Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vehicle Project

Today I took possession of a decommissioned ambulance. Several months ago a nearby EMS company ordered a new ambulance. The trade in offered for their old one was pitiful. I made them an an offer of pitiful plus a tad more. Nobody offered better than that so now I’m the proud owner of a second hand ambulance.

One of the things that surprised me was how little was removed from the vehicle. It still has its emergency lights, siren, PA system, medical suction pump, flood lights and fire extinguishers. The 1100 watt inverter system is up and running and fully wired. They took the O2 tanks, but everything else, the hoses and fittings, are still there.

There were a few things that attracted me to this vehicle. It has a 7.3 liter power stroke diesel engine. I can convert it to run on waste vegetable oil. The motor is more than powerful enough to tow my sailboat. The back is roomy. There’s a captain’s chair and three jump seats. Storage is not a problem. It has a zillion compartments. About all I really have to add is a folding bed and table arrangement. It’s so well lit back there, a person could do minor surgery . . . and probably did.

Of course, it has to be turned into a civilian vehicle. All the emergency lights will have to go. The decals have to be removed. Believe me, there are an awful lot of them. It will need a paint job, something other than the red and white motif it has now. The siren has to go. I will keep the PA system. That thing is cool. Lots of potential to annoy people with it. The built in spotlights will be useful. I’ll never have to load my sailboat in the dark ever again as the lights turn night into day.

Once the decals are removed, I’ll post some photos. If the weather holds, I might get done with decal duty soon. Some loosen and peel off using paint thinner. Unfortunately, that works on less than half the decals. For the rest, I use a propane torch. It’s a delicate balance. The decal has to be warm enough to soften the glue, but not so warm as to weaken the vinyl letters. By the end of the day I was getting the hang of it.

With the power, room, multi-fuel capabilities, and ample storage, this will make a fine bug out/camping vehicle.



  1. Sounds like you have yourself a motor home for the Florida trips or if that doesn't work a lot of back-up parts for the truck!
    I've removed more than my share of decals from race cars and race car trailers. The best tool for me is an industrial heat gun (like a hair drier) that can heat up to 800 degrees. It's fast and easy to control and you won't hurt the paint or burn/melt the decals.

  2. I almost bough a heat gun for the job, but I was too cheap to do so. So far I've one side done and haven't damaged the underlying paint. It is getting sanded and painted anyway.

  3. Thought about lifting it up and putting mud tires on it? :^)

    Sounds way cool, especially all of the storage already on board. Never can have too much of that space.

  4. sixbear the lights you take off could bring a nice price on e bay.You are going to have fun once you get the inside done.Oh check the gearing of the rearend. It may be geared for speed.congrats on the find!

  5. Nice buy. That will make an excellent RV! Paint it a light color to reflect that Florida sun...

  6. Craig, keeping the roof white.

    Anon: good tip on ebay.

  7. How awesome is that?!
    It probably has a dual alternator set up on it too.

    That thing is tougher than hell too.