Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 03-04-2013, 03:15 PM   #211
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Central Coast, CA
Posts: 192
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

I have some overdue responses, sorry for taking so long but I am getting busy again.

Chromisdesigns:

I think I get your drift on this but check me if I stray. I was starting to focus on the hot water circuit but you got me to look under the van again and understand where the hot water line is running, try to understand the water system in general. So under the van with my trusty camera I went.

The flat plate is on the side opposite the shower (under the galley cabinet) and it is pretty small, maybe 4Ēx 8Ē or so.



It appears that all of the coolant lines are under the van so they shouldnít be the source of a leak plus it was definitely a fresh water leak. I would eliminate the coolant lines as a possible leak source. The water lines to the flat plate, supply and return, come down and go back up through the floor next to the galley cabinet (this location would have been directly into the cabinet except during the rebuild the cabinet was moved over almost 5Ē). So Iím thinking that there are two or three ways to run the hot water from the flat plate; under the van (possibly the shortest path but awful convoluted and messy) or routed back and around the rear and then up along the top corner or finally maybe inside right over the top to the opposite side with the shower, which is what they may do but Iíll back up and think this through. I went back under the van and saw a line that looked like it might be another water line come out below the galley cabinet and head towards the other side across the bottom of the van. Took another look at it on the digital photo and on second thought it also looks like it might be a gas line due to size and the fitting looks like a copper line crimp fitting.


(Do you think this fitting may rub against the cooling line and create a problem in the future? Note: this photo is at an angle - the gas line comes straight down out of the floor and is over against the side of the coolant lines)

Okay, so the water pump is in the galley cabinet so my guess on the routing would include a line that runs from the water tank and goes to the pump in the cabinet. It would come out of the pump and is then split with one line going down under the floor to the flat plate water heater and then back up through the floor, the other line remains the cold water and stays above the floor. The hot water line then splits sending one to the galley sink and the other runs next to the cold water line to the shower, somehow. I remember seeing the water lines both coming down the wall next to the ďBĒ pillar (back edge of driverís door) during the first leak repair.



From the picture you can tell that the lines run down to what I assume is a set of 90 degree fittings at the floor level and sending them horizontally along the floor until they get to the shower wall and then again go 90 degrees up to the back of the shower fixture. The lines are hidden behind the wall paneling and then under the cabinet with the heater this entire stretch. Not easily accessible without removing items (like the cabinet and wall paneling) that if removed will leave a third set of holes around the body ribbing. Remember that SMB uses self tapping sheetmetal screws and you typically donít use those holes twice.




So I canít readily check for leaks myself but then it doesnít really appear to be a water line leak from a simple pressure test standpoint. I never detected a leak even with the pump on for several days and SMB observed the system under pressure for some time during my visit.

I had one thought which I believe I have answered for myself. I thought that possibly revving the engine over pressurized the water system but thinking about it the water is running in its own separate system adjacent to but independent from the coolant system. So as much as the coolant may flow faster through the flat plate it has no bearing on the water system except to provide more fresh hot water to transfer heat to the water system.

I have to say that this has helped me think through the system and feel better about the possibility of a water supply leak, kind of. During the course of writing this I have decided that I will run some tests of my own again on the shower pan. I will place some different food coloring color in each side of the shower above the pan in the metal sealing trim seams. I will flood each one independently and videotape the process to see what happens. That way if it is a seam Iíll know which one. I plan on capturing the leaking water in a glass container to confirm it is just water and has no coolant, just to be sure.

This has really made me think.

kmessinger,

You made the same comment as the SMB folks and one that I had been thinking too. There was a thought that maybe there was a crack in the shower pan that only opened up when there was the weight of the porta-potti or person in the shower stall. Unfortunately (or good?) I had pulled the porta-potti out for cleaning before I ran my test so it leaked without it or the weight of a person in it too. Another possibility eliminated.

daveb,

We discussed the whole condensation issue too. Unfortunately the leak test I performed was after the van sat for a couple days and it was nice out when I ran it. Also the way I repeated the test and the same flow results 2 times, these were substantial amount of water and to think that something might have triggered the avalanche of water then there would have been an equal amount pushing it out I would think, could be wrong on that. I would rule out condensation or outside leaks. Still, if there is a leak somewhere in the water lines they could be running down the conduit. I just donít think that we have a water line leak.

