Our department is currently designing a new rescue vehicle. One of the concerns raised was a roll-up door freezing up in moderate to severe winter conditions.
My question is three parts.
A. Are roll-up doors/compartments a poor choice vs. conventional doors in relatively dry moderate to severe winter conditions?
B. If you were purchasing a roll-up door system, what manufacturer would you recommend in terms of quality, parts availability, and service?
C. Do you have any special design considerations that you would incorporate in a roll-up door system?
Kindly limit your responses to actual personal experiences rather than manufacturers claims.
Thank-you in advance for your valuable input
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11-08-2002, 12:39 PM #1
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
- Western Canada
Do you have problems with roll-up doors in winter conditions?
11-08-2002, 01:12 PM #2
We've never had a problem from weather/conditions since 1976. Of course, I've only been around '87 with them 5 different trucks, at least three different door manufacturers.
We're in northeastern Connecticut, just south of the normal main Rain/Snow line so we get a lot of mixed weather. Some years we barely get six inches, other years we get several feet of snow at once and some of the trucks may wear chains for weeks on end.
I do prefer the style with a bar to open with, the push-buttons are tougher and not as much leverage to open with when wearing gloves. But in either case no major problems.
We rinse them off after winter calls, but we do that anyways even with our trucks with conventional doors.
Equipment storage is an issue, but that is addressed by properly storing equipment and using lips/straps as appropriate. Equipment loose enough to jam a door is also loose enough to fall out and land on your foot with a conventional door.
The space taken up by the roll can be an issue, and that's why we don't use them on the ambulances or our small Service truck. For the big trucks, the rolls predominantly roll up into high space that's not practical for storage.
My only major thought on, "Well, we shouldn't have done it that way." is we have a roll-up door on the back of our rescue that covers a large SCBA compartment. We used to roll the Rescue to house calls, so it picked up a lot of road grime that worked it's way into the compartment and thus settled on the SCBAs. A couple **high quality, well weather stripped, tight closing** conventional doors probably would've done a better job in sealing it.
11-08-2002, 07:47 PM #3
We've had our tower and rescue pumper for a little over a year, both are equipted with roll ups, no major problems related to weather.
Where we have had problems, you need to keep them clean, just a little dust in the groves can make them hard to open, so it must be rinsed on a regular basis. They do eat up space inside the compartment. As Dal said, you have to retain you gear inside a little better than you would with a conventional door, if a tool get loose on the way to the scene it may damage the door.
Which leads me to the worse thing about roll ups, they are very easily damaged. Once damaged, they do not like to open up and can jam partly open on you. We had a close brush with a tree (really a big sapling which didn't do much other damage)last year which all but completely jammed two compartments shut. One compartment had our cribbing, the other had the airbags, winch, air hose, and electric tools.
In hind sight, while roll ups are nice, I don't think they are worth the money we pay for them. I'd put a mix on my next truck, maybe a few big compartments for easy acess, and conventional doors for the others.
The other big draw back, no "roof" for the pump operator to stand under while its pouring out and you're just circulating water
11-09-2002, 10:33 AM #4
- Join Date
- May 2001
- Avon, CO
We have had roll up doors for a couple of years on our Quantums and I am definitely not a fan. We probably get a lot more winter grime than you so I am a bit more biased. For some reason we got the doors powder-coated with red. I would highly recomend the aluminum colored doors as the red tends to show their wear soon after purchase. They are very hard to keep clean. Dirt will leak out from between the slats for weeks after the snow stops falling. The tracks definitely need to be maintained almost daily depending on their use. One of our engines is used much less and the doors operate like butter. I definitely agree about getting the doors with the bar to open the doors. As far as equipment jamming the doors closed, I have never seen that happen and we overload our compartments with way too much stuff. One thing I do like and wish we had is a roll up for our side mount pump panel. I dont like the side mount but we have them and a door over it would look great. Another positive with the roll up is the space saved in the bay. We have small bays and accessing equipment in the bay is a breeze. Hope this helps.
12-15-2002, 05:20 PM #5
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
Hi from Montreal,
Go for the roll-ups...Might I recommend
Make sure you you don't have galvanized
steel tracks. And stay away from the painted doors(powder)
Our first truck with roll-ups had the
galvanized tracks...ALL the tracks had to be replaced within 3 years.
Stick with aluminum or stainless steel
they are well worth the higher cost.
Just keep them clean and they are no
problem even in the coldest temps.
Last edited by don120; 12-15-2002 at 05:23 PM.
12-16-2002, 09:05 AM #6
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
We have roll up doors on one of our trucks the dirt that stays between the grooves is a pain get the truck a little wet and this brown dirt will start to run down the sides. Happpens sometimes when we are washing the truck.
Our doors are also red, should have put a plate at the top of the compartment to protect them when rolled up we get scratches on the doors from equipment being removed and hitting the rolled up door in the top of the compartment.
Our doors ar ROMs and have the bar closer only way to go. They operate fine and do have advantages.
12-17-2002, 03:12 AM #7
We have had our heavy rescue truck with roll-up doors for nearly 10 years. Like others have said, they can be a problem with dirt and grit. They can also freeze shut if you go on a call soon after washing the rig in cold temperatures. We avoid that problem by "exercising the doors" soon after washing and drying the rig. It makes you all speckled with grit but it beats having your doors freeze shut.BE SAFE
Before Everything, Stop And First Evaluate
01-02-2003, 10:28 PM #8
- Join Date
- Aug 2002
- Rising Sun, MD
Have had a single roll-up door on the rear of our one engine since 1997 and have had no problems.
As we were spec'ing our new rescue we heavily debated back & forth on roll-ups vs. conventional...
We eventually decided to go with the roll-ups. Our justification was based on several reasonings: 1.) So we could easily access all three sides of a pull out tray; 2.) So we could easily access both sides of a pull out tool board; 3.) To help with unreeling electric cords, air hoses, and hydraulic hoses; 4.) To help with equipment access in tight locations.
Although we would've rather had painted doors, we went with the anodized aluminum because we had heard about problems with the painted doors having the paint come off.
The doors are made by Dover, as was the one on the engine.
When we first got the rescue in, I thought we had made a wrong decision...
They looked horrible. It seemed like we had lost a ton of usable space, with the roll at the top of the compartments, and the lack of doors to mount items to.
But the day after we put it in service, on the first call we ran with it- a vehicle accident with double entrapment- the minute we stopped & I jumped out & threw open all the doors and had unobstructed access to all of our equipment- I knew we had made the right decision...
(... and I've grown used to how they look.)
Now, would I want them on everything... I don't know. But for our rescue, they were definately the way to go.
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