View Full Version : Brush / Attack Truck build
Hi all! I am the fabricator / builder for our all volunteer fire dept and am starting on a 5t 6x6. Anyone else out there with experience on these? I have a pretty good idea what I am going to do but am always open to new ideas and nice little tricks that others have found. It will mainly be for grass and timber fires. I am planning on a 1600 gallon tank with a 100gpm @100psi pump and will carry 300' of 1" hose. http://i154.photobucket.com/albums/s258/sandhiller_photo/5t6x6_1036.jpg
That looks like it will be fun to work with!
Would you want more than 100gpm? Run a few brush lines off that and you might want more. We only have minor brush fires around me (usually!), so I don't know what is normal for wildland fires.
Normally on a grass fire we will nozzle each line down to 10 - 15gpm. It depends if you are just running down the flank or trying to knock down a head fire. This way we will be able to put a lot of water on a head fire if we need to get it stopped before it hits a canyon. We wanted the capability to use it for structure fire also.
Just be carefull with the payload on that vehicle, if you are going to carry 1600 gallons of water, along with a pump, hose and gear plus crew of 2. These are rated 5ton off road and 10 ton on a hard surface. Our department built one a few years ago on a 1970's version truck and we were careful to only put a 600 gallon tank on it. Be sure that you change at least the front tires to regular tread, the military type tires do not handle well on paved roads. The one we have is a 24 volt electrical system so you have to do some converting to us 12volt equipment and lights.
Bill, I know 1600 is really pushin' the envelope. I will be the one driving it and will be really careful. We scored the new tank for free or wouldn't have went that big. All vol FD so very limited funds and save wherever we can. Never thought about the front tires, thanks. The 24v system can be a pain, have a big converter to run the radio and light bar. It is my understanding I can get 24v lights to put back by pump and to light up areas around the truck. Jeff
If the truck is the dual battery type, you can take the feed off one battery, run it through a fuse block and feed some of your electrical. When we put the marker lights on our truck the only thing we had to change was the bulbs which we got at NAPA. You may also have to change the muffler, if you use the military one it is so loud in the cab that you cannot hear the radio. If your truck does not have power steering you can get a bolt on conversion unit which can be installed pretty easily. Check the generator on the truck if the truck is an old one have the generator rebuilt before you put it in service.
Bill, if we go over the converter rating will look into the "one battery feed". It is too loud especially at road speeds, am looking into a muffler right now. We are deciding whether to build chariot boxes in front of or behind the cab and if we go in front then maybe mount the muffler under the truck under the cab and stack behind which should help some. It does have power steering which will be a big help in our soft sand. The truck is still owned by the forest service and we are "leasing" it so it went through their shop and is in pretty good shape considering the age (mid 70's). Jeff
Might want a hair more hose... one brush fire problem we have on a consistent basis is brush fires that are far enough into the woods that we can't get our jeep back there, yet big enough that a water can won't be able to knock it down. We had one where we ended up parking the engine outside the forest, dragging the apartment load in (250 ft. of 2.5, 250 ft. of 1 3/4), and dumping 1,000 ga. water/60 ga. foam on it. That 500 ft. of hose barely reached the fire. I'd also consider getting some foam on that unit. Blanketing an area in foam can be a real help, especially if you're worried about either the fire re-igniting or high winds blowing embers and causing hot spot to pop up. I know this sounds like a bit of overkill (most of our brush fires we can use our Jeep on, which has a 60 gal. tank and a garden hose), but it's come in handy of quite a few occasions.
Good idea, we have discussed having another 300' of forestry hose that won't take up much room on board for such situations. We are in mainly grass country. Most of our tree fires are in deep and steep river canyons where it is hard to even move around on foot let alone drag hose to. We usually let it burn to the top where we can get at it. Have also sent down hand crews on the slower burning ones or where the situation warrants. We don't have jeeps anymore but have 9 pickups set up that do most of the running around. I will be able to refill them and still fight fire if need be. I have seen the value of foam but we are going to hold off until some more funds come in.
A cheap way would be to instead of a tank just carry some 5 gallon buckets of it... then plug it into the pump using a short shot and an adapter... or conversely you can just run it through the tank (though I wouldn't recc. that in this situation). Additionally, if you have a lot of streams, maybe get some sort of drafting capability?
Foam has it's place and I have seen it used effectively but most of our fires are grass and fast moving. Picture high winds and tall grass. The main objective is to knock the head fire down and then concentrate on the flanks to keep them from becoming big. So I guess foam is not a high priority right now. We laid down foam and set back fires when the conditions were right at the Big Rock (118 degrees, 14% humidity and 40 mph winds) and Dawson Co Complex fires last summer here in Nebraska (a lot of tree covered canyons) but 90% of our calls are to grass fires. We can't afford a monitor but I am thinking of some kind of nozzle mounted to the front of the truck that I can operate by myself if I can't find anyone to ride with me. I know it is against policy, but if I am first on scene and it is 30 minutes before anyone else arrives I would like to be as effective as I can. I have hung a nozzle out the window before but that was with a pickup and I would like to be able to concentrate on driving this 6x6 a little more.
