Belafonte Reboot....Ambulance to 4x4 Camper Conversion

tgreening

Expedition Leader
#1
Belafonte Reboot....Ambulance to 4x4 Camper Conversion FOR SALE!

NOTICE::

UPDATE: 09/24/17

Photobucket put the screws to many people with their heavy handed disabling of linked photos. For the moment there is a fix.

For Firefox and Google Chrome there is an add-on called Photobucket Fixer. Dont know how, but after installation all my picture links work again. I would suggest looking for a similar work around for whatever browser you happen to be using and....spread the word.


Until I get the Photochucket issue sorted out you can still view the pics by clicking on the nice little graphic that shows up instead of my pictures.


I struggled long and hard about what type of van I wanted to go with. I liked the physical profile of your standard cargo van, but wasn't crazy about the space limitations. The extended wheelbase model just didn't sit right with me due to looking like what it pretty much was, an extra couple feet just tacked on to what was already there. Just a bit too much rear overhang to look right, to me. For others I'm sure it's just fine, so no criticisms there.

The ambulance style cut-aways appealed to me in that they already had the beginnings of your basic camper van in place, IE plenty of electrical power and inside/outside storage. But dang if they aren't some big unwieldy beasts when you're thinking about the offroad-ability end of things. And yeah, they've got plenty of rear overhand as well, but to me it at least looks like it belongs there.

Since serious off road capability wasn't that high on the priority list, this style won out. Annnnd, just about time I came to that decision, I ran across the Belafonte for sale. It had pretty much what I was looking for in this model, which was the storage/interior space, and it had a whole bunch of the camper-fication already done so 3 steps ahead for me.

For a memory refresh...


(suck it Photobucket)

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Giving credit where it's due, this isn't my photo. Hopefully the PO won't mind. I've only managed to take a few of my own so far, and none of them were exterior shots.

I have the usual big plans, well....planned, so I'm going to have a cubic butt-load of questions. I've built/am building plenty of Jeeps, from CJ5s through Scramblers, J-trucks to a couple Grand Wagoneers, and 1 Unimog still in progress, but this will be my absolutely first ever ambulance. So far I'm loving the snot out of it, in spite of the fact that the bugger spit up and puked out it's water pump yesterday. At least it had the decency to do it parked in the driveway. Since my garages are full and it's colder than a witches mammary gland this week, I sent it to the "pros". Ouch.

Currently looks like this......02/03/2016

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My Wagoneer (before)

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And after, winning 1st place something I don't remember at the All-breeds Jeep show in PA. It was also in the July issue of Four Wheeler magazine, late 20?? sumthin or other.


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As soon as I'm doing redoing the brakes/bearings/seals on the front axle, she'll probably go up on the auction block. My Japanese wife thinks it's "cute" because it looks retro, but she doesn't want to ride in it because it doesn't ride like Lexus. In her defense, it does ride a bit like a WWI pre-production concept tank.


My Scrambler (before):

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And after. Long since sold to a Marine Lieutenant on his way to AfghaniPacIraqIstan

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Never did like they way that Kayline top fit. Anyway....

I know this isn't a Jeep forum, but I did have a point. I want the PO to know his baby is in good hands, I have the skills to get it done, and I truly didn't intend on just gutting it to be another tool hauler.


Follow up post will get on to some of my questions, with some pics for reference. I'm hoping the knowledge base here can help out.
 
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tgreening

Expedition Leader
#4
Alllrighty then. First up is the switch panel up in the cab. I know what they all do/did, save one, and I doubt anyone is going to be able to help with it but it's worth a shot. The real question is can someone point me to a place I can get a replacement? I have yet to call the people who did this conversion, but I'm betting that after 22 years they've probably moved on to something a bit more "today". You can guess which switch possesses an unknown function, and needs repair/replacement. It actually works, but the cover has gone AWOL. To remove doubt, no amount of frantic stabbing has convinced it to cough up it's purpose in life.


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My first inclination was just to remove the switches and replace them with a more modern rocker style, like comes in the Ford Superdutys for their upfitter panel. At least that was what I planned till I raised the panel in the console and saw...


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and

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This led me to contemplate the possibility that switch replacement might not be the simple straight forward procedure I had envisioned, and more of a trip deep into electrical H. E. double hockey sticks.


