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  • wanted feedback

    we want to hear from departments that have recently put aerial platforms into service. We want to know good and bad feedback about features, manufacturers, options, and specifications. Pros and cons.
    Thank You

  • #2
    Lt.Tim,Good idea getting info. from people that use the equipment everyday.My depts. ladder truck would be a little red wagon with a step stool.Good luck .


    • #3
      A nearby career department recently got an American LaFrance (with I believe an LTI Platform), which is a beutiful truck. Really, go to there Station 1 and see it. Oh, I see, you are worried that it may be out on a run if you were to drive here.

      Well, fear not!The monster hasn't moved in 3 weeks, and will soon be FLATBEDDED back to the manufacturer! Why I am not sure, but I do know that this has been an ongoing battle,and it has spent more time in the shops than in the station.

      Again, I don't know specifics, just a lesson as to not let the bells and whistles get ya sucked in!

      Another nearby combo department has an E-ONE rearmount tower, and had problems with the bucket staying level. A real problem while it was parked in Headquarters! The bucket would begin to sag, until it was tilted down, obscurring the chauffer's view! They were going to replace the entire bucket, but the cost was outragous. I am not sure what there solution was, but the truck is still in service.

      Another department, all vollie, just took delivery of a Peirec mid-mount tower ladder. Nice peice, however it seems excessivly long and non manueverable. Plus it seems to have trouble getting off the floor for alarms.

      As much as I hate to say it, as I am not a fan, one of our neighboring departments has a Sutphen 100 ft tower and has had very good luck with it. However it do not like the entrance steps to the bucket, nor the fact that the deck guns are on your side, as it could hit your arm,head,tool,etc.

      And of course, ther is the Baker Aerialscope......in a world of flimsy imitators, this is the original, either a Mack or Seagrave chassis, doesn't matter, both have their plus/negatives. A stout, strong,manueverable,Stone Cold of a tower ladder.

      That's what I think!
      FTM - PTB


      • #4
        I can't help you with the platform part, but we've just placed an order for a Pierce 105' straight ladder (quad, actually). This will be our second Pierce chassis and, along with our 1972 CF Mack/1988 Pierce (refurb) angine, this will make our station (almost) all Pierce. We've gotten great performance from the Pierce products we have and expect that to continue. We seriously evaluated (accepted proposals from) three manufacturers: Pierce, ALF/LTI, and Smeal.

        In ALF/LTI's defense, I have to say that they've always given us good service (they service the aerials on our 1980 Pierce/LTI telesquirt and our soon-to-be-replaced 1974 Imperial/Grove ladder). The problems we had with their proposal were mostly in three areas. First, they seem to be building on a bigger-is-better premise right now, and had a very hard time spec'ing to fit our station (approx. 44' bay depth, wall-to-door, and 12' doors, with an inclined ramp). Second, they seem to be bell-and-whistle happy, which isn't particularly appealing to us. This is particularly true since one of our mutual aid companies has a 2000 Freightliner/3D tanker-pumper (3D is also a Freightliner subsidiary, just like ALF & LTI) with all sorts of nifty hydraulics and electronics...and it spent more of its first year at the factory than in their station. Couple all of this with the fact that LTI was the high bid, and they lost.

        On the other hand, Smeal put up a fairly impressive spec. They don't build the chassis (we had them spec a Spartan), but all of the info we could gather on Smeal aerials suggested that they were solid. They came in with a fairly utilitarian rig (which is what we wanted) that was comparable in functionality with the Pierce, as far as we could tell. Smeal came in with the low bid, but also had trouble with the station dimensions (since they don't build the chassis, they don't have a lot of choice in how the thing falls together). They also suffered because their closest dealer/service center was almost 3 hours away, making service potentially inconvenient, to say the least.

        Pierce made the most compact rig (41' 7" X 11' 6"), with all the functions and features we wanted and no extraneous crap, put it together with some nice incentives to keep the price reasonable, has shown us good quality and service in the past, and that's where we ended up.

        As for other manufacturers, we rejected anybody without a substatial life span and/or stable presence in our area out of hand (Ferrara, Quality, etc.), E-One because we have no interest in aluminum ladders, Seagrave, Darley and others because they have no dealers or service anywhere near us, KME because (in the opinion of the apparatus committee) they build crap, and so forth.

        I hope this helps you out somewhat. If you have specific questions, I can try to answer.


        • #5
          My Dept. in CT recently took delivery of the Pierce Dash 95ft Mid-Mount Platforms and if Lucas built electrical systems for fire trucks this would be their prize piece. The onboard computer system is a nice bell and whistle and means well but all the sensors that feed the computer need improvement. Pierce should mount a laptop to the dash so you can fix problems on the fly. The PTO for the boom disengages randomly while in use and the truck has to be Re-booted (shut completely off) and restarted. Jack sensors fail and make the computer believe the truck is short jacked and limits operation on the so called short jacked side. Rung alignment sensors fail to register and prevent you from stowing the ladder back in it's bed. The water way hangs below the ladder making it susceptible to damage. It's a beautiful looking truck, lots of shiny chrome, performs real well in parades. Not so good on the fireground. I call it Control-Alt-Delete. Maybe Bill Gates can get together with Pierce. We had a Sutphen/Pierce refurb before that and I must say the Sutphen was a much better and more reliable and enjoyable truck to operate. Sometimes simplicity is a good thing. Trucks with actual levers and linkages, hydraulic valves. Maybe someday Pierce will iron out the bugs and it'll be a nice working piece. Until then beware.


          • #6
            We've run an Aerialscope on a Simon Duplex. It's always been great. We've had two problems. Once in a great while, the bucket would move if the joystick was hit w/out the button pressed in (or so the operator said). Other one is it was incredibly slow from the start until our mechanics finally figured out the fuel filter was too small. Ever since, it's pretty quick (for a 20 ton truck).

            The real question is, what do you need? Do you have high-rises? Do you have tight streets? For example, we have many one way streets w/ parking on both sides where the Aerialscope, w/ only two outriggers that extend out away from the truck, will fit. However, if you tried a Pierce or KME or any other piece w/ the "H" outrigger system, it wouldn't fit. These are the things to keep in mind. I would choose an Aerialscope every time. I will admit that I might be a little biased, though.

            Check the truck out here ...

            Stay Safe


            • #7
              Gotta put my two cents worth in: We have an American LaFrance ladder that is a great looking truck--until you start the thing. Sorry, ALF--we call this thing Lemon 31 'cause it's out of service more than it's in service. Maybe it was a bad day at the plant--I've heard others who swear by American LaFrance--but the money we saved over Pierce has been put back into this truck many times over. We recently got a platform from Pierce for another station--it's only been in service for a week, but we expect it to be a great truck. No experience with other makers.


              • #8
                We purchased an E-One 100' platform ladder and it is the best thing the department has done in a long time. It was quite expensive, but it was well worth the money. It has all that we need, it can beat any vehicle on the department 0-40 and it is very user friendly. The only problem with it is that it doesn't have a releif valve on the pump.(At least not one that you can set from the panel.) It's relief valve is under the truck and has to be preset. Trying to run lines off of the truck is like running an old truck where you have to gate the valves and watch what the pressure gauges of each line is doing. But it is a great truck none the less.


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