Thread: EMS chassis

  1. #1
    Capt Brent Staley Guest

    Question EMS chassis

    My department is looking at making the change to a commerical chassis for our EMS vehicles...I have seen a "LOW PROFILE" chassis not sure what make, If anyone can help me please send me an e-mail or post it here...

    Capt Staley

  2. #2
    LynFD49 Guest


    Since you didnt make it totally clear, I'm going to assume that your "EMS" vehicles respond to Cardiac, Diabetic, Personal Injuries and the like. No technical/heavy duties involved like rope rescue, confined space, "tool time" jobs, etc.

    A good first response unit for small urban/rural depts with limited manpower/EMT's could be something simple as a Suburban, Explorer/Expidition, or Durango. 4 or 5 man crew, basic supplies incl. first aid, O2, splints, back boards ,etc. A 4 door crew cab on a Ford F-350 superduty chassis with a utility box is also an option. Obviously, this works best for first response with a nearby transporting ALS agency. Space can be limited, but the upkeep is cheap.

    Our dept. runs approx 500 calls a year with 70% being EMS. We use a PL Custom Cab on a Ford E-350 Chassis. (looks like a type III ambulance). It was designed to run ~40% EMPTY...spare space in case the heavy rescue was out for PM's Find a pic at The great thing about ambulance makers...Braun, Horton, etc. is that they've already thought of EVERY possible bell, whistle, doo-dad, or thingamajig you could ask for. With some selective weeding, you can get a great multi-purpose vehicle for a minimum of cost. One note...GET A CURB SIDE DOOR!!!!

    Next size up? How about a MaxiMedic or a Freightliner FL-60 chassis? Get a 4 door cab and deep compartments and keep down the overall height to around or under 12 feet. Plus you can carry almost as much as a typical "heavy rescue"

    Then again, there is something to be said about a rescue pumper!

    Hope I was at least some help. By the way, I have family in cousin is a dispatcher.

    Stay Safe and Stay Low


  3. #3
    LynFD49 Guest


    Well.....I suppose I should have looked at your profile to see if you had a website FIRST...BEFORE I gave my opinions. You do and I didnt help you much.

    Since you're using Hortons...check out the MaxiMedics. They're a bit longer than your Hortons, but the overall height is about the same.

    As for "low profile", I had some ideas, but after viewing your page...tossed them right out the window. I'm always on the net looking so I'll keep an eye out for you.

    Stay Safe and Stay Low


  4. #4
    SBrooks Guest


    Navistar/International offers a LPX model for their commercial class's got something like a 96" bumper to back of cab dimension, a set back front axle, etc. It comes with the smaller of the Navistar motors which will still get you down the road, I believe it's the same engine that Ford sells as the PowerStroke, except you can get a much better transmission than the standard Ford Automatic.

    Speaking of Ford, I believe some manufacturer's are offering their commercial chassis on ambulances now...It's a Ford F-series, I believe F-550. The larger Ford chassis line was sold to Freightliner and goes under the "Sterling" badge.

    Speaking of Freightliner, the smallest commercial chassis they offer is the F50. Check out their website for more info. I don't know if they're letting anyone but MedicMaster build on Freightliners now.

  5. #5
    e33 Guest


    They sure are...our neighbors have a "Wheeled Roach" on a Freightliner

    The opinions and views expressed herin are solely mine and not on the behalf of any department or organization I belong to.

  6. #6
    grc063 Guest


    Check out the Freightliner FL50 chassis. My department responds on approximately 2,000 EMS runs per year. We are strongly considering that chassis. We currently run Ford F-250 Super Duty chassis. We are not completely satisfied. We feel the FL's will give us a better service life and are definitely a heavier chassis.


  7. #7
    Kevin White Guest


    A couple towns around my area have purchased new ambulances with Horton bodies on a Freightliner F50 chassis. They hate them. The ride is extremely bad. Now naturally in an ambulance your not going to get a good ride but the patients have actually complained about the rough ride, not that they wouldnt anyway but I guess moreso now than before. The firefighters hate that it rides like a truck, which it is. One town is having a lot of stuctural problems. The body, which is the largest offered by Horton, cracked and separated from the frame. On the other had, a few more miles down the road, another town just bought their second Horton on a Navistar chassis. They have had great luck with them I guess and since they just bought another one, the firefighters must like them. My FD has stuck with the Ford chassis on a stronger frame so it could hold the body, which is also the largest body offered by Horton. So in my opinion, the commercial chassis on an ambulance are a waste of money when you can get a smaller chassis that holds the same body and costs a lot less.

  8. #8
    Ladder66 Guest


    Although the Cincinnati FD runs 10 transport units built by Wheeled Coach on the low profile Freightliner chassis, the current trend in the greater Cincinnati area is back to the Type III, Ford E-350/450 chassis, or Type II on the Ford F-series chassis.

    For several years, it seemed that several departments began purchasing the larger ambulances on commercial chassis'. The biggest problem was the ride - simply horrible. It was nearly impossible to work a "code" in the back of one of those things. Been there, done that, and have a scar on my melon to show for it! I think the ride is still an area that has room for improvement.

    Today, it appears that many departments have reverted back to the Type-III's. We had a Horton built on the Ford E-450 medium-duty chassis because of it's increased GVW capacity over the E-350 - 14,000 lb GVW on the 450 versus the 11,000 lb GVW on the 350 (if I'm wrong, please forgive me, I've been up all night!). It's been a good ambulance, has held up well, and rides like butter!

    There's a lot to choose from so do your homework.

    Best of luck and stay safe!

  9. #9
    SBrooks Guest


    The ride has a lot to do with how you spec the suspension...air ride, and all that. Also if you specify 24,000 pounds of axle on a 12,000 pound vehicle, it will ride hard. All of the medium duty truck manufacturers offer a wide range of axle ratings, it is possible to specify a well riding ambulance. We've got a F-SuperDuty (450?) with a Horton box & Air dump...rides like a brick. The county has Freightliner (F50?) medic units. They ride like bricks too. Company down the road has an E350/Lifeline box, rides like a dream. I think it has less to do with the chassis and more to do with the axle & suspension combo. The only things that the chassis contributes to the ride is added weight, and additional length. (Longer wheelbase tends to ride better but turn worse).

  10. #10
    JBFire Guest

    Thumbs up

    During the past several years we have used the Ford's and have had nothing but problems. In '97 we went to an International with a Horton box. The ride is rougher and the cab is not a luxury, but the handling is better, has not been prone to breakdowns. The Fords have had constant problems with brake rotors, suspensions and fuel injectors. It is such a problem that the service people keep rotors and injectors in stock just for us. I agree that suspensions are the main reason that these things ride like glorified bricks. Spec your rig by the load it's going to carry. One item left out is that servicing the International is easier than that of the Ford (You can walk around the engine in the International, you can fit a pencil around the engine of a Ford. Which do you think is going to keep your rig down for less time if there is a problem? We have ordered our next Horton on an International.

    [This message has been edited by JBFire (edited December 27, 1999).]

  11. #11
    Capt Brent Staley Guest


    I want to thank all of you for your most great imput. We are still looking and have not made a fianl decision as of yet. I have now seen the New Ford F-650 it is Fords Medium Duty Chassis designed for the EMS industry to compete with Navistar / International. I have also now located the 4700 Series LOW-PRO truck. Thanks again for ALL of your help...

    Capt Brent Staley

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register