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Thread: who is the best fire truck company

  1. #21
    Firehouse.com Guest


    It all depends on what you are looking for:
    Chassis and Engines - Seagrave, Pierce
    Squad bodies - Saulsbury
    Trucks - Seagrave, LTI, Pierce - This
    includes tiller trucks. By the way
    are the only way to go, unless it's
    a Baker.
    Towers - What else.. Baker of course!!

    Junk - E-one, KME, new ALF.

  2. #22
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If American's vote with their checkbook, and I believe they do then the largest are the best:

    1. E-One/Sualsbury
    2. Pierce
    3. KME
    4. Central States
    5. LaFrance

  3. #23
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I have to agree with the Mack statement. They built an indestructable truck and were at the time the only ones to give FDNY a 5 year unconditional warrentee. Any manufacturer will let you build a toad though and go too light with its construction. For expample there are many Pierces here in my area where the department didnt want to spend a lot and put the smallest motor in that would spin the pump. End result is a truck that is WAAAAAY underpowered. Seagrave has been around forever and their engineers will not let you build something that doesnt work because they dont want thier name on it. KME has had lots of quality problems in our area, which is right now the most popular builder, but they seem to use the cheapest components in the trucks. E-one is a throw away truck, but thier ladders seem to be OK. Hahn was a durable truck that lasted many years(Boston) but at the end of the companys life everything they built had the body rust off it the week after you wash it the first time. They are an Excellent candadate for refurbs though, it seems they took thier toughness cue from Mack. American Lafrance is back and in a BIG way. Right now they have the best dealer network being teamed with Frieghtliner, and thier people seem to have the appropriate training and are not just truck mechanics workign on fire apparatus. No more shipping the truck 1000 miles back to the factory for repair work. Alf is building one hell of a truck and it can be configured in more ways than most manufacturers. Keep and eye open for the new ALF unimog brush rig for example. So remember,the 3 major things in what makes a truck good are Quality of parts used to build it, Specs used to design it, and support once it is built. I think ALF wins this hands down

  4. #24
    Firehouse.com Guest


    They all started out somewhere. For many years most swore by there CF Macks, Seagraves, and ALF's. All were good trucks, each offered something the others didn't and all of them rusted. Times have changed alot in the past 15 years. I personally feel that if you properly design/spec. your apparatus and the manufactor properly engineers, builds, and stands behind what they have created most apparatus built today are good. I also feel that you can get a better quality piece of apparatus from the smaller manufactures than some of the bigger ones. This is mainly due to the assembly line theory. Consider these things: it's kinda like cars and trucks we drive every day. Some of us may have a Chevy/GMC, Ford, or Dodge. Some may have Toyotas, Nissans, or even Jeeps. We all buy and drive different ones every day and for many different reasons. We all have different locations, weather, conditions, roads, and even altitudes. There are many reasons why we chose what we drive. When it comes to fire apparatus, what may work for me may not work for you. I hope we all buy what we think will work best and not just what our neighbor has or something bigger and with more gadgets on then. Don't be affriad to break trends such as several department have done in the past 5 years.
    I would also like to say I have no idea how the NFPA can say what sould be the standard for the fire service nation wide. They are always changing things but sometimes the chnages seem to make little or no sense. They get entirely to much influence from fire truck component and apparatus manufactures. Don't getme wrong, it's great to get expert help but sometimes it's gotta be a conflict of interest.
    Now back to the main subject at hand.
    If I had to pick the one I feel the who is the best could only be done one way. I would take all the apparatus I currently operate or have operated in the time during my fire service career. Which manufacture could build all of these different types? Which could build them exactly as they are or something equivalent.(apples to apples) Which could build them all exactly how I would have wanted them? (money being of no object of course)
    Here is what I came up with.
    Manufactures with their own custom chassis's-
    1. Pierce-
    2. KME-
    3. E-One-(only builds aluminum custom cabs)
    4. ALF-(doesn't offer elliptical tankers)
    5. Seagrave-(doesn't offer totally aluminum cabs or bodies)
    6. Fererra-(uses someone else's ladders)

    Manufactures using HME or Spartan chassis's
    1. Rosenbauer America - General Safety, Central States, RK Aerials, Metz Aerials
    2. E.V. Team - Quality, Luvern,& Road Rescue
    3. Smeal
    4. Marion Body
    5. New Lexington Fire App.
    (The mergers/partnerships seem to be the new trend towards the future. It offers them the ability to offer a wider variety of apparatus.)


  5. #25
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Glad to see someone mentioned New Lex -there are still some quality builders that havent got eaten by the big boys. And I wish they still built Hahns ,Howes and Orens

  6. #26
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Pierce, by far.

