09-30-2014, 06:45 PM #1
Building a Big 2500 gal Tank of Steel
One day I wanted to fight fires for the USFS so I built a "Water Tender" Fire truck. First real welding project I did. Bought a Freightliner Cab Over with a bare frame and started this project. The tank is 2500 gal all 3/16" steel with internal baffles. I welded it up in my garage on a flat bed trailer. Later pulled it out to lift it on the frame with a friends Cat Fork Lift Loader. Then I lifted the top lid up on and started building the rest on the truck. This tank was a bear to assemble 4200 lbs of steel total. Took about 3-4 months to build. Every thing from the bare truck frame up was built by me. If you put your mind to something there is no limits to what you can do. I fought fires for 7 years with my Water Tender for a living till my health/age stopped me. A few pictures;
Back View I could wet down a 125 ft wide path with these heads. The big opening is for filling Porta Tanks;
On a fire filling the tank from a stream;
Doing a water flow test at home thru my Cannon and Spray Heads. That is over 850 GPM flow out to 150 ft. Run off the PTO Pump I hooked to the transmissions PTO Take Off under the truck. Worked great on fires to reach out and touch it!
Last edited by Plecos; 09-30-2014 at 06:54 PM.
09-30-2014, 06:50 PM #2
Here I thought you had a fish tank... well.... you still do. Now that you are retired, just pull that sucker off and cut a window sized hole in one side. You'll have one heck of a fish tank!Increasing your biodiversity increases your stability.
You know what this tank needs? ........................ Crypts.
09-30-2014, 06:56 PM #3
I have thought of building a big tank some day with a frame and glass.
09-30-2014, 07:06 PM #4
I did have a confert area to sleep and operate the Tender from. This is the cool area inside the cab with all the controls and my bed for night time. Hated sleeping on the ground.
09-30-2014, 07:38 PM #5
Kinda how it all began after I took it out of my garage on the trailer I welded it up on. I ran out of room to work on it in there!
I had to flip the bottom after I welded the sub frame on it. It was a bit scary when I let it down cause the rear of my tractor got light! Then I put it on the trailer again and put it back in the garage for the rest of the tank.
Inside the garage before flipping it over outside. It was a tight working area inside it.
Last edited by Plecos; 09-30-2014 at 07:45 PM.
09-30-2014, 08:52 PM #6
Inside the 8'x12' tank to control water slosh and give it strength off road. These are the baffles to make up the 6 chambers. I put them on after flipping it and before the sides went on. I had to square them plus lift under the bottom plate to close any gaps before welding. Had to weld a little bit at a time all over to keep the metal from warping.
Last edited by Plecos; 09-30-2014 at 08:57 PM.
09-30-2014, 10:06 PM #7
Last 2 pictures this is the fun part of the job. Supplying water to the Heavy Crane Hellos for cleaning there engines. They are running when they do this to clean the turbines blades. I got to work at a lot of Landing Sites wetting down the ground before they took off and landed for dust control. These big guys could kick up a lot!
They held as much waster as my tank did.
Last edited by Plecos; 09-30-2014 at 10:10 PM.
09-30-2014, 10:21 PM #8
Wow, very impressive. Amazing what it takes to build that. I would have no idea where or how to begin.
09-30-2014, 10:36 PM #9
I drew a lot of pictures first. Then figured all the weight of the steel for locating the tank for weight with water on the wheels. I added things over the years doing fires during the winter. Bought lots of the parts off EBay for a cheaper cost. Had the steel cut to size and delivered to town and went and got it on my trailer. Moving the tank back and forth changed the weight on the front end even moving it 12 inches. I calculated this out even weighing the tools etc that were to go on the back. I worried when I filled the tank and drove it to the scales and jumped for joy it was correct. I had 25% left on all axles and balanced right to left. This is important having the center of gravity low(about 12" off the bottom) with the tank height. I could drive on a side hill that would scare you and it would slide not tip first. Of course if you picked up speed and it hung it would tip and many tenders have done this on fires. Never wrecked it in 7 years or broke down, I was lucky!! All welds held and never leaked. There were springs on the tanks sub frame to allow the main truck frame to flex and not the tank. Baffles stopped water slosh, they made it move slow in the tank instead of a 10,000 lb bowling ball rolling around when the tank was 1/2 full.
Last edited by Plecos; 09-30-2014 at 10:39 PM.
09-30-2014, 11:18 PM #10
Wow, incredibly inventive vehicle to assist in any fire control effort out there. Do you still use it to help protect your property and home?When in doubt, do a water change.
"This ain't rocket science!"