View Poll Results: Which cab do you prefer?

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  • Spartan

    17 26.15%
  • KME

    3 4.62%
  • American LaFrance

    3 4.62%
  • Inertnationl

    5 7.69%
  • Other

    37 56.92%
  1. #1
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    Default Which cab/chassis do you prefer?

    Hey all, please select whih cab/chassis you prefer.

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    While I voted "other", I do find that I really like the "Inertnationl" cabs.

    Inert - as in not moving
    Nationl - as in the whole country

    Inertnationl - doesn't move anywhere in the country.
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    Anything is better than a chassis that can easily double as a dump truck, power company lift truck, beer truck, semi-tractor, garbage hauler, flat-bed, etc., etc., etc.

    None of those mentioned have any resemblance to the needs of the fire service, except to carry heavy loads.
    It ought to be illegal to place a fire service body on a commercial chassis.
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    Default wrong options

    I thought at first that maybe you left out some very good options on chassis. Then I voted and it was confirmed. You left out some very good options of chassis that people like. I am not sure if you did this because these are the chassis that you get to choose from. However If you are planning on getting a correct poll on chassis I would make a new poll adding HME, Pierce, Frieghtliner, Mack, E one, etc. I know that Macks aren't made anymore but that Mack CF was one heck of a cab.

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    Originally posted by jaybird210
    Anything is better than a chassis that can easily double as a dump truck, power company lift truck, beer truck, semi-tractor, garbage hauler, flat-bed, etc., etc., etc.

    None of those mentioned have any resemblance to the needs of the fire service, except to carry heavy loads.
    It ought to be illegal to place a fire service body on a commercial chassis.
    Yes, That makes sense. Everyone should stay with "custom" chassis trucks. If you can't afford a $500000 new "custom" rig, stick with a used "custom". Nothing is better than a 90% solution. Peterbilt, Mack, Freightliner, Intl, Oshkosh, etc know NOTHING about building truck chassis. Heck what do CAT, Cummins know about fire truck engines? Unacceptable. Where do we get a straight eight? What is the cost of a used Seagrave Ladder anyhow? Troll
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    neiowa, you're still a jag.

    Have you any experience in anything other than a corn-binder cab?

    The poster asked about chassis, not power plants.

    A custom cab doesn't make a $200,000 fire engine $500,000. How many fire engines/trucks/tankers have you spec'ed out? Try $35,000-$45,000.

    How many commercial cab chassis have we seen rolled over where the cab is mashed down to the bottom of the windows? A lot more than custom.

    Peterbilt, Mack, Freightliner, Intl, Oshkosh, etc know NOTHING about building truck chassis...
    I didn't say that, ***-head. I said they build a chassis for the lowest common denominator. When this chassis rolls off the line, the builder doesn't know if it'll be a fire engine, fire truck, dump truck, flat bed tow-truck, grain truck, etc., etc., etc. It'll FUNCTION as either of these. But it's not built for the demands of the fire service.

    Go have a beer.
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    I kind of like the quantum..... or Lance
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    Not flat.
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    Originally posted by captstanm1
    I kind of like the quantum..... or Lance
    I like the Quantum as well. LOTS of room inside. We wanted one for our new quint but Pierce couldnt get a Quantum aerial too fit in the station. Too tall So we went with a Dash, which is VERY nice in its own right.
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    Jaybird,your observations are a bit skewed. To address your statement,we have THREE (3) International 2674 that were built SPECIFICALLY for Fire truck chassis.So your generalizations don't hold water. You'll get what you spec or if you don't know how to spec a truck,you'll get what somebody builds you.In the case of our Int commercials they were built to our spec to be Fire trucks.And the only difference between our Spartan and the Ints is the transmission and the cab. Now why don't you put up some pictures of the Pheonix engine and find a picture of a commercial wreck later than say 82(you might have 1 such example in your picture run).Cabs in all vehicles have come quite aways since the 70's early eighties.I've seen Customs just as flat as commercials,it depends how they go and what they hit.That Ward you've got pictured was a "easy"roll or it would be flat as a pancake,I've got enough hours in one of those old clubs to know and I've got enough experience recovering truck wrecks to know what I'm saying there too.You can build a case for anything,and find a study to support it. But you can also find someone with extensive background in an area who can take the "myth" out of it. T.C.

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    R101, finally someone with a brain to make an intelligent argument.