  7. #27
    Firehouse.com Guest


    WE have a CF Mack/Thibault quint that is 27 years old. Too bad they're both gone. The Pierce Dash pumper we run first out is incredibly underpowered(matched to the pump!). Every time you hit a puddle, the window fogs up (been that way since day one)Other than that and a few other little things that creep up over the years, Pierce makes a fine truck. Others in our area have E-ones, and some hate them, some swear by them. new KME in town went back to the factory within two weeks to weld a crack in the turntable (not a good sign) Personally, I love the idea of the EHL hose system that Smeal is building. Seems to be a great idea if you are using ldh.
    stay safe

  8. #28
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I never really liked quints, except as a compromise, until Smeal built St. Louis quints. These look pretty nice, easy to work off of, etc. I've been halfheartedly looking for someone who knows about them, so if you do, email me.
    retiredchiefone likes this.

  9. #29
    Firehouse.com Guest


    //I never really liked quints, except as a compromise, until Smeal built St. Louis quints. These look pretty nice, easy to work off of, etc.//

    Looks good huh?

    [This message has been edited by LHS* (edited 03-03-2001).]

  10. #30
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well thank you larry, i've been looking for more information on them, and you've answered some of the questions I had. (namely what the heck you do if the fire is 400' away from the apparatus)

    I looked at the hose bed and thought, yes, it's something else that could break (but then I never would have thought that would scare YOU) I did think that they could back over the hose like everyone else (or turn around and drive over), but i guess there is probably some sort of NFPA required interlock device.

    Can't rack the hose with the outriggers down and out? So what? I can't think of a situation where I have to take up my hose but couldn't take down my ladder.

    I guess they should have gotten a smaller pump? 5" hose could only supply them one, maybe two hundred feet off the hydrant. With a pumper 5" could supply them maybe 5-600', but I know how you feel about pumpers. If they had a real wagon, or a telesquirt, they could lay dual lines, but why give up a real aerial when for the most part, they don't need dual lines? Need more water, call another company. The fire doesn't care whether or not the pumps were fully at capacity or not, nor how many pumps were used.

    After all, St. Louis has a class 1 ISO rating, how could they be wrong? I guess they didn't hire you to get it.

    [This message has been edited by SBrooks (edited 02-08-2001).]

  11. #31
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    The 8 Pierce's my department has had for the
    last 14 years have given excellent service

  12. #32
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I really enjoyed SBrooks reply rearding LHS's comments. A simple design is the best design.

  13. #33
    Firehouse.com Guest


    //(but then I never would have thought that would scare YOU)

    Who's scared????

    [This message has been edited by LHS* (edited 03-03-2001).]

  14. #34
    Firehouse.com Guest


    As far as techno gadgets on fire trucks scaring people...yes most places, especially busy places, tend to keep it simple when it comes to designing fire trucks...if it's not there, it can't break. Fallon-Churchill would be the other extreme. Therefore, I did not think you would shy away from another widget on a fire truck.

    If I'm willing to drive (slowly, carefully)with a couple of my men on top repacking hose, why wouldn't I drive around with a properly engineered device sticking 14' out the back. I've even heard of people driving around with a 50' telesquirt up and flowing.

    Hose is loaded from the side, pulled from the rear. The outriggers are on the side, not on the rear. Can't rack with outriggers, can pull. Where's the problem?

    Most places send more than one fire truck to a fire. The additional cost of increasing pump capacity from 1000 to 2000 gpm is negligable compared to the price of the vehicle. It could be fairly said that their fire flow will never be limited by pump capacity...what's wrong with that?

    As far as the weight goes: I have never had the opportunity to read St.Louis's Specs, or Smeal's As built plans. Apparently you have, could you share them with me? I don't know how much the things weigh. However, since they have apparently built them and placed them in service, I am only assuming that they are DOT legal.

    Sure, my guy could forget to lay a line, I'm sure it has happened and will happen again. Or they could get lost, or the truck could be out of service, or they could be on a medical local, or out of service training. Maybe their aerial needs certification. That's why departments have more than onean one fire truck to send to a (report of a) fire. What's your point?

  15. #35
    Firehouse.com Guest


    ///The additional cost of increasing pump capacity from 1000 to 2000 gpm is negligable compared to the price of the vehicle.

    You're right so buy the right size hose to do the job.

    [This message has been edited by LHS* (edited 03-03-2001).]

  16. #36
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The attack lines are at the height of an upper compartment...about 52" i'd guess.

    How much do the F-C Engines & Tankers weigh?

  17. #37
    Firehouse.com Guest


    1. Mack and the CF (RIP)
    2. Pierce
    3. Seagrave and Sutphen, which makes one hell of a ladder

  18. #38
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well Pierce is at the top of the list!!!!And E-one is at the bottom!

  19. #39
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Pierce is the best, E-one is the best, Smeal, ALF, and so on. Everyone has their own opinion and has a right to voice it. For the department I am on, we decide what company we will purchase from based on the reputation that company has with us, what other departments tell us, and what we see at the factory.
    To date we run three Pierces, one Salisbury, two E-ones, One Alexis/HME, and four others that were build in house. They all have their good points and bad. We have found it is not the manufacture, but the service that backs up that truck. And with that, the best truck for this department is E-one and Alexis. Pierce service locally has totally missed the mark!!

  20. #40
    Firehouse.com Guest


    1st mack cf
    2nd seagrave
    3rd hme

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