Point Five Ambo Build

Hey Pat
How’s the project going?

My truck is in the shop for tranny work.
Hoping to get it on the road and back in use soon.
My trailer project is on hold waiting for my welder to get moving.
Hope that you are well!!
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
Hi Ken, I'm dong fine and thanks!

It's still going, but ever so slowly!

The last three months have seen very little progress due to having to make some home repairs at the 'request' (aka do it or we'll cancel you) of my Home Owners Insurance. I had to clean out and tear down an old storage building, and then locate a reliable roofer and put a new roof on my house. We've also had some weird weather consisting of warm, cold, windy and lots of rain to work around. Some days I'm running my heater and A/C unit all in the same 24 hour period.

I have been buying parts and supplies when I see them on sale, etc. and recently picked of four of these DC250-6V Deep-Cycle AGM Batteries for my bank. These are supposed to be some of the best, but at $300.00 each (my price through a local distributor), they are not cheap. They list for around $450.00 each from some retailers.

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So, between the roof and the batteries, it was a #10G month, but I just considered the batteries a late Christmas present to myself. :) It's raining here today, but is supposed to move out tonight followed by a cold front moving in, so I'm hoping to get some work done on it tomorrow.

I waited almost 6 months for my welder to get my frame done, so I know how you feel. It's frustrating, but what can you do?
 
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Nice batt's, Pat!


I have been buying parts and supplies when I see them on sale, etc. and recently picked of four of these DC250-6V Deep-Cycle AGM Batteries for my bank. These are supposed to be some of the best, but at $300.00 each (my price through a local distributor), they are not cheap. They list for around $450.00 each from some retailers.
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
Thanks Eric,

I decided to go with the AGMs instead of the Trojan T-105s because of the mounting options and locations they open up. No venting needed and practically no maintenance, so no constant access necessary. Plus, they can be placed in storage fully charged and will be just fine for up to a year.
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
Nice score Pat. I am a fan of the AGM's due to their durability.

Hi Mike,

Being the cheapskate that I am, I resisted spending that much money for batteries up until now, but after many hours of debating where to mount the T-105's and the problems I kept running into, I finally realized I could solve everything by spending an additional $600.00 and getting a better battery type in the process.

Besides, that money won't do me a bit of good in the grave, will it? :D
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
.5 Ambo v.2

Page 1

With the exception of a few people on here, most of you probably think I have been sitting on my rear end for this past year and not working on .5 Ambo, but you would only be partially correct.

So, I guess it's time to let the cat out of the bag and introduce you to .5 Ambo v.2. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

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Here is how this came about. Back in March of 2017, I was on eBay looking for some parts, and came across a listing for this ambulance module. It's from a 2005 Wheeled Coach Custom Series ambulance, and was mounted on a F450 Type I chassis, which was located just NW of Albany, NY.

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This was an in-service ambulance up until late 2016 sometime. A sign company bought it as it came out of service, and removed the module so they could convert the cab chassis to a flatbed work truck. Fortunately, the two guys who did this are volunteer firefighters also, so they were very careful to uninstall the wiring and not just cut it all loose like most people would do.

In early 2016, I realized the build on the 1993 .5 Ambo was not going the way I had wanted it to. Even though that module is in extremely good condition, the further I got into it, the more I realized I was going to have to replace, repair, and repaint, to get it to the standard I wanted it to be. Basically, that's not what I signed up for. My plan was to find a module that was in good shape, and just loosely install the camping items I already had, and hit the road with it.

But alas, my OCD just won't let me do things like that and it has to be done right. So, when I found the 2005 module, which already had all LED lighting for the most part, finished compartments (spackle paint), a decent paint job (the sign company removed the lettering for me), and even has graphics I can work with and keep. Plus, it's a Type I module vs a Type III, which is what I wanted to start with. It also came with ZiCo power steps, a O2 Cylinder Power Lift, a Vanner LifeStar 20-1050 Watt AC Inverter/Charger, Buell air horns, compressor with tank, and a separate built-in 120VAC rear Heat and A/C system that operates on shore power or generator. But the most important thing of all, I can stand up straight in this one, it has 72" of ceiling height vs the 68" in the 1993 version.

