Arctic Ambulance

nelstomlinson

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I just bought my first van, a '94 E-350 ambulance.
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It's been a work truck for a local contractor for years, so it has few miles and probably lots of idling hours on the engine. Seems to be in fair shape, over all. It'll become a little RV for us. Apparently he bought it in the Lower 48 and registered it as a motor home for the drive through Canada.
 

Greenie

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I followed one of these back after a hospital run on a motorcycle ... 90mph+ for miles
 

nelstomlinson

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When I went to pick it up, the batteries were weak, and so he pulled it into his shop and we set about trying to open the battery drawer. Eventually we figured out the slides were rusted solid - probably the only rust on it! So we pried and struggled and got the drawer to roll out, and put in some 2022-dated batteries he had on the shelf in the shop. NAPA commercial grade, ought to last for a while.
 

KansasIDI

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When I went to pick it up, the batteries were weak, and so he pulled it into his shop and we set about trying to open the battery drawer. Eventually we figured out the slides were rusted solid - probably the only rust on it! So we pried and struggled and got the drawer to roll out, and put in some 2022-dated batteries he had on the shelf in the shop. NAPA commercial grade, ought to last for a while.
Napa batteries have always worked great for me, I also trust Interstate batteries, and I have nothing against Optima or DieHard batteries. IIRC, all 4 brands used to have their batteries made by a company called Johnson Controls, but now I think Exide makes Interstate batteries, and a company called East Penn makes batteries for Napa. Nonetheless, I find batteries from these four brands to be dependable.

Only bad time I had with Napa batteries was my fault, when my positive cable melted into the exhaust manifold, and turned both batteries into puddles…
 

Cant Write

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Is it turbo’d by chance?

Can’t wait to see how you build it. Mine is on the back burner.

One piece of advice I picked up from another member here. On these vans the weather stripping at the cowl is split in the middle. Mine loved to drip water right into my vacuum pump’s exhaust.

So I took one piece and cut it in half, centered the longer one and took the shorter halves and put them on each side.

One word to the wise....silicone them in place....I thought one of them had a snug enough fit so I only did two. Murphy slapped his law right upside my head!!! Its happily waiting for me to rescue it.....in CO or WY or SD LOL
 

nelstomlinson

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Not turbo'ed, unfortunately. I don't have the parts to turbo a van, so it'll likely stay that way. The idea isn't to make this another project, but to throw a mattress in there and go to Tangle Lakes and Chena Hotsprings and maybe drive the Denali Highway this coming summer. If I can put a thousand miles on it this coming summer, I'll be happy.

The only immediate change is going to be to clean it up inside and take out the 6" deep false floor. The electricians used the space under it to store conduit. I don't need that!

I do have some thoughts for upgrades: batteries and an inverter in the house, a Webasto coolant heater mounted where it can heat the engine or the house, LED lights in the house to replace the incandescents. I may do that last one this spring.
 

lotzagoodstuff

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Sweet rig. Keep it normally aspirated or find somebody very small, double jointed or both when you need to work on it. I love driving and camping in vans, but I’d rather gather snake venom than work on a van. Working on a turbo’d van is like gathering snake venom in a dark closet.
 

Cant Write

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@lotzagoodstuff aint that the truth!!!

If I EVER turbo mine, it will be a remote mount, prolly with its own oiling system. I don’t notice much for drop in power until I climb grades above 6500’ elevation. Course. I’m pretty light though.

But after driving the blue van Cubey bought, wow it was a hotrod in comparison.

Working on my NA van was very intimidating at first, but there always seems to be just enough room......just LOL

I need to do a valve cover gasket, return lines, GP harness, clean the valley pan, move the heater hose to the back of the head. If it was turbo’d.....forgetaboutit!! :drunk:
 

KansasIDI

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I think an IDI van would make an awesome mobile shop… problem is, I’ve only ever seen 2 in person, and both were ambulances…

I may want an IDI van, but I don’t think I want to working on an IDI van. When I see pictures of turbo’d vans with the doghouse off, I’m like, oh hell no, how’d they fit that in there, or is it there, cuz all I see is some pipes and the turbo! And then from the front you can see the batteries, alternator, power steering pump, and IP gear cover. To hell with working on that, all y’all IDI van guys must be some kind of magicians to get anything done on them!
 

Cant Write

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We are really just a bunch of masochists!! cookoo

The ones with non remote mount turbo’s.....well they must be suicidal masochists!!

Old country, long arms, and just a wee bit of whiskey goes a long ways!! :cheers:
 

IDIBRONCO

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I love driving and camping in vans, but I’d rather gather snake venom than work on a van.

To hell with working on that, all y’all IDI van guys must be some kind of magicians to get anything done on them!
You guys are right. I don't mind vans, but I DO NOT like working on them so I'll probably never own one. Fortunately, I've only come across one IDI powered van with a turbo. It was a Chevy with a 6.2. From what I was told, there never was a turbo kit made for those. He took a kit for a truck and rigged it up to work on the van. That thing was a complete nightmare to work on. He was obviously someone with more money and time than sense. He mostly used it to pull around a 30' camper. A truck would have been better suited for that. Even with a 6.2, at least there would have been turbo kits available.
 

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