Buying Tip - How to know if it's in good condition? DOT Type Inspection!

Ambulances, Military boxes, box trucks, step vans, and other box based vehicles.
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EmergingC
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Buying Tip - How to know if it's in good condition? DOT Type Inspection!

Post by EmergingC »

I had a little bit of insight into what kind of ambulance I was looking for, as I had watched my son build his ambulance conversion to become a very capable off grid adventure mobile to facilitate his love of mountain biking and camping all over the western United States. He had some very good advice, things such a looking for something from locations less likely to have salty winter roads, something that had been well maintained by a good ambulance operator or municipality, something that had an engine and transmission with a history of dependability and reliability. So, when I found a listing for a Kenworth crewcab ambulance in Atlanta, Georgia - I started asking questions and trying to make a good buying decision - but the truth is I knew just enough to know that I probably needed someone with deeper knowledge than myself to really evaluate this investment. My big tip to pass along is, once you've found what you think is the right rig for you, take it to a good shop nearby that does DOT type inspections of trucks, and ask them to go through the vehicle with you, show you what's good, what's not, what needs repaired, and help evaluate the condition of that rig. Of course, they're going to charge you, but in my opinion, it was money very well spent! I was pretty well convinced that I was serious about making an offer on the ambulance I located, so I pre-arranged with a local shop to do the inspection, and informed the seller that it was my intent to do so, and they agreed - the buyer holds many of the cards, so why not tell them that's what you intend to do. After the shop foreman spend a couple hours reviewing the engine, drive train, axles, brakes, suspension, cooling system, batteries, generator, air conditioning, belts, electronics, lights, etc, etc - and told me his experiences in working on trucks with the same engine and transmission - I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting into - and what my estimated costs were going to be for repairs and maintenance - and I had some negotiating information to use in coming up with a purchase offer. I chose to make an offer, mentioning of course items that I'd need to spend some money on for regular maintenance and repairs - and in a few minutes, after a counter offer - we agreed upon a price, and I bought an ambulance. It has a 8.3l Cummins diesel, built in 1997, mechanical injectors, pre a lot of the electronic stuff that tends to be more maintenance heavy, it has an Allison transmission with a good reputation, was originally built by Wheeled Coach Industries and purchased by the Childrens Hospital of Atlanta and then purchased by West Georgia Ambulance service, so it's always been an Atlanta based rig - it's been well maintained, had new tires on the steering axles, but drive tires were needing replaced sometime in the near future. Has 22.5" tires, alcoa aluminum wheels all around, a locking differential, 120 gallons fuel tanks, a MacLift hydraulic ramp lift, a 7.5kw Generac diesel generator, and the crew cab appealed to me as we think we'd enjoy traveling with friends and family from time to time. All in all, in the two years that I've owned it, I'm pretty happy with the purchase, and though progress to get my conversion done is going much slower than anticipated, the more I learn about my rig, the happier I am that I bought it, and even more confident that I'll be able to get my money back if and when I ever choose to sell it. I really think the DOT inspection gave me the confidence to make an offer, and gave me negotiating leverage to make a great deal.
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