Rob,

I think I have some more work to do on this leak thing since I donít think it will be fair to SMB to take it back without some more evidence. They are trying and they are not shying away from it in any way, they just canít find it. Itís just like one of those intermittent problems you can have with your car. You wait until you can reliably reproduce the issue or it becomes continuous. Unfortunately I have to drive 2 Ĺ hours to get this checked so I want to be fair to myself as well as SMB.

This thing is getting the good guys at SMB down and me too. Nobody wants to live with the thought in the back of their mind that there might be a problem like this and if something freak happens, like the electrical system shorts or the floor rots out or delaminates, there is so much documentation that SMB will ultimately wear it. They want to fix it. Itís a lot easier to fix now than replace electrical equipment or pull the entire interior out (again) and replace it in 4 or 5 years.

Thanks everyone. Any other thoughts?

Chumley

[some content admin edited]
__________________

__________________
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 03-05-2013, 10:20 AM   #212
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 127
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

I think at this point I'd try a dye trace, to at least determine the original source of the water that is leaking. Maybe you can find an non-toxic fluorescent dye, and put some in the water tank, then see if the leak water shows up under a UV light. That would at least narrow down the possibilities -- if it does, then you KNOW it's a supply line issue somewhere. With the convoluted routing you describe, and all the fittings that entails, I'd suspect any plumbing connections above or next to the shower.

The only way I can think that running the engine would have to do with the fresh water side is that hot water does expand, but a pressure test on the hot water plumbing **should** have caught that one.
__________________

chromisdesigns is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-01-2013, 05:28 PM   #213
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Central Coast, CA
Posts: 192
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Happy anniversary! Or is that Happy Birthday?

This thread was started just over a year ago! It was intended to chronicle a design and build process that should have ended with me getting a set of keys and rolling off the Sportsmobile lot approximately six months later. It should have been weekly postings (or semi-weekly it seemed possible for a while) showing the build progress in pictures and a narrative that I hoped to keep objective. It should have been a positive journal of how a Sportsmobile Sprinter van conversion is created so some of the vagueness of the process could be de-mystified. What it turned into was a wild ride that showed both the good side and, unfortunately, the less than stellar side of what can happen during a build.

So here we are just over a year later and Iím not sure I can declare the build is over its initial debugging period. There really never has been a continuous un-interrupted period of time where there have been no fairly substantial issues with the build since delivery at the end of September last year. I have been back to Sportsmobile West 3 times for repairs and look forward to another one as soon as I get some time. I have a saying that I made clear to SMB West and that is ďI expect to receive anything I purchase to be fully functioning and new at only one brief moment in time, please deliver it to me that way at least onceĒ. I will take it from that point and accept responsibility from then on if it all works properly. Otherwise if I need to have it routinely fixed then it needs to be cleaned to new condition every time until it is delivered that one time. Silly? Let me know what you think (nicely please). I donít think I have ever been in that position in this van.

The last issue is one that has been very frustrating. I have a leak somewhere when I used or operated the shower. It showed up on a trip and I replicated it at home but not at SMB West during the last repairs visit. They tried and tried and did a lot of work to trace the leak but we could not replicate the issue at the shop. They worked really hard too, no slacking off on the attempt but we could just not do it. I feel that I tried to leave them alone in the process after muddling in it after a while and maybe should have just stayed and tried again but that is all hindsight now. In all fairness to them, and myself, I will not try to return and do it again until I can reliably replicate the leak. It is substantial and has shown that it has passed by some very important electrical equipment so I am not inclined to take it lightly. When I call about what might be the next step or if I can get a specially focused warranty just for water based damage I am now somewhat balked at. I am told that Sportsmobile operates like a big family and if there is a problem they will take care of it. I come from a place where those are just hollow words because if I go in to their shop in 3-5 years and find a fresh set of faces and no memory of any commitment then I am hosed. Especially because any repair to the floor substrate would likely involve almost a complete gut and rebuild. I am finally getting the signs of burn out on this build even from the best allies I have had at SMB. This thing is just demoralizing and we all want the issues to go away Ė but they arenít. I have seen this before. Even the folks responsible for the problem who are committed to making it right start to become hostile because of the overall picture of hassle in their mind. They forget where the problem stems and just see the person making their lives difficult as the real problem even if they made the mistake.

