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The Big Red Truck Company

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  • The Big Red Truck Company

    I'd like to start by thanking Mic13 for the advice.

    I'm a college student at The Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and a Volunteer Firefigher when I'm not in school -- I'm from eastern Pennsylvania, and Indiana is a little bit of a haul from there. I started a business plan to build fire trucks for a class, and I figure that I may as well go for it and try to make it fly. Being that you all are potential customers, competitors, and peers, I figured I'd ask for your advice. What would you want to see in a new manufacturer? You've already helped me a ton in portraying the Essence of a Fire Truck." I'm curious as to what you have to say.

    Thanks For The Help, Dare To Dream!

    --Dan Gallagher

    Those who dare not to follow their dreams fail to live.

  • #2
    1.High Quality
    2.Simple: Not a lot of geewiz gadgets or
    fancy interiors.
    Basic, get the job done.
    3.Affordable: see #2
    4.High quality:Precision assembly
    Designed for safety
    Easy maintaince
    Good quality materials
    5.Factory direct sales: see #3


    • #3
      Affordabilty. Standing behind there prodcut 1000%, Willing to meet the costumers need, Out here we have half sized pumpers, Our city has a lot hills and shard turns and we would not be able to get up there with full sized Fire Engines, We had E-one custom build our Engine's, Durabilty, 24-7 Customer Support

      Tim Macias
      [email protected]
      Engine 101


      • #4
        Thanks for the advice. What's your take on Stainless Steel vs. Aluminum? Right now I vote for stainless.


        • #5

          FO2 and TM have said it pretty well, the only thing I can add is build em' TOUGH! If it can be bent, broke or otherwise torn up,
          a FIREFIGHTER will find a way to make it happen! (Must be a little bit of TRUCKIE in all of us)

          Stainless Steel is the only way to go!!!

          The only other thing I can add is look at apparatus that has been in service for ten, twenty and even thirty years. Look at the use, the wear, and what does and does not hold up. New ideas aren't necessarily the best ideas. There have been some tough trucks built in the past, Take the BEST of the OLD and the Best of the NEW. Build only the Best!!!

          Good Luck!!



          • #6
            So you want to build a firetruck...
            You are doing the first thing right...asking the firefighters who will drive and ride in the rig and use them on a daily basis for input Chiefs take note!!!

            1. Cab ergonomics: make the rig easy to get into and out of with plenty of room for a firefighter in full turnout gear. Have plenty of power ports for computers, meters, cell phones, etc. Have space for the previously mentioned devices. The cab would also have air conditioning.

            2. Safety: three point seatbelts for all positions, front and side impact airbags to protect firefighters in case of an accident. Build the cab so that it would survive a rollover, and do crash testing to verify the safety of the cab.

            3. Emergency warning devices: have a light bar integrated into the cab at a car's "eye level" to increase the visibilty. All emergency warning lights would be high intensity strobes with a variable pattern. Controls for both sirens and air horn in the Driver's and Officer's positions on the rig.

            4. Communications: a headset system for all riding positions. The radio would be multichannel with the frequencies of the surrounding communities foir easier communication. Computer aided dispatch systems would be tied in...imagine calling up a fire preplan on the screen with a diagram of the building layout! A screen would also be placed in the cab so that the crew could see the preplan while en route.

            5. Drivetrains and suspensions: this would depend on the area and terrain of the community you are building the truck for. Four wheel steering and full time all wheel drive would be nice...expensive, but nice!

            6. Pumps: offer pumps from Hale, Waterous, Darley with on board foam and CAFS capabilites.

            7. Compartment design: ergonomics! Make it easy to get at equipment (slide out trays, etc)and easy to clean!

            8. Construction materials: offer a choice of stainless steel or aluminum.

            9 Color: now, I prefer red, but whatever color the customer wants...it should be reflective (imagine the whole fire truck lighting up in the dark when the beam from headlights reaches the rig!)

            10. Build a quality truck!

            Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting our tomorrows....
            Captain Gonzo


            • #7
              So far every one here is right but, Captain Gonzo you've hit the hydrant exactly! What you have is the base for a VERY popular rig.
              Only 1 thing that everybody has forgotten, make a Federal Q2B STANDARD on EVERY truck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



              • #8
                Look into a seperate generator, pto or self powered, to supply the emergency warning equipment. Let the truck alternator supply things like the computer that controls the motor, the DOT lights, headlights, horn, radio, etc. Houston FD in TX has a setup like this on their ambulances. I think it's worth looking into!

                Jolly Roger

                Let's not let the honor, tradition, and pride of the fire service erode away.


