1. #1
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    Default Buying a new Tanker

    I am currently trying to decide on a Tanker purchase. Its kind of like being thrown to the guys on the car sales lot. Everyone has the "best" deal and the "best" truck going. I am looking at the Pierce Contender DX tankers. Anyone have comments on the Pierce line?? Contender DX seems to have all that we want but there are many others at a lessor price. Thanks for any input.

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    Well its gonna be kinda hard to help and make suggestions without knowing what you want first. What are you looking for tank size? Pump capacity? Crew capacity? What kind of response district do you have, is it all rural with no hydrant district? Or a combination or rural water sources and a small hydrant district? Is your response district terrain hilly? Or flat? All this info could help us help you in suggesting apparatus manufacturers, as there are a number of manufacturers out there now that build outstanding tankers for the money.
    Opinions expressed by myself here are just that, mine. And not that of ANY organization or service I am affiliated with.

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    I agree... a little more information would be helpful. When it comes to tankers, it's pretty easy to say that a "tanker is a tanker". What all do you want it to do, how long until it will be replaced, how often it's used? As with any other truck, service and support after the sale should be among the top priorities (if not #1). All of the major names in the business build a good truck, or they wouldn't still be around... and tankers are probably among the easiest to build. Maybe find some examples of previous builds that have unique features that you like?
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhfd350 View Post
    Anyone have comments on the Pierce line?? Contender DX seems to have all that we want but there are many others at a lessor price. Thanks for any input.
    That are just as well built as a Pierce, that will have better warranty follow-up.
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    There are also alot of good regional builders. Where are you located,that would also have an impact on builder in my view.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    That are just as well built as a Pierce, that will have better warranty follow-up.
    Or he might find that the dealer provides excellent warranty work.

    It wouldn't be a day at FH.com without a jab at Pierce, would it?
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    Some of the best tankers I have seen have been built by regional small builders.

    They seem to be much more receptive to building a tanker that meets your needs.

    Without knowing your district, it is honestly very tough to comment on specific makes, styles and sizes. I went from a small-short wheelbase nurse tanker mentality in northern VT to a 3000 gallon tanker/w a small pump and handlines mentality in Lousiana. They both have some very noticable advantages and some very noticable drawbacks

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    Please, please don't take this wrong...

    If I were going to be buying a Pierce, the reasons I would be buying a Pierce have been stripped out of anything they call a Contender DX.

    Essentially you have a poly square tank on a commercial chassis, some diamond plate tool boxes under the tank, and probably a rear dump into some kind of swivel or triple dump. There is nothing special here, and you can save a ton of money and probably get more tanker for your money looking elsewhere...

    I respect that Pierce makes a nice product for the most part, but they've pulled everything out of the DX series that makes a Pierce a Pierce.
    Last edited by npfd801; 12-22-2010 at 03:17 AM. Reason: Typos
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    Are you in New Hampshire - Chec out http://www.valleyfireequipment.com/

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    I have some advice for a tanker....we had a nearby department purchase a new US Tanker (sharp looking truck) and they went with the elliptical stainless wrapped polytank. While talking to thier chief at one of thier fundraisers someone questioned why they had gone elliptical and his response was "well do you see any other tanker trucks (oilfield, etc.)on the road using square tanks, thier has got to be a reason they are using a round tank."
    So keep this in mind, they also put the three way dump on the rear, but it looks kinda gaudy and a lot of weight hanging back thier...i would put the side dumps built into the sides behing the rear wheel
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Or he might find that the dealer provides excellent warranty work.

    It wouldn't be a day at FH.com without a jab at Pierce, would it?
    Sometimes the truth hurts more people than others.
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    Pierce makes some decent overpriced firetrucks. And there are some greatfire trucks built in Florida. But neither category are made in Bradenton Florida.

    Look at regional builders for max bang for the $. But stay away from the lowest priced builders. There is inexpensive and then there is cheap.


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    We went through this a few years ago... whatamess (pronounced FUBAR)

    Generate a list of what YOU, as a department NEED the truck to do.

    Don't skimp on axle weights, tank construction, port-a-pond sizes (exceed the tank), fills, venting, ect.

    Get a pump size in mind that you want.(Do you wanna relay pump with this or just push water for nursing?)

    Do you want ladders to the top? Comply with NFPA?, Exceed NFPA? Lighting (led, other), Extra hose or a hosebed? Intake sizes (5",4") Cab size? ect, ect, ect.



    Now, when you get this list together, does the Peirce dx trashtender series meet up with what you want? (probably not)

    Once you have a rough set of specs to go by, then present it to various manufacturers. Remember, local or giant, YOU are the one spending the dime, make em earn it. There are tons of regional builders that will give you a good build. Just don't skimp on the stuff like axle weights, pumps, inlets/outlets and ponds. You can usually get a great barebones tanker at a reasonable price locally or you can get a cookie cutter from Peirced, E-nOne, Rosen(bum)bauer, ect. There are so many regional builders throughout the US that you can throw a spanner wrench ten times and probably crack one up side the head....Do your homework, don't let peirce(d) do it for you.

    I in no way disrespect or endorse any of the truck manufacturers listed here...I poke fun, but I do have a fair comprehension of what each company must do to produce a truck.

