1. #1
    xenophon13
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Whats the best all around pumper

    I am involved in a small rural fire dept (small as in firefighters but large in area 75 sq miles) We are looking into buying a new pumper or possibly a combo pumper/tanker seeing as how in our district we only have a total of 7 hydrants. But I was wondering what is the all around best truck on the market value wise and performance wise?

  2. #2
    mike021
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Speaking from my experience's from Pierce they are the best around. We have one now, that is almost 10 years old, 92 Arrow 105" ladder. There has been one semi major problem, a safety valve blew out on the ladder pipe, a replacement part was in the station the very next day, it was OOS for about 48 hours or so. They have excellent service before, during, and after buying one. The trucks are real solid *** kicking trucks. Our new Lance 2001 is on the way, one mega pumper. They are expensive but very worth the money. Take care and good luck. Most of all go with what fits your needs. and you might want to look into compressed air foam systems, we did.

  3. #3
    ENGINE 52
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Have to agree with mike021. We have two Pierce Engines. A 1990 Lance and a 1984/1997 Arrow. As mike021 said the service is great. A mechanic is about 15 mins. away.
    PIERCE ALL THE WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. #4
    Lt.Tim
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    My department has had good luck with Emergency One. We have a Pierce mini-pumper which has paid for itself since 1986. I really don't think you can say one brand is that much better than the other, there are alot of good trucks out there with good backing. What you must think about is how do you want the truck made. Your lack of hydrants poses a problem however, with the use of tanker shuttles and drop tank this problem can be addressed. Do you have mutual-aid with nearby departments? What type of apparatus do they use? My problem with using your pumper as a tanker is this, when you run out of water that is it. I would think that having a pumper and a tanker would be the best choice. However, money is a key issue and that is a problem. Another thing to decide is whether to purchase a custom cab or a commercial cab. The commercial cabs are usually cheaper but the custom cab provides more room inside. Depending on your situation the custom cab can transport more people keeping personal vehicles away from the fire scene. Another point to ponder is where you can go to for maintenance. American La France is backed by Frieghtliner and may be closer to you in the event of any problems. No matter which brand you decide to go with work with the manufacturer when configuring compartments, tank size, and pump size. You didn't mention anything about the apparatus you are replacing. If it is in good enough shape maybe converting it to a tanker would be an option to think of. That is what we did with an old pumper of ours when we purchased a new Emergency One. Good luck on your purchase.

  5. #5
    FireOne
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    This is the question of all time in the fire service. Who makes the best fire apparatus? You have to decide this on your own. By asking questions of departments who have a specific type and look at the service provided by the company after the sale.
    The department I am on more than likely will never purchase another Pierce due to the local dealer and the service department. Go to the dealers and then go to the factories. Don't just look at the big companies, consider the smaller ones also. We are currently operating a 1997 HME / Alexis engine and have had no problems with it.
    Good Luck.

  6. #6
    tlfd600
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    My department has had good luck with a Central States pumper/tanker. It has a 1500 gallon tank and a 500 gmp pump. Look at the Central States Quality? Post on the Engineer forum. What I have noticed is every brand has pros and cons, just spec out what you want and send the specs to different manufaturers and see what they say.

  7. #7
    St11FireEMS
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    We run KME and Seagrave. We are getting a new Seagrave Squad Engine similar to the ones run in the FDNY. KME makes a nice pumper/tanker combo. Like everyone else said go with your needs....spec out what you want and if a company wants your business they will build it for you. KME and Seagrave also have competive prices and good service. We have a good service with the two companys. Hope that helps.

  8. #8
    psoileaujr
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    you didnot state weather the ladies would be driving or not, even though all trucks are not created equel they will do the job if maintained well. in our district we had a major problem 5 years ago ,66' model pumpers would stop on the road , brakes would go out enroute to a fire etc. you know the drill. well 4 years ago the four stations in our dist. had to change . the fire board put a dist. cheif in place and promised to create a dist. with four ( team ) stations, with a priorty on maint.and replacement of trucks, the first thing we bought was 3 91' ford f800 conv. cabs outfitted with 500 gpm pto pumps and 2000 gal tanks falling under 35,000 gvw they also hold full hose loads and equipment. then we replaced the tanks in three 66' pumpers with 750 to 1000 gal tanks to hold over untill we could purchase newer pumper's we also put strock quick dump valves on these trucks, we find that they are less hassle with the ladies than jet dumps. at present we are purchasing 82' + trucks directly from fire dept.looking to help smaller dept. grow so form your network within your state start looking sometimes new isn't always better. by the way no loans, bonds of any kind were used to purchase / repair any of these trucks.

