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Thread: Front vs Side intakes

  1. #1
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    Default Front vs Side intakes

    Just a quick question from a new pump operator.

    What is everyones opinion on using the front vs the side intake when working off a hydrant?

    I had to spend alot of time practicing nosing hydrants as part of my drivers training. Alot of PO's in my department live and die by it. I'm not totally against it but to me it seems like you would lose flow because of all the bends made by the pipe just to reach the pump. Now, we run 4" LDH and we keep a 25ft section in the officer side front compartment and to me, it would be just as easy to get close to the hydrant, hook up the 4" and be done with it. Plus I would think that you wouldnt lose any extra flow because of not having any bends in the hose.

    Has anyone done their own tests to see which one yields the best result? And if so, how did you perform the test? Any info would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
    Kevin

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    The side intakes offer a straight shot into the pump, more water/less friction loss. Front suctions have numerous elbows, both 45 and 90 degree that adds friction loss and costs you water. You can generally expect a 20 to 30% loss in flow with a front suction. A rear suction is better than a front suction.
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    We haven't run front intakes since we rid ourselves of our 1985 ALF's in 2001. Since that time, we've exclusively used our side intakes and had great success with them.

    Why don't we continue to buy them? 40% capacity loss in the pump, the added weight, and the added cost.
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    We have fronts on our engines and use them fairly often. Little bit of time spent w engineering and planning can reduce your the losses due to bends. Front suctions can be run by hose that gives much smoother bends than traditional piping. Still not as good flow as the sides, but you can get awfully close. All comes down to your needs. I have waterfront drafting locations that I can't pull my truck sideways so we need to use the front.
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    When it comes to the ease of aligning the hydrant and the intake, the front or rear is far easier as you can use all the room you need to position the line, with the side intake the hose always seems to be too long or too short.

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    Basically, if you have positioning issues - front intakes make it easier (but you lose capacity to the pump). If you need full capacity of the pump, side intake is the only way to go. It's a trade off. Training your drivers to properly position for a side intake takes time but is worth the effort as far as water capacity goes. Front intakes are great for a quick and easy connection, or for the lazy drivers or those who just can't seem to grasp side intake positioning.

    Need water for a big fire? Side intake.
    Need ease of connection? Front intake.

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    Hooking to a hydrant using a side intake is a piece of cake. We carry 25 and 50 foot sections of 5 inch LDH for hydrant hook ups. Judge which one you need and make the connection, if one isn't enough add the other. Frankly, I have never found where the 50 wouldn't reach, most often the 25 works.

    If we lay in we most often go in the rear intake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Hooking to a hydrant using a side intake is a piece of cake. We carry 25 and 50 foot sections of 5 inch LDH for hydrant hook ups. Judge which one you need and make the connection, if one isn't enough add the other. Frankly, I have never found where the 50 wouldn't reach, most often the 25 works.

    If we lay in we most often go in the rear intake.
    We also have the short sections that we carry in wells at the bottom of the pump panels. They make life much easier. None of the dept's I've been on have ever had a rear intake, but that would be better that a front intake on a city dept. My rural POC dept has front intakes because of drafting, my fulltime dept. quit orderig them about 20 years ago.

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    If you have a good water system, you evidently don't have to worry about it.

    We have 56 engines in service with front intakes and there has never been a problem of not having enough water - even on the big ones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    If you have a good water system, you evidently don't have to worry about it.

    We have 56 engines in service with front intakes and there has never been a problem of not having enough water - even on the big ones.
    That may be true but you will never get as much water as through a side intake.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    That may be true but you will never get as much water as through a side intake.
    Truthfully, that depends on the capacity of the hydrant, but I get your point.
    RK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tower9Truckie View Post
    Basically, if you have positioning issues - front intakes make it easier (but you lose capacity to the pump). If you need full capacity of the pump, side intake is the only way to go. It's a trade off. Training your drivers to properly position for a side intake takes time but is worth the effort as far as water capacity goes. Front intakes are great for a quick and easy connection, or for the lazy drivers or those who just can't seem to grasp side intake positioning.

    Need water for a big fire? Side intake.
    Need ease of connection? Front intake.
    Simple solution .... Gate the 2.5" outlets before opening the hydrant and add 2.5" or 3" into your auxiliary suction(s) after you have water flowing.

    It's always good practice to do that, even if you are flowing into the side of the apparatus.

    And then you can flow big water.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Simple solution .... Gate the 2.5" outlets before opening the hydrant and add 2.5" or 3" into your auxiliary suction(s) after you have water flowing.

    It's always good practice to do that, even if you are flowing into the side of the apparatus.

    And then you can flow big water.
    Is having three connections to the hydrant actually simpler than one?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Truthfully, that depends on the capacity of the hydrant, but I get your point.

    Sounds like you have had to work with 4 inch mains.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Simple solution .... Gate the 2.5" outlets before opening the hydrant and add 2.5" or 3" into your auxiliary suction(s) after you have water flowing.

    It's always good practice to do that, even if you are flowing into the side of the apparatus.

    And then you can flow big water.
    If it is a good hydrant hook another 5 inch to one of the 2 1/2 inch hydrant outlets and hook that into another steamer connection on your engine. More than likely it will give you all the water left in the hydrant with a whole lot less messing around.
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    Quote Originally Posted by firepundit View Post
    Is having three connections to the hydrant actually simpler than one?
    It sure is when you start collapsing that first supply line down and don't want to have to kill the hydrant to get a second one. BTDT, it's not fun. Takes 5 seconds to properly dress a hydrant with a second outlet gate valve before you open it up. You train that way it becomes second nature. Saved my bacon a few times having that available.
    Just a guy...

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