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    Default Engine/ pumper Body construction and thickness

    We are finalizing our new pumper specs. One final decision to be made is the body construction.

    We are not going with stainless.

    We are located in Georgia, and this will be on apparatus that turn anywhere between 3k-4500 calls annually. These trucks will accumulate about 20k miles/ year or more. They will stay in front line service for 7-9 years, and remain as a spare for an additional 4-7 years. We have interstate, residential, industrial roads.

    It will be a rescue style body with roll-up doors, ladders mounted from rear in a compartment, midship pump.

    I'd like to hear opinions on aluminum vs. galvaneal?
    What kind of price difference?
    Paint issues?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Scooby, this was actually just discussed recently in another thread. Check here (Galvaneal, aluminium, or?) for what some others have said.

    I commented in that thread also, but I'll go into a little more detail here: we've been using 5052-H32 (.125") aluminum on both the cabs and bodies at work since at least 1997. We have some engines only making 750 runs a year, others that are doing just shy of 2800. They're exposed to all kinds of weather (old Virginia joke: "Don't like the weather? Just wait 15 minutes") and while a few of them that approaching 10 years of service are starting to show a minimal amount of white rust, it hasn't gotten so bad that we'd consider going with SS.

    Our engines are front-line for 10 years and reserve for 5.

    Virtually everyone in our area is using aluminum, and has been for 15+ years.
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    Personally I would use SS but since you are not. Go with "Formed" aluminum vs extruded. Extruded gives paint more more places to crack and and more places for corrosion to start. Also in my opinion if you tweak (back in to something) the transfer of energy can run through the whole extruded body and twist it, with a formed body you more of a crush zone.

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    Thanks for the help.

    We were told to not even consider SS, mainly due to cost.

    Nobody using galvaneal?

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    We have a KME engine made with Galvaneal, no problems so far.

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    Shannon, go with what BoxAlarm has said. Most of the apparatus around here were built by the same company, spec's are similar and materials as well.


    We have had very little problems with what we are using now.



    We ran galvanneal material on apparatus back in the 1980's and 1990's, but were happy that is back then.


    BTW, How is everyone??
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    Shannon, go with what BoxAlarm has said. Most of the apparatus around here at built by the same company, spec's are similar and materials as well.


    We have had very little problems with what we are using now.



    We ran galvanneal material on apparatus back in the 1980's and 1990's, but were happy that is back then.


    BTW, How is everyone??
    Doing great, hope you are as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCOOBY14B View Post
    Thanks for the help.

    We were told to not even consider SS, mainly due to cost.

    Nobody using galvaneal?
    Don't count out SS quite yet. At least get some quotes. When We bought a new engine a few years ago, 4guys came in with one of the lower bids and it included SS, when all the others were Aluminum. We went with the 4guys and have been 100% satisfied with the rig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SFD_E73_RET View Post
    Personally I would use SS but since you are not. Go with "Formed" aluminum vs extruded. Extruded gives paint more more places to crack and and more places for corrosion to start. Also in my opinion if you tweak (back in to something) the transfer of energy can run through the whole extruded body and twist it, with a formed body you more of a crush zone.
    Theres as many holes in those statements as their are in a mack cf fender area after 20 yrs of exposure to road salt.

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    Hey Scoobie, from one Georgia boy to another GOOOOOOO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!

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    Sears sells some really nice formed metal tool boxes.
    Galvaneal does not hold up well to the current chemicals used for de-icing roads.

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    In Georgia, you don't run into the corrosion problems associated with road salt. The only corrosion you may find on your rigs is most likely from dissimilar metal contact and you can get that with any of the available materials. Stainless is more money, but its also more weight, so you have that to consider. But being in the south, I don't see you having a need for it. I would recommend aluminum, some one had mentioned using 1/8" thick material, altho its sufficient, i would recoment specking 3/16" on both cab and body. I know, 1/16th of an inch differance isn't really a big difference, but you would be amazed at how much stronger it is. I also partial to Extruded bodies over formed. Im sure you will get difference of opinion and reasons why, but here is what i compare it too.
    When you build a house you use lumber for structual frameing, and then cover it with sheet goods, we'll say ply wood. now build the same house by using only plywood that you fold in certain places for structual stability. Wich house would you want to live in?
    See what im sayin.
    When it comes down to it it's preferance, what ever you decide, i wish you the best of luck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoofTopTrucky View Post
    In Georgia, you don't run into the corrosion problems associated with road salt. The only corrosion you may find on your rigs is most likely from dissimilar metal contact and you can get that with any of the available materials. Stainless is more money, but its also more weight, so you have that to consider. But being in the south, I don't see you having a need for it. I would recommend aluminum, some one had mentioned using 1/8" thick material, altho its sufficient, i would recoment specking 3/16" on both cab and body. I know, 1/16th of an inch differance isn't really a big difference, but you would be amazed at how much stronger it is. I also partial to Extruded bodies over formed. Im sure you will get difference of opinion and reasons why, but here is what i compare it too.
    When you build a house you use lumber for structual frameing, and then cover it with sheet goods, we'll say ply wood. now build the same house by using only plywood that you fold in certain places for structual stability. Wich house would you want to live in?
    See what im sayin.
    When it comes down to it it's preferance, what ever you decide, i wish you the best of luck.
    Getting to look at various bodies in in the different stages of production while on a our factory tours, I have to tell you that I was quite impressed with the 3/16" extruded bodies. We were able to see the profile of both the 3/16" and 1/8" bodies, and the 3/16" is definitely got a leg up on strength and rigidity. Again, will 1/8" work? With the number of runs you say it will run, I don't think that I'd try and hedge my bets with the smaller dimensioned material.

