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  1. #1
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    Default mini vs. commercial

    HELP! I am an officer with a small municipal volunteer department. We have a 35 sq.mile district that goes from our town with an interstate thats heavily traveled to rural farm land. Our mayor has recently put a new "Fire Safety Coordinator" in charge of our department. We recieved a F.I.R.E grant for a mini-pumper(500gpm, 300 tank, reels for our jaws, 4x4, etc.). He has decided that he is going to change it to a 5-man freightliner commercial pumper with none of those options unless we can convince him that the mini would be better. Has anyone out there gone thru this same dilemma? Any help would be greatly apperciated.


  2. #2
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    Since this mini pumper is to be funded thru a fire act grant, it will take alot of paperwork to even begin to buy something other than what was specified in the grant application. Depending on the age of your other apparatus, it's likely that the feds won't let you make the change. That being said, our dept has a similar response area and we run a 500gpm/300gwt mini on a F550. For the amount of equip we have to carry (jaws, spreader, 2 rams, simo pump, struts, cribbing, BLS medical gear, spill response, etc.) The truck is right at the GVWR. This truck runs all MVA's, medical assists (private ambulance service provides ALS service to the area), and grass/small brush fires. Given the amount of use this piece gets, it's pretty much worn out after only 5-6yrs of use. If we had to do things over again, we'd probably step up to a medium duty chassis like a FL40, IH 4400, F-650, or one of the new GM chassis. This would keep a halfway compact size but would greatly increase the payload capacity. Also, unless you are in an area where it snows alot or something like that, 4x4 isn't going to do much good given the weight and size of the rig when it's in use. Our mini is 2wd...a neighboring dept has a similar rig with 4x4 and it usually has to be winched out whenever it ventures off hard ground. Just my $.02 on the subject.

  3. #3
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    I agree with the medium duty chassis......... We also have a 2WD F-550 with 500gpm pump and 300 gallon tank and it is maxed out in it's weight. GMC 5500 chassis isn't much more expensive than the F-550, has higher GVW..... Also, depending on the manufacturer, you may not be able to put a 500 gpm pump on a Ford chassis with automatic transmission....... Not sure if you are looking for an auto or manual........

    Go with the bigger chassis if you can, and forget the 4x4....... will be too heavy........
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
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  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber firefighterbeau's Avatar
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    Ha our F-550 is actually right at maybe even over the GVWR, 400 gal tank, 200gpm pump 15 gal foam tank, all the rescue tools and BLS kits, gas meter, 2bottle cascade capabile of 3 bottles, oh and of course its 4x4, and has a remote monitor on the front bumper for grass fires. With that being said get a meduim size chassis, my chief loves this F-550 we have, but i hate it because of the weight and the fact that our front grass truck it also out heavy rescue. I'd go with a International 4400. Don't get a 4x4 unless you have snow in your area, but with that much wieght on the rear of the truck the 4x4 might not do much. just my 2 cents

  5. #5
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    The first guy got it right. All the other opinions don't matter. All money recieved through the FEMA Fire Act grant prgram HAS to be used for the purpose that the money was applied for. You probably won't even be able to upgrade the chasis if the F550 was already mentioned in the grant application which is probable because they had to approve a money figure based on what you were asking for.

    As far as all the other opinions go, I am sure they are right about the heavier duty chasis. The department that I used to volunteer for got out of the mini business. We decided it was better to put everything we needed on a pumper and stop playing musical vehicles. The city in which I am employed does not use them either. As a matter of fact I don't know of many major metropolitan departments that utilize mini-pumpers. Maybe bigger budgets allow sending a full company and all the tools at once. Who knows?

    RK

  6. #6
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    My department has two aging special services and I want them to replace one with something similar to what you guys are talking about...any pictures? I think a F550 with quick attack ability is the best, but it seems you can get some extracation tools in the mix that would be even better.
    Bucks County, PA.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    We kept considering the mini-pumper route and couldn't justify the cost, service life and weight restrictions compared to a true medium duty chassis (i.e. IH, Freightliner, etc.) We already have two F-550 4x4 rescues (no water) and have run into the weight issue already with one of them.

    Our newest rig ended up being an IH 4-door. Sure cost does increase, but if you figure how many more years of life you'll get out of such a rig, it wasn't hard to justify to the money folks. If you don't need 4wd, the cost difference isn't as bad. Illinois has a state bid program, and we saved over $10,000 from what the local dealer's "lowest" price was using the program.

    However, properly loaded, the Ford F-450/550 with the newer Powerstoke motor offers an outstanding package, as long as you don't overload it.

  8. #8
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    We ran an overloaded mini pmper for years and finally woke up. We opted for a heavy mini in 1982 (Ford F700) and just recently replaced it with a 2004 version. 5 man cab, 500 pump, 400 tank, CAFS, large hose bed and compartment space and plenty of GVW left.

  9. #9
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    Engine 1252, 2004 International 4400/Pierce, 29000 # GVW
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  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Beautiful rig. We just signed the paperwork to build our "midi pumper" on an IH 4-door, a little heavier GVW, 1000 gpm rear mount pump, 500 gallons of water. We spent a ton of time on this one, so hopefully the 1.5 years of spec writing and changes will pay off.

    Amazing how few people were willing to even bid on the rear mount, but I'm very pleased with what we're getting.

  11. #11
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    Question

    hey npfd, what manufacturer did you choose?

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    We chose General Safety for the next unit. Primarily due to the fact that they build one heck of a body (my opinion), they gave a very competitive price, and they have quite a bit of experience with a rear mount pump on this type of unit.

    Think of their Timberwolf model, only changed a bit. More compartment space, a little longer wheelbase.

    We're writing specs for a more conventional engine now. This one will get really interesting with all of the possibilites out there.

    Any specific questions on the rig, feel free to send me a private message.

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber mohican's Avatar
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    I don't think that the Fire grant is necessarily brand specific, but it will be application specific. If you applied for a 4x4 mini pumper or brush type vehicle, then I don't think changing to a larger chassis will fly. If you received the grant, then there should be someone to coordinate it with you from FEMA. Ask the coordinator.

  14. #14
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    Default

    our pierce mini:

    -2002 f-550 power stroke diesel
    -200 tank/340 pump
    -20 gallon class A foam tank
    -6kw diesel generator
    -2 - 1 3/4" preconnects (150 ft each)
    -8' light tower with 2 1500 watt flood lights
    -limited hurst extrication equipment (1 combi tool, 1 "o" cutter)
    -limited cribbing
    -various hand tools
    -ems/first aid bags

    This truck runs 1st out of our station 1 on all accidents with no entrapment and vehicle fires or other various small fires. It is second out of its station on rescue or entrapment calls, behind the heavy rescue. It has proven to be a very useful piece. It is not overweight and has given us no headaches.
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