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Old 10-04-2016, 01:48 AM   #151
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I agree with your observation, I had a really tough time trying to find a definitive answer as to the final height of the van. SMB Texas finally told me to figure on 8"-10" to a Thule crossbar.

To answer your question I took the following pictures. I would have done it sooner, but a quick weekend trip to Nevada and Lake Tahoe got in the way....

To measure I parked the van on flat concrete and laid a 4x4 on top, first on the Thule rails and second on the top of the solar panels (note that SMB Fresno installs them a bit differently.) Also, the PH top has a slight crown, thus I measured at the center to get the maximum height.

From the Thule rails:




From the top of the solar panels:




As you can see, 8'-5" to the top of the Thule rails and 8"-7" to the top of the solar panels, this with BFG KO2 265-70R17's on the van.

I still need to install the Thule crossbars, that will give me my final height (which will be in the 8'-10" range). I was going to take them off the truck before I sold it and move them over, but they became part of the sale thus now I need to go out and buy them first. Not a bad thing as it will let me move from the old square style to the newer, and supposedly quieter, aerodynamic style.

Hopefully this clarifies the issue for you. I included the pictures so you could see for yourself just where the point of measurements were, having it told to you is one thing, seeing it is quite another.

Fitz.

Your Merc van is 2" higher than my Yellow 08 Ford e350
SMB Penthouse with Aluminess Roofrack & 4" lift.

Those Merc SMB's are really nice. Fresno SMB had one up at NE Overland Expo, Plain, WA, June last year. I was really impressed.

My Ford SMB build has been in the planning, building, US Trip, New Zealand right hand drive conversion etc, now for over 2.5 years. Will be ready to ship to Australia in 2-3 weeks. Then shipping to Perth, Western Australia, Engineering inspection for build compliance to Australian Design Rules, Customs Import Duty & Western Australian Registration & Stamp Duty, on what they think it's worth!

We have a one off Import Permit having created a new classification for this Ford Van. This is the first Ford Sportsmobile to come to Australia and probably the only Right Hand Drive in the world. Many hurdles to jump.

Had I bought a right hand drive 4x4 Merc Van and shipped to Fresno, USA, would have been a lot easier, and far cheaper, but they were not available 2.5 years ago.

The exercise has been exausting, many late night, and very early morning calls, emails to various people & organisations in the USA. And calls & emails to various Australian companies and Government Departments over here too!

I thoroughly enjoyed my 6 weeks, 13 States & 11,000 miles in the US last year meeting many interesting people & seeing so much amazing scenery.,

My SMB will be very well earned, when it finally arrives in Perth, Western Australia.

Fitz, your posts like so many others has distracted me gratefully whilst I've waited for my Van.


Cheers Doug
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Old 10-04-2016, 09:44 AM   #152
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That thing came out awesome!!

I'm curious about the Penthouse. Looks like the base pf the bed comes from the rear to the front but not all the way. So the height is a little more up towards the front. Is the base of the sleeping area one fixed board? Can you remove that? I'm pretty sure you can but figured I'd ask. Would love to see pics of the various configurations.

Such a sweet ride. Sounds like you are really digging it and I can see why!
Yes, the bed is one unit. It can be left in the down sleeping position, attached to the underside of the PH top and raised to be up and out of the way, or removed completely and stored elsewhere. It is a very flexible arrangement and was the one feature that sold my wife on the penthouse configuration at first sight.

You are correct in that there is an area to the front where the bed doesn't extend where there is more height. I am 6'-0" and while I can't stand erect here with the PH down I can slouch a bit and easily move around and get dressed - pure luxury compared to the topper on the back of the truck or in a back packing tent!

