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Old 05-10-2012, 02:21 PM   #1
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New guy with my "new" van in Philly area

So, after years of wanting a Sportsmobile, carefully scouring Craigslist and other online sites, I finally found one in my price range, in good shape, and even relatively close to me. This week I picked up my 1998 Ford EB SMB in Raleigh, NC, and drove it home to the Philadelphia area. With only 73,000 miles, it runs really good and seems to be in good shape overall, but of course it has some small issues since it's a 14-year-old van. We had an 88 VW Westy for a few years, and I'm liking the room in the EB Ford, that's for sure!

The previous owner was a retired doctor and his wife, who used it a lot at first but not very much in recent years. He didn't list it on CL as a Sportsmobile, but rather as a "conversion van." I found it by accident, and he offered it to me at a price I couldn't refuse as he said the Starcool wasn't working and the rear electric outlets/inverter weren't working. I'm not a big fan of the stripe graphic on the side or the running boards, and may do something about them eventually.

My immediate mod will be to add a third captain's chair inside the side doors, so my son can more easily ride with us. I've posted a separate message in the interior forum asking for advice on that. I also need to fix the rear tire carrier, as it's not in the best of shape.

Anyway, here are two pics from the original ad.

If there are any SMB owners on the forum in the Philly area, I'd love to get together and pick your brains for advice on the SMB systems, build, etc.

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SMB_pic2.jpg   SMB_pic1.jpg  
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Old 05-10-2012, 10:41 PM   #2
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Re: New guy with my "new" van in Philly area

Very clean looking rig. I'm sure you're gonna enjoy your new ride.


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Old 05-17-2012, 01:13 PM   #3
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Re: New guy with my "new" van in Philly area

Congratulations! I'm an East Coaster (Baltimore Area) myself looking for a used SMB. Good Luck with yours. I'll surely be announcing when I get mine.
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Old 05-17-2012, 03:48 PM   #4
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Re: New guy with my "new" van in Philly area

Looks good. I saw that on on CL as well. What was the deal with the no rear power? Look forward to updates!
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Old 05-17-2012, 04:34 PM   #5
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Re: New guy with my "new" van in Philly area

Quote:
Originally Posted by 89srule
Looks good. I saw that on on CL as well. What was the deal with the no rear power? Look forward to updates!
No rear power turned out to be that the outside GFCI outlet breaker was popped. I reset it and it's fine! I got very lucky. Now just have to address the Starcool, but that's not a priority. Overall the van is in remarkable shape for being a 1998 and being stored outside.
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:43 PM   #6
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Re: New guy with my "new" van in Philly area

Brian! That looks like a great van. I bought one about two months ago with the regular length body that looks identical on the outside.

I convinced my buddy to start looking and I was actually pushing him towards this one. He found another one in Ohio and we flew up and drove it back about 2 weeks ago. We're down in Richmond.

So everything checked out?? That guy had it listed for several thousand more than my buddy wanted to spend but by the end of it, he told him he was ready to donate it for the write off. That's what scared us off thinking there was too much to fix but it looks in great shape!

The best part is you drove it all the way back and got some fuel running through it. Mine had sat for a bit also and I had the fuel system flushed and a new fuel filter put on immediately. I bought some all terrains and replaced the oil pan gasket b/c it was leaking just a bit and she's good to go.

Happy camping!
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Old 05-23-2012, 08:48 PM   #7
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Re: New guy with my "new" van in Philly area

Look at the 'NEW OWNER!' post right below yours for a few pics I had...
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Old 05-24-2012, 04:01 AM   #8
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Re: New guy with my "new" van in Philly area

Hah! I was looking at the Ohio one, too. Glad we both got one.

I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I got mine for $2,000, basically what the PO would get for his tax write-off if he donated it. I would have paid the $7,000 he had it originally listed for, but he dropped the price right away without me even asking. He was a 76-year-old retired doctor and just wanted it out of his driveway. It was in WAY better shape than I imagined when I showed up to drive it home. Paint is like new, engine ran great, interior in pretty good shape except for a water leak from a back door that was left open, etc. One of the brakes occasionally grabs, but that's an easy fix (I'm doing a full front-end swap with a donor 2011 E250 soon). And the AC isn't working, although I think it may be a simple electrical issue (fingers crossed).

So far I've removed the running boards and put new wheels on it. Looks much better already. Working on getting a third captain's chair installed for my son (should go in next week), getting newer running boards, and doing the front-end swap. I got a used DVD receiver for the dash and will run a backup camera to it. I may also get the vertical part of the stripe painted over; a local body shop will do it for $400. Just trying to decide if I dislike the look $400 worth!
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Old 05-24-2012, 06:40 AM   #9
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Re: New guy with my "new" van in Philly area

Unreal! That's a great price. I thought he would drop it to that neck of the woods as it did sound like he just wanted to move the van. The top alone is worth double, so you could technically put thousands into fixing it up and personalizing it and still be good.

Post some pics w/o the running boards b/c I'm thinking of doing something to update mine as well. I like the ATS rails that another new owner put on his. Something has to go back on as my wife specifically requested an extra step there to ease entry and exiting of the van.

You're going to love having the van. It looked like you had also been lurking for a few years, so I know you're excited. We have only owned ours for two months and I don't know how we lived w/o one before.
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Old 05-24-2012, 08:42 AM   #10
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Re: New guy with my "new" van in Philly area

I've been looking for a SMB off and on since we sold our VW Westy in 2005, so, yes, the anticipation had built a lot. Hard to find good, affordable, non-rusty ones on the East Coast.

I figure I'll be into this @~$5k once I get stuff tweaked. But that's new wheels, tires, front end, third seat, and running boards.

Well, I might need to widen my driveway to park the third vehicle, too, but I'm not thinking about that right now.
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