I have a story here but it is kind of long so you can just skip itÖ

Back around mid-2001 (Iíll never forget it because it was the year I watched one of the towers in New York in flames before going to work) and I was running a big project, almost 100,000 square feet of offices and manufacturing. I had a superintendent and a foreman watching the job and I thought the super was the best we had in the company. The issue became the flooring contractor. We had a lot of open offices and enclosed offices, conference rooms and a large cafeteria. The flooring is one of the last finishes installed and this one was pretty detailed. The client ordered fancy eco-friendly flooring from England and just a lot of detail in the cafeteria and conference rooms. The project was on time but the schedule required that the flooring guy bring in a lot of men and it maxed him out and had several men in control instead of just one guy like on a smaller job. It was crazy and we had guys running all over but got it was getting done. My super was getting uncomfortable about many of the rooms but they moved so quickly they got areas done before we could stop some of the mistakes that were in progress. We stopped the work and we found that some conference rooms scheduled for nicer carpet and borders had the general office carpet run into them. When we asked about this the particular flooring foreman said that it looked fine and that is what he always did Ė but it was not per the plans we were building from! The flooring in the cafeteria was supposed to be self-coved (fast (flash?) coved in the East) and it was already partially complete and not done correctly since it was set for topset rubber base now and would need to be removed and replaced. This flooring foreman said that this is the way they always finish cafeteria floors (it was an unusual installation but it was in the plans and the client paid extra for it). This very expensive flooring from the UK (like linoleum) would be expensive to replace and takes several weeks to get (and the colors were not guaranteed to match due to change in dye lots). We had worked with the flooring contractor a lot over the years and had become good friends. He was really embarrassed and promised to make everything right as soon as possible Ė no problems, no excuses. He was a very honorable and solid guy. So off we went removing freshly laid carpet and expensive vinyl flooring. Replacement materials orders were placed and things got difficult. Extra shipping and materials costs would be incurred since he was getting small quantities and rushing the orders and the client was getting testy since we promised the office areas but the cafeteria would be delayed. The sub would be paying for overtime for his guys and also the door guy to remove all of the doors necessary so they could replace the flooring and the painter to do touch up. The flooring guy got the materials and rushed into areas to get the job done and did not ask questions or permission to do some of the work. The work got done but the back sides of many of the custom wood stained doors were now ruined (the back side of carpet is like a grater Ė shipyards use carpet scraps to remove barnacles) and the walls were all banged up. We go back to this reliable and friendly flooring contractor and he is starting to get testy himself and starts balking at the extra charges his own men created. Door replacements and wall repair and touchups got very expensive as well as my company now charging him for my guys time to go back and check his work now that they were off on other projects. That promise to get it all taken care of slowly but surely eroded and as pleasant as I was he started getting real rude and now tried to blame the issues on my company. The cost was straining him and it was everybodyís fault but his now. He denied responsibility for the damages and refused to pay for them. I had the power of contract and I held his money so I eventually prevailed but it was just nasty and we were often on the brink of going to court. I talk to the contractor from time to time now but that is probably only because it has been over 10 years and he suffered a stroke as a complication of a heart attack and is very subdued.

You wonder why I donít think that spoken words are enough to satisfy my concerns about this build?

I would really like a letter from the owners of SMB West stating that they will cover the results of water damage for life. It would include the possibility of a complete rebuild.

