Our department is currently writing specs for a 95' 5 section mid mount tower ladder quint. The early leaders appear to be LTI and KME. We like the overall LTI unit, but after flying the KME the guys were very impressed with the stability and smoothness of the tower operation compared to the LTI. My question is: Any problems with either? Especially KME, I've heard all the stories about them... what specific problems have you had with either?
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Thread: KME vs. LTI
12-01-1999, 02:08 AM #1Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
KME vs. LTI
12-01-1999, 04:57 PM #2DED1645Firehouse.com Guest
If you know anyone from Barrington(9-1) the just recieved a new ladder. I believe it's a LTI. Also Lindenwold just placed their new tower is service also.(63-2) And I believe their's is a KME. They are both close to you. If you would like a phone# of an officer at Barrington I can send it to you. Just E-mail me at DED1645@AOL.com Also I also know plenty of guys at Lindenwold also. I could also send you their E-mail addresses, Which ever you prefer.
Presently Lindenwold,NJ(I'm not a member of any of this District's dept's.)
[This message has been edited by DED1645 (edited December 01, 1999).]
12-02-1999, 11:14 PM #3rinoFirehouse.com Guest
Have you checked out e-one? They build a high performance platform.
12-03-1999, 12:44 AM #4Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
I don't have any problem with E-1, they do make nice towers, the only problem is their 5 section midmount isn't out yet. We're really not interested in any of the 3 section behemoths due to travel height, weight and restrictions on tank, etc... we also like the short bedded length of the tower for working right off the side of the rig.
12-19-1999, 01:29 AM #5grc063Firehouse.com Guest
My department is currently in the market for a mid-mounted 95' tower as well. Our research has shown that there are primarily four manufacturers of mid-moint towers, (KME, LTI/ALF, Sutphen & Aerialscope). We are strongly considering the LTI. We have looked at a couple of them & were impressed. The KME is too unreliable. There are some units in service in our area and we have heard numerous problems regarding paint; electrical, (biggie); chassis concerns. Also, in our area the KME service is horrendous. Our ladder company does approx. 1900 runs per year and should this unit go down, we need immediate service. Aerialscope ruled out due to no continuous egress & Sutphen is out for same reason, also there is too much hanging off of the rear. Good Luck! Just remember service is very important as is quality. Low bid is not always the best.
12-19-1999, 11:22 AM #6FFE3BFDFirehouse.com Guest
Plainfield FD took delivery of a KME 95' tower ladder. Colonia (Woodbridge) and Carteret have recently taken delivery of LTI's on ALF chassis. Plainfield is in Union co. and the later 2 are in Middlesex co. (very close proximity) Get in touch with them, they should be happy to show-off their new pieces.
12-19-1999, 03:16 PM #7Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
GRC... do you have contacts you can email ref: Unreliability? We heard all the stories too, that's why I posted. When we talk to users though, we don't hear the same stories. We were almost 100% sold on LTI til we flew them both. The KME is solid and smooth, no bouncing, bending or tilting. We also liked their outrigger system and the sensitivity of the platform controls. 100% of the operators that flew both chose KME over LTI.. it's a real horse race now.
Also thanks BFD, we have been in contact with Plainfield and Colonia already.. saw Colonia's rig at 2 shows.. thanks for the help.
[This message has been edited by Halligan84 (edited December 19, 1999).]
12-21-1999, 01:42 PM #8LynFD49Firehouse.com Guest
Although our LTI is only 75', and it's only 4 months old, everyone here seems to like it very much. We looked at Pierce, LTI, E-One, and ALF, but LTI was the only manufacturer able to build an all steel ladder on a single rear axle with the tank/pump combo we wanted and still leave us the needed compartment space. Although the City of Syracuse has used 55' KME's for years, you ALWAYS see "spare" engines on the road. Maintance over the long haul gets to be very costly. Dont get me wrong, we had a few problems with our LTI upon delivery, but they were traced back to the drive up. (1/2 Lag bolts in the tire tread is NOT standard LTI issue!) Also, we had some minor work done on the officers side rear jacks hydralic system. A small leak there was also contributed to the long drive from the factory picking up some debris in the roadway. Easy of all operations, driving, ladder ops, generator/electrical system, pumps, etc. seems to make the LTI an overall very good choice.
Stay Safe and Stay Low
12-28-1999, 05:58 PM #9FireGuyNeilFirehouse.com Guest
Since you will probally buy a Spartan chassis... Gee wonder how I guessed that one? Hey you guys need to check out Aerial Innovations or AI. I think they build a midmount tower. I know for sure they build a midmount ladder. They are part of the ALF family and are a split off of LTI. I know that your favorite body builder RD Murry builds using their ladders as does several other reputable manufactors. AI buy far builds one of the nicest 75' rear mounts on the market today. On the other stuff do your homework before buying a KME over a LTI. I am also a fan of your heavy rescue. I took several pics at PA expo a few years back. It has very nice compartmentation and options. Later and good luck with this new adventure! Keep up the good work and be safe! FireGuyNeil in/from PA.
