1. #1
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    Default Converting a pumper into a tanker

    Looking for any experiences that anyone might have had in converting a pumper into a straight tanker. We have six pumpers in three stations in our department, with one in each station that is very rarly used. They have 1000 gal. tanks on each. My thought was to strip the old tank, hose bed, and compartments off of two of the pumpers and put on a 2000 gal. poly tank and use the truck as a water tanker. Any thoughts good,bad, or indifferent especially from anyone who has done something like this would be very helpfull.



    Thanks,
    Bunnie

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    Cool

    All I know is my neighboring department transformed a snorkel into a tanker. They had that done by US Tanker fire appaartus. Maybee call them an see what they tell you. Here is there web link;

    http://www.ustanker.com/

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    I would just leave them all as engines. The time it takes to get ALL of the water out of the tank is less with a pump than it is with a "conventional" style tanker, i.e. gravity dump. On one of our pumper/tankers, we can idle off all 2000 gallons out the back using a short section of soft sided suction in 90 seconds, or we can pump it off through 100' of 4 inch hose into a folding tank in 100. There is no one in our department, or any department, that can back a Peterbilt engine into a folding tank safely in 10 seconds.

    All we do, when we use a folding tank, is pull up, off load some 4", put the tank fill device on the folding tank, hook it up to the truck, and open the valve.
    -Bozz

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    Originally posted by nozzelvfd
    All I know is my neighboring department transformed a snorkel into a tanker. They had that done by US Tanker fire appaartus. Maybee call them an see what they tell you. Here is there web link;

    http://www.ustanker.com/

    Would this be the truck?
    http://www.ustanker.com/newdeliverie...ghts_large.jpg
    Ryan

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    Step 1 - before you do anything else is to determine if the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) for the chassis is high enough to safely carry the extra weight.

    I tried doing a search here because I know it was mentioned before, but I *think* the standard design figure used is 10.5 Lbs per gallon combined weight for tank & water.

    For your 2000 Gal. tank - that's 21,000 Lb's in tank/water weight alone. You'll still have to allow for whatever other equipment (hose, folding tank, Pump/Plumbing, etc.) you want to add.

    Also - remember that the weight of your chassis itself is included in the GVWR so now you're looking at needing a GVWR > 21,000 LB + Chassis Weight + Equipment Weight + Fudge / safety factor (10% is a good place to start)

    IMHO - you're on the right track but you may have to scale back to 1500 Gal to make this work. Also - I agree with the idea of keeping the pump and a couple of discharges (incl. 1 pre-connect) on here.

    I will refrain from getting into a pump vs. dump debate on emptying the tank simply because I haven't really timed either one to see what works best (and what works for me may not work for you). We all know that no 2 dump sites will ever be the same and NONE are ever perfect so retaining the ability to both pump & dump will give you a more versatile apparatus.

    Also by keeping at least a couple of 2-1/2" discharges (one can be reduced down for 1-1/2" or 1-3/4" hose) you retain the ability to use this as an attack piece if your pumper is down or out on another call. Once again it all goes back to versatility. You don't say how large your area is or how close your 3 stations are so this might not be an issue for you.

    Hope this gives you a little more food for thought and be SURE to check that GVWR !! No point in creating an overloaded & unsafe truck.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
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    Watch the GVWR. If your dept uses tankers in a fold-a-tank supply role I would look into outfitting the tankers with large bore Jet or gravity dumps (10" square or more) it is an extra cost but the short dump time keeps the tankers moving instead of sitting at the dump site. Many tankers that I've seen run a single dump valve from the rear with a directional "spout" to flow it off either side. We handle water supply in an area the we are first alarm mutual aid to and we make every attempt to set the folding ponds up so that tanker traffic can drive past and only stop to dump then continue on in a loop route hitting one of the engines stationed along the route at a fill site. This helps to eliminate the backing of several large trucks and keeps them from having to pass each other on our narrow winding roads. This system works well for us but I can see where it may present more problems when the lay of the land doesn't allow for reasonable loop route distances, and of course as in any tanker job the required (or should I say desired) water flow, number and size of tank trucks available and distance to fill sites all have to add up to achieve a steady water supply.

