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Old 04-03-2016, 10:53 PM   #1
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Vantastic our new SMB

Hi All,

I recently was lucky enough to find a great deal on a Dodge 98 SMB with low miles, the links was actually posted here after I found it on CL.
Its a 1998 Dodge 5.9l v8 2wd EB with RB50 layout (I think?) 48k miles, 2 owners, previous owner had it for 14 years and was super nice in explaining everything and is still happy to answer questions over the phone.

Fast forward one week here is Vantastic our new to us van that hopefully brings us lots of adventures around the PNW.

Original form the CL ad


Now




Interior





Spend this weekend getting all the decals off, was a bit of a torture started with just a Hairdryer and lots of patience, but ended buying a 3M eraser wheel for all these crazy pinstripes, wow that was money well spent, so much quicker and cleaner to strip of that 80s/90s look.
Next up I removed the side steps on the drivers side, I left the one on the passengers side for now, since I didn't want to deal with shorting the grey water outlet.
I also Pllasti dipped the wheels black, and it now looks actually like a cool van, not as rugged as the all 4x4 on this forum but its getting closer.
Might do the chrome bumpers and grill another day, but will see how the wheels hold up.
I've also installed a 3rd rain gutter mount for roof racks (2 were pre installed from the previous owner, but spaced 80" apart, which is too far for any roof top box).

Here is a list of things I want to change and happy to get all your awesome feedback.

1. Roof racks + XXL Box, should be less than ~80lbs an will only store Kitegear and maybe Skis in winter. Should be doable on Manual Top? (might need to have to change the springs)
2. Hitch to carry our Mountain bikes, will probably get Uhaul to install it
3. Led conversion. But Is it worth it for the fluro lights?
4. Ladder, contemplating of either side or rear ladder, will see what fits.
Which makes me wonder, whats the load rating of the roof for a 1998 SMB? I read that some people stand on it to clean it or take pictures.

Apart from that we are super happy and can't wait to maiden it next weekend.

Cheers
Max
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:26 AM   #2
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Hi All,
Here is a list of things I want to change and happy to get all your awesome feedback.

1. Roof racks + XXL Box, should be less than ~80lbs an will only store Kitegear and maybe Skis in winter. Should be doable on Manual Top? (might need to have to change the springs)
2. Hitch to carry our Mountain bikes, will probably get Uhaul to install it
3. Led conversion. But Is it worth it for the fluro lights?
4. Ladder, contemplating of either side or rear ladder, will see what fits.
Which makes me wonder, whats the load rating of the roof for a 1998 SMB? I read that some people stand on it to clean it or take pictures.

Apart from that we are super happy and can't wait to maiden it next weekend.

Cheers
Max
Congrats on your new toy! Looks like it was gently enjoyed by the previous owners. Only 48K miles on a '98? Wow!

My answers to your wish list:

1. I have about 50 lbs of Yakima bars and TREDs and 50 or 60 lbs of solar panels on my manual PH. I've shortened the springs 2 links and put 1/2" blocks behind the helper springs. It's a bear to get started lifting, and I put safety sticks in the corners when it's up.

I don't see a PH bunk in your pictures, though it appears to have the rails for one. Remember that a bed also adds weight to the PH that the springs have to support when the bed is clipped to the ceiling.

2. Not my area of expertise.

3. I did LEDs in my ThinLites. I think it's worth it, and since you don't have solar on your list, maybe even more valuable to you, amperage-wise. Here's what I did:
http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...tes-11356.html

4. I've stood my fat 215 lbs a$$ on my roof to clean it, and it seemed okay. But I don't like the creaking noises. Somebody around here has a picture of a bunch of people standing on a PH.
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Old 04-04-2016, 01:13 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply and all the info, will also look into the LED conversion u did.

Yea we don't have a PH Bed, only gaucho. Will see if i either build my own or try to find a used bed for it. Previous owner was an older couple and they didn't want to sleep up top.

