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  1. #1
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    Default Independent front suspension

    Our department is in the process of purchasing our first aerial. We are a rural department covering 66 square miles homes range from 1200 square feet ranch style to 6000 square foot three story homes. Over the past ten years our roads have gone from all dirt to a few paved roads. Most of the response district for the aerial will be on paved roads but there will be times that it will have to respond over dirt wash board roads. Is the cost of the independent front suspension offered by many of the truck manufactures worth the cost? Does the savings in maintenance pay for the initial investment?


  2. #2
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firelt515
    Our department is in the process of purchasing our first aerial. We are a rural department covering 66 square miles homes range from 1200 square feet ranch style to 6000 square foot three story homes. Over the past ten years our roads have gone from all dirt to a few paved roads. Most of the response district for the aerial will be on paved roads but there will be times that it will have to respond over dirt wash board roads. Is the cost of the independent front suspension offered by many of the truck manufactures worth the cost? Does the savings in maintenance pay for the initial investment?

    YES! Its fantastic. Not only the best ride you will ever experience in a piece of fire apparatus, but you get better manuverability and a shorter stopping distance. And as far as maintenance, our 02 Pierce pumper with the TAK4 suspension has almost 38K miles on it, and it still doesnt need new front brakes. Its amazing. My department will never again buy a rig without it.
    Last edited by Dave1983; 02-18-2006 at 02:57 PM.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

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    Default

    We just received our new engine back in October. We did opt to go with the IFS. So far it has worked out very good for us. The truck rides and handles great. As for the long-term maintenance savings.......I can't answer that for you. I can say, however, that if we were to buy another new engine I'm 99% sure it would have IFS on it.

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    We have a '99 75' non-IFS Dash. We also have an '05 75' Tak-4 Dash, so it makes for an excellent comparison. The IFS is worth every penny. Improved ride and handling alone make it worth it. I can't speak on the cost of maitnance, but I do know that I don't wince when the IFS truck goes over railroad tracks, not something that can be said about the straight axle truck.

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    Default

    Iím not sure of the long-term maintenance cost, it concerns me that if this is such a great innovations, why haven't over the road trucks gone to it, initial cost vs. lower maintenance?

  6. #6
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    bdaenterprises...

    Pehaps because the average over the road truck will put more miles on in a year than a piece of fire apparatus will in it's entire life.

    FyredUp

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    Default Wondering...

    Or is it that Len at Elite didn't recommend it?

    Focus...
    We have IFS on our 2000 Gal Tankers and couldn't be happier. The TAK-4 offers a great ride, and the handling is superb. But, as above, the long-term results are yet to be seen.

  8. #8
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    Default Fire Truck Chassis IFS Recall


  9. #9
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Dave,help an old guy here.What does IFS or lack of it have to do with frt brake wear unless IFS causes you to use your brakes less? A rig of a given GVW assuming it is specced with the same size brakes should wear at about the same rate.Handling,cornering I'll buy OK but I'm having a problem grasping superior brake life just because it's IFS.My 02 with a straight x doesn't eat up brakes any faster than my neighbor with "wishbones". T.C.

  10. #10
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    Default Front Brake Wear

    Rescue,
    The reason would be because that you can put larger rotors on an IFS equiped front axle thus reducing braking effort.

  11. #11
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    CS,Thankee! T.C.

  12. #12
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    Default ??

