1. #1
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    Default AF surplus 5000gal tankers

    There have been quite a few Air Force surplus 5000gal tankers (fuel) transfered to fire dept thru Forestry. Old 70s vintage units were Dodge I think, 80s vintage are Macks. Have a very large box behind the cab (equipment storage or pump ???) then 5000gal tank.

    Who out there is using these units? How do they work out? Not a real big engine for a large load. Can you maintain 55mph on highway? What is in the box behind the cab? What is overall length (fit in bay)? Are the tanks baffled? Did you reduce tank size (JP5 is 6.2lb/gal vs. 8.2lb/gal for H20)? Or where do axle loadings come out compared to ratings? What do you think of the on board pump (I think 650gpm)?
    Last edited by neiowa; 12-23-2004 at 04:07 PM.

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    8 years ago we obtained an AF tanker from the ND Forest Service. We looked at what needed to be done to it to make safe for the fire service and the cost. We decided against it because of the cost. The truck went to another department that upgraded it for the fire service. It was a Mack chassis with a 210 HP Cat and a auto trans, too small for that amount of weight on a soft road in the spring. The tank had no baffles, quick dumps, or a pump for water. The chassis needed a third axle for proper weight distribution. The box between the cab and tank had a pump and hose reel for aviation fuel.

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    I'm guessing pump is a PTO. I'm finding is a 650gpm which could be pretty useful. The CAT is a big on the small size which is a concern.

    No Newton dump on a fuel tanker? Go figure?

    Anyone else using one of these trucks?

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    Massachusetts Forestry has one.

    Talked to their guys @ NE Chiefs in Springfield a few years back, do to it's weight & speed when full...they respond empty then fill up near the scene. They did say it's a nice water supply when it gets there for forestry work! Now, there normal response is probably measured in the two to three digit range of mileage...

    http://www.mass.gov/dcr/stewardship/firecont/intro.htm

    (Couldn't find a pic of it online, and I've never scanned the one I have at home of it)
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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    I would not put money into a conversion.

    The large compartment was for fuel filters, piping and pump. None of it was designed for water.

    The truck is underpowered and probably overloaded. It was designed to haul a liquid that weighs about one to one and a half lb per gallon less than water.

    It was designed for airfield operations which means maximum operating speeds were normally in the 10-25 mph range.

    The tank is not baffled nor is it sumped to the rear to allow a dump valve to be installed.

    You could probably build a good tanker on a used chassis, new NFPA compliant tank and a portable pump that would meet your needs for not a whole lot more than the cost of conversion.

    Stay Safe
    IACOJ

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    Our department has an AF tanker. As most have already mentioned, it is way underpowered with a tankful of water and never gets much over 40 - 45 MPH loaded. Empty the truck can reach 55 fairly easily. We still use the unit because of the handy 5,000 gallons on wheels, but its almost too underpowered to be of value.

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    We have one and our tankis baffled. We can reach 55 with ours, but it takes some time to get there and it must be flat ground. We put our own Newton quick dump in it and also cut some larger holes in the baffle to drain faster.

    Anyway, pictures can be found at www.DanburyFire.com

    http://elwood.pionet.net/~danbury/dfd/armadillo.html
    http://www.geocities.com/danburyfire...nial/index.htm
    http://elwood.pionet.net/~danbury/Gr...ta/Thumbs1.htm


    I'm sure there are more pictures of the truck on there, I just don't have time to go through them all.

    Todd

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    Originally posted by Rayr49
    I would not put money into a conversion.

    The large compartment was for fuel filters, piping and pump. None of it was designed for water.Irrelevant, remove the fuel filter seperators (reduce vehicle weight). Centrifigal pump is a centrifigal pump (in general).

    The truck is underpowered and probably overloaded. It was designed to haul a liquid that weighs about one to one and a half lb per gallon less than water.Most certainly not overloaded when hauling JP5, military is very particular about GVWR. Did I ask who reduced tank size (compensate for increased load)? Yes. Issue in shortening tank becomes front axle load. Relevant is what is rear axle rating and noone yet has answer. Increase in load H20 vs JP5 is approx 9500lb so total vehicle weight from 46000lb to 55500. Remove mis fuel equipment add fire equipment call it 57000. Typical Axle rating (have not found anyone with info yet) of 18000lb front. So approx 39000lb on rear (so what is rear suspension/axle ratings).

    It was designed for airfield operations which means maximum operating speeds were normally in the 10-25 mph range.No, was design by Mack as a CL8 truck. Sold to AF with a smallish engine for use as an airfield tanker. Typically not located on hills (where you need hp). Refuelers drive over highways to fuel farms in order to fill then return to airfields (ie at highway speeds but not n a big hurry (always a good idea for any tanker). More than 210hp would be nice (add turbo for 250hp version of the CAT3208 engine or live with). Beggers can't be choosers.

