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  1. #1
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    Default Build Tanker/tender

    I have some a couple questions for people. A little back ground… We are currently building a tanker/tender due to the fact we are a VERY small community and department. We don’t have $200,000 sitting around for a new tanker/tender. We found an amazing deal on a tank body that has never been used from a company that went out of business and now buying a used chassis to put it on with a budget around $80,000. The department plans on doing some of the work but mounting the tank and plumbing will be done by a local fabrication company.

    Since we are not building a tanker/tender with a brand new chassis do we follow 1901 or do we follow 1912? With NFPA 1901 in mind if we are building a tanker/tender with a used chassis do we have to meet 1901 2009 edition or do we go back to the year that the chassis was manufactured? Personally we want to meet as much of 1901 as possible but some of the things such as sensors in the seats with seatbelt buzzer are not really economical. By the time we start getting the equipment to do this stuff and get it installed we would be better off buying a new chassis. But stuff for example like the chevron stripping and max speed we will be doing.

    I have asked people around us and they all say call an apparatus manufacture, but I am guessing not many will be too willing to “waste” their time when they aren’t getting the business.

    Thanks for your help!


  2. #2
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    I'll start by saying that there aren't any NFPA police out there to make sure you're compliant and you've already said that you will be picking and choosing some things. That aside, why not just go with the latest version of 1901 and do your best to be compliant? You're taking it upon yourselves to build the most accident prone type of apparatus on the roads today, this task should not be taken lightly. Going with the industry best practices is at least one step in the right direction. We all have something in 1901 that we don't like, but the fact is that it is the accepted best practice. If something goes wrong (and tankers are prone to rolling over) you may have to defend why you built something that didn't follow the standard.

    Since you're going to build it anyway, I'll try and be helpful:
    1) Try and find a chassis that has stability control. Different manufacturer's call it different things, but you're looking for rollover prevention.
    2) Make sure the tank is properly baffled. This will help prevent water surge and rollovers.
    3) Try and keep the center of gravity as low as possible. If you've already found a tank, then you might not have much control over this.
    4) I would really consider looking at a new poly tank. The cost may be cheaper than you think. I'm not sure how much you're considering spending on the chassis, but any money spent on a new tank would be well spent. You won't be getting any warranty work if the company is already out of business and I'm guessing you're going to keep this truck for a while.
    5) Make sure the tank is properly secured to the chassis frame. A robust tank support system will keep the truck in one piece for it's whole life. While stainless steel is much more expensive, it will help extend the life of the truck by preventing corrosion in places that are hard to clean. I've seen refurbs done on several trucks that had mild steel tank supports that were rotting after only 10 years.

    I've got a 4-day weekend, so I don't think I'm wasting any time with your project. Are you putting a pump on it? What kind of body are you working with?

  3. #3
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    There aren't any NFPA police , but their are truck loads of lawyers that will wave those standards in court. In my opinion you are better off saying" NFPA huh?" than admitting to picking and choosing. have you checked with some of the smaller builders about mounting the tank ? Some time you are better off spending the members time having a special fund raiser as opposed to burning rods.
    ?

  4. #4
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    I've never been accused of sugar-coating anything and I certainly am not going to start now.

    Two phrases that should never, ever be used in the same sentence are "we want to home-build a tanker" and "be NFPA compliant."

    Two more phrases that should never, ever be used in the same sentence: "we want to hom-build" and "a tanker."

    This tank that you have acquired- is it specifically built for the fire service, engineered by a fire-service automotive designer with the physics/characteristics and weight of water in mind, or is it a discarded fuel oil tank- which happens more often than not when someone home-builds a tanker? Remember, the weight of a gallon of water is about 2.3 more per pound than a gallon of fuel oil- something many did not take into consideration when they home-built tankers in the past.

    You guys should really reconsider. A tanker is the last thing I would ever want to home-build. And into today's litigious society, you can bet you'll be called onto the NFPA carpet if you ever get into an accident and hurt or god forbid kill someone.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  5. #5
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    I understand this is a huge project and I appreciate your views and thoughts but unlike some departments we are unable to purchase a new tanker, trust me if we could we would be. The only reason we are looking at a new tanker is because our former 1979 tanker would not pass DOT inspection. We will not put something on the road that isn’t safe; if that was the case we would be running our old truck. I guess my question wasn’t asking if there is NFPA police but rather will affect stuff as in ISO rating. It is our intention to make the vehicle as safe as possible and by doing so we are going to try and meet 1901 2009 edition.
    The tank is a brand new, never put on a frame, poly tank and meets NFPA standards by the manufacture. The tank has diamond plate body around the bottom. The tank company didn’t go out of business it’s the truck manufacture that no longer builds fire trucks. We do plan on having a local company that is a truck fabricator mount the tank and plumbing. We are putting it on a 56K gvw chassis.
    We are going to put a gas powered pump on it. It won’t meet NFPA 250 gpm at 150 psi though. We are very rural we don’t need much pumping capabilities. We need it to shuttle water not fight fires.
    Things such as baffled tank, stabilization, etc will be all meet NFPA and pass DOT inspection. Like I mentions some stuff like for example the sensors in the seats, pump, no suction hose (our pump won’t have suction capabilities), and the new longer seat belts, etc. may not be feasible at this point.

  6. #6
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    NFPA and ISO are two different animals
    ?

  7. #7
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    How are you progressing on your tanker? I am a small apparatus builder. My focus is primarily tankers/ tenders, remounts and re-purposing. Check out my site: http://etankers.wordpress.com/
    Feel free to call me to see if I can help you guys.Joe Thomas 517-402-7010

  8. #8
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    e.tanker,

    You are not supposed to advertise in the forums.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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