12-28-1999, 08:03 PM #1Tower33Firehouse.com Guest
This will start quite a debate...
After reading a comment regarding what should have been used as a chassis and who's buying who, I though I would throw this out to crew on...
With Federal Signal and to some degree, Freightliner becoming somewhat of a powerhouse in terms of fire apparatus with it's recent acquirings has quality gone downhill. I would tend to wager that Pierce and shortly after Seagrave lead the indistry in chassis built quality. Saulsbury for rescue body's, Pierce and still LTi for arial sticks... what else guys...???
12-29-1999, 08:02 AM #2SBrooksFirehouse.com Guest
Hey Twr, you know Federal Signal owns Saulsbury now, right? So I guess from here out if you want a Stainless steel Saulsbury, it's got to come on an Aluminum E-one chassis or an aluminum Spartan (E-one's new economy line) or on a commercial chassis. Saulsbury now builds a stainless steel pumper body for E-one, let's hope they keep their quality up.
Of the independent body builders left, I like Marion.
12-29-1999, 09:51 AM #3STA2Firehouse.com Guest
As SBrooks said, Saulsbury has been bought by Federal Signal. I would agree that Saulbury is the one to go with for rescue bodies, followed by E-One. As far as chassis go, I still believe in E-One followed by Spartan. ALL of Spatans cabs are aluminum. They don't even make them themselves. If you ever go to their plant you'll know what I mean. They recieve them from a mfg and finish them out. They do build nice cabs and chassis though. As far as main ladders go, there is no choice in my mind. 75' RM, 100' straight stick, 95' or 105' platform or tiller, its gotta be E-One. Pierce makes nice chassis, I actually like the Quantum. But as far as ladders go, Pierce just began making their ladders only a few yrs. ago. Before that I believe they were made by a company specializing in cranes. That means alot to me. LTI doesn't make a bad product either, I just think that E-One is stronger, safer and more capable. A second in the tower ladder category is Baker. A proven product and design. Very versatile mid-mount that is good. As far as independents go, you gotta consider R.D. Murray. Be safe.
12-29-1999, 11:45 AM #4mtnfireguyFirehouse.com Guest
For Rescues, let not forget to look at SVI (Super Vac) Our experience has been very positive with quality products and service
12-29-1999, 02:01 PM #5cra539Firehouse.com Guest
Sorry Sta2 but RD is not independant anymore-they're tied in with freightliner. Yes, spartan doesn't build the cabs-some are by cincinnati cab-but most are made by Marion for spartan. The new e-one chassis by spartan has a marion made cab. the cabs are tough.
12-29-1999, 02:15 PM #6Batt #2Firehouse.com Guest
We own 5 Pierce chassis and have a 6th on order for 03/2000. We own a 1998 Pierce Tower 100 ft. Back in March of 1998 we pumped 3.6 million gallons of water on a millions pounds of tires over 2 days. The tower did not miss a beat at any time. Pierce started building ladders around 1992. before they used Smeal ladders under the Pierce name. Prior to Smeal they used LTI. I have visited the Pierce plant in Appelton Wis. several times. If in the area stop by and take a walk thru you won't be sorry.
12-29-1999, 04:09 PM #7STA2Firehouse.com Guest
I didn't realize the R.D. Murray got gobbled up by one of the big boys. When I was at the Spartan plant, almost everyone of the cabs sitting on the lot (And I mean sitting in the parking lot) were from Cincinnati cab. What model cab is Marion making for E-One? When we were at the E-One plant recently, they only build ON other selected cabs and chassis, and that list isn't very long. Not meaning to be argumentative Batt. 2, but prior to Pierce building their own ladders, they used ladders made by (Pardon my attempt at spelling, not sure how its spelled) Keonosha Crane Co. I kid you not. I probably didn't spell it right but it was a crane company I swear. Anyway, to all a good and safe New Year. Be safe.
12-29-1999, 06:59 PM #8fireferretFirehouse.com Guest
Ok, shed a little light on the whole cab issue. Not all Spartan cabs are aluminum. The City of Ithaca Fire Department has on order their 2nd & 3rd stainless steel spartan gladiators. They're a special order. Both Marion and TCM build cabs for Spartan, but the Spec was written by Spartan. The E-One Sentry II cab is basically the same cab as a Spartan Metro-Star. Pierce, Spartan and E-One all build excellent cabs (mostly aluminum) and although a little dated, Seagrave's is still one of the best built (but heavy.) Berwyn Heights' Truck/Rescue 14 just got a new Saulsbury Heavy Rescue on a Stainless Seagrave (answer's the question about what you can get a Saulsbury on.) Don't know about Pierces' original aerial's, but they used to build on Sutphen and LTI. However, Aerialscope (now owned by FWD, who owns Seagrave) builds the strongest, longest lasting boom and they use the same box construction used in most crains.