    One other suggestion is to go look at trucks that these companies have produced. Sometimes a picture is not near as truthful as the real McCoy.
    Last edited by Fireeaterbob; 01-04-2011 at 09:03 PM. Reason: Addition
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    Our area is rural and 120 square miles with limited hydrant avails. Looking for 2000 gals or so. Have looked at Midwest, Four Guys, Deep South, and Fouts. Need to keep the truck at 2 axles with 750gpm per our grant. Looking to get the most bang for the buck. Thanks for any ideas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nhfd350 View Post
    Our area is rural and 120 square miles with limited hydrant avails. Looking for 2000 gals or so. Have looked at Midwest, Four Guys, Deep South, and Fouts. Need to keep the truck at 2 axles with 750gpm per our grant. Looking to get the most bang for the buck. Thanks for any ideas.
    For what it's worth, if you want you can likely go larger than 2,000 and tandems. The grant you submitted is a minimum, you can typically go bigger in the same classification of apparatus if you have the funding. All it takes is contacting AFG and getting the approval. We've done it a couple of times without an issue.

    As far as my input, make sure to look at putting at least one type of retarder on the truck, be it exhaust, transmission, engine, or even a Telma. Having something to help the air brakes out and keep the truck under control. Also, make sure you put enough engine to push it up any terrain you have, but also (depending on your personnel), you may want to avoid too much power.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    Also, make sure you put enough engine to push it up any terrain you have, but also (depending on your personnel), you may want to avoid too much power.
    If one had to limit their drive line due to their operators, then maybe they should be re-evaluating their operators instead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    If one had to limit their drive line due to their operators, then maybe they should be re-evaluating their operators instead.
    Common sense statement makes sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    If one had to limit their drive line due to their operators, then maybe they should be re-evaluating their operators instead.
    Not everyone can get members for their vollie departments who are experienced driving trucks. It doesn't take much to have one guy, who despite his training, gets a little heavy into the gas accellerating up a hill to get himself into trouble.

    By no means am I advocating under-powering, but adequate power. We have a 2,500 gallon pumper/tanker with a 350 HP Cummins in it. It's plenty of power to do what we need, even in our hilly area. Putting a 500 HP in it would have been overkill and potentially would give someone enough power to get into a world of trouble, even a trained/experienced guy.

    Of course, I'm a believer that tankers in particular have no reason to go beyond the speed limit. The theory of putting huge engines and HP in one so it'll do 80 uphill because "time is our enemy" is asinine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    Putting a 500 HP in it would have been overkill and potentially would give someone enough power to get into a world of trouble, even a trained/experienced guy.

    Of course, I'm a believer that tankers in particular have no reason to go beyond the speed limit. The theory of putting huge engines and HP in one so it'll do 80 uphill because "time is our enemy" is asinine.
    Agreed. But even non-experienced members need to know when to say when with the throttle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nhfd350 View Post
    Have looked at Midwest, Four Guys, Deep South, and Fouts.
    Do your research before reaching a decision. A couple of these builders are above the rest (in my opinion), and one of them could probably be put at the bottom of the list without a lot of arguement. Find folks that have products from each of these bidders and go look at them. If there aren't any close around, then make some phone calls. A few days of research will save you 20 years of headaches.

    You might also research some of the builders that have program/stock vehicles.
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    In my opinion, you can take Deep South off your list. We bought a brush rig from them, and have had nothing but problems. First the truck was delivered with the wrong equipment installed. Since then it has been constant wiring problems, including one electrical fire. We took delivery of this truck in 2008. I started asking around afterwards, and didn't find many happy customers. Don't know much about the tankers they sell, but I would assume the same people put them together. You can bet they will come in as the low bid. Kinda reminds me of Taylor Made Ambulance in Arkansas, Never been in one that didn't leak!

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    we just took delivery of a 2000 gallon tri dump toyne and so far have been very happy with it. this is our second toyne and we have found the quality very good. we got bids from almost all of the manufaturers listed, and did not find any close by to see and the ones we called did not seem very happy with their purchase after a couple of years. same issues as listed in earlier posts

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    Seems you often hear the line need to stay under 2000gal/2 axle. Why? Scary to drive a tandem rear????. Get over it, Uncle Sam has thousands of little girls driving big 6x6 trucks all over the world.

    2500gal on a twin screw will have lower axle loading and typically a shorter turning radius. And get credit for 2250gal for ISO vs 1800gal. Slightly more expensive chassis but well worth it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fireinfo10 View Post
    Seems you often hear the line need to stay under 2000gal/2 axle. Why? Scary to drive a tandem rear????. Get over it, Uncle Sam has thousands of little girls driving big 6x6 trucks all over the world.

    2500gal on a twin screw will have lower axle loading and typically a shorter turning radius. And get credit for 2250gal for ISO vs 1800gal. Slightly more expensive chassis but well worth it.
    But what is trade-off in terms of getting around narrow roads?

    My background with tankers in my part of the northeast had always been small tank sizes, usually 1500g, no pumps with the exception of maybe a cabinet mounted portable to transfer small amounts of water and on a very short wheelbase, or engines with 1000g tanks fitted with dumps and quick fills.

    Tanker operations were almost exclusively dump into the pond, run and fill operations.

    I found them to be extremly effective given their quickness and short wheelbase in tight spaces.

    I come to the south, and here a tanker is a 3000-4000g tandem axle monster often with a full-sized pump carrying attack lines, supply lines, SCBA and tools.

    Here tanker operations are almost always pump-off operations with the exception of very rare, very large commercial fires.

    Two very different views of the same world.

    Given the choice, I prefer the northeast view, though given limited manpower, there is value in the fact that you need fewer drivers, as long as your roads and fill/dump points can accommodate the larger apparatus, and your budget can handle the larger purchase costs.

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    I can't offer specifics on many of the builders listed above.

    Just remember you have one chance to do this right. If the truck is spec'd wrong or built poorly you will have to deal with it for a long time.

    It's a long road to spec out any piece of equipment this big. Take your time.
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