1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Commercial cab or custom ?


    [This message has been edited by CAP182 (edited July 02, 2000).]

  2. #2
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I prefer the large custom cabs. From all I've seen, they out turn the smaller 4 door commercial ones and allow for more truck on the same size chassis.

    And pretty much all we have outside the city is a whole bunch of subdivisions with tight narrow roads.

    BTW - the nine 2,000 gallon custom chassis pumper tankers we have on order would have been roughly 6' to 8' longer on the "smaller 4-door commercial" chassis.

    [This message has been edited by S. Cook (edited July 02, 2000).]

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    I have operated both custom and comercial chassis. Remember needs and cost also dictates what you want, why have an 8 man custom cab on a tanker that will be shuttling water. In my area we have all different types of roadways from 4 lanes to 3/4 lane mountous dirt paths. My new tanker which is due for dilivery in september is a 1250/1500 American LaFrance on a FL-80 Freightliner Chassis. The Freightliner to the best of my knowledge has the tightest cramp angle available. Keep em between the ditches.


  4. #4
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I believe the cramp on an FL 80 is around 40 degrees (correct me if I'm wrong), here's the cramps on a few customs...

    E-One Cyclone II - 45 deg.
    Pierce Quantum - 45 deg.
    ALF Metropolitan - 46 deg.

    The tighter cramps and shorter wheel bases on the customs will out turn the commercials every time.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I have ridden on both as my volunteer dept has a FL-80/E-One 21' non-walk in rescue and everything else is a custom with Spartan (2), Pirsch (1)or American La France (1)and soon to be E-One (2). I'll take custom anytime over commercial. I believe in a vehicle that is custom built for the fire service. The FL-80 works for us, but I would have prefered a custom. But do to the limited number of runs it makes (About 20-25 a month)we couldn't justify it. A custom has a frame system built to withstand the rigors of the fire service. The suspension and electrical system are built to withstand what we do everyday. A commercial is great to deliver water or drop off boxes. It is not meant to start, respond emergency, stop onscene, go back to the station and turn off 10 or more times a day. Thats not even counting the occurances of pumping for hours on end. The durability is also greater in custom chassis due to the availability of specing it from the ground up. St Louis is an excellant example of "from the ground up specing". As an exapmle, they felt that removing the plastic from dash surfaces was important and replaced it with aluminum for greater durability. Try and get Freightliner, International or Ford to do that. The end maker (Pierce, E-One, KME, etc.) is gonna have to do that for the customer and it will cost big. The cost of modifying a commercial chassis for front suction, pump, trash line, etc. is gonna be higher because of the undoing the builder has to do in order to install and build what the customer wants. Engine options are limited along with their respective horsepower options in commercials. Sure you can get a Series 60 in a Freightliner, but the chassis will be bigger than a custom with a turning radius that will make you scream. Thats because it'll be an over the road chassis meant to go hundreds of miles non-stop. Transmission choices are also more limited in a commercial than a custom. How about access and egress? The one step and your in approach is my choice over two steps and "watch the fuel fill" or "the battery box is not a step" approach. Greater chance for injury and mishap especially at night or in adverse weather. Commercial cabs are also limited to the number of people you can carry. Why limit yourself to five (5) firefighters, when you can carry eight (8) or more with the same length and width chassis thats easier to get in and out of and is built for the fire service? Even if you pull with four (4) person crews, it'll be easier to get dressed in a custom than a commercial. My buddy SCook is right also about the overall length of the respective chassis types. Alot of the times a custom can come in at the same length as a commercial if not shorter. Engine 184 is the same width as your Freightliners. Both are 8' running board to running board across. What about crash worthiness? In my career dept a few months ago we had an Engine Co. center punch a telephone pole in an accident. The custom cab held up wonderfully and there were no serious injuries to the crew. Could the commercial have held up as well? I personnally don't think so. As I said before, the custom is specific built for the fire service and thats means alot in an accident. What about turning radius? There are custom ladder trucks out there that have a better cramp angle than some commercials. Why put that engine out front and obscure your vision? Put it behind you, next to you, behind the cab or even at the rear of the body. These are just my thoughts. Be safe.


  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    thanks for your reply's. iam a member of a dept. who is getting rid of all of our commercial cabs and going to custom front line eng. i personally have never driven a newer, larger, custom cab on a regular baises. we have alot of fire fighters who swere by them i was just looking for outside opinions. we currently have fl 80 for a pair of our eng. and they do fine we also have a pair of internationals {glad to see them go} dont get me wrong they are great trucks and have served our dept well but the turning radius isnt the greatist. by the way they are for sell { the internationals }.

    remember: stop, look, and listen.

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