1. #1
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    Default ALF or Pierce midmount tower??????

    We are in the process of specing out a new midmount tower and we have narrowed it down to a American LaFrance 100ft or the Pierce 95ft midmount. We have seen both of them in operation and they both seem like great trucks. If you have or have had either of these please advise of your likes/dislikes/experiences. Also is there anything that we should DEFINATELY ask for or spec into this truck. It will be in service for at least 15-20 years. If you know of any issues or problems with these please advise. -Thanks

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    Have them both supply you with a copy of the Operations & Maintenance Manual.

    You may mysteriously find differences between the Sales Specs and the Actual Operations.

    Do your homework.

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    Look real close at the operations of both units. it think youll find the ALF easier to use and with the new larger platform and movable controls from left to center to right is the greatest feature i think avalible. as the others said do your homework but i think you will end up with the alf. jeff

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    We have had both of these units at our station and they both operate very well. The controlls can be moved from center/left/right whch is real nice. I was just told tonight that a few companies in my area have been having warrenty issues and the service provider has not been taking care of the problems. we are looking at the new 22qft basket. Thanks Again

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    We had a demo for both units at my department recently. We liked the Pierce unit better. First reason was we like the dedicated torque box for the aerial device that comes with the Pierce unit. We were also not sold on the air ride suspension that you must get on the ALF/LTI unit. As for the operation of the hydraulic controls and set-up, the Pierce unit seemed to perform much smoother than the LTI. It also appeared that the Pierce dealer had more to offer as far as service andf capabilities than the ALF dealer did.

    Just my .02 worth!

    GOOD LUCK!!!

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    I know this only about pierce and ALF but did you guys consider Sutphen since they are the orginal makers of the midmount(Forgive me if this is wrong). I know a lot of departments including ones I was in the love the sutphens and they seem to have a good reliability record.

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    Exclamation Is there any other midmount?

    Here are some tidbits for you all. Sutphen Corporation builds the strongest mid-mount aerials you can buy. The trucks are lighter in weight than the competition which saves on maintenance. As far as service goes, the have a fleet of mobile repair trucks that can come to your station to make any repairs needed. Syracuse NY runs Sutphen aerials, as does Orlando FL. Call them if you want to know how they feel about them. The box boom contruction is the best you can buy. Sutphen is the only one mounting its master streams on the outsides of the bucket so that you can use the middle for rescue. That is because the other three sided booms can't take the torque. Syracuse had a roof cornice drop about 1 ton of brick into a Sutphen bucket and the were still able to retract the boom and drive the truck away afterwards. I say you try one before you make a big mistake.
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    I don't want to continue to move away from the original question, but as was mentioned in the previous posts, have you checked Sutphen? I agree that Pierce makes quality apparatus and ALF, well I hope their ladders are better than their pumpers. However, Sutphen has been manufacturing midmount aluminum aerials for over 30 years. Pierce always took the position that aluminum was not safe, but suddenly they have changed that stand. Pierce is also pretty new to the midmount arena.

    From a solely structural point of view the box boom used by Sutphen will always be more sound than a traditional 3 sided boom. Also they use larger lift cylinders which IMHO appear to be more securely attached than those on Pierce trucks. The platform is mounted in a way that if the levelers were to fail the platfor is still balanced and can remain in operation safely.

    Like I said before if you are only looking at ALF and Pierce my opinion would be Pierce. I have seen there trucks and they are good quality. I have never seen an ALF aerial, but the experience of neighbooring depts. with the pumpers leave doubts as to their quality. If you haven't gotten dead set on those 2 manufacturers call Sutphen the price is comprable to Pierce but they are family owned. You can get a truely custom rig from them, I have heard that Pierce tends to change specs as best meets their building needs.

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    Unless you have your heart set on one of the two companies, I think you should define how you want the truck to perform and go from there. Picking the vehicle and then trying to get it to work right is harder then having it built to what you need originally. Good Luck

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    As far as service goes, if you want to call Orlando and Syracuse, I say go ahead. They will probably tell you about how great the service is, how responsive the maker is, etc. because your talking to someone in the Administration. But do this, talk to the guys on the rigs and find out about them, what always breaks, what they get the run-around on, what has never worked, etc. Talk to the shop mechanics who turn wrenches on them not just the white shirts who spec them and sign the paperwork. And one other thing to keep in mind, the service by any dealer is going to be better to a Syracuse or Orlando than to a one Truck Co. department. Afterall, they take care of their "Flagship" customers. This is NOT specific to Sutphen, this for any builder of apparatus. Just some thoughts.

