Bob the Campulance. E350 Crestline Ambulance Build with Roof Raise.

iggi

Ian
Just signed the deal today on my new mobile office/adventure basecamp.
It's a 2009 E350 with the 6.0 Powerstroke. It's the Crestline New Era, which seemed like a great compromise between full size and a mini-mod.
Currently 196,000 k. Just been decommissioned.
I agonized a lot over the 6.0 but based on the research I did it seems the later models are less likely to blow up.
Unit was apparently an Organ Transplant unit so hoping it was thrashed on less than average.

Finding insurance in Alberta was a bit of an epic which leads to my current problem.
Picking it up tomorrow and I leave for three week climbing trip on Saturday. (and I have a pile of job stuff do as well)

My rough to-do list before I take off.

  1. Clean it
  2. Take out the extra faff like the sharps box, oxy tank rack and stuff
  3. Figure out what wiring hack I have to do so the box will run with the ignition off
  4. Extend the bench into a reasonable sized bed (hope to make it a folding unit and retain use of the bench)
  5. Solar Panel
  6. 12 Volt Cooler (until I have time to shop for and install a good fridge).
  7. Install a drop lid desk (I'll be working from the road a couple hours a day)
  8. Keys are missing for the ambulance doors. Will need those rekeyed.
Few questions:

  1. I'll mostly be in BC. Do I need to cover up the red ambulance lights? Think I do but not totally certain. In the interests of time I might just have to spray bomb them.
  2. Any pointers on the wiring hack so the power will stay on in the box?
  3. Is there an easy LED replacement for the big interior lights?
  4. Anything I'm missing that you'd personally address before hitting the road? I don't see any need to remove the suction pump, or upgrade the convertor.
And finally, pics.

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Raul

Adventurer
I like the size of the box, the side door and the round corners. Looking forward for the transformation
 

gaetzjm

Member
Ian,
A couple of months ago I bought a 2006 NOS E450 Ambulance and registered it here in White Rock, BC. For the Provincial safety inspection the front and rear emergency light bars and the red side lights were not an issue. Afterwards I removed the light bars anyway but left the side lights in place, at least for now.
Power to the box interior in mine was controlled by an ignition switched solenoid (see top left in wiring panel pic). I ran a wire a wire from a fused constant 12v source on the panel to the switch panel inside the box and then to the solenoid.
My interior light fixtures have high and low circuits. One used wedge bulbs in which I installed Superbright 921/194 T10 wedge LED bulbs. The other can use G4 Bi-Pin base bulbs with a bit of adaptation. The member Bikersmirf has contributed useful comments to a thread on this topic.
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iggi

Ian
I like the size of the box, the side door and the round corners. Looking forward for the transformation
Thanks, I was torn between the New Era box vs the larger options.
Loved all the extra storage and full height inside of the full size ambulances but I'm a bit of backroads guy so chose to go with the more manoeuvrable option.
Plus this one was the lowest milage/best condition ambulance I could find locally for the price.
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
Welcome

I was going to mention LED bulbs but someone beat me to it. G4 LED cob bulbs are excellent on side lights also. The light spread is better than the OE Halogen bulbs. No hot spots and cold... very even light spread.
 
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Fredricksen

Member
This may be a silly question..but..
When switching lights over to LED.. does a resistor need to be put inline with these bulbs?
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
No. They just plug in. Some can be plugged in either way and polarity doesn't matter... others only work one way (if they don't work you have to reverse the polarity)
 

iggi

Ian
Progress report:

Due to a paperwork issue I wasn't able to pick it up last week. So had to drive out to the Okanagan to meet friends without it. Drove back last night and picked up this morning.

Removed a bunch of extra faff and stuff.
Figured out the wiring issue. There wasn't one. The batteries are pooched and I didn't realize the doors turned on the interior bank of lights.
The ambulance connect switch DOES work regardless of ignition on or off.

Heading back out tomorrow so, just getting new batteries, throwing a mattress in, throwing all my gear in and heading out the door.
Everything else will have to wait until I'm back from the coast.

