1. #1
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    Default Ladder Truck Purchase

    I know I will get plenty of personal opinions,still like to know what everyone thinks. We are preparing a spec to purchase a 100'+ rear mount ladder truck. No water or pump, although we are replacing a 75' quint, the leadership has decided and affirmed by the general membership to concentrate on ladder truck duties only. This will alter our running assignments and impact our manpower requirements as we are an all volunteer, mostly rural (95% without public water). Some of our roads are narrow country roads, with hills, and we also face narrow long driveways going to very large single family houses.

    My questions is who has the best value (not cheapest, best built, quality, for the limited funds we must deal with)? Steel vs aluminum ladder? Manuverability/turning radius? We have experience with Crimson (not a big fan) and Pierce (satisfied customer). Plenty of compartment space is a must, and a minimun of 162' of ground ladders are required per our local standards. We may look at adding a pump without water so we can do ladder pipe operations without the need of an engine in close proximity (I know we still need a supply line that the engine will need to lay in to us so we most likely will have an engine in close proximity so it's kind of a weak arguement).

    We have heard recent negitives on Seagrave, E-One and Ferrara, mostly second hand info though.

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    Take a look into American LeFrance. A Local fire house just took delivery of a brand new Engine. They got it for an insanely good price, and it looks really good. Built well, and has all the bells and whistles. Forcing my company to check out their mid mount platforms for a new piece for us.

    As for Seagrave, we bought our 1996 Brand New. have never had a problem. Passed every ladder test, and is in perfect condition with hardly any maintenance. Although trucks are not built like they used to be.
    Firefighter 1/ PA EMT-B

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    If you're going to need a pump, you need to spec it now, not get it later. As well, a pump without a tank is pretty much useless (IMO). The truck should have LDH loaded on it, at least 300'.

    E-One isn't a bad choice. Plenty of compartment space and gets around pretty good. We have 8 HP-100's and like them. None have pumps or water tanks. As well, you get the best jack spread of anybody that builds aerials, and no catastrophic failures. Pierce can't say that.

    Smeal is also a good choice. They're dependable and work great. Good compartment space with them as well.

    Steel vs Aluminum... Go aluminum if you can. Either way you look at it, if you're looking into a 100'+ aerial, you'll be stuck with a tandem rear. Not the best for maneuverability, but some get around better than others. And do STAY AWAY from anyone offering rear steer. It will be in the shop more than on the road.

    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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    Quote Originally Posted by Picc.93Truck View Post
    Take a look into American LeFrance. A Local fire house just took delivery of a brand new Engine. They got it for an insanely good price, and it looks really good. Built well, and has all the bells and whistles. Forcing my company to check out their mid mount platforms for a new piece for us.

    As for Seagrave, we bought our 1996 Brand New. have never had a problem. Passed every ladder test, and is in perfect condition with hardly any maintenance. Although trucks are not built like they used to be.
    Just a Little first hand info.We have had nothing but trouble from all of our american lafrance units. We have 6-7 engines, 1 100' tiller, and 8 or so ambulances. we are now slowly facing all our units with Pierce...


    But we also run the SH*t out of our engines. so, we are going to always have issues.. haha

    Heres our newest additions

    http://www.piercemfg.com/en/experien...Duty-Ladd.aspx

    http://www.piercemfg.com/en/experien...-Duty-Tra.aspx


    heres our newest ALF engines.. they look nice.. haha

    http://www.americanlafrance.com/inte...=21&nd=2&x=747
    Last edited by TillamanTrk1; 02-15-2012 at 09:02 PM.
    "....train as if your life depends on it, because one day it could.."
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    Toyne in Breda, Ia. is now offering LTI ladders. They are also quite good at making use of space. Disclaimer: I do not work or sell for Toyne, but I do do some casual driving for them and/or some of their dealers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    If you're going to need a pump, you need to spec it now, not get it later. As well, a pump without a tank is pretty much useless (IMO). The truck should have LDH loaded on it, at least 300'.

