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Old 04-18-2013, 01:04 AM   #221
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Hey Windguy and BrianW,

I saw your posts and understand and pretty much agree with both of you, if I understood correctly. It also reminds me of how this forum is really occupied by a group of good people and not like some forums where the members leave respect on the other side of the keyboard.

BrianW,

I feet that you are sympathetic to SMB and me. At some point I too had some of the same thoughts (buy back or bail). I did consider bailing on the build but it was actually my attorney friend who made sense of the thing to me. At the time SMB would not let me out of the build so I called my friend who said that I might have to fight to get my $20K deposit back. He reminded me that it typically costs about $15K to $17K to get anything done in the courts. But the part that made real sense was he asked me what I would do if I got out of the build. I realized that I had put countless hours and thousands of driving miles into the project (each round trip is about 270 miles) over about a 5 month span at that time. And then who would build this thing for me if I did bail? I was having our dream rig built and I had gotten a good sense of what it could be and I liked it. That very day when I arrived at SMB they had a check waiting for me if I wanted to bail but I just had that conversation during the drive with my friend so I stuck it out. SMB was honorable and they wanted to do the right thing all along, they just had some personnel related quality issues.

I am pushing for a written warranty but I am routinely told that I don't need one since they all know what is going on and we are all like a big family. We'll see what happens.

I think I would accept a buyout offer from SMB but only if they would replace it with the exact same build. We really like our build, we just don't like the headaches. No one else could do our build that I could reasonably manage (did I just say manage?).

Windguy,

Like I have said, you are a straight up guy and the truth is what really matters when you want to solve problems. Rose colored glasses just make it a nicer looking problem. Like BrianW I see times when you understand my position and are sympathetic and then do the same with SMB's side. It really gives me the sense that whatever is right is right, no matter who the party.


I have to say that if I was another person who got my build with no problems then it would have been a good value. There's nothing else on the market of this general build quality and outfitting for this price. Unfortunately I did have the problems before and after delivery so I don't really get much of a sense of value anymore. That went out the window before delivery and I shared that sentiment with SMB at the time.

As far as resale, I think that this van might be shied away from by some but others might realize that this van is pretty close to being dialed in. Doesn't matter, I'm not selling unless SMB has a shiney duplicate waiting for me for that sale price. It's so close yet I just can't seem to get the last bit right. Man, it'll make you crazy but I do have a lot of confidence in SMB's desire to do the right thing.

on numerous occasions I asked SMB if they would chime in but they want to stay out of anything that might influence this forum. I have great respect for that. It does help them stay out of pissing matches on a board where it would ultimately be hard for them to win, even if right. I think that if you were to talk to anyone familiar with what has happened they will confirm my open honesty in reporting. I like to think that I have taken the high road and have not reported some little issues and under reported some too. I will admit I have had some moments where I could have been a little nicer but I have never fabricated any issues or responses.

This thread could have gone all wrong a long time ago but most everyone on this forum is good people, even if you don't agree with what I have done here. Jage has knitted together a fine community and I am happy to have been given the space to tell my story.

Thanks.

Chumley
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Old 04-18-2013, 12:55 PM   #222
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chumley
Jage has knitted together a fine community
Don't blame me, nowhere else I go is like this!
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:07 PM   #223
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Jage,

You are too modest.

I believe that this site is your doing, from what I understand. You must have established the level of etiquette that lives on today.

I made a lot of posts which I tried to keep objective but I am sure some emotion crept in over the months of my buiild. This is the center of the Sportsmobile world outside of the various meet ups and no matter what was said everybody remained very cordial so I felt comfortable contining.

Thank you Jage, thank you everybody.

Chumley
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Old 05-09-2013, 10:01 AM   #224
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

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I almost always install a "Wheelskins" leather steering wheel cover on our vehicles to make the steering wheel feel better to the hand and fatten it up a bit. They don't offer a Sprinter model so I had to take measurements and get a custom fit one made. Of course I grab a cloth tape measure (like for garments) and use it like my normal tape measure and the cover comes in way too small. I called and they instantly sadi "did you check to the tape measure to see where the measurement begins?". I guess some of us think that the measurement begins at the end whereas on a lot of cloth tapes they start up to an inch from the end, like mine. They were great and made another one and had it back to me in about a week.
Chumley,
Do you happen to have those measurements. I'd like to order one of these for my Sprinter. Thanks

-don
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:46 PM   #225
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Don,

I looked for the invoice but can't find it and don't see that Wheelskins has updated the fit list.

