1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Ambulance Chassis'

    I'm just full of questions lately. I really should know the answers to these things... I feel dumb asking! But I am curious, so what the hell... here goes:

    Q. Aside from the obvious visual differences, why would someone opt for an F-series type chassis over an E-seriers? (Type II vs Type III) A pickup-type vs. a van-type chassis...

    For the life of me, I can't figure it out. DOes it have to do with GVWR? Or is it the F-series is 4x4 capable? It's the same engine and vehicle components, right?

    One more thing... has anyone seen or heard of an F-series crew cab (a true 4 door pickup style) chassis with an ambulance box mounted on the back? I'm curious if one exists, and if it does, how it works out, etc.

    Finally, why might a F-350 be better than, say, an F-550 for ambulance use? Does it have to do with suspension and weight ratings?

    If I sound really dumb and naive when I ask this, forgive me! I'm a tad clueless at times. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    There are certainly not any dumb questions!

    From my experience, a mechanic will love you if you choose the F-series over the E-seires, a lot easier to access the engine compartment. Aside from that, pass-thru is a lot easier on the E-series, as modifications have to be done to accomplish this on the Type 1, adding cost.
    The service I work for has gone to the E-450 chassis, which is the ton and a half, and the longer 158" wheelbase for a better ride. The older E-350s, one ton, actually exceeded weight ratings when fully loaded. Even now, the new ones are at near front axle capacity when loaded. These are Type III units. I would think the F-series type I will have better weight distrubution characteristics.
    4 X 4 can be done on an E-series, however, an aftermarket conversion, which adds cost. Whereas the F-series is available factory stock.
    I guess it all boils down to user preference. It appears may more E-series ambulances are produced than F-series.

  3. #3
    Da Sharkie
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I have heard a rumor, and only a rumor, that Ford will not be making an E chassis with the ambulance package after a few more years. But anyway, I found the E chassis rides a lot smoother than the F chassis and if you go with the 550 you start getting a jarring ride like you get with the freightliner / International chassis. I haven't hear of a crew cab rig but you may be able to get an extended E chassis cab option. You could get it off the previous generation of rigs.

    There is also the size issue. A lot of departments run out these cramped stations and just can't fit an F chassis into the station.

    Good questions by the way.

    I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it. You can't prove anything.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Funny that I should happen by this forum and this question for the very first time today. I just specked out a new ambulance today! We went with the type I chassis (F-350) mainly for two reasons: We wanted FWD and the ease of maintenance. A member of our department happens to be a Ford mechanic and he swore every time he had to work on our E-350 and said he would quit if we didn't get a truck chassis next time. (Hope he was just kidding cause I don't want him to get a big head and think we're getting a F series just to keep him.)

    Technically, if you want a 4WD on an E 350 chassis you can get it, but you will be at the maximum GVWR before you put on any equipment or people and our dealer basically told us that Ford won't warranty it at all!

    I also asked about a four door cab. A salesman who deals with Mcoy Miller and Road Rescue told me that, although he has never seen it done, he supposed it could be done, for a price. The look on his face told me that price would be quite high.

    There were three levels of pass through from cab to module to consider. We went with the "full" level which requires additional support beams to be welded onto the roof beause the rear wall of the chassis has to be cut off. It is still not as big as the pass through on the van body, but a person can crawl through if needed.

    All told, with the 4WD, full size pass throuh, and truck chassis it only cost about $4000 more than the 2WD van body. Well worth it for us. Sorry so long winded.


  5. #5
    Da Sharkie
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If you're going to go with a F-350 chassis there are 2 other options as well. Boston EMS in recent years has heavily turned to a GM, mostly Chevy's I believe, chassis for their rigs. In JEMS last year they said they found it to be a better chassis for their use and I do believe tehy have at least a few 4x4 chassis. When I was in teh Service in Hawaii Honolulu EMS ran all Dodges and I believe that they still do.

    I also remember reading an article that Chevy Van fronts, Chevy equivalent to an E-350 were tested as an ambulance and had some pretty good things said about it like more room and better steering and control. I'm not sure if they make it as an ambulance prep package like Ford does but it may be something to look at.

    About the Crew cab set up. I as well haven't heard or seen it but I know Road Rescue makes an ambulance with a fire apparatus cab adn chassis. Can't say it's the best thing but it may meet some people's needs.

    I didn't do it, nobody saw me do it. You can't prove anything.

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