                • #9

                  Glad I could help, and that I, for a change, was apparently right about how people would respond to you!

                  I've already given you my ideas on the other thread, and am also happy to see, many of them agree with the gang of pros here.

                  In terms of Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel: I vote for Stainless, but weight can get to be a serious issue on many rigs, so Aluminum still has a purpose. (Don't like it as well, but I have to concede it.)

                  Another area I'd add to that the others haven't yet mentioned is this: Talk to and listen to the Firefighters who use the rig instead of the Cheif (as others have already stated), BUT ALSO, talk to some fire apparatus mechanics who have worked on the rigs, and see what breaks frequently (shows flawed design) and what would make it easier/quicker to work on apparatus. This is a bigger issue than it gets credit for.

                  Send me an e-mail, and I'll give you some other specific ideas.


                  • #10

                    Thanks for the help so far -- This is going to go a long way -- I'd like to follow up with a few comments and more pointed questions.

                    1) Mic13 -- I'll send you e-mail, but yours isn't available.

                    2)I continuously see the "make it last" comment. I fully understand that -- I've known departments who have apparatus that spends more time at the mechanic than in their own garage -- I don't want to see that happen. I also see Safety -- I'll address that later.

                    3) Before I go talk to people with more money than me, (by the way, if you know anyone who would like to invest to make this fly -- let me know) I want to know what I'm up against. So I raise these questions to you.

                    A) Would anyone actually take a chance on a $250-350k truck from a manufacturer?

                    B) If there were "demonstration units" that you could "borrow" for a few days or something like that, would you take advantage of it, or would it just be a waste of time and a product?

                    C) Is there enough of a demand to offer a chassis alternative, or would SPARTAN and HME do a good enough job to wait on that?

                    I appreciate all this -- by the way, those reading my "Ultimate Truck" Thread -- The presentation went well. I just hope I could make this happen.

                    Yes, I do plan on making a Q part of every truck sold, and I'm trying to come up with some reflective paint -- Like Scotchlite in a can.... (I love being at a school that has Chemical Engineers).

                    Thanks For Everything,

                    --Dan Gallagher


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the help -- can't believe I've been spelling dalmatian wrong for so long... Anyway, we go up for review with this for a contest in 2 weeks, I'm looking for any additional suggestions. Thanks in Advance.



                      • #12
                        I for one, would LOVE to see a unit built using driveline components built by one manufacturer that won't tear itself apart- I would buy something with a Mack driveline in a minute....But Mack doesn't market an automatic transmission, and I don't believe that Allison currently markets a unit that will mate to the Mack E-7 that they will warrant fully (The E-7 Mack produces too much torque and tears up the tranny..)

                        While were on the component issue- Would like to see the issue of electronics taken care of...A Cat C-12 engine's computer wont talk to an Allison World Series Transmission....A 60 Series Detroit won't talk to a 10 Speed Fuller Auto-Shift....Let's get the issue of electronics taken care of!! I know this doesn't have to do with the vehicle manufacturer, but I feel like it is important.

                        Aluminum is for beer and soda cans. Period. Stainless and Galvaneeal(sp?) are my choices for body materials.

                        Have all the check dipsticks/sight glasses/fill caps all at one point- so that you don't have to open 32 different engine covers after raising the cab and moving 2 different vinyl covers.

                        By the way spot- have you seen the book "The Fire Apparatus Purchasing Handbook" By Fire Engineering books?? I believe the author is John Malecky but don't quote me on that.....GREAT BOOK- HIGHLY RECCOMMEND YOU PRUCHASE ONE!!! GREAT 45.00 INVESTMENT!!


                        • #13
                          Simple, make it a Pierce.

                          This is your brain... Pierce
                          This is your Brain on drugs..... E-One


                          • #14
                            On the subject of Demos.You've brought up an interesting idea it would give more time to examine how the vehicle preforms. It would also allow more time for people to give it a good looking over. How many Departments would be interested it hard to say.
                            As for what mike021 thoughts that's all well and good that you like Pierce. However the Department I run with has 2 Macks and a KME but, to each there own. I'm sure they build fine fire trucks and I bet E-One and many others do as well.
                            Good luck with your project.


                            • #15
                              For a ladder truck, and any other truck, make sure that there is someone that can be getting ahold of to offer advice to fix the truck. Also, like everyone said, make it SIMPLE and AFORDABLE! Make sure that there are pleny of configuations for the truck to meet differnt needs for differnt companies. Make sure that there is plenty of room in the cab and be able to mout some tools in the cab is a plus. Just make sure that it is of high quality and workman ship.



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