M2 Freightliner Ambulance Conversion Project. 2007 Crew Cab

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
One of the other modification that apparently was a necessity according to ”She Who Must Be Obeyed” was something to assist with getting into the cab now the truck is lifted a little. So I looked at electric step/running boards and various electric steps etc. but I was not happy with either the price or the added complexity. Having used steel cables as flexible step mounts on heavy mining equipment I went on the prowl for some cable. No luck. So I ended up repurposing some motorcycle chains as the flexible step mounts. These allow the step to move vertically or horizontally along the vehicle if impacted by the ground or sticks etc. But they remain rigid enough laterally to not fold back under the existing fixed step. Plus given the amount of traveling motorcyclists we have hosted over the years there were plenty of free used ones around.

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java

Expedition Leader
Ohhh I like it! Definitely some added stability laterally.

Sent from my SM-G973U using Tapatalk
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
I was going the same direction w/ my steps, only I was thinking if timing chain.
My original thought was the primary drive chain off a Harley and I also played with the double width chain from a Suzuki transfer case. Only because I had them around the shop. But the single row one works OK and most motorcycle shops will give you old ones for free.


I did check the price of new double row chains but being as frugally efficient as I am they were too expensive.
 

Joaquin Suave

OverlandHardware.com
Sorry OZ!
I could have shared some resources and design "tricks" for your steps if I was more on the ball. The project that is in the shop right now is taking ALL my attention (the one I told you about).

So even though "the horse is long out of the barn", here is how I did mine:

Buy the step materials from McNicholes:

https://www.mcnichols.com/ladder-rungs/ladder-rung-plank/galvanized-steel-gv-24011014?rbl=3160299188&cId=289

Buy double row from McMaster-Carr (by the foot):

https://www.mcmaster.com/roller-chain

Then machine/ fab your other bits & pieces/ assemble them... Then take them to your local bed-lining shop (I prefer Line-X). NOW HERE IS THE TRICK!!! You leave the steps with the shop and tell them that you are in no hurry, and ask if they could blow the goop over your steps when they have their next REAL job! Mine cost me a 12 pack of Pacificos! (I ran a big AG project thru the a few months before}.

This photo is after about 10 years of use.

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Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
Sorry OZ!
I could have shared some resources and design "tricks" for your steps if I was more on the ball. The project that is in the shop right now is taking ALL my attention (the one I told you about).

So even though "the horse is long out of the barn", here is how I did mine:

Buy the step materials from McNicholes:

https://www.mcnichols.com/ladder-rungs/ladder-rung-plank/galvanized-steel-gv-24011014?rbl=3160299188&cId=289

Buy double row from McMaster-Carr (by the foot):

https://www.mcmaster.com/roller-chain

Then machine/ fab your other bits & pieces/ assemble them... Then take them to your local bed-lining shop (I prefer Line-X). NOW HERE IS THE TRICK!!! You leave the steps with the shop and tell them that you are in no hurry, and ask if they could blow the goop over your steps when they have their next REAL job! Mine cost me a 12 pack of Pacificos! (I ran a big AG project thru the a few months before}.

This photo is after about 10 years of use.

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Thanks mate. I should of known to ask you about them. And here was me thinking I had come up with something unique and it’s been around for 10 years.

Luckily I had all the materials laying around. I would of been pissed at myself if I put out cash for an inferior single row chain product.

But I will definitely use your suggestion for getting them coated with bed liner. I was wondering how to keep the rust off the chains.
 

Recommended books for Overlanding

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
Another part of a project crossed off the list. To fit the transfer case in the middle (where my desire for common driveshafts overrules the ease of firmer) I had to relocate one of the air tanks. It has always pissed me off as it was the lowest part of the truck and sort of hung down like a baboons testicles.

So I managed to swap it across to the other side on the back of the fuel tank and raise it up a bit. Only 2 airlines needed extending and the rest plus the electrical (yeah it has the drier fitted to the tank to complicate things)

2 days to move 1 tank and not just because I am slow. With the drier I could not bolt to the existing divot for mounting tanks. Some new brackets needed to be fabricated.

Because I rate my level of happiness on the number of tools I get to use I will say it was a great weekend. Portaband, plasma, mig, cable tie tensioner, flush cutters and the new Milwaukee impact gun.

For those that may be interested I bough a cheap Tig, Stick and Plasma off Amazon and it does the job. Not the best bit of kit I have used but for $329 just being able to cut plate makes it worthwhile.

And to all those people who scoffed at me for being a tight arse and never throwing away any scraps of metal here is a big 🖕to you. All of the pieces for this came out of my scrap pile. No going off the property to buy anything for the project. :)

Photos to follow so they are stored on the server instead of Tapatalk.


Old hangers

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Test fit

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Bracket making

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Final position

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Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
A question for you ambulance or medium duty guys. Any idea what a wire called "53 Boost Dump" on the ambulance VMUX controller would be for? I am trying to remove the VMUX system entirely including this birds nest.

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rlrenz

Explorer
I've never heard of it, but I'll dig into my drawings, and I'll ask a friend who's an ambulance electrician. What are you going to do with your VMUX gear when you remove it? I've seen new on ebay, but used might be a little difficult to sell. Ambulance companies would only want new, so your market might be limited.
 

rlrenz

Explorer
That glob of wire reminds me of some radio installations I've worked with. Apparently, some installers are terrified of cutting wires, so they just stuff them wherever they fit.
 

Ozrockrat

Expedition Leader
Thanks Bob. I am not looking forward to finding the other end of that cable with a tone generator or a meter (or even worse with my decrepit set of mark 1 eyeballs).

I've never heard of it, but I'll dig into my drawings, and I'll ask a friend who's an ambulance electrician. What are you going to do with your VMUX gear when you remove it? I've seen new on ebay, but used might be a little difficult to sell. Ambulance companies would only want new, so your market might be limited.
I am going to ask all the local guys if they need it first. Otherwise throw it up on flea bay to see what I can get for it. Maybe someone on here might need some spares. I do have the interface and the software for diagnostics as well but not to actually change the code.

That glob of wire reminds me of some radio installations I've worked with. Apparently, some installers are terrified of cutting wires, so they just stuff them wherever they fit.
Yeah it is bloody terrible workmanship. The original wiring from American La France is great. The radio and auxiliary wiring leaves a lot to be desired. You would thing that they have never crimped a connection before so they will not shorten cables.
 

rlrenz

Explorer
Considering their workmanship, shorter cables would probably mean wire nuts....
I checked with my friends, and the answer seems to be that that circuit is used to collapse the suspension so the loading height wouldcomply with KKK requirements. They used an odd way to say it, though.
 
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