is this because of questionable manpower to staff both ends of the tiller, or a misunderstanding of the capabilities of a TDA? (peeks around corner for a response from Buff....)
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    Being an all volunteer department with 2 engines,truck.tanker, rescue engine and 3 medic units, drivers are at a premium. So as much as I agree with the tiller concept it would not be a good fit for us. A Mid-Mount Tower has issues I presume with the length of body past the rear wheel and the fear of taking a turn too narrow, although we like the idea of pulling into a drive and having the turntable near the front giving you greater reach with the ladder. Plus money is not an issue within reason.
    Last edited by totheroof; 07-20-2010 at 03:13 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Is this because of questionable manpower to staff both ends of the tiller, or a misunderstanding of the capabilities of a TDA? (peeks around corner for a response from Buff....)
    What is a "TDA?" And you do not have to be a driver to be tiller qualified (unless mandated by in-house SOP.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    What is a "TDA?"
    Less keystrokes than tiller.

    And you do not have to be a driver to be tiller qualified (unless mandated by in-house SOP.)
    Agreed, many of the departments I know of release their tillermen without requiring them to be drivers.
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    Question -

    If you're operating a quint, and can't find a driver and a tillerman, how are you going to have a pump op and someone to be on your turntable to watch over the guys on the stick/placement/obstacles?

    You're going to need two experienced firefighters for both those jobs. Same like you would a tiller.

    How is it different? If money is no problem, you have the ability to get a paid driving course done. You can send your guys through EVOC and get some hands-on time in the class room.

    I damn well wish I had a tiller over the rear-mount that we have right now. Even with short staffing.

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    TDA - Tractor Drawn Aerial

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    We have a rear mount, so I'm partial to them.

    It's a 100', single axle quint. It also had that rear axle replaced and you couldn't get it built today... too heavy to be on a single axle really. We also modified it, so that it's really not a quint anymore (took out the water tank to reduce weight).

    I would never advocate a tiller for my volunteer department. Good god, our guys can barely drive what we have (the tires need armored sidewalls). To expect them to get proficient with a tiller is asking too much. I know some of you will moan about that, but I'm just being real.

    For tight spots, I think the rear mount is a bit easier to manuever. Just back it in and voila you are set.

    They also tend to be shorter overall.
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 07-20-2010 at 10:51 AM.
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    I would suggest getting one of each type of truck brought down, and a group of your "preferred" drivers take them out to the areas of concern. This won't be easy due to the limited availability of both types of trucks, but that will really be the only way to truly figure this one out.

    That being said, I too would consider a tiller, and get everyone trained. Also, my concern about a rear-mount is the higher center of gravity. There's a lot of weight on top of that truck, so driver training would be very important (I'm sure you already knew that, just reitterating).
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    Everyone in this area is big on rear mounts. Every aerial in the region ( about 15) is a rear mount. That being said, we also don't have a Sutphen dealer close by.

    My opinion (which is limited): a mid mount allows the platform to be on the back. You don't have to worry about it abstructing your view, or it blocking the roof lights.

    As others have said, evaluate what would work best in your department and go from there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    My opinion (which is limited): a mid mount allows the platform to be on the back. You don't have to worry about it abstructing your view, or it blocking the roof lights.
    FYI: The bucket of our rear-mount (2001 EOne) has lights of its own so blocking the ones on the roof isn't much of an issue.

    I've never operated or ridden a mid-mount but from what I can tell the biggest differences are that there will be much greater rear-swing on a midmount because of how far the bucket extends off the back (increase distance from bucket to rear-axle). The aerial on a rear-mount is going to sit higher and will have a forward obstruction/swing.

    For newer drivers it is probably easier to get used to a rear-mount since you can see and monitor the bucket off the front. For rear-mount it's harder to see/visualize if you're not used to it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by totheroof View Post
    The standards for our county have also changed and we now need a min. 95' ladder to meet the current standards. This has restricted our quint responses to mostly our first due and we miss out on a number of incidents with the 75' ladder. Most of our first due is rural and non-hydrant. We do have limited access because of narrow drives with some of our first due dwellings so manuverability and turning radius is important (no tillers).
    Purchase the unit that will serve you best for your first due. You can not "do it all" with one unit. Something will have to give.

    If you get a quint, it will probably be another 75 footer with 500 gallons of water and some supply line and not many ladders. Small, but still limited. Now you need to watch your overall GVW.

    Or, you will get a 100ft quint with maybe 500 gallons of water and some supply line and not many ladders. Big, but still limited. Now it may be too big to make it go where you need it to go.

    Don't purchase the unit for "the number of incidents you will miss" if you did not have the right thing. Buy it for what you need.

    While having a 100ft stick is nice, most times it is a very expensive school bus that is not used for the aerial, but for the equipment it carries.

    If there is a concern on how long it takes to get additional water, than you need to carry 1000 gallons minimum and possibly look into CAFS. Your ladder truck just became an engine with truck company equipment.

    There is no reason why you can not carry a 35, 24, 16, and 14ft ladders on an engine as well as fans, saws, and tarps. I think Bryn Athyn's Toyne (?) does this, though the water amount may not be more than 600 gallons.

    Charlotte, NC has engines with dual ladder racks where one ladder is a 40 footer.

    Besides, there may be two - 100ft towers and a new 100ft rear mount about 10 minutes away that can come if needed.

