With the Sprinter sold I started my Ambo search in ernest. I had put enough thought and research in and at this point I know what I’m looking for. The two most common are the Type II- van looking with a high top-
and a Type III – a van front portion with a big box on the back-
I wanted a Type III. Of the Type III, there are a few variants with different wheelbases and different length and width boxes. You also must take into account the year the unit was manufactured. An overwhelming majority of all ambulances, until recently, were built on Ford chassis. Seeing as any ambulance that can be put into service was at least $20k, this ruled out any units 10 years or newer. Until the late 2000’s all Ambulances were diesel powered. So I knew i couldn’t afford anything 2006 or newer. I then had to decide if I was comfortable with a 2004-2006 unit. These years had been prone to engine problems with the 6.0 liter diesel introduced in 2004 ish. I decided i did not want to have anything to do with the 6.0. That lead me to the previous diesel Ford offered, the 7.3. This was offered as the Powerstroke with a turbo from about 97 – 2003. The sweet spot being 99 – 2003. The last consideration is color. I don’t want one that’s all red or all yellow, white with stripes is good. So now I know exactly what to shop for. 99-2003 E450 Ambulance with the 14’box.
In California, we don’t have many of these larger boxed Ambulances. The whole time (a few months) I was shopping I only came across a few in Southern California, not sure why. So I was prepared to Fly and Drive. Lots of these big units on the East Coast and Mid-west. As I was negotiating for a really clean unit out of Baltimore and bidding on a decent looking unit out of Chicago, one popped up on Craigslist about 20 miles from me. Actually they had 2 E450 big boxes. Headed straight up but someone beat me there. And she put a deposit down already! But, she wasn’t sure which one she wanted. One was a 2000 with the 7.3 motor and about 134k miles on the clock. The other was a 2006 with the 6.0 motor and only 65 or 70k miles. Leaving her deposit she asked for a few days to decide which one she wanted. The 2000 7.3 looked good to me, just what i was looking for. I told him I’d take the 2000 if she wound up taking the 2006. A few days later he called with the good news. Any it was about 35% of what my cost would have been for the one in Baltimore. I was happy. As she looked-