Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-11-2012, 02:24 PM   #131
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Central Coast, CA
Posts: 192
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Hey All,

A report from the front.

I got here at about 8:05 A.M. The last couple of miles were like the "Mogadishu Mile". A car was on fire next to the road, I saw a pickup cut off a big rig going for an offramp and there was weaving and tire rubber smoke everywhere, and at my turnoff there was a big rig with fluids running out from under the hood with CA Hiway Patrol officers directing traffic with flares lit along the road. Wow, all of this just for me?

I am met by the cast of SMB's finest, heroes these guys will be to me, I hope. I have a service guy, the Quality Control guy, the Customer Service guy, and the Foreman. We reivew the day's work.
1. Replace lock on glove box.
2. Repair the dash, now replace the dash around the instrument cluster.
3. Provide additional venting for the refer if necessary. SMB feels that the space below the refer is enough room. As long as it meets the square inch requirement then that is fine with me.
4. Repair the hole in the refer wall (ust below the freezer). Glue plastic plug over it.
5. Replace scratched microwave.
6. Test drive the thing for rattles.
7. Replace the vinyl shrouds (padded vinyl trim around windows). Inspected so both sides will get it.
8. Replace the vinyl window covers since snaps will be in new locations. Original screw holes likely weakened because the screws can split the wood backing they are attached to (maybe 1/2" thick plywood strips).
9. Strap the table/bed base to something in the rear.
10. Seal remaining holes under the van with the special sealant. QC guy found many more so may put it up on the lift.
11. The rear doors don't close easily but it is likely an issue that will work out over time as the seals break in. No work here.
12. Diagnose and repair water leak.
13. Put snaps on the vinyl pouch for the table leg and tripod (courtesy item).
14. Replace the upholstery on the driver's seat. There was a small cut in the seat. It must have been something very sharp. Foreman and I had some words over this as he said it left the shop perfectly and I took issue with the implication. Net result was that he is authorizing repair.
15. I showed where the cord in the window blinds was missing and how it looked bad. They will try to replace the shade but it will be difficult. Note: too much of a chance that something might get damaged as part of the shower stall will have to come out. It will be left as a reminder of this visit.

Man, that's a lot of work.

I tell them that I want to be there when they open up the heater cabinet to look for the leak. I am called over and they try to get the cabinet face off. They can't at first until the service guy gets a torch out and heats up a screwdriver to melt his way into the screw head (ahem, just like I said to do it). Cover is off and nothing is apparent. They are going to fire up the water pump and we all start asking if the electrical (110v) is disconnected. Someone says it is disconnected and I look at the microwave and the clock is on so know it it is connected and say so. Guy goes around and unplugs the van (I was told to turn off the breaker first but I guess you don't always have to do it...). Water pump goes on and... crap, water is running down behind the wall in torrents. Guess I am happy with my decision not to turn on the water and get a motel last Saturday. I wonder who should pay for the motel bill now... I am later told that a screw (edit: 2 separate locations, 1 higher than the other, 2 different lines (H&C)) was sunk into the line when they replaced the window shroud the Friday of pickup. The shrould was replaced because they did some work so took it off and dropped it and scuffed it. They made a new one but by then the blue tape used to identify water line routing was gone and we have a leak.

The rattles/squeaks were identified.

I was shown the old instrument cluser (looks like a plug n'play modular system) and you can clearly see a line of fine scratches and a scuffed area on the lens. I assume, as well as QC Guy, that dropping in the keys and pulling them out has done this as well as scuff up the ledge in front of the instruments. As QC Guys says this is an OFI (opoortunity for improvement). There may be a few more opportunities before the day is done.

I shell out comments and advice freely. I am here against my desires so this is their punishment. Pontificating all day long. QC Guy is taking it well even as I ask him if he is proud of this van. He does not appear to be and his goal is to be, I think. I did make it very clear that it is going to take a lot to make me happy and even more to make the wife happy. She just feels volated by this whole ordeal. FWIW: Turns out QC Guy is from Mountain View like me and we only lived a couple miles apart. Small world.

The Foreman comes over and appeared worried. I'm thinking "crap, did a forklift back into the van?". He takes me over to the van and shows me a series of scuffs and scratches on the plastic trim on the pillars and door panels. I tell him "I know, they have always been there". I tell him how I even saw his guy do one right in front of me then tell him that I am not rediculous. A few little scuffs are going to happen and this material scuffs and scratches easily, bad choice of materials n MBZ's part if you ask me. He looks stunned. I said that there are some scratches on the wood paneling too. I said that maybe I am more fair than you think. He seems relieved but puzzled. I also apologize to him for cussing him out this morning in front of everyone when he essentially accused me of damaging the seat myself. Of course I now get a newly upholstered seat so I can at least put a preliminary value on a brief cussing out. Since I did not discover the cut until after I left SMB I wasn't going to make a big deal out of it or ask them to replace it, I just wanted them to know that I knew and have them see if their guy might have a way to trim the cut or something to clean it up. You could only see it from certain angles.

Seeing the van beng pulled apart for the 2nd time is too depressing so I leave the work area. I am defintely pushing for an extended warranty. Do you think I deserve at least that?