    E-One isn't a bad choice. Plenty of compartment space and gets around pretty good. We have 8 HP-100's and like them. None have pumps or water tanks. As well, you get the best jack spread of anybody that builds aerials, and no catastrophic failures. Pierce can't say that.

    Smeal is also a good choice. They're dependable and work great. Good compartment space with them as well.

    Steel vs Aluminum... Go aluminum if you can. Either way you look at it, if you're looking into a 100'+ aerial, you'll be stuck with a tandem rear. Not the best for maneuverability, but some get around better than others. And do STAY AWAY from anyone offering rear steer. It will be in the shop more than on the road.

    FM1
    If we as a committee chose to go with a pump it would definitely be in our spec before we request proposals.

    Locally E-One has suffered, several years ago the local rep went out of business. They have sold very few units recently due to their extended lapse of local representation and service. The one county that has been pretty much exclusive E-One we have many active volunteer members who work in this county and they do not speak very positive regarding E-One.

    Is Aluminum a good choice considering maintenance and service for a volunteer company that runs 500 total calls a year? Maintenance is something we try to simplify. Keeping Aluminum clean and preventing corrosion would lead me to believe that an extra effort would be needed. Volunteers at our station have limited time and money to keep up with high maintenance.

    Rear steer from what I have heard is something I would recommend staying away from.

    Thank you for your input.

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    Couple of question's/ What is wrong with the aerial apparatus in the fleet now? Can the current unit be rebuilt and kept as a back up,also server as a water tower? How many crew on the future truck? Is a reconditioned truck a option? There is some reconditioned apparatus that have every thing you want and they are cheaper to purchase. Galvanized steel weighs more but it requires less maintenance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperFire123 View Post
    Couple of question's/ What is wrong with the aerial apparatus in the fleet now? Can the current unit be rebuilt and kept as a back up,also server as a water tower? How many crew on the future truck? Is a reconditioned truck a option? There is some reconditioned apparatus that have every thing you want and they are cheaper to purchase. Galvanized steel weighs more but it requires less maintenance.
    Our "fleet" is a 1996 75' Quint. Due to changes in the surrounding area standards to require min. 100' ladders and the desire of our membership the ability to run outside of our first due area our department has decided we need to replace our current aeriel apparatus. We could keep it although our budget has factored in the funds from selling the current unit so financially speaking that would be difficult. Not sure exactly what your question is "how many crew" on the future truck. Our department has never bought used and we would have warranty and service/maintenance concerns that would make us very apprehensive to go that way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    If you're going to need a pump, you need to spec it now, not get it later. As well, a pump without a tank is pretty much useless (IMO). The truck should have LDH loaded on it, at least 300'.
    FM1
    I know that my FD would consider getting a pump without a tank if we could do it again. We're certainly not in for quint ops, but supplying 1200 gpm at 93ft. requires high pressure LDH and generally a pump within 300-500 feet. A pump would reduce the need for high pressure LDH and the extra pumper in areas where the hydrant spacing is less than optimal.

    Again, while I'm typically anti-Taint, in some circumstances (of which you listed most) they make sense. Long narrow drives may force the wrong piece in first. Will the true truck be first due or will an engine get it's spot? What's the time delay between the two? No hydrants? How many engines can you staff? One for attack and another one or two for an aerial master stream?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    I know that my FD would consider getting a pump without a tank if we could do it again. We're certainly not in for quint ops, but supplying 1200 gpm at 93ft. requires high pressure LDH and generally a pump within 300-500 feet. A pump would reduce the need for high pressure LDH and the extra pumper in areas where the hydrant spacing is less than optimal.

    Again, while I'm typically anti-Taint, in some circumstances (of which you listed most) they make sense. Long narrow drives may force the wrong piece in first. Will the true truck be first due or will an engine get it's spot? What's the time delay between the two? No hydrants? How many engines can you staff? One for attack and another one or two for an aerial master stream?
    During the weekday, business hours we can get a quint (with 400 gallons) and a 3000 gallon tanker within a couple of minutes of the alert, after that it is inconsistent. We have 3 other department/ stations alerted as well (all volunteer) so we will eventually (within 10-15 minutes) have 4-5 engines, a quint,2 tankers and a watersupply/draft piece on location with anywhere from 25-35 personel and 7-9,000 gallons of water. Placement has always been an issue. We always intend and our SOP's have the truck up close (In the driveway or the front of the building), unfortunately it doesn't work that way all the time for a variety of reasons.

