Ambulance Camper/ Expedition Rig Conversion FAQ

_hein_

Observer
We mounted the solar panels on our 2010 Sprinter with VHB pads 3 years/~30K miles ago.
We live in the Columbia River Gorge and regularly drive into 40 mph wind with 60mph gusts.


We covered the pads with Dicor sealant since this photo was taken. I do annual checks
to make sure that all our roof mounted equipment is secure. Pads are stuck good.
 

gtbensley

Explorer
Thank you for the pictures and info.

How worried should I be about the integrity of the paint on the fiberglass top? Something I could scuff up, clean and mount to?
 

_hein_

Observer
I don't know about the paint on the fiberglass. If it's gelcoat then unlikely to lift off easily. You could do a test with some Gorilla tape. VHB does not need a scuffed surface. Just degloss and clean thoroughly with isopropyl alcohol, let dry, apply the VHB pad in warm conditions and let set for 24 hours before use. Surface area is essential for VHB to work well in this application. I see folks attaching small metal feet with VHB but that just doesn't hold up as well as a larger pad with threaded inserts and a separate bracket. Easier to remove/service as well.
 

rlrenz

Explorer
I usually use 3M Dual Lock for jobs like this. Dual lock is sort of like Velcro, except each half of the tape has small plastic threads with a plastic bead on the end. Like Velcro, it can be opened and closed, but unlike Velcro, you usually will need a prybar to get things apart, and I've used a rubber hammer to lock them together. Generally, you only need a small chunk of it to do the job - maybe a 4-6" piece or so in each corner. I apply both pieces (assembled) to the removable item, then press it into place. The advantage is that the assembled "tape" is thick enough that it can accommodate variations much better than a thin tape can, and the adhesive used on the stuff is unbelievable.

beadlock.JPG
 

mike.marcacci

Adventurer
Those plates are really cool looking. We really wanted to use rails, and got the Renogy ones working PERFECTLY, giving us a total of 180sq inches of 5952 VHB tape. They've been absolutely rock solid and keep the panels at the perfect height above the roof. If you DO go our route, make sure you have a way to pull the fiberglass up against the VHB – we used a suction cup glass carrier, which worked perfectly.

Here's our post:

http://forum.expeditionportal.com/threads/150213-Introducing-O-Billy-our-new-Type-II-Ambulance?p=2178454#post2178454
 

gtbensley

Explorer
Those plates are really cool looking. We really wanted to use rails, and got the Renogy ones working PERFECTLY, giving us a total of 180sq inches of 5952 VHB tape. They've been absolutely rock solid and keep the panels at the perfect height above the roof. If you DO go our route, make sure you have a way to pull the fiberglass up against the VHB – we used a suction cup glass carrier, which worked perfectly.

Here's our post:

http://forum.expeditionportal.com/threads/150213-Introducing-O-Billy-our-new-Type-II-Ambulance?p=2178454#post2178454
Ended up mounting this weekend. Used the same tape and pulled the fiberglass up into it. Seemed to work out very well. I ended up through bolting the front mounts because it was a nice thick spot of glass on the ridge. They are ROCK solid, dont even think of moving now. Pretty happy with the outcome.
 

Pangle

Wanderer
Hey everyone... I have a question that I am hoping someone with knowledge could answer for me. I have owned 5 ambulances and I have never had an issue with a charging system. This current rig is a 1994 Chevy with 40k miles, and 6.5 diesel. My current issue is a "NO charge." The ALT is a Powerline 24-11 and is brand new, the regulator is also brand new. I am not able to locate any other issues with wiring as far as grounds or cables issues. The gauge is showing around 11 volts on the dash while running and does not ever go above that. Im getting 12.4 volts at the alt while running or not. I am at a loss and any information would be helpful!

steve
 

patoz

Expedition Leader
Im getting 12.4 volts at the alt while running or not.
This means your alternator is not putting out anything, and you are reading the battery voltage only. The alternator should be putting out around 13.6VDC when the engine is running.

Are your belts tight and no slipping is occurring around the alternator pulley? Also, just because the alternator is new, doesn't mean it's not faulty. I would drive the vehicle back to where you bought it, and have them check it and the regulator.
 

Bikersmurf

Expedition Leader
X2 your alternator isn't working. Have it tested to confirm. Could be a wiring issue.

I usually have 12.5-12.8v off and 14.4-14.8v running.

What shape are your batteries? Two?
 

Pangle

Wanderer
Yup thanks guys batteries are both new and Plenty of CCA. The alt is new and from a professional re-builder, so it should be good to go, but if I dont find anything else wrong soon I may bring it back to them. Belt is tight and good tension. The gov body I purchased this one from did a hack job on the wiring before selling, so I am sure there is an issue in there somewhere that I have not been able to discover. Thanks for all the replies.
 

Flat_Ernie

Observer
Hey everyone... I have a question that I am hoping someone with knowledge could answer for me. I have owned 5 ambulances and I have never had an issue with a charging system. This current rig is a 1994 Chevy with 40k miles, and 6.5 diesel. My current issue is a "NO charge." The ALT is a Powerline 24-11 and is brand new, the regulator is also brand new. I am not able to locate any other issues with wiring as far as grounds or cables issues. The gauge is showing around 11 volts on the dash while running and does not ever go above that. Im getting 12.4 volts at the alt while running or not. I am at a loss and any information would be helpful!

steve
Is your alternator light on the dash working? Does it come on when you first turn the key on before you start?
 
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