1. #1
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    Question Top or Side Mount

    I am sure that there is a thread about this general topic. But, I need a more specific type answer. Which would be better for a 1500/2000 type enginethat will be the primary pumper on scene? this will not be running shuttles, but drafting out of a pond(s). Does anyone use an enclosed pump panel? Would you need them in Massachusetts? I don't think so, but there might be other good qualities. your thoughts are appreciated.

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    Default Top panel/side panel

    I don't have any hands on experience with top panels, but we considered it and decided to stay with a side panel on our new engine.

    The obvious plus to top panel is 360 degree visibility for the driver. Also, if you run highways, especially interstates or in your case, the Mass Pike, it keeps you out of traffic once you are hooked up.

    Two knocks that I'm aware of are 1, you have to be getting up and down all the time to make connections and 2, it definitely lengthens the vehicle's wheelbase, enough so that it will widen your turning radius. Also, it will affect your ability to move through the crowded streets that everything inside the 128 circle is so famous for.

    On the other hand, drawing on my recollection of Massachusetts (and New England) winters, if you get jobs where you're going to be there for a while, an inside pump panel becomes something that would make me want to overlook some of the drawbacks.

    I'll be interested to hear how this plays out.

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!

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    In the day of open air crew seating they were great because they didn't really lengthen the wheelbase of the vehicle at all. But these days as you mentioned you have to stand behind the cab unless it is one of these newfangled enclosed panel models. And the climbing is a pain it's true. Why not just keep it simple and use a passenger side panel instead of the driver's side?

    Birken

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    Default Top mount pump panels

    Our newest pumper which we put into service aprox. 1 year ago is a top, up until that time we had all side mounts. It is awesome for working at fires, with the view and the safety aspect also it seems that the valves are easier to work. Yes the draw back is the steps and the other is training purpose we usually have training with a group of firefighters and it is more difficult because of space fitting them up by the panel.

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    As all of we old billygoats know, right side pump panels were common on 700 series ALFs. Also, Singerly Fire Co. of Elkton, Md. has some Grummans and/or M & Ws with right side panels. Someone there told us (FWD Buff and me) that they paid extra to have it done that way, now they're paying more to move them back to the left side. Anyone from Singerly in here that can confirm or deny the story?

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!
    Last edited by chiefengineer11; 06-12-2006 at 07:00 PM.

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    Default Rear

    Think about it. For years I have heard in a rural setting that we need top mounts because the fire is generally on the "other side". By putting it in the rear you can always see the fire. This keeps the older guys that are still able to participate, give them a job to do but keeps them from having to climb up and down changing out cylinders, getting tools etc. Also, not to mention the guys that can pump but due to an injury can't climb the truck ALL the times during a structure fire.... Just a thought and yes they make em', just not in the cookie cutter series.

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    Default

    I like the idea of rear mount pump, however with the newer highway safety push we are trying to give the MPO, chauffer, driver a margin of safety. This margin is better attained with the depts who send extra apparatus to MVAs for blocking but we usually only send 1 piece.
    Last edited by Fyrtrks; 06-12-2006 at 06:09 PM.
    Fyrtrks

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    Where I work we have side mounts and they are ok,but when you or someone needs something, you have to walk around the truck to get what they need and it's kind of hard when you only have 4 ff on a shift so you the pump op are doing alot of running around.The v.f.d. im on we run nothing but top mounts and they are great, if some one needs something the op can get off the side of the rig they need to get whatever they need, and the pump op has the view of the scene and can alert IC if they see something that IC hasn't seen.Either way just give me a truck that has a pump panel on it and I'll be happy. Just always remember no matter what you do someone will bitch about it.BE SAFE

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    We've seen more minor injuries with our top mounts from slipping and missing a step whiel jumping up on in a hurry. Especially true in the wet slippery areas. We're going back to side or rear mount from now on. The shorter apparatus make it worth it anyway.

