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Thread: prototype water truck

  1. #21
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    If I was on the apparatus committee looking at tenders and you presented this, in its present form, even completely finished I would vote no. Despite your proposed low cost, the era of this kind of tender is over. I know a volunteer FD north of me that builds their own tenders on military surplus trucks and to be honest I would buy one of their's before this thing.

    No compartments, no hose bed, and if that rack on the officer's side is the foldatank bracket who the heck is tall enough to use that safely? Seriously, nice try but unless you do some serious redesign work and actually talk to end users about what you want I don't see too many sales in your future.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 10-31-2013 at 12:25 AM.
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  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I agree that this truck's center of gravity is too high. That being said I do love the fact that the tank stops at the back edge of the rear wheel. I have no idea what type of terrain you respond in, but I can say from experience having spent much of my firefighting career in mountainous areas with some very narrow roads, this truck's overall length would be an absolutely perfect fit for that type of environment.

    Tankers generally perform best when they have a single function, which is to tank water. The key to any tanker shuttle is the ability for the tankers to be nimble and move easily around the fill and dump sites.

    The fact is, if you knock the tank on this truck down to 1750 gallons, it will outperform any 25000 or 3000g tanker in a hilly or mountainous environment.
    Simple math proves your theory wrong. If I have a engine/tanker with a turbodraft, I can deliver on average at least 400 gpm constantly with a water supply up to 200' away. With a tanker, if my fill site is a mile away, my turnaround time will be at least ten minutes per load, averaging 250 gallons a minute (or less) with a 2500 tanker. Being able to have a water supply on site wins every time. Now of course there are times when you have to shuttle water, but with out a pump on a tanker your are FORCED to shuttle every time. And having a pump enables you to have a way to transfer water if there is not enough area to set up a dump tank, or some other situation requires a pump. Adding pump capability has virtually NO negative effect on the ability of a truck to shuttle water, in fact, it enhances it. Nimble, and tanker, are two words that aren't used in the same sentence. Turning radius is the only real measurement in play here. Our engine/tanker has an overall length of 36', but has an inside turning radius of only 17'. It's all in how you spec the truck.
    As for the short wheel base on this truck being useful in mountainous terrain, that won't be of any use once the truck flips from being top heavy and rolls off a cliff. The fact is, this truck WILL NOT out perform a PROPERLY built tanker of any size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    Simple math proves your theory wrong. If I have a engine/tanker with a turbodraft, I can deliver on average at least 400 gpm constantly with a water supply up to 200' away. With a tanker, if my fill site is a mile away, my turnaround time will be at least ten minutes per load, averaging 250 gallons a minute (or less) with a 2500 tanker. Being able to have a water supply on site wins every time. Now of course there are times when you have to shuttle water, but with out a pump on a tanker your are FORCED to shuttle every time. And having a pump enables you to have a way to transfer water if there is not enough area to set up a dump tank, or some other situation requires a pump. Adding pump capability has virtually NO negative effect on the ability of a truck to shuttle water, in fact, it enhances it. Nimble, and tanker, are two words that aren't used in the same sentence. Turning radius is the only real measurement in play here. Our engine/tanker has an overall length of 36', but has an inside turning radius of only 17'. It's all in how you spec the truck.
    As for the short wheel base on this truck being useful in mountainous terrain, that won't be of any use once the truck flips from being top heavy and rolls off a cliff. The fact is, this truck WILL NOT out perform a PROPERLY built tanker of any size.
    Again .. based on experience ..... Disagree.

    My previous VFD covered an area with some very narrow roads accessing lakeside camps. A neighboring VFD had 2 tankers of about this size and blew the doors off any other tanker in terms of accessing these areas.

    Now, in my current area, there is no need for a short-wheeled based tanker such as this, and you would never see one purchased.

    Again, the design needs to be modified to lower the center of gravity, but I love the concept of a plain and simple TANKER.

    As far as the commercial viability of this design, there will be a small market for departments looking for a bare-bones way to move water because of cost or they have a need for a very short wheel base tanker.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 10-30-2013 at 02:59 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Again .. based on experience ..... Disagree.

    My previous VFD covered an area with some very narrow roads accessing lakeside camps. A neighboring VFD had 2 tankers of about this size and blew the doors off any other tanker in terms of accessing these areas.

    Now, in my current area, there is no need for a short-wheeled based tanker such as this, and you would never see one purchased.

    Again, the design needs to be modified to lower the center of gravity, but I love the concept of a plain and simple TANKER.

    As far as the commercial viability of this design, there will be a small market for departments looking for a bare-bones way to move water because of cost or they have a need for a very short wheel base tanker.
    You can't disagree with math, it's an absolute.

