It may not have been made completely evident by previous posts, but Chelsea and I have not taken delivery of the Campbulance yet. In fact, with the exception of the two grainy photos posted on this website, we haven't even seen the thing. As of now, all we've done is throw cash at a man in the mid-west, whom we've only met over the phone (we'll call him T-Dub). Our first big Campbulance adventure starts today, as we travel from Vail Valley to Ohio, borne on the backs of airplanes and Chelsea's college friends, to trade a stack of dead presidents for an old van.
T-Dub, the seller of the Campbulance and soon to be previous owner, is a stand-up guy. It was his service/maintenance record that made Chelsea and I comfortable with rolling the dice on this adventure. The conversation that sold me on this particular E350 went something like this:
"So, T-Dub, at the top of your Craigslist ad you've written that the 'AC is bad, rear lines bad' but towards the bottom it says 'AC is good'. What happened to the air conditioning?"
"Oh yeah, I thought the rear lines were bad, but I ended up replacing the compressor, condenser, pump and all the lines anyways."
At which point, I made a delighted frowny face of confusion; frowny because that's a lot of work for non-vital system on a vehicle listed to sell and delighted because it meant that inside the time that the ad was on Craigslist, T-Dub had poured hundreds (if not the better part of a thousand) of dollars into that AC in parts and labor (the AC in an ambulance is extensive). If he took such good care of the AC in a van he wasn't going to own, I could only imagine the rest of the vehicle was babied as well.
I spoke with T-Dub again yesterday, and we've hit another hiccup. The recently replaced, really big alternator went belly up. Luckily a quick diagnostic check on both the van and the part showed the fault lay with the alternator's wiring, and not with Campbulance's circuits. T-Dub scrambled, warranteed the part, and laid down another $50 for an upgrade, with the hopes that the van is ready to roll out when we arrive tomorrow. He even had his mechanic call the parts distributor and request that part was checked before it left the warehouse, to reduce the chance that another lemon alternator is installed. Fun aside: the next two alternators pulled off the shelf were faulty.
I called my little brother last evening to tell him the story. About two sentences in, just after I said, "So now we need to replace the alternator," he interrupted:
"This is how Chris gets stuck in Ohio."
Maybe. Maybe he's right. Luckily we'll be stuck in Ohio in a camper.
So now the mighty Campbulance adventure hinges on the USPS, and the arrival of a big 'ol alternator. We're leaving the valley this afternoon, driven by one of Chelsea's buddies from Epic Mix photo, and then we'll fly out of DIA this evening. Wish us luck!
Lastly, this will hopefully be the final photo-free post. As soon as we actually get to the Campbulance, this site will be inundated with images. Wait and see.