1. #1
    sconfire
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Chicago FD new Engine/ Business Class vs. Custom Class

    This topic may have already been talked about to death, however I just got my copy of the Pennsylvania Fireman and I found and interesting picture.



    Yes this is a Chicago Fire Department Engine Company. My understanding is that they have purchased 15 or 20 of these units. Not exactley sure on the amount. I talked to Freightliner and they told me several reasons why Chicago went to this type Apparatus.
    MONEY was the top reason for this. Has anyone heard anything different?

    Is this the way of the future? I personnally do not see anything wrong with the Business Class chassis being in the fire service, other than I REALLY LIKE MY CUSTOM CABS! But when you can nearly buy two Business Class for the price of one Custom Class... what is going to happen?


    Stay Safe,

    ------------------
    Captain Grant Mishoe
    North Charleston Fire Department
    North Charleston, SC



    [This message has been edited by sconfire (edited 06-12-2001).]

  2. #2
    retrotex
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I think that commercial cabs are the wave of the future. I know the Ft. Worth fire department uses them. My department has never used anything but because of the cost. Sure there are trade-offs, commercial cab trucks typically have less room in the cab and a longer wheel base. Our new pumper has a four door International cab, and top mount pump panel. The length is just over 32 feet, but it still navigates narrow roads with ease and seats five. I still think custom cabs look better, but in the days of cost cutting, the money saved on a commercicial cab can be used for other things.

  3. #3
    sconfire
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The Freightliner rep that I talked to mentioned the Fort Worth Fire Department.

    Speaking of turning... a majority of these trucks can turn on a dime. The rep said that most of new ones have or will have 50 degree cramp angles on the front!! That is taking "turning on a dime" to the edge!

    I think that you will start to see a whole lot more of these trucks!

    ------------------
    Captain Grant Mishoe
    North Charleston Fire Department
    North Charleston, SC
    "If Prometheus was worthy of the wrath of Heaven for kindling the first fire on Earth, How ought all the Gods to honor the men who make it their professional business to put them out."

  4. #4
    LFD2203
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    you get two commercials for the price of one custom, but chicago will probably run two commercials into the ground in the time they would get out of a good single source custom. you get what you pay for.

  5. #5
    John326
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    That is the only freightliner that Chicago purchased. The others are Luvernes I think.

  6. #6
    Gooch26
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I got the word the other day that our next engine is going to be on a commercial chassis. Main reason is we just don't have the money to go custom, though we would all love to. But I'm also worried about how long it will last. I know one of the things a lot of places do with ambulances is, after the chassis is worn out, they remount the box on a new one. Has anyone done this with a commercial pumper, and if so, is it practical? If it is then I see no reason not to, as long as we won't be getting less truck for the money. I'm not really surprised that Chicago is doing it, aside form an incredible amount of new purchases the past couple years, they have always seemed to take the phylosophy,"re-furb it till there aint nothin left to re-furb". I found a real good example of this when I bought a pack of the second series of Chicago trading cards. It was an American La France ladder truck, I forget the company. But it was something like a '73 built '91 re-furb. I was shocked because it's almost as old as I am and was still in front line service. They must have one heck of a maintinance program. God bless and stay safe.
    Randall Guntrum FF/EMT

  7. #7
    pwc606
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I wonder about the weight capacity of these vehicles. Can they carry as much water and hose as a custom chassis? The engines we run at work carry one thousand gallons of water and fifteen hundred feet of hose. That is a lot of water and hose weight. Plus all the tools. I do like the cramp angle on them also. 50 degrees in a city atmosphere is nice to have.

  8. #8
    grc063
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    The weight carrying capabilities are usually there. International, Kenworth & Freightliner all offer Tandem axle configurations. The thing to watch is your engine offerings. For example, in the FL-80 which is pictured in this post, the largest engine is a Cummins ISC-350. To get a larger engine, you MUST go to either a twin looking FL-106 OR a an FL-112. Same for International. Also, watch your alternator selections. Custom chassis can have up to a 400 amp. alternator. I believe the largest alternator available in most commercial chassis is a 270 - 310. With the larger alternators, load shedding becomes almost a mute point. My recommendation would be to do your homework. There are some custom chassis out there that are almost as cheap ($$ wise), as a commercial. Examples are the Pierce Contender & Saber chassis & the Spartan Advantage. Price them out & you might be surprised. Also, I believ in having one manufacturer build the entire unit. I have had experiences where there were electrical problems and we had the body builder and the chassis manufacturer pointing fingers at each other. True "Single Source" will not give you these problems.

    Stay safe & Buy smart!!!

    ------------------
    GRC063

  9. #9
    fc80chief
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    If it does the job that it is supposed to, and last the lenght of time they expect it to, then what is the difference?

  10. #10
    SBrooks
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    There might be a $40,000 difference on a $225,000 wagon between a 4d commercial and a stripped custom.

  11. #11
    WillB
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    My VFD delivered our 2000 FL112 4 door raised roof with allison auto and 500hp cummins to New Lexington for it's body yesterday. The chassis was $70k and total the truck will be roughly $220k That with 1500GPM mid mount, 1800 gallon tank, rescue style stainless body etc

  12. #12
    BucksEng91
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Aside from all of the arguments pro and con (there have been good ones made on both sides) let me just say....that is one fuuuuuugly truck.

  13. #13
    mark440
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    I personally like that truck. We have 7 of them in the County department here. 3 Frieghtliner and 4 International. The latter 4 were delivered this past January. Virtually no problems at all. The frieghtliner and international are used as long-haul and short delivery haul trucks everywhere. I don't forsee the problem with them wearing out any fast then a custom. The only thing I would do different personally (I say personally) to the truck pictured above is make it a top mount pump panel. Other then that it is a gorgeous truck! I am proud of the CFD.....


    Stay safe,

    Mark

    ------------------
    If in doubt - Call us out

  14. #14
    larry cook
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Custom or comercial, really does not matter if you have good maintance. We are a small rural dept. We have a comercial chassis. It is easy for us to drive an hour or two or have a dealer come out to do service work. If we were next door to Peirce, E-One, KME or any of the custom cab manufacturers it might be different. For the difference in price you could buy a lot more firefighting equipment or even a cafs unit which in Texas will help with your ISO rating. It does not matter about how that truck looks, it matters if it carry the firefighters, equipment and water to the fire scene and pump the water capicity that you need.
    thanks LC

  15. #15
    FyredUp
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    According to Fire Apparatus Journal magazine that particular engine was an emergency purchase. The rest of the rigs are going to be Luverne's.

    I am a career firefighter and my current assigment is the barf bucket (ambulance) that rig is built on a Freightliner FL70. It is the tightest turning rig I have ever driven. Plus it rides a whole lot better than any ambulance built on a van chassis I ever rode in.

    Commercial chassis have been around for ever with fire engines built on them. How many people ever questioned the C model Ford? It all boils down to spec writing and that includes the chassis.

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