    A narrow road has nothing to do with the weight or center of gravity of a truck. And wheelbase doesn't matter if the truck's steering doesn't have much cramp angle.

    The concept of a plain and simple tanker has gone the way of rubber coats. And any dept. that would buy a truck like this doesn't know or care much about safety.

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    Huh. Maybe "you can't disagree with math," but you sure can build a faulty proposition with it.

    In the terrain that LaFire is referring to, the outperformance is measured in miles of rough road to the incident, not GPM pumped over hundreds of feet.

    Of course there is no drawback to a high volume pump, but at least around here, when turnaround times from a water source to a wild land fire can easily exceed an hour, the difference is negligible.

    I agree that in the wrong hands a buildup like this could be dangerous, but the same could (and should) be said for any off road truck with a wet load. In my eyes, the biggest drawback to this build is that being ex-military I'm sure its an automatic... put a 9 or 13-speed Eaton-Fuller in there and you're a lot more likely to get a proficient driver behind the wheel.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    You can't disagree with math, it's an absolute.

    A narrow road has nothing to do with the weight or center of gravity of a truck. And wheelbase doesn't matter if the truck's steering doesn't have much cramp angle.

    The concept of a plain and simple tanker has gone the way of rubber coats. And any dept. that would buy a truck like this doesn't know or care much about safety.
    I would agree that there are far fewer pure tankers being ordered, which is unfortunate. The role of a tanker should be very simple ... tanker water. Unfortunately, folks do want to make them multi-purpose which simple increases the size and weight, and conversely decreases their ability to nimbly move around dump and fill sites.

    Every tanker here is at least 3,000g with a complete stock (seemingly) of engine company equipment. Sure, it now allows me to take it to a brush fire or structure fire, but when the time comes for it to do what it was primarily designed for ... TANK water ..... it now becomes as nimble as a 747 if I have to (heaven forbid) back it into a tight spot at the fill sight or swing it into a tight hole at the fill site.

    Tankers don't need high-pressure pumps. They should not be involved in fire attack or relays where pressures are required. If you have to pump water a distance from the dump point, put an ENGINE there ... That's why THEY exist.

    Do I miss the days of short-wheel based single purpose tankers? Hell yes! And would I love to have a couple of my combo and volunteer departments? Damn straight.

    Again .... take care of the center of gravity issues by squaring off the tank and extend it outward, and maybe drop it to 2000g, which would reduce the height, and you would have a TANKER ... simple and basic .. that I would love to put into the bays at both of my departments.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 10-31-2013 at 08:54 AM.
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  7. #27
    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Do I miss the days of short-wheel based single purpose tankers? Hell yes! And would I love to have a couple of my combo and volunteer departments? Damn straight.

    Again .... take care of the center of gravity issues by squaring off the tank and extend it outward, and maybe drop it to 2000g, which would reduce the height, and you would have a TANKER ... simple and basic .. that I would love to put into the bays at both of my departments.
    I agree that a straight-up tanker is far more economical and often more operationally logical than one of the do-it-all rigs that some places are buying.

    But your suggested tweaks to the tank are moot; if you can see in the original pictures, that tank has old olive paint on it, meaning it's military surplus just like the truck.

    Which goes back to my last post, that this thread is built on the idea of getting plentiful inputs and converting them to a marketable product with minimal modification.
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    I agree that a straight-up tanker is far more economical and often more operationally logical than one of the do-it-all rigs that some places are buying.

    But your suggested tweaks to the tank are moot; if you can see in the original pictures, that tank has old olive paint on it, meaning it's military surplus just like the truck.

    Which goes back to my last post, that this thread is built on the idea of getting plentiful inputs and converting them to a marketable product with minimal modification.
    Agree that the tank is likely military surplus as well, so to make the changes to the tank would require the poster to purchase tanks, which likely would have to be custom built, which would obviously increase cost.

    Still, I like the his concept of a short wheel base 2000g, or even 2500g if the tank issue can be solved with a bare minimum of other stuff on the vehicle.

    I think that there would be departments that would be interested in that type of barebones single purpose water hauler.
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  9. #29
    Forum Member EastKyFF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I think that there would be departments that would be interested in that type of barebones single purpose water hauler.
    Shucks, MY department would. That's what we have now: 2,300-gallon elliptical with a dump and a portable pump, portable tank and suction on the side. Designed for efficiency.
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  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    But your suggested tweaks to the tank are moot; if you can see in the original pictures, that tank has old olive paint on it, meaning it's military surplus just like the truck.
    I agree completely. The truck is quite obviously an M916 and it looks like they took a 5000 gallon fuel tanker tank and cut it in half, those tanks do have baffles but not anything that would be NFPA compliant. That thing is way top heavy, its almost 12ft. to the top of the stack and the TM lists maximum side slope operation at 10% slope. These were set up as tractors so these numbers would be for a trailer hooked to it and not a tank mounted on the frame.