    In the realm of 1/8" vs 3/16", I'll try to put this in easier terms. I will say that I just took delivery of a new Sutphen, so that is what I know. All of the main production Shield pumpers and full custom Ambassador/Monarch units are 3/16" extruded aluminum. They only just recently brought the Guardian series to production, as a very budget conscious unit below the Shield trucks. It has 1/8" for the bodies.

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    Good comments Roaddogg and RoofTop.

    It all sort of boils down to a few important factors:

    1) Geography: Do you have to deal wit lots of road salt? Go stainless. If not aluminum is fine.

    2) Money: Get the highest quality your budget will allow. It is an investment that will pay a dividend over the life of the truck.

    3) Call volume: Will this truck run 100 or 1,000 calls a year? Big difference.

    4) Longevity: What is the projected service life of the vehicle? 10, 20, or 30 years?

    5) My forum friends can add the list here!!!

    C6

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    Anyone know how much more SS weighs for comparible bodies?

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    I don't know the actual numbers, but it is less than you might think. Aluminum must be thicker to achieve the same strength stainless.

    C6

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    As I was recently told, fire trucks are pay now or pay later. When you go low quality to save money you will more than likely pay much more in maintenance cost toward the end of the trucks service life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SFD_E73_RET View Post
    Personally I would use SS but since you are not. Go with "Formed" aluminum vs extruded. Extruded gives paint more more places to crack and and more places for corrosion to start. Also in my opinion if you tweak (back in to something) the transfer of energy can run through the whole extruded body and twist it, with a formed body you more of a crush zone.

    Utter nonsense.

    Find rollover photos of a bent body and an extruded body. Decide for yourself which body collaspes in a stiff breeze like a toolbox under a sledge hammer and which protects the crew.

    Get a 3/16" extruded aluminum body on an extruded alum frame.

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    "We were told to not even consider SS, mainly due to cost"

    First - Yes, I am a salesman, but I don't sell anywhere near the Southeast.

    Over the years I have represented companies that specialize in stainless, aluminum, galvanneal, and plain old steel (yeah, I'm that old).

    Using modern manufacturing techniques (not every builder does), stainless has a higher material cost but can have much lower labor costs. Aluminum can be the opposite.

    The manufacturer that I represent sells both and the price is generally equal.

    Really, they all work, or manufacturers wouldn't be using them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireTruckSalesGuy View Post

    Using modern manufacturing techniques (not every builder does), stainless has a higher material cost but can have much lower labor costs. Aluminum can be the opposite.

    Really, they all work, or manufacturers wouldn't be using them.
    Some builders in the past have offered "Stainless for the price of aluminum" promotions.

    What you say about labor is true. A skilled worker to weld aluminum is higher paid than an average Joe to run a drill/driver to bolt together stainless. A far as material, there are different grades of stainless.

    The concern I have with stainless is not the metal, rather the connectors. I still remember the old days when every Saturday was "bolt tightening day" on the old bodies. Of course, things are different today, but the flashbacks are still there.

    C6

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    While there are still stainless manufacturers out the that bolt the bodies together, there are probaby more that weld them. Stainless lasts forever, will not rust, and a reputable company will take care of any dis-similar metal problems that might arise.

    There are a few smaller manufacturers that have been doing stainless for a really long time, and know how to prevent that from happeneing.

    As for weight, yeah, stainless does weigh more, but even 12ga stainless (I wouldn't build out of anything thinner) creates a weight differential in the "hundreds of pounds" range, not enough to make a difference over the entire vehicle.

    The other thing to look for when you are building is the warranty on the body.

    I know, for instance that 4-Guys just went to 30 years on thier bodies!!

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    What I found funny was listening to a salesman bash aluminum as being weak and only corrosion resistant to a point, over and over, giving many reasons why aluminum should avoided. Then after we let him spew this stuff, we simply asked him what the cab material is. Silence........... "well, ah, um, well....." Seems cabs are ok to made out of aluminum just not the body.
    Yeah, yeah I understand, nobody builds em that way, cost weight etc.
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    I believe extruded alum body is the only way to go.

    What "concerns" me about SS is that your body is only as good the quality of sheet metal used. SS is not like gold where it's all the same stuff. A very large portion of it comes from China and you CAN NOT TRUST THEM to provide any consistant level of quality today, tomorrow, next week. China has gone after SS market in a BIG way. Particularily due to the boom in ethanol plant mfg of a couple years ago. Ethanol is done so these mills are looking for new markets (material price has fallen).

    When manufacturing in China things you can inspect for (like visual 100%) can work. Though it's really marginally worth the PITA. Can work when you can verify all items are the correct color in the correct spot, in new undamged packaging, no short count in the master carton, are disposable consumer good, etc. Inspect and audit the inspector Anything beyond that, they will rob you blind. Like did they use new virgin plastic of the correct spec with no more than x% regrind with the correct additives properly blended and dried. NO YOU WILL NOT KNOW and unlike they did. They will take shortcuts at any delay so as to meet schedule/avoid a 2cent penalty, will substitute materials and additives at the drop of a hat for convience (or to benefit Uncle Ho), 1000 ways to fool the Yankee are all fair game.

    Perhaps if you can specify US made SS and pay the price. And you are sure the apparatus manufacturer knows what he is buying (not the cheapest stuff this week) and everyone in the supply chain can be trusted.

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