Monday, 28 September 2009
Saturday, 26 September 2009
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Monday, 21 September 2009
What’s the flap about?
On the offside behind the drivers door is a flap for which I had no keys. Having drilled the locks I was delighted to find the “domestic “ batteries”. Just look at the slide out tray. There’s no question these ambulances are so well designed and built.
Having found these I set to finding out where they got their power from and where it went to. I traced it all under the passenger seat. What I initially thought was an inverter turns out to be a 12v power supply and charger. This fed into a huge isolator which at some point was remotely operated by a solenoid.
The output of this isolator fed into the panel behind the passengers seat via a set of 40 amp MCB’s just to the right of the picture above.
The "Big" Panel
Having isolated the 3 40 amp feeds to the “big” panel I checked all the primary vehicle electrics. The only thing to go out was the high level marker lights which would not have been part of the original VW chassis cab wiring. The other 2 circuits I was very keen to preserve were the side door central locking, and the rear A/C power & controls. Having spent some considerable time tracing the 100’s of wires I removed the “big” panel and terminated the wires. Phew! Success. Retained circuits working, rear A/C working, central locking working, masses of ambulance wiring gone.
The Removed Ambulance Wiring
Tomorrow the 46 is off to the garage to have the MOT work done.
Friday, 18 September 2009
I decided that it would be removal of ambulance electrics as the task of the day. I thought the dash was a good place to start.
Its not for the faint hearted. I have had many years of dealing with vehicle electrics in my former business. As well as the trailers we also fitted towbars and other accessories like cruise controls, reverse sensors and the like so dealing with this lot really didn't bother me. I just kept reminding myself to check and recheck before snipping anything.
The first stuff I removed was the communication's wiring. That was all pretty straight forward, followed by a massive loom that must have fed a box of switches that was screwed to the dash.
I followed this to a multi-plug behind the instrument panel and was able to disconnect this and remove the loom. That pretty much took care of the dash. A bit of tidying up and putting back was all that was needed to finish the job.
I had reason to lift the carpet in the cab to trace wires for the next phase. It was wringing wet underneath, presumably (hopefully) from the jet wash I suspect the cab had. So I have removed that to let it dry out completely.
Thursday, 17 September 2009
IT FAILED :-( oh well no surprise there considering how woolly the steering was. 2 x ball joints, anti-roll bar bushes, and a couple of things like wipers and lights. On the whole not too bad.
I contacted the previous owners, Avon NHS ambulance service, who very kindly emaild me an Excel sheet of all the maintenance the 46 has had during their 2 year ownership. The person I spoke to even remembered the 46 and said it had been mothballed quite a while before it was decomissioned and this was why it had no MOT.
Once back from the MOT I had a spot of lunch before setting to stripping out the rear.
All the blues and twos had been removed as well as most of the "ambulance stuff" so it was mainly the "furniture" that needed removing.
The build quality is excellent, and they take some stripping. This is what it looked like at the start.
Its surprising how big it is inside. The best bit was the discovery of an additional A/C unit in the over cab area to provide A/C in the rear. Result!
Tomorrow the electrics. There are masses of them, no seriously, look......
This is just one of the panels, there's another 2 smaller ones under each seat and a another behind the passenger seat.
I have to say that train travel is pretty good in my opinion. I have had 3 long trips to get various vehicles in the last couple of years. In each case they have been on time and reasonably priced if you get them in advance on-line.
The train from Paddington was going along at 125mph. I know this because as you will become aware I like my gadgets like my phone that has GPS software to record journeys and their details. These can then be uploaded to a site like EveryTrail
So with all paperwork in hand I set off for the 259 mile drive home. M4 all OK, M25 normal nightmare but little realistic alternative.
Anyway 6 hours later I was home on about £40 of diesel. The 46 (not yet named it) went well reaching and maintaining 70mph with ease. Steering was a little woolly otherwise a nice drive.
I arranged to view and test drive a couple with ebayers, but in discussion with both they revealed their reserve and in both cases I felt these were unrealistic which was indeed born out by one not selling, and the other having a very strange set of late bids that weren't snipes. The latter I wouldn't be surprised to be re-listed.
Then I came across an auction company with an LT46 with low mileage, well low for an ambulance 140,000 miles, but of course these are maintained regardless of expense.
I arranged to bid on the phone, something I'd never done before and was a little exciting I have to admit.
On the fall of the hammer I became the owner of..........
Now I need a train ticket.
When we got back and caught up with friends we had missed during the summer while every on was off doing their thing. Several of them went to a music festival, one of them in his motorhome. There it is again "motorhome". Things seem to creep up on you sometimes in life. We also have a narrowboat and many other owners also have a "motorhome". So I started looking around, Auto Trader, E&M, Ebay, dealer site even sites abroad and became very quickly aware that anything in my price bracket was going to be very old and end of life. We once had a caravan, but didn't want to go back to one of them again. I had to think of options. During a Google session I found a web site and forum. The Self Build Motor Caravanners Club. This struck a chord as my previous business was the manufacture of trailers. I did this for 20 years before selling it and going into semi retirement. Much of what we built entailed custom fit outs.
Afetr a week or so I decided a retired Ambulance would fit the bill, especially when I saw this conversion by a self builder.
So the hunt began.