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At this point our department is not currently putting together specs for a tanker but it is on the horizon (1-2 years out). Most likely it will be a vacuum tanker, 3,500 gallons, 500 gpm pump. To give you an idea of equipment: (2) 200' 1 3/4" lines, (2) 2 1/2" discharges, 200' of 3", dump tank, hard suction and water supply equipment. Looking at a tanker, not tanker/pumper. Due to how we respond we need seating for 2 and not a "crew".
All of our tankers have conventional chassis under them, that is the way it has always been done. Commercials are usually cheaper than customs and they work for tankers. Not looking to buck common sense and I have no problem with tradition if it still applies.
Eliminating the "nose" of a commercial would shorten the overall length, improve turning radius and improve driver visibility. I have seen Spartan four door and commercial cab over chassis tankers before. I was thinking along the lines of a Mack Terra Pro chassis for purpose of illustration. Something with two seats, low cab height and functional for a tanker.
Have any of you seen something like this? What would you recommend? What are your concerns?Pro's/con's? What do you think of this idea?
Thank you,

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About 2 yrs ago our dept went through a similar specing process. We were looking for more of a straight tanker, 2 man cab, with similar features that you mentioned. We feel as though we were pretty thorough in our process...having also considered a vac truck. Our A/C / maintenance person strongly felt a vac truck would be necessary. After receiving all the bids and looking at many ideas, we decided not to go with a vac truck. It was a pretty good price difference in the trucks and the vac truck company didnt leave much space for compartments (not that youre carrying a large amt of stuff). We really tried to evaluate how often would we be using it (the vac feature) and also the new training curve added with a specialty piece like that. It was decided that we send a pumper to a fill site anyway and the truck stays committed to the fill site, so why the need for a tanker to suck...if worse came to worse, it could draft itself. Long story short, we ended up buying a 3000gal tanker on an International 7600 chassis (our first commercial chassis) with a 1000 gpm pump (we preferred to not have pto pump and were told that was the smallest air shift midship we could get). Fast forward 2 years and we still have not found that we would have used the vac on any fires yet, the truck looks and functions great, and has been a huge asset to the dept. We have purchased some devices called Turbodrafts and they are kept on our tankers (they allow to get water from a distance and not just within 15ft). Im not trying to steer you towards or away from anything, just giving you ideas from our own experience, hope it helps.
Our department already has a vac tanker which is the reason we are looking at another one. We do not send an engine to the fill site. At first I wasn't to sure about it but now I'm sold. The department had two companies come through to demo their product. I was only able to see the second one but it impressed me. We took it to a dry hydrant that we have problems drafting from, hooked our 5" hard suction to it and put it against the 6" that the tanker had. We didn't have an adapter so they simply wrapped some duct tape around the "connection". It had a draft without a problem and filled great.
You can fill at about 1,000 gpm and unload at the same rate. We have had fires where we were using multiple tankers and the vac just drafted out of a ditch and hauled the majority of the water.
The training issue isn't to much of an issue. In fact, it's so simple it's hard, you want to over think its operation. You do have to rethink how you fill this tanker vs. conventional tankers. It fills slower off of a hydrant than if it drafted to fill. We got a soft sided tank to take to the fill site if needed. We also use it to drain the last of the water out of the dump tank at the fire scene instead of dumping it right there, really nice in the winter.
We don't use turbo drafts but our low level strainers have a jet siphon on them and that makes drafting much easier and faster. It's the same concept as the turbo draft.
Thank you for your input. I always enjoy discussing the pros and cons of water supply, etc.


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