Freightliner ambulance conversion project.

shortbus4x4

Expedition Leader
To me that ambulance doesn't look 12' tall, I would say more like 8-9' range.

You don't plan on using 3" blocks to lift the front do you? Lift blocks and front leaf springs don't go so well together.
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
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.
Current clearance height according to the labels on the dash is 9' 7". And if I put a RTT on it will be over the cab not the box roof. With the lift and wheels I figure on being at the 10' 4" - 10' 6" clearance (Awning and solar). I will carry a long reach chain saw just in case :).


You don't plan on using 3" blocks to lift the front do you? Lift blocks and front leaf springs don't go so well together.
This model Freighliner actually has the lift blocks as an optional part (front and rear). They put the little ones on for the little wheels (19.5") and when they went with the 22.5" you got the bigger blocks. There is 4" difference in the U bolts between mine and the biggest ones they offer. But I will be talking to the guys at the spring works to see if it is possible to get arched instead of flat leaf spring and not have blocks. One less thing to go wrong. The rears will definitely be blocks as changing the arm that the airbag setup swings off would be a major undertaking.
 
Last edited:

shortbus4x4

Expedition Leader
Sounds like you have done your research. If plans call for any rough roads, which I hope they do, I would rather have just leaf springs in the front with no blocks. If Freightliner offered blocks in the front and you use Freightliner parts to do the lift then you have nothing to worry about. Are you going to have to move your front axle forward at all for clearance? Can hardly wait to see pictures of tires on vehicle. Hope you can have the tires on by tomorrow night and pictures posted.:snorkel:
 

colodak

Adventurer
As I see on a daily basis, those dash clearance labels, notoriously inaccurate (11'4" bridge by me gets scraped by supposedly 11'3" buses everyday), and check it as you go along, especially once you get those tires on.
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
If Freightliner offered blocks in the front and you use Freightliner parts to do the lift then you have nothing to worry about.
I was going to use Freightliner parts but $87 per block and $54 per U Bolt with a 1-2 week delivery was a bit too much to put up with. So off to the metal shop I went. T6061 aluminum bar which I will get machined to size. U Bolts will be custom made by the local spring works (3/4 grade 8 on the rear and 5/8 grade 8 on the fronts). Front will be blocked lifted temporarily and new springs and air bags when I am able to get someone to do them for me. Probably not by expo though.

I do not need to move the front axle forward but it does need to come down.

Biggest issues will be the panhard rod (is that what it is called over here, maybe trackbar????) mount needs to be lowered the same distance as the lift. I can get it 3" lower by remounting it in the chassis rail. But it looks like I will need a new offset panhard rod to get it tracking perfectly. If I leave the panhard rod mount where it is now and put the old rod in the axle will move across 1/2". If I lower it the 3" inside the chassis it be .08" shorter. I am not sure it is even worth the effort of another panhard rod. Any thoughts/suggestions?????

And yep pictures tomorrow.
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
Ok the lift is under way.

Pulled the rear suspension apart and got the blocks machined. The aluminum was notched to fit around the axle and into the original bracket. Biggest pain was getting it up in the air enough to get the blocks into place. But the blocks are in. Rear wheel well on one side has been modified and 1 wheel fitted.

This is the rear suspension arm and locating block. The alloy lift block goes in between the locating block and the axle. It has been machined to have the same locating function as the original.

Rear Suspension.jpg

Block being machined

Block machining.jpg

With 1 wheel mounted. Yes it is sitting on the ground.

1 wheel on..jpg
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
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.
OK it ended up at 10' exactly to the roof. So 10' 6" clearance (incompetent DOT surveyor fudge factor). Still well under a normal box truck.
 

CLynn85

Explorer
Wow, that went from dorky to bad-*** in a hurry! Can't wait to see it with the final stance. I might have missed it, but is the rear a locker or limited slip? How traction limited is such a beast with 4x2 only?
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
Wow, that went from dorky to bad-*** in a hurry! Can't wait to see it with the final stance. I might have missed it, but is the rear a locker or limited slip? How traction limited is such a beast with 4x2 only?
No locker or limited slip yet. When I work out what final gearing I need I will chase down a full locker for it. I am also considering fitting On Spot chains if I can source a set at the right price.
 
Top