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Old 02-08-2012, 11:54 AM   #1
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Which SMB location for my Sprinter van conversion?

This is my second thread and I hope my latest question is one that can be related to by a few of you. My question may be sensitive in nature but I think that this is probably the best place to ask one of its nature.

I have been spending a lot of time over the last month or so trying to get the Sprinter RV conversion of our dreams sorted out. As many of you likely already know, the more you dig and get detailed the more questions arise. My unshakeable background requires that I fully understand or at least get very comfortable with details important to me. That is the background for my questions.

I have read here and over at the Sprinter-Source forum that the Texas SMB site is the best versed at specifying and building the Sprinter RV. As much as I like all of the folks at the West Coast (WC) shop (we even visited) I find I have to talk to the Texas shop to get real time answers. On 3 occasions I was told I would have to wait for the West Coast shop to get back to me on what I thought were basic questions. I have always had to call to remind them after 3 -4 days. I can call the Texas shop and I get immediate answers while on the phone, complete with understandable explanations. That satisfies my need for clarity.

So my next issue is that I get conflicting responses from the two shops. One issue is that the WC shop says that my floor plan will require relocation of the spare tire to a swing away mount so they can install the propane tank where the tire was. I asked Texas and they said that they put the tank (5.5 gal?) next to the gas tank so the spare tire relocation is not necessary. I would really rather have the tank next to the gas tank since rear end collisions are much more prevalent where I live than the side impact. I also don't have to pay for the relocated tire on the swing mount.

There are more examples but I don't want to belabor the point.

So, how has this been working for everyone? I would rather have the build local so I can drop in as needed (2 hrs away) but is the crew in Texas that much more experienced that I should take the week off to pick up the rig in Texas? I did read in another thread that warranty work can be an issue between the shops, is that still an issue that you know of?

Any feedback is appreicated.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 02-08-2012, 03:05 PM   #2
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Re: Which SMB location for my Sprinter van conversion?

I choose SMB West to build our Sprinter that is underway partly because Fresno was closer and has better air connections to my home town (Anchorage) for periodic build visits and two because I think they have have a better grasps of cold weather issues - important for my location - but maybe not where you live and travel. I saw equipment installations (holding tanks, piping and cabin penetrations) in pictures from Texas builds that would be very vulnerable to cold weather and road salt corrosion. SMB West seem to understand the cold protection and ease of winter weatherization procedures. Did not ask Texas about cold issue though, just my perception. They do apparently offer a larger variety of custom interior finishes based on web picture views. Indiana probably would also get cold weather -but they are way off the travel grid from AK (and traveling across the midwest prairies to bring it back home would be really boring and require a lot of windshield cleaner-LOL) and I hate the look of the button upholstery jobs that Indiana likes to do.
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Old 02-08-2012, 11:12 PM   #3
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Re: Which SMB location for my Sprinter van conversion?

Perhaps one minor additional factor - it's mentioned in this thread (viewtopic.php?f=15&t=8405) that of course the California sales tax will be used on the SMB West location (Fresno 9%, I believe), rather than the Texas motor vehicle 6.25% sales tax.
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Old 02-10-2012, 07:32 AM   #4
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Re: Which SMB location for my Sprinter van conversion?

We had our Sprinter conversion done in Austin. We could not have been happier with the results. We live in Colorado, so attention to insulation etc was crucial. Based on information on this forum and advice from the Austin folks we have a very "cold friendly" van. We have spent several nights in subzero temps without problems. I hope that this helps. Docd
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Old 02-10-2012, 08:44 AM   #5
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Re: Which SMB location for my Sprinter van conversion?

If your not a CA state resident you can have your SMB West vehicle delivered and temporary titled in Nevada for a fee to avoid the steep sales tax -see the web page. You may still have a tax to pay to have the permanent titled issued in your home state.
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Old 02-10-2012, 04:32 PM   #6
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Re: Which SMB location for my Sprinter van conversion?

Thank you for the replies so far, they have made me think.

I would prefer to have the conversion performed close to home but I am having a hard time getting what I thought were answers to basic questions. So far no return calls have been made without me calling first to remind them. I thought that maybe I was just impatient since I called after waiting 3 days so waited a week this time and still no response. I learned a long time ago that if you are not being treated as you like during the "courting period" then it doesn't usually get better after the contract has been signed. I could be wrong.

The responses to my post have given me things to consider. If I stay local I just need to know that the communication lines are open to maintain accuracy and quality. I was under the impression that my chosen plan was one of the basic ones but even adding a couple of their own listed ptions seems to have spun the SMBW crew.

I really just want to order the van right now but am waiting to be able to select the right options on the vehicle order itself. I'm already a week behind on ordering the van itself.

Thanks for all of the input.
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Old 02-10-2012, 10:35 PM   #7
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Which SMB location for my Sprinter van conversion?

Have you considered van specialties? They build the outside vans also. They are in Oregon (no tax) and have been doing this work for over 30 years. I have been there quit a few times as they are local to me and seen absolutely stunning sprinter conversions. This week alone there were at least 10 going at once. Check out outsidevans.com and you can see their work. Great people to work with also.

Brad
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:36 AM   #8
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Re: Which SMB location for my Sprinter van conversion?

My Chevy Express van was built in Austin Last July. One of most fun times I have ever had spending money. The Austin crew is great. Three months later I went back for some minor fixes, some additions and some modifications. They spent practically a whole day on the van for little or no charge. They will do what it takes to make you happy(within reason of course) and their workmanship is excellent. Very nice and VERY patient folks. They do seem to be the Sprinter experts so if it's feasible for you this is the place to go. BTW the only exposed water systems in my van are the black and grey water tanks. There's also the fill line for the fresh water tank but that has a drain so there's no way it will freeze.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:39 PM   #9
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Re: Which SMB location for my Sprinter van conversion?

Just thought I would post my good experiences at Indiana also. It seems to me that they probably do 1/2 and 1/2 on the Sprinter vs Ford conversions. They usually have at least as many Sprinters on the lot as Fords.

They have been very helpful every time we needed something and are willing to work with you on scheduling issues also. No complaints from me.
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Old 03-10-2012, 03:57 PM   #10
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Re: Which SMB location for my Sprinter van conversion?

SMB West
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