12-29-1999, 09:41 PM #9Batt #2Firehouse.com Guest
STA2 YOU ARE CORRECT ON THAT ISSUE. THE COMPANY IS LOCATED NORTH OF THE PIERCE PLANT IN WIS. I CAN,T SPELL IT CORRECT EITHER. THE COMPANY DOES MAKE CRANES FOR LARGE SHIPYARDS AND THE LOGGING INDS. THE PIERCE LADDERS ARE WELDED AT THIS PLANT AND SHIPPED TO THE APPELTON PLANT FOR INSTALLATION. AS WELL AS I KNOW THE WELDING IS PERFORMED BY AND QUAILITY CONTROL IS BY PIERCE WORKERS.
AS YOU CAN TELL I HAVE PIERCE BLOOD IN MY SYSTEM. NO PROBLEM WITH TELLING ME ABOUT THE CORRECTION ON THING ABOUT THE FIRE SERVICE IS EVERYONE HAS AN DIFFERENT VIEW OR IDEA. KEEP IT BURING TILL WE GET THERE TRACEY
12-29-1999, 11:29 PM #10Brian PrattFirehouse.com Guest
Our "Custom Fire" engine bodies are great but the Peterbuilt cab and chasis leave somthing to be desired. They were an attempt to save our small city some money. The more small companies that get gobbled up might leave smaller cities with less to choose from. But I am happy to say we are budgeted for a top of the line tower-ladder next year. I am hoping for E-One, still the safest ladders on the market. The bid winner will be anounced soon. It also helps to have specific dealers in your districts, they try harder to give you a better deal.
My views...not EFD
[This message has been edited by Brian Pratt (edited January 04, 2000).]
12-30-1999, 12:21 AM #11SBrooksFirehouse.com Guest
Yes we've got a Seagrave / Saulsbury... but Saulsbury bid on it before they were completely and finally owned by E-one. I'd be suprised if they do anymore bodies for other chassis manufacturers.
I'd have to say my all time favorite for squads now would probably be a Mack CL chassis with a Saulsbury or RD Murray, simply because I prefer stainless to aluminum in squad bodies (squad bodies are typically larger than pumpers and trucks [trucks might be longer but they've usually got a huge torque box]) and as the larger bodies flex, it fatigues the aluminum.
I agree with STA2, i think that E-ones have the best ladders out there, considering tip load and jack spread, as well as vehicle handling. For tractor-drawn aerials I'd go with seagrave...no one else sets up as fast. Plus you've got to put a lot of aluminum to get the strength of steel...no problem if it's on top, but if you've got to look around it from the tiller cage, well, it gets in the way. Gotta give it up for the Baker (whoops!-Seagrave Aerialscope) for lifetime achievement for durability.
Pumpers? I see less differentiation here, but if I had to pick, I'd still go with seagrave, built to last in stainless. Pierce are nice as well, but man is it cramped up front.
All we need now is for someone to make a Titanium aerial ladder...now that would be neat. (if a bit expensive)
[This message has been edited by SBrooks (edited December 30, 1999).]
12-30-1999, 09:35 AM #12edfcFirehouse.com Guest
Obviously everybody has their preferences. I wish you could take a little bit of somebody elses rig and build your own. However, we took delivery of a 4Guys engine built on an HME LFD/10 Chassis in July and we are most happy. In fact we are satisfied enough we just signe a contract with them to build our squad. For those of you not familiar with 4Guys check out their website at http://4guysfire.com. The East Derry Fire Company engine is on the opening page of their website. Our entire shopping experience with 4Guys and Commonwealth Fire Equipment was great.
12-30-1999, 12:19 PM #13fireferretFirehouse.com Guest
sbrooks, Saulsbury was bought out by Federal Sygnal over 2 years ago and I'm pretty sure they'll still build on anyone. With all the consolidation, the problem is that chassis manufacturers are associated with the Big Boys and won't sell chassis to final manufacturers who are owned by competitors. Companies like Pierce and E-One won't sell their chassis to any body manufacturers and companies like American LaFrance and HME won't sell to competitors. Often, though, they will sell to the customer and most of the good final manufacturers will build on any chassis you bring them (Volvo, Peterbuilt, Ford, GMC, Spartan, HME ...) Remember, whose name plates are all over the truck -- usually NOT the chassis manufacturers (except their normal markings.)
