Deconstruction, Stipping Back the Ambulance to Barebones

It feels like I’ve made so little progress on the campervan conversion, yet I have: I now have a more or less blank canvas.

To get this far has meant some repairs to our 7-year-old Peugeot Boxer- a new exhaust, a new passenger window raising mechanism and we still need a new EGR valve.

After taking out the bits wall and floor panelling there was LOTS of mastic removal and some minor rust remedy.

Ambulance electrics vs Camper electrics

I spent 2 days with a car electrician, who gave me his time for free. He talked me through the bits of the ambulance electrics he could understand and we worked through some bits which weren’t obvious.  Before we started I had no clue what was under the driver’s seat.  I just knew it was to do with the emergency start battery and some other bit.

Once the seat was removed we could see what we were dealing with: a battery, lots of relays and a large 12V fuse box with more relays.

Campy Van 2 Mumonthebrink 10

We figured out what leads where and where I need to add in the extra lighting and 12V sockets I want.

Campy Van 2 Mumonthebrink 8
Campy Van 2 Mumonthebrink 9

There has been some debate over what purpose the 13AH pure lead battery served.  I know for a fact it was used in giving the main vehicle battery a boost when it was flat, however my uncle thinks it was the back up power source for critical life support equipment. What do you think?

Auxiliary heating

In the height of winter the van heating on its own is not enough, we’ve learnt.  If the engine is not running and we are not on electric hook up then heating needs to be provided for.  Our van came with an Eberspacher D4 plus heater.  The control panel of this doesn’t seem to be working, but I have tested the heater and it works well.  I was rather pleased, as this will be very useful in the cold scandinavian winter next year.

However, as I learnt from a Eberspacher specialist, I need to reconsider the heater’s position and how I want to configure the heating pipes.  Currently we have no pipes.

In fact, when we went under the van to remove underside of the tracks on the floor we noticed that the Eberspacher’s exhaust system was missing. In preparation for relaying the floor I’ve removed the heater.  It will need a new exhaust and a new controller before I can reinstall it. Now, there is a large round hole where it used to be.

Campy Van 2 Mumonthebrink 3
Campy Van 2 Mumonthebrink 4

Remedial metal works

The back of the van had  big gaping hole from the old wheelchair ramp. This has caused us lots of head scratching.

Luckily, my uncle is extremely handy with metal.  He has now repaired the hole: it’s filled with 1.5mm steel plate shaped, welded in, reinforced from below. A new bottom latch point is made for the rear door latch.

I had the extremely unpleasant task of  wirebrushing oodles of burnt on mastic left over from the ramp and then applying metal paint on the topside and chassis protection paint on the underside of the repair. It was an extremely messy and unhealthy job, but had to be done.

We’ve gone from this:

Campy Van 2 Mumonthebrink 7

to this:

Campy Van 2 Mumonthebrink 6
Campy Van 2 Mumonthebrink 2
Campy Van 2 Mumonthebrink 1

In case you are wondering why it is red: it was the colour hammerite paint we found lying around. 😀

Cab area tidy

From Campy Van’s ambulance life the front cab’s original Peugeot flooring was chopped up and bits were missing. I’ve attempted to insulate this area with closed cell insulation matting with a heavy rubber on top. It is working in progress to say the least. The rubber I’d sourced turned out to be too heavy and needs a rethink.

Campy Van Mumonthebrink 1

I was trying to tackle the whole of the cab area at once and to insulate above I removed all the lining and visors, etc. It wasn’t worth the effort in the end- not enough gain in access to tricky areas for all the work needed removing the lining and fixtures and reinstating everything.

I did, however, do my first 12V electric installation: a cigi lighter socket by the windscreen pillar. Super proud of my first electric work!

WP_20160403_17_25_42_Pro

Progress has been very slow thus far, but we have finally taken the ambulance structure back to the point where Campy Van can really start to emerge. It’s been a very steep learning curve and now I can start to benefit from some of the ambulance past of the van, which will hopefully make the fit out easier for our extremely multifunctional van.

Next steps, which I hope to do in the next week:

  1. replacing the broken rooflight
  2. insulating
  3. creating the seating and bed arrangements for our extreme camper

12 thoughts on “Deconstruction, Stipping Back the Ambulance to Barebones

  1. Hi I have just bought a ambulance similar to your and I am trying to figure out how the wiring works. I have a similar nest of wires under the drivers seat and a second battery under the passengers seat. I have a row of switches above the radio some of which are for lights but there is two, one labelled ignition isolation and the other emergency start. I was wondering if you know what theses are for and how they work. Also interested to know if the lighting etc in the back of the van runs of the main battery or the second battery. Hope you can help and good luck with the conversion

  2. Hi I have just bought a ambulance similar to your and I am trying to figure out how the wiring works. I have a similar nest of wires under the drivers seat and a second battery under the passengers seat. I have a row of switches above the radio some of which are for lights but there is two, one labelled ignition isolation and the other emergency start. I was wondering if you know what theses are for and how they work. Also interested to know if the lighting etc in the back of the van runs of the main battery or the second battery. Hope you can help and good luck with the conversion

  3. Just found your post on here, what a great idea, turn an ambulance into a camper, I love the welding on the floor where the ramp used to be, it’s gonna be one of the first jobs I will be doing on my ambulance, yes, there is someone else mad enough to attempt this !

    I’v just bought my own Peugeot Boxer 400 3.0 emergency A&E ambulance which direct from Scottish Ambulance Service. Thought this would be an ideal base vehicle for a camper as it’s white, got side windows, roof vents, 240v hookup etc. and it’s already insulated and paneled out inside Also, being the extra high roof Peugeot Boxer, I can stand up inside it with several inches to spare, not bad considering I’m 6 foot tall !.

    My plan is simple, get it legal for the road, start using it every day and convert it as I go, already looks like it;s going to be a fun job with more wires and cables than the space shuttle !

    Look forward to seeing how you get on with yours.

    GOOD LUCK !

  4. Just found your post on here, what a great idea, turn an ambulance into a camper, I love the welding on the floor where the ramp used to be, it’s gonna be one of the first jobs I will be doing on my ambulance, yes, there is someone else mad enough to attempt this !

    I’v just bought my own Peugeot Boxer 400 3.0 emergency A&E ambulance which direct from Scottish Ambulance Service. Thought this would be an ideal base vehicle for a camper as it’s white, got side windows, roof vents, 240v hookup etc. and it’s already insulated and paneled out inside Also, being the extra high roof Peugeot Boxer, I can stand up inside it with several inches to spare, not bad considering I’m 6 foot tall !.

    My plan is simple, get it legal for the road, start using it every day and convert it as I go, already looks like it;s going to be a fun job with more wires and cables than the space shuttle !

    Look forward to seeing how you get on with yours.

    GOOD LUCK !

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