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Thread: TAK4 Independent Front Suspension

  1. #1
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    Question TAK4 Independent Front Suspension

    Our Department is all Pierce Pumpers and Aerials. We have multiple units with Tak4 suspension. The drivers have commented that the pumpers at 45mph and up feel like the front end is drifting and they had to put a lot of steering input into them to keep them straight. Tire pressures, ride height, and alignment were all checked and set, still the same issues. Ball Joints were inspected and found bad at under 100,000 miles. Has any other departments experienced this type of issue? Would this be considered normal for under 100,000 miles? Our straight axle pumpers drive fine with the same or more miles on them.

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    Welcome to this Excellent Fire Forum. This is ancient history when all fire apparatus had straight front axles with leaf springs, tube stocks and the usual wedge type drum air brakes. If memory serves every apparatus had very tight steering. No play at all. They all were tight enough that one had to watch carefully when hitting 60 mph, which was about all they would do. No floating, but very positive steering input.

    Fuller T905M manual transmissions, pumped up very old Detroit Diesel mechanical fuel injection two strokes. Most had power assist power steering. I think they had TRW or Gates power steering with Victors pumps. Old narrow cab American LaFrance Century apparatus. No vague steering. I do not know about the new independent front end suspensions. Hope this helps. HB of CJ (old coot) retired EN.

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    I thought he asked about independent front suspensions.
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    Rig1 this is a figment of your imagination. Pierce builds a perfect truck, there is nothing wrong with it; what it is doing is perfectly fine. The Men In Black from Appleton will be along shortly to Neuralize you. In the meantime, please use an additional teaspoon of concentrate powder when mixing your pitchers of Kool Aid.
    Chenzo and ExtremeFire like this.

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    Yes, he did ask specifically about modern independent front suspensions becoming loose or vague at a observed road mileage figure. My comparison was that the older more simple stuff seemed to have few problems. Just a comparison. Although the very old stuff did require cleaning up after. And watering. And feeding. Respectfully. HB of CJ (old coot)

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    If you do a little research here and online you will see many documented failures of the TAK 4 suspension systems.
    There have been many.
    Last edited by islandfire03; 04-09-2015 at 03:10 PM.

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    Thank you for the replies and research suggestion on the TAK4. I did start doing research on failures related to these front ends, you are right there are many! Taking the time to do a little research on our own is helping out. I feel now that our issues with the ball joints is not normal for the mileage. Hard to believe, but we were pretty much told by Pierce that we were the only one having issues with wear on the outside edge of the front passenger tire and having steering issues with TAK4. There is also an active NTHSA investigation on the TAK4 steering system on an Arrow XT. Since Pierce is not admitting there is an issue with their TAK4 system, this is now our problem and expense. I went ahead and looked into the NTHSA investigation and contacted them. If there are any departments that are having TAK4 issues like we are, I would recommend you contact the NTHSA for help. I have quickly learned that they are there to help when there seems to be no help from the manufacturer, especially when it is a steering/safety issue. Other than this TAK4 steering system, Pierce makes a quality fire truck. The truck just needs to be able to safely drive to a scene and not be out of service with tire and steering issues.
    islandfire03 likes this.

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    The issue with wearing out the outside edge of the pass side front tire on the Pierce TAK4 trucks is across the board for us. The wear is evident in our newer Pierce trucks as well as the old. I thought the redesigned parts on this front end were going to solve the issue. Our Pierce trucks with straight axle front ends have very good tire wear. We tried cross rotating the tires on the front of the TAK4 trucks and had an issue, the driver reported that the truck was hard to drive straight at higher speeds. New tires were installed and the driver reported the truck drove fine. Have any other departments experienced this same issue with cross rotating the front tires on TAK4 front ends?

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    "...we were pretty much told by "xyzco" that we were the only one having issues with..." There's a highly respected council within the American Trucking Associations called the Technology and Maintenance Council (TMC). It ranks with and works hand in hand with the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) on truck specification and maintenance items. TMC's origins come from truck manufacturers giving that very statement to truck fleet maintenance managers and executives. You'd think Pierce would know better. They were an "Associate Corporate" member at one time. I haven't checked my latest membership directory to see if they still are. (I was a "Full (Maintenance) Executive Member (Fleet)" up until this year.)

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    I have always rotated tires from front to back or back to front but never cross rotated. A I beam front axle may ride harder but a lot less problems down the road!!
    Last edited by Woodbridge; 04-24-2015 at 06:28 PM.

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    Chiefengineer11, thank you for the information. Pierce's statement "that we were the only one having issues with" did work at first. It made us feel that we were doing something wrong to cause the issue. We than tried different tire pressures, different tire manufacturers, alignments, checking ride heights, and switching trucks to different stations, but the issues were still there. We now know that we are not the only ones having issues with tires and TAK4, but pierce does not seem to care.
    Woodbridge, thank you for your reply. We cannot rotate our tires from front to rear. We have 12R/22.5 tires on the rear and 385/65/22.5 tires on the front. At this point we cannot agree with you more that the "I" beam front axle has a lot less problems. All of our new trucks are now spec'd to have front "I" beam axle. We purchased the TAK4 because we were promised better turning radius, better handling, better tire life, and less maintenance. We now have about the same turning radius, worse tire wear, worse handling, and more maintenance on the Pierce TAK4 trucks.

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