As far as digging the van, YES is the only response! We were at Lake Tahoe last weekend (31 degrees at night, COLD for this Iowa-born Californian) and next is the central CA coast (San Simeon tomorrow, then several days in the Big Sur area). I will take pictures of the various PH bed configurations and will post them here at the first opportunity , but the first priority is to spend some time on the coast!
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Old 10-04-2016, 10:52 PM   #153
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I will take pictures of the various PH bed configurations and will post them here at the first opportunity , but the first priority is to spend some time on the coast!
Sweet, look forward to seeing them. Enjoy the trip, sounds awesome. I (and i'm sure many others too) wouldn't complain if posted up some more exterior pics too!
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:41 AM   #154
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Thanks to all for the measurements, it really helped!
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Old 10-08-2016, 11:17 PM   #155
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· A Rotopax fuel or water container will be mounted on the back of the Deluxe Box.Two Rotopax will be ordered depending on the need at the time, one for water (I’m wondering if Jack Daniels can ride along in here…), and another for gasoline for the generator.
The above is from Post #19 in this thread.

FYI, Jack Daniels DOES ride here, and he rides here well!

Note that on a Sprinter, a 2 gallon Rotopax will fit in this space. I have measured, and the critical dimension is the leading edge of the Rotopax lock to the back of the Sprinter door - in my case there is just under a half an inch of clearance.

But Jack doesn't care, plenty of room and always at the ready!

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Old 10-08-2016, 11:31 PM   #156
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Got Bugs?

We just took a trip (off the beaten path) up through the CA Central Valley. Late yesterday afternoon we drove through the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge (west of Merced, north of Los Banos, beautiful place) just as the sun was setting.

I have lived in the Midwest and the South. I have ridden motorcycles extensively in both. Never have I been pelted with bugs as I was last night. I finally had to stop and clean the windshield - I simply couldn't see and trying the wipers and sprayers was a BIG mistake! Once we camped I cleaned the windshield and the light bar cover again (in the dark) just so we would be ready to go if needed. In the morning, this is what I found...

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Old 10-08-2016, 11:42 PM   #157
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Exrerior Pictures

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Originally Posted by IPT View Post
I (and i'm sure many others too) wouldn't complain if posted up some more exterior pics too!
You asked (Post 153)....




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Old 10-09-2016, 12:17 AM   #158
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PH Bed

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I will take pictures of the various PH bed configurations and will post them here at the first opportunity , but the first priority is to spend some time on the coast!
Regarding IPT's original question in Post 150, with additional information in posts 152 & 153...

Here are three pictures looking up at the underside of the PH bed. Note that the first two pictures are of a one piece bed (mine, built in Austin) and the third is of a two piece bed ( built in Fresno). This is an owner-option, be sure to specify what you want! Also, note that the first two pictures show the open space just behind the front seats. I haven't measured the height here, but at 6' I can slouch a bit and stand here, thus it must be 5'-10'' or 5'-11". Perfectly adequate for a place to stand and get dressed.





And here are two additional shots, the first looking in the PH bed and the second looking out. It's a Great Space!


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Old 10-09-2016, 08:10 AM   #159
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Fritz -- Loving your build and your pictures (bugs and all!) Many thanks!

Reply to #155: I've wondered if there is enough space on the side of the box (left side looking from rear of van -- opposite the "shovel side") to hang a Rotopax Universal Mounting plate to hold (2) two-gallon combos or 4 gallon packs? (plenty o'Jack for everyone!)
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Old 10-09-2016, 11:21 AM   #160
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Front End Alignment

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Hi fitz

My build is coming due Sept 27th... Have you had an alignment done?

Safe travels!
How did your pick-up go? Details!

Regarding the front end alignment. For those who don't know, these vehicles are assembled in Germany, then to avoid the "Chicken Tax" they are dis-assembled, shipped, and then re-assembled in this country. As a result a common complaint is that the front end is often a bit out of alignment. This should go away as an issue upon the completion of the new South Carolina assembly facility, we will see.

We picked up Flint on 9/8/16 (one month ago yesterday!) and have just over 3,400 miles on the clock. At speeds above 75 mph a slight vibration could be felt, and there was a bit of drift to the side.

I finally had time to get it into the alignment shop yesterday afternoon, here is the result:



The bottom line - the alignment needed to be done. We will be heading to The Valley Of Fire Meet Up later this week, that will be the first opportunity to check the result on the open road at speed. I'm expecting the handling to go from good to better, we will soon see. Come and join us!
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