    Stay low and move it in.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    What about an Aerialscope?

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    I totally agree with STATION2,

    Orlando is a "Flagship" for Sutphen. However, I don't believe we would continue to purchase them if they weren't quality. Every apparatus has issues, but compared to surrounding departments with other manufacturers our rigs seem to have less downtime.

    Send me an email and I would be happy to provide you with phone numbers to all of our firehouses that have truck companies. Find out what the guys think, good and bad.

    Derek Schaumann
    OFD Firehouse 1
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    We have had a Sutphen for about 14 years....and nothing but problems...The controls in the bucket have failed about 2 dozens times...numerous Hydraulic leaks...replaced the bucket once...rear frame rails had to be replaced because the tire pressures on the label thats on the body are wrong....And their service to use has...to say the least...SUCKED!......We are NOT happy with Sutphen...we have 2 of them...a Tower Ladder (100' midmount) and a Heavy Rescue....And our Rescue has more problems than the Tower..transmision, Light Tower, Electrical, and Engine problems to keep it brief. Our other 2 apparatus are Engines...a 1994 Pierce Arrow and a 2004 ALF Eagle....we are very happy with the ALF and the Pierce has stood the test of time and tear....and has had only minor problems...just normal wear problems.....

    The MAJOR thing that we do not like about the Sutphen TL is that you can dirrect water past vertical and "wip" the nozzle....A basic technique in TL operations....Sure the Sutphens will move more water because of the single 90 degree bend in the waterway...but the idea is to get close into a cockloft of window and direct a master stream and apply the water quick and fierce if need be.....REMEMBER that a tower ladder is the most manuverable "attack" line you have on the fire ground....The boom can not even go below grade in order to attack heavy fire in a taxpayer....LTI and the Baker Arielscope CAN!.....Another thing we don't like is that the bucket can only fit 2 fully equipt firefighters...not much room for a third person and the bucket platform itself does not have enough room for making grabs...LTI and Baker Arielscope does....But I am sure someone in Baltimore or Orlando would disagree...these are only my opinions and experiances with the Sutphen TL....We are not even considering them for our next purchase...

    Good Luck and remember to do ALOT of research...have the vendors bring you demo apparatus and put it through your "tests".

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    Default Say what?!

    Vinnie,help a dummy here.What correlation does tire pressure have to do with rear frame rails? I've worked in a truck shop in a large construction firm and I can honestly say that's the first time I've EVER heard that one. And these guys would do things that weren't real nice to the vehicles. And I've changed frame rails,usually from collision or rollover damage,and it's not an enjoyable job. Did you guys spec your truck or was it a "spec"truck? Doesn't sound like Sutphen's usual rig.T.C.

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    It was actually a Spec'd truck...of thier standard model in 1990. The tag says 110psi but the trucking company that does our inspections says that they are only rated for 85psi and that the constant bouncing of the apparatus was a contributing factor to cracking the rails.....and they were cracked....I may have the part name wrong though...the geographic area is the "beams" or "rails" that the wheel assembly group are mounted on...that piece is what I am talking about...forgive me I am an Aircraft mechanic not a truck mechanic.

    Also the "neck" of the boom were the bucket and ladder meet was also
    cracked from the same stresses......it turned out to be a total nightmare.
    Last edited by VinnieB; 07-29-2004 at 11:41 AM.
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    Thanks,always nice to learn new things.Didn't make a lot of sense in the original post. T.C.

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    This is why if you take the time to spec it exactly how you want it there tends to be fewer problems and the long run. Syracuse tends to have more problems with there alf engines(I may be mistaken) than the sutphens.

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    Yeah, I have heard a thousand horror stories about all apparatus...we all have....

    The problem with our 2 Sutphens are that 1 is a Sutphen/Saulsbury..and the other was a "floor" model....both, in my mind, were mistakes to purchase in those 2 respects....BUT the main issue about why we will not go back to Sutphen is because of thier service to us. Another is that we want a Tower Ladder that can be used aggressivley...especillay at taxpayers and cockloft fires. LTIs and Bakers seem to be to only 2 that can do that for us.
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