Locksmith to the Rescue! 

Jan. 2, 2024
Former ambulance rides again as ultimate locksmith service vehicle   By Wayne Winton  

There have been a lot of requests for the story behind this ambulance conversion into locksmith service vehicle. First of all, it’s a Ford F350 diesel motor, four-wheel drive, with a huge 15,000-pound wench. The giant bumper has been wrecked once and definitely did its job of keeping the occupants safe. We had it put back on to do it again. The truck has knobby, grippy snow tires with some studs, ready for snowy Colorado roads. This thing is a beast!

There is lots and lots of storage in the many side compartments. The back opens up and then you’ve got access to a huge workspace. It has a tow hitch. Inside, there are lights up in the top. Then it is lined with Milwaukee Tools’ units, filled with tools, as well as other boxes and shelves, hole saw kits, blue punches. All of the batteries are in one storage unit, and the batteries with power inverters are in another. Anytime you set up your battery with a power inverter, you must have your battery less than 12 inches away with a massive fuse.

Interior comfort features include a captain’s chair and air conditioning.

On the other side of the interior is the giant Milwaukee Tools toolbox with all of our key machines on top: a Framon #2, Rytan duplicator, key blanks in bins and all kinds of extras like spray paint. There’s another door to get in and out. You come in and go up a step. It’s easier to get in on this side.

Next we have more Packout equipment and a pinning station, LockCaddy storage pieces, Versastack, a magnetic piece, gloves and more storage. You can sit in the chair and work at the pinning station.

It’s a really cool design and an awesome setup. This thing, quite literally, is the King of the Road!

Next, we take a look at some of the side compartments, accessed from the exterior. The big compartments towards the back with double doors contain tow straps and an air compressor that runs the suspension. Moving forward, a pull-out drawer has lots of smaller bins filled with various items. Then a larger square storage space contains a backup generator and a vertical compartment has hanging tools. These storage compartments are all to the rear of the side door.

Moving forward to the driver’s seat, the truck has an automatic transmission. Between the seats is a power inverter (and a trash can).

When originally setting this vehicle up, it was a regular ambulance, so we had to do all of the painting. I brought this into the shop and we actually sanded it down and painted it ourselves and then ordered the graphics.

Just a few notes about owning an ambulance: It is extremely expensive to operate and maintain. This is a diesel and we are probably getting around 10 miles per gallon. If it was gas, we’d be going the other way; we’d be using gallons per mile, especially if it had one of those old 460 motors. It is large and bulky and it’s a little bit difficult to park. Those are some of the drawbacks. The maintenance is definitely more expensive on this vehicle. It’s harder on the transmission and the engine. This vehicle has about 180,000 miles on it and we have had to replace the transmission.

Otherwise, it’s been a very good vehicle. Because it is so large, it has all the room that you could ever want inside. It’s like having your full workshop at the jobsite. With all the Packout gear, everything clicks into place and can be moved around easily. If we need to move equipment from this truck to another, we certainly can.

It’s a full-blown shop on wheels and we even have the ability to tow. We often tow a trailer to deliver and install safes.

Wayne Winton is the owner of Tri-County Locksmith Services, located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. For more information, check out Wayne’slockshop.com and lockreference.com.