Great Handling

Two Pierce Quantum PUC Quints with TAK-4 front and rear independent suspension. (Photo by Pierce.)
Two Pierce Quantum PUC Quints with TAK-4 front and rear independent suspension. (Photo by Pierce.)

Rear Suspension

The department had several Pierce Quantum Quints with the TAK-4 front suspensions and was impressed with their operation. It heard that Pierce was now going to introduce this concept with rear suspensions. “We had one of our two quints with the All-Steer capability, but this was done electrically,” Franz says. “The new concept vehicle had All-Steer performed mechanically.”

The local Pierce dealer brought over a demo truck with the concept installed and let the firefighters operate it with the mechanical All-Steer and the new TAK-4 T3 in the rear.

It really made a difference in maneuverability, and handling was greatly improved. The back end was tighter, and there was minimal body roll. “We have a great deal of old tight streets in the city of Oshkosh, and these vehicles would give us a great deal of better maneuverability around these areas,” Franz says. “When our firefighters drive over railroad tracks and make tight 90-degree turns, a big difference is noted.”

The apparatus committee, made up of drivers, officers, and firefighters, started looking for a replacement back in 2015. Originally, the committee thought about a Dash CF as its first choice, but after hearing about and operating the new Quantum with the TAK-4 front and rear suspension, it was sold on the new concept. Also, the firefighters like the roomier Quantum cab.

TAK-4

Just how does the TAK-4 work? In 2001, Pierce introduced the TAK-4 independent front suspension (IFS) system. It is custom built for a Pierce chassis to give a better road feel, control, and smoother ride over any kind of surface. It accomplishes this through a mechanical-over-hydraulic steering system with two steering gears that provide power to the steering linkage.

A torsion bar setup, a much beefier version of what is found on many SUVs, also helps deliver superior control. Cast steel alloy and ductile iron upper and lower control arms allow the front wheels to take on potholes one at a time. And the lower spring rates made possible by the independent front suspension smooth out the road better than any straight axle rig. It also stops sooner by shortening stopping distance by 23 percent, has a 45-degree cramp angle, and improves ride quality by 340 percent (as measured by accelerometer testing).

The system improves handling and enhances vehicle control. Additional features include 10 inches of suspension travel, a light spring rate, a robust design and independent wheel movement, low vertical G-forces, a 24,000-pound max front axle weight rating with 445/65R22.5 tires, a 22,800-pound max with 425/65R22.5 tires, larger brake pads and rotors that wear less than the traditional 15-inch brakes, and an increased load-carrying capacity.

Above: The driver’s side of the quint showing a narrow PUC pump panel and compartments with saws, spare SCBA bottles, fittings, and other assorted tools. (Photo by BC Chuck Hable Photo.)
The driver’s side of the quint showing a narrow PUC pump panel and compartments with saws, spare SCBA bottles, fittings, and other assorted tools. (Photo by BC Chuck Hable Photo.)

Pierce now offers TAK-4 T-3 as an independent rear suspension (IRS), which operates like IFS but provides power to the wheels. These systems provide many advantages over other suspension systems. The components designed into these systems allow the driver to maintain the feel of the road and provide the driver with a superb ride quality and the confidence that he is in control of the vehicle and the road.

“Some of the changes we made on the new Quantums were that we also chose the PUC design,” Franz says. “Since we operate these as ladders and pumpers, this design gave us much more compartment space. We also changed from a 350-gallon tank to a 500-gallon capacity. On the left upper portion of the body, we have a hose chute, which gives us easier access to carry 2½-inch hose.”

Also carried on each apparatus is a two-section 35-foot ground ladder, a change from the three-section, 35-foot ladder. The department also carries 700 feet of five-inch large-diameter hose, 400 feet of 2½-inch hose, two crosslays with 200 feet of 2½-inch hose, 200 feet of 1¾-inch hose, and a high-rise pack with 100 feet of 1¾-inch and 50 feet of 2½-inch hose stuffed into one of the compartments. Both quints carry the same amount of hose and tools for commonality of operation.

Smooth Ride

The OFD was proactive in its thinking and was not afraid to try a new concept for the design of its two new quints. Even though it operated Pierce Quantums in the past, the new design with front and rear independent suspensions greatly improved the maneuverability and ride of the two new vehicles.

If you have never ridden in one of Pierce’s vehicles with TAK-4, I can tell you from experience that it really does make a difference. It’s something you might want to try if you are in the market for not only a quint or ladder but an engine as well.

Bob Vaccaro has more than 40 years of fire service experience. He is a former chief of the Deer Park (NY) Fire Department. Vaccaro has also worked for the Insurance Services Office, the New York Fire Patrol, and several major commercial insurance companies as a senior loss-control consultant. He is a life member of the IAFC.

Oshkosh Fire Department

Below: Officer’s side compartments showing fans, forcible entry tools, crosslays, and extinguishers. (Photo by BC Chuck Hable Photo.)
Officer’s side compartments showing fans, forcible entry tools, crosslays, and extinguishers. (Photo by BC Chuck Hable Photo.)

Quantum Aerial Ladders

TAK-4® T3™ Tight Turning Technology

  • Improved turning radius and diameter.
  • Increased tire life with reduced tire scrub.
  • Lane-to-lane turning.
  • Improved maneuverability and safety.
  • Pierce, single-source manufacturing.

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April 2017
Volume 12, Issue 4
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