4x4 Ambo Conversion Opinions

#31
While I was already planning ahead and geared up for what I thought would be the hard part of converting one I apparently overlooked the fact that the most difficult part would be finding one to buy. Seemed like there were so many out there just three weeks ago when I was only window shopping, but now that I'm actually planning on buying you can count the ones worth having out there on two hands. Maybe I'm also crazy and my perception is all wrong, but it seems like everything is priced nearly double what I was seeing not long ago and all have very high mileage.

Starting to second guess if this is the right route at all... and that's before factoring in the cost of converting it to 4wd.

Speaking of 4wd though I've seen several ujoint conversions for sale all at what sound to me like exorbitant prices. Saw a van listed recently, nothing all that special for $35k and saw an actual ambulance to RV conversion asking over $80k. They did seem pretty nice, but is the conversion really worth that? I was under the impression the cost wasn't nearly so high, and I just can't see how someone has that much time/money invested in these things.
 
#32
As others have said, TheBuild is at least as much fun as using it, and with prudence/patience it can be done at a fraction of the bigboy$ price. Research is crucial, if varied. *I can’t speak to drivetrain conversion, as mine is factory.
Yes, there ARE factory 4xAmbus out there; how much patience do you have? I cast-about for over two years, even considered a box truck platform (shudder). It takes that long to gather enough info —and change your search to fit your goals, which also change. The longer it took, the more often I heard myself say,”sure am glad I waited”— because my concept had changed.
Yes, distinguishing *perceived useage goals and *actual use goals is important. But when you need the 4x4, you need it. Need it for your self-definition? (Very expen$ive ego stroke.) Fine; maybe do a conversion yourself. No time, and loaded? Go custom, covered in named-component stickers. Wanna rip the White Rim Trail? Forget the ambo altogether and go AllGnarlyCrawley.
Again, you *might need 4x4 to get your lady into the other seat (“what if we get stuck?”). And you might still get stuck (some would say if you don’t, you’re not gettin out there hard enough). IOW, you’ll need other “recovery” tools (read “extraction”) like jack, winch, snap-strap, treadboards, etc. to be on the “prepared” side.
STILL, if you want to increase your margin, range, and capacity beyond the mildest forest camp road....... dispersed camping is PRIME... get yer 4x ON. Especially if you’re going FullTime. You don’t really hafta be all *that ‘handy’ or GoAllBurlyN’$ht. You don’t even need a ponytail. And no, you *don’t need to be ThatGuy with wheels off the ground (sure looks like fun, riiight? Now, where’s my pepper gone?)

Wait for it.

OHSHT Caveat: overplanning is a black hole of time. Its always different anyway.
SO, as the OP dcg1080 relayed in “house” terms, “get a place to leave in” while you’re deciding and learning. Think of it like a starter marriage.
 
#33
BTW, prices have been going up since ambu conversion became a Thing —-(or issit?)
Remember: you’ll either see $60k+ (Unit for duty), 20k+ (unit may be back on-duty in the provences), 12k+ (c’mon, its only 8 years old, even if it has 500k miles), or 5k+ (Either: get this POS off my lot or I’ll part it out OR: just get rid of it).
You want the “just get rid of it”; I found it on CL.

MUCH more important is the type, box size, and wheelbase and angles. The latter means you can have great geometries approaching and departing (front and rear) and still get “high-centered”— that is, stuck because your wheelbase is too long!
 
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#34
And for more than casual trails (4x4 is a done-deal), go for a TypeII or TypeIII narrow body minimod ambu.
A *full-size box is nearly 8’ wide(!) —and thus a tree-magnet. Tho there *are narrow-bodied TypeI ambus out there, those’re as rare as a jihadi’s promised maiden.
An attractive alternative way to go is to get a (late model) cab/chassis or flatbed and fit it with either an off-loaded ambu module or an original foam-aluminum composite box.
 
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