What's on Your Engine #16 - Suction Elbow
By President Mark Davis
April 4, 2024

The use of suction elbows on side suction inlets is gaining popularity in those areas of the country where folks depend on drafting to support their firefighting operations. Several manufacturers make a suction elbow and we certainly recommend suction elbow use...especially when using portable dump tanks positioned in front of...or to the rear of the pumper. For the two brands that we tested back in 2017, flow was limited to just over 1500 gpm on a "big-body" Hale Q-Max fire pump so we feel pretty comfortable not worrying about getting 1250 gpm +/- through one of these things. It is also important to note that the best performance of a suction elbow is when it is used without an external suction inlet control valve. Our most important piece of advice is to know the length of elbow needed in order to clear the pumper's running board. Not all elbows are the same dimension and if you come up short then it can be difficult to get that suction hose/elbow assembly connected to the pumper. So the phrase of the day is, " measure before you order."