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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber CordovaFire's Avatar
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    Default Commercial Chassis

    We are looking to purchase a new truck. There are several commerial chassis out there. How well do these chassis compare with one another? Is there one that is any better than the rest?


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    International, Freightliner and Sterling seem to be the most popular these days. But Kenworth and Peterbilt are breathing down their necks. Don't overlook Volvo. They all build a good chassis, and they're all capable of producing the proverbial lemon. Mack is execptionally good with the heavier stuff, especially tankers.

    In your case one thing you may want to take into consideration is which one(s) has a local dealership and how are they on service. Talk to local folks, dump truck operators, milk haulers, ready mix companies and the like. Get their opinions. Lean toward a dealership that tends to deal in vocational trucks as opposed to highway tractor-trailers.

    Write your chassis specs as carefully as you would for the rest of the truck. There's a huge array of options out there. Some dealerships are quite savvy on the needs of fire apparatus, some aren't. Find out how many chassis they've put into the fire service, but don't rule a dealer out just because they haven't.

    Remember that depending on how you structure the contract, your apparatus builder may be buying the chassis as part of the deal. This can be a good thing, because a good apparatus builder already has a handle on what's needed. They may also have some pricing arrangements that could save you a buck or two. The down side of that is, your local dealer doesn't get in on the sale, only the service and warranty work.

    Those are just a couple of points that popped into my mind. I hope and expect that you'll get lots more replies here. There are super people out there that read and participate in these forums (fora) who can give you some great advice.

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!

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    Default purpose

    what is this going to be used as. A commercial will do everything (I've seen 75' sticks on them), but like chiefengineer11 said, some fair better than others. I think if you go by sheer numbers, internaational/navistar will be clear winners. that doesnt mean there better though. I like macks. We have 3 macks, all of which go OOS less than our customs. We have one from '78 that still runs great, though soon to be sold.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber CordovaFire's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for the replys so far guys. We have a 2000 International now but there are a few things we have not liked. We are just looking around at what else is out there. Anymore ideas out there?

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    we have a kenworth and its a good truck, IH is been good too. For us the service from kenworth in our area was voted best in the nation by kenworth, so it made a lot of sense. I think theres a great dealer for KW in AL but the name escapes me right now. I would steer clear of volvo and mack, ever since volvo bought mack it has been going downhill. This is coming from a company that had all macks for 25 years and is now switching to KW.

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    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Default

    In my experience your two big names will be Freightliner and IH. We have a 2005 IH 7400 with the 330 horse (DT570), 4wd chassis. I'm currently driving a 2006 Freightliner M2 106 with a 300 horse Mercedes. With the brand of apparatus that I sell, I don't make anything on the chassis, so I personally don't care what a customer wants, but here's my opinion on the two mentioned above:

    IH - I think the interior gauges and dash are better built, they seem of a higher quality. Overall the "tactile" feel of the controls and stuff I like better. IH uses a steel cab. Stupid enough reason, but I like the IH chassis looks better.

    Freightliner - The interior (dash, headliner, etc.) are cheaper feeling, but the roof is raised on a four door, and you get more interior room that way. The Freightliner is MUCH quieter inside than our IH. The cab on the Freightliner is aluminum construction. The visibility out of the front windshield is better than on the IH.

    To be honest, in my opinion - there isn't a clear winner over which is better. The Mercedes engines available in the Freightliner are more than capable (available to 330 horse in the "lighter" M2 106), but for '07 I believe you will have the option of using a Cummins if you wish (2006 it was Cat C7). I think in the IH 4000 and 7000 series you get the IH engine choice only, but I'm not 100% on this.

    Obviously, comparing an M2 106 to a 7400 4wd isn't apples to apples, but I think both are competent chassis if you want to be in a commercial chassis. Keep in mind that the Pete and KW are made into 4-doors by an aftermarket company, at least they were when we were looking at our IH. Sterling (I believe) makes their own 4-door cab.

    For us, I can sell you a comparable Freightliner for less money than an IH. Obviously, money isn't everything, but is a consideration.

