Thread: Custom Home-built Brush Trucks
02-15-2001, 11:46 AM #1Smoke_N_FlamesFirehouse.com Guest
Custom Home-built Brush Trucks
I have an idea for a new truck and would appreciate any suggestions or comments.
Use a utility bed with a walk-through in the front (like one from the phone company lift trucks). Put a 250 gallon tank in the back with an 18HP pump, 2 tag-lines, a 1"x100' booster reel and a 150' 1" wildland pre-connect. Also, a 2 1/2" suction, and 1 1/2" discharge
I would mount the tank more towards the rear of the truck leaving a walk space behind the cab and mount the pump directly in front of the tank.
Has anyone ever seena rig like this? If so, how well did it work. Is 250 gallons too much for a one-ton truck with the utility bed (rather than a flatbed)?
I'll try to get my scetch scanned so I can e-amil out if anyone would like a copy or if you're not sure what im trying to say.
Thx for the help =)
02-15-2001, 01:14 PM #2cbp3Firehouse.com Guest
Afternoon, Smoke. Just was notified of your post, and looking at your idea it sounds like what you're describing is an eastern brush truck. The fast attack versions are built onto a 1-ton body, (although NJ is now acquiring F-450s for the purpose) In general, these units are outfitted very much like the rig you describe. We also make use of Federal FEPP chassis', usually military deuces, carrying about 800 to 1000 gal. of water. If you want more info, or photos of some representative rigs, don't hesitate to contact me.
02-16-2001, 12:56 AM #3BratFirehouse.com Guest
Smoke, Roscommon Equipment Center has a load calculator on their web site, www.dnr.state.mi.us/www/fmd/ffes/rechome.html Flatbeds work better for our needs. We use 300 gal tanks and 18 hp pumps with foam. We have 1 in boosters but don't pull more than about 50 ft off. We use the light hose on the reels but single jacket hose is easier to pull around than the booster line. We carry 300 ft of 1 in and I'm trying to get our dept to get some 3/4 in. It works great for mop up and is only half as heavy. You'll appreciate the difference when you pull 300 ft of hose around for several hours. Hope this help some. If I can answer any questions for you just e-mail me, I'll help if I can.
02-16-2001, 01:00 AM #4Smoke_N_FlamesFirehouse.com Guest
I have my drawing scanned if anyone would like a copy.
[This message has been edited by Smoke_N_Flames (edited 02-16-2001).]
02-16-2001, 12:54 PM #5FireOneFirehouse.com Guest
Be really careful when it comes to the type and weight of a utility bed mounted on a chassis. Most of these are just that utility beds and are not really designed for a water tank and pump. I know allot of companies and departments build this type of truck, but I have seen some real nightmares. Make sure your chassis can handle the weight of your tank on the rear axle like you are talking about.
My department build a truck similar to this with a utility bed and skid unit. While it looked good, it wasn't functional as a good brush truck. The skid unit was removed and the truck was made into a light rescue truck.
Your idea of the walk through sounds interesting. I would like to see the finished product when completed. Again, be careful on the weight of your body, tank, pump, and the location of this weight.
02-22-2001, 10:58 AM #6JAMESBENNETTFirehouse.com Guest
I would also like to say "Be careful with the weight". Utility beds are very heavy and you could be in for more than you have bargained for with the truck. I have built 6 brush trucks in the last 3 yrs. and I have found that a regular flat bed is easier to work with. I have built my on short wheel based trucks and left only enough room to stand behind the cab or sit on the tank(60"cab to axle). You can get a longer wheel base (90" cab to axle I think) and give yourself enough room to the front. I put my units on with the pump and motor to the rear. It is easier to draft with the trucks this way and I have put hose tray's over the tanks for pre-connects. These trucks are mainly for brush fire, but with a few retro fits they can be used by rural departments for quick attack structural trucks as well. I can send you the info on the trucks if you would like, just let me know!
SERVING FOR PRIDE
PROUD TO SERVE!
