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Thread: Whats the best ambulance on the market?

  1. #1
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    Default Whats the best ambulance on the market?

    We use all Horton 553 in our dept.
    We would like some input on how others like the Horton.
    We would also like input on other makers, how well they hold up, are they worth the cost, ect...
    What is likes/dislikes in layout or construction with the ambulances in use?
    T*J*R


  2. #2
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    I have ridden, worked on, and used Hortons and don't care all that much for the model we had. They seemed to have scrimped on compartment space both inside and out. The action area seemed cramped and there was no third tech seat on the side (This is a specification issue.) I just feel that there could have been more compartment space for tools, gear, and extra equipment. The interior spaces were large but not varied enough to allow for many items to be stored properly. We also had problems continuously with the warning lights blowing out and problems with the light control panel.

    My other problem was that the unit was built on an International chassis. I am not a big fan of using medium duty trucks for ambulances. The rides are way too harsh for the patient (even with airbags). The height is tough to load a pt. into the unit, I'm only 5'6". The module keeps the unit underweight, significantly so you bounce all over the road on the way to the hospital. The unit was also terrible in the snow. It had no traction, even with chains or the useless on-spots out on it.

    I have worked on many Road Rescue units. I found these to be the best units I have worked in. The ride quality is excellent. I found a minimum amount of roll and bouncing around on the worst of roads. I have worked on units on both the E and F series chassis.

    The interior layout has been excellent. We mounted the stretcher in the center and have used the side technician seat for all manner of calls (Great for codes). We have more compartment space than ever and carry extra gear and equipment. We carry a small set of jaws for initial extrication, several backboards, Air packs, and hand tools. The only thing we ran out of space for was bunker gear. We like the unit so well we are writing specifications for a second unit that will almost be a twin of this one.

    The only downfall is the $120,000 price tag but I think it is worth it.
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  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    Being one of the very few ALS providers in this county, I have had the opportunity to ride with just about every agency in the county. As such I have ridden in a few different brands of Trucks.

    AEV
    Horton
    Life Line
    Wheeled Coach
    SWAB (from the days when they still built Ambulances)
    National
    Osage

    There were others, but I just can't remember what brands they were. Out of all of these (even allowing for age of design), by far my favorite is the Wheeled Coach.

    We took delivery of a 2002 Ford F-350 Type 1 in Dec of '01 and I just made the remark to another member last night that the more I rode that truck, the more I love it.

    The quality of construction is great. Sales and Service were exceptional.
    Just as an example - Ambulance purchases are primarily funded through the county and each Volunteer agency then makes up the difference in price. As a condition of funding from the county, we were required to buy off of the VA state contract (which was held by Wheeledcoach).

    One would think that when a dealer knows that you are going to buy from him no matter what, that they would become a little lax. Not so in our case. Everyone from the local sales rep to the folks in the plant were always willing to work with us, try different things, and make design modifications. When we started stocking the truck, we found a shelf (that had been installed exactly as we had asked for) was too close to the counter to accommodate our LP-12 monitor. Wheeledcoach actually came back and moved the shelf (at no charge) and to this day if you don't know it was moved - you can't see where the old mounts were.

    Unless something major happens in the future, I know where we'll be getting all our Ambulances from now on.

    You can view the truck at http://n2dfire.tripod.com/stationbio.html Just scroll down till you see Med 3
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

  4. #4
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    Default

    Personally I'd say the 3 best buses are

    -Horton

    -Braun

    -Road Rescue

    I personally feel the best chassis to get these on is the Ford
    F-Series preferably the F450 because I feel that they handle the best (which is especially useful if your roads look more like parking lots) and I also feel that they hold up the best. However the
    E-Series is good too. If you get a medium duty bus (Freightliner or International(Navistar), you'll hate it no matter how well built the box is. Medium duty trucks were designed to haul cargo not people.

  5. #5
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    I personally favor McCoy Miller, with Road Rescue coming in second.
    Fiberglass forever!! (they won't let us have leather)

  6. #6
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    We liked our original Horton(1980) and when we bought new in 1992 we couldnt get Horton to talk to us so we got a Wheeled Coach. It has held up ok and but knew we could do beter. Our latest purchase was a 2001 Road Rescue and it has been by far and away the best unit we have ever owned. Before "retiring" full time as a paramedic we used McCoy Miller and those vehicles could take a beaing for what they cost. We also looked at Horton last year but thought that the quality was equal to the Road Rescue but the price was + 7K more for a Ford E450 SD chasssis.
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  7. #7
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    Default

    I would say that Road Rescue, PL Custom, and Life-Line are the Cadilacs of ambulances. Sure they are more expensive than some of the other manufacturers, but sometimes you do get more when you pay more.

    As for compartments, seats, etc., regardless of the manufacturer, thinking ahead and writing a good set of specs goes a long way in making your rig user friendly. Don't just settle for the cookie-cutter design; take the time to lay out an interior that works for you.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber asaffell's Avatar
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    Default Frazier

    Here in Garland, we have Frazier Ambulances (Ford F350s) outta Houston. I rode the box before we went to this one. The guys that ride these say they love them. The Frazier is the box that has a generator that runs the back & all the emergency lights. They say the AC in the box will freeze you out even in the TX heat. These things run fulltime while out (the rear comp) & plug in when back at the station (to keep things cool when not in use).
    Saffell
    1 Corinthians 1:18
    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

  9. #9
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    American LaFrance/MedicMaster bar none, hands down, the best in quality and service.

