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Setting up squirrel tail suction

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  • Setting up squirrel tail suction

    A couple of months ago, I was operating the water supply engine at a structure fire. The driveway was narrow, so I had to put the dump tank behind the engine. Thanks to the wasted length required in making the turn from the pump panel toward the rear of the truck, my hard suction didn't reach the dump tank as efficiently as I would have liked.

    So I'm now shopping for swivel elbows to allow the suction to make a tight turn off the panel and go straight to the front or rear.

    My question is whether 90 degrees is ideal or if anybody has experience with 60 or 45 degrees, if such an appliance exists. Any thoughts?

    “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
    ― Hunter S. Thompson

  • #2
    If memory serves, some squirrel tales used two nineties with a swivel between them.

    The smaller the angle, the less loss you'll have through the fitting, but the nineties will give you less width overall.

    Our Storz suction gate has a swivel and is set at about a 45 degree angle, IIRC.

    We've started carrying a third section of hard suction for the same reason.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks. You might say I got a little "squirrelly" wondering if the 90 might actually keep the suction too close to the truck, but we're using a big fat butterfly valve, so I think the offset is sufficient.
      “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
      ― Hunter S. Thompson

      Comment


      • #4
        I have often wondered why rural departments have abandoned the squirrel tail suction. I mean other than the obvious addition of rear suctions. Having a squirrel tail that could go forward or backwards offers a ton of options at a cheaper price than another valve and additional piping.
        Crazy, but that's how it goes
        Millions of people living as foes
        Maybe it's not too late
        To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

        Comment


        • #5
          Don't forget front suctions! Front or rear, there is the option to set up a drop tank out of the driving lane on narrow road, and a front suction also allows an engine to nose up to a static water source.

          The major problem with both front and rear suctions is usually that they use a smaller diameter pipe than the suction hose intended to connect to them. That limits their capacity.

          And there is the problem of where to store 20' of hard sleeve. When hoods were narrower than the rest of the body, there was a place to mount it. Today's trucks don't offer that same space, especially customs.
          Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

          Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

          Comment


          • #6
            Front suctions tend to have at least 2 - 90 degree elbows and as many as 4 - 45 degree elbows adding friction loss. Depending on the manufacturer and the piping arrangement the actual flow may only be as low as 70% of pump capacity. Rear suctions tend to be straighter with the only elbows most often being to hook to the pump intake manifold. The rear suction on our HME engine is piped with 6 inch pipe.
            Crazy, but that's how it goes
            Millions of people living as foes
            Maybe it's not too late
            To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

            Comment


            • #7
              A couple of our pumps have 90 degree elbows for suction if we have to draft from the front or rear. Useful as our dry hydrants are in tight areas where its easier to drive straight in.
              Two departments, twice the fun...

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm definitely a big believer in other suction points. Two of our engines have them (one front and one rear), but the two newest do not. They are ideal here in the mountains, where county roads are as narrow as many driveways and there is no space beside the road.
                “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
                ― Hunter S. Thompson

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've seen 6" elbows in catalogs, look in a TFT catalog or other similar catalog. Can you put 3 sections of suction on the truck? Or perhaps order longer sections to reach?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    We're not having any trouble finding a source, but I wanted to make sure that 90 degrees was the best bend before we plunked down a few hundred Benjamins on it.
                    “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
                    ― Hunter S. Thompson

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by EastKyFF View Post
                      We're not having any trouble finding a source, but I wanted to make sure that 90 degrees was the best bend before we plunked down a few hundred Benjamins on it.
                      Any bend is going to cause some friction loss. Maybe a lesser angle will suffice for your purposes.

                      It comes down to deciding if the increased versatility is worth the loss in potential flow.

                      If you frequently need what such a setup will offer you, but rarely run the pump at capacity in those situations, go for it.
                      Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                      Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                      Comment

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