12-30-1999, 11:15 PM #14JBFireFirehouse.com Guest
I happen to be very close to a great number of these builders. Marion, Seagrave, Pierce, Welch, JB, 3D (ALF Now) and Oshkosh. Our dept has three pierce (2 Engines and 1 Platform). Our new 3D(ALF) Quint will be delivered this spring. Our Pierce trucks have held up for the most part. The vital parts of the truck (Engine,Pump,Transmission,Aerial)...Fantastic! The little things that you count on every day (switches,window cranks,paint,door latches,springs)...seems like the surplus from Yugo. Dont get me wrong, there is a reason that we have three Pierce trucks, quality of the prior two ('83 &'85). The third (a '92), does not seem to have that quality that Pierce once did.
During our specs of the newly ordered truck, we had narrowed to Pierce and 3D (ALF). The choice came down to the things 3D was able to do and Pierce didn't want to was a major play in the factor. We were willing to overlook the little things, since the major mechanicals haven't been much of a concern.
It is my oppinion that ALF chose 3D, Becker and RD Murray because of the quality that they provide. It is the same reason that Oshkosh purchased Pierce and the MB purchased Freightliner, who purchased AI, ALF and all these other body builders.
Perception of who has the greatest benefit/value/quality to the $$$$$$ is all in the eyes of the person holding the Checkbook.
12-31-1999, 09:56 AM #15cra539Firehouse.com Guest
SBrooks, in regards to the 'whoops- seagrave aerialscope' comment, look who's body is used on them. i've been to the body builders plant and witnessed the bodies being built for the aerialscopes. They're 5 miles down the road from seagrave.
12-31-1999, 10:04 AM #16cra539Firehouse.com Guest
As far as aluminum not taking the flex as good as stainless, its all in the engineering and quality of construction. stainless will crack too under stress. you have to engineer to allow for flex no matter what the body is made of, aluminum, stainless, galv, plastic or whatever.
12-31-1999, 02:11 PM #17fireferretFirehouse.com Guest
The biggest cause of stress fractures in body material in a lack of acounting for flex a truck. Frame rails will flex under load and additionally will move independent of eachother (i.e. each can go up or door without affecting the other rail.) Manufactures who do not take this into account and try to attach a body (basically a rigid box) without allowing for flex in the mount will find subsbtantial body cracks in any material (Al, SSt or galveneal.)
JBFire, It's funny that in your list of what worked well on your new trucks, you list those items not manufactured by manufacterer that you purchased them from. Engines, Transmissions and Pumps are all common to all manufactures because the are purchased from companies like Detroit Diesel, Cummins, Allison, Hale, Waterous, etc and then they install them on their trucks.
Aerialscope bodies (since being purchased by FWD) were built by Saulsbury and are now built by Marion. However, the booms themselves will outlast two or three bodies or chassis, no matter who the manufacturers.
12-31-1999, 04:36 PM #18SBLGFirehouse.com Guest
The Pierce ladders were/are built by Kewaunee Enginering in Kewaunee Wi. They are ( were) subsidery of Marine Travel lift of Sturgeon Bay Wi ( builders of BIG boatlifts).Recently Oshkosh bought Kewaunee enginering giving them single source. I dont know where the Nova Line that Pierce bought is in all this rumor was they were moving it from Canada to Wisconsin
12-31-1999, 07:22 PM #19STATION2Firehouse.com Guest
12-31-1999, 07:28 PM #20STATION2Firehouse.com Guest
At the risk of sounding ignorant, can someone explain the benefit of a stainless body over alumium? An area dept. recently purchased an engine with a Spartan Gladiator MFD flat roof cab and chassis with a G-S stainless rescue body. That thing has got to be heavy and it was expensive. It looks great and they appear to be getting good service from it. Just curious. Be safe.
12-31-1999, 08:54 PM #21FyrtrksFirehouse.com Guest
Aluminum is lighter than S/S however you almost need to double the thickness of the al. to get the strength of S/S.Aluminum has many grades series 6000 al is probably the best. The only other delima with al is the pilability factor. Al. cannot be bent to sharply without ripping or tearing it at the break you have to use a gentle curve rather then a bend.
I am a s/s fan but my second choice is al. If I spec a light/med rescue that has a shorter replacement cycle I would spec al. If I spec an engine or a truck it will be s/s because the have a replacement of 20 years with a 10 year refurbishment time.
Extrusions are nice and make a very good truck but you can run into replacement problems if it is in an accident. If the body builder doesn't make that style extr. your screwed. If you buy a break-formed truck most any shop worth thier salt will be able to repair it.
