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Old 01-20-2021, 08:26 AM   #1
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Bumper Pulling an Ambulance - Is it too ambitious?

Hi all,

We have a 40-foot long '97 Bluebird All American with the 8.3L Front Engine.

Is it too ambitious to bumper pull an ambulance?

Obviously, having all of that extra space would be ideal. But also having the option to disconnect and travel a bit further than the bus would give us the freedom to, while still having a comfortable and homely place to sleep sounds dreamy.+

We will be loading some pretty heavy stuff in the back of the bus, like 200 Gallons of water tanks, and a huge battery bank, if the light back end would be too big of a problem.

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Old 01-20-2021, 08:34 AM   #2
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How heavy is your ambulance? I have pulled my Jeep liberty and my Toyota FJ62 (heavy pig) just fine.
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Old 01-20-2021, 08:42 AM   #3
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Never done that but have to believe the added strain on the bus's drivetrain would lead to early component failure due to the added weight, if towing on a regular basis.

Is the ambulance 4x4?

Good luck
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Old 01-20-2021, 08:43 AM   #4
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I live on the road between Lubbock TX and El Paso TX and I see one bus pulling another bus on their way to Mexico on a weekly basis. Grossly over length, and pulling it over the mountain. I have yet to see them upside down. So I don't know. I think 65 foot is your limit and watch your gross combined weight. UMMV.
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Old 01-20-2021, 08:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by s2mikon View Post
How heavy is your ambulance? I have pulled my Jeep liberty and my Toyota FJ62 (heavy pig) just fine.
It will be a type 3 Ambulance so I expect it to be around 12,000 lbs. Maybe even a bit more, fully loaded.

A fully loaded jeep is probably around 7,000 lbs, for reference.
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Old 01-20-2021, 08:56 AM   #6
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Hi Truffles,

We've got 6 buses and two ambulances...so I've got a pretty good idea of the size, weight and power options. One of ours has the Cummins 8.3 and it's a strong engine, so from a power perspective you should be fine. The questions about ambulance weight are good...our Freightliner medium duty is much heavier than our E-350 based ambo....but even the E-350 is a heavy rig. You mentioned "bumper pull" but I presume you don't actually mean a bumper-mounted hitch ball. I'd think a frame-mounted hitch would be necessary to meet the load requirements. But if your tow hitch and tow bars are rated appropriately, it should tow fine.

A side note, to think about. It may put you in a situation where a CDL is required, due to the towed unit weight and the GVW of the bus...adding up to a GCVW in excess of 36k pounds...but that's all a bit of a grey area with a bus registered as a motorhome and depends upon the GVW of your bus. Like I said, though, this is a murky bit of traffic code though...
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Old 01-20-2021, 09:04 AM   #7
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Hi Truffles,

We've got 6 buses and two ambulances...so I've got a pretty good idea of the size, weight and power options. One of ours has the Cummins 8.3 and it's a strong engine, so from a power perspective you should be fine. The questions about ambulance weight are good...our Freightliner medium duty is much heavier than our E-350 based ambo....but even the E-350 is a heavy rig. You mentioned "bumper pull" but I presume you don't actually mean a bumper-mounted hitch ball. I'd think a frame-mounted hitch would be necessary to meet the load requirements. But if your tow hitch and tow bars are rated appropriately, it should tow fine.

A side note, to think about. It may put you in a situation where a CDL is required, due to the towed unit weight and the GVW of the bus...adding up to a GCVW in excess of 36k pounds...but that's all a bit of a grey area with a bus registered as a motorhome and depends upon the GVW of your bus. Like I said, though, this is a murky bit of traffic code though...
Wow, great info. Thanks.

Yea, by bumper pull, I meant frame mounted hitch.

Are there any other concerns you have run into with towing the ambulance?

On a side note, how has your experience been with the E350? Have repairs been an issue as many harbingers have mentioned on here?
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Old 01-20-2021, 09:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by peteg59 View Post
Never done that but have to believe the added strain on the bus's drivetrain would lead to early component failure due to the added weight, if towing on a regular basis.

Is the ambulance 4x4?

Good luck
I am hoping to find a 4x4, but I am still a bit undecided. I hear I would have to modify the drive train a little bit, so that might deter me toward going with a 4x2. Do you have any cautions if we go 4x4?
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Old 01-20-2021, 10:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truffles View Post
Wow, great info. Thanks.

Yea, by bumper pull, I meant frame mounted hitch.

Are there any other concerns you have run into with towing the ambulance?

On a side note, how has your experience been with the E350? Have repairs been an issue as many harbingers have mentioned on here?
I should clarify that, while we own several buses and ambuli (haha!), I've never towed one of the ambuli with one of our buses...but I wouldn't hesitate to do so, assuming the hitch/tow bar were appropriate. I didn't mean to imply I'd done that...just that I knew about both sides of this equation.

As far as the E350 amublance goes, it's a great rig. It's an older 1990 with the 7.3 IDI...not super fast on the highway, but it's great for Forest Service roads in the forest or desert here.
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Old 01-20-2021, 10:58 AM   #10
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I just measured my bus and liberty since they are still connected. 58'6" I use a Blue Ox 10000# tow bar. That leaves me enough room for a small trailer 6.5 foot long. Not much. I have no idea how long your ambulance is.
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Old 01-20-2021, 11:55 AM   #11
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In case it helps your planning... I just measured our E350 ambo and it's 233 inches long, from bumper tip to bumper tip. The GVW is 10500 pounds.

photo_2021-01-20 10.54.01.jpeg
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