My next question about this panel concerns these.... So far I've never seen that amp gauge so much as twitch, or that idle control actually control anything. Admittedly I'm not 100% clear on their purpose, but I'm willing to take a stab at foolishness. I'm guessing that the gauge shows amp draw on the A/C circuit when it's plugged in to shore power? The idle control controls idle for some reason, when it's plugged into shore power? Relatively certain I just drove myself into dumber than a box of rocks-ville, especially with that last notion.

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Annnd, last thing cab related. Another switch that stubbornly refuses to divulge it's nefarious purpose. This one is located on the wall right behind the drivers seat, down by the floor.

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Don't worry, I've got plenty more, but I'll make another post for those.
 
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#5
does your ambulance have a 7.3 idi if so there is a vacuum switch that send vacuum to an actuator that pulls back on the throttle and raise the idle to around 1200 rpm it is adjustable with a screw on the back of the actuator that is the same control box used on mine there is supposed to be another box that tells you how the battery's are doing
 

tgreening

Expedition Leader
#8
does your ambulance have a 7.3 idi if so there is a vacuum switch that send vacuum to an actuator that pulls back on the throttle and raise the idle to around 1200 rpm it is adjustable with a screw on the back of the actuator that is the same control box used on mine there is supposed to be another box that tells you how the battery's are doing

Yes, it's a 7.3 idi. I guess the question is, why does it raise the idle? Is it for cold weather warm up? That would make some kind of sense because I know when I step on the brake pedal, the light on the box goes out. If I stop and put it in park it comes back on. In this picture there is another box, you can see it hanging, that is pretty much identical in form factor but if I recall lacks any kind of display.

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Beside the amp gauge is a volt meter that I assume is to keep tabs on the truck batteries.
 
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#10
Belafonte Reboot....

I do know a place for switch panels although you are screwed on that. If I find a place to get those switch covers I'll let you know.

The idle control is so they can keep enough juice going to the alternators to run all the interior functions while on call. Otherwise the suction, house/flasher lights, and other goodies would kill the battery. It is not available when driving or when the rpms are above 1000 I think which would be why your light goes on and off (as do they all) Polks and I have the same unit. The right display shows if the battery is charging, normal, or overcharged.

The amp meter should be showing what the alternators are putting out. Mine sits at 45 in idle. No idea if that's normal though lol! Voltage is self explanatory.



Guessing the switch ties into the inverter or maintainer, or maybe the heat.

Edit:

Thoughts on the random switches: there is usually an extra switch built into the display. If its not doing anything that may be why- or you have a dud relay. Also I don't see a modular disconnect labeled in your photos (kills all house functions) which should be mandatory. Just a thought.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
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tgreening

Expedition Leader
#11
Any ideas what this might be for? I'm hoping it's for a block heater or something, but given it's location I have my doubts.


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#13
Tom, great to hear that you're enjoying it and glad to see you decided to start/continue documenting the build on here. I meant to make that a condition of the sale. :)
 

tgreening

Expedition Leader
#15
I do know a place for switch panels although you are screwed on that. If I find a place to get those switch covers I'll let you know.
Not following here. Screwed on what?


The idle control is so they can keep enough juice going to the alternators to run all the interior functions while on call. Otherwise the suction, house/flasher lights, and other goodies would kill the battery. It is not available when driving or when the rpms are above 1000 I think which would be why your light goes on and off (as do they all) Polks and I have the same unit. The right display shows if the battery is charging, normal, or overcharged.

The amp meter should be showing what the alternators are putting out. Mine sits at 45 in idle. No idea if that's normal though lol! Voltage is self explanatory.
Ok, this makes sense, though I don't believe I have a display unit. There's that other box hanging down inside the panel, but I don't recall that it had any lights. Seem to recall it was just blank face.



Guessing the switch ties into the inverter or maintainer, or maybe the heat.
Which switch? The one on the wall behind the seat? If so, I don't think it does anything for heat, at least not back in the box. There's a switch on the panel that enables/disables the box heat/air conditioner. Fan speed and temp is controlled via a separate panel / thermostat back there.

Edit:

Thoughts on the random switches: there is usually an extra switch built into the display. If its not doing anything that may be why- or you have a dud relay. Also I don't see a modular disconnect labeled in your photos (kills all house functions) which should be mandatory. Just a thought.
Entertained the notion the switch was unused, and that's fine. Be nice to find a cover for it though.

There's a switch on the panel labeled "Master". Pushing it disables everything in the back. This what you're talking about?


Btw, your (and everyones') input is much appreciated.
 
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