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    Default

    All of our apparatus have side panels. A few neighboring depts have top panels, both exposed and enclosed. My personal observations:

    Side Panel Pros:

    - Right there as soon as you get out of the cab
    - No climbing up and down to make connections or do other tasks
    - You have some freedom to move around a bit yet still be close enough to the panel to operate safely and efficiently
    - Normally doesn't increase the wheelbase/overall length of the apparatus or take up cab space

    Side Panel Cons:

    - Incident scene might be on the other side of the panel, out of your sight
    - You always seem to wind up standing in a puddle getting wet feet, or standing on a sheet of ice
    - Always exposed to the elements
    - You're often dangerously exposed to traffic
    - Sometimes you have preconnects right over your head and intake lines at your feet which get in the way

    Top Panel Pros:
    - Off the road away from dangerous traffic
    - Ability to easily see to both sides of the apparatus
    - Off the ground and away from puddles and ice
    - Not tangled up in hoselines
    - If the panel is in an enclosed cab, you're out of the elements and have the benefit of the cab's climate control
    - You don't have to stand the whole time, can sit on the crew seats while monitoring the panel

    Top Panel Cons:
    - You have to climb up and down to make connections or other tasks
    - The wheelbase/overall length is increased (often quite a bit) and you may lose crew cab space/seats
    - You more or less can't leave the cab while still safely monitoring the gauges
    - Engine noise could be a factor since you're basically standing right on top of it

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    Default rear

    i had forgotten about that idea. fortunatley, we have no highways save for a mile of a state route. but, with narrow curves and the like...it still is dangerous. has anyone seen anything like an elevated rear panel?

    i was alos pking around the conteder site--they have someting called the multi cab--its huge but kinda cool. expiernces anyone?

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    Even if you had an elevated rear pump panel, you still wouldn't be protected if the apparatus got rear ended by some knucklehead. It would probably just be a pull out step anyway, similar to what aerial apparatus have on their side mount pumps. In my opinion, rear mount panels are the most dangerous of all when it comes to the traffic hazard.

    The Contender Multi Cab is basically a hybrid between a custom and commercial cab. Seems like a nice thing for depts that can't afford or don't want a custom cab, yet want an enclosed top mount pump panel.

    Pierce also makes a Contender pumper with a custom cab enclosed pump panel that has one of the shortest wheelbase/overall length that I've seen.

    Last edited by Chauffer6; 06-12-2006 at 09:25 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chauffer6

    The Contender Multi Cab is basically a hybrid between a custom and commercial cab. Seems like a nice thing for depts that can't afford or don't want a custom cab, yet want an enclosed top mount pump panel.

    Pierce also makes a Contender pumper with a custom cab enclosed pump panel that has one of the shortest wheelbase/overall length that I've seen.

    Chauffer6

    Do you have a truck with an enclosed cab? I understand the concept but would'nt it be a pain to run a truck like that? I'm just asking I've never talked to any fd, or anyone with a truck like that so I don't know.BE SAFE.

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    Our dept does not, no, but several neighboring depts do and I've had the opportunity to check them out and pump them a few times at drills and such. I would say that the biggest drawback of them is you lose seating in the cab. Often times, the entire back wall is the pump panel, so you basically give up all forward facing seats. This could mean being left with as little as just two seats in the crew cab. Some cabs have a shortened and centered panel though, allowing for two outboard forward facing seats. It definitely varies among manufacturers and even among their different cab lines. In general, the enclosed top mount panels actually don't add too much to the wheelbase or overall length of the apparatus, but again, it will cost you seating.

    Other than that, I happen to think they're pretty neat. Up here in the northeast, they're great in the winter, for obvious reasons. I don't think we would ever spec one though, simply because we put a higher premium on crew capacity. We checked out top mount panels when we bought our last engine, but it wasn't for us.
    Last edited by Chauffer6; 06-12-2006 at 10:05 PM.

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    We're on our 3rd generation of top mounts since 1977. I can see advantages to both, and some good ones were pointed out. You will never get the guys that use them the most, our drivers, to ever agree to anything else. For whatever problems there are in climbing or whatever, you don't hear complaints. It does allow the pump operator to keep a close idea on where his lines are going and coming from and keeping him up and out of the hose lines is a good idea too. As far as WB, our present engines have 10 man Spartan cabs and have a 202" WB. The increase in cramp angle on newer front axles negates alot of the turning radius argument however. Our '94 engines are 18" longer than the ones they replaced and turn circles inside them with a 38 degree cramp, our tower is a 2002 and has a 45 degree cramp.

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    Precision Fire has done an elevated rear mount panel. I had pictures at one time, not sure if they exist any more due to a hard drive failure. I'll look for them.

