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Old 01-12-2014, 01:36 PM   #1
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Default MDT Ambulance

Hello.
I have a few questions for the MDT experts.

My objective is to convert a MDT ambulance into a primary tow vehicle. The ambulance body would be gutted and redesigned for dual use. First I intend to convert it to space for the kids to ride. They need to have room to move around watch TV, Games and most importantly go to the bathroom! We seem to stop constantly for the 8yo girl to pee. We need it to tow up to 11K in a TT. The second mission would be to tow out 22 Shamrock boat to the coast. My son and I could overnight in it occasionally.

I have been researching used ambulances and most but not all are FL 60 with the 5.9L 24V , Allison 3060, IIRC 4:10 gears air brakes and ride. I did see one with the 8.3 Cummins. Generally they are 2002 and older to meet my budget. The older Cummins 24V run in the 238 Hp range. How is this setup going to do pulling 11k in the flat south. We don't have many hills in Louisiana and I don't intend to be pulling any long mountain passes. This seems to me to be a cost effective way to get/build a tow vehicle that fits our needs and will pull the wagon too.
I think a few gallons of bleach to sanitize and possibly some holy water to get the ghosts out will due. -
Thanks
Fox

One other question? I have been calling Freightliner with the VIN and having them email the original build sheet on the trucks. IS there a way to look up the truck specks online with the VIN rather than calling them every time?


This is an example of one I didn't win..

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Old 01-13-2014, 03:05 PM   #2
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I see some with gears ranging from 4:10 to 4:30. Does that make much of a difference for my use??
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Old 01-14-2014, 03:37 PM   #3
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I don't know much about the ambulance bodies. I have heard they were made pretty heavy duty. Which sounds heavy. I don't know how much you can get one for either. What about a older semi tractor? My son and I bought a '03 Freightliner FLD120 Classic with the huge condo sleeper, N14 Cummins motor (500 hp, 1850 torque), straight 10 trans, Webasto sleeper heater, Alcoa alloys, engine/trans/diffs were rebuilt 100k miles prior to our purchase, good tires all around, for $18k. We bought it two years ago and he's used it commercially since then with very low repair bills. Now, to convert the lower bunk bed into a nice sofa or 4 captains chairs would be about the same expense as fixing up that ambulance interior. No, probably less. Get a chemical porta toilet to put in there and maybe build a small cabinet around it for the kid's privacy. You are going to be WAY ahead of that ambulance pulling anything, or nothing. Any repairs are going to likely be way less also since you can get it serviced at any truck place. Just a thought.
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Old 01-14-2014, 09:06 PM   #4
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Our truck isn't for sale, it's my son's work truck. Just threw that out to show you what you can get. Here's a pretty nice looking FLD for sale already set up as an rv. And it looks like a pretty good price to me: Teton Grand and Freightliner FLD120 For sale - RVs, Tows, and Toads for Sale - Escapees Discussion Forum
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Old 01-15-2014, 11:09 PM   #5
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One word of caution on any sort of used emergency vehicle. The odometer does not give you a true picture of the wear and tear on the drive train. They probably sit and idle an hour for every mile they actually get driven, keeping in mind the tranny is turning that whole time as well as the engine. Most mdt's in that sort of service have an hour meter installed for just that reason, so they can keep better track of maintenance, so check that as well.
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Old 01-17-2014, 08:07 AM   #6
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I would like to add to what hot rod posted. As a retired city firefighter and later a volunteer firefighter and paramedic I have driven all sorts of emergency equipment for forty years. In my experience the vehicles are maintained at the minimum just to keep them running, are kept till they are worn out and basically useless. The worst of these are commercial ambulance companies. My suggestion is if you buy an ambulance (especially from a busy municipal or commercial operation) have it thoroughly checked over by a reputable truck shop or technician. Good luck.
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Old 02-27-2014, 09:22 AM   #7
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Sorry for the delay in replying. I was in a serious car accident and am finally getting back on my feet. My poor F-250 7.3L died in the crash. The class 8 truck does have many advantages however it just doesn't fit what I am looking for. My wife would have a very hard time getting into a class 8 truck. It seems the biggest issue for and ambulance is the idling hours. Worst case seems engine issues. What does an in frame cost on a 3126 Cat? Is it difficult to bump the HP up and still keep it reliable?
Thanks
Fox
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