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    Default stuff i forgot to mention

    After reading the replies I realized that I had forgot to mention several important facts. These are mid 70's International (I think) trucks with front mount pumps in the 750 gpm range. As fdmhbozz pointed out, I would not want to take the pump off of the front since we could still use it to pump off water with the three 2.5 outlets. Unfortunatly, on our rural volly dept. we seem to think that 2.5 hose is as big as it gets, so we only have that and 4 in. hard suction. My thought was to strip off everything behind the cab, put on a poly tank to save weight and hopefully double the water supply that each truck could carry. As N2Dfire pointed out, I need to check the GVW to see how big of a tank we can handle on the chassis, but in very general talking to some people, 2000 gal. seems to be what they think it can handle. Since these trucks are used for tankers anyway I would really like to see us get rid of all the hose (especially the two hose reals with 200 ft of 1 in booster hose), ladders, old steel tank and compartments and all the other gear that is on the trucks now and cary that much more water. Thanks for all the comments as it does give me several things to check out.
    bunnie

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    Make sure you include the engine and trans in the mix when figuring all of this out. Adding about 4 tons of weight to the truck may completely overtax both to the point of having children on bicycles passing you. Axles and brakes need to be included too.

    When you have the final price for the work compare it to a new tanker, possibly on a commercial chassis. You may find that the prie difference is not that bad and you have all the benefits of a truck designed to fit the application.

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    Good post Sven !
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    Whats your budget for this project?

    Are you planning on doing the work yourself?

    In any case check these out, pumper/tanker built on tandem, 2500 gallon, and not that badly priced.



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    Originally posted by sven73
    Make sure you include the engine and trans in the mix when figuring all of this out. Adding about 4 tons of weight to the truck may completely overtax both to the point of having children on bicycles passing you. Axles and brakes need to be included too.
    An excellent set of points to consider. Unfortunately I always tend to include this in my GVWR check because one tends to assume that a truck should have all it's components rated for the max GVWR, but sadly we find this is not always the case.

    Better safe than sorry.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
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    Another consideration...what sort of power plant do you have under this thing. We have a 3000 gallon tanker that loads fast, dumps fast...but is a fricken bear when it comes to moving. Too much weight for the engine and tranny setup. To give you an idea of how slow this thing goes, on a hill we max out going uphill at about 20mph, the only reason it gets to fires fast is that our station is at the top of a hill, so it just rolls in neutral.

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    Bozz,Why are you backing tankers(tenders)?Never heard of side dumps?And pumping off water?If these are older pieces often a Newton dump will unload much quicker than older pumps will.I come from an area that depends heavily on water on wheels and we almost never pump it off unless it's a real small incident.We also run multi tank "farms"so you don't need to back your petercar up in ten seconds you just need a pump operator that can run the "farm".T.C.

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    Why would you back a tanker? How else do you get it into position? Many country roads are not wide enough to allow a porta-tank to be set up and still allow the apparatus to pull up next to or around them, requiring the Chauffeur to back into the tank. And yes, I have heard of side dumps. We were going to get them on the first of our pumper/tankers we ordered from Custom Fire, but our friend, Jim Kirvida, told us to try using two tank-to-pump valves. If we didn't like the setup, he would have changed the truck over to Newton Dumps. Both of the pumper/tankers are setup this way. and I am pretty damn sure that they can pump off their ENTIRE load faster than any tanker in this area. NFPA 1901 allows a gravity tanker to retain 10% of its load.

    That said, in the last 25 years, our department has evolved from having four engines, three tankers, a brush truck, a heavy rescue, and a ladder, to having two pumper/tankers (replacing two engines and two tankers), an Urban/Rural Interface Pumper (replacing an engine and a brush truck), and a Quint (serving as another engine if needed). In the next year, we will hopefully be adding a rescue/engine--replacing an engine and the heavy rescue--furthering ourselves from the single-dimention apparatus idea. WE ARE CUTTING OUR FLEET IN HALF!!!!! We do not have the staffing at ANY time to send 10 trucks of our own down the road.

    That said, neither of the pumper/tankers have any form of gravity dump, because it is impractical for our geography to set up a porta-tank. I believe some of the people from the area that frequent this site can attest to that (You know who you are, too).

    [/rant]
    -Bozz

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    Just so you know Bozz,I also work in a "rural"area.I guess I'm fortunate to have about 80%of my response area is on a "loop"road.Anything else is handled with a rural hitch.Every tanker we've built/ordered in the last ten years(area wide)has both a pump and side and end dumps.All the pumpers have provisions so the tanks can be positioned in front or behind the pumper.This along with the looped road system allows a one way tanker travel,dump and go.We have easily maintained rates of 1100-1500 gpm sustained once the units are in place.Occasionally we have to back but the side dumps have cut this dangerous procedure by upwards of 70%.I've worked the tanker training program with a guy here that's pretty sharp.We test each truck for fill and dump rates,record them and enter them into the delivery calculator and we can tell you real close what we can deliver over a specified distance.No pump offs.The 10% doesn't bother or affect the operation as it's factored in to the delivery calculations.I'm not suggesting that my way is better than yours,I'm suggesting a method to get around a dangerous procedure.And one with a proven track record(here).I truly doubt that some of your roads are any smaller than some of mine.Like any fireground operation,the first 5 minutes spent on PROPER set up will determine your end result.Travel around the country a bit,you'll find none of us are that far apart.And somebody somewhere ALWAYS has a better "mousetrap"T.C.

