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Old 01-07-2015, 09:20 AM   #1
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New SMB owner here!

Hello everyone. I have been lurking here for a little while and using the info to help find a SMB. I have tent camped my whole life and my wife and I have tent camped since we have been together. We recently moved to CO and I am looking to go camping more often and she is looking for a little more luxury so the SMB seemed like a logical choice! Shortly before xmas I got extremely lucky and found what I was looking for, a clean older SMB 2wd for a low enough cost that I could justify it's purchase.

Here she is:

1995 Dodge Ram Van B2500



PO seems to have taken great care of the van. He and his wife used it mostly as a hard sided tent and a boat hauler. He couldn't speak to the SMB systems of the van too much, except that the fridge worked. He didn't use the fresh water tank or the sink. However, I asked a few questions and got some pointers from a friend on the forum(rallypanam) so I was able to look over the systems of the van pretty well. PO still had the original SMB 3-ring binder so I was also able to dig through the book once I got it home. Body is very clean for the age, PH canvas is in great shape, plastic windows and screens are in good shape too. There are a couple of splits in a couple of the plastic windows right at the seam where it connects to the canvas, but they are tucked pretty close to the canvas and aren't very large so I am hopeful I can patch them up easily.(Any advice would be appreciated, see pic below)



I am thinking that it will need new house batteries since the ones that are in there are mismatched, one is an interstate hybrid RV starting/deep cycle battery and the other one is so dusty I don't know what it is. Does anyone know what the largest Ah capacity I can get in the typical car battery size(group 24/27)? It seems like a smart thing to just replace them up front and not have to worry about them. However, I will try to do a load test on them once they are fully charged to see what kind of condition they are currently in.

PO said that when he bought the van, it had a water heater as well, but his wife took it out since she wanted extra storage in the sink cabinet. I noticed that there is a second water pump still mounted and wired up in the sink cabinet. I am assuming this would have been hooked up to the water heater but not sure why. Is it common/necessary to have a second water pump to pull/push water into/out of a water heater?

So far the major issue I have seen is that there is a leak in the front driver's side of the PH down on the bottom. Somewhere between the van's roof and the bottom attachment of the PH top. As soon as I got the van it got cold and started snowing plus all that Xmas stuff got in the way so I haven't had a chance to dig in yet. I will update this thread when I know more. PO did say that it happened to him and he had sealed it though.



I am looking forward to getting out camping and taking some road trips in the van. I don't have any plans to do any upgrading to this van(other than getting all the systems in proper working order) since it is not the ultimate SMB goal I have in mind, but it should serve as a good test bed to see if it works for our family,(me, wife, 5 yr old, and two 100lb dogs) and help us figure out what we want/don't want in a long term van.

Rest of the pics:




















Wouldn't want to mess up that bling! LOL
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:51 AM   #2
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Re: New SMB owner here!

Sweet!

My plan to get all meatspace friends into Sportsmobiles continues.. 3 and counting.
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:52 AM   #3
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Re: New SMB owner here!

Welcome to the Forum and Nice find that looks perfect for what you are wanting to do.

I would replace both batteries with the same size and style first thing. Its best so one does not cook the other.
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Old 01-07-2015, 10:30 AM   #4
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Re: New SMB owner here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben10281
There are a couple of splits in a couple of the plastic windows right at the seam where it connects to the canvas, but they are tucked pretty close to the canvas and aren't very large so I am hopeful I can patch them up easily.(Any advice would be appreciated, see pic below)
Got me. Super glue? Or maybe google some type of clear plastic patch you could glue in there?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben10281
I am thinking that it will need new house batteries since the ones that are in there are mismatched, one is an interstate hybrid RV starting/deep cycle battery and the other one is so dusty I don't know what it is. Does anyone know what the largest Ah capacity I can get in the typical car battery size(group 24/27)? It seems like a smart thing to just replace them up front and not have to worry about them.
I'd recommend a good deep cycle AGM.. Something like this one from Wholesale Batteries Direct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben10281
PO said that when he bought the van, it had a water heater as well, but his wife took it out since she wanted extra storage in the sink cabinet. I noticed that there is a second water pump still mounted and wired up in the sink cabinet. I am assuming this would have been hooked up to the water heater but not sure why. Is it common/necessary to have a second water pump to pull/push water into/out of a water heater?
Second water pump and heater were most likely not from SMB.. So the SMB system, assuming they didn't hack it up, should still work. It looks pretty complete from the pictures, but there's only one way to find out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben10281
So far the major issue I have seen is that there is a leak in the front driver's side of the PH down on the bottom. Somewhere between the van's roof and the bottom attachment of the PH top. As soon as I got the van it got cold and started snowing plus all that Xmas stuff got in the way so I haven't had a chance to dig in yet. I will update this thread when I know more. PO did say that it happened to him and he had sealed it though.
So, clean it up, then best way to do it is to remove the interior trim pieces, then you can unscrew the sheet metal screws that hold the wooden slats that hold the bottom of the canvas and that gasket.. Lift everything up enough off of the van body to clean it up and get some butyl in there. It's nasty gooey stuff, so don't get it on anything. But it will never dry, stays flexible, and should seal it. Unless someone else here has a better idea.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:09 AM   #5
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Re: New SMB owner here!

Congrats on the van! I love that aluminum folding table base - gonna have to get me one of them.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:11 AM   #6
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Re: New SMB owner here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gcvt
Congrats on the van! I love that aluminum folding table base - gonna have to get me one of them.
Greg, Ben, y'all remember each other?
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:14 AM   #7
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Re: New SMB owner here!

Congrats! Good luck with the refurb. It's part of the fun (and stress)!

I have the same (or very similar) Trace Engineering inverter. If you don't have the manual for it in your binder, let me know and I can scan mine for you. BTW, Trace Engineering turned into Xantrex.
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:15 AM   #8
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Re: New SMB owner here!

My 95 Ford SMB had a smiliar floor plan but the batteries weren't sunk in like yours. Makes it kinda nice since they don't take up room that way. Congrats on the new van!
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Old 01-07-2015, 11:56 AM   #9
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Re: New SMB owner here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rallypanam
Greg, Ben, y'all remember each other?
I remember you showing me that van. Did we meet at camp PineCone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrianW
Congrats! Good luck with the refurb. It's part of the fun (and stress)!

I have the same (or very similar) Trace Engineering inverter. If you don't have the manual for it in your binder, let me know and I can scan mine for you. BTW, Trace Engineering turned into Xantrex.
Brian, thanks for the offer, but I do have the book. Mine has the inverter remote and battery temp sensor, any chance you have the battery monitor for yours? I found one on ebay but haven't seen a lot of them around.
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Old 01-07-2015, 12:02 PM   #10
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Re: New SMB owner here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben10281
I remember you showing me that van. Did we meet at camp PineCone?
Hey man - thought you looked familiar!

Robb told me you were getting a van. Conrats on the grey interior. Much better than the baby blue I got.
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