I talk to the Foreman about what mght happen if I am on the road and another thing pops up like this leak. He said that you can get it repaired and he has seen the company reimburse the owners later. I feel a little better.

With everything being done I want to focus on quaity of the work and not rush them. So I tell them that if they need more time then put me up in a nice local hotel and I'll stay the night so they can do things right. The wife and I discussed this very thing since we like to be prepared for the worst case, just in case, good motto for this van. Just don't put me next to the sewage treatment plant but make sure there is a good restaurant nearby.

Sales/PM Guy waves but won't come near me. I don't remember filing for or being issued any restraining orders. What gives? I showered this morning - at 5:00 AM. It is confirmed this morning that he did know about the dash patch and paint which he never told me about. I wonder how much another good cussing would be worth? A light bar maybe? Just kidding, maybe he will drop by before the day is out, he is very busy I am told.

From the front line this is Chumley.
__________________

__________________
Charlie is the best antidote for a tough week at work. I get to see a different side of this great country and relax in different places on every trip. My vacation home is parked where money can't buy residence. Life is a long journey and my magic carpet is named Charlie.
Chumley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 06:18 PM   #132
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Central Coast, CA
Posts: 192
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Keith,

I saw the fittings for the water line connections, they appear barbed and are also crimped. Look solid. The installation was good, the aim with a screw gun not so.

I am running the 215/85-R16 which I cannot find an alternate size for, like maybe a 225/80 which I think would still work with the duallies. I don't know much about running duallies and it is as if there is a mandate demanding secrecy about tire sizing. I guess no one wants to take responsibility for someone like me oversizing a tire at their recommendation and having a problem. Heck, I had a problem finding the tire valve on the duallies as it is.

I did order two Michelin LTX A/T2s for the front. I am hoping that this helps with the tire balance issue since I have read in the Sprinter Source site how bad these tires can be and at 75-80 there is just too much vibration which increases with road speed. I also believe it is possible that the tires had flat spotted a bit from sitting for so long before they were rebalanced by SMB. I was assured that this was not the case because they move the vans so much but I know mine sat at least 3 weeks in one spot and doubt the tires were brought up to speed and temp to get them undone. But then I seem to worry a lot about these things....

I don't think that trying to fix the dash on their own is normal. I doubt anyone else has tried to pull them out of their comfort zone as routinely as I did. I am just used to thinking that if someone says they can do it then you do it. I was warned here that this type of behavior might create issues but what can I say, I trusted the guys and thought it was basic stuff. I don't think they would have messed with anyone else' dash. Maybe scratch them up but not drill and patch.

Still here and it looks like maybe everything will get done today after all. They are pressure testing the water system now (after everything was reassembled oh well).

Thanks.

Chumley
__________________

__________________
Charlie is the best antidote for a tough week at work. I get to see a different side of this great country and relax in different places on every trip. My vacation home is parked where money can't buy residence. Life is a long journey and my magic carpet is named Charlie.
Chumley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 09:06 PM   #133
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 43
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Thank You SportsMobile!!!

My wife and I enjoyed working with SMB custom designing and building our Sprinter. The process was really a lot of fun. The plan was thought out carefully before production began and the finished van was spot on. Any small issues were taken care of quickly. Every person at SMB has always been professional and concerned about our needs.

We now have over 70,000 miles and over 260 fun nights in our SMB. The van has taken us across the US to Maine, Eastern Canada, Alaska, Western Canada and above the Arctic Circle. We continue to explore the Western US and can't imagine a better way to travel. Every time we come home we are planning the next adventure. Life is so fun. Nothing is perfect and if that is your goal you will always be unhappy.

We are planning and looking forward to SMB number two.

Henry and Kathy
YAKHLR
__________________
Sprinter RB Penthouse
yakhlr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 09:42 PM   #134
Senior Member
 
kmessinger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Disguised as a fat guy, deep inside a secret bunker, drinking martinis, playing rock and country.
Posts: 488
Send a message via Yahoo to kmessinger
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

What about the cat?
__________________
2008 2500 Sportsmobile West conversion, badged Mercedes, 22B package, accessory group, adjustable idle control, sway bar upgrade, koni shocks, daily drive.
kmessinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2012, 10:18 PM   #135
Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Orange County, CA
Posts: 43
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Keith

Our cat Merlin has traveled most of those miles with us. Not many cats have been to the Arctic Circle and beyond. Merlin thinks the van belongs to him and can't wait for the top to go up so he can spy on the campgrounds. Pets can make the adventure more fun. I think your dog Presley would agree.

Henry
__________________
Sprinter RB Penthouse
yakhlr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2012, 12:49 AM   #136
Senior Member
 
windguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: SoCal
Posts: 249
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by yakhlr
Nothing is perfect and if that is your goal you will always be unhappy.
Henry,

Good words to live by. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Don't think I ever checked out your photo gallery before. very nice. you have a great eye for taking pics and you've been to some wonderful places. heck, your cat is more traveled than I am. how can that be?

