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  1. #1
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    Default Post-Saulsbury - Where have you turned?

    I have been casually 'taking notes' on this trend since E-One closed down the last true Saulsbury operation, but I thought it would be interesting to start a thread on the topic:

    For those departments who previously purchased Saulsbury products, which company have you chosen to build their replacements or successors? Where have you turned for your high-quality, highly custom, stainless steel heavy rescues, rescue-engines, rear-mount pumpers, tankers, etc?

    What went into the process of selecting a new company? Were there specific factors that made you feel that "this" was the company that could best match the Saulsbury product? What were they? Was this a conscious process, or was it just like purchasing any other piece of apparatus – i.e. was your department fully aware that they wanted a product that was no longer produced, and then consciously tried find a builder that could best parallel the customization and quality that you already had in your station?

    Also, if you don’t mind noting what state/region you are from, that might be an interesting factor to compare.


    Not be exclusive or anything, but previous Saulsbury owners/users only, please. I’m not looking for “well, we’ve always run Brand X, and I drink their Kool Aid, so we chose them when we bought our heavy rescue last year.” If you can speak with reasonable authority for another department that is a previous Saulsbury customer, that’s fine. Or if you were absolutely hell-bent on buying your first Saulsbury when it finally came time to replace your heavy rescue, but now “the boys in Tully and Preble aren’t bending stainless anymore” – that’s fine, too. Just….no Kool Aid, please.


  2. #2
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Interesting things should start happening at another major manufacturer here pretty soon, as they now have TS, Saulsbury's old head of engineering. A great engineering mind with a passion for the fire service, he is responsible for the design and execution of construction of many of Saulsbury's biggest projects.....such as this: Aberdeen Fire Department, Aberdeen Maryland (Harford County Company 2) 1993 Spartan/Saulsbury Heavy Rescue. Credits to the unknown photographer. I also know for a fact that the Bel Air Fire Company (Harford County Company 3) who was a loyal Saulsbury customer for years (3 or more engines) recently swore in blood that they would never purchase (the new improved) Saulsbury again after the fiasco that occurred with the recent purchase of their rescue-pumper. Must be true as they had another vendor build them 3 new engines (same vendor that TS now works for.....)
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 06-06-2009 at 08:26 PM.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  3. #3
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    Default R.I.P. Saulsbury

    As I have stated before, I think Saulsbury is dead. We are from the northeast and previous Saulsbury users. When looking for a new rig, the quality and cutomer service was not even close. Although they said many Saulsbury employees went south with the move, me thinks they were mostly managers and welders. After the body is built, EVERYTHING else is an e-one. Wiring, plumbing, trim, etc. Custom options are virtually unavailable. Saulsbury was THE custom manufacturer, no more. They are now stainless steel E-ones. Withot getting into any E-one arguments, thats not the rig we wanted, and we were willing to pay for it. What a shame.

  4. #4
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    FWD –

    The move you speak of is actually one of the reasons I started this thread. I didn’t want to bait the line, but that’s one of the trends I’m curious about: we’ve seen the departments that have “migrated” from Preble to Hamburg in the past decade – now we’ll see what happens between Hamburg and Clintonville. I think that for truly customized rigs, this industry may be more of a “people” industry than some would like to admit – it is hard to tell cause and effect, though. Some of the other runner-up manufacturers seem to be in similar situations – such as JG with Big Red.

    FWD – if this were 10 years ago….might your new engine have been built a little closer to home? (Certainly not meant to slight Toyne at all – just curious, had the circumstances been different).


    FD1976 – I think you have a very accurate description there. Who are you buying from now, and why?

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    Haven't bought anything yet, still looking. It will be one of the major manufacturers who has an established service center near the NY metro area.

