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Isuzu reliability tester
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Hi guys, I've been absent from the site a little too much lately but I've been really busy as usual, making the new ford adapters, finishing the wifes jeep, buying dads new F250 so we can start on the 6 cylinder conversion (it currently has a big block UGH!) and being in the hospital for gal bladder problems :(. I figured I'd let you guys see what I've been working on lately for our big trip to alaska in july since we decided the jeep just wont be comfortable enough for us. Here is what we have so far from a couple other sites I've been updating. I have alot more but need to take some pics especially of the interior, which were almost done with.

The wife and I have been looking for a used camper van for a while when we realized an ambulance would be perfect for us. It offers a raised fixed roof, well insulated (now with R25 insulation), several large boxes outside, already has a 40 gallon fuel tank, 7.3L diesel engine, 1050W inverter, 20A tripple stage charger, and several other items that make it a steal for the $3500 we paid.

The truck has 118K miles on it which is barely broken in and runs great.

We are working on the interior right now then planning on a new paint job with some simple carbon fiber graphics on the side kinda like an RV. We will be converting to single rear wheel for better off road performance using 99-04 F350 axles and will use a Ujoint off road 4wd convesion kit since I dont have time to fab everything.





Here is the frame I made for the seating and bed setup, this will safely seat our 2 girls while driving (using 3 point belts) and have seating for 5 while camping. When we are ready for bed we will pull an insert out from underneath and will have a queen size 6" thick memory foam matressed bed.




I have alot of new update photos to show everyone but I've been way too busy with the hospital BS, helping my dad get a new truck and gathering the parts to do a cummins conversion on it, and many other things. I'll get some more pics up asap, espeically of the interior which I'm very proud of how its turning out.

Here are a few shots of the outside. As you can see we also upgraded to the newer style Econoline/ F series side mirrors. I just welded up the holes in the doors before sending it to the painters.

We went with a ford charcoal grey with a very light bit of pearl in it to make it kinda sparkle just a bit.

 

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Isuzu reliability tester
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Discussion Starter #2


Here is a shot of one of the windows I got installed its a double pane insulated window from Hehr just like the rest of the windows in the ambulance. I decided to go with a smaller window on the drivers side so I'm waiting on the new one, for now this is the only one done. You can also see the roof mounted A/C we installed, I tried an indoor portable unit but it was worthless and took up valuable indoor space. This thing cools great so far, its a coleman unit 13,500 btu so it shouldnt have a problem keeping us cool even in this 105* texas heat. I had the painter mix up the paint to hold up the plastic and shoot the a/c unit to blend it all in. I think it turned out well.



New wheels and tires, 18" rockstars, I know the rockcrawler guys hate them but the wife likes them and I've never seen them on any expo vehicles so I figured they'd be different. The tires werent my first choice but they were alot cheaper than my favorite BFG's, we went with the Nitto Terra Grapplers 295/75/18 with is a 34.5" tall tire but nitto calls a 35". These should clear everything fine with I get the last few bits for the Ujoint conversion.



Speaking of the conversion, we have most of the parts and will start installing everything we can very soon. I purchased an 04 F350 single wheel front axle (Dana 60) with 4.10 gears, replaced seals, etc. I also ordered a set of warn hubs from Chris at Ujoint and went ahead and installed new calipers, brake pads and turned the stock rotors down since they were plenty beefy still.

 

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Isuzu reliability tester
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Discussion Starter #3
I did a quick search and couldnt find a good tow hitch for the cutaway van chassis and I needed a way to mount a spare tire anyway so I decided to make my own bumper/hitch/tire carrier. I went to the local steel yard and bought some high quality 2x6 1/4" wall steel for the main part and 2x2 1/4" wall for the rest of it. I think it will all be plenty beefy to tow our 20ft bass boat or to have a luggage rack attached to the back to haul a generator when we go to alaska or other remote places. I'm using a large hub and spindle assembly as the pivot point and just need to go to grainger to pickup a heavy duty latch assembly to keep it all tied into place.

Trust me there is a bumper in there somewhere. :D



Let me know what you guys think.
 

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Wow, that's quite the update!

Your dad's new truck is old enough to have a 460? So 97? ....... I think that was the last year. I've never driven a Ford big block, but it's my understanding that they only get about 8mpg.
 

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can do better... Have a firend who has a 5 speed, and pulls 17 hwy. 13 city. his other (identical truck) does 12 highway, 6 towing... Kind of a crap shoot. I did 11 towing 8 k with mine.

Ambulance is way cool.. Quite impressed.
 

