1. #1
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    Default Need input on some apparatus manufacturers

    You may have read my post in the Pierce versus Seagrave topic. If anyone has any info or experiences with the following manufacturers please let me know. Please don't turn this into a buy Pierce, or a Seagrave, they have eliminated themselves by themselves. Also, because of past experience with E-One don't waste your time trying to convince me to buy one of them either. PLEASE STAY ON TOPIC OR DON"T POST. Thank you.

    Regional manufacturers such as Toyne, Custom Fab and Body, and Custom Fire. Also, anyone know anything about HME? Who is building their apparatus bodies for them? Also, Darley, anyone jnow who is building their apparatus bodies?

    Let me hear what you know about these companies. Both good and bad. Through YOUR experiences, not hearsay, innuendo and rumor.

    Thanks for your help.

    FyredUp

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    Fyred up,

    Here is the lowdown as of 9/15/05. We had three departments in the county get first and second round awards for trucks. First new trucks for all three. I acted as a coordinator and gathered info. They went to the TN Chiefs show and stargazed! Considered ALF, Toyne, Bluegrass, American, Pierce, KME, Crimson and they chose EONE, Ferrara, and Elite Power Products to bid the three pumpers.

    We hammered out the specs that would siut all depts. We did prebid conferences and rehashed our specs. We decided on Commercial Chassis with two and four door options. We didn't care on Make just as long as the Engine was a CAT C9.

    We called sent emails with the 46 page spec and gave contact info and waited. We received immediate response from Elite, not a peep from EONE or Ferrara. At 4:00 yesterday, the only bidder was Elite.

    That was a great example of how not to conduct business. I heard from another dealer the Ferrara rep was at a bid opening in a mid size city. The Eone rep never sent anything. I considered both reps personal friends. I tried to find fault with the Elite bid or product(we looked) and we found nothing but good quality and good customer service.

    I have bought EONE, SEAGRAVE, FERRARA and ROSENBAUER. Now it Looks like I will be buying Elite!

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    I don't know where you guys are at but did 4 guys in pennsylvania ever come mind for you..?
    This we do so others may live

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    Since you're in Wisconsin what about Marion?? They have built some very nice custom units on HME / Spartan chassis'. I've also seen some recently come from Summit Fire in Edgewood, KY (near cinti). If you're looking for builders on HME chassis'...call HME ....I'm sure they would be more than happy to help.

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    Talking Winning bidder

    We went to bid this year on a new pumper. We sent bid requests to Pierce, E-One, Sutphen and KME. We recieved bids back from all but KME on time. However, the E-One bid was not recieved until the morning of and the KME bid arrived a day late. After opening, the E-One was the lowest by 10k, then Sutphen and then Pierce who was 20k higher than E-One. After a thorough spec review, it was appearent that E-One didn't even attempt to meet our spec. The Sutphen and the Pierce were both very close to meeting it. In the end Sutphen won out and it has been a very pleasent experience since. We have toured the factory and are extremely impressed with how they do business and build apparatus. I will recommend them to any one without any doubt. Our unit is one of the Shield series program trucks but there are a lot of things that we tweaked and they were happy to work with us.
    I have but one ambition in life and that is to become a firefighter.

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    Not trying to sidetrack this thread, but does anybody know the background of Elite? I have a theory that it's a company that basically arose out of the ashes of 3D after ALF shut the Shawano plant down. The bodies they build look exactly like the old 3D bodies. Am I right?

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    Yes, Many of the people that were long time employees of 3D are now at Elite. We had the "priviledge" of taking delivery of the second to last truck out the door at ALF Shawano. When we needed to have some warranty issues taken care of, such as a bad solenoid on the hot shift pto, they took care of us by drop shipping the part overnight. ALF of course in their rapid exit from Wisconsin, left us "in the dust". I know most of the people pretty well at Elite and if we have a question about our '03 ALF that was realistically built by these same people, they are far more helpful than anyone at ALF Shawano.Our truck was sold to us by Len Heling when he was still with ALF. When he left to start Elite, he understood that we had already committed to ALF which at the time, guarateed they would remain in Wisconsin. As the chips fell, we felt that since Elite was hiring the "cream" as they were being laid off at ALF, we would have a service facility for the long term. Our department has a policy of not buying apparatus out of state. Lucky for us, we have some of the best right here. I have stopped there for parts for other projects over the last few years, and have seen the trucks they have in production. They have some new ideas that are worth looking at if you are considering a new vehicle.
    GFR22

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    Thanks everyone for the responses...

    Unfortunately it seems no one has a comment on Toyne or Custom Fab & Body or Custom Fire. I also had meant to meantion Elite Power Products but quite frankly forgot.

    Elwood...

    That was a great example of how not to conduct business.
    I am unsure as to what you mean here. Is this relating to the way E-One and Ferrara responded to your bid request? Or referring to a mistake you guys made in the process?