    The Phoenix rollover you reference, if I assume correctly was Engine 7 which struck a power pole and rolled over after a car turned in front of them on July 20, 1993. It was an E-One (Hush, if I remember correctly). All of the firefighters were injured, but the information I have is that the cab remained intact, the doors operated, and all of the members were able to self-extricate.

    We have a 1993 International, and a 1985 Ford C-8000. I would dispute anybody who feels that there is enough room in the cab for what we need. The neighboring department has a 1999 or 2000 International. They have extended the back of the cab about 8 inches or so. This is a big help, but those firefighters still do not feel they have enough room to get in and out, put on air packs, stow equipment, etc., etc., etc.

    I'll agree that TRUCK design has improved greatly in the last 20 years (as have car designs), but I will not believe that any of the rigs built by these commercial manufacturers are as safe as custom chassis. Maybe the biggest reason for this is the lack of driver experience on some departments; people get behind the wheel of these rigs who drive them once or twice a week and are not nearly as familiar with them as someone driving them everyday. I do not feel as safe in a commercial cab as in a custom.

    I would love to see pictures of more recent rollovers, and encourage discussion regarding the ability of these rigs to maintain their integrity.

    -------
    Editted to add the following question:

    Rescue101, you stated that the rigs you've got were spec'ed specifically as fire apparatus, and that International built them to your specs. What do they do to the cab design that deferentiates the cab from any other commercial application? What were the other changes they made to meet your specs?
    Last edited by jaybird210; 03-21-2005 at 03:48 PM.
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  14. #14
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    My favorite.

    Easy to operate and lots of room to fully staff the rig.
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    In my estimation custom vs. commercial is a very simple argument. With a commercial (since no cabover commercial is a serious contender any more since the demise of the good old Ford) the engine is sitting way out front, taking up wheelase and space with no benefit to the people riding. With a custom cabover you basically take that engine and front axle and move it rearward under the seats shortening the engine without losing anything. (Except money, comfort and possibly hearing ) But in my mind it is a good trade off. The fire engine needs to get where it is going, not to be long as a school bus and comfy and easy to work on.

    Another problem is the anemic choice of motors, though they are squeezing more and more power out of the poor things they are still the same little 7-9 liter engines of yesteryear with no Jake and running way over their commercial rating. As another person said being a life safety vehicle it should have less power than the commercial rating not more (meaning bigger, easier working motor to get the HP desired).

    Anyway as far as rollover safety is concerned, I can't comment, but I sure do love the old Ford C-series, nice ride, easy to drive, quality built and quiet but the 250 HP 3208 was getting a little outmoded in 1990. Of course my favorite, back to the original question is Pierce, what a fine ride.

    Birken

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    Birken,Again I beg to differ. Our Ints are 400hp M-11 Cummins, with genuine Jake brakes,certainly not a "Pumped up" mouse motor.These units have the set back front axle so the turning radius is about the same as our custom.They also handle better in slush than the custom which has a tendency to "push" in slippery conditions.Jaybird,no question you have more room in the custom,ours no exception.But we operate a bit differently when working out of the commercials.You're dressed before you get in(driver gear optional,he can get dressed later)and your packs are in drop down brackets in the side.Not every Dept has the luxury of buying a Custom,and my overall point is that you can do a very nice job with either as long as you heavy spec it to do the grueling work of a fire service pumper. The accident I alluded to was indeed the one in which the whole crew emerged with minor injuries.However,even by their own admission,there were several factors that played favorably in that incident,cab construction,training and operator skill being several of them.I've seen many crashes both custom and commercial.I'd lean toward a Custom myself,but 20 ton plus will revamp a whole lot of material and I don't care who assembled it. T.C.

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    Wow. . Glad to see it cooled down in here.........

    I prefer the custom. More room. There are others that like the commercial......

    I know some of the guys from the Toledo Fire Dept. are big fans of the commercial chassis after a crash left 4 of them injured, none severely...... They are attributing it to having the engine out in front of them to absorb some of the impact.

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    Talking Apples and Oranges..................

