04-15-2000, 11:21 AM #1FF E5Firehouse.com Guest
International vs. Freightliner???????
We are considering buy our first commerical chassis pumper. I need any pros' and/or cons' to either of these chassis'. We are being approved for 3 new units so this is a major move for us since we only have 11 front-line engines. Also, if possible could you include the approx. number of runs the unit receives in a year. We are being pushed hard by the city on this and they have only given us 60 days to respond. Thanks,
04-16-2000, 01:48 AM #2jboczekFirehouse.com Guest
We don't have either one, but I was at a local apparatus builder (Towers, Freeburg, IL) the other day talking to one of the guys in the shop. He said they have had problems with Freightliners and wouldn't recommend one to us. He said the IH was a much better chassis. The Freightliners had a lot of electrical, etc. problems in the cab itself.
04-16-2000, 10:32 PM #3STATION2Firehouse.com Guest
My volunteer has our 1st commercial thats a little over a yr. old. Its for one of our Rescue's w/a huge E-One Non-Walk in rescue body. Our experience has been very good. Its an FL-80 w/a Cummins 300HP and automatic Transmission. If its for a pumper I would stay away from it. For our use on the rescue its fine. It may be to late for ya'll but, if you want serious reasons to stay away from commercial chassis on pumpers for a mid to large city, E-Mail me. We went thru the same thing in my career dept. about 4 yrs ago when I was on the apparatus comm. We stayed w/customs after the research which included talking to other mid to large cities that have them. I'll be happy to give you the reasons we found from coast to coast. If I did have to pick one of those two for a pumper it would be the Freightliner. The reasons are as follows:
1.) Raised roof option
2.) Larger line of commercial chassis to choose from. FL-60, 80, 112, etc.
3.) More options in terms of engines and horsepower available.
4.) More interior room.
5.) Easier entry and exit.
Just my thoughts. Be safe.
04-16-2000, 11:25 PM #4jmatthe7Firehouse.com Guest
I am an Lt. with the Mt. Pleasant, Fire Department in SC. WE have 6 commercial cab engines. Unless there have been advances in commercial chasis I say don't waste your money. We have 3 E-One's, and 3 KME's. All of them have at one time needed major mechanical fixes, they constantly have brake problems, and have absolutly no room in the cab. The newest is a 99 E-One. The cab is bigger, but the way the cab is designed it gives more leg room but still no room for personal equipment The alternator is too small for it and it is slower than molasses. Our busiest truck is a 1993 E-One International. It ran around 1,400 calls and has 55,000 miles on it. Last year it was in the shop for almost 5 months because of a phantom transmission problem. These trucks were made to haul beer not firemen.
Check out the new Contender series from Pierce. It is priced to compete with the commercial chasis. hopefully, this will probably be our next puumper to be purchased next year. We bought a Pierce Aerial last year and love it. Any problem has been minor and a technician was down within a few days to fix any problems.
[This message has been edited by jmatthe7 (edited April 16, 2000).]
04-17-2000, 02:50 PM #5640SATFDFirehouse.com Guest
Glad to see I'm in good company when it comes to the discussion of Custom vs. Commercial. I'll tell you what Wade. The first Engine we ever bought was a custom (Maxium) back in 1975. In 1995 it was time for a new work horse. And granted we're up here in Vermont and started back in 1975 with 50 or so calls a year. Things have changed for us over the past 20 years as I'm sure they have changed for your department. As I was saying in 1995 our department went for a new truck and I was one of a handful that wanted to stick with a custom. We're now running almost 300 calls a year with a 30 member volunteer department. We'll with the discussion in 1995 we purchase a new Attack Engine on a Internationl 4900. All the bells and whistles.
We've had our problems but the bottom line is these commercial trucks can't take the pounding. Ours had been in for paint and new fiberglass 5 times. By the way this plastic nose (i.e. hood and fenders) don't like contact whether its a charged line or tree branches. I'm not saying the trucks a bad truck it's just not a fire truck. We've had good luck mechanically but the big problem is stopping it. We can't keep brakes on it so if you do get one see about over sized brakes; there a must!!!
As for the difference between the Freightliner and the International. I will admitt I'm a fan or Freightliner and care for the looks and comfort of this truck. The cab configuration and visability is far and above that of International.
As you know there are two sides to every coin. The same year we got our International/Central States. The town next to us got a Freightliner/E-one. The Internationl is a better built truck and has less problems. It's a sounder built unit.
I would stay away from COMMERCIAL @ any cost but if you must then go with International. . .
We're in the process of specing and buying a new truck right now. I'm calling it the truck we should of bought in 95. Custom all the way. Only problem is to get them to believe in E-ONE.
