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Zuke's D.O.A - 89 Chevy Ambo Build

Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:11 pm
by zuke
Bought this back in October, I've done a fair number of small projects to it already, but just getting around to starting a build thread.

It's an 1989 Chevrolet V3500 4x4 Type I Ambo, had 46,000 miles on it when I bought it.


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The first order of business was adding a hitch, as this is going to tow my Rockcrawlers to the trails.

I used 4 inch structural C-Channel, Quarter inch plate, and a Curt Receiver tube to build this;

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I re-inforced the factory frame to extended frame (that mounts the rear of the box) with .25 Plate on both the inside and out. Then used three pieces of the C-Channel welded to the bottom of the frame, I ran two 4"x.25" plate straps across the back C-Channels as those will be pulled up by the tongue weight. I towed my TJ with it once so far, and it seems to be holding up well, but I plan on plating in the end of the frame as well, just for some added peace of mind.

Next, I ripped out the crew bench, and put in a couch/bed...

Crew Bench;

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Couch/Bed;

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The Couch is on Clearance from Sauder right now, and can be purchased for a $227 with free shipping, I can't imagine they have many left though;

http://www.sauder.com/Products/413192_Lincoln_Sofa_Convertible.aspx

After removing the crew bench, I cut 4" into, and 7" down on the rear cabinet so I could get the couch as close to the wall as possible, and make the lower part even with the inner fender cover;

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And then put some new aluminum on it to close the cabinet back up;

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Next I built a base to make a platform even with the cabinet and fender top;

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I topped the base with 3/4 Plywood, and screwed the couch down to it, and here we are.

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Then I did some work in the cabinets;


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Made a rack in the "Propane" cabinet;

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The top bottle feeds into the module to feed the Big Buddy heater I just installed brackets for;

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The old oxygen control reach thru door lets me turn the heater bottle on and off from inside;

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The bottom bottle is for the outside kitchen.The bottles take up a lot more of the space in that cabinet than I would like, But I'll still have the room in there for all the extra hoses and adapters, and to put all my camp chairs.

Also the most important mod, I put the Vanity plates on it;

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Next up is getting that pedestal out of the middle of the floor and doing something about the flooring

Re: D.O.A - 89 Chevy Ambo Build

Posted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:12 pm
by coachgeo
If you can't fully stand up inside.... you can save your back by stealing an idea from the German built Unimog 404 Radio Command boxes.... they just never stood up. They used office chairs on a sliding track in the floor. You may not need a track... just a nice shop stool on wheels or office chair? Saw one Radio box conversion to camper where the fellow put a non moving stool in his but EVERYTHING was designed to be reached from that one location. Bed was behind it and all living items, kitchen, storage, Loo, Cooking counter/Stove etc. was all smartly placed around the stool area.

Re: D.O.A - 89 Chevy Ambo Build

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:27 am
by ARV Team
Zuke great build thread thanks for posting, excited to follow it till done

Re: D.O.A - 89 Chevy Ambo Build

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:37 am
by OutlawImages
coachgeo wrote:If you can't fully stand up inside.... you can save your back by stealing an idea from the German built Unimog 404 Radio Command boxes.... they just never stood up. They used office chairs on a sliding track in the floor. You may not need a track... just a nice shop stool on wheels or office chair? Saw one Radio box conversion to camper where the fellow put a non moving stool in his but EVERYTHING was designed to be reached from that one location. Bed was behind it and all living items, kitchen, storage, Loo, Cooking counter/Stove etc. was all smartly placed around the stool area.


That is a doable option for sure, even a swivel office chair

Great build, getting excited with all the builds getting posted to help me with my conversion

Re: D.O.A - 89 Chevy Ambo Build

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:01 pm
by Ryan Adams
Lots of great pics, will help us building them too
I need to get one of those jacknife style couch and bed combos for mine

Re: D.O.A - 89 Chevy Ambo Build

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:11 am
by zuke
Put in flooring over the weekend.

First challenge was removing the pedestal from the action station seat, the bolts weren't bad, but the twenty eight years of dirt, and the fluids I don't want to think about that get on the floor of an ambulance had it pretty well stuck to the floor... Beating it with a 5 lb mini sledge and all attempts to simply pry it off the floor proved ineffective. Finally, I used a trolly jack and a peice of C-Channel to rip it off the floor.

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Next up was getting the gurny plates out of the floor and filling in the holes. This required a combination of Impact wrenching from the top and bottom, cutting bolts, and beating on them with the sledge, as many of the nuts on the bottom were hidden underneath the exhaust/heat shields/module mounts and of course I had the twenty eight years of gunk again.

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Once they were all out, I used pieces of dowel rod to plug the bolt holes, and cut some 3/4 plywood to fit in the holes in the floor where the plates had been. I then covered each hole with a some vinyl tile and used duct tape on the edges to bring it all level with the original floor.

I then layed down vinyl plank flooring, This stuff works just like a hardwood floating floor, but is waterproof. I've heard of some problems with lifting/curling in temperature extremes, so we'll see how it holds up this summer.

Next I put vinyl tile on the bed platform, and put 1/16"x1" angle aluminum on all the edges with stainless steel screws (so hopefully they won't rust the way the steel ones the ambulance manufacturer used did). The tile worked fine, but on the vertical surfaces when I put the screws in the aluminum, some of the tiles would move and leave small gaps, so that's something to be aware of if you try it.

Finally, I used pvc tapered cove molding and an aluminum toe plate to finish off the floor;

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And there it is.

Re: D.O.A - 89 Chevy Ambo Build

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 10:44 am
by OutlawImages
Now thats beautiful!!

Great job

Re: D.O.A - 89 Chevy Ambo Build

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:06 pm
by Mike
Looks great.Going to be doing the floor in my rig soon. Probably going to go with rubber mat since I'll be hauling motorcycles.

Re: D.O.A - 89 Chevy Ambo Build

Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 7:05 am
by zuke
Mike wrote:Looks great.Going to be doing the floor in my rig soon. Probably going to go with rubber mat since I'll be hauling motorcycles.


I've heard good things about using this stuff in toy haulers, Really durable, and relatively inexpensive..

http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/rubber-mat-black-4-ft-x-6-ft?cm_vc=-10005

Re: D.O.A - 89 Chevy Ambo Build

Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2017 2:10 pm
by Ryan Adams
I like this product called Bed Rug which is gas resistant etc.Video here, guy is kinda annoying but video is good info.Just cut to fit our ambos and should be plenty of carpet to fit our use
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0QU-mupPiA

bed rug _.jpg
bed rug _.jpg (255.08 KiB) Viewed 5265 times


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000B ... KVPKWPWN3R