Plan is
~30lbs roof racks
44lbs or 62lbs box
60lbs gear
Will see how that works out.

Thank you, amazing photos on ur website btw!
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:08 AM   #4
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Congratulations!

You may need to adjust the springs with ~150 pounds on top, but it _should_ work.

Penthouse bed is super easy, just get some good strong (more layers the better) 3/4 finish plywood and cut it down. Then you can throw a therm-a-rest on it, or get a mattress topper, or whatever.
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:08 PM   #5
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We put two solar panels, qbout 60 pounds, on the penthouse and too two links out of the spring. We now use a cargo bar as a jack to raise it up. We got it at the local NAPA auto parts.
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:27 PM   #6
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We put two solar panels, qbout 60 pounds, on the penthouse and too two links out of the spring. We now use a cargo bar as a jack to raise it up. We got it at the local NAPA auto parts.
Thanks, I might try a cargobar or the DIY electrical lift described here: converting-a-manual-penthouse-top-to-a-powered-top-for-3-10-a-14940.html
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Old 04-05-2016, 11:32 AM   #7
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Ok so i took Vantastic to a local mechanic here in Seattle. Unfortunately it was too big for their shop to lift, but the guy had a look over without lifting it and said it was in great shape for its age and he didn't have any concerns. Now I'm wondering for the future if I need anything done, does anyone know a decent mechanic in the Seattle area that can handle a Dodge EB Van, should i try any RV mechanics? or a dodge dealer? (like to stay away from those usually)
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Old 04-05-2016, 02:42 PM   #8
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Looks super clean and perhaps an EB47 or a variation thereof.

Much better looking without the stripes. Those eraser wheels are something, they really work well, without tearing up anything around the graphics.

The LED conversion is way worth doing on the fluorescent lights as well. Just choose the color temperature you want. I prefer warm white. They are not quite as bright as the cool whites, but they are much easier on the eyes. Also, more brightness is easy. Just add more lights to the fixture.
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Old 04-13-2016, 10:33 PM   #9
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Our first Roadtrip was excellent in the Van, we took it down to the Washington and the Oregon Coast and had a blast.


We slept on the gaucho and while it was quite comfortable i think a PH bed would improve the Van life quality.
So i contacted Sportsmobile West to get a quote on PH Bed, they told me 473 which I'm ok with, but they quoted me 157$ shipping... I was expecting it to be around 50$ to ship to Seattle.

Now the real question, anyone from the forum driving from Fresno to Seattle anytime soon?

I also ordered most the things I need for the full LED conversion and will probably start with the portable 100W solar panel.
Getting and installing a Scangauge is next on the list, but I'm quite impressed getting ~17mpg on the highway.
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Old 05-17-2016, 07:54 PM   #10
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Our first Roadtrip was excellent in the Van, we took it down to the Washington and the Oregon Coast and had a blast.


We slept on the gaucho and while it was quite comfortable i think a PH bed would improve the Van life quality.
So i contacted Sportsmobile West to get a quote on PH Bed, they told me 473 which I'm ok with, but they quoted me 157$ shipping... I was expecting it to be around 50$ to ship to Seattle.

Now the real question, anyone from the forum driving from Fresno to Seattle anytime soon?

I also ordered most the things I need for the full LED conversion and will probably start with the portable 100W solar panel.
Getting and installing a Scangauge is next on the list, but I'm quite impressed getting ~17mpg on the highway.
Maxx,

Did you ever get any of that gear on the Penthouse top? I have similar SMB to yours and have it loaded up w/ this currently:

Yakima Raingutters (4) Towers (4) and 78" bars (2)
Yakima Skybox 21

Looking to add a roofbasket (@40 lbs)

Loaded up it would be a fair amount of weight - 250lbs+?, but only plan to raise with the above on it.

Did you ever adjust your springs? Did you do it yourself? How complicated/dangerous?
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