Converting an ambulance


#1

Hi guys! I have recently come across an 08 vauxhall movano (exactly the same as a Renault master) ambulance that has been decommissioned by the ambulance service. Its within my budget and my thoughts are that it would be good because it will have been really well looked after, it comes with a lot of insulation that I can re use, it do mes with a leisure battery, it still has a lot of the equipment I can sell, there may be some wiring that I can re use and it is really tall (key, I’ve found it really hard to find a panel van that I can stand up in at 6’4") amongst other things.
I have read that actually they aren’t that well looked after by the people that maintain them, and that the wiring is impossible to understand and will lead to me definitely ripping it all out anyway while trying to work what I’m doing.
I was wondering if anyone had any ideas or experience with them?


#2

I love seeing how people build out alternative vehicles. I’ve seen several ambulance builds on YouTube and they’re very unique vehicles to work with. I’m sorry I don’t have any advice on them but, if you keep us posted, I’d be eager to follow your build!


#3

Everything you have heard is true, but don’t let that stop you. Ambulances are a great way to go.
As someone who periodically operates an ambulance and has converted one I would offer a few precautions.

  1. The miles on the odometer represent less than 1/4 the hours on the engine. These rigs drive ball-to-the-wall to an emergency and then idle (engine on, lights flashing) while the medics do their thing. Brakes and suspension take a beating.
  2. Bad things happen in ambulances. There are “fluids” places you would never think to look. Do not, like so many people, attempt to leave the interior in tact and do a quick conversion. Put on some gloves, tear it down to the frame and start new.
  3. Most are wired way more complexly than you or I need. Relays, multiple controls, lights and sirens are all worthless on an RV. I recommend gutting the whole wire harness from the cab back and just put a simple marine-style 12v system in place.
    It’s a good looking rig. I highly encourage buying it. They turn a lot of heads.