12-29-1999, 09:40 AM #10Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
Neil - I'm glad you like our rigs, we're pretty proud of them. Yes, we would like to continue with the Spartan chassis, it would be nice to have 4 trucks with all the controls in the same places among other things. AI does make a nice aerial, but no midmount tower. R.D. Murray might still be in the mix... Just got some late breaking news on that. More to come
12-29-1999, 03:27 PM #11Batt #2Firehouse.com Guest
I think several different builders have good strong equipment. Remember the type of servie for the area and warranty work. If you buy a Truck and have problems don't make it so you have to traveling long miles or time to have repairs. When we got our Pierce TL in 1998 I was worried about the total weight the KME had. This may no be an issue with them today.
Keep it burning Tracey
12-29-1999, 08:17 PM #12fireferretFirehouse.com Guest
We've recently taken delivery of a Mid-mount 95' LTI Tower. We did have several problems, but mostly they were in the body. LTI only used their own bodies for the mid-mounts, however, I think that they are having R.D. Murray build them now (both are American LaFrance.) They are a bit bouncy going down, but otherwise fairly smooth. One thing you should definitely look at is rear overhang and turning radius. Mid-mounts are heavy on the front axle and therefore require a heavy large tires (425's usually) which gives a small cramp angle and, in turn, a large turning radius. Also the rear over-hangs are very long -- body is nearly centered over the rear tandem. Both make them difficult to drive in congested areas. As an idea AI has a rear mount bucket that the bucket rails fold down to allow for a lower travel height.
12-29-1999, 10:25 PM #13Truck 2Firehouse.com Guest
I'm a officer on a 1991 E-1 95' quint, the ladder has been great but the pump has been down more than it has worked since we have had it!It has been out of service for months at a time and the local dealer wasn't more than 10 miles from us. We just put a KME rescue/pumper in service this fall and haven't run it long enough to give it a good evaluation but it did have to go back several times to get bugs worked out.We had a 110' LTI ladder that never gave us a bit of trouble, they sold it and put a 75' LTI quint in service a year ago in August. We are only about 12 miles from LTI's plant and it's been back several times for minor problems. I think LTI puts the ladders on KME's trucks, but not 100% sure! Our city is like most others with the cheapest bid winning the contract and we all know what that buys.
12-30-1999, 01:25 AM #14SBrooksFirehouse.com Guest
hey ferret, I would think that a midmount would put less weight on the front axle than a rear mount...with a midmount you've got a huge counterweight rear of the drive axle, while on a rearmount you've got it hanging over the cab. Just guessing though.
Truck 2, as far as I know KME puts their ladders on at the old Grumman facility in Roanoke, VA.
12-30-1999, 10:37 AM #15fireferretFirehouse.com Guest
Sbrooks, you are correct that there is counterweight on midmounts, but on many rear-mounts there are as well (LTI 102" rear-mount buckets have them.) However, on a mid-mount you have the torque box, drive gear, drive motor, aerial controls, turn table and main hydraulic cylinders located right behind the cab as apposed to rear mounts which have this located behind the rear axle. The counter-weight and rear over-hang both work to try and counter-balance this, but it's a lot to make up. Aerials are designed to be strong AND light (else they'd collapse under their own weight or be impossible to run of the side.) So while the boom may be centered a little farther forword on the rear mounts, the bulk of the weight is in the back end. Mostly though, I think it's the huge rear over-hang that makes them more difficult to learn to drive.
12-30-1999, 10:07 PM #16Halligan84Firehouse.com Guest
Some input on the towers and our choices. Some of the bad things we saw with rear mounts: Height (some close to 13'!), 3 section ladder, weight and center of gravity,
Front overhang. The ride. We drove LTI and E-1 rear mounts and bounced all over the place. The salesman advised to slow down! This was at 25 on a 40 mph road. Not sure how much slower we could go to fires.
Why we like the midmounts: Don't need to back them in to get max use. 5 section main can be dropped right next to the rig for removing victims and master stream use, and maneuvering among obstacles. Lower overall height (as low as 9'10, although we are going about a foot higher)
Rear overhang is an issue, but our current rig has front and rear overhang. The rear is much easier to compensate for in my opinion.
Regarding service KME and LTI are both under 2 hrs from our station, that isn't much of an issue.
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