Thread: Bush Truck.

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    Default Bush Truck.

    I was just wondering what other departments are using out there for a brush truck. I think we should be going bigger than a one ton, but not bigger than an F-550 for example. If your department uses an F-450 or F-550 what experiences have you had with it? Good or bad. What would you recommend?

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by firemanmikey
    I was just wondering what other departments are using out there for a brush truck. I think we should be going bigger than a one ton, but not bigger than an F-550 for example. If your department uses an F-450 or F-550 what experiences have you had with it? Good or bad. What would you recommend?

    Thanks!
    Try a search on bRush or wildland. You'll find many threads.

    A F350 is a light duty truck unsuited for more than a couple hundred gal of water on roads. The cost of going to a F450 or 550 is very little. Or if you're serious and can come up with $ go to a type 5 or 6 forestery truck.

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    see if you get get super singles instead of duallies in the back.....duals off road don't work out

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    We use a surplus Chevy tk. from the Army. 1985 1 1/4 ton, diesel, reg. cab, long bed. We put a 2in. suspension lift and Super Swamper radial tires. Locker in rear end for traction. 130 gal. water, portable pump and two hose reels with 200 ft. garden hose on each. Only thing I wish we had was a gas engine. The diesel is a slug for offroading. The truck has served us well for 5 years.

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    We have a 2004 Ford F-550 with a 6.0L diesel. We love the truck as far as the chassis and body is concerned. However, the 6.0L diesel is another story. It is a P.O.S. It has been in the shop as much as it has been in our truck bay. It has had many turbo problems that they can't seem to get fixed. The aluminum engine was melted once and replaced with a new engine. It didn't move to far after the pistons melted to the heads.

    I figured in 2005 it broke down or was in for repairs and missed 10% of our calls. If it continues that way, Ford needs to do something else for us. We wont be able to afford the repairs after the warranty period ends.

    I hear they are a luck of the draw kind of thing. Some never need repairs and some are paged out with a wrecker, as in our case.

    When it is running correctly, we have been very pleased with it on and off road. It has done every thing it was designed to do and met or exceeded our expectations. Unfortunately, the bitter taste of the engine performance outlasts all the other sweetness.

    At the time we spec'd the truck, no one else had something like it in 4wd with as much GVW. If I was doing it again tomorrow, it would be on the new Chevrolet 4wd chassis.

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    After our experiences with our Chev with the older 6.5 Diesel, our Chief didn't want to do the diesel thing, and this was when the 6.0 Power Stroke was having turbo issues. So we have a F550 4X4 with the V-10. It is a very powerful engine and so far so good. I want to believe Ford has the turbo problems figured out. Seems like it was variable vanes in the turbo causing the problems.
    you may notice there are alot more Power Stroke Diesels on the road then anything else.

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    oh yea the 6.0...blew turbo and head gasket at 12,000 miles....was under warrenty but c'mon...so we ordered a new 5500 Gmc 4x4 as a dumptruck, we'll see what hapens with it i guess

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    We have a couple F550's haven't had any problems with the actual Ford chassis, but with the apparatus on the chassis. Most on the dept are impressed, but if you run alot of fires where lots of heavy duty off road capabilitys are needed, i would suggest a old military 6x6 with a small pump and 1000-1500 gallons. Not only does this give you one heck of a sturdy fire truck but it also gives you a dual purpose truck, used for pump and roll, and as a back up tanker.

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    We don't do the grass fires like we did in 2001. We were out there from when the snow melted in March till middle of May. About 80 wildland fires in that time compared to the less than 10 we'll have this year, we were out there almost 24/7. I think people here are being alot more cautious now because of what happened in the past. So back to the truck, We'll need it a bit for some off road from time to time but not enough to justify buying a 6x6. We would also have a few rescue tools on the truck to use as a "mini rescue" in case our main rescue is on a call. Has any one had any problems when going with a 550 for weight? It dosen't get to heavy off road?

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    Regardless of what everyone will tell you, lighter trucks will work if the layout is done with some up front thought. We just completed a truck last fall built on a 2005 Chevy 2500HD (heavy 3/4 ton) regular cab with a 6.0 liter gas engine and automatic transmission. We built a lightweight aluminum flatbed, used a Darley 9 hp portable pump, and carry 190 gallons of water. We also built light weight stainless steel and aluminum tool boxes, stainless hose troughs and handrails. We carry two 1" forestry hose preconnects, a 50' and 100', along with a short line that is on the deck. The weight distrubution has a lot to do with how the truck handles with weight. We put our tank as far forward as possible, and distributed the remainder of the items as equally as we could. This truck has seen quite a bit of use off road since we finished it, and we haven't had any problems. The guys really like the short wheel base and the flat bed design.

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    We have a 1999 F-550 AWD with the dual rears, and what was said earlier about the duals is absolutely correct...off-road, they just don't work that well. Otherwise, it's a 4-door cab with a Darley CAFS skid unit, (1) 200' reel and (2) preconnected 200' forestry lines (one is 1.5", the other is 1"), and three compartments per side for equipment. I love the CAFS, and I like the layout and firefighting capabilities of the rig...except that I definitely would not put it on duals if we had it to do over...even if it meant giving up some equipment to shed weight.

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    What does the duals do to hurt your off road ability? I have read on here several guys that have 4x4 F-550's as brush trucks and have no problem with them. Are you guys taking these things mud bogging?

