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Old 06-03-2019, 11:22 AM   #1
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Initial Impressions of New SMB Sprinter

We picked up our Sportsmobile Sprinter from SMB-W on 5/22. Ours is a low-roof with the R150S layout and a penthouse. Other notable additions include Aluminess bumper / box / tire carrier / ladder / bars, Rhino wheels/BFG KO2 tires, VC stage 4 suspension (done after pickup), VC front bumper with Warn winch (done after pickup), solar, AV upgrade, Isotherm fridge, etc. While this won’t be an exhaustive post, I thought I’d share my initials impressions of the vehicle and my SMB experience.

Positives
• SMB Pick-up Process – The SMB team member responsible for the walk through did a great job explain and demonstrating all the systems. I think the process could be a little more organized, but I learned what I needed to and the approach was thorough and unhurried.
• R150S Layout - After two trips already post pickup, the 150 layout is turning out perfect for our needs. I considered other options, but kept coming back to the 150, and I’m happy we stuck with it.
• Penthouse – The penthouse is great. Easy to use. Creates great space and headroom. Comfortable to sleep in, etc.
• Espar – Used it the first weekend while camping in the mountains. Worked perfectly all night. Hopefully this continues to a long time!
• Water System – The water system is well designed, if a little confusing. We have larger fresh water storage (I think 17 gallons, but I may be off).
• 12v System – The 12v system is well designed and easy to use. Solar has done a good job supplying our needs so far.
• Light Dimmers – Based on other threads, we added dimmers to the two main sets of LED lights. These are very practical and highly recommended.
• Aluminess Bumper / Box / Rigid Lights / Ladder / Bars – Already been put in active use. We like everything about all the Aluminess products we added. We also put Rigid lights in the rear bumper and these are a nice addition.
• Rhino Wheels and BFG Tires – Both look and function great.
• VC Stage 4 – Added this between our first two trips. While we haven’t really tested it yet, the ride quality improvement is clear.
• VC Bumper and Winch – Also added this between trips. Haven’t used yet.
• Artic Shades – The integrated shades are especially good and we like all the shades, although there are a bunch to deal with and store.
• Swivel Seats – The passenger swivel seat is a must have for cabin layout while camping.
• Isotherm Fridge – We got the 85l stainless (Cruise Elegance, maybe?). Works like a charm with the exception of the latch (below).
• Lagun Table – Very practical and user friendly.
• Raptor Liner / Hood – So glad we have both. Don’t need to worry about road and parking damage quite as much.
• RB Bug Screen – Haven’t installed these yet, but we bought the RB product and the quality is excellent.


Negatives
• SMB Quality Control – While we are very happy with our van overall, aspects of the SMB-W build quality and control process could be better. For example, after getting home I found two screws sticking out through the penthouse top. They also use a lot of wood screws in the build where there are better options (some are actually sticking out the bottom of the vehicle). We also had a few things caught during pickup, that thankfully were fixed before we left but these should have been caught and resolved before we arrived. The fit and finish is good, but not excellent.
• Check Engine Light – Our van had a check engine light on at pickup, which required a trip to the local MB dealer the day of pickup (wasn’t resolved), and remains on today requiring another service visit. This really should have been resolved prior to pickup.
• SMB Communications – The communications during the entire 20 month process where somewhat random and incomplete. The “black box” of the build timing and process is something that could be substantially improved.
• 110v Operation – Everything works fine, but the need to access the circuit box to turn this on and off isn’t the greatest user experience. The on/off switch for the 12v is much easier.
• Driver Controls – The driver controls from MB are pretty weak and not intuitive. They get the job done, but my 10 year old GMC has a better layout and functionality.
• MB Seats – The seats are all manually adjustable and just not very comfortable for long trips.
• SMB Shower Curtain – If I had the choice to do this one again, I would just make something and save the substantial SMB cost (which is high for the actual product).
• Horn – The MB Sprinter horn is a joke. Already replaced.
• Isotherm Fridge Latch – Our first day out, we had the door fly open on a corner which ended up denting the top of the door and scraping the entire door. Having owned boats, it amazes me these don’t come with mechanical latches to prevent this. Still trying to figure out what to add to fix this.

Bottom line, we love our new van and are happy with almost all of the decisions we made in our configurations. Thanks to many posts here that were a key part of our purchase decisions. At the same time, though, there are aspects of the process and final build that seem inconsistent with a purchase of this $ value. Given the number of new companies entering the van conversion market, we hope SMB really steps up and continues to lead the market through customer focus, quality, and innovation.
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Old 06-03-2019, 11:54 AM   #2
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• Isotherm Fridge Latch – Our first day out, we had the door fly open on a corner which ended up denting the top of the door and scraping the entire door. Having owned boats, it amazes me these don’t come with mechanical latches to prevent this. Still trying to figure out what to add to fix this.
Congrats on the new van, and thanks for the well thought out writeup.


Regarding the fridge latch, I ended up using a baby-proofing refrigerator latch, partly for the reason you mentioned, partly because we had a toddler at the time.




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Old 06-03-2019, 12:00 PM   #3
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Great write up. I can imagine quality control isn't a huge priority when you already have a 2 year waiting list.
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:56 PM   #4
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We picked up our Sportsmobile Sprinter from SMB-W on 5/22...Bottom line, we love our new van and are happy with almost all of the decisions we made in our configurations.

Great feedback, thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. Really glad to see the above statement, all the rest you will work out over time.
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Old 06-03-2019, 01:06 PM   #5
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Spent a lot of time on your thread! Can't thank you and everyone who has contributed in this amazing resource. I also have a copy of your "user manual" which I'm modifying for my van. Thanks!
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Old 06-03-2019, 08:21 PM   #6
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I would probably label your thread "Initial Impression of SMB Sprinter - SMB West." I doubt most of your negative customer service comments would happen at SMB North from my experience. I hope everything works out well for you and you enjoy your van for many years.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:26 PM   #7
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We have the Isotherm Cruise 65, the only time the door has come open while driving was when the latch was in the wrong position. The latch has two positions, a sliding piece in the top of the door frame goes to the left for venting and right for keeping it latched.
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Old 06-04-2019, 03:04 PM   #8
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Great write-up. Thanks for taking the time to share your impressions.

Driver Controls – The driver controls from MB are pretty weak and not intuitive. They get the job done, but my 10 year old GMC has a better layout and functionality.


What model year is your MB sprinter? 2018? 2019?

Thanks again.
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Old 06-06-2019, 07:34 AM   #9
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Ours is a 2018.
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Old 06-06-2019, 12:15 PM   #10
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Adding one more negative -- the fuel capacity is too small for a vehicle of this size and intent. 30 gallons would be better.
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