Chassis Update

An update of the latest advancements in the chassis industry from manufacturers of fire apparatus chassis.


Firehouse® Magazine asked manufacturers of fire apparatus chassis to describe for our readers the latest developments in the industry. The following reports were provided by the manufacturers. American LaFrance Freightliner Photo by Firehouse Staff American LaFrance...


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The KME Excel chassis, introduced in 1996, is a completely redesigned tilt cab chassis.

"This chassis represents our commitment to the future," states Nalesnik. Inside and out, this chassis was designed to be firefighter friendly and sensitive to the needs of mechanics.

Exterior cab features such as lower cab entry, improved front corner visibility, heavy duty paddle latches and various raised roof options are offered. Interior enhancements such as a custom formed dash assembly with marine grade gauges, custom formed door, engine enclosure and overhead panels, combine to provide an ergonomically designed interior for maximum comfort and function.

Many of the features of the new Excel cannot be readily noticed but are just as valuable, such as door side impact tubes, dual outboard cab tilt latches, improved window regulators, and improved insulation for heat and sound reduction. The electronics are centrally located and feature solid state components. Also featured is an engine enclosure that will accept any engine offered by the fire apparatus industry today, thus avoiding the problem of certain chassis only providing certain engines. With the Excel you get a premium cab with all of the new standard items but you can still be price conscious at the same time.

"The fire truck of the future will be multidimensional," states Nales-nik. He further states, "Because of manpower and budgetary restraints, customers want more out of their truck they want to use them as rest areas, command posts or for emergency transport of injured personnel." The chassis of the future will have to serve several needs or it will cease to be competitive. KME chassis are custom engineered; they have a strong background in military and custom fire truck chassis and are committed to the future development of tomorrow's fire truck.

Navistar

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Photo by Firehouse Staff
Navistar

Today's firefighters look for two key features in the fire trucks that they choose: a powerful engine and driver comfort. Navistar is moving in the right direction by fulfilling both needs in the International 4900 fire truck, which features a more powerful 320-hp diesel engine and larger "stretch" crew cab that adds comfort and allows for easier entry and exit.

International also offers the most powerful engine ever available in a 4900 fire truck the proven International 530 diesel engine, with ratio of up to 320 hp and full electronic controls. The extra horsepower not only gives the truck more power on the road but it also allows a water pumping rate of 1,750 gpm, making the engine an outstanding choice for emergency use. The engine is also now available with an optional alternator of up to 270 amps, and to help with secondary braking, an Allison transmission retarder is available with the 530 engine in many 4900 applications.

Designed specifically to accommodate firefighters using self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA), the stretch crew cab is offered in a new 148-inch-long, 80-inch-wide version that offers more clearance between front and back seats, as well as a comfortable 57.25 inches of head room. And even though the design allows crews to exit and enter one of the most spacious cabs in the industry more quickly, the extended cab still allows for an effective turn radius and excellent weight distribution.

Also, for the many switches that are required in emergency service vehicles, Navistar offers an additional six- or 10-position switch mounting plate that can be conveniently located on the dash in lieu of the cup holder. Other features of the International 4000 Series trucks include:

  • GVW ratings of up to 56,000 pounds.
  • Tight turn capability and standard power steering.
  • Maximum serviceability with a hood that opens 80 degrees with only 40 pounds of effort.
  • Reliability with a warranty for five years or 100,000 miles.
  • Factory installed and warranted front driving axles.

Navistar International Corp., with world headquarters in Chicago, is the leading North American producer of heavy and medium trucks and school buses. The company also is a worldwide leader in the manufacture of mid-range diesel engines, which are produced in a range of 160 hp to 300 hp.