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Old 08-05-2013, 10:32 AM   #1
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Build Thoughts

Okay folks, after much deliberation, DIY, on-line builds and contemplating floor plans, we've decided on either an RB or EB-50. We (err, *I*) thought about a walk-through design to incorporate a shower and toilet. When I presented that option to my wife, she said "that's not camping!" Okay, well, now that's settled, I don't need to worry about clearance of hard fiberglass top. So, it's the -50 plan with a PH top and the following:

Ford
SMB 4x4
Factory limited slip in rear, ARB front
BFG A/T's (undecided on wheels or size)
-50 plan
Dove grey interior
Galley cabinet (is this an option or standard with the -50?)
PH top (maybe w/o bed for now)
Propane
Furnace
Water heater
Exterior shower
SMB porta-shower
Stove
Convection microwave
Solar
Battery monitor
2.7 cu. ft. fridge (Jonathan tells me it's been redesigned and is slightly larger now)
Slide-out pantry instead of shelves/cabinet
Loncoin floor with carpet overlay
Porta-potti w/ cover
Swivel passenger seat
Power driver's seat/headed driver/pass.
Recover Ford seats to match SMB upholstery (not leather)
No entertainment center, no built-in GPS
Rear Aluminess bumper/tire carrier/medium-sized box
(no front bumper for now)
XL rear storage compartment
17-gallon fresh water tank
Two porch lights on pass side, one on driver's side
Low-profile Aluminess rack, ladder on curb side

Edited to add: Awning

Possible options to ponder or add at a later date:

FF rear axle
Front bumper

The SMB 4x4 price page, effective 06-05-2013 now shows Rancho shocks and Betts springs as standard equipment. I thought that they were back to OME. No? Yes?

Still thinking about a taller counter where the fridge goes for a bigger storage drawer but I don't want to block too much of the window.

That's all I can think of now. Any ideas are welcomed. Thanks!
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Old 08-05-2013, 10:48 AM   #2
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Re: Build Thoughts

Have you read through this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2374

Mike
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:03 AM   #3
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Re: Build Thoughts

Thanks for the link Mike.
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:13 AM   #4
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Re: Build Thoughts

I'm sure you've perused other threads about this.

To give YOU suggestions, however, it would be helpful to know what you're thinking of doing with the van: activities, style of camping, other gear you need for the activities, how many people, etc etc.

You've got a lot of stuff in there. Do you really need it? I'd focus on things that SMB absolutely has to install at build time. Take carpet, for example. If you offroad a lot having fixed carpet can be, well, icky and hard to clean. But maybe you don't go where's there acres of dust and mud, dunno.

And I'd say get the bed if you're doing the penthouse; you could always leave it home but for most of us with penthouses it's the preferred sleeping site.

You've also got pretty significant power needs. Batteries? Inverter?
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:29 AM   #5
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Re: Build Thoughts

I'd rather focus on the positive side of the discussion, but there's the counterpoint to the thread that Mike posted:

viewtopic.php?f=8&t=2380

My own $0.02? If you are not getting the electric penthouse lift, at least think about having your rig pre-wired for it if you change your mind down the road. Adding a roof rack, cargo pod, kayaks, bikes,... at a later date will probably make you wish for the electric PH. Oh, don't forget to add Thule or Yakima roof rails to your build. Retrofitting the electric PH lift without the pre-wire will cost you big time.

If I were going to have an SMB built from scratch, I'd seriously consider the "50" floorplan installed in an EB. Provides extra storage space at the back end for interior storage of fairly large items like bikes. I think it's the EB51 plan, buit don't quote me on that.


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Old 08-05-2013, 01:18 PM   #6
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Re: Build Thoughts

I completely forgot about the power PH, Herb. Thanks for the reminder!

Jim
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Old 08-05-2013, 01:22 PM   #7
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Re: Build Thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob_gendreau
I'm sure you've perused other threads about this.

To give YOU suggestions, however, it would be helpful to know what you're thinking of doing with the van: activities, style of camping, other gear you need for the activities, how many people, etc etc.

You've got a lot of stuff in there. Do you really need it? I'd focus on things that SMB absolutely has to install at build time. Take carpet, for example. If you offroad a lot having fixed carpet can be, well, icky and hard to clean. But maybe you don't go where's there acres of dust and mud, dunno.

And I'd say get the bed if you're doing the penthouse; you could always leave it home but for most of us with penthouses it's the preferred sleeping site.

