Freightliner ambulance conversion project.

MNtal

Observer
Yep they are 8 x 275. I will let you know how they go for clearance and also alignment back to front. May need a group buy on custom spacers for the rear.
I'm sitting about 20 feet from one of these, probably wouldnt be that tough to make that happen. :ylsmoke:

VF-3_lg.jpg
 
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uscg2008

Explorer
I used to run 3 of those before I got into the coast guard, we made aircraft interior parts for private jets. That thing is a freaking beast, but man that cutting fluid stinks when it sits in the drip pan for too long
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
SRW on the Freightliner. Mockup because the tires are not here yet.

SO in a fit of lunacy I decided to mockup the wheel change to see if spaces were needed. (more on the facts later). No real compressor, harbor freight air impact gun, 1/2" battery rattle gun, 7000lb floor jack, some 12T jack stands and some fancy torque multiplier I bought for $60 on Amazon. How can I go wrong!

Now just to set the scene. I am a short, fat lazy bugger who often lets ambition overrule ability.

Do you have any idea of how many turns of the handle you need to loosen off and re-torque 48 lug nuts at 450 ft lbs. Now you guys who actually passed math are probably trying to work out how 8 goes into 48 with only 2 axles. I will give you a hint. Lets make sure we have to do some of it twice. Because it wasn't as though I got enough exercise / coronary strain just doing them all once.

So anyway enough whining. Back to the facts. I jacked up the front (7000 lb jack my arse, struggled with one side of the front axle), dropped both front tires off (10000 turns of the torque multiplier to bust them loose) and put the wheels on and measures outside to outside wheel track as well as ran a ruler (measuring stick just in case ruler is an Aussie term) around the place. Looks like a simple 3" block lift will let the 43" tires clear (original ones are 29 or 30"). Putting in a straight axle would be preferable but who knows where I can find one of those. Rare as rocking horse poop.

Ok now put the front tires back on, hmmm they have less than a mm of tread, they really suck. OK lets do another 10000 turns of the torque multiplier to torque them back up. Jack it back up and remove the jack stands. (just because they are 12T do they have to be a minimum of 2ft high).

OK onto the back set. The back is heavier than the front (who would of though!!!!) and getting the chassis up far enough to lift the wheels is a struggle (air bagged rear suspension). Some where around here is where I whine about that jack again along with the height of the jack stands. Another 10000 turns of the torque multiplier and the rear wheels are off. New wheels on and wheel track measurement taken. Hmmm fairly good news. It is only 4 1/2 inches narrower at the rear. That is acceptable to me in the short term, no spacers needed just yet. I would rather have a bit different wheel track than run spacers.

But there is no way that those tires are going to fit inside those wheel wells. Looks like I will need to bellow out the wheel wells as well as working out how to get about 4" of lift in there. Another bit of good news is that behind the wheel well currently there is room of 3 of the sides to just open them out without going into the cabinets. One will need some cabinet surgery to fit it in. The airbagged axle will prove to be more interesting. I am hoping that I can just move the axle down from its current position in the Z arm buy the 4 ". I will still need to put some larger bump stops on to stop it rubbing on the top of the wheel well.

Now the brilliant bit. I worked out that there are a semi reasonable pair of tires on the back. Matched size/make/model and about 4-5 mm of tread. Why didn't they put them on the front. So lets do another round of pulling the tires and putting them on the front. Another 20000 turns of the torque multiplier and they were on the front. Then 10000 more turns and the rear tires were on.

The only bright side to swapping the tires over (apart from the obvious better tires on the steer) was that the rims were really dirty. Actually very black dirty. And I was thinking of getting the wheels powder coated black. I even ordered 6 cans of that plasidip stuff to try out what it looked like. Now I can see what it will look like with black wheels without going to the trouble of getting them coated or plastidip.

Now for the photos.

Instrument of torture

photo 5.jpg

Front

photo 2.jpg

Back

photo 3.jpg

Oooh black wheels.

photo 4.jpg
 
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pairospam

Observer
I laughed a lot with your tire swapping story, and remembered my own with a little less joy.

I had to go, alone, on humid soil, with no jackstands, from this...

086.JPG

...to this...

110.JPG

... to this...

249.JPG

... to this...

786.JPG

..to this.

2396.JPG


Those were 1000000000 turns, and there are many more to come.

Remember that it can always be worse, but you are not alone.

Deepest respects.



Pairoa
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
Hi Pairoa, man I respect the effort you have put into "La Bestia". Looking forward to sharing a pisco sour or 2 and checking it out when I get to Chile.
 

1leglance

2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
great story and makes me glad I have a simple 4wd and don't have to risk popping a blood vessle to work on it

Looking really cool and can't wait to see it in person again, especially at the Overland Expo where you will be a real crowd draw.
 

sojourner

Observer
This is a great build, cant wait to see the tires mounted. Is it only fender trimming or also suspension mods you're planning?

Sent from my SM-T217S using Tapatalk
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
Suspension mods as well. Have to cut out the rear wheel wells. 3 inch block lift on both ends and cut back the front bumper. Also probably the biggest PITA I have to replace all the front wheel studs with longer ones. The front hubs are oil filled so pulling them off means a greater chance of them leaking.
 

1leglance

2007 Expedition Trophy Champion, Overland Certifie
Holy Crapoly Bevan....Do you think you will have those wheels & tires installed by the Overland Expo?
That would be amazingly quick and would make you a hit at the event.
Wow what a way to get some lift to that big boy.

Impressive difference in wheel/tire combo when you see it side by side.
 

colodak

Adventurer
Um, not to burst your bubble, but have you taken measurements of overall height? Typically an ambulance like that will be around 12' tall with stock tires, the maximum legal height is 13'6" (and that's stretching it sometimes) for a vehicle. Throw on those 43" tires and a RTT, you could very quickly be exceeding the 13' mark.
 
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