04-19-2000, 12:22 AM #6townbyFirehouse.com Guest
Custom over commercial by far, International over FL for many reasons. Have you looked into the new Kenworth trucks? Pierce has a KW and its got alot of room and the turning radius is better than the others it is priced well too.
townby IAFF 3649
04-23-2000, 07:36 PM #7Stuart CobbFirehouse.com Guest
If your alternator is too small, then YOU didn't spec one big enough. If your truck is too slow, then YOU didn't spec an engine big enough. If your truck doesn't stop, then YOU didn't spec the right brakes/auxilary braking system correctly.
Don't blame all your troubles on the commercial chassis.
04-23-2000, 08:04 PM #8Ward WatsonFirehouse.com Guest
We have two commercial chassis trucks on my Volunteer department. They are internationals. The main thing that I don't like, is the limited room in the cab. But that's just my opinion.
04-24-2000, 12:10 AM #9Sand Creek LynnFirehouse.com Guest
Mr. Cobb may have hit it just right.
From past experience in my other life selling heavy equipment to municipal agencies, the most complaints came from customers who "designed" and spec'ed a machine by a committee and then had problems with the machine that was delivered as they ordered it.
Yes sometimes it was our fault but way to often the ultimate customer [user] was unhappy because the committee that wrote the specs didn't or wouldn't listen to the people that would use the machine.
A camel is a horse designed by a committee.
04-25-2000, 11:34 PM #10FireGuyNeilFirehouse.com Guest
Both have ups and downs just like customs. The Freightliner has some cool options and the IH has some too. I like the Freightline myself but the IH is a slight bit cheaper so if your on a tight budget shop hard. Another option to check out is the NEW Peterbuilt Model 330. This is the stuff if you want a commercial rig and is available in 2 and 4 door. This one puts the others to shame and at a competive price! I myself would also consider an HME SFO or a Spartan Advantage for close to the same amount of beans and almost 3 Feet shorter. Hope this may help. Be safe! FGN
05-02-2000, 12:05 AM #11ammoreyFirehouse.com Guest
just food for thought we just recieved a new engine. It has a freightliner FL80 raised roof and is for door. They problem that we encountered was the price of the custom chassis vs the commercial vehicle. One demo we looked at the chassis cost as much as our total engine. I think that if you need to save money or are a rural dept then the commercial chassis is the way to go. As for one over the other that is personal preference. As far as the idea that these were made for "beer trucks" may be because they didnt spec appropriately. Beer is almost as heavy as what we carry and in my area they drive as fast or recklessly as the fire service does. Another thing is that the engines in the commercial rigs are often the same as those found in a commercial
05-02-2000, 01:09 AM #12SYSIPHUSFirehouse.com Guest
My dept. is going to all Fl's from Central Apparatus in So. Dakota. So far we have taken delivery of 4 tankers(2 1500 and2 1800)
1 4 door heavy rescue, 1 4 door rescue/engine, and 2 engine/ tankers(1500gpm x1500gal capacity) The Frightliners have been good trucks, they have had very minor problems and we are continuing to spec new trucks from Central... and they will be Frieghtliners. I don't have any experience with Internationals except for my F-250 that's powered by a 6.9 Internat'l diesel so I can't give an opinion there. But our Frieghtliners have worked out well for us!
As others have pointed out, garbage in garbage out.... If you don't order the right features for your truck, it doesn't matter what type you buy. Good luck!
05-02-2000, 12:50 PM #13firecadet613Firehouse.com Guest
My brother's department has two front line Freightliner FL80's, crew cabs, they've been great. On one of them, the right rear wheel split open, but it could just be that it was the first FL80 chassis built for the Fire Service. Otherwise their really nice. They ride a little bumpy, but it's a fire truck not a Caddilac. Their rescue is on an International chassis, I'm not aware of any problems they've had with it. As far as the engines, they are the same for customs and commercials, it just depends on what the departments specs are for.
Joe E. Thomson
05-02-2000, 12:53 PM #14firecadet613Firehouse.com Guest
Woops, forgot to say that the Freightliner's are Pierce's, and I don't know what the International is.
Joe E. Thomson
05-03-2000, 10:02 AM #15Bob SnyderFirehouse.com Guest
Just my quick 2 cents...
If cost is a binding issue, I can see where you might need to go commercial chassis, but consider the following question:
Given what you have to give up on a commercial chassis in terms of (i) space on the rig for equipment & people, (ii) visibility in intersections, (iii) overall durability, and (iv) ability to spec to needs, isn't it at least worth considering spending the extra money for the custom chassis?? On a long-term cost/benefit basis, I think it is.
05-03-2000, 07:58 PM #16SYSIPHUSFirehouse.com Guest
Remember that from a maintnance standpoint custom chassis can be very expensive when it comes time to repair... specialty parts aren't cheap! Commercial can be much more cost effective. However Bob may have hit on something there about space.
