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Old 11-18-2009, 09:04 AM   #1
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Another noob in So Cal

New member interested in a Sportsmobile after getting tired of dealing with my 2001 21’ toybox trailer I sold a few months ago. Towing was just getting old and since it is usually just me heading to the desert to meet friends it seemed it was more hassle that it was worth. With storage, upkeep and towing in general over the years I am ready for something more streamlined. I have been reading the forums for a few months now trying to learn about Sportsmobiles and the different options. So far I think I have a good overview but I still have questions maybe some of you can help me answer. It seems there are a few different main 4x4 conversion shops that do the conversion on SMBs. Those being S&K, Quadvan, Quigley and then SMBs own kit. What year did SMB start using their own 4x4 system? Of the others I think Quigley uses the leaf springs up front with Quadvan going with coils, what about S&K and was there a year they started going with coils? I am interested in getting the best highway ride I can so that if the family comes along they won’t ask to be dropped off at the first hotel :0).

Currently have a 4x4 truck which I do use for light 4 wheeling to explore old mining sites in the desert and such though I mostly use it to get to the desert to ride dirtbikes. I don’t plan to do hardcore 4x4ing with the van and in fact due to the price of Sportsmobiles I have even considered just a lifted 2wd with a locker and winch. But, I have always liked having 4x4 just to know you can cruise in sandy areas without much worry and get unstuck if you manage to get stopped in 2wd. Will be getting a used Sportsmobile for sure as not interested in financing, especially in today’s economy. Leaning toward the V10 mostly due to the availability, runs quiet and not really interested in the 6.0. The 7.3 is a great motor but loud..but I would be open to it as well if the right vehicle came along. I was really after this Quigley 4x4 E350 with a 7.3 non-Sportsmobile a few months ago I found local but it sold before I could look at it.

What year did they start with the V10 option? Year wise how far back do you think I should be looking for a Sportsmobile considering engine, brakes and overall options/issues?

Thanks for any feedback and look forward to meeting some of you. I have met plenty of great folks on the internet in the dirt bike community and have been connecting with folks for rides that way since the late 90s.
Eric in So Cal
Always on the lookout for Sportsmobiles on the 405 commute! Saw a really nice Black one pulling a mini airstream a few months ago and more recently a white one with a hard top.
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Old 11-18-2009, 01:07 PM   #2
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Re: Another noob in So Cal

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Originally Posted by KTMRIDER
What year did they start with the V10 option? Year wise how far back do you think I should be looking for a Sportsmobile considering engine, brakes and overall options/issues?
V10 started in 97 with vans. Maybe 96 for cut-away? Pre-07 1/2 don't have roll over or tire pressure monitoring systems. Which I consider a plus for bigger tires etc. The frame of the vans was made 15% stronger in 08. The brakes are bigger from 08 forward too.

Conversion type? As a very satisfied Quigley owner, I'd go with a coil setup like S&K or Quadvan using more Ford parts than others. Also see Biju's or Scatter's van for good examples of the 4x4 suspension.
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Old 11-18-2009, 03:30 PM   #3
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Re: Another noob in So Cal

If I had a choice of 4x4 setup I would go for coils all round... I remember the day Land Rover went coils!!! real off road and ride bonus... load bonus not so good though...

My mate AndrewST (on the forum) has just had a grand tour of all the 4x4 outfitters on your continent... I would go for Coils!!!

Oh yes I drive a 2WD Chevy but I am from a 4x4 background, and owned the following (in order...):

Hyundai Starex 4x4 - sold (Torsion Bars F & Coils R)

Suzuki Samurai - sold (leafs all round)

Suzuki Jimny - sold (coils all round)

Currently still mine Mitsubishi Pajero (Torsion Bars F & Coils R)
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Old 11-18-2009, 04:15 PM   #4
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Re: Another noob in So Cal

My tour included some of the 4x4 converters not all

Here are some markers I retained:

Quadvan : Coil / leaf, ford pieces, no welding involved
Quigley: Coil / leaf, ford + home made pieces, welding involved
Salem Kroger : Coil / leaf, ford pieces welding involved
Sportsmobile : Leaf / leaf, aftermarket pieces, welding involved


I would back saabman's option of coils all around for confort.

Should mention I have 2 landcruisers with coils all around
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Old 11-20-2009, 01:53 AM   #5
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Re: Another noob in So Cal

Thanks for the info on the different conversion options and engine data. Coils all the way around would be nice but they don't offer that on the Sportsmobile from any of these places from my research.

saabman it sounds like you have owned quite a few different vehicles. Thanks for sharing the photos.

While growing up my grandparents owned a very early 2wd Chevy camper van called an "Open Road". Actually thinking back it was a pretty good setup and very similar in function to today's Sportsmobile. I found a few links on similar models for those interested:

http://i190.photobucket.com/albums/z...ots/71OPEN.jpg
http://67-72chevytrucks.com/vboard/s....php?p=2867884
http://public.fotki.com/Lordmodelbui...el/or0001.html

Vehicles I have owned:
76 Ford Bronco 4x4 - One of the dumbest moves in my life was selling this pristine gem!
82 Toyota 4x4 lifted 33's slow but functional
85 Toyota 4x4 extra cab auto..slow but a great truck until someone ran a red and took me out
88 Ranger 2wd mild prerunner with auburn gear limited slip in the rear that took me lots of places
96 Explorer 4x4 - Uhh yeah sorry.
97 Ford F150 supercab 4x4
99 Ford Ranger extra cab 4x4 - threw a rod at 16K and went through Ford dispute board
01 Ford Supercrew 4x4 with leer shell - current truck at 104K....has been a GREAT truck!

Eric
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:10 PM   #6
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Re: Another noob in So Cal

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Coils all the way around would be nice but they don't offer that on the Sportsmobile from any of these places from my research.
One does on the van but I still have to do some research
I may try it...
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:14 PM   #7
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Re: Another noob in So Cal

Coils in front, leaves in back is my preferred setup, although I'm partial to the smaller unibody Jeep Cherokee, which is probably why I feel that way.

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Old 11-22-2009, 11:12 AM   #8
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Re: Another noob in So Cal

Quote:
Originally Posted by KTMRIDER

Vehicles I have owned:
76 Ford Bronco 4x4 - One of the dumbest moves in my life was selling this pristine gem!

Eric
Oh Eric, I might have to ask that you send back the compressor and GPS unit.

Now if you had sold the '76 so you could buy a smog-testing exempt 75 or earlier, then I might be able to understand it. I have my '69 ('77 body) as my daily driver and can't imagine ever letting it go.


For everyone else, Early Broncos have coils front, and rear leafs.


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Old 12-07-2009, 11:23 PM   #9
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Re: Another noob in So Cal

Herb here is a photo for you of my old Bronco. I have no excuse for selling...just young and stupid!



Just got back from a trip to Australia and while there took a 4x4 tour. Vehicles were very capable and at one point we were driving in the surf while 4x4ing over some downed trees and around branches:



Finally for you pop-top lovers here is one I spotted:


There were a lot of 4x4 vans and pop-top/hard-top vans down under. They even put hard-tops on top of Land Cruisers.
Eric
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:23 PM   #10
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Re: Another noob in So Cal

Quote:
Originally Posted by KTMRIDER

Just got back from a trip to Australia and while there took a 4x4 tour. Vehicles were very capable and at one point we were driving in the surf while 4x4ing over some downed trees and around branches:

Nice. I would like to see that trip report.
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