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Old 12-21-2009, 03:30 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 7
Looking for my first SMB!

Iím very new to this forum and hope my post is appropriate.

Iím wanting and able to purchase an older model SMB within the next few months. Iím in need of some major help, though. I know very little about buying a van, a SMB or owning a camper.

I plan to be using it mostly in Colorado in spring, summer, fall and maybe some winter. I donít need 4WD but would drive on some rough road.

Iíve been doing a bit of reading on this site and looking over the SMB website and looking at Craigís list but havenít yet found just what I need (or even knowing completely what I should be looking for it to have) and havenít established the confidence that I would know how to make a good purchase. If anyone comes across something close to what Iím looking for (I would consider retrofitting with what I need Ė a dialog Iím hoping to soon have with SMB), or how to gain more confidence in buying a good vehicle at a good price, it would be GREATLY appreciated.

What Iím NEEDING:
Refrigerator
At least a 2 burner stove
Attic fan if not PH
Shower
Porta potti
Heater
Water heater
2-way energy source

What I would REALLY LIKE
PH (it would be great to have the bed but not a necessity)
Less than 100K miles

Iím not what is the best vehicle to get. Fords look like the most common SMB campers. Sprinters sound really appealing but Iím not sure how well the cost/benefit ratio works out. The breakeven for the savings in gas mileage will be a long time coming. I think a RB would be fine but Iím open to an EB. I donít know whether I should look for gas or diesel. Read that one should avoid the 6.0 Ford diesel and look for 7.3. Told diesel engines last much longer but the fuel is more expensive. Iím wanting power windows and power door locks and an AM/FM radio.

Iím only interested in used. I donít mind if itís 10 years or a little older as long as itís been kept in good shape and other than what I can see with my own eyes, I donít know what that would be to someone who knows about these things. I assume I always get a CarFax report and an inspection? What else should I look for that these wonít reveal? Like rust and water damage? Iím handy around the house but not with a vehicle or camper. I wouldnít know the first thing about evaluating the condition or how to repair anything myself but Iím willing to learnÖ even if itís just where to go for help.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated in helping me find and purchase the ďrightĒ camper.

Thanks much,

Lori
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Old 12-21-2009, 05:37 PM   #2
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Re: Looking for my first SMB!

Welcome!
You are in for an adventure!
Tons of info here

to start, what is your budget
this will help alot

bw
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Old 12-21-2009, 05:53 PM   #3
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Re: Looking for my first SMB!

Yes, that would be important. I guess the best way to answer it is to say that when all is said and done, I'd like it to be less than $30K. And that will be a stretch. I'd be much more comfortable with it not exceeding $25K but at this point don't know if that's reasonable. And what I mean by "said and done" is that price includes anything I'm going to need to do in terms of repairs, replacements, additions. I'm also assuming that I'm going to have to go a long distance to find something I want (I don't see a whole lot of SMB on the east coast except Florida). Travel expenses then start coming off of the upper price I'm willing to spend.

I didn't mention that I would like an alarm on it, too.

Yes, an adventure is what I'm looking for!

Thanks.

Lori
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:57 PM   #4
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Re: Looking for my first SMB!

I have bought two rigs this year
a VW Westy and my SMB

sold the Westy
bought the SMB

I Looked at "turnkey" ready to camp rigs

I am a bit picky and opted for a rig to modify to my needs

just a full interior and exterior detail, full tune up, brakes, fluid change radiator flush
can run you a bit of money

in buying a used rig IMHO the above things are prudent
and give you a starting point

I would personally hate to blow 100% of my budget on the
rig and have nothing for service and to modify/upgrade to accomidate
your needs

that said and done there are some killer deals out there

look here, smb site, craigslist ( nationwide ), eBay, auto trader, and check often

go see rigs that you can get to easy
even if not right for you
just let em know you are out shopping and want to get a feel
for what is available

also, some folks here will most likly to show off

gotta run, my sterio install is almost done!
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:14 PM   #5
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Re: Looking for my first SMB!

Also try to grease the skids on your payment method. A well priced SMB may move very quickly, and more than a few deals have been "lost" due to difficulty in getting the financing squared away. An SMB is pretty unique, and that tends to throw-off some loan officers, assuming you're getting a loan to buy it.


Herb
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:33 PM   #6
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Re: Looking for my first SMB!