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    How many personnel do you plan to carry on the apparatus ? Will the apparatus have a monitor and or a supply pipe only setup?

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
    Toyne in Breda, Ia. is now offering LTI ladders. They are also quite good at making use of space. Disclaimer: I do not work or sell for Toyne, but I do do some casual driving for them and/or some of their dealers.
    That's good stuff. Do you know if they have any in the pipeline yet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by roofjockey View Post
    Is Aluminum a good choice considering maintenance and service for a volunteer company that runs 500 total calls a year? Maintenance is something we try to simplify. Keeping Aluminum clean and preventing corrosion would lead me to believe that an extra effort would be needed. Volunteers at our station have limited time and money to keep up with high maintenance.

    Thank you for your input.
    We've got the same amount of steel aerials as we do aluminum. Issue wise, the steel ones are more problematic than the aluminum ones. Rusting, pitting on the ladder beams as well as the welds are common. Guide replacement is double for the steel compared to the aluminum ladders. With steel ladders, cables need to be checked and adjusted more often due to weight. Maintenance on the aluminum is pretty much less time consuming and doesn't need alot. A good wash down and spraying a lube on the guides once a week, or bi-monthly is all that is needed. As well, corrosion isn't an issue compared to steel ladders.

    Having both types of ladders, I will say that I am biased towards the aluminum. Less issues with them being 12 yrs old compared to newer steel ones.

    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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    Quote Originally Posted by roofjockey View Post
    During the weekday, business hours we can get a quint (with 400 gallons) and a 3000 gallon tanker within a couple of minutes of the alert, after that it is inconsistent...

    We always intend and our SOP's have the truck up close (In the driveway or the front of the building), unfortunately it doesn't work that way all the time for a variety of reasons.
    If there is a God, I suppose I'll not see tomorrow for saying this , but: I guess I'd wonder if it makes sense to move away from the quint if a large part of your work takes place at the end of long narrow driveways? Rolling in without the ability to stretch a line vs. blocking out the aerial?

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    If your department specs a new truck a pump of at least 1000 GPM @ 160 PSI should be ordered with the trunk,the reason being if you have a water source the truck can be use as a initial attack. The option of a few hundred feet of 1 -3/4" pre-connected with a 200 gallon tank gives the truck a more versified use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SuperFire123 View Post
    How many personnel do you plan to carry on the apparatus ? Will the apparatus have a monitor and or a supply pipe only setup?
    6 seats max. It will be pre-piped with a monitor type nozzle.
    Last edited by roofjockey; 02-16-2012 at 08:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    We've got the same amount of steel aerials as we do aluminum. Issue wise, the steel ones are more problematic than the aluminum ones. Rusting, pitting on the ladder beams as well as the welds are common. Guide replacement is double for the steel compared to the aluminum ladders. With steel ladders, cables need to be checked and adjusted more often due to weight. Maintenance on the aluminum is pretty much less time consuming and doesn't need alot. A good wash down and spraying a lube on the guides once a week, or bi-monthly is all that is needed. As well, corrosion isn't an issue compared to steel ladders.

    Having both types of ladders, I will say that I am biased towards the aluminum. Less issues with them being 12 yrs old compared to newer steel ones.

    FM1
    Thank you for the info and the education.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzfireSolo View Post
    That's good stuff. Do you know if they have any in the pipeline yet?
    Sorry, Blitz, I don't know if there are any in the pipeline. I'm sure that the sales folks and dealers are out there doing their jobs.

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    Not much of a ladder guy, but we have been talking about a quint in the future on my VFD. I have to say I'd really recommend adding a pump, that way if you don't have a lot of manpower, you still can pump water. And with cross lays, if for some reason you have an engine out of service, it can still function as an engine as long as you can establish a water supply. As far as Ferrara, on my career dept., I think the biggest problem was the independant front suspension. Other than that, no major complaints.