    As far as 4Guys goes...we are in Wisconsin and we prefer to keep the manufacturer relatively close to make for ease of warranty work. As I stated above Pierce and Seagrave eliminated themselves early by stating they not only couldn't build what we want for the money we have but frankly couldn't come close. E-One and KME are both eliminated due to past experiences I have had from other departments. Sutphen is a totally unknown commosity in my area. In fact the only Surphen I know of with in 200 miles is a tower ladder 2 counties over. ALF is for sale and we don't want to buy an orphan. According to Marion's website all they build is aluminum and we are looking for a stainless steel body for longevity because this rig will run front line for 20 plus years and secondary for probably almost that long after that. HME is built in Michigan and I was curious as to whether they built their own apparatus bodies or contracted out. I believe they are relatively new to complete apparatus body building.

    Again thanks everyone. PLEASE try to answer my original questions.

    FyredUp

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    FyredUp, I am certain that you know how I feel about CustomFIRE.

    Yeah, there were a few problems with the electronic and air operated valves, but that was mostly due to not being used enough. But every problem was either easily fixed in-house or by a quick trip up to Osceola.

    I'm waiting to see and hear what FDMH is getting next from them.
    -Bozz

    Air Force Medic

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    Default csi?

    might want to give them a look, we don't have anything of theirs yet, but they seem to build real nice stuff.
    http://www.csiea.com/
    michael umphrey
    captain higgins twp fire/rescue/ems
    roscommon,mi

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    Quote Originally Posted by fdmhbozz
    FyredUp, I am certain that you know how I feel about CustomFIRE.

    Yeah, there were a few problems with the electronic and air operated valves, but that was mostly due to not being used enough. But every problem was either easily fixed in-house or by a quick trip up to Osceola.

    I'm waiting to see and hear what FDMH is getting next from them.
    Nah, it's just because you broke it, Bozz-Man
    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleMan
    Why? Because we are firemen. We are decent human beings. We would be compelled by the overwhelming impulse to save an innocent child from a tragic, painful death because in the end, we are MEN.

    I A C O J
    FTM-PTB


    Honorary Disclaimer: While I am a manufacturer representative, I am not here to sell my product. Any advice or knowledge shared is for informational purposes only. I do not use Firehouse.Com for promotional purposes.

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    Bozz....

    I personally would not own another piece of fire apparatus with air operated valves. They were a royal pain in the *** on our tanker pumper. Electric? Well, we have had better luck with them. Honestly other than for a remote suction I reallt don't see the need for power operated valves of any kind. Just another headache.

    Quick trip to Osceola? Uh huh, all the way across the state and 2/3 up north is a quick trip? Okay then!! LOL

    How ya doing out there in the sticks? I hope all is well with you.

    FyredUp

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    Toyne, Custom Fab and Body, and Custom Fire are all niche manufactures as you probably already know from your research.

    Toyne - from what I used to know about them they have always built a quality product. I am not sure but there steel bodies are bolted or they used to be.

    Custom Fab & Body - very small manufacture, but very custom product. I have not talked to anyone who has owned one.

    Custom Fire - if the 3 were the only choice they would get my vote. Custom product but not off the wall, and are willing to offer common sense when a department gets a little left field.

    Is there something very unique about your rig up for bid?

    My comments about the above mention OEM are from my experience working in the industry from the OEM side as a competitor. No longer in the OEM, myself and another gentleman run a consulting engineering firm for specialty vehicle design.

    We are using Sutphen and for the last 2 years we have been very happy. Any manufacture can be fabulous or pathetic, you have to force them to perform to your expectations.

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    rocki...

    Unique? Not really.....1500 to 2000 gpm pump, 1000 gallons of water, class A foam system with a 30 gallon tank, high side full depth compartments with sheleves and tilt down trays, vertical equipment boards in one compartment, 4-2 inch preconects, top mounted deluge, 2-2 1/2 discharges to the rear, 10 kw hydraulic generator, rear compartment with a roll out tray and reels for electric cord and hurst hose, 6 kw light tower. custom cab iwth seating for 6 with an EMS/work station compartment inside the cab, front suction with 5 foot 6 inch suction and low level strainer.

    Really nothing special at all.

    FyredUp

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    Look at us tanker or alexis they both seem to make quality stuff
    nrz2334
    Just my view

    I would rather push my Seagrave than drive your Pierce!!

    TNT Rescue The Best!!!!!!!

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    Eh, it's only 5 hours to Osceola from the Madison area. Then again, I used to live up that way when I was a younger lad, and still have family up there, so the trip is not a big deal for me.

    Ah yes, the sticks. Taking the year off from school to work and establish residency to save a little bit when it comes to tuition. The FD in the town where I will be going to college has a residency program, so I'm going to look into that.

    It won't be the same doing fire training without you around...
    -Bozz

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    One of the problems I have with the smaller guys you mentioned is longevity. Custom Fire and Toyne have been around long enough for me not to worry where they'll be in five years, but Custom Fab and Elite are both newer companies, very small, and in all honesty, could be gone tomorrow if some orders don't come in, they have a bad run with a couple of buyers, etc. Then again, there's a biggie out there now in the same boat...

