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Old 09-10-2012, 09:38 PM   #81
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Visit report update.

I spoke with my SMB Sales/PM and as usual there were explanations, I guess it was good.

Primary concerns addressed:

The microwave shelf will be vented properly. Apparently the foreman had not been brought up to date even though I thought I was supposed to talk to him about this. I saw the dimensions on the blue tape on the van walls and could only assume he was going to build to these dimensions and do it soon. There will be venting on at least the exhaust side and I am assured that they will be able to find another microwave that fits if it's a problem. Okay.

The shower stall? He asked me what the issue was (my e-mail to him had a typo) so told him that I expected 36" inside clear (face of inside wall to face of inside wall). He said he must have misunderstood my question last time and gave me the normal "outside" dimension (measuring the outside, or maximum, width, length, etc... dimension) that they typically use. I have to say that this makes sense to me since all of the other dimensions were "outside" but knowing exaclty how much room you have to move about in is a little more important to me than a cabinet where the plates aren't gyrating to shower. I am jumping to conclusions very quickly at this stage of the game. Unfair?

The window tint has not been reviewed by him but I suspect that this issue will never go away. I never wanted the tint in the first place but since my van was ordered without the factory tint I had no choice, except to leave the windows non-matching. I spoke with the guy that has done a good job tinting windows for me in the past and he said that he would leave a uniform 1/4" border on the black ceramic coating on the window. Window films like smooth non-porous surfaces to stick to, like glass, so that black coating does not take the window film well and can release. Okay, I don't know, a dog gets upset and it is scratched anyway and will have to be replaced. The dogs should be mellower in a couple of years so I think I will have to replace it at least once, if I am patient, but I'd rather not have to at all.

It costs me about $70 in gas to visit each time and it eats up an entire day when it's all said and done. Maybe I should just wait go in a couple of weeks instead of every week. I am just afraid that there will be a mistake that I could have caught that will extend the build duration since I am determined not to make any compromises now. Just want it done. I think I am in the spiraling purgatory of being on high alert for problems so I see more than I might have before so I look more... These guys are striving to make the best builds for us humanly possible every time but scheisse can happen. Making friends in a business relationship is not a priority to me but I like these folks. Maybe not going every week will keep me sane and I may find out that they have it under control. Geez that is going to be tough for me.

Thanks.

Chumley
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Old 09-12-2012, 06:18 PM   #82
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

First, major props and thanks to Chumley for this incredibly detailed documentation of one SMB build experience.

Second, wow! I just joined this forum and started reading this thread. When I saw that SMB took delivery of the Sprinter in June it never occrurred to me that I'd get to the current end of the thread (mid-Sept) and see the conversion is still in progress! Is this typical?

Third, I agree with your concern regarding that ceiling fan "weatherproofing". That looks shabby to me and makes me very hesitant about adding any features to my build that require opening holes in the body.

Thanks again for your heroic effort to document your journey and best wishes for a lot of happy journeys once it's complete.

Cheers!
Mike - still in the early planning stage of my conversion van jouney
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:52 PM   #83
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Mike, SMB Indiana told me to expect the build to take 4-6 weeks starting November 1, since my build is more complex than most. I expect to pick up my new van early October. I don't think it happens very often that they have to start over in the middle! I sure hope that doesn't happen to me. My first contact with SMB was April and I ordered the van early June. So for Sprinters you can expect as long as 6 months from committal to completion. Click below to see details of my design.

David
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:12 PM   #84
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Thanks David. And thanks also for all the info you've provided on your design.

There's an RV show coming to my area in mid-October and SMB will have a few demos there. I think I'll plan to make a day of it for some detailed inspections and comparison with other upfitters at the show.

Cheers!
Mike
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:33 PM   #85
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by freedomrider
Third, I agree with your concern regarding that ceiling fan "weatherproofing". That looks shabby to me and makes me very hesitant about adding any features to my build that require opening holes in the body.
My ceiling fan was put in 4 years ago using the same sealant and I have never had a problem. We have several holes in the roof for solar panels and back-up camera and no leaks yet.

Regards,

Keith
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Old 09-14-2012, 06:48 PM   #86
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

I just spent the last two hours reading this. It is better than Falling Skies.

We will be doing Sprinter SMB #2 in the future. We just took one off the lot at SMB rather than order one but next time we order so I really appreciate the lessons posted here.

Do the cornering lights work on the new Sprinter? I was told it was a NAFTA thing that they didn't. I wired mine http://www.ourexcellentadventures.com/2 ... ng-lights/ and got two more switches to add to all the blanks. I think I tried the ones SMB is using. Got my switches from the same place. The Sprinter switch blanks are convex and that switches box is not so it didn't work for me.

It is kinda like building a home. Two ways to do it. One - never come by to look until it is all finished. The second, visit everyday. And just to make sure you are in the right mood for the visit, slam your finger in the car door when you get there.

Regards,

Keith

PS. I visited about once a week and got photos sent to me all the time. I think it is hard to beat the SMB folks and the control you have over what you get unlike RoadTrek and others.
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Old 09-15-2012, 01:56 AM   #87
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by freedomrider
There's an RV show coming to my area in mid-October and SMB will have a few demos there. I think I'll plan to make a day of it for some detailed inspections and comparison with other upfitters at the show.
Cheers!
Mike
Mike,
I went to the RV show in Pomona two years ago and kicked a lot of tires that day.
It's well worth your time and you'll learn a lot. Bring a camera to take pics, measuring tape and paper/pen.
You can pick up a lot of design ideas if you really want to customize your build.
Alan was there with his wife Liz for SMBW. They were both very helpful in answering questions and offering sage advice for making your design. Good folks to work with. We spent a lot of time just sitting in the Sprinter conversion they had to get a feel for comfort and the layout. The only part I didn't like is when other visitors stepped inside the van and the van would rock back and forth, like a boat.
What you'll find astonishing is that the ready made Sprinter conversions are really expensive in comparison to a custom SMB Sprinter so there's some real value in what they offer.
Also check out some of the Class C motorhomes that use a Sprinter front end and add their own box, which is wider than the cab. They have a lot of unique design ideas that you can use. And for shits 'n giggles, take a tour of some of the 40ft behemoth RVs with the outdoor big screen TVs and indoor washer and dryer. Bigger than my first and second apartments combined. Enjoy!
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Old 09-15-2012, 06:02 PM   #88
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

FYI my build in Indiana started August 6th (this year) and was completed August 28th. Yes, my build was not very complex at all.
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Old 09-15-2012, 06:16 PM   #89
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyvoudy
FYI my build in Indiana started August 6th (this year) and was completed August 28th. Yes, my build was not very complex at all.
That seems pretty reasonable - about 15 business days. obviously dependent on your design.
the more options the more time required
I wonder how many builds Indiana has going on at one time vs Fresno vs Texas??
I only visited Fresno and there was a lot going on at one time with different stations for different systems (4x4 install, windows, pop-tops, cabinetry, etc)
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:23 PM   #90
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Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Quote:
Originally Posted by windguy
I wonder how many builds Indiana has going on at one time vs Fresno vs Texas??
Indiana has room for about 4 vans, but there are only 2 positions where most of the building happens, and there are two foremen who each take care of one of them.

David
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