Once I considered all of this, I realized this module would immediately put me two to three years ahead of where I was with the 1993 version. So, I contacted the seller, agreed on a price, and started making arrangements to have it shipped to Pensacola, FL. I won't go into all the problems with finding someone willing to transport something like this, especially at a reasonable price, but it wasn't easy. I paid the seller $500.00 to package and load it onto a flatbed trailer belonging to the private transporter. Most of the money went to the two heavy duty wreckers that actually loaded it. Here are a few pictures...

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As much as I wanted to take it home immediately and play with it, I had it delivered directly to my trailer builder's shop and used his boat lift to unload it onto another flatbed trailer of his, so it could be moved around. This is the same builder I used to put the axle under the 1993 version.

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patoz

Expedition Leader
Continued - Page 2

Here are some general pictures of it, most of which were taken during 2017. Click on the pictures to enlarge them. It has since been cleaned up, all remaining adhesive from stickers, labels, etc., and the Star of Life on the roof and the medical staff from the orange Star of Life on each side, have been removed.

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patoz

Expedition Leader
Continued - Page 3


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Since this purchased consisted of the module only, I had to build a complete frame and axle assembly for it to sit on. Originally, I was going to have the trailer builder fabricate it all from scratch, but they were running way behind schedule due to some employee problems that left them without a primary welder, and I was already way over budget. So, I went looking for a F350 or F450 cab chassis rear frame and suspension. I found a 2006 F350 frame section with the springs still attached for $350.00, so I jumped on it.

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My neighbor giving me a hand with the pressure washing.

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This is a 10,000 lb. Rockwell Trailer Axle, just like the one I put under the 1993 version.

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patoz

Expedition Leader
Continued - Page 4


The frame was built to my design and specifications.

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I also ordered a set of Alcoa dually outer wheels with stainless center caps for it. The tires are the new ones from the 1993 version and I put another set of slightly used ones on it.

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patoz

Expedition Leader
Continued - Page 5


When I finally got to bring it home it was almost 8:00 pm, so I didn’t really get a chance to look it over very well. Once I got it backed into the driveway, disconnected, and leveled up, I went inside and crashed. The next day I was outside working on it when I happened to sit down on the tailgate of my truck, which was parked parallel to it and about 30’ away. I turned my head towards it and I could not believe what I was seeing. The wheels were not centered in the wheel well!


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I grabbed my tape measure and checked the measurements and sure enough the axel was sitting too far back, and is very noticeable when you stand back and look at it directly from the side.

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The camera is tripod mounted and located 90° to, and in line with the center of the wheel well. It’s about 24” off the ground (that was as low as the tripod would go) and the axle center is approximately 16” off the ground. The point being, the camera angle was not what was making it look this way.

The axle needed to move 1 - 3/8” forward to be in the center of the wheel well like it was when it was mounted on the F450 truck frame. The wheel well is 38” wide, which puts the center at 19”. The axle is sitting with 17 - 5/8” to the rear wheel well edge, and 20 - 3/8” to the front wheel well edge. 1 - 3/8” doesn’t sound like much, but when you stand off to the side and look at it, it is a BIG difference.

Since the axle and springs were already factory mounted, that means the body was mounted too far forward. And since the rear bumper matched the body correctly, that means the rear extension was built too short.

Both sides are the same, and we spent several hours checking and verifying all of this.

So after a week of discussions, back to the builder’s shop it went. The only solution I could live with was to have the body unbolted and slid back 1 - 3/8”, new holes drilled, and re-bolted in place. Fortunately, the frame extensions that mount the rear step bumper are adjustable and had one hole left, so that was just enough to make the bumper match the body without having to redo any welds.

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Once I got it back home, I felt so relieved because I knew even if other people didn’t see it or say anything about it, I would know and that would drive me crazy. This will probably be the last big project I do, so I want it to be right!


​Stay tuned, more to come...
 
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