    The tank is not baffled nor is it sumped to the rear to allow a dump valve to be installed.In researching the Mack 5000gal refuelers I have found they ARE baffled and in fact have stainless steel tanks. Install a sump, or not.

    You could probably build a good tanker on a used chassis, new NFPA compliant tank and a portable pump that would meet your needs for not a whole lot more than the cost of conversion. You have not priced this stuff out have you? Your dept has more cash than typical rural vol. dept? I would not purchase a Mack but assume we buy an mid 80s Mack similar to the AF refueler (with 40-90000mi). Where are you going to find a WELL maintained diesel auto with minimal miles? Call it $20000 to purchase if you could find. SS or poly tank at $5/gal = $25000. 650gpm midship pump installed (new) $10000 Big equipment compartment $3500. Total of $58500 THEN convert to fire dept with dump hardware, lights, radios etc. Or get tank truck for free. Perhaps (that is basis of my original topic) shorten the tank and reduce capacity to 4000gal (and reposition to keep over CL of rears).

    If a rural dept has cash to purchase fleets of trucks to establish a proper tanker shuttle, GREAT. The alternative is not to sit around complaining about things. Same story in our area. Don't have, can't get, won't work. Brush truck, water storage, cascade, old pumper. State forester hasn't delivered a new Pierce truck to us so they and DOD surplus is worthless; yadda yadda yadda. We can't afford a better truck and the mayor/council are idiots/hate us/won't support us. Over and over. Nonsense. Just do it. www.stanleyiowa.com
    Last edited by neiowa; 12-24-2004 at 12:16 PM.

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    From the FEPP website, check it out at:
    http://www.fs.fed.us/fire/partners/f...successut.html
    Last edited by arhaney; 12-24-2004 at 12:47 PM.
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    Thanks, LeuitEFDems

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    Well,neiowa, First I spent twenty years in Air Force Fire Protection. I was around these trucks a lot at different bases around the world. I stand by my comment on use and speeds typically driven. The normal longest trip was from the flight line to the refill area. They typically did not drive over the road to fuel farms to reload. The fuel farms were on base and supplied by pipeline, railcar, or contracted commercial semi-trailers delivering to the fuel farms. They were designed to haul fuel to the aircraft and refuel it.

    Baffles in these tanks are not NFPA compliant baffles. Check the number of fire apparatus accidents involving tankers. Most are conversions of fuel or oil trucks that were overloaded. Check the NIOSH web site.

    Yes, all centrifugal pumps work the same. Pumps designed to pump fuel use different seals and other components. Check on parts availability and cost before you commit to the pump.

    We are funded fairly well. Our 2005 Budget is approximately $125,000.00 total. Approximately one half is capital outlay which includes a $33,000.00 bldg payment and a $12,000.00 truck payment.

    The truck payment is for a 2004 tanker. The tanker was bid as NFPA compliant. Chassis is a Freightliner M-2 with a 300hp Cat engine and Allison automatic. Tank is a 2000 gal poly with 10" rear and driver's side dumps. Pump is a Waterous 500 GPM pto. Thr truck has compartments on both sides and a portable tank rack. Total cost $110,000.00. We could have been under $100,000.00 if we had gone with a portable pump piped in instead of the pto.

    We considered building our own on a used chassis and found that there are a tandem axle diesel chassis with allison autos readily available. Years range from the mid 80's to the mid 90's. Mileage is as low as 50 to 60 thousand.

    We figured that we could build a 3000 gal tandem axle unit for about $60,000.00 using a portable pump piped in. Chassis and tank cost was no more than $45,000.00

    Do you want this tanker to nurse an engine or will it be used to shuttle water? If it is used to shuttle and dump, a large pump is not needed if you can dump fast enough. A well designed tank with a proper sump leading to your dump valves speeds up the process.

    I know of several departments that took the time to convert these units. They got rid of them as soon as they could due to poor handling and being underpowered. I assume your state exempts fire apparatus from axle load limits. Fed limits, if I recall correctly are 12,000 lb front axle and 20,000 per rear axle. A tandem would be legal at 52,000 lbs.


    Stay Safe
    IACOJ

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    Rayr49...

    I concur with your viewpoint. I was a civilian CFR fire fighter for the WiAng for 7 years. The base I was at and the Air Force reserve base on the same airport had those refuelers. Some were on Dodge chasis, some were Mack and some were some square front ugly dogs that I don't recall the manufacturer. Anyways, both of those bases had tank farms right on the base and the distance between the tank farm and the flightline didn't exceed a 1/2 mile in either case. These refuelers NEVER saw the highway and NEVER were driven at anywhere near highway speeds.

    They are not designed to carry the weight of water, nor are they designed to travel at speeds beneficial to emergency water supply. I believe the cost to adapt one of these trucks would far exceed their value.

    neiowa...

    To be honest I found your answer to Ray to be condescending and totally uncalled for. He spoke on the topic from his many years of experience in working in close proximity to these trucks. Sorry the answers weren't what you wanted to here.

