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Old 09-05-2015, 11:30 PM   #1
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Vans and Sportsmobile in Wall Street Journal today

http://www.wsj.com/articles/restyled-wo ... 1441404940

The SMB bit is the very end.
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Old 09-06-2015, 04:52 PM   #2
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Re: Vans and Sportsmobile in Wall Street Journal today

Wonder what the production is at the other two sites?

Excerpt:
Alan Feld, chief executive of Sportsmobile in Fresno, Calif., is expanding production so he can boost his custom camper van sales to 450 a year from 350. He converts Nissan NVs, Sprinters and other vans into campers with furniture, a galley and sleeping areas.

“I remember a time when you wouldn’t even let your daughter near a van,” Mr. Feld said. “It’s good to see that has changed.”
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Old 04-01-2016, 02:20 PM   #3
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And again in the WSJ..

A Conversion Van Hears the Call of the Wild - WSJ

Bob and Lindsay, you members here?
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Old 04-01-2016, 07:22 PM   #4
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Sometimes they have a paywall, so here is the text of the article.

Bob Cox, a Marine Corps helicopter pilot from Bellingham, Wash., on his “Big Easy” Sportsmobile, as told to A.J. Baime.
My favorite thing about our Big Easy van is that my wife, Lindsay, loves it. Which means I get to play, all the time. The van is a two-wheel drive 2001 Ford Econoline that’s been converted into a four-wheel drive adventure vehicle by a company called Sportsmobile. I bought it in 2010, used and already converted. It can take us where others can’t go. All we have to do is pack some clothes, stop at the store for food, and we’re gone.
The van has two solar panels that charge the electronics: a big refrigerator, fans, lights, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. There’s a dual-burner propane stove and a furnace that we can set just like in a house. We have a portable toilet, a sink with constant hot water (water runs through a heat exchanger through the diesel engine) and a shower (we open the van’s rear doors, hang a shower curtain, and have a hot shower, anywhere we feel like it).
The roof pops up so we can walk around inside, and two foldout beds sleep four. Our dogs, Colby and Captain, get the bottom bunk, and my wife and I take the top. An awning folds out so we can cook outside even if it’s raining, and various storage compartments convert into tables. And the wheels can be easily configured for extra traction in mud, snow, or on the beach, by deflating the tires and locking the rear differential.
The Big Easy carries our toys, too. Up front there’s a winch that can pull 12,000 pounds, and a rack for four bikes. In back, a hitch pulls our boat. We have an air compressor to blow up beach toys and mountain-bike tires. There’s even a hidden safe in the van, where we put our valuables when we’re off playing.


We’ve taken the van through Utah and Colorado, deep into Canada, down the Pacific Coast Highway, and to the most southeastern point in Texas, where I blew up the engine and had to have it replaced. I think of the van as a self-contained party entity. And my wife is pregnant, so soon we’ll have another one along for the ride.
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Old 04-01-2016, 09:31 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Steve_382 View Post
Sometimes they have a paywall, so here is the text of the article.

Bob Cox, a Marine Corps helicopter pilot from Bellingham, Wash., on his “Big Easy” Sportsmobile, as told to A.J. Baime.
My favorite thing about our Big Easy van is that my wife, Lindsay, loves it. Which means I get to play, all the time. The van is a two-wheel drive 2001 Ford Econoline that’s been converted into a four-wheel drive adventure vehicle by a company called Sportsmobile. I bought it in 2010, used and already converted. It can take us where others can’t go. All we have to do is pack some clothes, stop at the store for food, and we’re gone.
The van has two solar panels that charge the electronics: a big refrigerator, fans, lights, and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. There’s a dual-burner propane stove and a furnace that we can set just like in a house. We have a portable toilet, a sink with constant hot water (water runs through a heat exchanger through the diesel engine) and a shower (we open the van’s rear doors, hang a shower curtain, and have a hot shower, anywhere we feel like it).
The roof pops up so we can walk around inside, and two foldout beds sleep four. Our dogs, Colby and Captain, get the bottom bunk, and my wife and I take the top. An awning folds out so we can cook outside even if it’s raining, and various storage compartments convert into tables. And the wheels can be easily configured for extra traction in mud, snow, or on the beach, by deflating the tires and locking the rear differential.
The Big Easy carries our toys, too. Up front there’s a winch that can pull 12,000 pounds, and a rack for four bikes. In back, a hitch pulls our boat. We have an air compressor to blow up beach toys and mountain-bike tires. There’s even a hidden safe in the van, where we put our valuables when we’re off playing.


We’ve taken the van through Utah and Colorado, deep into Canada, down the Pacific Coast Highway, and to the most southeastern point in Texas, where I blew up the engine and had to have it replaced. I think of the van as a self-contained party entity. And my wife is pregnant, so soon we’ll have another one along for the ride.

See, this is a V10 gasoline engine that had a major problem. it's not just 6.0 diesel! I've had 4 diesels, all went extremely well, with proper maintenance and looked after and not thrashed!
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Old 04-02-2016, 12:06 AM   #6
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Sorry, no -- it's Steve_382 who has the gas V10. Steve didn't make it clear what he was quoting vs. saying himself, but it was in the quoted WSJ article. Those owners had the diesel, and it "blew up".
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Old 04-02-2016, 04:56 AM   #7
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Sorry, no -- it's Steve_382 who has the gas V10. Steve didn't make it clear what he was quoting vs. saying himself, but it was in the quoted WSJ article. Those owners had the diesel, and it "blew up".
Don't beleive you, read Steve 382 equipment profile!
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Old 04-02-2016, 06:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by geoffff View Post
Sorry, no -- it's Steve_382 who has the gas V10. Steve didn't make it clear what he was quoting vs. saying himself, but it was in the quoted WSJ article. Those owners had the diesel, and it "blew up".
Yes V10's are no doubt subject to failures however in my time here I've rarely read any threads detailing the huge amounts of "routine maintenance" diesels engines require or the cubic dollars it takes to bulletproof or simply maintain one of those beasts. Add in a bit of owner neglect due lack of knowledge or simply forgetting and we're taking somewhere near $6K for "routine maintenance--more often than not that's a figure thrown around in those threads.

The 6.0's seem damn near cursed with the sheer number of known problems they have, Ford's Modular Motors not suffering anywhere near those upkeep nightmares. I'm sure diesel engines for non-commercial vehicles make sense to some, that much I'd never dispute. Given what I've read here and comparing it to my own gasoline engine experience I'm still lost as to what allure or true utility diesel's offer.
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Old 04-02-2016, 08:56 AM   #9
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It wasn't my van that blew up, it was the one in the article. And believe it or not, the article said it was the holy grail motor, a 7.3L diesel. So, I guess they can all blow up. Ha.

My V10 gas has been pretty good really. I have put in new spark plugs twice and coils at about 110,000 miles, but aside from that it's been great and feels like it could go another 100,000.


A quote from the article:

Notice the sign on the refrigerator: ‘Bend Beer Is Better.’ Bend, Ore., is a frequent stop for the Coxes on their adventures. The van’s 7.3-liter turbodiesel engine gets about 18-20 mpg on the highway, according to Mr. Cox. Jordan Stead for The Wall Street Journal
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Old 04-02-2016, 09:01 AM   #10
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Well that's a whole other argument, one that's already been beaten to death around these parts (insert beating a dead cow emoji). Maybe Steve_382 can clarify....
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