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  1. #1
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    Default Ford F-550 4 x 4 Rescue Truck

    Our VFD is currently in the process of specing a new light to medium rescue. We are looking at the F-550 or possibly going to an International chassis.

    Basic specs are for a 14' front crew box with a PTO generator. We do not carry hurst tools, high angle or trench rescue equipment (County search & rescue does this).

    The rig will be used for first responder BLS (no transport) and as a "service" truck with forcible entry and salvage equipment as well as a rehab unit.

    The chassis specs indicate that the F-550 has about double the turning radius of the International not to mention the difference in GVW.

    Comments good or bad on the F-550 would be appreciated. We are especially interested in handling and stability.

    Thanks,

    Ray R


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    We have a '97 F-Super Duty (F-450 Equivalent. F-550 didn't exist @ the time) with a 14' Center Walk In Box. Can be seen here

    Bear in mind that this truck was designed & built in '96 and a lot of advances have been made in the industry and there are newer and better products on the market which may "fix" some of the problems we had/have.

    #1 Factory 4X4 was not offered on the F-Super Duty thus it had to have a Quigley Motor Company "after market" 4WD system put in.

    A Quigley conversion will NOT void Ford Warranty & the conversion is warranted for 36 Months/36K Miles

    #2 We were unable to get a direct PTO Drive Generator due to the location of the PTO Output shaft on the 4X4 Transfer Case.

    #3 For how we loaded it - the F-Super is overloaded and has a tad too much body roll


    Item # 1 is solved already in the new F-Series
    Item # 2 - I have no clue, but I'm sure that between the changes in the transmission and the advances in PTO Generators that this is probably resolved as well.

    Item # 3 - the Introduction of the 550 model should fix this as well.

    My Rescue Squad has a 2002 F-350 with a 149" box (that's just over 12' for the mathematically impaired ). It rides like a dream. Handles well and has no real noticeable body roll when cornering (picture at same link above)

    Now - you stated that you were looking at a 14' front crew box. I'm going to assume that you mean a crew compartment at the front of the box directly behind the cab. If so then allow me to suggest the following option.

    Use an E-Series Cutaway chassis instead. For 2002 they now have the E-550 (19,000 GVWR - full specs. can be found at Fords Truck Body Builder Advisory Service web site).

    You can then place the same 14' Box on it and your Crew area can be open between the Cab & Box. The "down side" is you will have to get a Quigley 4X4 conversion but you can get this through any Ford dealer and/or most any Apparatus builder.

    I'm not recommending a builder, but EVI list a 14' Crew E-550 as a base model on their info request page. (They also have a 14' Crew on a F-550 built & ready for delivery on the web site)

    I also remember seeing a Demo unit from Chiefs Fire & Rescue built like this on a E-Super Duty just after we ordered our truck in '96.

    Food for thought anyway. Good luck with your truck.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

  3. #3
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    Default

    Thanks for the input. Our local Ford dealer is not aware of the Quigley conversion so I will have him check on it for the E-550.

    One of my main concerns is that the F-450/550 uses a 19.5" tire with a one ply sidewall. We run a 2001 F-450 4x4 brush rig that can be a little hard to handle above 60 MPH on curves due to sidewall flex. The vehicle is a 17,000 GVW chassis and we are only running about 13,000 gvw with a 300 gal tank. A present no major tire manufacturer makes a tire in this size with a heavier sidewall and a mud and snow tread.

    We cover 33 sq miles with Interstate speed limit of 75 mph and 65 on secondary roads. We project that we will be in the 15,000 to 16,000 gvw on the rescue truck but do not want handling problems.

    Thanks

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Ray-

    We run a 1999 four-door F-350 rescue (very light), basically as a non-transport BLS unit, but also equipped it with some minimal tools and some SCBA. It more or less functions pretty well, though everything aside from the chassis wasn't really what was desired. I won't get into that though. The chassis has been bulletproof, and the diesel is the only way to go, in my opinion.

    More to the point, my department has just ordered a 2003 Ford F-550 4x4 unit to be used as a rescue as well. This will be custom built by Alexis out of (imagine that) Alexis, IL. While we went with a four-door cab on ours instead of a crew compartment, there's a lot of similarity between what your looking to do and what we've done. Alexis has built a number of mini-pumpers on this chassis, so they've propably got a good idea on how much weight the chassis can comfortably handle.

    I know that they're specing an AuraGen (?) underhood generator plus a portable Honda generator that can be removed from the truck for us. Couldn't offer any info on the PTO option.

    Just out of curiosity for N2DFire, did the Quigley add a lot of cost? I've heard the name, and know they're reputable but I'd be worried about adding a signifigant price over that of a factory F-550 4WD.

    A primary concern with our F-550 was handling. The committee (of which I had little to do with) really pushed Alexis to keep the heavy stuff down low. They drove a demo of a similar rig, which had quite a bit of equipment already on it, and it handled very well. This is subjective though, as they're replacing a Ford C walk-in which handling like a drunk cow.

    I think the crew compartment requirement will limit your choices for body manufacturers. Ironically, a department south of us has been lusting for exactly what you're describing for a while, and they're also named Blackhawk. Blackhawk Fire Protection District just south of Rockford, IL is the proper name, and I'll try to find out if they've ordered one yet, from whom and so forth and pass it on to you. I'm pretty sure they were looking at EVI.

    Good luck-

    -Joel

    Alexis Fire
    Last edited by npfd801; 08-07-2002 at 08:04 PM.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    Joel,

    I wasn't involved with the Spec. or purchase process of that truck (If I had been, it might have turned out better than it did, but that's another story).