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    There is no sense in arguing about this subject. I know what works for us, and that is pumping the tank off through two tank-to-pump valves. You know what works for you, and that is dumping your load via the forces of gravity. That is what we used to do, but Jim Kirvida sold us on the idea of strictly pumping.

    Some time next week, I'll see about obtaining some exact figures for "the twins"--in regards to pumping through a stretched 4" and pumping through a 4" chunk of soft sided suction--and post the results.
    -Bozz

    Air Force Medic

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    Talking We had an arguement?

    Well see Bozz,there you go.I don't see our discussion as an arguement,I see it as a useful exchange of information.While you're busy hooking and unhooking hoses,I'm going to flip a switch,dump my water and go.As a result of the fill and dump Calcs,we've changed the way we spec tank to pump piping so to allow full flow to the pump.As I mentioned in my last post,there isn't a right or wrong way to get water on the problem.You use what you're used to and what works for your system.Remember everything we discuss here benefits SOMEONE by giving them ideas they may not have considered previously.I like to keep my options open so why not have the best of both worlds,twin pump feeds(or a 4"one)AND dump valves?Thoughts to ponder.And if I happen to get your "Irish"up it doesn't really distress me,you seem to come up with some really good posts when that happens. T.C.

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    Hey Bozz,

    Sorry for being late on the mutual aid call. LOL

    I am from the same county as Bozz, in actuality I live in a community about 20 minutes away. His chief taught my fire science classes and explained some of the details on these trucks that make sense.

    The reason for not putting the dump valves on the back and side of the truck is two fold, first if you can pump it off as fast or faster than a gravity dump, that gives a lot more versatility for getting the water off of the truck. It doesn't need to be dumping into a porta tank to come off the truck. I've been told that they also have a short piece of LDH where they have inserted a piece of hard suction. This is put on a discharge and "acts" like a dump chute. In this respect, you can do the drive by "Dump". I agree that doing the round trip for a tanker shuttle is great, but our area has a lot of lone, dead end roads or its just that its a 10 mile round trip for one dump, so the round trip isn't practical.

    The second reason for not putting the dumps in the back is one of space conservation. The "Twins" are the trucks that carry the majority of thier structural firefighting gear. By not putting the rear dumps and associated sump, they now have the entire rear compartment to use for storage.

    One thing that I would like to say is that out east, especially in PA, it seems that you have the high capacity tanker shuttles down to a science. Here in southern Wisconsin, there are too many departments that are lucky to plan for a continued operation where a 500 gpm minimum is kept up. There isn't much thinking about having a big system set up until you need it. The standard is that we'll roll to a commercial fire in a non hydranted area with two engines and two tankers. If we need more, we'll call for them, usually one or two tankers at a time. Now the issue is that we can't get the water off the tankers anywhere near as fast as the tankers are bringing it in. You just cant keep up with 1 or 2 porta tanks on the ground, set up in a way where only one or two tankers can dump at a time.

    There is a dept north of here who has a very intelligent chief and set up probably the best water shuttle operation the state had seen.
    They flowed 2000 gpm for two days straight at a printing plant that caught fire and collapsed. The limitation that was run into was that of the water supply in the area. They were litterally pulling water from one community or a pond/lake until it was almost out, then move out to the next one.


    I think the biggest thing to keep in mind is to not limit how you put water on the fire. I've seen departments that run out of water on scene, and waited 15 minutes until the next tanker showed up. The issue is that there were 3-4 engines parked on the road that brought personnel. The tanks were full, but only 500 -750 gallons. NO, they won't work as tankers in a shuttle well, but you're looking at 1500 - 2500 gallons sitting there that you could use on the fire. You just need to be flexible in how you transport the water and move it around. You can't say, we'll only call tankers that gravity feed. That may leave 4000 gallons sitting just down the street while you wait for tankers from 10 -15 miles away. This is because they arent tankers because they pump off their water. As long as the trucks can take on, move, and dump off the water efficiently, thats what matters. It wouldn't be difficult to set up a pumper to be able to pump off water from the drivers seat if you put switches up front for th discharges (Large Diameter), left the tank to pump valves open, and left the little piece of hose hooked up to the side (not that it would take long to take off if you used 5" storz).