    As for your line "beggers can't be choosers", nonsense. You took a 4 wheel drive dump truck and converted it to a useable wildland truck. Where did you get the money to do that? I understand the truck itself was free and I commend you on that. In fact if you could tell me how to access that same federal property program I would love to get one of those dump trucks to convert for my volly FD.

    We recently acquired through the state VTAE program a 1986 Chevy 5/4 ton 4 wheel drive pick up that we had converted into a brush truck. The total cost of this project including the chassis was around $17K. We couldn't have bought the chasis new for that price and the truck has been appraised at $50k for replacement insurance. So I see the value of the surplus route. But not at the cost of safety or reliability.

    Again look at safety, weight, NFPA compliance (baffles in particular), brakes, power to move the truck, and cost of conversion. Unless you are willing to honestly look at those items none of what anybody says here matters anyways.

    FyredUp

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    FyredUp,

    The State of South Dakota has two programs that help the fire service with federal property.

    The first is run by the State Wildland Fire under the State Dept of Agriculture. This program consists of a shop at one of the state prisons that builds brush trucks and tankers using federal surplus chassis. The program is run on a cost share with the department normally paying 50% of the cost. The drawback is that you never get title to or own the vehicle. Esentially the chassis is "free" but you are paying for the conversion. It has to be returned to the state when you no longer have use for it.

    The second program is set up for state and local governments, schools and certain non-profits. This agency procures federal surplus property and resells it to qualified agencies. The inventory includes everything from vehicles to bandages and office supplies. You do own anything bought from them and you do get a vehicle title. Our local branch has a P-4 crash truck they are trying to sell for $6000.00. They're not having much luck as they are located next to Ellsworth AFB and too many of us have no so good memories of the P-4.

    Check with your state reps and see if they have anything similiar.

    Stay Safe
    IACOJ

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    Ray,A couple points of interest.Typically a tandem rear will have axle load ratings of 17-23K depending on who built it and the intended end use.Or a combined rear rating of 34 to 46k.The issue of "sumps" for dump valves keeps coming up.I have both "sumped" and "unsumped"tanks in my fleet and to be perfectly honest in most shuttle ops I don't see any difference in delivery rates.Of course I don't hold the unit until the last drops out either.As far as the tanker crashes go,many times there are operators being assigned to driving these vehicles that have never driven anything bigger than a Yugo in their lives.The mentality is"Oh,it's a tanker that doesn't go very fast so it's OK for Joe to drive".My thoughts are that you want your VERY BEST drivers in your tanks not second string.Baffling?It's great but if the unit is full,it doesn't have a real big effect on ops.Go ahead and ask me how I know(hint:Milk tanks).NFPA is great,but a lot of rigs have been built,still operating,and fires put out by equipment that probably wasn't 100% Nfpa compliant.The root cause of most tanker incidents are caused by overdriving or inattention.And yes,baffling(or lack of)follows into the "overdriving"category.In my neck of the woods "tankers"are operated either full or empty which makes baffling a rather "moot" point.We've got an old military 5000 which was used for years in my second dept but was cut down to 3500 when the truck was replaced with a later model chassis.Still haulin' water and putting out fires today.And out of thirty some members there are 6 regular drivers for that truck.Because it's "homemade"and unsafe?No because the Chief is clever enough to realize with that much weight he only wants his best behind the wheel.On your new tanker at a M2 with a 300 I'm assuming it's a 3126 Cat which is adequate but not overpowered.You will enjoy the turning radius however,a pretty nimble little unit.Add a power actuated dump valve and you be styling. T.C.

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    Rescue101,

    I concour with your views. We too often allow drivers to operate apparatus that they lack sufficient training on, and may also be poorly designed.

    We need baffles due to the large amount of wildland support thst we do. We may reservice a couple of brush trucks with 200-300 gal at point A and then go a couple of miles on forest service roads to service some more units at point B.

    You are right on the CAT engine. It will maintain 25 MPH on a 10% grade which is adequate. We went with manual dumps to keep cost down but the chassis came with A/C and Stereo.

    Stay Safe
    IACOJ

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    Ray,I'm thinking we added some baffles to the 5000 when we cut it down but I work off so many rigs I have a hard time remembering.Next time I empty the tank I'll look.But I know our 2200 gal rig is "fuel oil"baffled and we don't have any issues with that.If they are full they can't "surge" nor will they empty.Since we don't run them any other way,it becomes a non issue.The only two home builts we operate are the 2200 and the 3500 everything else is late enough to be poly which of course is Nfpa.And I hear where you're coming from on interface,we switched out our 6x6 from an old converted fuel to a nice low profile poly with more water and a foam cell yet it rides lower on the truck.Less pucker factor on side hills.Enjoy that "baby" freightshaker,the allison is going to "ruin" ya.Hehe T.C.

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