05-06-2000, 11:37 PM #17snypesFirehouse.com Guest
My dept. has two Freightliners' both 1500 pumps 1000 tanks' 300hp. We are in
the foothills of western N.C.sufficant power for the hills.Do you ever have enough brakes when you really need them,spec.jake or some sort of retarder.The first engine 1994 has had almost no problems,the second 1999 we took deliery last May we've had more problems.Other dept.have IH's the have had about the same luck.If you need more engines gowith the larger fl-112 or IHs larger chassie.
05-09-2000, 10:08 AM #18NathanFirehouse.com Guest
A quick question kinda on the subject, is a cab-over-engine commercial chassis available in the US?
05-09-2000, 02:20 PM #19cra539Firehouse.com Guest
yes there are several cab over commercial chassis;
05-09-2000, 10:27 PM #20jmatthe7Firehouse.com Guest
Have you guys looked at the price of a commercial truck lately? They are getting more expensive with the same minimal mechanical equipment. If you spec a commercial truck with all the mechanical upgrades you need, ie alternator, brakes, larger motor, The commercial isn't so cheap anymore. I gurantee if you add the upgrades you could purchase a custom for the same price.
My dept. is great at cutting cost. The Pierce rep laughed when he found out we spent $235,000 on an E-One International. The admin. thought they were getting a good deal because commercial has always been the cheapest way to go. Not any more.
05-09-2000, 10:46 PM #21DonRobbieFirehouse.com Guest
Peterbilt http://www.peterbilt.com/320frame.htm , Kenworth http://www.kenworth.com/news/article...l.asp?file=140 , and Sterling http://www.sterlingtrucks.com/defaul...=0&pt=374&mt=3 make medium cabovers. Also I know a couple of years ago, Fontaine was offering a crew cab conversion for the Volvo low cabover.
05-28-2000, 12:01 PM #22Firestud774Firehouse.com Guest
We bought a 1997 KME International pumper. It is a wonderful truck. We got the cab extension and have plenty of room. It has never been in the shop for a repair. It is a perfect truck. Other departments bought freightliners and have had electricla problems and one department blew the motor on there 98 frieghtliner. I would take an international any day over a frieghtliner.
05-29-2000, 03:07 PM #23SBrooksFirehouse.com Guest
Does anyone have ballpark figures on the cost of various commercial chassis?
05-31-2000, 10:52 AM #24resqbFirehouse.com Guest
I spent 5 years in parts and sales of International trucks so here's my thoughts on this subject.
There are several points to consider when going for commercial vs. custom. The first is price, if you want an inexpensive truck buy a commercial chassis. Do not buy the cheap cookie cutter custom trucks, you know the ones advertised for a certain price in certain magazines. My dept has three of them (1000, 900, and 350 runs/year), and they are falling apart after three years of running.
Second is service, there's usually a freightliner or international dealer everywhere. However, you do have to deal with the split warranty stuff. There just isn't as many fire apparatus dealers
Third is wheelbase. A commercial chassis is very long especially when you throw a crew cab on it. You can shorten the wheelbase by getting a smaller body, but you reduce storage space, and lets face it, there's never enough room on a fire truck.
As for the complaints aired about commercial chassis.
1. Brakes needing replacement, get the harder brake lining specially designed for fire service applications.
2. Slower than molasses, change the rear end ratio, you'll lose high end speed but you gain in acceleration.
3. International doesn't have enough models compared to Freightliner? Stop by a Int'l dealer and ask for literature.
4. Commercials can't take the beating? Those "soda trucks" run 50,000 miles a year at least 8 hours a day.
In the end why should you buy Freightliner over International or vice versa? Price and service. Whatever dealer that offers 24hr service, or an extra year of warranty. Work the deal, and make the salesman do some work, like acceleration curves and holding speed on hills. Remember if your Big Red Truck goes 76 mph top end then it won't have any giddy up and go on the low end.
My thoughts go with a low end stripped custom from a major manufacturer, I think that wheelbase/turning radius vs. loss of equipment space is the key.
Good Luck with your purchase!
05-31-2000, 04:12 PM #25heuveltonfireFirehouse.com Guest
We have purchased a Freightliner FL80 2years ago. It has been out of service for repairs more than it has been in service. Our specs required a certain sizre tank. they put the tank on but it rubbed the wheels. NYDOT would not even pass it for road use. The front suction was all screwed up. The brakes literally fell off and needed replaced and the only place we could by the brake was in canada? I don't know if freightliner or Laverne (the dealer we bought from) is responsible for this truck. We are currently fighting to get our money back and start specking out a new truck. Definetly NOT A FRIEIGHTLINER!
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