American LaFrance Introduces New Body Design

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Structurally-Fastened Body Provides Exceptional Strength and Durability

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA . . . American LaFrance Corporation today introduced a new body design for its custom and commercial chassis that offers superior structural integrity and strength. The new body, showcased at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) here, will be available in aluminum or stainless steel and comes complete with engineering documentation.

The new American LaFrance body exceeds the strength of a traditional, welded aluminum body and reduces the “as-built” weight by approximately one-third. The strength is achieved by using mating flanges at all joining surfaces, utilizing mechanical fasteners in specific patterns to join the body components, and supporting the entire configuration with a substructure designed to isolate the body from chassis frame movement.

“With this new body design, fire departments receive a stronger body at less weight which allows them to carry more equipment or more water on the same GVWR chassis,” said Arnold Heller, Vice President of Sales for American LaFrance. “The new body also is designed to minimize any accident- or damage-related downtime and repair expense.”

The under-body substructure is attached to the chassis at three points using elastomer mounts with isolated bushings, reducing the amount and severity of chassis vibrations and tortional movement transmitted through the body.

The Huck structural fastener assembly provides numerous structural and operating benefits. Structural fasteners exceed the durability of welds in dynamic loading conditions. They provide structural assembly strength without deformation of metal. This eliminates any concern for or need for tightening due to vibration effects. If a fastener is compromised due to an accident or if damage occurs to the body, substructure or pump module structure, each assembly can be repaired and restored to “as original condition” including structural integrity.

Pre-coating of formed metal surfaces at mating flanges with corrosion-resistant materials prior to assembly prevents moisture from being trapped. Additionally, pre-coating all substructure components prior to assembly provides corrosion protection not possible with welded designs.

Body Structure

American LaFrance body compartments are rated for 500-pound dynamic loading. The multiple break formed design is available in 5052 H32 aluminum or 304L stainless steel in a variety of customer configurations, utilizing mix or match combination of four compartment overall widths: 35-inch, 44-inch, 50-inch and 60-inch over rear wheel wells. Aluminum or stainless steel Huck structural fasteners are patterned and spaced to provide maximum structural integrity. Flanged joints provide extra strength and are sealed with structural adhesive to maximize corrosion resistance.

Modular side compartments can be mixed and matched. They can be ahead or behind the wheel well and due to the Huck system can be easily repaired or replaced. Compartment overall heights are 37-inches, 51-inches and 69-inches. The documented design allows for various combinations to achieve pumper, pumper-tanker or rescue-style pumper configurations.

Under-Body Substructure

The under-body substructure uses a three-point mounting system that fully supports and isolates the body and water tank off the frame, significantly reducing the amount of shock load and frame motion transferred from the chassis to the body in all travel conditions.

Under-body substructure components are formed steel with all parts pre-coated prior to assembly for optimum corrosion resistance. Grade 8 Huckbolts are used for assembly. A minimum of five formed crossmembers are used for tank support and two formed outrigger-style supports are utilized per compartment.

Pump Enclosure and Hose Bed

The American LaFrance pump enclosure features all stainless-steel construction with flanged door openings to provide safe access at all pump service panels. Stainless steel plumbing and high-pressure hose with stainless steel fittings are employed and documented for future service reference.

The fire hose compartment is made of aluminum or stainless steel side and front walls, incorporating two-inch-wide top edges formed out and down to provide additional rigidity and safety during accesses.

The new American LaFrance body can be carried on the American LaFrance Eagle, American LaFrance Metropolitan or Freightliner Business Class chassis.

American LaFrance, a subsidiary of Freightliner LLC, produces and distributes a comprehensive line of fire and emergency apparatus including chassis, aerials, ambulances, pumpers, rescues, tankers, and wildland vehicles. American LaFrance also offers factory-installed fire pumps, emergency medical products, and fire and rescue equipment.

Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks in North America and is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world's largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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