    Or, to use two more terms like that, Custom and Commercial. Custom DOES add cost when you build a Pumper, Tanker, Squad, Etc. Due to design constraints, Ladder trucks almost have to be on a Custom Cab and Chassis, But other apparatus does not. Squads and Tankers are built on Commercial cabs due to the size and shape of the body, and the "2 up front" style of operation that is inherent in these types of apparatus. One common myth is that Custom is for the City, and Commercial is for the Country, which is far from true. We currently have a Custom Cab (Spartan) on our '92 Marion Squad, but our next will be on a Kenworth or Peterbilt. There are a lot of things that should influence your truck specs, such as Cost, Parts and Service Availability, System Compatability, Local use requirements for height, weight, etc. But, SAFETY should be foremost. I am not going to say that One style is safer than another, across the board. Individual Builders will vary, but the entire Group will not. One point, Ford C model Cabs. I've run more than a couple over the years, and they had to be the most cramped Cab ever used on Fire apparatus. I have my share of "Ford Stories" like the time the top of my boot caught in the seat, and I had to do a left foot braking move. I'm not really upset that they are disappearing from Firehouses now.
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    I'm not coming to argue for/against either commercial or custom, but I will agree with others that both have their pluses/minuses. We only currently have 2 commercial chassis fire trucks (a tanker and a smaller rescue), the rest of our engines, ladders, and rescues are all custom chassis. One thing that I will say that I've never been a fan of is Peterbuilt or Kenilworth chassis's. Something about them would just make me think that I was about to go on a road trip everytime I get in.
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    Wow, Those are a couple of honking monsters.

    We have just recently received our first new truck in 25 years. It is a 2004 ALF Commercial Chassis. I have only seen the customs at the shows, or in a few city halls. They sure look nice, and you can't argue that they are roomy, but they do cost anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 more than a commercial chassis.

    As for ours, I can't think of a possible complaint so far. it is such a huge improvement over our 1979 King Seagrave )on an International Chassis), that I can't even hold them in the same class.

    And HWoods, we also have a 65' telesquirt being built on the same commercial chassis right now (minus the transverse pump panel). It cost $550,000 nicely equipped, and we couldn't touch a Custom 65' for less than 675,000. I think these are going to become very popular in the next few years.
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    Quote, HWoods
    Due to design constraints, Ladder trucks almost have to be on a Custom Cab and Chassis
    A department here in Vermont runs a commercial chasis aerial from Sutphen.

    2 man International cab and chasis, midmount 75' platform, 1250 pump, on single rear axle.

    It's ran as part of a "2 piece" company, and not a 2 man truck company. So let's avoid the staffing issue.
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    I should probably keep my mouth shut, but here we go...

    Peterbilt, Mack, Freightliner, Intl, Oshkosh, etc know NOTHING about building truck chassis.
    Isn't Pierce a division of Oshkosh?

    Anyways, on to my reason for posting. Customs are not feasible for everybody. They are a different ball game to drive, and not every station was designed to fit a custom, nor will every budget fit a custom, or a used custom. IMO Commercials serve the purpose just as well as customs in the fire service. Many rural fire depts. have narrow roads so they choose the commercial with the narrower width. For example, our Commercial tanker is 8' 10" mirror tip to mirror tip. A dept. in a neighboring county recently took delivery of their new custom, which is a 10'6" mirror tip to mirror tip width. that is a MONSTROSITY to fit down some rural roads. I love the turning radius of the customs, but International has one heck of a turning radius that is just about as good as a custom. None of us build the frames, cabs/chassis, so who are we to judge whether or not a frame, cab/chassis is suitable for the fire service. IMO, if a Commercial chassis was not suitable for fire service, Pierece, Seagrave, nor any other manufacturer would be making/selling Commercial apparatus.

    Maybe I should have kept my thoughts to myself

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    Originally posted by mcaldwell
    And HWoods, we also have a 65' telesquirt being built on the same commercial chassis right now (minus the transverse pump panel). It cost $550,000 nicely equipped, and we couldn't touch a Custom 65' for less than 675,000. I think these are going to become very popular in the next few years.
    Uh, Yeah, That's the local difference kicking in. Here everything is at least 100 ft. long.......
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    Keep in mind that while the cost factor is a big issue, an apples to apples IH or Freightliner compared with a Spartan Big Easy (330 horse), you're looking at under $20,000 price difference once you add all of the stuff to the commercial to make it a fire apparatus chassis (typically done by your body builder) which is already included in the custom chassis.

    In the grand scheme of things, $20,000 can be a matter of just being a little tighter with the wish list, and you'll have a safer cab that will out-turn a commercial. If you're totally strapped, then a commercial is fine.

    While I have yet to drive one, and since we don't need an enormous pump, I can only imagine what a 400+ horse engine is capable of. 95% of us don't need that kind of chassis, and a Big Easy or similarly equipped HME will do fine.

    I also believe that the bulk of the custom chassis ARE built to a tougher crash standard, with a highter prioirty placed on what the roof structure can handle as far as weight/stress.

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