Thanks! This is a good start. I'm feeling better, already!

I didn't know that there was a Craig's List national. Just looked and found a few possibilities if they can be retrofitted with a shower. One had 4 seats. I only need 2 seats. Is there a market for these? Is this becoming too involved if I have to have seats removed? I'm assuming that the carpet would need to be replaced in such a situation, too. I suppose I could just sit tight (in one of my seats) and wait for something more suitable to show up.

I'm ready with the financing. I'll have more trouble making the trip than making the payment. And that brings up another question. Say I see something I like that's clear across the country and it's going to take me a week or so to rearrange my schedule and get on a plane to go look at this camper. Is a seller going to "hold" on to his/her vehicle waiting for me to show up? Is there such a thing as a "secure" deposit to hold it? Even still, how long is someone going to want to wait, especially if he/she is putting a really good price on it?

I'll look into the cost of the interior and exterior detailing, etc., so I have that factored in properly.

Thanks, again.

Lori
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Old 12-21-2009, 07:40 PM   #7
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Re: Looking for my first SMB!

Having financing set up ahead of time makes it much easier for sure.

We gave the owner of our prospective SMB a $500 deposit after we test drove it and we gave him a date when were going to purchase (6 weeks later).

If you are seriously looking at a SMB that is a long distance from you it might be possible to have someone on this board check it out for you. It has been done before.
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Old 12-22-2009, 06:21 AM   #8
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Re: Looking for my first SMB!

Craigslist "national"
i use a seperate search engin

http://www.crazedlist.org/
i have to use firefox to use it

works well for me

bw
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Old 12-22-2009, 03:43 PM   #9
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Re: Looking for my first SMB!

SMB, Texas has this on their lot.

Van 1999 Ford RB
Miles 37,050 Price $18,200
Engine 5.4 L V-8
Top Contempo
Commercial Carpet, Day/Night Shades, 4 CF Refrigerator, Starcool 110 volt A/C, Attic Fan, Porta Potty, Sink, Propane Furnace and Stove, Microwave, TV Antenna, Van Radio Switch, Custom Stripes, Fiberglass Running Boards, Awning, Class III Hitch, Very good condition.

They would put shower where refrigerator is and move ref to closet location. This estimate cost would be $2500.00

I THINK the only other thing I definitely want is to have 3-way power and need to ask about water tanks. Asking about the cost to have that.

So I'm at about $21+K. Does that look like a decent price? I will need to get more particulars about the van. Anything in particular I should ask about that's really important that a dummy like me is likely to miss? Like about the 5.4 engine having spark plug problems? Read that this is a huge problem with the older vehicles. Looks like a PITA and costly. Maybe that's why this vehicle is still sitting there?

Lori
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Old 12-23-2009, 08:15 AM   #10
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Re: Looking for my first SMB!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gowest
SMB, Texas has this on their lot.

Van 1999 Ford RB
Miles 37,050 Price $18,200
Engine 5.4 L V-8
Top Contempo

Lori

i like the rig and lay out

to think about:

1) can YOU stand up in a contempo??
(i like hard tops, i have one by choice)

2) Shower
I had one in my rig
My 95 pound Thai wife would have been cramped in there
I took it out
Now have rear ext shower, open both back doors, clip a large piece of black no see thru plastic up
top of door to ground, have shower mat, all good to go

I understand the concept of female privacy and needing a shower
but understand it does eat up space

consider where you will be camping and will showers be available?

also, traveling by yourself? if so a vote FOR self contained shower
if with friend(s), will really eat up space

also on that rig you can reclaim some space by ditching the TV cabinet
and getting a flat screen on a adjustable arm ( @ $250 all in for a 12v/110 unit )

Batteries:
what kind does it have meaning Size, location, total amp hours (total amp hours will let you know how long and what you can run on battery)
This is a '99, so the batts may be stock or older and due for replacement, not cheap

Have you physically walked into and sat in some rigs yet??

Ya might thing of posting here your "general" location and see if any boardies will let you meet up to see theirs, even if it is not your particular style choice, you will:
1) prob meet some nice folks
2) get a better feel on what you need

Yahoo groups also has a SMB site, done know how many folks post here and there
but agin might try sitting in and standing in a few rigs


A tad cheaper than getting on an airplane to see one////

BW out
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