1. #1
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    Default International vs. Ford

    The Rescue Squad I belong to is in the process of shopping for new ambulances. We are currently debating between an International chassis and a Ford F-450 chassis. I don't have any experience with the International but all of our current units are a Ford chassis. Most of the problems with our Ford's are electrical in nature. It's my understanding that the International chassis doesn't have the same types of electrical problems as the Fords. Does anyone have an opinion on International vs. Ford? Any advice?
    Captain 203
    FF/EMT-CT

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    I work for a private, county owned,ALS service that switched from the Fords to the International chassis. This,other than the truck-like ride,it was the best thing they ever did. We have 3 in service now with 1 as back-up. The back-up unit was purchased in 1991 and was retired 2 years ago with 350,000 miles on it. We are a rural service with a lot of long distance transports. These trucks last us 3 times longer than the Fords ever did.

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    The town I'm from has 3 Ford's and 1 International. The oldest ambulance is a 1984 Ford F-350 Braun, and is still running great. They also run a 1989 Ford E-350 Braun, a 1995 International Wheeled Coach, and a 2001 Ford E-450 Braun.
    As a side note they also are running a 2001 Ford Excursion for the Battalion Chief.

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    The ford will have better acceleration than the I.H.. But the I.H. will outlast the ford by a long shot. The key to the large chassis ambulance is to go with a body mfg. that has made a lot of them, due to the many chassis & suspension options you can end up with a tank like ride or a good ride. Freightliner has a good ambulance chassis and good acceleration (better than our ford super dutys). For grins check out the HME web site and click on new deliveries look at the Mount Horeb WI. Amb.

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    Captain,

    My squad is in the process of buying a new Type 1 unit right now. Matter-O-Fact were set to finalize the Spec. on Sept. 6th.

    I can't give you any personal experience with Navistar (I.H.) or Freightliner based Units since we don't have the room to run those down here. (Ain't like a fire truck where you can just pull hose if the truck can't cross the bridge at the bottom of the 200+ ft. driveways).

    However we have run Fords (and Chevy's) forever and we have never really had any Electrical problems with either.

    I doubt you will have any problems relating to a Ford chassis now anyway - Ford recently discontinued the practice of allowing any changes to the OEM wiring harness. So now your "Master" switch only controls the additions to the chassis and not chassis power. The chassis will still function just like an off the street truck (i.e. will crank & run w/o the master switch being turned on).

    As a bit of side advise - I don't know how you feel about Wheeled Coach Units, but I would seriously consider them - the current state bid contract with them allows you to spec. you unit any way you want and still take advantage of the quantity price break (Which If I remember correctly was somewhere around $11k ).

    If you'd like to see some new units - Franklin Co. has 1 unit that was delivered with-in the last 8 months (In service w/ Franklin County Rescue Squad) and a second that being delivered this week (Assigned to Glade Hill Rescue Squad - ordered on June 19th). Plus our unit should be in by December (just in time for Christmas )

    If you'd like contact information or have further questions - please feel free to contact me via E-mail @ n2dfire@hotmail.com

    Take Care - Stay Safe
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic

    [ 08-30-2001: Message edited by: N2DFire ]
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

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    okay most of the fire depts around us run either frieghtliners or international or as i call em intertrashinals. back in the day international made a good truck. We had a old 54 international we FINALLY sold.But now International doesn't make that great of a truck.I herd multiple f.d. have problems with them. Now we're 2 Fords (F-750 and F-700),A chevy grass truck and a pierce cab over. Personally if i was ordering the truck go Ford.

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    Ford F 550 with the power stroke engine. You can't beat it. One station where I used to vollie had an International and it was noting but problems. Most of the Medics at work, the small ones, are on Ford chassis. Good product. Almost as good as a Pierce Fire truck! The International chassis has a lot of noise associated with it in the back. The transmission is very loud and so is the rear end during the ride. The shifting from one gear to the next is also hard and jerky.
    The new Fords are really nice. You need to make sure that when you spec it you add in all the electrical goodies. Have them calculate for them all being on at one time so you get a big enough altenater.

    [ 10-16-2001: Message edited by: pwc606 ]

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    I WORK FOR AN INTERNATIONAL DEALER AND HAVE WORKED FOR A FREIGHTLINER DEALER. THE INTERNATIONAL WILL OUT PERFORM THE FORD BY FAR. THE PREVENTIVE MAINTENCE IS FAR LESS THAN A FORD BY APPROX 500 A YEAR. THERES A BETTER TURNING RADUIS THAN FORD, AND MORE POWER. THE POWERSTROKE ENGINE IS MADE BY INTERNATIONAL PER FORD'S SPECS BUT IS NOT A T444E INTERNATIONAL ENGINE. PLUS YOU IHC OFFERS THE 466E AND THE 530. AS FAR AS THE FREIGHTTLINER IT IS A GOOD TRUCK ALSO. THE PROBLEMS MOST EMERGENCY VEHICLES RUN INTO IS THAT THE EQUIPMENT ON THERE IS DIFFERENT THAT 99% OF THE REST OF THE TRUCKS OUT THERE. THE ALTERNATORS ARE 200-400 AMPS VS A NORMAL 130AMP ALTERNATOR. THEN FOR EXAMPLE THE CHASSIS ARE BUILT BY THE TRUCK MANUFACTURER AND THEN SENT TO THE BODY COMPANY WHO MAY TAKE OFF AND REPLACE SOMETHING WITH WHAT THEY THINK THE TRUCK NEEDS TO BE EQUIPPED WITH. THAT CAUSES PROBLEMS WHEN TRYING TO LOCATE PARTS AND GET THE UNIT UP AND RUNNING. I COULD GO ON FOR A FEW MORE MINUTES BUT IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS FEEL FREE TO EMAIL ME.
    RYAN

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    For the past two years we have been running the Freightliner. Our new unit to be delivered in November is an International. The reason for the change is due to local service. We have had good luck with freightliner except for a few manufacture defects that were fixed. Before that we had Ford with the newest having electrical problems.
    Most were skeptical of going to larger chasis but found that they are good rigs and don't drive like a big truck.
    The new International due in is a low profile and is comfortable to drive. The 2001 model is wired for an ambulance box. The only down fall that we found out is there is no way to have instant tire chains applied to the rig.
    I can let you know more about this unit in about a month, when we break it in.

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    We too are looking at a new rig for use as an ambulance. We have used Ford and Chevy, but will not return to the "light duty" chassis due to the costs over the life of the vehicle. Too many problems with brakes, suspension and electrical. We have gone to the "Medium Duty" chassis and can only say how this chassis has paid for itself in reduction of maint. issues alone!
    We have 2 Navistars(Internationals), but are looking for comments on the Freightliner and Sterling chassis for this next purchase. Any help in this area would be appreciated.

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