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Isuzu reliability tester
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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys. Yes dads truck is a 96 model with 88k miles on it, it's in mint condition I was very impressed with it. It looks almost new. I'm going to look at a 97 p pumped cummins with 120k miles on it this afternoon for it.
 

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Sweet, that ambulance is gunna be cool.
 

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Thanks guys. Yes dads truck is a 96 model with 88k miles on it, it's in mint condition I was very impressed with it. It looks almost new. I'm going to look at a 97 p pumped cummins with 120k miles on it this afternoon for it.

That's quite a find! I think you should post pictures of it, too. I'd like to see it with the 460 still in place....... if you don't already have it torn apart yet.
 

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Isuzu reliability tester
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Discussion Starter #10
I plan to start a build thread of it in the next couple months when we start the conversion. Dad is going to gather up every part we need first, in the mean time we are going to be getting the engine cleaned painted and start bolting parts to it so its ready when the conversion starts. We are upgrading to an he351 turbo, DDP 90hp injectors, my own pump tweaks, timing bump, building a stout E4OD with custom billet converter and several other mods. We are also making brackets so we can use the stock ford alternator and a/c pump (I hate using dodge parts). It will be a very very clean 96 and should make a pretty nice ride with around 350hp (maybe 400 when I'm done hehe, the old man will never know)

The ambulance looks pretty plain right now really but wait till I get the 6" lift in (still waiting on the custom springs right now, all we need) and the 35's will make it bitchin.
 

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Isuzu reliability tester
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Discussion Starter #13
That was the plan but the cummins is a no brainer into a ford. You can literally buy every part needed to do the swap whereas for the Isuzu I can supply some of the parts but he'd still have to fab motor mounts and radiator hoses etc. This will just be easier. Heck I could do a ford cummins swap in 2 days literally. It's just too easy.
 

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That was the plan but the cummins is a no brainer into a ford. You can literally buy every part needed to do the swap whereas for the Isuzu I can supply some of the parts but he'd still have to fab motor mounts and radiator hoses etc. This will just be easier. Heck I could do a ford cummins swap in 2 days literally. It's just too easy.
Oh...... I thought part of the plan was to blaze the trail for swappers using your new adapter. You're always taking the easy way out ;)
 

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Isuzu reliability tester
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Discussion Starter #15
Yeah I know u know me, mr easy lol. For once I wanted to see how it was for alot of other people and see what it's like to do an easy swap that's been well documented lol.

Did u know you can literally call up one place and have everything needed to have a cummins in a ford? It's stupid how easy it is just costs money.

I've actually been considering making adapters for the cummins but there are several companies doing it already not sure if I could justify it.
 

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I've got the Nitto Terra Grapplers on my Dakota. I love em. Quiet, nice ride, they handle good and grip really well on dirt.
 

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Isuzu reliability tester
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Discussion Starter #17
How's the tread life? I hear from most people that have them that it's is pretty short compared to other
similar a/t tires.
 

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so far so good. I only got about 10,000km on them before I put the truck away for the winter. My lincoln locker in the rear is kinda chewing the back tires up though. I got to change that before I drive it this summer.
 

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Isuzu reliability tester
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Discussion Starter #19
I guess we'll see what this 10,000 pound beast will do to those nittos soon enough, we should have around 15,000 miles on them by the end of the year easily.

More of an update. Here is the control panel, it allows us to run the left, right and rear flood lights, interior lights and several other things. The radio obviously runs the tunes and when turned to aux it will allow the tv to run through the speakers.



Overall shot of the interior. We made up the cushions ourselves with parts from the local automotive upholstry shop. The fridge is pretty large and from lowes, we did consider a 12v/110v fridge but at around $1K we couldnt justify it since most places we will be going we can either run the truck (mostly on long road trips like to alaska or colorado), run the generator or be plugged in so for a cost of $300 it does everything we could want. I'm sure alot of people will argue that these fridges arent made for off road or even on road use but alot of RV folks have been using these things these days and have great luck out of them. If we were boondocking for days on end we would have went 12v but were just not planning that. You can also see the bed pieces over to the right (the grey things down in the cubby hole)



Just a roof shot, coleman a/c unit, etc. We replaced the center wiring cover with some 1/4" carpet covered board.



Here is how we make the bed. We simply pull these inserts out of the cubby hole next to the fridge pop out the 2 legs (cut up table legs rated at 1000# each) and put them down, the whole setup takes 15 seconds. Its about the size of a queen size matress so it easily fits our family.

 

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Looks pretty sweet. When I was a kid we had a retired Sears repair van converted to a camper. Not nearly as fancy but I remember it being pretty sweet lol.

The 4x4 conversion might be overkill, it's probably too big to go anywhere that an air locker in the rear wouldn't take you.
 
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