Buying & Building a Medium Ambulance into an RV – The FAM-BULANCE

Cowpig

new guy + questions
wow great thread, got mine delivered today - also from GEV working with Shawn M ... fantastic ... sight unseen and not disappointed at all

glad i stumbled on this particular thread lots of good info, though i've only read the first and last 10 pages so far (skipped ahead to see the end:D). I start into mine tomorrow, but at least it's already registered in WA as an RV (though i had pulled a DOT number since I thought I had to register as a commercial truck until converted...). First project is to get all the markings off )

thanks for taking the time to post all your projects and fixes
 
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Many times, the vinyl lettering has been clear coated, which can make it a royal PITA to remove. Usually, a heat gun is needed, and some people use a Wizzy-Wheel (sp?) (Amazon). GEV removed my lettering, so I only need to do a little wet-or-dry sanding, add a squirt of clear coat, and then some buffing. Be careful - you don't want to turn the finish into a lunar landscape!
 
Forgot to mention - if you have hydraulic brakes, you may have to replace brake lines down the road. Fire equipment and ambulances are parked indoors over a trench drain, and the constant high humidity really corrodes brake lines. MNtal snd I have both replaced all our lines after a line blew out (thankfully, ambulances have split brake systems)
 

Cowpig

new guy + questions
Thanks I have to get under and look at everything- rig only has 20 k miles but still nearly 10 yrs old. Going to buy a heat gun in the morning... will hope for the best but it's probably not going to be fun
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
Going to buy a heat gun in the morning... will hope for the best but it's probably not going to be fun

Nope, it's not going to fun at all, but here is a couple of tips that will help.

Depending on the ambient temperature, it may go easy or not. Getting your heat gun set to to the correct temperature is critical. Most people start out with it way to hot. All you want to do is soften the vinyl enough so that it can be pulled off without cracking or tearing it. The heat will soften the adhesive some also. However, if too much heat is applied, the adhesive can separate from the vinyl and leave a gooey mess stuck to the body which is even harder to get off, because now you're going to need to use a solvent of some sort. Of course

WD-40 or a commercial decal remover such as Turtle Wax T-529 Label & Sticker Remover will help also. This is more for getting the adhesive off than the sticker itself. Spray it on and give it time to work before attempting to remove the glue. A plastic scraper will help also if you're careful with it.
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
Whizzy wheel is without a doubt the best method. Seriously consider putting the job off until you have a couple of those in your hands. This is based on my experience on 5 ambulances. Wish someone would of told me about it for the first couple.
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
Bevan, maybe I wasn't holding my mouth just right, but I didn't have much luck with a Whizzy Wheel. It worked, but it seemed like it took forever.
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
Hmmm that’s strange. It just ripped through both the red trucks and didn’t leave any residue. When I used a heat gun it left a heap of crap behind that was a pain to remove even with gasoline, thinners, 3M label remover, brake cleaner etc.
 

Cowpig

new guy + questions
Thanks for the suggestions! I'm looking at a gun that goes all the way down to about 140* to start low. This rig has huge stars of life on each side plus the requisite stripes and labels

Oh well no job gets done thinking about it 🙂
 
Not a lot happening lately - too much other stuff, plus MN gets a little ugly for outdoor projects in the winter. BUT----

SOUND THE BELLS AND RING THE TRUMPETS!!

Today, I finally finished sorting the garage, and rolled the buggy indoors. She'll now stay indoors, winter and summer (I know if I ever leave it outside, that space in the garage will fill up very quickly - that's the "Law of Garages", also known as Nature Abhors a Vacuum).

DSCN5757.JPG

There are still a few bits and pieces to sort and store correctly, but she's tucked in, and warm and happy. Now I can get going on the projects that were very unpleasant when it was in the driveway.
 

Cowpig

new guy + questions
I would love to have a garage at home for mine... rented one just for the duration of the major renovation then need to park it outside to cut expenses
 
Bevan, maybe I wasn't holding my mouth just right, but I didn't have much luck with a Whizzy Wheel. It worked, but it seemed like it took forever.
One trick that helps is to run the wheel at the exact speed the manufacturer specifies, and then just use the tip of the wheel. Mashing it down just makes a mess of the adhesive. The same applies to the 3M vinyl-wrap removal wheels.
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
One trick that helps is to run the wheel at the exact speed the manufacturer specifies, and then just use the tip of the wheel. Mashing it down just makes a mess of the adhesive. The same applies to the 3M vinyl-wrap removal wheels.

After checking mine, I discovered it was not the Whizzy Wheel brand, but the 3M version which is much smaller in diameter and smooth without any of the 'teeth' the Whizzy Wheel has.
 
Now that it's getting closer to spring, I've been thinking about the 120 volt air conditioning project again. The simplest solution is a RV rooftop air conditioner, except I have only 4" of clearance on my garage door. I also thought about adding the Hoseline 120 volt air conditioner package - this comes standard on many newer ambulances, but it can be added as a retrofit. The challenge is that the Hoseline evaporators have three sets of coils - one set for the hot water heating system, one for the vehicle supplied air conditioner, and a third set for the 120 volt package. The end result is an air conditioner evaporator that is usually about 20" deep. Any trade off on depth increases the height.

I have a Medic Master ambulance, and there just isn't room for anything standard, which means that I will have to build my own. I was able to fins a Hoseline 120 volt R134 compressor package on ebay, and I have other Hoseline AC components. Since I just plan for this to be a totally separate system that doesn't interconnect with the vehicle AC system, the control panel is much simpler than Hoseline's design, and only needs four relays (120 volt heat relay, time delay relay, condenser fan relay, 120 volt compressor relay). It will be controlled by a Hoseline CM-3000 thermostat with a Hoseline RCB-3000S relay panel.

Instead of adding a coil to the existing Hoseline evaporator/heater package, I've been leaning toward a totally separate evaporator mounted in the rear of the module (ambulance portion of the vehicle). This system was commonly used to add air conditioning to a non-air conditioned car back in the 1960's-70's, but it is still available for off road construction equipment.

It will take a bit more research----

ac module.JPG
 
Now that it's getting closer to spring, I've been thinking about the 120 volt air conditioning project again. The simplest solution is a RV rooftop air conditioner, except I have only 4" of clearance on my garage door. I also thought about adding the Hoseline 120 volt air conditioner package - this comes standard on many newer ambulances, but it can be added as a retrofit. The challenge is that the Hoseline evaporators have three sets of coils - one set for the hot water heating system, one for the vehicle supplied air conditioner, and a third set for the 120 volt package. The end result is an air conditioner evaporator that is usually about 20" deep. Any trade off on depth increases the height.

I have a Medic Master ambulance, and there just isn't room for anything standard, which means that I will have to build my own. I was able to fins a Hoseline 120 volt R134 compressor package on ebay, and I have other Hoseline AC components. Since I just plan for this to be a totally separate system that doesn't interconnect with the vehicle AC system, the control panel is much simpler than Hoseline's design, and only needs four relays (120 volt heat relay, time delay relay, condenser fan relay, 120 volt compressor relay). It will be controlled by a Hoseline CM-3000 thermostat with a Hoseline RCB-3000S relay panel.

Instead of adding a coil to the existing Hoseline evaporator/heater package, I've been leaning toward a totally separate evaporator mounted in the rear of the module (ambulance portion of the vehicle). This system was commonly used to add air conditioning to a non-air conditioned car back in the 1960's-70's, but it is still available for off road construction equipment.

It will take a bit more research----

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Check out Skoolie.net. They remove and add those type units all the time. Heck, you may even be able to pick up a complete unit for cheap.