    What size rotors can you put on a IFS? Just curious, thanks

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber mohican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101
    Dave,help an old guy here.What does IFS or lack of it have to do with frt brake wear unless IFS causes you to use your brakes less? A rig of a given GVW assuming it is specced with the same size brakes should wear at about the same rate.Handling,cornering I'll buy OK but I'm having a problem grasping superior brake life just because it's IFS.My 02 with a straight x doesn't eat up brakes any faster than my neighbor with "wishbones". T.C.
    I imagine that the statement, real or imagined, is based on the assumption that because the tires follow the road better with IFS, breaking is reduced, especially on rougher surface. Since stopping distance is decreased, the amount of time on the brakes decreases as well. (in theory)

  14. #14
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    Default IFS (Myths)

    First of all, to the best of my knowledge, the axles with IFS have 17" disc brakes. 17" disc brakes are now offered by Arvin-Meritor on their "typical" straight axles. So, correct me if I'm wrong, but IFS has nothing whatsoever to do with braking/brake size/brake wear or anything else brake related. The only thing I'm aware of is that IFS uses disc brakes as a component of the entire assembly. So, if 17" disc brakes are available on a straight axle, why do proponents of IFS try to tell us braking is improved with IFS? Doesn't make sense to me. I should get side-by-side comparible braking with/without IFS, as long as both trucks have 17" disc brakes, right? Someone please enlighten me as to what I'm missing.

  15. #15
    Forum Member IronsMan53's Avatar
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    I think that having a Jake brake instead of one of those puny exhaust brakes or even no auxilliary braking at all would have more of an impact on stopping distance than having independant front suspension.

    Get IFS for the ride and controlability. Get disk brakes and a Jake brake and/or a Telma retarder for better stopping power.
    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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    Forum Member gunnyv's Avatar
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    Maybe you stop faster because your foot isn't bouncing off the brake pedal at every pothole, and your not taking your hand off the wheel to hold on to your seat.

    I've ridden trucks with and without the IFS, and I believe the smoother ride allows the driver better control and braking simply because the rig doesn't bounce all over the road.

  17. #17
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    TAK-4 all the way.

  18. #18
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101
    Dave,help an old guy here.What does IFS or lack of it have to do with frt brake wear unless IFS causes you to use your brakes less? A rig of a given GVW assuming it is specced with the same size brakes should wear at about the same rate.Handling,cornering I'll buy OK but I'm having a problem grasping superior brake life just because it's IFS.My 02 with a straight x doesn't eat up brakes any faster than my neighbor with "wishbones". T.C.

    Im not the mechanic, so I dont understand all the ins & outs. All I know is that our mechanic, who has 30 years in the business, says he has never seen a rig with the amount of miles ours has not need brakes. That includes other rigs we have with straight axles and disc brakes. He's absolutly amazed.

    I think I read on Pierces web site that the IFS does lead to longer brake life. I dont recall if it says how or why. It also says it has a shorter stopping distance. This I have first hand knowledge of. Ive had to get on it hard a couple of times, and the only word I can think of is WOW.

    But to be honest, even if it didnt do all these other things, the fact that it rides like a Cadillac is worth the $$$ too me. It just floats over bumps, which my old back really likes.
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  19. #19
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronsMan53
    I think that having a Jake brake instead of one of those puny exhaust brakes or even no auxilliary braking at all would have more of an impact on stopping distance than having independant front suspension.

    Get IFS for the ride and controlability. Get disk brakes and a Jake brake and/or a Telma retarder for better stopping power.
    Actually, we have a rig with the Telma, a rig with the full sized Jake, both with straight axels and disc brakes. Our rig with the IFS has, as you call it, a punny exhaust brake. Guess which one stops the best? Yup, the IFS rig.

    Again, I have ko idea how or why, I just know Ive braked hard with all three (on more then one occasian) and the IFS rig stops the best.

    One more thing, Ive experianced a bit of brake fade on long runs with the two standard axle rigs. Have yet to experiance it with the IFS rig over the same distance.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

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    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
    RUSH-Tom Sawyer

    Success is when skill meets opportunity
    Failure is when fantasy meets reality

  20. #20
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    Default IFS Brakes

    The Pierce IFS has 17" dia. rotors which reduces stopping distance and brake fade. Your other rigs with disc brakes have 15" rotors which heat up faster (fade) and take more distance to stop.

    As mentioned in a previous post ArvinMeritor and now Dana are now offering 17" rotors on solid axles that stop better and don't heat up (fade) as fast.

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