Right now we have almost stopped using the van. Maybe I am too sensitive to this but I just have a hard time using something that has on two out of three occasions sent water into the interior of the van. I have been told to just use it and then they will fix it because it will likely be within the warranty period that way. I just donít like using something that I know has a problem. Tell me who would like to go through a 2nd extensive rebuild. Itís just my way of doing things and I paid for this build so I hope I get some respect. We put 8,330 miles on it between early October last year and late January this year. Thatís four months at about 1,200 miles a month if I take out the 3,500 miles from our two week trip. We have now put 600 miles on it since the end of January. That is now 300 miles per month and half of that was to go to SMB for repairs. What does that tell you? Okay, be nice either way.

I am frustrated and SMB West is frustrated. At this point all I am asking for is a letter stating that if there is a problem then they fix it, indefinitely. If there is never any more water damage then it costs them nothing. I realize that if there is a problem it likely costs them $20,000 to $30,000 but it would be their responsibility Ė again only if water related. If I can find the time and run more personal tests I will and if we find the leak and they fix it then they get the letter back.

I still have to go back at some point anyway because I have this hole in the vinyl now and the half screw sticking out but this should be an easy fix and I give credit to the guy who was really trying to fix a problem, just bet he does not do this again. If he reads this I want him to know that I still think he is one of the best and trust him to work on my van anytime Ė but next time ask me before sinking a screw into the sheetmetal as a structural member (I should say when the members are not held tight to each other and one moves a lot, the screw is doing a lot of work).

Itís been over a year. My wife loves Charlie and you should see the dogs when they see us headed towards him and not one of the other cars. They know something special is about to happen. Charlie has become a decompression chamber for my wife. We will go somewhere nice nearby to just sit and enjoy the view and instead of all of the things she planned to do she just falls asleep and I love it. In this world where she now occupies the stressful place in upper management that I used to she refers to Charlie as that calm place she needs. We just need to get comfortable (AGAIN!) with Charlie not letting us down and start going on trips again. Even the short weekend trips were very rejuvenating. Itís just really hard with all of the recurring issues.

So, a year later would I do it all over again? Hmmm... Would I do it differently? Yes. Is it likely that SMB West would do it differently? I think yes. Would I recommend SMB to a friend? Already have but they are very much like me soÖ This build quality meltdown is not typical for them from what I have seen. I have noticed that almost every other build I have read about includes some level of change or missed items not approved by the owner but they are minor compared to mine and most others just deal with it.

I shouldnít have hesitatedÖ would I do it again? Yes I definitely would do it again. Charlie means so much to us and fits into our lifestyle like we were made for each other (actually I guess he was).

Itís been a little slow on the forum so I hope that it is because people are out using their SMBs and not because we have become boring.

Thank you.


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 04-01-2013, 06:18 PM   #214
Senior Member
 
windguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: SoCal
Posts: 249
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Happy Anniversary to Chumley (and Tennessee?)

Sorry to hear you haven't resolved you leak problem.
At this point you've well documented the leak problem.
SMBW is aware of the situation but couldn't replicate the problem.
I'm sure that's not the first time something like that has happened.
I say your best approach at this point is to use the van as much as possible.
Take lots of trips and try to have a good time.
If you can't replicate the leak problem then maybe it's gone (maybe).
If it shows up again then deal with it as needed.
It's not like a propane or gas leak where it can greatly affect your health.
Don't let this issue handcuff you into not having a good time with your home on wheels.
It doesn't seem to bother the dogs much. We can learn a lot from dogs, can't we?

Happy Trails!
windguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-15-2013, 11:26 PM   #215
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Central Coast, CA
Posts: 192
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Hey Windguy,

I should have known that you would speak in practical terms, you've always been straight up. Still the side of me that says to fix something that is broke before using it makes it worse has a strong voice. But the practical side, like you stated, says "don't be a prisoner of something you can't control". That and the fact that the dogs did tell me they are tired of all of this and just want to hit the road (yeah, that constant pull towards the van when we go out the front gate is a pretty clear message).