  6. #6
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    [QUOTE=BlitzfireSolo;803449]

    FWD – if this were 10 years ago….might your new engine have been built a little closer to home? (Certainly not meant to slight Toyne at all – just curious, had the circumstances been different).
    I'll buy into that one, Blitz, to say quite honestly, I don't know. We had bypassed Hamburg (Pa., that is) in '88 and they were gone by the early 90s.

    Hamburg, N.Y. did (and hopefully still does) some truly nice body work, but I had serious issues with the plumbing on the few that I've seen.

    The folks in Appleton did nice work if you could work around the dealer that they had at the time.

    Our '89 Quality/Duplex spec was written with Grumman in mind, but they were out of the picture by the mid 90s.

    Mack, which would have been at the top of the heap, was gone as was Crown. You couldn't get a Crown around here anyway.

    Seagrave, S & S, General Safety and Custom Fire are a few that we probably would have looked at. We sent the spec for what became the Toyne to S & S, but they declined, saying it wasn't something they felt they could do well.

    Another company closer to home wasn't in it. Even Mauch Chunk doesn't have any of them as far as I know.

    Good question, Blitz. Sorry I don't have a good answer.

    Stay safe out there, everyone goes home!

  7. #7
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlitzfireSolo View Post
    FWD – if this were 10 years ago….might your new engine have been built a little closer to home? (Certainly not meant to slight Toyne at all – just curious, had the circumstances been different).
    Knowing what I know now (heh famous last words, I would have been dangerous!) had we spec'd stainless for the 89 Duplex/Quality, I would have pushed for Saulsbury. Look now at the 1988 Mack/Saulsbury FDNY rescues- they are still alive and kicking, one as a spare piece (box removed and remounted) and one has been sold, purchased by a private towing vendor, and is used on the NY State Throughway as his "Heavy Recovery" support vehicle (bags, jacks, etc...) Bottom line- they're indestructable. Mind you- the OLD Saulsbury. Pre "new improved" days.

    But instead they spec'd galvanneal. Which CE11 loves to say doesnt rust or corrode or oxidize. If it doesnt, have him explain to me what the bubbling is around almost each and every grab handle, door hardware, hinge, etc. But it's a moot point because the new shiny toy is getting nearer and nearer, and if you mention the Duplex/Quality to him, he will say "Who?" He will drop that thing as "his" baby like faster than a set of rims will dissappear in the parking lot at a Puff Daddy Concert.

    Hamburg? While the convienence of being within 50 miles, I think everyone saw the writing on the wall at the time. Additionally, if I remember correctly, they did not offer cab options we wanted, nor would they build on the chassis we wanted, in lieu of their chassis not meeting spec.

    Allentown? No brainer- IF they were building firetrucks at the time (they ceased production of bodies about 4 or 5 years prior to the Duplex/Quality) and had the cab options we wanted, CE11 would have sold me to gypsies to have a Mack in his toy box.

    A little further north of Allentown? I think we were about as interested in them, then, as much as we are now (or should I say a year ago) which was slim to none.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

  8. #8
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    I know you asked for people that have purchased Saulsbury trucks only but I couldn't resist adding some comment.

    You've seen me post pics of our two rear mounts in the past and no they are not Saulsbury trucks, but they are probably what you would see come out of Saulsbury had they been in business today. They were built by General Safety which is probably the closest thing to a Saulsbury today as far as cutting edge custom rigs goes. Crimson also builds some very unique rigs.
    We chose General because of their experience in building rear mounts and high end customs. Our trucks could have been built in stainless like a Saulsbury but the corrosion issue was not a concern for us ( very little road salt used in our city ) .

