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To lift, or not to lift?

Posted in Blog on June 21, 2019

By Joseph Juhl, Sales Representative

To lift or not to lift? This is the question. 

Nearly every department has done it – misjudged the terrain and buried a quick attack or brush truck in mud, snow or sand. Your truck has immediately converted from an asset to a liability, and depending on the situation, additional resources may be required to prevent the loss of the truck. If you lack the ability to self-recover with a winch or some other traction device – you will need to monopolize a second truck to recover the stuck unit or wait for a tow truck. 

Including a lift kit and large off-road tires on your next quick attack or brush truck can be a great way to add a substantial amount of capability to your truck. The best way to determine if your department would benefit from a lifted truck is to look at your terrain and how you use your existing units. 

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself if you are thinking about a lift:

  • Are your current trucks getting stuck or immobilized on a frequent basis?
  • Have you made trade-offs on your attack because you are not confident your trucks can navigate the terrain? 
  • Would you benefit from the increased ability to respond to calls in extreme weather like snowstorms or flooding? 

Another way to analyze if a lift kit is a good fit for your department is to consider the pros and cons: 

Pros:

  • Most tire/lift kit combinations will convert your dually truck to super singles. This will keep your tires in the same track, reducing the amount of mud or snow your truck will need to displace which reduces the resistance as it moves through the obstacle. 
  • The added height will increase the distance between critical components and water in the event of a water crossing. 
  • Large tires will raise the axle centerline and will provide better clearance to drive over rocks, logs or other debris without getting hung-up. 
  • Although seemingly insignificant, lifted trucks just look cool. With the difficulties of finding new and younger volunteers, a mean looking brush unit can make a positive impression on potential firefighters. 

Cons:

  • Adding a lift and larger tires, all though extremely stable, will raise the center of gravity on your truck.
  • Large tires can impact the handling, performance, and wear and tear of the chassis components.
  • Although they have greater capability, lifted trucks will still get stuck. Once they are stuck, they may be much more difficult to recover than a non-lifted truck. 
  • Your approved budget must also be taken into consideration. Everything costs money, and lifts and tires are no exception.

Every department is unique, and what works well for one may not work for another. Lift kits and large tires are an added tool to your apparatus. As such, you will need to analyze the investment like any other purchase. Most departments we work with have found themselves in a situation where they would have appreciated the added capability. At minimum, it’s an option worth considering on your next truck purchase. To begin spec-ing your next truck, head over to our Create-A-Spec for a comprehensive tool that will help you do just that. If you have any questions and would like to speak with one of our knowledgeable representatives, contact us today!

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