    Another option is the elevated side mount panel, you have the visibility options of the the top mount, but the length of the chassis stays the same as a side mount. You have the same disadvantages as a top mount for climbing up and down, as well as not having a crossover to access both sides of the rig. Rosenbauer and Precision are biggies for this style.

    It all comes down to what you've used in a lot of ways and what you're familar with, we have a rear mount (panel at the rear too) that requires some thought for placement in traffic situations, but many of us love it. We also run top mounts, and I like the vantage point it gives me as a pump operator, the fact that I don't have to climb up on top of the truck to operate my deck gun, etc. Depending on the trust factor, an operator on a top mount can be a great second set of eyes for an IC, especially if he's an operator that remains planted on the panel.

    I personally can't get into the enclosed top mount design. The isolation from the scene would drive me nuts, but like every other style of panel out there - I can't tell you what will work best for your needs.

    If we were buying a new pumper tomorrow I'd really push hard for a rear mount, with the panel in the last compartment on the officer's side. I like the compact nature of the rear mounts, and to me - OPINION HERE - I think a well designed rear mount can store more items in an easy to access and efficient way than any other style, especially for my department's needs.

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    We run a top mount on our first-due attack pumper and a side mount on our second rig who's job is primarily water supply. I like the top mount on the attack pumper for the reasons mentioned above...visibility, access to deluge gun, etc. I agree with npfd801's opinion on the enclosed top mount, too removed from what is going on around me. I'm intrigued by the elevated side mount panel...I've seen pictures and it looks kind of slick.
    In Arduis Fidelis
    Faithful in Adversity

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    My department is about to put into service a new side mount engine. It replaced a top mount engine. When we speced out the truck we polled the operators and they all favored going back to a side mount. One reason was with a 16" or 22" rasied roof you can't see over the cab, and even the view rear of the appratus can be limited by the hose bed height. Another reason is most of the maufacutes have improved the layout of the side mount pumps, the gauges are right over the discharge handles, etc. Which was a big reason we went top mount for a better pump panel layout many years ago. It also cut almost three feet in length of the appratus by going side mount.

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    What about a front mount?? My Dept. has 3 engines in three stations and are looking at getting a new truck, but they dont want a top, mid, or rear mount, I have tried to talk some sense into them but they are still leaning for the front mount.............What do you guys think?

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    Default Front mount

    Are you referring to a true front mount pump, the kind we like to call "bumper pumpers," or do you mean having discharges, controls, guages, etc, on the front surface of the cab?

    Bumper pumpers are popular in certain applications such as where drafting is common. It's easy to hook sleeves up and nose up to the water source. Hopefully, when the sleeves are in the water, there's someplace left for the operator to stand. They do have some advantages. They're usually less expensive to build, the pump and valves are more accessible for service and you can gain considerable compartment space.

    They're usually built on conventional cab commercial chassis. But Hamburg, Pa., the ancestral home of Hahn Motors, had Hahn build one or more on C model (tilt cab) Ford chassis. I remember someone on the floor at Hahn telling me what a hassle it was engineering it so that the cab would tilt properly without the pump being stuck too far out in front.

    Disadvantages that I see are that the pump is the first thing to arrive at the wreck, should you be so unfortunate as to be involved in one, and almost always is damaged as a result. That amount of weight hanging so far ahead of the steer axle can't be good for how the vehicle handles on the road, not to mention potential damage to the pump from all the added veritical road shock. Also, in cold weather, the pump is riding right out there in the air stream instead of being protected in a cocoon right behind and getting heat from the vehicle's engine and exhaust system. At one time front mounts were limited to 750 gpm, but I've seen bigger ones in recent years.

    Farrar Co. of Hopkinton, Mass. (not to be confused with Ferrara of Holden, La.) built some engines using the old non-tilting Cincinnati cabs where the controls, gauges, etc. were on the front face of the cab. Don't know much about them, but I do remember seeing pictures. They also did some on FWD chassis using the same cab. Just thinking of the plumbing gives me nightmares.

    Maybe some local historians in that area could chime in. I don't know what Farrar's status is today. I tried looking them up. I found Farrar, KME and E.J. Murphy all at the same address (17 Winter St., Hopkinton) but all with different phone numbers.

    I should add one disclaimer: I don't have any personal experience with front mounts at all. All of the above is compiled from what I've learned from the brothers and sisters down through the years, and my own observations.