Hey Happy Year ALL
01-01-2000, 04:07 PM #22cra539Firehouse.com Guest
furtrks, both materials have their faults. another is with the welding of s/s. as with any metal,welding can alter the grain structure, with s/s the chromium content at the weld can be dispersed to the point of having reduced corrsion or crack resistance. many builders use extrusions which are available on the open market, where any good shop can get 'em. With real extrusion bodies, the extrusions are doing the heavy work,not neccessarily the sheets. there are many fine aluminum units made that will hold up as well as s/s. we've got saulsbury aluminum bodies that will be going on their 3rd chassis-under heavy urban service.
[This message has been edited by cra539 (edited January 01, 2000).]
01-02-2000, 11:12 AM #23M1NFDFirehouse.com Guest
Alright, Here's my 2 cents on apparatus and the why's.
There are several reputable manufacturers out there, not counting all the pop up little guys, and there isnt necissarily anythign wrong with them, but if you were in the market for a new car for you, would you go to a major manufacurer or to Eric's car company, and why?
Apparatus is the same.
For quality, the comparison is close between Seagrave, Pierce, KME(Kovatch) and American Lafrance(freightliner)
Seagrave is the only company right now that can offer fdny a 5 year warrenty on the apparatus,(since Mack isnt in the big red truck business anymore) The only gripe I have heard about Pierce, is that they are so eager for your business is that the engineers will allow a purchaser to underpower a truck when being specced for whatever reason(like a chief that doesnt want a fast truck??? or a town/company that might not be able to afford the higher HP model) They will actually sell a truck with the minimum HP to pump capacity, not taking into account thaat some poor sap hasta drive it every day.
There are a ton of KME's in my area, and they seem to be a really stout truck, in both the pump and aerial versions.
American Lafrance has some neat design stuff going on, and the ones I've had the pleasure to operate were real gems.
Then you have your companys like central states. They offer some really interesting innovations, but from the 3 operating in my area;
1: thier quality is pathetic
2: their custom chassis is a HME. That company was Hendrickson Mobile Equipment in a previos life. They went under a while ago, one word.....rust
Basicly the final determining factor is in how well the truck is spec'd out. If you build them like they are gonna do twice the work that they will ever see, then they will last as such. There are several HAHNs operating in my area, and the departments that went way overboard have trucks that have withstood the punishment very well. The only downfall is the money it costs to do that.(They don't give away the higher gvw axles and such)
Well, thats my 2 cents, for what it's worth
01-02-2000, 11:22 AM #24M1NFDFirehouse.com Guest
Here's one on the dirfference between SS and Alum.
Aluminum trucks have far less weight, and most manufacturers seem to take into account the twist. Alum Aerials(ie....E-1) never are rusty and metal thickness isnt an issue during recert(underwriters) but they ALWAYS ALWAYS have cracks that need rewelding(even the trucks that dont work much, just the bouncing over the road) A famous manufacturer that used aluminum for many years, and I'm sure most of you are familiar with them, was MACK(most of thier CF bodies if not all were alum)You justh afta be sure to isolate metals on an aluminum truck(if you dont out a apacer under an extinguisher bracket on aluminum diamondplate, it will eventually eat a hole in the runningboard)
SS is heavier, and flexes a little better, trouble is if they arent welded together right, the weld will rust right out, but for the most part they will hold up forever too.
01-04-2000, 11:33 AM #25fireferretFirehouse.com Guest
The truth is that the quality of the manufacturer has far more to do with the life and success of a unit than the choice of material does. Stainless steel, galveneel, aluminum and extruded aluminum units can all live long if the correct care is taken into account in the manufacturing.
Aluminum units will work fine for low use units or for those on a frequent replacement plans (many big cities replace front line pumpers every ten years or less), however, the material used is less durable. Especially in extruded trucks, the sheet thickness is not sufficient enough to give it equal strength as the stainless sheets. This is because the sheets in extruded units are not structural (at least not much), the extrusions support the load and give the truck its rigidity. In stainless steel trucks, the sheets provide the strength and rigidity in the body. Thus, the thin sheets of aluminum will not withstand as much abuse (equipment shifting, road debris, etc.) as stainless will. Additionally, aluminum extrusions take up space, which on many units is already in high demand. The gap between compartments on extuded trucks are usually about twice those of stainless trucks (2-3 in. break in sheet to hold door vs. 4-5 in. extrusions.) On a rescue with 5 compartments per truck, that can cost a foot of compartment width on both sides. On a truck that will be packed full, this is definitely something to consider.
However, stainless is heavier than aluminum for the same size body and care has to be taken in isolating aluminum tread plate, etc. from the stainless body. Stainless is also more expensive, making aluminum a reasonable alternative for rural departments that run less than 500 calls a year and have limited budget.
The biggest thing is to look at how much and for what the truck is going to be used and the desired life of the unit.
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