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cab-over or commercial cab for a rural dept.

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  • cab-over or commercial cab for a rural dept.

    Which would you prefer a cab-over with jump seats or a commercial cab for a rural fire dept with an avgerage of 5 firefighters per call, and mostly dirt roads.

  • #2
    My deptartments first out engine is an 1997 e-one commercial pumper with a five man cab. this truck is the perfect fit for our area which is abot 90 percent rural with very narrow roads, i don't think we have found a road yet that this truck won't fit on even though it is 31 feet long because of the top mounted pump panel.

    The main reason that we purchased this truck is that we felt that if we had the custom cab-over that we would do nothing but tear the truck up or have the problem with the narrow roads, which probably would of been true since most cab overs are a little bigger in height. something else to look at, if your department is like ours and on a tight budget, parts for the commercial trucks can be bought at just about anywhere, but the other trucks have to have the parts ordered from the manufacturer....

    but to get tho the point over all i would suggest the commercial truck

    Tom Pysh
    Ellsworth/Somerset V.F.D.

    [This message has been edited by esvfdfirefighter (edited 01-19-2001).]


    • #3
      At our dept. both of our main line pumpers are HME custom cabs. Our first out truck is a 6 man cab 750gal and 1000gpm pump. The 2nd out truck is a 10 man cab 1000gal and 1500gpm pump. We went with custom cabs for a couple of reasons, All F.F. are inside the cab, ease of communicating assignments, nice in bad weather, and the custom cabs have built in roll cages, much safer in the event of a crash, air packs are in the seats for quick donning. We have had no problems with not being able to get the trucks anywhere, you need to spec a tight turning radius (cramp angle) when bidding your truck. Parts have not been a problem, most anything that goes wrong is either engine or driveline and that is common to get. Our dept is rural with lots of narrow roads, the only thing we have run into is that some times it seams that we are in the tree trimming business, but I think that the size of the truck would not matter in this case.


      • #4
        We purchased our first out truck 2 years ago and it is an American LaFrance custom chassis. We bought it for the horse power. The biggest motor we could find in a commercial truck was a 330 hp. diesel and we wanted at least 400 hp. The truck is to big and bulky, 10' 3/4" at the mirrors, to drive on main st. and several others in town. The other con would be the expense. For what we paid for it we could have bought two commercial trucks. The upsides are there to, like it weighs 35,000 pound and will still climb hills with out straining. Commercial trucks are manufactured for multi-use, but custom truck are built to suit the fire service. There are other issues on bothsides I am sure, but as far as a suggestion I would say build a truck that will fit your needs. Whether it is a commercial or custom truck make sure it will do what you need it to do.


        [This message has been edited by JAMESBENNETT (edited 01-19-2001).]


        • #5
          Our first out truck is the regular cab, 99 percent of the time its just a driver in it anyway, ocasionally someone else will ride if they get to the station at the same time as the first person, we run a lot of dirt and gravel roads and this truck will manuver like a lot smaller truck, it is on a 1997 4900 IH chassis, E-One attack tanker, 1250 pump, 1280 tank, it is long but turns very well, if you have to wait on the five firemen to ride ,then you will need the bigger cab, if not, just get the regular cab and you will have some extra space. we do hit a few tree limbs with it every once in a while because it is so tall, but other than that it works good
          Weiner Vol Fire & Rescue
          Weiner, AR


          • #6
            Commercial vs Custom (Cab Over)is a longstanding debate.

            You have to balance your Dept's specific needs & resources (Budget) aginst the cost/benifits of a Custom Cab chassis.

            I know it sounds like a "grade school" thing to do, but take a notebook and make a list of questions like:

            * How much of our truck money can we afford to spend on a Cab/Chassis and still get all the features we need in the truck. (Priority one item here !! If you can carry 10 Fully dressed FF's but your truck can't fight fire - then you just bought yourself an overpriced bus)
            * How many FF's are you trying to seat ?
            *Will the cab provide enough room for them to dress out enroute to a call?
            * Will you have room for SCBA Seats ?
            * Can you get a properly sized motor (HP & Torque) in the chassis ? (As James mentioned)
            * Will the floor height present a problem with Fully dresses FF's entering/exiting the cab (EG - How many steps do you need & what size)
            * Will the Cab Doors allow a fully dressed FF to enter/exit the vehicle safely ?
            * Are there Height / Width restrictions (As everyone before me has mentioned)

            and the list goes on and on as far as you want to take it. Then look at each cab/chassis configuration that will work in your area to see which one "scores" best on your list.

            Also - take a look at your current trucks - take things you like or that work well for you & incorporate them into your new truck. Also - take things you dislike or that don't work and make sure you don't get the same thing again.

            Spec'ing a truck is something that requires LOTS of time, research, and forethought. It can be a long, hard, drawnout process but in the end your effort will be worth it if you did the job correctly.

            I wish you the best of luck.
            Take Care - Stay Safe


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