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!
    Last edited by chiefengineer11; 06-25-2006 at 10:14 AM.

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    Deleted.....my opinion holds no weight in this subject area.
    Last edited by MG3610; 06-26-2006 at 06:51 AM.

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    Yeah our front mount is mounted on a International chassis standard cab. But to order a International crew cab is beyond me...Our Dept is not that big.
    Now I have been on depts that had a Ford and a FWD front mount, but the dept I was on got rid of the front mounts and went to Mids. So I guess its just where you are....

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    I have experience with top mount pumps (my career FD) and side and front mount pumps (my volly FD) and frankly myt preference is a well designed and laid out side mount pump panel and the front mount is a close second.

    As for why I like the side mount over the top mount we just received our new 2006 pumper and during the spec process we found that going to a top mount pump panel we would be adding 20 or 24 inches to the length of the truck, space we don't have in our station. Secondly, I keep hearing people talk about visibility well frankly I don't want the pump operator looking at the fire I want him watching the pump. Running the pump is his job not being a secondary fire ground safety officer. Thirdly, in wisconsin we get winter and with that comes cold, snow and ice, all things condusive to slip and fall injuries. Climbing up and down increases those odds of injury.

    Okay for the people who have never run a front mount and have all these ideas about them let me set you straight. It makes NO difference at all if you are drafting with a front mount pump rated at 1500 gpm or a side mount pump rated at 1500 gpm they will BOTH pump 1500 gpm from draft. It is no detrement to be able to pull your front mount pump right up to the water source and take your suction right off the front of the rig. You will get pump capacity. Any doubts? Call Sister Bay in northern Wisconsin and ask them abut their 4 wheel drive front mount pump supply engine with 2 front 6 inch intakes.

    As for run for the pump operator that is dependent on correct positioning isn't it? If the tank is too close to the rig there is no room. But be honest that can happenb with a side mount too. Suction hose is 10 feet long take advantage of that and give the pump operator some room.

    As for being first to arrive at a wreck, yes that is true, but if you have a front intake on a midship pump and are involved in a severe frontal impact you too can do major pump damage. My volly FD has run front mount pumps since the 1960's and we have never wrecked one yet.

    As for the cold most front mount pumps have a jacket around the pump where heated radiator water is circulated. In the summer this helps cool the engine and in the winter it helps heat the pump. We cover our 1000 gpm Hale front mount on our tanker for the winter months and we have never frozen that pump or any of our other previous front mount pumps either.

    As for the weight on the front end being a detrement to steering and handling Ihaven't noticed it at all. I think trucks of the same size with snow plows are much harder to steer. In 40 some years of front mount pumps steering and handling have not been a problem from the location of the pump. In fact the front bumper on our new pumper sticks out farther than the pump on our front mount pumper.

    I mean no disrespect for what I am about to say but really if you have never run a front mount pump vehicle in your FD what makes you think you can offer a valid opinion on them? Perhaps you stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night?

    FyredUp
    Last edited by FyredUp; 06-25-2006 at 10:10 PM.

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    We have run all types here – Had two top mounts – wrecked one and replaced it with a rear mount – Two rear mount pumper tankers and a front mount supply truck as well as a mid-ship– My feeling is buy what works for you – the front mount was the only way to go for our supply truck – works great – cross the beach – drive down the boat ramp what ever – no problem. Rear mounts – great for short wheel base and storage ( I know some will argue that). Side mount / top mount – horse a piece – top mount lots of up and down – we don’t have enough personnel that the pump operator can be tied to the panel – he needs to be able to work around the rig top mount means its harder to help out and access the panel. Also the added length is a draw back. Side mount is shorter – but seems that the pump access for maintenance is worse on a side mount then some top mounts depending on preconnect locations, also some what reduced visibility. I believe that a front mount is a great learning tool – very easy to see and understand how it works – then move up to a mid-ship mounted pump. I know I have strayed from the topic and I apologize.

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    FyredUp I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express lastnight and I liked it..........But yeah my vol. dept has never had a problem with them. Accident wise we had had it stuck up to the 6 inch intake in mud. But other than that our station is not long enough for a crew cab front mount. Me and the Asst. Chief found that outNot unless we did something like the CDF did with a shorter wheel base. Ok we can go back to top and side mount pumps......

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