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Old 10-15-2007, 11:49 PM   #1
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General impressions of Sportsmobile

Hello Forum...After a year of Sportsmobile ownership I thought I would write down some observations.. First, the starcool needs to run on 2000watt generator. Second, van needs better springs. Third, a gas engine is better for van. Fourth, van needs upgraded brakes. Fifth, 17" wheels are better( more brake options.) Sixth, B. F. Goodrich tires suck (Toyos are much better quality. 295/70/17/ 8 inch wide wheels are a good size.) Seventh, I would go with Salem- kroeger ( the brakes are way better, all Ford parts makes it easier to get Ford service and warr.) Eighth, The front bumper blocks air flow, which is already bad. 2008 van much better ) Ninth, the battery isolater runs scary hot. Tenth, I would buy van and take it to Sportsmobile, that way you get a complete VIN number and that makes it easier to insure and DMV fees are less. Eleventh, most Sportsmobile owners way overload their vans. Of course this is all just my opinion. Peace Jeff P.S. I love my Sportsmobile.. P.S.S. Twolost has the most complete 4x4 van I've seen.
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Old 10-16-2007, 03:59 PM   #2
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General Impressions of a Sportsmobile

Maybe a stupid question, but what makes the Toyo a better tire than BFG's?

Thanks, Marc
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Old 10-16-2007, 04:10 PM   #3
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Well I've had two BFG AT style tires throw belt internally, on two different vehicles and a third set that lost all traction when worn to about 50-60% tread. I flat towed the 3rd set admittedly some scrubbing could have been a problem, so personally I'm pretty much done with BFGs.

Incidentally I've got another BFG set on my Jeep Wrangler that I wheeled with for years on a cherokee and moved over because they're still in great shape. The only real difference is they're Mud T/A and a little older. I'm really happy with them.

I've been talking to tire people every chance I get and just about everybody recommends Nitto, one reason is the Nitto AT is 10 ply while the BFG AT is "only" 8. The Nitto's might be rated better too.

I don't know about Toyo specifically, but I'd try them before I did another set of BFGs.
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Old 10-16-2007, 09:22 PM   #4
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This may be turning to a tire thread.....

...for the BFG tire problems, how close was the van load to the max load rating of the tires?

I like the idea of 17 inch wheels not for the brake possibilities, but for the tire load range possibilities; there are more load range E tires for 17 inch wheels.

We want to have as much extra load capacity as we can.
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Old 10-16-2007, 11:14 PM   #5
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The van rear went with a typical 6.0L EB50 lightly packed. No motorcycles, no roof stuff.

The truck front when on a 7.3L F250 crew cab long bed while towing a Jeep cherokee on a flat trailer. Tongue weight 500lbs. Hardly any gear and only two people.

Both very typical loads.

Both vehicles came used with the tires, so admittedly I don't know their full history. The remaining van tires were inspected, balanced and rotated, the truck tires were replaced with BFG AT/KOs (I got a discount that time and it was before all the other problems)

Tire dealers in both cases and since both (probably 6-7 discussions) say they've seen it happen to BFG ATs many times. Maybe they're just reiterating what I say or something... I talk a lot and purchase very little.
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Old 10-17-2007, 12:06 AM   #6
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Having only owned our 2007 for a month, I'll second that the SMB springs suck. Our rear sets are flat, which to me doesn't look right. Most leaf springs I've ever owned have had a slight bowed flex. To my eye, they are over-loaded off the showroom floor.

We opted for the 'brake upgrade' for $1k & went the 17" route...just in case we decide to upgrade in the future. My opinion on the SMB brakes are they they are fine for slowing, but pretty much suck for stopping. I'd like to go with the brakeman upgrade sooner than later, but will probably wait untl this setup runds its course and needs replacing.

I happen to like BFG tires...

-Jeff
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Old 10-17-2007, 06:01 AM   #7
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I think it is correct that the 2008 Ford will come with improved/upgraded brakes, and if one chooses the SMB 4WD it also comes with upgraded brakes.

Are the upgraded SMB 4WD brakes still not adequate?
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Old 10-17-2007, 12:20 PM   #8
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Greg,

I would say that the brakes are OKAY, but it is an issue. They haven't overheated (I use the PSD engine alot on long descents, which is awesome).

I'm not used to driving a rig that weights close to 10k lbs. When I step pin it, I need to remind myself it's not a sportscar and drives differently. I think that is where many people (myself included) can get into trouble... they drive their SMBs like a car, not an RV.

-Jeff
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Old 10-17-2007, 02:54 PM   #9
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jeff:
can you elaborate more and or provide feedback of the smb 4x4 system when ON road and OFF road? any short comings? any other gripes with respect the smb 4x4 system?

i am somewhat undecided on a smb v. salem kroger, like 60/40 towards salem kroger

what i like about the salem kroger is the all ford parts.components for servicing/warranty issue, as i can take it to any ford dealer,

one of my biggest issue is finding qualified mechanics willing to service my unit for other than basis run of the mill "installation parts",

i have more 'installer' than real mechanics in my neck of the woods

i do like smb's dana.atlas etc..but again these are after market parts and i can see my local ford dealer giving me a problem? (well at least my local chevy dealer did on my chevy van, ever heard of a chevy dealer not being able to do a wheel alignment on a chevy extended van)

i do like the coil front of salem kroger since i will see about 90% of on road duty versus only about 10% or less off road duty...
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Old 10-17-2007, 03:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by smb4me
jeff:
can you elaborate more and or provide feedback of the smb 4x4 system when ON road and OFF road? any short comings? any other gripes with respect the smb 4x4 system?

i am somewhat undecided on a smb v. salem kroger, like 60/40 towards salem kroger

what i like about the salem kroger is the all ford parts.components for servicing/warranty issue, as i can take it to any ford dealer,

one of my biggest issue is finding qualified mechanics willing to service my unit for other than basis run of the mill "installation parts",

i have more 'installer' than real mechanics in my neck of the woods

i do like smb's dana.atlas etc..but again these are after market parts and i can see my local ford dealer giving me a problem? (well at least my local chevy dealer did on my chevy van, ever heard of a chevy dealer not being able to do a wheel alignment on a chevy extended van)

i do like the coil front of salem kroger since i will see about 90% of on road duty versus only about 10% or less off road duty...
Another option is Quadvan up in Oregon. When my wife and I first got serious about having an SMB built, I called and talked with SMB West, S-K, and Quadvan. We were heavily leaning towards an SMB build with a Quadvan 4x4 system. The Quadvan setup is very similar to the S-K (believe they're all Ford parts), and while either would have worked for us, I just seemed to communicate better with Eddie at Quadvan. They also offer a 2" lift in addition to the standard 4", and they have custom made brackets that allow you to have a van with a sliding side door, and still able to clear the rear tires. Just another option. http://www.quadvan.com

We ended up finding a killer deal on a used SMB, so we went that route instead.

BTW, no sales tax in Oregon!


Herb
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