    Anyways, the big trick is too keep your mind open and think outside the box.

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    Hehe slayer,see above.You're getting the grip of where I was headed.But to flat out say pumping off is faster than dumping just isn't always so.We are in an area that uses dump & go with foldatanks and rural hitches.We've got large capacity hose beds,reel trucks,relay valves and all that wonderful stuff.As long as you can lay a line and squeeze a pumper in the road beside it we can EFFECIENTLY pump over a mile of ldh.Again different strokes for different folks.A lot of people don't realize that their tank to pump piping won't necessarily flow the capacity of the pump particularly on older trucks.We SPEC ours to provide rated flow from the tank.I've put water down the road both ways but I've got to say for our area,we've found the multiport grav tankers to be the best system.And the way we set them up takes NO compartment space,all valving and chutes are aft of the compartment area.Nor is there a huge sump,just a small area just forward of the piping connection.I'm very fortunate in that a Structure alarm in my town puts 8100 gals in motion immediately,with another 13,000 from MA companies upon confirmation of a Working Fire in an unhydranted area.More is available if needed,we have a tanker task force in place for greater alarm fires.I know where you're coming from on areas employing different tactics,that's one of the neat things about our business.Someones always got(or thinks they do)a better idea.And we ALL can benefit from exposure to different concepts.But I'm inherently lazy,and if I can maintain my supply by flipping a switch and do the bulk of picking up hose with a lever and a flow control valve: WHY NOT? T.C.

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    As I stated before, we "got around" the problem of not being able to supply water to the pump fast enough from the tank by installing twin tank-to-pump valves.

    Originally posted by flmslayr2
    Anyways, the big trick is too keep your mind open and think outside the box.
    Hey slayr.

    Good to see more of Fire Truck Chuck's students. But your last statement, as quoted above, is incorrect. The big trick is to keep your mind open and think outside the folding tank.

    At least some people in this county can work together.
    Last edited by fdmhbozz; 09-30-2004 at 07:16 PM.
    -Bozz

    Air Force Medic

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    Or a single 4".Think outside the twins. T.C.

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    One thing I've learned in this business is you can't say never, and you can't say always. There are enough smart people that figure out better ways of doing things. Pumping off seems to be the better way when you have extremely limited access (whether through a 4" LDH line or through a line into a tank)and can only get one tanker at a time to the tank. The gravity feed tanker (when designed properly) works in a good shuttle when more than one tank is on the ground. The biggest thing is to engineer the trucks to minimize the two biggest spots where you can improve a tankers GPM, Fill Time and Dump Time. The next biggest trick is to figure out how to utilize all these different pieces of equipment be the most effective. Technically speaking, a ladder truck with a 300 gallon tank can haul water in shuttle. Is it a very efficient means of doing so, no way. But, if the shuttle is trying to achieve a 1000 gpm movement by dumping one tanker at a time into one tank, and only using 3-4 trucks, chances are it isn't going to work. I've read little bits and pieces about the Water on Wheels training out east, and wish I know how to bring it out this direction.

    The setup that Bozz is trying to explain works makes the most out of all types of trucks. There are provisions for getting the most from the different types. There is an attack pumper that lays out a line that has a manifold attached to it (I'm sure this similar to your rural hitch you talk about). Now, Into this manifold, a line can be hooked from the pumper drafting from the porta tank and from a pumper/tanker or two that is setup for high flow from the truck tank. In this setup, just because you are limited to the number of tanks you can drop (due to driveway size), doesn't limit you as much for the amount of water you can flow. By having this setup, you can leave a hose (or two) near the road. Two pumper/tankers are now able to pump directly through the manifold to the attack pumper.

    Rescue 101, I know what you are saying about being lazy. The easiest way can also be the easiest to remember. I can see this setup being able to move water a bit quicker initially (when manpower is shortest) with less personnel. The first in pumper/tankers can hook into the manifold and pump quicker than a crew can drop and place a porta tank, connect a hard suction, dump the water and pull a prime to start out. Now don't take that as saying that I don't think porta tanks have their spots. On high flow operations where you need lots of areas to drop water from the water transport vehicles, they are required. Its just that they do take a bit of work to get em set up, which isn't always available right away on fires.

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    I might scan in the rural water supply diagrams tomorrow if I can find the time. Pictures work better than words in the situation I *was* trying to explain.
    -Bozz

    Air Force Medic

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