We are planning a trip to Canada later in the year and the Eastern Sierras have my number on speed dial and they call a lot (maybe they're just butt dialing?). Gotta get back on the road soon, I need to get conditioned for the travels ahead and build up Charlie's stamina.

We are going to be getting back out on the open road now and I will ease my mind by putting a towel in the adjacent ottoman to stop any water that might head that way. I will make observations more carefully in the future but if it don't leak then it don't leak.

So to be honest I had a moment of frustration last week when I tried to fire up the diesel generator. I went out to start it up like I do at least once a month which is a minimum maintenance requirement if regular use doesn't cover it. I went out and pulled off the access door on the generator and checked the oil level and looked around in general as usual. I go inside and push the start button and... nothing. Crap! This has never happened before and we have used the generator quite a bit. Of course my accusatorial mind (now conditioned to think "SMB" every time something goes wrong) went to something that SMB might be responsible for - it couldn't have been me! I figured that the water leak did a number on something... I remember looking at the manual when first received and how basic it was so figured SMB must have some expereince with possible issues. I talk to the customer service guy and he really doesn't know any little secrets about the generator that might be a routine "try this" type of thing. Crap! I finally get the manual out (it is a CD) and it is as simple and lacking as I remember it. I don't have a background in generators and electrical systems are my weakness so simple single line electrical diagrams mean nothing without pictures or a simple sketch of the van for me. So I call PowerTech and the tech there tells me to pull an access panel and tell him what type of connectors are behind it. It sounds like there are two types of connections and it makes a difference. Crap, this means that I become a 55 year old Gumby type of contortionist to get at this little panel behind the differential but I pull it off with little bloodshed. I call him back and he asks me some more questions and then says I have to go to the PowerTech service center, great. They have a good 2 year warranty but man what a hassle. Did the rebuild which involved a two time installation of the generator have anything to do with it? No, it was me. I keep asking about what else it could be since there was no power at all at the switch. Then he asks a real simple question. Is the toggle switch on? The toggle switch below the fuse I ask? Yes he says. I said that it is in the down position and he says it should be up. I feel like yelling "how should I know that" but realize that it does show it in single line in the manual. I just had no idea that was the switch that was referred to or even where it would have been. It was right in front of me the whole time and I didn't figure it out. Okay in all fairness to myself I could not see the labeling at the switch clearly since it is tough to get into the area and thought it said 12v and 24v - that's my story. So after about an hour of gyrations it was just a simple switch that I likely bumped into the off position putting on the access cover.

I hope that this is a lesson for someone so I can feel it was worth the headache. SMB was willing to help but thankfully I didn't need it.

So it's been a year and I get to know Charlie just little bit better day by day.

Really, really looking forward to the open road. I love to drive so the miles just flow by as long as I have scenery to look at (preferably open countryside) and the stereo is rockin. The dogs will be in back curled up in their blankets (likely dreaming of chasing jackrabbits in the Alabama Hills) and there is a good chance that the wife will be napping and life will be good. I have another thread abut the upcoming suspension upgrades that might finish the already good road manners I been able to adjust in so far. A good behaving van is a joy to drive and passing cars on winding highways gives me no end of satisfaction.

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 04-16-2013, 01:28 AM   #216
Senior Member
 
windguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: SoCal
Posts: 249
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Chumley,

That's the right attitude. Glad to hear you've got some trips planned.
I say go for some short trips before your journey to Canada to see if you can shake out any problems and build up your mojo.

Regarding the generator, that was actually a good experience. If everything works then you never really learn how things work. Now you have a better understanding of how the generator operates and all in a controlled environment at your house, not out in the boondocks when you really need to use the generator for something important, like running your lava lamp. you do have a lava lamp in the van, right?

happy trails!
windguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-16-2013, 08:27 AM   #217
Senior Member
 
BrianW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 2,304
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

After following this thread for a while, for no other reason that the pull of seeing what happens next, I gotta say that if it were me I'd be pushing for a buy-back from SMB and move onto something else. Do lemon laws cover this sort of vehicle?

