1. #1
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    Question Hydraulic Ladder Racks

    CAN ANYONE TELL ME ABOUT THE HYDRAULIC LADDER RACK SYSTEM ON THEIR NEW RIGS?... ANY PROBLEMS, ARE THEY FAST TO DEPLOY vs. TRADITIONAL RACK SYSTEM?...BOTH POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE FEEDBACK WELCOME

    - STAY SAFE -

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    We have two of rescue-pumpers equipped with hydraulic ladder racks in my volunteer department. They are identical rigs and have identical racks also. They are the design of a single hydraulic lift cylinder inside of a cage of tubular steel centered on the rack. They currently carry 1-6' and 1-8' pike pole, 1-6' and 1-8' sheet rock puller, 1-10' attic ladder, 1-14' roof ladder and 1-28' extention ladder. The design of these were actually the 2nd and 3rd of this design ever made by Quality Fire Apparatus with the 1st being on a demo rig. There is a switch on the officer side pump panel to turn the rack "on" and then a "raise" and "lower" button for rack movement and is a very simple system to use. They work alright but we would not spec any type of ladder rack again. Reasons: 1) They are just another mechanical system on the rigs to need maintenance and repairs. 2) They take up the middle of the body on the officers side of the rig that could be used for compartments. 3) Must be lowered to re-load hose bed on the officer side of the rig. 4) If the body doors on that side of the rig are open, the rack will not move because of the system design even though it does clear the open doors. 5) Better method for ground ladders available that have no mechanical, electric or hydraulic parts or components to break or need maintenance - Ladder Tunnels. Just my thoughts.
    Last edited by STATION2; 06-06-2002 at 11:42 AM.
    Stay low and move it in.

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    Larry

  3. #3
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    Talking Love ours

    We had ours built oversized, and use it for our portable tank as we are in a rural area needing frequent tanker shuttles. It comes down pretty fast, and allows us to unload and load our porta-tank pretty fast. Two guys can set it up. It comes out far enough that we can raise and lower it with compartment doors open, but we don't usually. The interior compartment for the porta-tank holds our ladders. Since we normally have to use the porta-tank, and not drag LDH for a hydrant hookup, we don't have to repack the bed often. If we did, that could change my opinion, but look at your response area. For our area, it works very well for us.
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  4. #4
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    Our department has four engines with hydraulic ladder racks and I consider them a definate plus. Yes, they do take up space that could be used for a compartment (about 24" wide), and of course there is one more thing to break. The four racks have been in service anywhere between 5 and 10 years with little problem. We did have a problem with one hydraulic tank but that was because the manufacturer "skimped a little". The plus side is that you are not climbing on the apparatus to get the ladders, pike poles and hard suction that is on top of the apparatus. Lower the rack and everything is a chest height, the compartments still, or remain, open. It really seems like a safety issue because your people are not climbing up there in a hurry, over reaching and hoping they don't slip/fall. Yes you will probably have to lower them some to reload hose but I don't see that as a huge draw back. By using a rack you still "gain" compartments that would have previously been ladder storage. That's why one engine was retrofitted, by adding the rack we gained two compartments. A couple have switches on the officers side and a couple are controlled by the operator, both ways work. Takes about 5 seconds to raise or lower. Do wire them with the doors to indicate if they are not "closed".
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  5. #5
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    Thumbs up

    We have one on one of our pumpers. We think it's great not having to climb up to get the ladder and tools. Ours nests on the side of the truck up high and does not block the hose bed at all. Gives us plenty of cabinet space underneath. Any cabinets up where the ladder is stored would be unaccesible. We also have one on our new tanker for the porta-tank and works out great also. We have not had any problems with ours, and they do deploy quickly.

    I would recommend it.


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    EFFD131

  6. #6
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    One of our engines has a hydraulic rack on it. I think it works well, especially since I'm a tunnel rat at all of 5'6".

    In the words of Scotty "I just can't reach it Captain." The only downside I see to it is that the racks add a little height to the truck. We have a tradition of trimming the trees when we drive into some driveways to calls.

    I was pretty surprised this weekend when I went to the New England Fire / Rescue expo. They had FDNY Engine 222's new Seagrave (NICE TRUCK!) and it had a a hydraulic rack on it. I've never heard of FDNY using racks so it caught me off guard. I'm curious to see if they start using this more or if this is a trial.
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    Da Sharkie, FDNY has been using Ladder racks on their engines since, at least, the first Seagrave pumper order in 1991. I believe that they were also utilized on some of the later Mack CF/Ward79 units. As for ladder racks, the ONLy problem I have with them, is that if they somehow decide not to lower one day, and Aunt Mable is hanging out a window, you now have to climb up and get that ladder down. That should be interesting. Zico make the Ladder Lowering Device., that is usually utilized on 3/4 height compartments. The nice thing about that system, is that if it does not work, there are two pins that are easily removed, and the rack is lowered manually.

    Also, what about sliding the ladders in behind the RH compartmentation. They are still down low, and you do not have to worry about the rack operating. And there is no additional OAH worries.

    Just my .02 worth!!!

    Be Safe!!

  8. #8
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    Somehow, I suspect FDNY Engines don't use ladders too often...which helps favor the racks -- more compartment space, doesn't interfere with their hosebed/tank design like a tunnel would, not used to much, rack 'em.

    I think they're fine if you want convience for something you don't use on the truck much -- free up space, make it easier to put on/take off at drills and such.

    If your designing the truck for rapid ladder placement, use a tunnel -- no waiting for hydraulics, no worrying about door interlocks. Open the door and pull.

    (I also saw Engine 222 and Rescue 4 at Springfield...it is neat to see the customization FDNY does for their own needs.)

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    Engine 263,

    Thanks for the correction. It was actually the first time I saw a unit from FDNY and I had never heard of them using racks before.

    I do know that many ladder racks do have the manual override feature so you don't have to worry about a failure too much.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

    The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

    "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

    "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

    www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

  10. #10
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    We have two trucks with hydraulic ladder racks.

    The first is a single piston in the center of the rack. Too small
    we have had it burn out 2-3 times.

    The 2nd is an oversize piston on each end. We love it you will
    not hang anything too heavy from it.

    We would not be without our ladder racks, the convenience and
    the ability to carry the equipment up out of the way until needed
    is excellent.

    A word of warning, depending on the design you need a fair amount
    of space on the side to bring them down. If you respond to places
    where this is a problem, they do make types that come down the side
    a lot closer to the truck, but they are more expensive

    Stay Safe

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