I take it from one of your pics that your rig was built in the fall of 2008, about four years ago.
That must have been about the same time Keith had his done and he mentioned that was an early Sprinter conversion for SMBW.

Happy Travels!
windguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2012, 07:08 AM   #137
Senior Member
 
tonyvoudy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: North Georgia
Posts: 212
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chumley

I did order two Michelin LTX A/T2s for the front. I am hoping that this helps with the tire balance issue since I have read in the Sprinter Source site how bad these tires can be and at 75-80 there is just too much vibration which increases with road speed. I also believe it is possible that the tires had flat spotted a bit from sitting for so long before they were rebalanced by SMB. I was assured that this was not the case because they move the vans so much but I know mine sat at least 3 weeks in one spot and doubt the tires were brought up to speed and temp to get them undone. But then I seem to worry a lot about these things....
My understanding is MB usually overfills the tires prior to shipping as they tend to sit on lots awhile. (In fact, I believe a lot of car dealers do the same thing) In my case, my fronts were overfilled a good 20PSI over recommendation because of this reason. I did not realize they were over inflated until my ride home from SMB so I took the van to the MB dealer I bought it from and asked them the proper PSI.

Incidentally, as an FYI, The dealer I bought the van from asked me to bring it in once I picked it up from SMB to “check it over” for any issues related to the conversion. I was ok with that since my sales rep told me he would fill the tank up as well. (You bet I brought it in on fumes! $100 fill up.) SMB also filled it up so it was nice to get two free fill-up. The left turn signal was also out which apparently ended up being a defect in the socket and not the bulb itself.
tonyvoudy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2012, 02:00 PM   #138
Senior Member
 
windguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: SoCal
Posts: 249
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by kmessinger
Our microwave is not vented. Doesn't require it looking at the manuals. I don't doubt yours needs venting but I just don't understand why.
Keith,

I found a good explanation on an appliance user forum about microwave oven venting.

The issue is that a counter top microwave is not designed to fit into an enclosed space. The air you feel coming from under, or the back of the microwave is circulating air. Although you might not see any issues right away, I would be concerned about long-term use and its effects by installing it as a built-in. 30 seconds for coffee once a day probably wont be an issue, but prolonged, regular use might cause it to overheat without a fresh air source.

this makes a lot of sense to me. the combo micro/oven we have in our kitchen vents to the front because it's designed to be installed as a built-in. not sure what type of microwave oven SMB uses. It's also possible they've changed models in the four years since yours was built.

Do you use your microwave a lot?
To me it seems like an economical way to heat something up quickly assuming you have ample battery or shore power rather than using propane. more convenient too. At home we use ours all the time.

Cheers!
windguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2012, 03:38 PM   #139
Senior Member
 
kmessinger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Disguised as a fat guy, deep inside a secret bunker, drinking martinis, playing rock and country.
Posts: 488
Send a message via Yahoo to kmessinger
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chumley
I have read in the Sprinter Source site how bad these tires can be and at 75-80 there is just too much vibration which increases with road speed. I also believe it is possible that the tires had flat spotted a bit from sitting for so long before they were rebalanced by SMB.
The 2008's have a speed limiter and 80 is tops. I have had my up to that speed once or twice and notice no vibration but then I am not running the stock tires. I normally run 60 -65. 60 mph in the 08's (just below 2200 rpm is the spot for maximum mileage. As for flat spots, that is like talking about tire pressure or oil, politics and religion. There are all sorts of different opinions on when, if ever, modern tires get flat spots and if they do how long does it take to get them and get rid of them.

Regards,

Keith
__________________
2008 2500 Sportsmobile West conversion, badged Mercedes, 22B package, accessory group, adjustable idle control, sway bar upgrade, koni shocks, daily drive.
kmessinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2012, 03:50 PM   #140
Senior Member
 
kmessinger's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Disguised as a fat guy, deep inside a secret bunker, drinking martinis, playing rock and country.
Posts: 488
Send a message via Yahoo to kmessinger
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyvoudy
My understanding is MB usually overfills the tires prior to shipping as they tend to sit on lots awhile. (In fact, I believe a lot of car dealers do the same thing) In my case, my fronts were overfilled a good 20PSI over recommendation because of this reason. I did not realize they were over inflated until my ride home from SMB so I took the van to the MB dealer I bought it from and asked them the proper PSI.
The car dealers I have experience with under inflate the tires so the ride is much softer and smoother when you are trying it out.

Correct tire pressure - wow, how many opinions are there on that. Do you follow what MB put on the inside of the door or take it up to the max pressure on the side of the tire or leave it where your dealer or tire store sets it. I think at various times I have tried all of them. TireSafety.com says "Under inflation is the leading cause of tire failure." I know you need to weigh your vehicle when full loaded to get some idea of what you might need to do with inflation.

Regards,

Keith
__________________

__________________
2008 2500 Sportsmobile West conversion, badged Mercedes, 22B package, accessory group, adjustable idle control, sway bar upgrade, koni shocks, daily drive.
kmessinger is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Sportsmobile Registry

MoMo

skyrat

PhoTow

Otter
Add your Sportsmobile
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:17 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.