I'm with you: I expect things to be done correctly, or at least fixed in a friendly manner (sounds like SMB generally has delivered on this, trying to do what's right). I would also push for a written warranty of some sort.

One problem is that you have so well documented all the issues that I think you have also greatly reduced your resale value, at least for anyone who may stumble upon this thread at some point in the future.
BrianW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2013, 11:58 AM   #218
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 BrianW
After following this thread for a while, for no other reason that the pull of seeing what happens next, I gotta say that if it were me I'd be pushing for a buy-back from SMB and move onto something else. Do lemon laws cover this sort of vehicle?

I'm with you: I expect things to be done correctly, or at least fixed in a friendly manner (sounds like SMB generally has delivered on this, trying to do what's right). I would also push for a written warranty of some sort.

One problem is that you have so well documented all the issues that I think you have also greatly reduced your resale value, at least for anyone who may stumble upon this thread at some point in the future.
Brian,

I don't quite understand your post.
In your 1st paragraph, you state that if the van was yours you would push for a "buy-back" from SMB and mention lemon laws.
In your 2nd paragraph, you state that SMB "generally has delivered on this, trying to do what's right".
That's confusing to me. One kind of contradicts the other, doesn't it?
My understanding of Lemon laws is that it applies to vehicles that have a chronic problem that can't be fixed adequately after repeated attempts. There's nothing wrong with the Sprinter vehicle in this case so not sure how that law would apply here.

If SMB put a penthouse in your vehicle that wasn't part of the floorpan, then yes, that would be a valid reason for them to buy back your vehicle. That doesn't seem to be the case with Chumley's build.

I think Chumley got 98% of what he wanted out of this van with a lot of persistence on his part. The issue of the shower leaking is still dangling, but I'm confident it will be resolved if it can be repeated. SMB's reputation would be at stake if it didn't. Chumley has some other minor cosmetic issues that can be fixed at a future date. That's all I seem to remember from reading Chumley's diary.

In terms of Chumley "greatly" hurting his resale value, I think that's a stretch at this point but you're entitled to your opinion. I guess I try to help my friends work through their adversity with positive messages and encouragement rather than pointing out the negatives and speculative "what ifs". But that's just me.

Peace!
windguy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2013, 02:07 PM   #219
Senior Member
 
BrianW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 2,304
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by windguy
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
After following this thread for a while, for no other reason that the pull of seeing what happens next, I gotta say that if it were me I'd be pushing for a buy-back from SMB and move onto something else. Do lemon laws cover this sort of vehicle?

I'm with you: I expect things to be done correctly, or at least fixed in a friendly manner (sounds like SMB generally has delivered on this, trying to do what's right). I would also push for a written warranty of some sort.

One problem is that you have so well documented all the issues that I think you have also greatly reduced your resale value, at least for anyone who may stumble upon this thread at some point in the future.
Brian,

I don't quite understand your post.
In your 1st paragraph, you state that if the van was yours you would push for a "buy-back" from SMB and mention lemon laws.
In your 2nd paragraph, you state that SMB "generally has delivered on this, trying to do what's right".
That's confusing to me. One kind of contradicts the other, doesn't it?
My understanding of Lemon laws is that it applies to vehicles that have a chronic problem that can't be fixed adequately after repeated attempts. There's nothing wrong with the Sprinter vehicle in this case so not sure how that law would apply here.

If SMB put a penthouse in your vehicle that wasn't part of the floorpan, then yes, that would be a valid reason for them to buy back your vehicle. That doesn't seem to be the case with Chumley's build.

I think Chumley got 98% of what he wanted out of this van with a lot of persistence on his part. The issue of the shower leaking is still dangling, but I'm confident it will be resolved if it can be repeated. SMB's reputation would be at stake if it didn't. Chumley has some other minor cosmetic issues that can be fixed at a future date. That's all I seem to remember from reading Chumley's diary.

