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Old 08-29-2007, 10:05 PM   #1
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4x4 Impressions

Hello all,
My wife and I are pondering on what type of SMB to purchase in the near future. I would appreciate everyone's input if possible. We currently own an 87 Volkswagen Westfalia Weekender. We take this thing camping here in southern CA and to surf. Unfortunatley we are affraid to go anywhere north or out of state because of reliability issues. Now we discoverd the great world of SMB! Even my wife fell in love with it when we went to visit the Fresno Factory. We can't decide if we really need the 4x4 option. We have never had a 4x4 vehicle, never gone off road... We want to mainly use the SMB for everyday use and cross country, even up to Canada and Alaska. We have a 1 1/2 yr old and I don't know what type of ride the 4x4 will be. What do you guys think. Thanks in Advance! SG33
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Old 08-29-2007, 11:04 PM   #2
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Seems to me that if you never had, used, or needed four wheel drive, then save the dough. My friend has a 2WD SMB and has a great time. You can still drive a lot of graded dirt roads.
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:45 AM   #3
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SMB 4X4

If we didn't have a 4X4 SMB, I would definitely have a Sprinter, probably from Sportsmobile Texas. The Sprinters are a little larger with a full bathroom, a bit more luxurious, and get better gas mileage (around 24mpg). And they are cheaper than a SMB 4X4!

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Old 08-30-2007, 09:12 AM   #4
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Re: SMB 4X4

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Originally Posted by Ed in Montana
If we didn't have a 4X4 SMB, I would definitely have a Sprinter, probably from Sportsmobile Texas. The Sprinters are a little larger with a full bathroom, a bit more luxurious, and get better gas mileage (around 24mpg). And they are cheaper than a SMB 4X4!

Ed in Montana
+1 on the sprinter van. That would be my choice if I could not own a 4x4 SMB. Thus far, I've used 4wd most often for driving in the snow. It is nice to cruise by the parking lot of cars chaining up on the side of the road without having to stop. Nothing extreme yet off road, but having 4x4 available does give me more confidence when exploring new areas.
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Old 08-30-2007, 12:10 PM   #5
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If you move from the Westfalia to a van you're going to have a lot more weight, so things like sand you floated over in the past you might get buried without 4x, however it seems like you don't need it.

My brother did the Westfalia to SMB Sprinter thing and loves it. He went for the gas mileage, room and reliability (also have Westfalia problems all the time). He'll be flat towing his Jeep too for the 4x4 stuff.

4x4 is a lot if you're not really going to use it, and the ride is sway-ier and jouncy on bad state highways. Personally I am a 4x nut and love being able to turn down questionable paths without much fear, but if that's not your bag I'd consider the Sprinter as well.
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Old 08-30-2007, 02:07 PM   #6
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The Sprinter would deffinately give us more space, however, I am thinking of sleeping arrangments...here comes the penthouse. I am really sold on the RB Ford SMB becasue of the versatility. I have a small Toyota Tacoma for around town, but I also want to drive my SMB most days. Do you guys use your SMB's for a daily driver? Thanks a bunch
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Old 08-31-2007, 11:23 PM   #7
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If you go with a Ford SMB and decide against getting the four wheel drive initially you can add it later. SMB can do it for you, or S&K can with more options/variations.

I have to say if I didn't know we needed the 4x4 we'd be getting the Sprinter van. As it is we were down around Mt Rainier the last few days. There are a ton of gnarly forest service roads we'd have gone down exploring and probably camped off of if we had our van now. As it is we had the the option of maybe finding a spot at one of the camp grounds -- swamped and ugly this time of year -- or paying $200/night for motel rooms. We chose the later. It may take 10 years but I figure the 4x4 system will pay for itself in saved camp ground fees and motel costs. At least that's how I'm rationalize it till I sign the check.
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Old 09-01-2007, 11:21 AM   #8
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We also have a 87 VW Vanagon, but the Syncro (AWD) version with an Adventurewagen conversion. We're waiting on a SMB. We spent a lot of time thinking about the 4x4 issue, and finally opted for it. Although the VW is not going to do the Rubicon Trail, it is quite capable off-road and has gotten us (and out of) a number of places. It's handled sand, snow, mud, and loose gravel. While trundling along in a self-contained home is not exactly "roughing it," being able to get off pavement and graded dirt roads adds a sense of adventure.

Another option you might consider is 2WD with a locking rear differential, which will give you additional ability to get out of trouble.
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Old 09-05-2007, 11:32 PM   #9
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Count us in for the (87) VW Westfalia turned SMB RB 4x4 crew! One of the reasons we bought this rig was to explore the unknown with our 18 month old. These are heavy vans and if you do want to venture off the beaten path, especailly with a wife and baby, you should weigh the 4x4 pkg.

Most of the destinations are either in the mountains, with snow or at the beaches, with sand. The beauty of the SMB is the 4x4 enables you to go where the Winnebago Tribe cannot dream of. For my wife and I, this made the whole SMB our only choice.

We're at the end of our wait...we pick up our SMB in Fresno in late September :-)

-Jeff
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Old 09-06-2007, 02:38 PM   #10
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Hi Jeff,

Thanks for the advice. We also have an 18 Mos old. That is the main reason we opted for an SMB. I think we are going to go for the 4x4. Please PM me when you get your SMB and let me know what you and your family think. Unfortunately we won't be ready until we sell our 87 VW. Thanks again to everyone for your input. I will definately keep everyone updated on our count down for a new SMB! Cheers
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