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Old 07-15-2013, 09:09 PM   #1
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Clean slate to work with

So, I'm now in the early stages of building.

What, if anything, would you do differently on yours? Additions? Deletions? Helpful tips? Design modifications?

My primary building block: 2014 E350 EB, 4x4. Will get most electronics options that come with the Ford van from factory. Top is still being mulled over. I'm 6'3", so top and sleeping configuration are vital.

I'm a big believer in having everything installed during the build and would be having options integrated into van at said time.

Many thanks and much appreciation for any and all input.

Dave
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:19 PM   #2
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Re: Clean slate to work with

Pull up a chair, and start with these two threads.

What are the top 10 best things you've added to your SMB?
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2374

What was a mistake or waste of $$$ on your van?
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2380


Herb

[EDIT: Jage just beat me to it. Clearly he still has free time - that will soon change]
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Old 07-16-2013, 06:20 AM   #3
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Re: Clean slate to work with

Very new to ours, and not sure if you picked a floor plan out yet, but we can't imagine not having our couch across from out kitchen. I'm only 5'10" and you can't stand and use the sink, stove, or counter comfortably while standing. Do some of you kneel with your floor plan...ouch!

We went with the EB44 and added the door galley. Sitting on the couch cooking, washing dishes, or just getting everything ready is so comfortable, with or without the top up. Just my 2
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Old 07-16-2013, 07:26 AM   #4
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Re: Clean slate to work with

Rear HVAC is a must for me. I don't have any experience with the aftermarket rear air systems, but it seems like they can be problematic at times, and don't have the capacity of the factory system. Of course, the factory HVAC only work when the engine is running. The other thing I don't like about the factory rear HVAC is the rear mode (heat vs AC) is dependent on the front mode (vent vs def). I split mine apart so I can control the rear mode independently.
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Old 07-16-2013, 02:50 PM   #5
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Re: Clean slate to work with

Have you owned a SMB before?

I ask, because you mentioned you wanted everything installed at the time of the build. Be aware that some things are very difficult to change after that point. So you'd better be sure what you need. Some have a tendency to add things they think they'll need...and then don't. That isn't such a huge problem with a big class A, but with our little vans that often means something else got excluded that you DO need.

In addition, your needs may change, and you have to account for that. More passengers (or less). Another sport (someone mentioned the change from sailboarding to kite sailing; or from photography to dirt biking). Another type of camping, or in a different environment. All sorts of things can change what you need to bring or leave behind and unless you've designed some flexibility into your design you can wind up unhappy.

And not only that but what's available changes. I have tons of electronics onboard now I never thought I'd need (or hadn't been invented yet). Fortunately most are small, and retrofitting hasn't been that hard (USB outlets, more 12v wiring, smaller inverter, antennas, coax runs, probably PoE one of these days...). But setting up the van so that you CAN change things is really helpful.

It's the rare SMBer that doesn't change things in the future (or maybe they just never come here). Look at the length of the What have you done?... threads. It will give you an idea of how your SMB will evolve over time, and it probably will. Just make room for that. It's part of the fun.
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Old 07-16-2013, 03:28 PM   #6
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Re: Clean slate to work with

Quote:
Originally Posted by 4MacFam
Very new to ours, and not sure if you picked a floor plan out yet, but we can't imagine not having our couch across from out kitchen. I'm only 5'10" and you can't stand and use the sink, stove, or counter comfortably while standing. Do some of you kneel with your floor plan...ouch!
The porta potty makes a great kitchen seat. SMB makes a cover and it's a fine height, though I don't think anything works for 6'3".
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Old 08-07-2013, 05:20 PM   #7
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Re: Clean slate to work with

Very much appreciate the feedback and input. Continuing to piece together the 'want list' and the 'feasible list' when building.

Have those of you who own the SMB had good and honest interaction during your build process....i.e. Regarding questions about item reliability, maintenance issues, any reoccurring problems area, etc.


Thanks.
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:34 AM   #8
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Re: Clean slate to work with

How about fixed top? I think it is more than 6'3".
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:26 AM   #9
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Re: Clean slate to work with

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave
Very much appreciate the feedback and input. Continuing to piece together the 'want list' and the 'feasible list' when building.

Have those of you who own the SMB had good and honest interaction during your build process....i.e. Regarding questions about item reliability, maintenance issues, any reoccurring problems area, etc.


Thanks.
Are you talking about interaction from SMB? If so, there are three factories. I can only speak for SMBW (Fresno), but can say without reservation that the communication, opinions, recommendations during the build, and follow-up service was second to none. If you want, go beyond the sales force and talk to the guys out back. Talk to Heber about the 4x4 system, Peter about service, I can't remember their installers name for electronics but everyone there was happy to give you input. If you have not done so yet and are capable, definitely visit the factory and spend a day touring. It will address most of your questions and concerns at one time.
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Old 08-09-2013, 09:36 AM   #10
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Re: Clean slate to work with

You say you are starting with a 4x4 E350. What do you mean by starting?

I bring this up because my observation has been that ride and suspension travel issues seem to come mostly who "started" with a 4x4. Starting with a 4x4 base van has the inherent disadvantage that it is not tuned for the final configuration. I think this is partly why Quigley vans tend to generate ride complaints.... they are all built for a stock cargo or pax van not an 11,000# camper.

The other option is to do post-conversion 4x4 (or of course mid-conversion SMB 4x4). This allows the 4x4 setup to be tailored for the actual weight of the final conversion. SMB has a good idea of what their vans will weigh, so it makes setup easy. QuadVan generally recommends sending vans to SMB first, then to QuadVan which allows them to select the proper spring rates and fine tune other areas.

Something else to think about....

Also, if you will be towing get the larger TransferFlow fuel tank. While I've never seen it flip to gallons-per-mile.... it's gotten close
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