  10. #10
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    I agree with Engine21, Medicmaster was superior even before the Freightliner/ALF buyout. They will build what you want and stand behind thier product without question.

    Manatee County, FL EMS has used them for refurbs, then new Type 1 on F350 and Super Duty Chassis for the past 7 years, and this year went with the Frieghtliner FL60's. These units out manuever any Ford F-Series hands down.

    The Interiors and body are solidly built. No Cheap plastic inside the doors. Check them out if your looking

  11. #11
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    Road rescue, my part time department has two and they are very solid well built and dependable.

    My full time departmet has 4 MedTech (prior to Pierce) and they S*CK.
    They are mounted on International trucks, they have the worst ride of any rig I've ever been on. The air dump sticks, trim falls off, the flour. lights always need work, the AC works only when it is cold out, compartment doors break frequently. The first one we purchased broke free from the chassis and had to be remounted. Just poor quality

  12. #12
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    Our last 5 rigs have been Med-Tec (over 20 years) and we have found them to be very reliable ambulances.

    Right now we are running on a Freightliner FL-50 chassis and we love it. For us it works well. Don't believe everything you hear about poor ride quality or loading height etc. Our rig rides well, has lots of power, stops well and has proven to be trustworthy so far (3 years and 42,000 miles.)

    A good set of specifications is vital to produce a good ambulance.

  13. #13
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    Talking The Best truck on the market

    The best ambulance on the market I'd have to say would be an Excellance Inc. out of Madison Alabama. They have the best boxes I've ever worked in. We use their Type IIIL ambulance are wide, long and on a Ford E-450 Superduty Chassis with a Powerstroke V8 Diesel. They are very spacious and the smoothest ride I've ever had, they are tall enough for me to stand fully (I'm 6'2") and wide. We are the only volunteer rescue that have 8 Excellance trucks in service. we have one Wheeled Roach....I mean Wheeled Coach, and everyone hates that truck, we just purchased another Excellance so that we can rid of the roach coach. The only downfall in the Price, our last truck topped out at $145,000 after being fully stocked buy us. The truck was $120,000. This is by far, the very best company. I don't work for Excellance or get any money for saying this, I speak strickly and exclusivley for expierance. I love Excellance trucks!!! The Truck below is our brand new truck. It has a Federal Electronic Q(e2Qb), air horns, all the Secondary lights are LED panels, the lightbar is an all stobe Whelen Advantedge, And the box lights are Power Arcs, an expiermental light by Federal. The pic I wanted was too big, to see the truck, go to Orange County Rescue Squad web page and look up under apparatus 232.
    Last edited by medic3256; 08-30-2002 at 11:40 AM.

  14. #14
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    All great choices:

    1. MedicMaster (the true fire department ambulance)

    2. Horton

    3. Road Rescue (great reviews for ours, no problems in the past two years).

  15. #15
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    Default Frazrir

    Quote Originally Posted by Toering View Post
    We use all Horton 553 in our dept.
    We would like some input on how others like the Horton.
    We would also like input on other makers, how well they hold up, are they worth the cost, ect...
    What is likes/dislikes in layout or construction with the ambulances in use?
    I have ridden several boxes and Fraizer is by far the best. The cabinets in the back are very user friendly and there is room for 2 or 3 people to work without getting in each orthers way. Fraizer is deffinetly the way to go.

  16. #16
    Forum Member SFD_E73_RET's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmccullough0609 View Post
    I have ridden several boxes and Fraizer is by far the best. The cabinets in the back are very user friendly and there is room for 2 or 3 people to work without getting in each orthers way. Fraizer is deffinetly the way to go.
    Interesting, you joined in Nov 2003 and made your first post yesterday....huh.

    OBTW..PL Custom

  17. #17
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asaffell View Post
    Here in Garland, we have Frazier Ambulances (Ford F350s) outta Houston. I rode the box before we went to this one. The guys that ride these say they love them. The Frazier is the box that has a generator that runs the back & all the emergency lights. They say the AC in the box will freeze you out even in the TX heat. These things run fulltime while out (the rear comp) & plug in when back at the station (to keep things cool when not in use).

    Nobody who has ever rode the box will every say they love them! Maybe they like the rig the way it handles but to say they love riding the box is nutts!
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  18. #18
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    Over the years I have been in the fire apparatus and equipment business I have been asked many times who makes the best this or that and I have always had the same answer. Give me 30 minutes and I can find 10 people that either love or hate any product I ask about, it all comes down to PERSONAL preference. And to give an analogy, think about the following when asking someone about “the best”

    Blonde, brunette or redhead
    Skinny, average or big and beautiful
    Chevy, Dodge or Chrysler

  19. #19
    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    Another dead horse dug up.

    But since I'm posting, I'll side on the Wheeled Coach MAV.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

  20. #20
    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ADSNWFLD View Post
    Road rescue, my part time department has two and they are very solid well built and dependable.

    My full time departmet has 4 MedTech (prior to Pierce) and they S*CK.
    They are mounted on International trucks, they have the worst ride of any rig I've ever been on. The air dump sticks, trim falls off, the flour. lights always need work, the AC works only when it is cold out, compartment doors break frequently. The first one we purchased broke free from the chassis and had to be remounted. Just poor quality
    Enjoy 'em while you can. Another chapter closes

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