    Don't buy a piece just to run more calls.
    Last edited by LittleJoe7197; 07-21-2010 at 03:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleJoe7197 View Post
    There is no reason why you can not carry a 35, 24, 16, and 14ft ladders on an engine as well as fans, saws, and tarps. I think Bryn Athyn's Toyne (?) does this, though the water amount may not be more than 600 gallons.
    Dual ladder racks with (1) 35, (2) 24's, (2) 14's.
    -600 Gallons of water (and still maintaining a low hosebed height)
    -CAFS
    -Fans
    -Saws
    -Tarps
    -Holmatro cutters, a combi-tool, power unit, cribbing and some other extrication equipment.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleJoe7197 View Post
    Purchase the unit that will serve you best for your first due. You can not "do it all" with one unit. Something will have to give.

    If you get a quint, it will probably be another 75 footer with 500 gallons of water and some supply line and not many ladders. Small, but still limited. Now you need to watch your overall GVW.

    Or, you will get a 100ft quint with maybe 500 gallons of water and some supply line and not many ladders. Big, but still limited. Now it may be too big to make it go where you need it to go.

    Don't purchase the unit for "the number of incidents you will miss" if you did not have the right thing. Buy it for what you need.

    While having a 100ft stick is nice, most times it is a very expensive school bus that is not used for the aerial, but for the equipment it carries.

    If there is a concern on how long it takes to get additional water, than you need to carry 1000 gallons minimum and possibly look into CAFS. Your ladder truck just became an engine with truck company equipment.

    There is no reason why you can not carry a 35, 24, 16, and 14ft ladders on an engine as well as fans, saws, and tarps. I think Bryn Athyn's Toyne (?) does this, though the water amount may not be more than 600 gallons.

    Charlotte, NC has engines with dual ladder racks where one ladder is a 40 footer.

    Besides, there may be two - 100ft towers and a new 100ft rear mount amount 10 minutes away that can come if needed.

    Don't buy a piece just to run more calls. (helps with membership and can be justified, even more so if areas to our north and west standardize their running assignments and awknowledge a truck company would be useful on initial dispatch)
    Almost like buying a new rescue squad when there are others close by.

    Sometimes having too much money can alter your decision making process. We are all guilty of this, I am afraid to say.I understand your department was around long before we were though (justification and envy).

    Our little county has it too good. Nice to have some local imput.

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    The Sutphen SP 95 has a travel length of 47 11 .
    The Sutphen SL100 has a travel length of 43.

    I am a big fan of the SL100 as it is very easy to maneuver. The only drawback was that it does not have a platform. It all depends on what your department wants - having a platform, or having a climbing ladder.

    I grew up on a rear mount Pierce 61' climbing ladder, and a neighboring department bought a Smeal 105' climbing ladder which was also rear mount. In comparing those two rear mount aerials, one thing I noticed was the fact that I did not like driving with something overhanging the front... however, you can see it rather than not seeing it on the back. Having a platform hanging out the back was not all that bad. Sutphen offers on that is lower hanging, and then another that is nested up higher... both are easy to navigate around. The Sutphen climbing ladders have nothing out back to snag, just have to be comfortable not having a platform. The other thing I didn't like was that the ladder over the cab meant that if you got a raised roof cab, it really was not raised roof since the ladder nested in there and brought it back down to normal travel height. The nioce thing about the mid mount was the fact that if you need a raised roof cab, you get to use that height across the cab.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 93Cobra View Post
    The Sutphen SP 95 has a travel length of 47 11 .
    The Sutphen SL100 has a travel length of 43.

    I am a big fan of the SL100 as it is very easy to maneuver. The only drawback was that it does not have a platform. It all depends on what your department wants - having a platform, or having a climbing ladder.

    I grew up on a rear mount Pierce 61' climbing ladder, and a neighboring department bought a Smeal 105' climbing ladder which was also rear mount. In comparing those two rear mount aerials, one thing I noticed was the fact that I did not like driving with something overhanging the front... however, you can see it rather than not seeing it on the back. Having a platform hanging out the back was not all that bad. Sutphen offers on that is lower hanging, and then another that is nested up higher... both are easy to navigate around. The Sutphen climbing ladders have nothing out back to snag, just have to be comfortable not having a platform. The other thing I didn't like was that the ladder over the cab meant that if you got a raised roof cab, it really was not raised roof since the ladder nested in there and brought it back down to normal travel height. The nioce thing about the mid mount was the fact that if you need a raised roof cab, you get to use that height across the cab.
    Why not just send him your brochures, instead of painfully attempting (and failing) to mask you sell Sutphen. Suffice it to say there are detractors from your products as well.

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    Don't forget about those "Sutphen" LED headlights. I always thought that Slutphens looked more like a portable oil derrick on wheels than an aerial device but what do I know. Very few of those around here, mainly due to the fact that there is no dealer in this area. Balto City bought some years back but that ended up not being such a good idea.

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    I never met a Suckphen that didn't have a rebuilt (or entirely new) bucket.
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    we had a 78 Sutphen we just got rid of (85') and got a 95 100' towa ladder ..we had no trouble with any of them other than the cab of the 95 is kinda dinky.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 93Cobra View Post
    The nioce thing about the mid mount was the fact that if you need a raised roof cab, you get to use that height across the cab.
    Certainly true, but given how close the turntable is to the cab, a raised roof is going to make it rather difficult to fly the aerial over the cab at anything near a low angle.

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