    I believe a f-350 SRW 4x4 2-door can hold 4200lbs in the rear, not that I would want to do that, but that could be a good sized skid unit.

    How much water do you think is enough? 250-300gal?

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    they sink in any moist ground, doesnt have to be mud

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    I would think that duallys would sink less than singles. Duallys have twice the ground surface area compaired to singles. A dually truck doesent weigh twice as much though.

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    Not singles, but Super Singles. They're wider than regular singles, almost as wide, if not as wide as a pair of duals. It all has to do with ground pressure. Pressure = weight/contact area. More contact area, means lower pressure, less likely you are to get stuck, in most applications. This is where LGP Tracks come from. Super Singles can often have as much if not more contact area than duals, which would mean a lower ground pressure.

    As you ride down the road, look at tires on Class 8 trucks, both the trailer and tractor. You'll see that super singles are starting to become rather popular.
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    you'll see on the ford 450s and 550s that the back pumpkin is pretty low

    for similar dollars, the GMC 4500 and 5500 series 4x4s are better

    or step up to a freightliner, pete, or IH 4x4 chassis and get a real transmission (allison 3000 series) that can run a pto pump without puking

    If I wasn't budget constrained, and could start from a clean sheet of paper I would strongly consider the Unimog, especially now that they will have a crew cab available

    its not always "duals get stuck"

    it often is a case of skinny tires, and trying to pack too much weight on these F350s, 450s,and 550s that get them sunk. And sometimes its the driver. Myself and several others have taken our old ford 800 front mount in fields where people have gotten their 4x4 grass truck pickups stuck

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    Duals still have a lower ground pressure than even the largest super singles, the problem is that the gap between them acts kinda like a vacuum or a giant lug on the tire and they end up digging in too fast in soft ground if your spin at all.

    Someone earlier said the 350 was too light, I think it all depends on what you are doing. When we spec'd our brush rig we ended up with a F550, but the F250 came in a close 2nd, mainly due to its off-road abilities (if you're not getting duals and you don't plan on towing a huge trailer, the 250 is more bang for the truck buck). A 200gal tank with a 5-6HP forestry pump and 100' of 1" booster will put out a fair bit of small spot fires in my neck of the woods (Maine) while allowing the truck to be used as a hose hauler, general utility, and plow truck in the winter. The 550 we got instead has a utility body and a "perminant" skid CAFS unit so it can't do double duty like a pickup body could have. On the other hand it carries 350gal with 10gal foam and a mile of forestry hose. With the CAFS we don't have to drive in (no friction loss), which is a good thing, this truck is pretty heavy and is not an off-trail vehicle.

    What ever you do, don't bother with a 450, there's only about $800 difference to upgrade to a 550 and the front ends of the 450 have been problematic.
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    I've been doing some lookin and I like the looks of the C4500-5500 GMC. One of out firefighters is a service mgr at a gm dealership and no one who owns them complaing of problems. Aparrently they have awesome turning radius.

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    Mikey, have they come out with a 4X4 verson of the GMC yet? I know they kept promising they would but had not as of a couple of years ago. Also remember, that is a full sized med truck, not a pickup style (almost 12 inches wider). When we built our rigs I looked at the GM and it looked nice, but since 4WD was not an option at the time it was ruled out. Also, what engines are they offering now?
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    Anyone have any pics of these super singles? and do you have to do any modifications to allows the truck to accept them?

    I have noticed that some grass trucks seem to be getting pretty big, and heavy. I have seen F-550's with 500gal h20 and remote controll monitor on front bumper.
    Even the GMC C5500 is pretty big.

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    yea we just ordered a 5500 4x4....they makem

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    When you say "Super singles", are you talking about tires like you see on the front of cement trucks? each tire can carry like 9-10k lbs. Seem kind of overkill for a pickup, and thoes tires are very heavy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ledebuhr1
    Anyone have any pics of these super singles? and do you have to do any modifications to allows the truck to accept them?
    Super singles don't look much different, just real fat. As for modifications: You order the truck with single tires (F350 is the only 1-ton truck you can easily do this with) so you don't get the fender flares and then you stick the biggest tires in that will fit w/o violating tire size rules imposed by the manufacturer (very important in the age of computerized trannys and ABS). The F350 comes with 265/70R17 tires, you might install 315/70R17's in back to give you a 10% increase in surface area on the tires. You also go with "high floatation" off road tires which are naturally softer and "mush" out more to increase surface area. You may find you need little fender flares to cover the edges of the tire to keep things legal. You might also be able to get away with even bigger tires if you do a body lift, but you'll need profesional help to avoid breaking the warranty over tire sizing.
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    I know they have a 4x4 now. I wouldn't even consider them if they didn't. GM's 45-5500 look HUGE! I know it's in the same class as the Ford 450 and 550 but it looks like GMC is twice the size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by firemanmikey
    the same class as the Ford 450 and 550 but it looks like GMC is twice the size.
    Well, it might be in the same weight class as the Ford, but its definitely a Medium Duty Commerical chassis, where the Ford is still in the same size as a Light Duty Truck, just all beefed up to handle the weight. That said you'd never see a 2500gal oil delievery tank on a F550, where you mights on a GMC 5500, the wider longer truck is more of a stable platform. You'll also see some pretty large flat bed wreckers on the GMC frame vs. the Ford, again the size is an advantage, but traditional hooks on the F550 are more compact and manuverable.
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