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Old 04-18-2016, 06:22 AM   #21
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G'day.
Register your van in Sth Dakota, No Smog Test, No Vehicle Inspection, Fees & Registration are a third
of Californian Craziness!
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2008 Yellow Ford E350 6.0 diesel eb50 4x4, Front E Locker, Asheville Eng Rebuil 20th @ 261miles, ARP Studds, 200amp Alternator, Performance Aluminium Radiator, OnBoardAir, RoadmasterActiveSuspension, Front & Rear Aluminess with Spare Tire Carrier, Aluminess Roof Rack, Titan Aft 30gallon Fuel Tank.
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Old 04-18-2016, 07:36 AM   #22
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Understood. I did that in Oregon once, until a stop sign violation called attention to the vehicle. CA looks closely now, especially in the more urban areas. This place is expensive, there is no doubt about that, but a couple of hours to the Sierra's or even less to the coast goes a long way toward making up for it!
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Old 05-08-2016, 01:43 PM   #23
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The stories of “Magic Carpet” and “Sparky” get one to thinking….

I suspect all of our stories have a similar thread as to how we got to where we are. For me growing up in the Midwest, tent camping with the family and the old ’62 Ford Country Squire station wagon was where it started.From there we moved “up” to a Starcraft tent trailer, one with a solid awning that served as the top when folded and that blew up and over collapsing the entire unit on top of us in our sleep one windy night in South Dakota – thus identifying the roots of my current aversion to the Fiamma-style awning commonly used today.



After Iowa came Louisiana and tent camping with the ‘72 Yamaha 650, lots of time spent on the beach with fond memories of Fort Lauderdale, Panama City and especially Dauphin Island in Mobile Bay.



Then California and the “boyfriend test” with my future (and current) wife – two weeks backpacking in Kings Canyon. I passed and for the years following camping consisted of getting off work on a Friday afternoon, driving for hours to get to a trailhead, sleeping on the ground next to the car and then up with the sun and down the trail with a backpack and miles to go.Funny, with my wife the geologist my pack never got lighter as rocks quickly took the place of food as it was consumed…



Then kids and all that came with it (marriage in Iceland followed by four daughters and what we fondly called the “decade of diapers”). Along the way a succession of tents, toppers, pick-up campers, a 29’ Class A motorhome and a 29’ travel trailer.With the kids out of the house the last two vehicles have been four-wheel drive trucks with toppers and a pad in the back, great for two minimalists but pretty thin on the creature comforts that become more important as time goes by.

Then the search for the elusive “perfect vehicle”. Lots of talking, lots of looking, lots of exploring options.I really thought a Four Wheel Camper on the back of a well set-up four wheel drive pickup would be the solution, but then along came the SMB “bug” that we are all afflicted with.At first the cost was a big put-off, but as I’m sure most reading this can attest to, the more one learns about SMB’s the more cost-effective (I know, I know, I am justifying but we can all fill in the blanks in this part of the story with our own) they become.After all, what’s not to like?For us, the one big item was inside access – not having to crawl out of the back of the vehicle to get to the front is what eventually sealed the deal.

Then come all of the decisions. Off-road capability, must-have features, stealth camping ability, parking requirements, on and off grid capabilities, the list goes on and on and is individual to each of us…I must pause here for a big “thank you” to all who contribute to this forum for all of the thought provoking ideas and discussions.For one looking to learn, the information and resources are here and all one has to do is to invest the (very pleasurable) time to read and ask questions.Again, THANK YOU ALL!

And that brings us to the reason I started this build thread - Flint, our soon-to-be 2016 Sprinter 4x4 RB 150S. I have done my best to identify the decisions made in this thread; perhaps this post will give you some insight as to the reasons behind some of the decisions.I am still working full time and see no change to that for the next 5+ years, thus we are hoping to get a lot of use out of Flint with the constraints that work provides followed by the freedom that will come once full-time work fades away.At any rate, I believe I have found someone to visit the build in Austin on a regular basis and thus ongoing build pictures should be a part of this thread going forward once the build begins.We will see as the adventure continues!
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Old 07-15-2016, 10:16 PM   #24
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First trip to SMB West early in November 2015…
Second trip to SMB West mid November 2015…
Van at dealer in Austin, deposit placed with SMB South late November 2015…
Van moved from dealer to SMB South early in the second week of July 2016…
Van picked up by Custom Sounds for stereo, alarm and camera install late in the week of July 2016…
….THE BUILD HAS BEGUN!

Here is the blank canvass SMB is starting with:



And here is the floor plan, fairly standard 150S build with a few owner options. Nothing fancy, but enough to call Flint our home-away-from-home.



I will do my best to update this thread with pictures and pertinent information as we go along, a bit difficult with me in California and the van in Texas, but we will see what we can do…

Late August is the target completion, then from Texas to Aluminess in San Diego for the front bumper and nerf bar install and then up to Van Compass in Atascadero for some underbody protection on our way up to the Bay Area . This is looking like it will be a lot of fun now that it has finally started.

Wish us luck!
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Old 07-16-2016, 12:50 AM   #25
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Thanks for sharing the build process, your choices align closely with mine if I also decide to take the plunge. Following with great interest
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Old 07-16-2016, 08:59 PM   #26
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Thanks for sharing. Curious what they will use to insulate. We are seeing the industry move towards 3M Thinsulate(TM)
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Old 07-17-2016, 08:29 PM   #27
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We need to talk. Almost 3000 miles on my 2015 4x4 pebble grey low top. PM me if you want to talk.
Hello,
We are looking at the same vehicle you have and were wondering what you think of it? We have a Roadtrek now and find it too low to the ground and loaded with lots of things we don't need. We have visited two of the three factories and feel the low top with PH would be fantastic with lower windage and center of gravity but plenty of space and headroom when stopped. Would love to hear from you, thanks.
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Old 07-17-2016, 09:53 PM   #28
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DocSavage has a similar van and he and I spoke at length as I was going about the process of decision, decisions, decisions! We spoke after the van was purchased and before I finalized my selections and his experience and insight were very helpful. If you want to speak with him for his experience you will have to PM him and set something up, if you want to speak to me do the same, however for me the experience will come after we pick the van up - currently scheduled for sometime at the end of August, but we will see.... After pick-up we will shake-down in the Austin area for a day or two and then head west to San Diego and then follow the coast up to the Bay Area. By that time we will have a pretty good idea of the van's road manners, but anything off-road, (except for the possibility of some sand as we pass by Pismo Beach...) will have to wait until we get home and have a chance to stock the van with more than the basic essentials that we will start out with in Austin.

We looked seriously at the Roadtrek option and just couldn't see that it would meet our needs. Nicely done, but too much comfort and etc. for our taste. Glad we made the decision, glad we got in line and waited our turn, REALLY GLAD the build has finally started, really looking forward to the view from this perspective!

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Old 07-21-2016, 11:28 AM   #29
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You still getting an Isotherm CRUISE 65 Classic fridge? SMB Austin is ok installing it? Thx!
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Old 07-22-2016, 10:39 AM   #30
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You still getting an Isotherm CRUISE 65 Classic fridge? SMB Austin is ok installing it? Thx!
Yes and yes. Their upcharge is $380 over the cost of the standard Norcold 2.7 cubic foot unit.
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