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Old 05-05-2017, 08:22 AM   #51
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EmMay, also, here is one of the many articles about the Mercedes USA CEO saying at a mid April 2017 auto show that Mercedes may or may not resume importing diesels into the US. SMB is pretty confident that these remarks do not apply to commercial Sprinters.


Mercedes-Benz may stop selling diesels in U.S. | WXLV
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Old 05-05-2017, 04:21 PM   #52
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In case anyone is not aware, there is a dedicated thread regarding the Mercedes/EPA Diesel situation. That thread can be accessed here. There are likely many readers who would not be drawn to my build thread, but who would have an interest in this alarming issue. May I suggest this discussion continue on the other thread so that people who need to know about it will be able to find it. Thanks!
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Old 05-05-2017, 04:50 PM   #53
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TomH: Copy.
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Old 05-06-2017, 01:57 AM   #54
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Hi TomH, thanks for redirecting us to the 'diesel issue' thread. Very interesting. I didn't tell you WHY Sportsmobile Austin contacted me 2 days ago. It is because I lost faith about two weeks ago and bought a new 2016 4x4 high-roof 144 with MOST of the options I wanted. As a result SMB thought they might be able to move up my build date because I suddenly have 'a bird in the hand' and Mercedes has yet to release any 2017's. Then SMB contacted me again two days ago to let me know that sorry, my build date would almost certainly be sliding back to the original September or October timeframe because it looks like all the 2017 Sprinters 'in timeout' by the EPA (for being naughty with their NOx) will be released next week after receiving software modifications. I don't think SMB would call me with news that is bad for me unless they were pretty darn sure of their source.

Overall though, I am glad for this news as I don't want to own one of the last pariah vehicles before they were discontinued. I will have to pay bigger bucks to have SMB install things like a hitch, swivel seat brackets and back door windows that would have come from the factory for much less money on the 2017 van I ordered. But I took that risk of buying one in stock because I have a unique need for owning a Sprinter van instead of a Transit, and I couldn't risk not getting one. With me being 6'2" tall, the Transit that is tall enough for me to stand up in is too tall to fit in my garage The 4x4 high roof Sprinter is just tall enough for me to walk around in, and it just squeezes under my garage door with about 2" to spare. Perfect! Also, living in, and exploring in the Colorado mountains I really need four wheel drive. It costs about twice as much to have 4x4 functionality added to a Transit by Quigly than it does to order 4x4 directly from the Factory on a Sprinter.

I guess the good part about my build being pushed back to after the 2017 camping season is that I now have more time to think about layout, colors, etc. I am still leaning towards the long dinette option (with a longer bed for me and a shorter bed for my wife). But I am intrigued by the efficient use of three dimensional space demonstrated in your plan. It's cool that SMB is flexible enough to build high quality renditions of just about anything we can dream up!

Good luck designing and building your dream camper. By this time next year we should be swapping stories about our SMB camping adventures!
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Old 05-06-2017, 02:35 AM   #55
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Thanks for that long write up Mark. I do hope you will be able to get everything you want in this vehicle and I look forward to swapping build stories then adventure travel stories as things come together.

We are not only in van limbo, but house limbo as well. We retired, sold our little ranchette in the country outside Sacramento and are waiting to have our retirement home built on the edge of Vancouver Washington (near Portland) and the Cascade mountains. The house was supposed to be done about now, but the heavier than normal winter rains saturated our hillside so badly that they are just ready to break ground now. They wound up having to re-engineer and re-permit all the drainage designs. Meanwhile we are sitting in an apartment crammed full of storage boxes with no house and no van, and 3 pets that kind of keep us from getting away much, wishing our new house and new van were easy to offer us a new life.

Looking forward to your build thread. Please keep us updated!

Oh, BTW, love CO. I used to be a wilderness guide and led lots of backpacking and climbing trips in Uncompaghre. Sure miss being young, strong and able to zip right up fourteeners with a big pack. The SMB is hopefully going to partly make up for not being able to do that any more.
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Old 05-06-2017, 10:29 AM   #56
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Hey Tom! Our stories are similar! We first planned to retire to Washington State, then switched to Colorado when we discovered Ouray. I had planned to 'retire' a bit earlier than I did, but our retirement house took three years instead of one to build. Eventually I accepted an early retirement package and we moved into a tiny place in Ouray to help speed up the completion of our retirement house.

As for the van, we bought a new Alaskan camper for our 4x4 truck that is built just a few miles from you. It was going to be our retirement camper. We loved it and had some great adventures in it. It could fit in a normal parking spot in town, and could reach about any campsite on forest service trails. We also built the garage in our retirement home tall enough to accommodate the Alaskan (and by luck, our new Sprinter)

But Alaskans have no indoor shower and the toilet is only semi private. When Mercedes started adding 4 wheel drive a couple of years ago, we started seeing SMBs and other Sprinters with all the comforts of home camping in backcountry locations near us. And, first world problem, we only had MOST of the comforts of home.

Our plan was to wait for our SMB to be finished and then sell our Alaskan, but with the EPA uncertainty, we bought the 2016 Sprinter, heard SMB could likely convert it by mid August, sold the Alaskan, then found out SMB can't get to it until after this camping season is over. So we are now in camper van limbo too! I guess that just means that both of our "anticipation periods" and our build threads will be just a bit longer.
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Old 08-24-2017, 08:58 PM   #57
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I have been following Wrinkledpants and Backcountryguy's builds closely as I am interested in both a large lithium house battery and aux. fuel tank, as they are. Also, Fitz' thread has been tremendously helpful.

