M2 Freightliner Ambulance Conversion Project. 2007 Crew Cab

shortbus4x4

Expedition Leader
I learnt to drive real trucks in a Diamond T with a 10 speed box (no synchromesh back then) 4 speed jockey box and 2 speed diffs. Geared to do 45 mph top speed. Pulling an early cable blade D9 on a low loader.

That’s why I love the Allison transmissions.
Cable blade CAT! That really dates you. I had quite a bit of seat time on a D8 cable blade in the woods and trucks that you used both hands to shift while using your knee to steer.
 

shortbus4x4

Expedition Leader
I was just a couple of years older than you when I started, cheap labor for my dad's logging business. I did roll the D8 on its side once when I was about 17, he wasn't happy with me that day.
 

Wyuna

Observer
looking good, you have a fair bit of work trimming the rear.

That clearance is amazing compared to before.
 

Santa

New member
Wow, that is going to be a great truck. Perfect for a trip to the Kimberley, just need to skip a tinnie on the roof for some fishing
Cheers
Nick


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
Swapped the steer axle I was going to use on the rear for a matching solid rear axle. The spring perches are in the right place and it has the park brakes on it as well so should make it easier to install. Although I don’t think easy should be used anywhere in this conversion so far.



And since it is so high up now I also grabbed some 10t each jack stands 28” - 48”. That will make it a bit less arse clenching when I have to go under it while the wheels are not on. The little one is 2t.

 

rlrenz

Explorer
I learnt to drive real trucks in a Diamond T with a 10 speed box (no synchromesh back then) 4 speed jockey box and 2 speed diffs. Geared to do 45 mph top speed. Pulling an early cable blade D9 on a low loader.

That’s why I love the Allison transmissions.
If I go way back in time, I used to have a Caterpillar D8 (model 2 U), complete with a 6 ton cable operated blade and a pony starting motor. Built about 1952 as I recall. When I got it, the tracks were so worn that I had to remove a pad to take up the slack, which was about the only option other than welding in a set of sprocket inserts, plus being a lot cheaper.

Thanks for jogging my rusty memory!
 

rlrenz

Explorer
Cable blade CAT! That really dates you. I had quite a bit of seat time on a D8 cable blade in the woods and trucks that you used both hands to shift while using your knee to steer.
Yep - and both hands to pull the steering levers. I used my toe to shift from forward to reverse. When it was below zero, the oil-wetted clutch would drag so you couldn't get her into gear until it warmed up --- or you could run the blade up and down until the oil warmed enough to let you get her into gear.
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
Success and failure.

The success was finally getting the adapter plates welded to the front axle tube. The guy nextdoor dropped over with his truck and glued them on for me.





But when I removed the plastic I had supposedly sealing the elements out of the open diff center I discover that there had been moisture inside. So today’s effort is to get all that rust out before rebuilding and fitting the axle.

 

Strouty

New member
I love the build so far, a couple of questions, originally you thought the front springs would sit correctly, based on the pictures, I guess that was off just a little bit? How are you handling steering? I have a set of the narrower axles that have the higher gear ratio already, just not sure if I need the wider axles or not. When swapping the third members, was there any issue you ran into? Were the axles the same?

As for the T600 transfer case, are you saying it is a full time 4x4? I am looking for a transfer case that is rugged enough to handle 300 HP and has low range, I have a couple in my collection, but one is an overdrive and low range and the other is high range only. Are you concerned about tire wear and fuel mileage at all?
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
I’m not sure what truck you are putting them in but the wide ones fit the Freightliner perfectly.

The front axle on the truck had 33” between the center pins and the axle was 34”. So near but not quite close enough. But the Freightliner has a single spring on the front that is not centered on the chassis.

The T600 transfer case is 2.45:1. But it is AWD with approximately 33/67 split. But it can be 50/50 4WD lock in either high or low.

There was no real problems changing axle centers. The biggest issue was breaking the pinion nut loose (use a torque multiplier not a big impact and make sure the indents in the nut are clear of the threads) and once I built a puller for the knuckle pins they came out (with a fair bit of swearing and sweat).

If you have a 1138 transfer case I would suggest using that with the 6.8 gearing (wide axles) rather than stuff about swapping 3rd members.
 
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