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    Roofjockey,
    The best way to evaluate the best value is to evaluate all the bidders using the same standard. When you look at how they rank along with how they are priced you will get an idea of the best value for your department. Regarding the turning radius you'll just need to measure that or get it provided by the company. Personally I prefer the companies that list that info on their website, if they throw it out there for everyone to see I tend to think it will be more factual but that is just my thoughts.
    Everyone has the brands they love and the brands they don't prefer or flat out hate. FireMech1 likes his Toyne apparatus and if it works well for his department good for them. Due to our experiences with Toyne apparatus and at least one rep in particular I would love nothing better than seeing them all out of our department. Regardless of the brand there is someone that loves them and someone that doesn't.
    You can do some research and see how many of a particular type of apparatus each prospective builder builds. Bigger isn't always better but you don't want a company that only builds a few each year or says "We haven't done that but we could". (Actually had a rep tell me that regarding a MM ladder this last weekend!) If you are getting serious about some builders ask each one for a list of references from customers that have the type of apparatus you are looking at. Make sure you get a variation from new owners to those that have had the apparatus for several years. Make the calls and ask questions to see what they think about the product.

    Regarding your scenario I have a couple questions. Are you planning ahead for over sized outrigger pads and cribbing that will allow your ladder to operate safely on soft or uneven grounds?
    Since you are looking at a pre piped waterway will it be retractable in order to allow the ladder to get closer to the structure and not risk damage to the waterway?
    I know that your command structure wants this apparatus to do "truck" work. Like some of the other members I question if you shouldn't strongly consider the pump, 300 gallons of water, a larger foam cell and hand lines. Run it as a "truck" but if it is the lead apparatus on a narrow drive water can be relayed to it with lines deployed and flowing foam if needed. I'm definitely not trying to tell you how to operate your department or second guess your leadership but I want you to consider that you will have this apparatus for the next 20 years and the decisions you make now will affect its operation during that time.

    Good luck,
    Walt
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    It really sounds like you want a rear mount FDNY style aerial. A smaller cab with a 4 person crew will shorten the turn arc for the more confined road and alleys in rural areas. Is this going to be a traditional aerial or will it be modern truck setup? What additional "Rescue" Tools will it carry if any?

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    Default Aluminum vs Steel Aerials

    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    We've got the same amount of steel aerials as we do aluminum. Issue wise, the steel ones are more problematic than the aluminum ones. Rusting, pitting on the ladder beams as well as the welds are common. Guide replacement is double for the steel compared to the aluminum ladders. With steel ladders, cables need to be checked and adjusted more often due to weight. Maintenance on the aluminum is pretty much less time consuming and doesn't need alot. A good wash down and spraying a lube on the guides once a week, or bi-monthly is all that is needed. As well, corrosion isn't an issue compared to steel ladders.

    Having both types of ladders, I will say that I am biased towards the aluminum. Less issues with them being 12 yrs old compared to newer steel ones.

    FM1
    FIREMECH: I'm not trying to be facetious but didn't you talk about your new Toyne/RK Steel Aerial in a few posts so if you prefer Aluminum why was a Steel Aerial purchased? Was it price or ?

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    I would like for you to look real hard at a Rosenbauer. I seen a demonstration at a local fire house and it was truly amazing. There are so many new features that are offered on what they call there "Smart" aerial.
    You would deffidently do an injustice to you department if you did not at lease look at it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by retiredchiefone View Post
    I would like for you to look real hard at a Rosenbauer. I seen a demonstration at a local fire house and it was truly amazing. There are so many new features that are offered on what they call there "Smart" aerial.
    You would deffidently do an injustice to you department if you did not at lease look at it.
    I agree, take the time to have a full demo of a Rosenbauer "Smart" Aerial, you will be impressed. Go through the short jacking operation during the demo and operate the aerial over the short jacked side.
    Keep it real!

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    There are more than a few busy north east fire departments using EONE aerials. I don't think you'll have any problems with the aluminum aerial if you are doing 500 runs a year.

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