02-23-2001, 10:32 AM #7Smoke_N_FlamesFirehouse.com Guest
Thx everyone. I've seen fiberglass utility stylebeds...anyone know who makes them? I saw one on a F-450 going to the Forestry Service but i don not remember who built it.
02-23-2001, 04:26 PM #8RxFireFirehouse.com Guest
Smoke, one manufacturer using the Ford chassis for all sorts of stuff is Attack One. They do a pretty decent job... we don't have an engine, just a "support vehicle" as they call it. Boise Mobile Equipment is another manufacturer, as well as Becker Fire Equipment (www.beckerfire.com - apparently under construction). I have seen some from all of these manufactures. Probably more out there, but this is what I can recall seeing. I know for sure that Attack One does fiberglass... they started as part of a company called FibreBody, specializing in fiberglass. Not sure about the other manufacturers though.
I HATE spot fires!!
[This message has been edited by RxFire (edited 02-23-2001).]
[This message has been edited by RxFire (edited 02-24-2001).]
02-25-2001, 01:19 AM #9Rich SFirehouse.com Guest
Here is what we do in central SD. We take a 1-ton dually F-350. We build an aluminum bed with the tank recessed. We use plastic tanks for weight savings. Our newest unit has a walk thru area in front of the tank. We mount the 18 hp Berkeley's at the rear of the unit to cut down on noise. We use 350 gallon tanks. We have a 30" square tool box mounted to the bed for tow ropes, cables, etc. There is a hose reel mounted on top of the tank.
They work exceptionally well. They are fast, well balanced and drive very well, with no handling quirks. To me, they are the perfect grass rig. We use a flatbed type built of aluminum as opposed to a utility bed to save weight. We then put this weight savings into added water capacity. When you use a utility bed, you have to figure in the weight of the equipment that could be put into the side compartments. That cuts down on the amount of water you can carry.
I hope this helps.
02-26-2001, 01:08 AM #10Smoke_N_FlamesFirehouse.com Guest
Hey rich, could you send me some drawing or skecths of your rig?
02-26-2001, 09:57 PM #11Rich SFirehouse.com Guest
Sure. How about pics? I will get the pictures (if I can still find them), scan 'em and send 'em. I hope your e-mail addy is on your post. If not, drop me an e-mail at
02-27-2001, 04:00 PM #12Monstermudder78Firehouse.com Guest
Do any of you use cowcatchers on your brush rigs? We use them on all of ours and find them invaluable.
02-28-2001, 12:10 AM #13Smoke_N_FlamesFirehouse.com Guest
We have3 one on our #1 brush truck, it looks like a ranchhand Brush gaurd on steroids...we built it ourselves, ill try to get a picture scanned.
02-28-2001, 01:35 PM #14Monstermudder78Firehouse.com Guest
Could someone please tell me how to post a picture with the text? I have a picture of our one of ourt cowcatchers but I can't figure out how to post it. Thanks.
03-23-2001, 09:20 AM #15LtStickFirehouse.com Guest
Here in Pennsylvania you'll find a wide variety of brush vehicles. Ranging from 5 ton brush tankers with 500 to 1,500 gallon tanks to small army trucks that will go just about any wear and carry 200 to 300 gallons of water. They have a variety of modifications made to them ranging from just putting a pump and tank on them to ones with extended bumpers, large brush guards and front discharges. The modifications some departments make are very creative. Occasionally whether bye chance or connection some departments will get ones that require no modifications at all. One such is a Fire Company in Clearfield county who uses what looks like a crew cab truck with a flat bed that was already set up to fight brush fires.
03-23-2001, 01:28 PM #16EastKyFFFirehouse.com Guest
Amt. & distribution of weight are vital. Weight too far back will cause your front end to be light and push you through curves. Too far forward will wear out suspension, front brakes, and tires. Either will screw up center of gravity & increase rollover risk.
Remember 250 gallons of water weighs one ton without the tank. Check GVWR's of both axles.
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