YAAC - Yet Another Ambulance Conversion

dtruzinski

Explorer
Did you ever get your high beams figured out? I lost mine ripping out the ambulance wiring.
Funny you should ask...I completely forgot that the high beams were not working and left for U-Joint CO on a Thursday evening. I was quickly reminded that the high beams were not working as I crossed Wyoming at night! I will have to figure this out when it comes back from U-Joint.
 

Tanselow

New member
No worries! Im hoping its a simple fix. I have all the wiring diagrams i just havent dived into it yet. Thing is gonna be sick when ujoint is done with it.
 

UjointoffroadCO

Well-known member
:cool:
zYgyOahh.jpg
 

dtruzinski

Explorer
U-joint Conversion. The U-Joint design and attention to detail are simply better than the factory specs. The end product is nothing short of 4wd conversion art. Let Justin guide the process. He is a walking E-series encyclopedia (Wikipedia for you youngsters). The supply chain delays are real and impact custom fab shops like U-Joint. Throw in workforce bouts with COVID and you have delays, so be patient. Is it expensive? I initially thought so, but when I looked at the quality and price of the parts and workmanship, I realized this is a very fairly priced product.

On my way back to MT from U-Joint CO, I stopped by the Tetons
GTNP Glamour Shot.jpegTrip From UJoint to MT - GTNP visit.jpeg4wd Art.jpeg
 

dtruzinski

Explorer
Adding the window. The most unnerving change was cutting the window into the side. I installed an Arctic Tern Double-Pane RV Window(450x900mm) on the driver's side rear just above the headboard for the bed. The best part was just prior to making the cut, I realized that the outline shown on the pic was not in the right place. I had to make sure it was centered between two wall supports and had I cut as drawn, I would have cut 3 wall studs instead of 1...yikes. Measure 3x cut 1x...the third time is for good measure (pun intended). With a near disaster narrowly avoided, I successfully make the cut and the window fit perfectly!

IMG_0526.jpegThe window goes here.jpeg

I realized that I did not have a close-up of the window so this pic was taken in Nov 2022 during a mild snow event.

Window Installed.jpeg
 

Attachments

  • Drivers Side View.jpeg
    Drivers Side View.jpeg
    317 KB · Views: 8

dtruzinski

Explorer
We decided that our maiden voyage would be a trip to Camano Island to camp with my cousin and his family. When my daughter heard plan she decided she wanted to go, so time to add another seat and sleeping platform. I purchased Sienna seat from e-Bay and had a seat base from U-joint that I acquired when adding a seat to Steel Blue 7.3 (recently sold U-Joint , Sportsmobile, Advanture conversion). I spent a lot of time installing insulation in all of the nooks and crannies. I wired the ambo exterior lights to the interior switches, and started building the bench seats. The permanent seat benches serve as the base for the 4 oak 1x4 slats that support the extra bed. The Sienna seat is bolted down and can be easily removed when it is not needed. The 80/20 extruded aluminum structure rock solid and without a doubt overkill. I have decided to make the overhead cabinets out of 20/20 extruded aluminum to save weight. It is now time to focus on cabinets, drawers, walls,ceiling and flooring.

IMG_0811.jpegDrivers Side Rear Seat Base.jpegSeating Arrangement.jpeg
 

dtruzinski

Explorer
And now for the first impressions from the maiden voyage. From Livingston MT to Camano Island WA, it is roughly 1600 miles round trip. We left on MT Sunday afternoon Oct 30 with a storm off the Pacific coast heading for the island. While we wanted to use Hwy 2 from Spokane to Monroe, we ended up on I-90 all the way to North Bend due to the fires on Hwy 2. That meant we pushed this 12,320 lbs (weighed fully loaded) with 33" tires and 4:56 gears 75 mph down the freeway. MGH = 9.7...hmmm.

I was originally a little concerned about the dual rear wheels. In all of my prior rigs, I converted to super singles. As we approached western WA, the rains became torrential and there were rivers of standing water on the road. We blasted through those like we were on dry asphalt. This rig is so firmly planted on the road...it is truly amazing. I am sure that the stiff suspension and wide track will limit some of the off-road capabilities, but I also have plenty of torque and posi front and rear...time will tell. The only issue we experienced was rain intrusion which was likely from the removal of the front-mounted light bar. By the way that was a total nightmare to remove...if you are going to remove one, contact me for pointers!

The return trip was a little more adventuresome. We left in the middle of the first snowstorm to hit WA in a year. There are five passes between Camano Island and Livingston MT
1) Stevens pass - Hwy 2 - it had snowed the previous day and was snowing hard when we hit it. No problems...just left her in 4WD and drove 55 mph.
2) 4th of July Pass, ID - Snowing and snow-covered when we hit it. Again super stable and no problems
3) Lookout Pass, ID - closed - After being parked in the fast lane for 3 hrs waiting for the crashes on the top of the pass to be removed, we bailed and camped in Wallas, ID. The next morning the pass we icy, but we had no issues
4) Homestake Pass, MT - closed - We knew sitting in line would be a bad idea, so we found a bypass route and added another 1 to our trip.
5) Bozeman Pass, MT - snow and ice and we had no issues.

We live 2 miles down a dirt road and had a foot of unplowed snow to traverse. YAAC just makes tracks...it is a true plow and never broke traction. I am starting to like the extra stability and traction of the duallies, especially with this heavier rig.

Pics from Camano Island. The blue van in this pic is my cousin's. He is the 2nd owner. It is a 1998 with 5k original miles.