Forgot to add that we will have drafting capability since most of our fires are fought out in the hills and we refill out of stock tanks.
An update on the build, here are a few pictures before it goes to paint.
looks good so far. i would agree with the 1600 gals being too much. any way to mod the tank down to maybe 1000 gals and add a foam tank? check out http://www.steelsoldiers.com/ lot of good info from those guys. i want one for personal use but i want to bob the rear. take out the front rear axle and put on a shorter bed.
Thanks for the reply. We have other trucks running up here with 1500 gal tanks and are getting along okay. The reason we went with the 1600 is I got 3 of them for free. See how it goes and can always get a smaller tank if we run into trouble. Have you considered going with an ex-power company 4x4 truck. Like the ones they use to set the big poles? Might save a lot of modification.
Ours has a 1000 gallon tank on it. We also had the company put 2 gravity dump valves to the rear of each side for port-a-tanks. We have used ours alot the last 2 years and as always you find things you would like to change. What we are doing now is moving our tank back and placing the pump between the tank and the cab so we have more room for equipment on top of the tank. I think 1600 gallons on these trucks is a bit much for road travel. Will you be baffling your tank? If you put a decent CAFS unit on your truck 1000 gallons would be for the enough to do some knock down.
Our tank will be baffled. CAFS is out of reach for our small department with very limited funds. All grants in this area are geared to communications and we just put in a 100 watt radio. There are still areas where we will not be able to reach a repeater. I understand 1600 gallons is at the upper limit. We are in a very sparse area (less than 1 person per sq. mile for our county). Drafting capability (windmill/stock tanks) is very important. But capacity is king. It is back from paint (another volunteer member) and I am waiting on some fittings to finish plumbing. It is very close and am hoping to get it finished in the next two weeks. It is a busy time of the year fencing, windimilling and getting cows out to pasture. If we could have hired the work done it would be ready by now. I know there will be changes to be made when we get it on line and some small improvements to do over time but I think it will be a very valuable asset for us.
She's ready to go to work except for a few small things. Had it done in time for the fire season, just took a while to get the pics in. It is very dry here and we are expecting a busy summer with many fires in the surrounding districts already. Thanks to all for your suggestions and help. :hugs:
Very nice job! This is what our state forest service builds then contracts out to the counties departments. We get to use them for regular calls, but we must have a crew ready to respond for large incidents anywhere in the country.
1000 gallon low profile tank. they handle great, and having the weight low really makes traveling slopes easy.
Here is one me and the former chief built, also 1000 gallons.
Have you considered spray bars? We have them at all 4 corners on the white on, and on each corner of the front on the USFS rig. They are controlled by 1/4 turn valves inside. They make ground cover fires a breeze! You can control the flow and reeeeeeaaaaaly conserve water, and if you run the flank while controlling the valve, you can run for a few miles on a tank of water.
Those are 2 fine looking outfits FireCop. Yes, spray bars are in the works. I built two ports in the manifold for them and am planning on being able to operate them from the cab also. I think they would be real ticket in some situations. I am looking around for some nozzles that will do what I want them to or maybe just make them myself. What did you use?
We buy them from the Colorado State Forest Service, and I'm not sure where they buy them. They are brass, 1" thread, and have a notch cut in the side towards the top. The notch is at a slight downward angle to make a nice 90* fan pattern that aims down slightly. At the department I was on prior to this one, we made some out of pipe cars, and cut the notch in them ourselves. They worked well for what they were.
Again, nice job! The fab work looks great, and the finished rig looks like it has a lot of tool and appliance storage area.
Thanks for the info, as soon as I get the lines run up front, I will start experimenting with making some nozzles that work for us. I got a couple fan nozzles from the same place I got the truck but they have too much flow. They were used for runway wash down with a very high gpm / low pressure pump. They have a decent pattern but I can't get the flow down where I would like it to conserve water.
Very cool build. Thanks for sharing it.
just curious...but have any of you seen the project responder build at projectresponder.com. Its not really quite the same idea as the true brush tanker trucks shown on here but definitely a neat brush truck none the less. Little over done if you ask me.
those are some awesome builds yall have though:thumbsup:
Originally posted by backwoods113 Little over done if you ask me.[/B]
This was the first I'd heard of it. Yes, it is over done by more than a little. I was just surfing their webpage, and I couldn't find any pictures of its firefighting equipment !!!! Hoses, pumps, does it have anything?!
Looking at it from another perspective, though, I guess it has a big "neato" factor for promoting fire departments.
in a few of the pictures from the photo album you can just see over the tailgate where there is a small tank with a hose and pump. I'd sure hate to meet that thing at night running code....talk about going blind:shocked:
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