    All that being said we took an M915 (6x4) and mounted our custom built tank on it. It hauls ~2800 gallon and it's sole purpose is to haul water, it has no pump at all. (I would like to see a transfer pump put on it but that's off topic). The tank we had built is properly baffled. The few things I don't like; we have to put people up to to get down and put back the porta tank, It only has a rear dump and it's not centered on the tank I would like to see a swivel dump added, and the truck can go way faster than any truck should be able to we police the speed its driven at very closely.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFD5408 View Post
    Huh. Maybe "you can't disagree with math," but you sure can build a faulty proposition with it.

    In the terrain that LaFire is referring to, the outperformance is measured in miles of rough road to the incident, not GPM pumped over hundreds of feet.

    Of course there is no drawback to a high volume pump, but at least around here, when turnaround times from a water source to a wild land fire can easily exceed an hour, the difference is negligible.

    I agree that in the wrong hands a buildup like this could be dangerous, but the same could (and should) be said for any off road truck with a wet load. In my eyes, the biggest drawback to this build is that being ex-military I'm sure its an automatic... put a 9 or 13-speed Eaton-Fuller in there and you're a lot more likely to get a proficient driver behind the wheel.
    If I can pump through hose to the site, I will almost always be able to out deliver a tanker. If turnaround times are over an hour, I don't see how you can effectively fight a fire.
    BTW, not that many people can drive an Eaton-Fuller manual. That would limit your availibility to find someone to drive a tanker. A properly spec'd automatic is a better choice most of the time.

  12. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I would agree that there are far fewer pure tankers being ordered, which is unfortunate. The role of a tanker should be very simple ... tanker water. Unfortunately, folks do want to make them multi-purpose which simple increases the size and weight, and conversely decreases their ability to nimbly move around dump and fill sites.
    Obviously the fact that VERY FEW "pure" tankers are being ordered shows that most dept's now think that you are wrong. And "nimble" trucks??? A good driver dictates how well a truck is able to be positioned. We're not talking semi's here.
    Every tanker here is at least 3,000g with a complete stock (seemingly) of engine company equipment. Sure, it now allows me to take it to a brush fire or structure fire, but when the time comes for it to do what it was primarily designed for ... TANK water ..... it now becomes as nimble as a 747 if I have to (heaven forbid) back it into a tight spot at the fill sight or swing it into a tight hole at the fill site.
    Maybe you should train more on setting up dump tanks if you can't back up to them. Of course if you can pump off to the engine that eliminates that problem...
    Tankers don't need high-pressure pumps. They should not be involved in fire attack or relays where pressures are required. If you have to pump water a distance from the dump point, put an ENGINE there ... That's why THEY exist.
    Who said anything about high pressure pumps?? We're talking standard single stage pumps. And if I have an enging/tanker, I have the OPTION of doing what ever is best for the particular situation calls for. If I can use an engine/tanker to draft on site, I eliminate having to have a bunch of tankers running up and down the road, (which makes things safer), and I free up more personnel to operate on the scene (which makes things safer)
    Do I miss the days of short-wheel based single purpose tankers? Hell yes! And would I love to have a couple of my combo and volunteer departments? Damn straight.
    Do I miss the days of riding standing up in an canopy cab engine?? Hell yes! But we quit doing it because it was stupid.
    Again .... take care of the center of gravity issues by squaring off the tank and extend it outward, and maybe drop it to 2000g, which would reduce the height, and you would have a TANKER ... simple and basic .. that I would love to put into the bays at both of my departments.
    Bottom line is, it's your dept., and you can screw it up how ever you want. But you'd never catch me risking my life on a piece of crap truck like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    Bottom line is, it's your dept., and you can screw it up how ever you want. But you'd never catch me risking my life on a piece of crap truck like this.
    Again, I have addressed that there needs to a few issues cleaned up including the height of the tank/center of gravity issues.

    You may not like the concept of a very basic short-wheeled based tanker with one very simple job .. Tank Water .... but in many places, including much of the rural terrain of my previous VFD, a truck like this would work very well. Quick into and out of fill and dump sights. minimum excess weight. 6 wheel drive. All excellent attributes on narrow roads with very small fill and dump sites ... And snow.

    I guess that I don't have the expectation that my tankers will also have to pump lines more than 50' or 100' at very low pressures off-loading water. if we need to pump any more than that, I'll have my tankers pump into a engine, and they will do the heavy pumping. Pumps add weight, and most of the time a light duty 200gpm-300gpm transfer pump will do everything that I require for a pump on a tanker.

    I guess we just have 2 very different ideas of what we want out of a tanker.
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  14. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I guess we just have 2 very different ideas of what we want out of a tanker.
    Yes, it appears you do have a different idea...