  9. #9
    Medic_E3411
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    Our department has relied on Pierce for all of our apparatus needs. We are a 4 station department, and all of our primary response as well as the majority of reserve engines are one form or another of Pierce. We currently have (2) 1997 Pierce Sabers running out of stations 1 and 4, and (2) 1992 Pierce Lances running out of stations 2 and 3. We also purchased a 2000 FL70 Medium Duty Rescue/ Breathing Support apparatus. We have had a few mechanical problems with our new Sabers, but Pierce was supportive in getting us the parts.It would all depend on the needs of your department, but I think you will find that Pierce is an all-around apparatus.

  10. #10
    oz10engine
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    If you can help it, just don't go with the low bid or the manufacturer that delivers it the quickest, unless that is a priority. Bottom line is you get what you pay for. If you can invest a little more money in the beginning, it will be well worth it in the long run. I think the faster they build apparatus the less attention to detail their is, and the more problems you will have in the long run. Good hunting. Go Pierce!!

  11. #11
    Sirene
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    This is the $64,000 question.
    First you need to decide what you want then compare all bidders. Go on the road and see the equipment in the field. Go to fire stations where this new equipment is. Try to get a couple of the fire fighters off to the side away from the salesman and get the real story on how the machine operates and any problems encountered. Look the machine and take the things you like and put this in your specifications. Build a fire engine for your department. This is why they are called custom.
    Pierce equipment is what we use on our department and it does not have any more problems than the rest of manufactures.

  12. #12
    LHS*
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post


    We've had good success with our pumper/tanker/caf/aerials AND PUMPER TANKERS

    You can see ours at: www.isoslayer.com

    [This message has been edited by LHS* (edited 04-10-2001).]

  13. #13
    engco2432
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Sutphen!!! Excellent quality. All stainless steel.

  14. #14
    larry cook
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    If you are in a small rural fire dept. more than likely you do not have that much income or very many runs. A commercial chassie might be your ticket. Look around and see if you have dealers nearby that can service the chassis for you. If you get a custom chassis, you are talking mega bucks and lots of down time for parts. we run a freightliner fl70 chassis and have two dealers located less than a two hour drive away for service. The also make house calls.
    Custom builders are often further away than that. Our fire body was built by KME. But there are other good builders our there too. Also, make sure that your fire body dealer will be able to service the truck and equipment. When you purchase an engine go and see what your neighbors have. Take a lot of time when writing your specs. I would suggest that you purchase needed equipment with the truck. Get a big diesel generator and lots of powered lights, it will help on the night fires. Hope this helps. LC

  15. #15
    Neptune 33
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    I think that this topic is way to broad, most every company is going to say that there engine is the best, unless they have had a bad expierence. There have been many good ideas on this board, and I think the major ones to listen to are:
    1) Travel - not only too manufactures, but visit departments that run the type of engine you are considering. Not only visit the companies with the new apparatus, but visit some that have had them for a few years, to see how they have held up.
    2) Have some departments visit your station. Most departments love to show their pieces off, and will probably be glad to set something up where they visit you. This way, you'll know what the piece looks like in your station, but they will probably take you for rides around your first due area. Nothing is worse then specing an engine that will fit fine in your station, but then you get the garage fire in a narrow alley, and find you can't make the turn, and have to wait for 2nd due. NEVER go for looks on a firetruck, you should always go for what your community needs, not what you exactly want. The pumper tanker is fine, but if you can't get anywhere with it, what's the point? However, if your first in tanker is 7+ minutes away, then you have no choice.
    3) have reps visit you
    4) and as said, never go with the low bidder unless you have to.

    Oh, and IMHO, the Mack CF was the best fire engine ever built, and if they'd be around today, they'd prolly still be #1.

    Neptune 33
    ---------------------------------------------
    From the small 1 unit department, to the biggest in the country - FDNY, the Mack CF was there.

  16. #16
    Nate Marshall
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I would rate them:
    1. Pierce
    2. American Lafrance
    3. E-One
    4. Smeal
    5. Central States

    Other than these I would stay away from the rest.

    With some of these you get one source solutions so you know your truck for the majority of its parts was built by the same company thus reducing the headaches of getting parts.

    For rural fire districts and others these top five also have solid lease and financing programs and yes leasing does work. More truck for the buck.

    250k truck is generally 35-40k per year.

    Some companies like Sutphen and Seagrave you pay more for the name. Denver Fire Department for example used to buy exclusively Seagrave engines and sutphen aerials now Denver is buying 100% American Lafrance and Pierce.


  17. #17
    dewtime
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by Nate Marshall:
    I would rate them:
    1. Pierce
    2. American Lafrance
    3. E-One
    4. Smeal
    5. Central States

    Come on now KME isn't in your top 5 picks? You must dazed or something. KME is my #1 pick. We have a 97' KME custom. Up to date we have had all most nothing go wrong with it. Other then the normal things.

    Yes this is my first post on Firehouse. I'll be asking for some help on somethings here in the near future.


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