    I hope I added something useful

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    Well as a member of a department with two Saulsbury units and with some internal ties to the old company I would offer the following. I always felt that buying a Saulsbury was not only about the truck it was about the experience of doing it. Having bought units from various other builders it just felt different to buy a Saulsbury. Why? I don’t know, maybe it was the energy, the dedication, the fact that so many people who worked there are / were fire fighters and new what it was you were talking about, maybe it was the challenge of doing things different.
    I spent many nights in that plant as a customer and with other customers where it was “turn the lights out and lock the door when you are done”. Now I’m not saying that’s the best way to do things or that it made sense, but when you were done you knew exactly what you had – good or bad., and if you wanted to be, you could be, and were involved in those decision as much as you wanted to be.
    We have purchased one unit since the last Saulsbury. A large rear mount pumper tanker with CAFS, modeled after our previous Saulsbury. There were only a limited number of builders who felt they wanted to look at the project and some of those bowed out or failed to appear at prebid meetings. In the end for what ever reason we were left with two viable builders, and signed the contract with one of these – Crimson.
    We felt that Crimson had started making inroads into the rear mount market, and had a strong rear mount advocate and knowledgeable person in a previous Saulsbury employee (JG) who would help our project along. Their willingness to think outside the box and dedicate personnel to understanding what it was we were trying to do- (One of my key things I look for in any builder is the ability to understand the why not just the what) helped in our decision process.
    In fairness to our dealer he needs some credit in that he took one look at our project and said it was beyond his abilities, and he worked to help foster a factory direct relationship between our department and the builder.
    During our construction we were able to develop a working relationship with all members of the Crimson staff from engineering all the way to the guys on the floor, we often stayed at the plant into the night or returned after dinner to have input with the second shift, we were able to design custom brackets and do tool layouts to fit our needs. Now I will say that in my opinion the guys at Saulsbury were the masters of tool mounting and that other builders are working to fill that need ( including Crimson) , but at this point I don’t think anyone is there yet.
    As I stated above, this level of interaction may not be everyone’s (Fire department or manufacture) idea of how to build a fire truck but for our committee they unanimously felt it was worth the time and effort.
    I should state that I have no tie to Crimson, and that the staff there maybe cringing at the thought of apparatus committees running amok in their shop. And not to say that this process was a bowl of cherries either, because nothing ever is, but in the end it was worth the effort, and maybe something close to what was a Saulsbury experience.
    Sorry about my long winded response. My personal opinion is that as more of the small to medium size builders get bought up or forced out of business we the fire department will ultimately suffer.

    SBLGFD
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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBLGFD View Post
    My personal opinion is that as more of the small to medium size builders get bought up or forced out of business we the fire department will ultimately suffer.

    SBLGFD
    www.slgfd.com
    CAN I GET AN AMEN??????
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    You may - but maybe it should be a “Rest In Peace”

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    Quote Originally Posted by SBLGFD View Post
    You may - but maybe it should be a “Rest In Peace”

    Just was curious any of you salsbury fans ever tried 4 Guys out of myersdale,pa. My dept hasnt dealt with them but if you look at their web page they have some nice looking ss rigs on there. Some neighboring depts have them and seem to be pleased.

  13. #13
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    Default Where we have turned.

    My department runs a 1989 Mack MC/Saulsbury Tanker, however, we were not a "Saulsbury Company". Prior to the purchase of the Saulsbury Tanker we had Hahn, Bruco, homebuilt, etc.

    Since then we purchased a 1997 KME Excel Engine and will be accepting delivery on a 2007 KME Predator Engine within the next 2 weeks.

    We have been very happy with the KME factory and the customization they are willing to do. Pictures of the production of the new engine may be found at http://www.sergeantsville.org/newtruckpictures.htm

  14. #14
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    Default Not for nothin' ...

    Quote Originally Posted by boog8591 View Post
    My department runs a 1989 Mack MC/Saulsbury Tanker, however, we were not a "Saulsbury Company". Prior to the purchase of the Saulsbury Tanker we had Hahn, Bruco, homebuilt, etc.

    Since then we purchased a 1997 KME Excel Engine and will be accepting delivery on a 2007 KME Predator Engine within the next 2 weeks.