You've also got pretty significant power needs. Batteries? Inverter?
Hi Rob,

I guess I should have included more particulars

Two-person camp-mobile for rugged, out-of-the way spots. No additional activities besides eating and sleeping. Maybe some hiking here and there. We really want an inside cooktop for inclement weather. We'll be living and traveling in the PNW and on days where it's too wet and cold to go outside, it would be nice to just stay in. I think our longest stay would be 4-5 days.

I thought about going the dual battery route. The inverter is standard, right?

As for carpet, I want the removable overlay that will sit on top of the Loncoin. I like it for sound deading, insulation, etc. It's nice that it can come out and get cleaned when back at home.
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:21 PM   #8
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Re: Build Thoughts

The microwave and water heater take up a lot of space. Can't run the micro much boondocking? Some report low solar insulation in pnw.
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Old 08-05-2013, 09:46 PM   #9
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Re: Build Thoughts

I love my roof rack that holds the solar and lights. Maybe you don't need off road lights. There are different solutions for lighting but having wiring and switch panels pre-wired to the roof is cheaper to install during the build compared to after it's complete if you want the lights up top.

You can always do a FF rear axle at a later date but I would ask SMB if they have their axles custom sized (width). If you go EB, I'd go full floater for sure.

I really like having 400+ AH worth of batteries. 220AH wasn't enough for me but YMMV.

The inverter is NOT standard and is an option. It also serves as the battery charger in most builds. Solar doesn't always work in overcast situation, so while at home you may need to charge once an a while but there are other options. During heavy overcast over several days, some members have needed a generator large enough to charge the batteries. I never have needed this yet. There are several factors though and as running the engine for several minutes for a quick charge can be a solution. A larger alternator is a big plus in that situation.

Dove gray is nice and what I installed but changed the closet doors to Dark grey that doesn't mark up as much. Wish the lower bed & back of the 50 couch were also dark.

I agree about the 2 part PH bed. On the 50 model, the front section can be secured to the roof or pulled out if needed and the back section is a nice shelf to stow stuff that normally sits in the rear when the top is up.

I have propane but used the propane door as a utility center for outside AC/DC outlets and the water inlet. I do wish I had a outside covered DC outlet on the passenger side.

A cheap Wal-Mart throw carpet is a lot cheaper than the one SMB sells. I use the throw carpet over the SMB carpet to protect it. Probably didn't need it but the SMB carpet is nice looking.

I also wish that the wire from the alternator to the separator was 2 str copper at minimum. During the build is the time to upgrade it. Is it needed? probably not but I upgraded my alternator and I do wish the bus was a bit larger.

Add all the insulation you can get them to do so the van and the water lines are prepared for cold weather. I did have an outside shower connection installed on the side of the van. I'd rather use a pop up shelter as a shower enclosure rather than something that might leak inside the van and although I had a nice shower curtain that hooked to the rear doors I felt it was more of a PITA plus bugs get in with the doors open.

Insulate around the refrigerator. Not sure what they are using these days. I know of one build that had twin refrigerator instead of one larger one. It's an interesting idea if you have the space. One can be used for storage if not in use and you'll always have a backup. Then again there is more that can go wrong.

Shoot for a counter top that doesn't scratch easily. Same with the sink if you're installing one.

Definitely ask for multi hinges on the swing arms of the bumper if you plan on carrying any heavy weights. And really think out how you want the box. The size of the spare might matter. I spent a lot before I got what box I wanted. Just be aware if Aluminess does something different than the norm, you might be in for a surprise. It can be a costly mistake...I know this as a fact but rear storage is very handy. I carry extra water, fuels, a BBQ and even wood at times.

Bright rear backup lights are nice.



Good luck on your build.

Dave
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Old 08-05-2013, 11:40 PM   #10
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Re: Build Thoughts

Your build sounds very similar to mine from three years ago. If you are adding a furnace and a hot water heater, you should strongly consider the EB. The added length allows both items to be installed on the passenger side of the "50" layout. Those things take up a lot of space and having a wide open space under the rear driver's side cabinets is very nice.

I don't do much microwave cooking at home, so I opted to leave it out in favor of a large storage drawer. My laptop computer is the only thing that requires AC power, so I make do with a 200W portable inverter as needed. Something to consider.

This site has a number of portable shower enclosures. The one I have, the Outback Porta-Privy is apparently no longer available, but a similar one is available at Cabela's. I use it with this drain capture floor so that I don't leave a giant puddle right next to my van.

What about an on-board air compressor? Also, be sure the BFG tires you pick are "E" rated or better.

Here is my final build for a comparison: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=5562. May your wait be as deliciously agonizing as mine was

Steve in L.A.
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