The Diesel Stop banner

1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello, I am hoping someone here can answer some questions for me. I work for a fire department and in the past (say 20 years) all of our ambulances were on International LPX (or similar) chassis. We are getting ready to re-chassis at least one box this year and start replacing them a couple units a year. We are going to evaluate the F-550 to possibly switch to going forward. Here's some background: Up until the late 1990's, we had lots of units on E350 chassis. We replaced brakes about every 6 months and transmissions in them more often than one would like to admit. We switched to the Internationals and had about 20 years of total harmony. Maintenance costs were lower, reliability was off the charts, we didn't put in a single transmission and could get two years out of a set of brakes.(interestingly, the LPX's had such great braking capacity reserve that they would stop in a shorter distance than about any car/pickup/SUV) Lately, we've had some issues. We've had at least one or two with (warranty covered thank goodness) engine swaps at 30,000 or 40,00 miles. The International dealer is about a 90 minute round trip. We aren't a priority for them because our few trucks don't get the attention of, say another customer/company that owns a hundred or more so repairs could take longer than we'd like. The local Ford dealer is (to use the word correctly) literally 750 feet away from our main station. I can hear the intercom at my desk when the sales guys get phone calls. So we are considering the F-550 as an alternative to the LPX.

We would be buying an ambulance specific chassis, usually in the past we've ordered them through the ambulance manufacturer several months in advance of the build.
I have to make some assumptions, if I'm wrong please correct me and not super well versed in the lingo, so please use small words...

The chassis would be a 2020 or 2021 and I assume we'd have a 6.7L Power Stroke® V8 Turbo Diesel engine, with a 10 speed transmission. My question revolves around the upgraded Diesel Engine-Exhaust Braking system.
I'm curious if any of you have or have worked on a 550 with the engine brake. Are the engine exhaust brake systems reliable? Will it save me enough on brakes over the 6 or 7 year lifespan of the truck to justify the
up-front cost? What is the cost to add the Ford engine brake to the diesel, or when they say it's an option they mean just on the 7.3? Do you know of a better option (say an aftermarket transmission retarder, for example). The truck will weigh about 20,000 when loaded. We will likely not go with four wheel drive.

What other options or changes should we be considering? What should we avoid?

Thanks in advance for your help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
204 Posts
I can't really speak for the 550 but the exhaust braking on my 250 is great. Also tow haul is another tool that I love just not sure on the 550. I pull a 35' 5th wheel with mine and the exhaust brake along with the transmission seem to work together.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,298 Posts
I looked all over and I couldn't find ambulance operators forums with any chassis info that is current. That is surprising to me. I see towns of size around me switching back from Ram to Ford in 450/4500, 550/5500 size units but competitive bids may drive that more than service performance. Those two chassis have the same brakes, not exactly the same parts but the same size. I have an F450, same brakes as 550, and it has long brake life in tractor, hat, horses, cattle towing but I am not running around town stopping repeatedly.
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top