    We have been very happy with the KME factory and the customization they are willing to do. Pictures of the production of the new engine may be found at http://www.sergeantsville.org/newtruckpictures.htm
    And isn't the president of your fire department a KME sales rep??

  15. #15
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    Default Yes

    Yes he is, however, I can say as the Chairman of the most recent truck committee, that we looked at all the big manufacturers and the spec that was put out to bid was actually a Pierce spec. KME underbid them and did not take any major exceptions.

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    "My personal opinion is that as more of the small to medium size builders get bought up or forced out of business we the fire department will ultimately suffer. "

    I agree with you on this statement. We had purchased our last two trucks from a small regional builder that produced top quality value priced units. They were a pleasure to work with from the initial design meeting right on through the fabrication process and making sure that we received EXACTLY the apparatus we wanted at a price we could afford. Both the CAFS pumper and the heavy rescue are extremely well engineered and built and draw a lot of attention from all that see them. unfortunately the company ran into financial problems when their bank was bought out by a large commercial bank who called their mortgage due in 90 days. they were unable to secure financing and the new bank foreclosed. This was not for lack of work or future contracts , just a loan officer deciding they didn't want to carry this type of business portfolio.
    The fire departments are definitely the losers here as we are being forced to go to the big boys and pay much more for the same product and in some cases not of the same quality. Yes the big boys produce a quality product but that doesn't mean we should pay tens of thousands more. the nameplate isn't worth 35-50 K more for the same truck.

  17. #17

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    My department has a 2003 Saulsbury Heavy Rescue and the experience we had with the company was tremendous. We were involved in every aspect of the build. They allowed us to spend many hours on the floor with the employees during the build process. You got to experience what true customer service was all about no matter if you where buying one rig or ten. And when done it was the best rig we have every received. It's ashame that had to be lost to the mass production and cheaper is better mind set.
    When we purchased of last engine we were looking for a company to try to fill Saulsburys shoes. Specs went out to six companys and we had only one that came to pre-bid meeting,company was Crimson Fire.We felt that they were making great improvements in the rear mount pumper area and were willing to due all the customizing and tool mounting we were looking for. The saw a potential for a good market in a truely custom rig. They started up a special team just for these projects. Ours was one of the firsts to be completed. To say it was a totally smooth project, no but what ones are. Believe Crimson gave us the closest experience and product to a Saulsbury we could find.Do they have room for improvement,yes, but believe they could come close to Saulsbury if they keep it up.

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    I always find it very sad when I drive to Cortland to see my daughter at college and go by the old Saulsbury plant. It was always a treat to see what they had sitting out in the parking lot.....just empty now.

    That being said, our Saulsbury body is on it's second chassis. They just don't build 'em like that anymore.

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    After being part of 2 Saulsbury trucks, I have to say that nobody builds them like that anymore. It even showed in the last one, our 2000 pumper, it was built in NY but had a lot of Ocala minds in the business end. needless to say it was not the experience that our 1994 Rescue was. The guys up there were top notch, always willing to go the extra mile. In 94 some of the guys stayed until 7pm on a Sat night to make sure they did what WE wanted.

    SBLGFD-I will second your Crimson comment. We too went to them for our new attack engine. JG was the biggest reason why, he is top notch. As well as a salesman that sold us the 2 above Saulsbury's, he now works for Crimson in th PA area. That being said, he could not sell to us in CT so we had to go with a differnt dealer, who in turn, Lost the sale.

    We are waiting for our new KME as we type.

    RIP-Saulsbury

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    I don't really understand the concept behind what some of these large company's do. Fed Sig bought Saulsbury in the 90's to put a quality stainless-steel product in E-ones line up. For a few years its OK, then the bean counters must get involved. So we streamline production by consolidating, keep the same price and kill the quality. What happens? They are going to sell less trucks. less trucks, less income. IDK. I don't think any depts purchased a Saulsbury because of price, but thats the main reasoning behind purchasing an e-one. Apples and oranges. I don't get it.

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