It's already dog approved though. My friend described it as "very utilitarian" with the undertones of "good lord it's ugly" I'm more of a form follows function sort so I'm a big fan of the easy to clean surfaces and such.

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cody c

New member
Iggi had his rig over last night to do a couple small errands before a two week trip. Turns out an electrical bug was two flat auxiliary batteries that need replacing unfortunately ($).

It is pretty cool with all the "smooth surfaces" must be all welded aluminum, no rust anywhere and clean.

I think we need to put one of my old CB radios where the ambulance radio is.
-Make a selector switch to run your stereo to the speakers on the front (I know you totally don't need that)
- pull the bulbs and find LED replacements sooner than later in case any lights are left on
-figure out a better bed platform for you
-get some better windows in there. Would be nice to have one large (3'x 6' ish) domed skylight so you could stand straight legged in there.
-and finally get it properly stock piled with a tasty selection of liquor to entice me to help out often.

Edit, B.C. has laws governing that no lights should be located higher than the headlights, but that may not apply to this, I'd have to dig up and reread the legal stuff, I don't think you'll have any issues on your trip regarding this though. It's a bit of work to remove them all off the front, would be easier to spray paint them white to show they are not operational.

What seat/chair do you plan to use long term, I know you said you'd take the main seat out eventually, but you also plan to be able to work in there on your computer. Comfort and space will be a priority.
 
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iggi

Ian
Sadly my trip is being put on hold. Not much point in going climbing when you've probably got a messed up finger. In the gong show of finding the right sized batteries I managed to smash the tip of my left index finger really good.
Guess the upside is I'll have time to set the rig up better.

Quick note on batteries.

The tray reads group 27. However I couldn't find one in stock locally that wasn't too tall for the case once the battery clamps were on. (you can see the offending clamp on the self above the batteries)
The batteries that were installed were actually group 34 and weren't even deep cycle. (guess that's why they were destroyed).
I ended up with set of Group 24 deep cycle batteries but realized after that the 27's would have likely fit had I used the direct threaded posts, instead of the battery clamps on posts..

As proven at Cody's last night when we jumpered the system from his Cruiser. All the electrical systems worked great when fed a full 12 volts.


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iggi

Ian
Yeah, no finger banging with that hand. lol


>I think we need to put one of my old CB radios where the ambulance radio is.
That would be cool.

>-Make a selector switch to run your stereo to the speakers on the front (I know you totally don't need that)
lol. That's a bit lower on the task list

>- pull the bulbs and find LED replacements sooner than later in case any lights are left on
Yeah, maybe I'll order those off Amazon tonight.

>-figure out a better bed platform for you
Have some solid ideas but it requires better wood working skills than either of us have. I'll see if woodworker Steve will build the bed for me.

>-get some better windows in there. Would be nice to have one large (3'x 6' ish) domed skylight so you could stand straight legged in there.
For sure. Saw some nice tiltout windows on Dave's Ambuland build. https://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/ambuland-build-thread.103768/page-36

The domed skylight is a cool idea. Need to leave enough room on the roof for the solar panels but.. it is pretty big and even a 4x3 foot section would give a ton of light and make it more comfy standing around.

>-and finally get it properly stock piled with a tasty selection of liquor to entice me to help out often.
Baby duck and black label beer? ;)
 

iggi

Ian
I can cross task 8 off the list.

>Keys are missing for the ambulance doors. Will need those rekeyed.
Thought I had the wrong keys but it turns out all the lock cylinders were frozen solid. I was puzzled that they hadn't been used enough to stay free... but then after putting the new batteries in I discovered that the power locks also work for ALL the ambulance doors. Even the external cabinets. Super stoked. Crestline definitely makes a quality product!
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
I can cross task 8 off the list.



Thought I had the wrong keys but it turns out all the lock cylinders were frozen solid. I was puzzled that they hadn't been used enough to stay free... but then after putting the new batteries in I discovered that the power locks also work for ALL the ambulance doors. Even the external cabinets. Super stoked. Crestline definitely makes a quality product!
They do... at +/- $120,000

:D

As for the ugly, those who use them grow to love them... and won’t touch anything else.
 
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