There are many MFG's out there. They all have there good and bad sides. You should ask who has the best service center to help you after the sale. Take a look at some of the smaller companies if you want quality.
You get what you spec, bottom line. A mfg that builds hundreds of app a year might not be any better than the guy that builds ten. Service is the key and follow up after the sale. We have a 03 pierce, 99 sutphen, 86 gruman and a 79 lafrnce as pumpers and each on has done use good but the pierce has out performed the others so far and again ,you can't beat the service after the sale.
I have worked with both and personally, I think the Seagrave (2000) was the better engine. It felt like it was built like a tank. On the other hand, the Pierce (2004) had more “convience options” which seemed great until they started failing due to electrical gremlins. In reality, I will work with whatever gets me to and from the scene as long as it runs.
Pierce all the way, I guess I have been or worked in the majority of trucks ALF, Seagraves, Marion, 3-D, Welch, HME,KME, E-ONE ( great comment "one is enough" LOL ) Central states and many more. Pierce has had the least issues then any and also seems to have a high resale value when it's time for a new one.
My department mostly uses E-ONE's, a 1995 commercial pumper and a 1988 cabover pumper tanker, not a big fan if they give as much trouble as we have had. We recently baught a 1988 FMC/Spartan custom cab pumper, which I'm sure in her day was a heck of a unit, but not worth much now.
The one KME we have I would just assume run it in the river. It is a 2006 GMC 4500 4x4 Mini-Pumper that we had custom built from a grant to use as a rescue. Since day one have had nothing but trouble out of it. We have alot of rural roads in our first due and after the first few runs we made on bumpy roads we came back with two broken bumper brackets, a missing siren speaker, a missing bolt on the running board, multiple warning lights and the high idle works when it wants to, the pump constantly beeps reading low oil even though it has plenty. Of course the KME maintenance crew, when they finally arrive, blames all the troubles on us our driving. I am confused because I see LAFD running alot of the Severe Service Pumpers, which look like exactly what we need around here. But I have heard several departments talk bad about KME.
I am looking to purchasing a new truck sometime in the next few years to use as a Sqaud, first due for wrecks/technical and second due on fires. Our neighboring department swears by Pierce and what I have been around them they seem like awesome trucks, but I am leaning more towards Seagrave because if they are good enough for FDNY and LAFD on a daily basis they must be good. Any suggestions?
We run 3 Pierce vehicles a 1998 6 man, top mount pump & a 2000 Pumper/tanker & a 2000 tanker/pumper. They are essentially the same truck, 1 with at tank the other with a high sides body. The new truck we have on order is a Sutphen. That was an economic decission made by the township. More mfgs are becoming more competitive. I LIKE Pierce & personally would have preferred to keep our fleet as such but I might be surprised with the new one :).
My department just bought a new 1250 Pierce Pumper in Feb. We have a 1983 Ford Pierce as a second engine.
Have been to the FDIC? If not. If you can you should go. You get to see all of the manufactures side by side. You can see there workmanship side by side.
Just is my opinion. Pierce and Seagraves are the top of the line. The selling point was the fact that we had a pierce dealer 40 miles from our department. If there had been a close Seagraves. Well lets just say I am glad there wasn't. It would have been a tough call.