YAAC and Blue.jpegCamping steaks.jpeg
 

dtruzinski

Explorer
Hello again. It has been a while since my last update. I spent September - November 2023 getting to the interior details. That means adding the ceiling, walls, drawers, seating, flooring, etc. I wanted a solution that would be perfect for two, but capable of transport/seating four. I added bench-type seats behind the driver and passenger seats. The one behind the driver has an integrated seatbelt. I also swapped out the original seats with new takeout Mercedes sprinter van leather seats. Oh...so comfortable and inexpensive to do.

You can see in my previous posts that I used a lot of 80/20 extruded aluminum. I used 1.5" profiles for all of the structures attached to the floor. They are connected together starting at the bench seat behind the driver's seat to the refrigerator, to the sink area, then bed, and finally to the stove area across from the refrigerator. It is like a continuous structure; it is overkill for sure. There was a small weight penalty for this design decision, but I am extremely happy with the result. I used .75" extruded profiles (59" 2020 extruded alum) for the wall-attached cabinets. This kept the weight to a minimum while delivering a very strong cabinet. When assembling the frames, for both 1.5" and .75" profiles, I used the manufacturer 90 degree brackets (2020 Corner Connectors, 2020 Roll-in spring nuts ).These are strong and their consistency makes the assembly fast. For the 1.5" profiles, they are expensive


I used 3/4" plywood sparingly (floor, furring strips, and two counter tops). I used 1/2" birch and baltic birch for the walls and drawers. Panels and overhead cabinets used 1/8" subflooring. Nearly everything was stained and had three coats of poly applied (this was very time consuming). Slam latches hold everything shut. I wanted to make sure that there would be ample storage. All of the drawers are oversized and deep. I still have to paint the inside of some, but that's a summer project.

The design goal was to be able to access every component with simple tools. Therefore, this is bolted, not screwed, together. You can remove panels, walls, ceiling with ease. The ceiling and walls are attached with M6x20 bolts, finishing washers ( Finishing washers), and M6 wood inserts ( Wood inserts). The remaining panels are attached with aluminum L brackets cut from 1 1/2" and 3/4" right-angle aluminum stock. I drilled holes to match the profiles and then pressed aluminum rivnuts (Rivnuts) to create a simple way to attach side and front panels (shown below).

The attached thumbnails will lead to pics showing some of the cabinet build process, tools, and products used. If you are going to build your own brackets, make a jig to drop your bracket into and drill the holes consistently. I did a few by hand and that was slower and less precise. Keep one copy of a finished bracket to make aligning the jig to the drill press easier when you need to make more.

add a stop block to make all cuts consistent when making brackets

IMG_3045.jpeg

I used an Astro 1442 from Amazon to do the nutserts

Some cabinet frame assembly detail
IMG_3171.jpeg

Test fitting a door

IMG_3172.jpeg

Sand, sand some more, stain, poly, poly, poly and viola!
IMG_3177.jpeg

Attaching to the walls
IMG_3204.jpeg


Next up some pics of the nearly finished interior!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_3175.jpeg
    IMG_3175.jpeg
    1.6 MB · Views: 14
  • IMG_3043.jpeg
    IMG_3043.jpeg
    1.5 MB · Views: 15
  • IMG_3183.jpeg
    IMG_3183.jpeg
    1.1 MB · Views: 15
Last edited:

dtruzinski

Explorer
Here are some pics of the nearly finished ambo interior. I love the coin floor (it's a little dirty, but then again it's winter in MT!) One feature you can't see is an outlet on the left side house bench seat. That outlet and a few others are always on when you have commercial power. In the winter storage, I keep an oil filled electric heater plugged in to keep the interior from being impacted by the extreme cold. I also keep a battery tender plugged in to maintain the starter batteries. The heater is obviously removable, but the battery tender is always working when you have a/c power.

View from Kitchen.jpeg




Kitchen & Bedroom.jpeg


Notice the lagun type table (table) there is one at each bench seat. It's ok, but I may upgrade to another brand. You can raise those high enough to have standing drinks and hors d'oeuvres

Refrigerator & Seating view.jpegFoot of Bed View.jpegHead of Bed View.jpegDeep Sink.jpeg


The induction stove has been a great choice. In previous builds I have used both propane and diesel stoves. I have found the stoves to be finicky, heat slowly, and need a lot of maintenance. Adding a propane stove means adding another fuel to worry about and they require more time to clean. This is my first induction stove in an expo rig and I will never go back. They are easy to clean, incredibly fast to heat, and you can control the temperature with great precision. Since there is no flame, your venting requirements are reduced. I bought this one on AMZ Empava IDC12B

IMG_3514.jpeg

I also upgraded the center console with a like new component from ebay. What an improvement

New Seats Overhead View.jpeg

The piece of foam pipe insulation overhead will be wrapped in the same fabric as the ceiling in the house section

Driver Seat View.jpeg


Note the hydraulic lock parking brake mounted on the bottom left of the driver seat base. This serves both as a parking brake and anti-theft device!

Parking Brake.jpeg
 
Last edited:

nyyankees588

Active member
What seats did you replace the front Dr/pass with? Are those from a sienna as well? Looks like you custom made mounts for them as well? They look awesome.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
 

nyyankees588

Active member
What seats did you replace the front Dr/pass with? Are those from a sienna as well? Looks like you custom made mounts for them as well? They look awesome.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
Just kidding - read back through andsaw your note about them being from a sprinter. First I've seen sprinter seats used in an e series. Curious how easy/hard they were to fit.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk
 

Forum statistics

Threads
186,240
Messages
2,883,740
Members
226,050
Latest member
Breezy78
Top