You can do it yourself easily by taking out a cloth measuring tape. Just ry not to make the same mistake that I did not realize that the measuring tape did not start at the end, it was about 1/2" in from the end.

The leather cover is very good quality but a pain to install. Allow at least an hour an just take it slow.

Good luck.

FWIW: we are taking Charlie out in the next couple of weeks for a 3 day trip to the Sierras. First one since the shower leak discovery. I am prepared with an extra towel next to the electrical gear so there is no chance of getting really wet. Hopefully it doesn't happen but I am not a big believer in things magically fixing themselves. Really ready for a road trip. The Koni shocks work really well as far as handling goes and the generator is up above delivery height again. Can't wait...


Chumley
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:59 PM   #226
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

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Originally Posted by Chumley
Don,

I looked for the invoice but can't find it and don't see that Wheelskins has updated the fit list.
ok, no problem. I guess I was just being lazy. We are leaving for the Truckee area tomorrow for a couple of weeks. Maybe we'll cross paths.

I'm looking forward to your suspension results as well. I am interested in improving the suspension in my 2500.
-don

btw, your signature line pretty much describes our Sprinter SMB experience.
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Old 05-20-2013, 11:02 PM   #227
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My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chumley
I am pushing for a written warranty but I am routinely told that I don't need one since they all know what is going on and we are all like a big family. We'll see what happens.
For what it's worth, I recall a post from about 10 years ago, on the SMB Yahoo Group, where somebody had a water leak problem discovered MANY years later (I think it was from the roof but don't hold me to it) and SMB determined that the leak likely had happened from the onset of the build. They removed virtually the entire interior to replace the floor. No charge.

To me, that was great service and helped solidify my intent to build with them.
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:52 PM   #228
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyNick
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chumley
I am pushing for a written warranty but I am routinely told that I don't need one since they all know what is going on and we are all like a big family. We'll see what happens.
For what it's worth, I recall a post from about 10 years ago, on the SMB Yahoo Group, where somebody had a water leak problem discovered MANY years later (I think it was from the roof but don't hold me to it) and SMB determined that the leak likely had happened from the onset of the build. They removed virtually the entire interior to replace the floor. No charge.

To me, that was great service and helped solidify my intent to build with them.
A leak from the roof area?? Chumley, had you been using your roof a/c on the days before noticing the leak? On my Class A coach, when using the roof a/c unit there is always large spot of water on the ground from the a/c.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:30 PM   #229
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Hey Don,

I really wanted to find the Wheelskins sterring wheel cover order since I may have ordered mine about an 1/8" too "narrow" and it was a bugger to stitch it on tight enough to not have an open gap at the seam. Hopefully you can do better but mine is fine, I just lost feeling in my fingers for a couple days after stitching on the cover. It's real work but the results are worth it.

JoeyNick,

I sure hope you are right about the SMB honoring an unwritten warranty. I get a positive feeling from the gang at SMB but my liefe's experience says that it could all change too quickly with a bad feeling or change of staff or ownership or...? Here's to hoping I won't need it.

Robtbrtn,

All of the problems with the water leak have been during cool/cold weather so the ac was not used. The other thing is that I could induce the leak (active word there is "could").

We just returned from 3 days in the Sierras (Spicer Meadows Reservior (Union and Utica were already filled)) and took a couple showers. I have learned to have the van lean slightly to the driver's side and a little tail high, both in case there is a leak any water will travel away from the electrics and interior in general. I out a towel in the ottoman to protect the electrics, just in case, but there were no signs of any leakage either inside or out. But that was only two showers.


This long weekend away was great and as usual it was another reminder of what a critical role Charlie plays in the decompression from life in Silicon Valley. Mondays just look so gloomy after weekend in a Sportsmobile when all we had to do was look over a forest strewn with granite boulders or sit next to a creek on granite boulders. Sitting at 6,500 feet we could still see snow just above us in the Dardanells. Life is good.

Driving home was a real joy, the recent suspension upgrades have proven themselves worthwhile. Nothing completely revolutuonary but just makes the van feel so much more fully integrated and solid.

Thanks.

Chumley
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:05 PM   #230
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Chumley, thanks for your posts. I plan to follow your lead on the suspension upgrades. I had the Roadmaster antisway bar installed a couple months ago...great improvement but
Big Blue is still a little too loose in the suspension. The Koni's and helper springs sound like they'd do the trick. Keep your insights coming...they're helpful. Cheers - dbiggles
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