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Diesel McBadass

Diesel vs Gas Ambulances

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We have box trucks and vanbulances. Pretty much all box trucks are diesel vans 50/50. Everyone has a preference. I hate diesels here in the northeast where the winters are cold and you need to plug them in, and there unresponsive and slow. We just got a gas box truck and it moves! I much prefer gas engines smoothness and eesponsiveness; you?

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We have a gas ambulance and a diesel and both need plugged in.

I prefer the gas as it is quieter, smoother and has a lot more power but the old diesel we have is called old reliable for a reason.

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many of you here are not old enough to remember the gasser ambulances of the 70's & 80's. They were known for vapor locking and catching fire. The Ford 460 was a great engine as long as it was running right, they could spin the tires on a 1 ton fully loaded

Yes the current design fuel injected gassers are better than those of the old days.

Diesels are known for lasting longer with an overall lower cost per mile and reliability.

That changed about 8 years ago when ford and IH got in a pissin contest over the warrantee issues with the 6.0 liter Ford/ Navistar engine.

At that point the ford E series chassis was almost 86% of the ambulance market and it has gone down ever since.

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The first EMS system I ever worked for had gas powered ambulances (and I don't mean my partner after a dinner at Don Chilitos Mexican Restaurante), and they were the best ambulances I've ever been in. Diesel just doesn't do it.

Has anyone ever f'd up and put gas in a diesel unit?

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Every ground based ambulance I've worked in has been diesel. The only gas powered ambulance I've ever encountered was engulfed in flames on the side of the road as the diesel powered ambulance I was in drove by.

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Over the years I have worked in almost all the ambulances mentioned above. (not that I'm all that old)

I have definitely found the old Ford 6.0lt to be the WORST engines for both maintenance costs as well as passing power.

Best diesel I've ever operated was Duramax. But oh so expensive to repair! Loved the high end torque though, if you dropped a gear while passing it made it quick and safe without an expensive turbo to repair every 5 years!

Overall I find the gas engines to be more comfortable in both station smell, as well as vehicle noise level.

Gas has the added low end horsepower, which I actually dislike. Too often I find myself or my partner will be a little heavy footed around the urban streets, and end up potentially injuring the rear passenger. It a diesel you just don't get that 'snap' of responsiveness if your freezing cold foot hits the pedal harder than you'd like. It's almost worth iyt though for all that low end passing horsepower.

We keep all our units plugged in with block heater on. Talk to any mechanic, it just makes sense since we don't warm up our engines at all.

In my opinion though, switching to a chev cab is the best thing that has ever happened!

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Do you not have temperature controlled sheds? We keep ours plugged in to keep a charge on everything but not to keep the units warmed up. Our garage is at 72 degrees at all times

The first EMS system I ever worked for had gas powered ambulances (and I don't mean my partner after a dinner at Don Chilitos Mexican Restaurante), and they were the best ambulances I've ever been in. Diesel just doesn't do it.

Has anyone ever f'd up and put gas in a diesel unit?

no, luckily for us, each unit has a gas card that won't activate the wrong pump

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The shoreline primarily is used to keep the batteries charged not to keep the ambulance warm. If an ambulance is equipped with a block heater that would be an option from the vehicle manufacturer. None of ours have block heaters. All of our ambulances are shoreline equipped but only the CCT units are plugged in. Out of our fleet about 90% of the units are ran daily.

Our ambulances are all Diesel with the exception of our Bariatric units which are AEV boxes on a Chevy frame. Our fleet consists of approximately 80 BLS ambulances. About 50 are Ford type II vans and 25 or so Mercedes Sprinters. The remaining being our Bariatric units. The Mercedes Bluetec diesel engines leave a lot to be desired. They are quiet which is good for us since we do System Status Management and they are decent on economy. Other than that they are crap and I find them completely under powered.

The Fords have tremendous power but they sound like a diesel, which I like but the neighbors don't. Both diesel and gas have their advantages. I personally feel diesel is more appropriate for ambulance service. They are more robust engines, designed for a longer service life and provide more consistent power. I'll take diesel any day.

While I have never done it, several employees have put gas into our diesel ambulances. The Fords can be driven back to HQ, drained and refilled. About a $100 mistake. The Mercedes on the other hand must be towed. If the engine has been started with gas in it parts have to be ordered from Mercedes and replaced in the engine. According to our mechanics it is $10,000 to repair a Mercedes engine that has had gas run through it. We don't have dedicated fuel cards because we don't have our own pumps. We use a card that will activate any pump at any gas station in the country.

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Do you not have temperature controlled sheds?

Oh yes, but if you've ever felt the hood of an ambulance (or any other vehicle) that has a block heater plugged in, they are substantially warmer than room temp. They keep the engine closer to operating temp rather than ambiant room temp.

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