    I want a rig designed and built for the job. Not something cobbled together with surplus parts that has a far too high center of gravity and no storage for even basic equipment like a fill hose and hydrant bag.

    The reality is too this guy probably works for a small company that if one of their trucks results in the serious injury or death of a firefighter will not have the financial backing to pay proper damages if any at all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    If I can pump through hose to the site, I will almost always be able to out deliver a tanker. If turnaround times are over an hour, I don't see how you can effectively fight a fire.
    BTW, not that many people can drive an Eaton-Fuller manual. That would limit your availibility to find someone to drive a tanker. A properly spec'd automatic is a better choice most of the time.
    That's the point; in the terrain that these rigs would shine in, pumping to the site is not even a remote option. And you would be surprised what a well-trained crew can do on a wildland fire with a small amount of water (and a lot of elbow grease).

    And the limited number of people who can drive a manual truck is also the point. At least around here, while the engine operators might only have fire response experience, most of the tender operators cut their teeth running logging trucks, dump trucks, and fuel & water tenders in the same rough country that we're fighting fire in. They've had the luxury of learning the tough lessons WITHOUT the added stress of emergency response.

    Obviously my opinion is based on a particular type of experience, and I'm definitely not trying to say that it applies to every, or even a majority of fire departments. Its clear that you and I come from very different fire backgrounds, and what traits we value in apparatus is equally disparate. I guess that's one advantage that comes from working in an area with unusually rough terrain and limited resources; there's less inclination to assume that our individual experiences somehow hold true for every other fire department.

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    [RE: FF715's 6x6]

    Nice build! If you were pumping out of it you might find that you have a hard time getting the last few hundred gallons out (unless you're on flat ground), but as long as you're dumping you're probably OK. Small price to pay for the lower center of gravity, and most of the time it doesn't hurt to keep a little water for SHTF, or to start a draft.

    If you ever have an FAE who can't keep his foot out of it, you might considered adding (or adjusting) a governor to keep the RPM's down.

    Looks good!
    Last edited by BFD5408; 11-01-2013 at 07:46 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFD5408 View Post
    [RE: FF715's 6x6]

    Nice build! If you were pumping out of it you might find that you have a hard time getting the last few hundred gallons out (unless you're on flat ground), but as long as you're dumping you're probably OK. Small price to pay for the lower center of gravity, and most of the time it doesn't hurt to keep a little water for SHTF, or to start a draft.

    If you ever have an FAE who can't keep his foot out of it, you might considered adding (or adjusting) a governor to keep the RPM's down.

    Looks good!
    That's one of the reasons a pump should be "engineered" in , instead of an afterthought. That's one of the biggest quandaries when designing a tanker (tender) -if you build a large sump it can be too low to attach the dump valve.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    That's one of the reasons a pump should be "engineered" in , instead of an afterthought. That's one of the biggest quandaries when designing a tanker (tender) -if you build a large sump it can be too low to attach the dump valve.
    I don't follow. At the risk of exposing my engineering ignorance...what exactly is a sump?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFD5408 View Post
    That's the point; in the terrain that these rigs would shine in, pumping to the site is not even a remote option. And you would be surprised what a well-trained crew can do on a wildland fire with a small amount of water (and a lot of elbow grease).

    And the limited number of people who can drive a manual truck is also the point. At least around here, while the engine operators might only have fire response experience, most of the tender operators cut their teeth running logging trucks, dump trucks, and fuel & water tenders in the same rough country that we're fighting fire in. They've had the luxury of learning the tough lessons WITHOUT the added stress of emergency response.

    Obviously my opinion is based on a particular type of experience, and I'm definitely not trying to say that it applies to every, or even a majority of fire departments. Its clear that you and I come from very different fire backgrounds, and what traits we value in apparatus is equally disparate. I guess that's one advantage that comes from working in an area with unusually rough terrain and limited resources; there's less inclination to assume that our individual experiences somehow hold true for every other fire department.
    The role of a straight tanker is VERY limited. While it may work in YOUR particular situation, it's not the best option in MOST places. And having a pump gives you at least the option of fighting fire if you get in a bad situation. I'm all about options. We do have one straight tanker on our dept., and it's generally regarded as a mistake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFD5408 View Post
    I don't follow. At the risk of exposing my engineering ignorance...what exactly is a sump?
    Just a small "recess or well" in the bottom of the tank with the plumbing for the tank to pump attached there. Lets you pretty much use all the water in the tank. I have seen some tanker pumpers with one in each end to allow for slope. Most tankers even if they have a small sump, the dump valve is pretty much level with the floor. So the sump stays wet (which I guess isn't a bad thing as far a priming the pump.)
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