    Now - I AM NOT slighting their product in any way. I've heard negative comments about what Elite and Custom Fab build, but this is typically from a bigger rep that was beat on price. I have heard that Elite has written specs for more than one rig that was too heavy for the chassis they specified, but again - this is hearsay.

    Indications are that Custom Fab and Elite are very small shops, with a good part of the work "subbed" out, like paint and so on. I also am fine with this, as long as you're made aware of this. Again - I'm not here to say that any one builder is better than another. I will say you'd be wise to make sure you get a performance bond with any rig you're ordering, especially if you've done any sort of pre-pay discount. Reputable and financially stable companies have pretty decent rates on their performance bonds, so in the grand scheme of buying a new unit, the cost isn't that bad.

    Everyone started out small. Alexis, Ferrara, Smeal - so the little guys deserve a shot too. And some of these little guys might just go that extra mile to make sure their badge is on a truck that others will see and be impressed by...

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    Arrow CustomFire

    Fyredup,

    My dept has 2 trucks currently from CustomFire and we have just ordered another. A 91 Peterbilt pumper and a 2001 Peterbit heavy rescue. The one we just ordered is another Pete pumper. We have had great service from them and the trucks are great. No major issues and they will make your truck the way you want it and they aren't satisfied until it is. Any questions for me let me know.

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    Default 2 questions

    Someone said Toyne was bolted together, is tah good or bad with respect to welded?

    Fyredup:
    What was the bid prices on your trucks?

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    I would prefer a welded body. We had a local fire department purchase a modular design (3 section) stainless steel body from a very reputable manufacturer that was bolted together. It ended up going back to get welded because of it starting to have stress fractures where the body was bolted together. Ever since then there have been no problems with the rig. In fact, they brought two more engines from them since then but they weren't of a modular bolted design and are very nice engines.
    I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

    One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
    "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
    -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com

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    CustomFIRE bolts ALL of their bodies, and as far as I know, there haven't been any problems.
    -Bozz

    Air Force Medic

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    [QUOTE=FyredUp]Thanks everyone for the responses...

    Unfortunately it seems no one has a comment on Toyne or Custom Fab & Body or Custom Fire. I also had meant to meantion Elite Power Products but quite frankly forgot.

    Elwood...



    I am unsure as to what you mean here. Is this relating to the way E-One and Ferrara responded to your bid request? Or referring to a mistake you guys made in the process?


    It could mean a little bit of both. Update! We are rebidding the order. As a salesperson, I believe dealers should be proactive but not predatory!

    I have seen one Custom Fire rig in Nolensville, TN and a Toyne rig at a show. Both owners liked what they got?

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    Default npfd801

    in regards to the little guys seems like some of them, have been around and more stable than the big guys, i understand what you are saying but i think that is the thinking that is keeping the little guys from becoming bigger. we have a ferrara/hme pumper, and a danko tanker both are great apparatus. there is a local company csi, that has been around for a couple of decades and builds great tankers, and is starting to build top quality pumpers, and there are companies like this all over the state of michigan and i am sure the country. we wanted american lafrance, they priced themselves out of the truck we are currently bidding. e-one,pierce,kme,and marion didn't even want to bid it. so who does that leave? the little guys we tried crimson,and toyne. all are obviously great trucks but still a little pricey. i don't disagree with dept's that find a manufacture and staying with them "if it ain't broke don't fix it" but i do have a problem with those who don't even give the little guys a look. becasue of financial stability. i am a huge fan of the big guys they build great trucks no doubt about it. but are they better than the little guys.

    i have no affilation with any manufacture, i love all fire trucks even the yellow and green ones!
    michael umphrey
    captain higgins twp fire/rescue/ems
    roscommon,mi

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    Check out the Fire Apparatus Manufactuers Association website at:
    http://www.fama.org

    It has a wealth of information and a list of members with weblinks.

    As far as Toyne, we don't have any trucks from them, but alot around here do (as it is an Iowa company) and from what I've seen, they make a solid rig. Never heard anyone complain about them

    Alexis is another you might consider. They build a quality truck and are great to work with...(we are currently specing a rescue through them).

    Woverine Fire out of Michigan builds some great looking trucks, but I have no idea as far as quality...maybe someone will post some info who has better knowledge.

    For your viewing pleasure:

    http://www.toyne.com
    http://www.wolverinefire.com
    http://www.alexisfire.com

    I think that you get a much better product from the regional builders because they aren't so backed up that they are cutting corners to turn trucks out faster. I also think you get better customer service.

    Good luck with your truck!

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    Default Hme

    HME builds there own bodies. They are all stainless but the compartments are bolted to the frame. It does make it easy to do body repairs though.

    I've seen their bodies at some shows and they look pretty good. However, I know of several companies that have had troubles with their cabs. Mainly cracking around the front grill area.

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