My wife agreed to let me have something 4x4 for offroad but small enough to fit in a parallel parking spot. For her, I have tried to make concessions that will make her comfortable, such as high roof, space for regular coil mattress, and privacy bathroom.

We have made some minor adjustments to the floor plan. The custom cabinet behind the driver's seat is a toilet cabinet turned sideways. We will have to let someone else install a composting toilet as SMB-W will not install due to it not being RIVA approved. Continuing counter-clockwise is a Cruise 165 fridge with microwave on top, cot width mattress which will continue five more inches to the rear door. The cot mattress is just above the wheel well and its foot is tucked under a regular coil twin mattress set transverse in the Flarespace bump outs. Both bumpouts have inset windows. Beneath the twin mattress in the center is storage and in the rear passenger corner, space for the house battery. We want 600-900 amp hours of Lithium, but Wrinkledpants is currently experiencing difficulties. I will probably follow his example by installing a small battery and having someone else replace it with a larger system later. We'll have a dog who needs AC when left in the van and we want to be able to run the AC for half the night if in a hot location. Continuing up the passenger side is the kitchen counter with a lavatory in the center. Cabinetry in the doorway will have a drop down surface for outside cooking. We will have a portable induction cooker for inside or outside use. The side of the toilet enclosure will have a flip up shelf for the driver's swivel seat and the passenger seat will have the portable attached swivel shelf in Fitz' thread as well as the underseat access door (presuming D5 doesn't go there).

The upper cabinets aren't shown in the current illustration. There will be an outdoor shower at the rear doors and a Rixen D5 will provide hot air and water. I'm not sure of the location. We'll leave space on the driver's side for a later aux fuel tank. Since the grey water will consist only of hand and dish washing and will not be used to flush behind black water, I am not overly concerned about draining the grey tank along the roadside and will go with a small tank. We will put in as large of fresh water tank as will fit. We'll do an Aluminess rear bumper, box on passenger side and spare tire on driver side.

We will keep the front bumper while installing a front winch. VanCompass will install the maximum lift and suspension upgrade, slider steps, and skid plates. After the lift we'll change to 315 tires.

All comments, questions, cautions, and other feedback are welcome. We'd be lost without all the info already gleaned from this site.
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Old 08-25-2017, 12:45 AM   #58
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TomH, really good stuff. You and I have similar needs for the A/C with dogs. I think my wife Alison and I are definitely reverting back to a dinette layout to accommodate the lithium, invertor, etc.

I have some great contact information and feedback from a few upfitters in the NW who can do the retrofits you, Wrinkledpants (although he would gravitate towards CO), and I want, two from very close to where you are. A couple up north where I live.

I think I'm going to spread the retrofit work:
1. Van Compass for their suspension and skid plates - I believe it's always best to have the work done from the originator of the equipment if possible, and Van Compass is pretty much on the way home for both of us, with a slight dog leg into Idaho.
2. Rasmussen Marine Electric in Bellingham WA for the lithium work
3. TriVan Truck Body in Ferndale WA for the Aluminess Bumper/WARN winch, Aerotank Aux Fuel Tank.

I do have three contacts in vic of Portland OR though who have reached back, all who would seem very capable doing all the work. Once I coalesce all the contact info I'll post a separate thread for it. probably title it "PNW Upfitters/Post-conversion Additions"
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Old 08-25-2017, 01:10 AM   #59
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BCG, this helps tremendously. Once these rigs are on the road, we'll have to do a trip together.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:52 PM   #60
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Hopefully we are within a couple of weeks of a meeting with Brian to discuss the SMB portion of the order. I saw a 144" Sprinter yesterday in San Luis Obispo in a 20' metered parallel parking spot. It had 10 extra inches in the front, but was overhanging the space behind it by 5". I really do want to be able to fit in that size space. We will visit cities for "cultural stuff" just as often as we go offroading.

Also, our new house is under construction in WA state. The sidewalk will curve in front of our house and is already poured in front of both neighbors' houses, but not in front of ours. I measured from the edge of the garage doorframe to where the sidewalk should be and estimate a length between 20' 0" and 20' 4". The HOA will not allow even 1" of overhang above the sidewalk.I want to keep the rig at the house, not store it at an RV facility. It looks like I will have to get permission to pour more concrete to the side of the garage (if there even is room) or not put the spare and Aluminess box on the back.

So, some questions for the gang.

1. What is the largest tire that can fit in the underside spare tire carry space? How much problem of rupture am I facing from bottoming out on departure angle? Any thoughts on a round shield shaped skid plate that fits over the spare and bolts up to the frame with the spare?

2. An Aluminess box and tire carrier do not easily uncouple from the Aluminess rear bumper, do they?

3. Has anyone put an undercarriage storage box in the floor in any place other than where the spare normally goes? There will be no propane tank or black tank, and a small grey tank. Lithium battery and small fresh water tank will be inside. With the OEM diesel tank and spare under the vehicle, what are the odds I could also fit an aux fuel tank, an aux fresh water tank, and a storage box in the undercarriage?

4. Any advice on non-fixed rear carriers (probably receiver hitch) that I can take off easily when parking in the driveway or in an urban area? My biggest concern is it hitting bottom offroad on a steep angle of departure.

5. With this possible length limitation, I am thinking of receiver hitches and wiring at both ends and carrying a portable winch inside (hopefully in a floor box), though I'd really prefer permanently mounted. Thoughts?
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