    I do know that final purchase Price was just around $85K and all that bought was:
    A F-Super Duty Chassis
    A 14' Walk-In box
    A Hydraulic Generator (which was a cluster system from the word go and has since been removed/replaced).
    2 500 Watt Fixed Telescoping Floods on the front
    2 500 Watt Removable TriPod FLoods on the rear.
    And we had the box built & wired for 2 110V cord reels in the front & 2 Hydraulic Reels in the rear.

    And that's it. Every thing else was added afterwards.

    I honestly don't think Quigley would add that much to the cost when you compare final product cost, although I coud be wrong.

    Ray - if you haven't seen this one yet,
    F-550 4 Door w/ a 10' Rescue Body Lowndes County Fire Rescue

    A coule other points to consider. What is the Over All Length and Turning Radius of the F-Series Crew Cab & 10' Box vs the E-series and a 14' Box.

    Also - if you're thinking about an internation chassis - have you considered:
    1) Keep stepping up with Ford to a 650/750 chassis (650 Crew has Curb to Curb TR of 68.88 Feet)
    2) A Sterling Chassis They do not (yet) offer a crew cab so you'd still have to have a crew area built in the box. The Acterra 5500 has a GVWR of 19,000 Lbs.
    Last edited by N2DFire; 08-09-2002 at 01:15 PM.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the info.

    It may take a few days for me to reply until next week as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is in full swing. I am doing "Severity Patrol" due to extreme fire danger for 12 hrs per day on my days off which includes initial attack and response to accidents (6 fatals as of yesterday).

    We definitely want the crew body for two reasons.

    1. Shorter wheelbase = better turning radius.

    2. Although we do not transport patients, we do have occasions where the ambulance cannot access the scene due to mud or snow. We load the patient on a backboard and transport to the ambulance so a crew cab won't work.

    The F-650/750 is getting into the size of the International and our local Ford dealers cannot order it with the Cat engine because they are not set up to service them which limits us to the Powerstroke.

    Stay Safe

  7. #7
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    Default F-550

    Our Department bought a F-550 last year with a custom 14' box. I am not sure why N2DFire suggests the E-chassis as our F-550 has a passageway between the cab and the crewbox. We have it outfitted with an additional battery/generator compartment, 6 SCBA jumpseats, porta-tank and extrication gear...We are still working on the mobile cascade system and possibly a PTO generator. The turning radius is a bit large (it's a big truck and it drives kind of like a big truck! but it can be turned around on 2 lanes quite easily. I can't think of many places where you would get it into trouble (especially with the 4x4 option). It seems like a pretty good truck and it has served us well so far...

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    SubarcticFire
    I mentioned the E Series chassis simply as "food for thought".

    You state that your truck had "a passageway between the cab and the crewbox" I can't say because I haven't seen it first hand, but if it's anything like the "crawl through" options you get on a Type I Ambulance it's pretty tight and basically useless as anything more than a big hole to talk through.

    The E Series allows for the entire rear of the cab opening to be open to the crew area if you choose to set it up that way.

    Also - consider the following dimensions (from the Ford Body Builders Layout Manual)

    2002 E-550 Wheel Base - Cab to Axle (in inches)
    159.5 - 100.0
    177.5 - 118.0
    191.5 - 132.0
    209.5 - 150.0
    233.5 - 174.0

    2002 F-550 Wheel Base - Cab to Axle (in inches)
    140.8 - 60.0
    164.8 - 84.0
    188.8 - 108.0
    200.8 - 120.0

    Now consider the fact that you can place more box between the cab and rear Axle on the 159.5" WB E Series than you can the 164.8" WB F Series. Thus a 14' Box (168") would only hang over the rear Axle 68" on the E Series and 84" on the F Series.

    Combine this with the fact that an E Series is much shorter from the front bumper to the rear of the cab than an F Series and you now have a truck with a shorter Overall length and a shorter wheel base (and thus a tighter turning radius).

    Also - by placing more of the body in front of the rear axle, you minimize the "lightning effect" on the front end by not having as much weight behind the rear axle.

    Please don't think I posted this to be a smart@$$, because I'm not. I simply offered the E Series chassis as an alternative. When you consider chassis cost vs. GVWR vs. Wheel base (Turning Radius) I think the E Series is a darn good alternative.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

  9. #9
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    N2DFire

    You convinced me...It may very well be a better option. It is true about the passageway on a F-550, We do have people pass through it into the front passenger seat but it is not always an easy feat if not coordinated well .

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    Originally posted by SubarcticFire
    N2DFire

    You convinced me...It may very well be a better option. It is true about the passageway on a F-550, We do have people pass through it into the front passenger seat but it is not always an easy feat if not coordinated well .
    How come you wern't here when I needed you ? *L* I tried to get our truck built on an E-Series, but to no avail. Instead we bought the POS we have now.

    Also - don't think I'm saying the E-Series is the end all - be all chassis for all rescue trucks. It has it's good points, but like anything else they have to be weighed aginst the bad points (or the good points of another chassis).

    Don't suppose you have any pictures of you're truck online somewhere do ya ?
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

  11. #11
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    Default F-550

    Take a look at www.attackone.com. Under products ours is the unit with the number "29" on it. They'll build what ever you need. They've done some gov't contracts I believe. We are pleased with the tight turning radius and the Powerstroke diesel. No major problems as of yet. It weighed in at around 16,000 lbs and would still get up and go. They've done a couple of other trucks for us as well but no 4x4's
    "dfwscotty@hotmail.com"

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