In terms of Chumley "greatly" hurting his resale value, I think that's a stretch at this point but you're entitled to your opinion. I guess I try to help my friends work through their adversity with positive messages and encouragement rather than pointing out the negatives and speculative "what ifs". But that's just me.

Peace!
This thread sure has seemed to raise strong emotions in it's history! I'm trying to reply without getting into a flame war, as that certainly isn't my intention. @Windguy, I will say that, to me, your reply above seems a bit aggressive and I was taken aback by it. Signing off with "peace" seems contradictory in that context.

I've never worked with SMB West. From the tone of your response, it's possible you have had direct experience with SMB West and possibly feel compelled to speak in support of them. That's cool, and is the benefit to an open forum and social media in general, where people can raise their voice in support of - or in criticism of - a company. I have absolutely nothing against SMB West, and indeed, as I say below, am amazed at how far they are willing to go to work with Chumley on this. However, I also can feel and imagine his frustration with this whole process.

Anyway, to your comments, my first and second paragraphs address different issues in my mind and don't contradict each other at all. Lemon Laws, as you point out, are designed to apply "to vehicles that have a chronic problem that can't be fixed adequately after repeated attempts." To be fair to your point, it's not one chronic issue (like, for example, a leaking PH or something), but myriad issues. If I had just spent $100k (+/-) on a vehicle and constantly had to keep taking it back for "repeated attempts" to address all sorts of build issues, I would wonder if that constituted a chronic problem (problem build). But, I'm guessing it only applies to the OEM vehicle (Sprinter) and not a conversion of any sort, so it's probably a moot point. So to answer my original question, I imagine Lemon Laws do not apply to this case.

I'm just saying that Chumley has had a lot more patience than I would have had after laying down that kind of cash. And, on the flip side, as I said, I give major kudos to SMB West for continuing to work through this and troubleshoot things. I don't see that comment as contradictory, either. (If I were SMB West, I might have offered Chumley a buy out for the build at some point and then finished it and sold it as a used vehicle or something just to move on.)

As an aside, I agree with your comment: "If SMB put a penthouse in your vehicle that wasn't part of the floorpan, then yes, that would be a valid reason for them to buy back your vehicle." However, your example does not relate to the idea behind Lemon Laws, so it's not really relevant to this discussion.

In the second paragraph, my intention was to positively affirm Chumley's feelings that things should be done right. On several occasions he has alluded to getting comments from people in the forum that think he's being unreasonable. I was just chiming it to say, based on his writings, that I don't think he is being unreasonable. (There are always two sides to every story, though, and wouldn't it be interesting to read a parallel blog on this build by SMB West?) I was also giving credit to SMB for apparently always trying to work with Chumley to make things right. That's great and the way it should be. But good intentions only go so far. It doesn't negate the fact that things are still messed up. I don't see how this is contradictory. If I buy a new Ford, and am constantly taking it back to my very accommodating dealer that is really nice but doesn't manage to fix it, then I'm not going to be too happy, even though they are trying.

You're right, maybe Chumley's resale value hasn't been "greatly" impacted. That was a bad word choice and I take it back. But I still wonder if people on the forum would think twice about buying this van if it came up for sale after all the issues. On the other hand, with Chumley's eye for detail, I guess you could make the strong point that this thing will be 100% dialed in when all is said and done. I hope for the sake of both Chumley and SMB West that it is.
BrianW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2013, 02:23 PM   #220
Senior Member
 
windguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: SoCal
Posts: 249
Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

BrianW,

Sorry if my post was aggressive. That wasn't my intent. I guess I owe you a beer.
I do appreciate your taking the time to add more input and I think I have a better understanding of your thoughts. I pretty much agree with everything that you wrote, so how's that?

For the record, I don't work for SMBW nor have any affiliation with them.
I visited their factory once, got the nickle tour, and also have seen their rigs at an RV show.
I'm not even convinced I'd have them do a van conversion for me, but that decision is way down the road.
I'm very appreciative of Chumley sharing his build experiences with us as I've learned a great deal.

Cheers!
__________________

windguy 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

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:16 PM.


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