1. #1
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    Default Price Comparisions

    I looked and didn't find another forum on this, granted there probably is.

    I was discussing this the other day with a fellow firefighter, but neither of us had actually facts/prices regarding this.

    We were talking pros and cons of Commercial cabs vs. Custom cabs. We were wondering what in reality is the price difference between basic Custom Cab (4 to 6 man) vs. a comparable Commercial Cab (4 to 5 man).

    I hope this DOESN'T start a ****ing match.

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    We are working on a new Engine right now. We've gotten prices from 4 manufacturers and a custom cab was from $50-$60K more than a commercial crew cab and a commercial crew cab was $7-$10K more than a commercial standard cab.

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    Cool

    Most commercial chassis only offer up to a 330HP motor and maybe under powered for a fire dept that operates in the mountains or hilly areas. Take a look at the crash test results before you purchase a custom or commercial apparatus.also the custom units offer much more in cab room. I do like the INT 7500 4x4 crew cab for off road fire fighting!
    Last edited by Woodbridge; 02-27-2012 at 06:20 PM.

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    A Spartan Force will cost you around 145-148K with interest
    An HME SFO a little less
    A 4dr FL w/ SCBA seats, chrome and step covers around 98-99K with interest

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    It's kinda like comparing apples to oranges. Commercial chassis do not have the suspension braking system turning radius as well as the warranties that a custom chassis offers. If you are planning on keeping an apparatus more than ten years then custom is the only way to go. if you try to bring the commercial up to a custom spec, the cost is not so different. Engine Hp is also an issue. We have some volunteer departments in our area that commercial apparatus works great. If your call volume is high then plan and budget for custom because you will be better off in the long run. There are many ways you can purchase a truck without straining your budget Ex. lease purchase, the time of year you order the truck so the truck is delivered in the next budget year, then differ final payment for one year. Just some ideas.

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    I think another aspect that doesn't get looked at much is the maintenance costs over the life of a truck as well. Turn radius is another factor as well. As far as room, if your FF's are all around 5' 6", you can fit 5 of them in a commercial okay. When you try packing a few 6' 2", 230 pound guys in one, it get a little personal. As far as the HP is concerned, since you typically have less, it seems that you always have the pedal to the floor trying to get it to move. Seems like fuel usage might be more, as well as wear on the drive train because of this, especially if you're used to a custom engine.

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    All of the above are good answers. You also need to consider what kind of truck are you building and where is it going to respond?

    I am working with two separate departments right now and they are both specing tankers. One is looking at a commercial tanker and the other a custom tanker. The commercial tanker will have a small engine and low rear axle ratio because the truck committee does not want their drivers being able to drive very fast in their area of response ( volunteer, near the coast where it is fairly flat.) The other department is further inland with a fairly hilly territory and paid drivers. They are going for the big HP and hence the custom cab.

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    Here is a couple things rarely found on custom trucks 4x4 or all wheel drive. Also pump options on a custom is limited to midship or rear,no front mounts. Commercial have the best ground clearance of the two.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    I think another aspect that doesn't get looked at much is the maintenance costs over the life of a truck as well. Turn radius is another factor as well. As far as room, if your FF's are all around 5' 6", you can fit 5 of them in a commercial okay. When you try packing a few 6' 2", 230 pound guys in one, it get a little personal. As far as the HP is concerned, since you typically have less, it seems that you always have the pedal to the floor trying to get it to move. Seems like fuel usage might be more, as well as wear on the drive train because of this, especially if you're used to a custom engine.
    This all depends on manufacterer and model of truck. Our crew cab FL M2 has more room than the custom cab Pierce Contenders we have at work.
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    We have, and probably always will have, commercial cabs. As we paid less than the difference for our first out engine, cost is an extremely big consideration for us. I am not saying that custom might not necessarily be better in some aspects, but we are budget driven as we have to raise all of the funds. A big part of this is also use. We respond with an engine to about 40-50 calls a year for MVA and fire. If we were busier, I am sure that we would see a more pronounced difference.

    As for the HP argument, I will call BS. We have a cummins ISX in our '08 IH. It will get to anywhere in our coverage area within 30 seconds of when you could with a personal vehicle. We can pull any hill (even the one that you have to take if you turn left out of the door) and top at the speed limit. It is all in matching rear ends with HP. It is best to leave that up to teh manufacturer. Tell them that you have an 8% grade that you start at the bottom with a max speed of 20mph and you want to top it at 45. They will make it work. You may lose top speed, but without any interstates, 55 is max for us. I have been to a few areas that legitimately needed more, but they were also areas that lost a few trucks because people went to fast and rolled.

    Another thing to consider is weight. Our 1500gpm/2000gal unit wieghs less than the neighbors 1500/750 (43k # loaded vs 51k # loaded). We have a commercial cab and 60,000 gvw chassis with a 53 degree cramp angle. They have a custom chassis with 54,000gvw chassis and 52 degree cramp angle. We also have the same motors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    This all depends on manufacterer and model of truck. Our crew cab FL M2 has more room than the custom cab Pierce Contenders we have at work.
    I'd say that's a rarity. My full time dept. finally got rid of all our old commercial trucks, they just don't hold up to heavy run volumes. Not to mention everyone hated working off of them.

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    The price difference between spec'ing a commercial cab/chassis versus a custom cab/chassis is roughly $100k. This is a good number to bank on and will apply at any of the manufacturers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 93Cobra View Post
    The price difference between spec'ing a commercial cab/chassis versus a custom cab/chassis is roughly $100k. This is a good number to bank on and will apply at any of the manufacturers.
    Not sure where your getting your numbers, my numbers in post four are pretty accurate. Of course these did not include LED headlights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SFD_E73_RET View Post
    Not sure where your getting your numbers, my numbers in post four are pretty accurate. Of course these did not include LED headlights.
    Nice....

    Actually, you can go 50K on the differences for an "apples 2 apples" type set up. However, a custom will get you more in an overall package compared to a commercial.

    As for the HP/gearing issue: We spec ours to have a certain HP with a certain rear axle gearing. With that, a written spec that it will climb a xx% grade in xx:mph, and hold it. I believe it is 15 and 35 as a minimum.

    If you really bring it down to a custom cab/chassis VS a commercial cab/chassis as far as maintenance, you have to go with a custom. The longevity of a custom cab/chassis lasts way longer than a commercial. That being that they have the same run calls of 2 a day, or more.

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    One pro for a custom cab is the protection they afford in a crash. The customs I am familiar with have structures made for and tested for impact and rollover. Some offer multiple airbags. You'll have to look at the specs, each is a bit different.

    Commercial cab on the other hand has very few of these protections. They are made to be light for profitability in a commercial job. Every seen one rollover? Not pretty.
    We do not rise to the occasion. We fall back to our level of training.

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