    If you don't need a four-door, I would look at any of the brands previously mentioned, but for a 4-door, I wouldn't stray from IH and Freightliner, and Sterling as a last choice.

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    Default

    Also consider service. Even after several years it is still tough to find people qualified to work on that Mercedes engine.

    Birken

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    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Service is a good point. If the IH dealer is two miles down the road, but Freightliner is two hours away, well...

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    Default Dd 60

    you can get one of these in an M2 right? seems like that be a good match. strange that IH only offers its own engine.

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    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Unless this was changed for '07, I don't think a Detroit is an option at all in the M2 series, regardless of it being a lighter 106 or heavier 112 series...

    Heavier application motors for 2006 were listed as the bigger Cat series motors and the MBE4000 in the 112 series.

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    Red face Kw

    Take a look at the 4 door KW Pierce Contender pumpers , a good truck at a very fair price of $ 180,000 plus equipment!..
    Last edited by NewJerseyFFII; 09-30-2006 at 06:03 PM.

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber CordovaFire's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for all the info. Can anyone tell me the better engine or chassis series that would accomodate an 1800 gallon tanker with International?

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    International will be offering Cummins in some larger series of 2007 trucks. Caterpillar engines may be available later in 2007. They're available in 2006 trucks if you can find one, again, the larger series.

    I don't know about Detroit Diesel.

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!

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    Forum Member Frmboybuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BirkenVogt
    Also consider service. Even after several years it is still tough to find people qualified to work on that Mercedes engine.

    Birken

    Any Freightliner or Volvo dealer is more than qualified to service a Mercedes....For that matter ANY dealer is qualified to work on them. They are just an engine and they all operate the same

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frmboybuck
    Any Freightliner or Volvo dealer is more than qualified to service a Mercedes....For that matter ANY dealer is qualified to work on them. They are just an engine and they all operate the same
    Farmboy, in principle, you're right, a diesel engine is a diesel engine. But even so, I gotta go with Birken on this one. I owned a '71 Mercedes tractor that I bought in '71 as a demo with 10,000 miles on it. I traded it at 443,000 miles not counting those when the speedometer didn't work, drove them all myself. Since Mercedes had very few truck dealerships in the country at the time and none west of Wheeling, W.Va., I had to learn to take care of it myself.

    Granted, it really was a pretty simple and basic engine. But there always were those little differences, those quirks of German engineering that set them apart and made them different from anything else. It was a fantastic engine, but it had its own personality that you had to learn.

    Any good diesel technician can learn them and be good at them, but if they haven't, too bad.

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!

  16. #16
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Farmboy,you ever work on a late model Mercedes? Trust me,it's not your grandfathers diesel,they are NOT like everybody elses and I don't know too many mechanics that enjoy working on them.And not every dealership or truck shop will work on them.Some will, some won't. So far we're not towing a lot of them,they make decent power,but they ARE a pain to work on.Won't affect me,we run exclusively Cumaparts.And NO they do not all operate the same.Basic principal perhaps but programming and logic curves are a whole other ball game.Try the fueling system on a Volvo sometime if you want an excercise in terror. T.C.

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    Forum Member Frmboybuck's Avatar
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    Yea, Ive worked on them... I drive one also. ANYONE who services Detroit, will service the Mercedes since they are owned by Detroit. All the shops keep current on this stuff today.....This isnt the 70's Im happy with the power of my Mercedes. Its got alot more pep and gets better fuel milage than my C-12

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    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Its actually the other way around, Mercedes bought out Detroit...

    Detroit Diesel History
    Last edited by npfd801; 10-11-2006 at 09:47 PM. Reason: typo

  19. #19
    Forum Member Frmboybuck's Avatar
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    Default

    Actually if you want to get technical about it....DCAG owns both along with numerous other companies

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Yeah, I should have said DC. Growing up in a town with a DC plant, the whole "merger" (yeah, label it what you want I suppose) has been very good for the facility, but I think it was a merger much in the same way I "mergered" my dinner this evening...

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