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Old 12-21-2011, 09:11 PM   #1
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My SMB building odyssy begins ...

First a big thanks to all the contributors on this forum. I got the SMB "bug" several months ago when looking for a new tow vehicle for my 28' Airstream trailer and I appreciate the help I've received to date in the forums as I've worked toward my build.

My 2012 Ford E-350 EB arrived at Sportsmobile North over the weekend from Quigley and now eagerly awaits the start of the build process right after the first of the year.

I've posted a pic of my interior layout (pretty customized to my needs) and a few photos of the van as it arrived at SMB. I'm getting a fixed contempo top painted black to match the van (going for a black "stealth" theme here) and SMB plans to have the top installed and the floor laid when I make my first visit to the plant in mid-January to review the rest of the build.

The SMB will primarily be a tow vehicle for my Airsteam though I'm outfitting it with many of the "creature comforts" to make travel on the road more comfortable (and reduce the need for pit stops along the way). 3 front facing seats (me, spouse and our 10 year old) and a couch that can seat 3/4 others for occasional short trips. The couch (really 1/2 of a long dinette) will convert into a single bed for the occasional sleepover in the van (or an extra guest on a camping trip). Our other primary use will be as a "day cabin" when we spend the day at the beach; nice to have our own facilities for a snack/shower/rest when you want to get off the beach for awhile.

The van will have both sat antenna and generator that can supply power and sat signal to the trailer when parked.

As the build moves along, I'll share photos and anything interesting I learn along the way from SMB. To start, I've posted some pics of the van at delivery and my layout in my gallery.

Excited to make my fist visit to SMB as I live in the NY metro area and have never seen and SMB in person. Assuming all goes well, we'll be using our new SMB to tow the trailer on a cross country trip for a month this summer when our son is out of school.
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Old 12-22-2011, 06:38 AM   #2
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My SMB building odyssy begins ...

Congratulations and Good Luck. I live in the NY Metro and SMB Indiania did my Quigley EB 350 4x4 build as well. It is exciting in the building phase. We headed out there in mid January as well back in 2008 during our build. (Cold.) But, a lot of fun. And, interesting to see the other builds in progress and finished vans on lot. Plus, nice to put faces to names with them out there. Very nice people. There is also the Dan Quayle museum in Huntington, near their facility...whether you are Republican or Democrat (like me) it is a quirky little stop worth considering if you have time. Admittledy, we may have enjoyed it more out of humor than the curators intended. Have fun.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:21 AM   #3
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Re: My SMB building odyssy begins ...

thanks for the feedback; nice looking rig - the gold color is really great. Question about fabric. I'm doing all the seating in leather except I was going to do the couch in cloth as I thought it would be more comfortable for napping than the leather but am having second thoughts due to durability and looks. Any opinions? the work on your couch looks really sharp.
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Old 12-22-2011, 09:59 AM   #4
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Re: My SMB building odyssy begins ...

another east coast smb owner!

congratulations!
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Old 12-22-2011, 04:45 PM   #5
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My SMB building odyssy begins ...

When we were consulting Nancy about the build, she made a case for using upholstery instead of leather for the sofa bed. She thought it would not be as comfortable to sleep on leather. I can tell you, I am very happy I got leather. It is durable, it is less likely to get funky over the years, it was also - a must have - because we have several little Japanese Chin dogs tha apparently only grow hair so they can shed it daily. An upholstered sofa would have been like a lint brush. I find that bed very, very comfortable. The penthouse bed is upholstered. It is not as comfortable. (but, truly that is due to thickness of mattress not material.) I would say spring for leather...or whatever that fake leather is they have now..ultraleather. Now, one thing I will say is it appears the SMB West leather sofas are buttonless. just seams. I kind of wish ours was that way too. The tuffeted buttons snag at times when you move across them. (not when sleeping,, when sittiing.)
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Old 12-22-2011, 04:48 PM   #6
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Re: My SMB building odyssy begins ...

I think the buttons are added last, so you should be able to request they be left off.

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Old 12-22-2011, 08:43 PM   #7
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Re: My SMB building odyssy begins ...

Thx for the feedback - fabric decision will be a key aspect of my visit. Not a fan of the buttons - like the idea of asking they be left off.
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Old 12-25-2011, 01:26 PM   #8
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Re: My SMB building odyssy begins ...

Somewhere one member posted his cat was ripping up his ultraLeather. Don't know how it holds up to sharp objects but I like the feel of it.

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Old 01-15-2012, 11:24 PM   #9
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Re: My SMB building odyssy begins ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by travelguy2500
...I got the SMB "bug" several months ago when looking for a new tow vehicle for my 28' Airstream trailer and I appreciate the help I've received to date in the forums as I've worked toward my build...
Travelguy2500,

I was hoping to do something very similar to what you plan -- but with a 27' Airstream. The problem I kept running into was payload capacity (towing capacity is no problem).

GVWR for the E350 is 9,500 lbs. Ford says the curb weight is 5,404 lbs, leaving a payload of 4,096 lbs. Searching around the web and I see that most posts say that their SMB comes in at a wet weight of 9,000 lbs. The 500 lbs of left for payload is just too small for passengers, gear and any tongue weight.

I'm guessing that maybe the 9,000 lbs figure is 4x4 (maybe 400lbs?) and diesel (maybe 700 lbs?). Maybe a RWD gas-engine SMB comes in at around 7,900 lbs wet, which would just leave enough for a large trailer's tongue weight (and passengers and gear)?

If I could politely ask, how did you arrive at your payload calculations?

Thank you!
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Old 01-16-2012, 11:30 AM   #10
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Re: My SMB building odyssy begins ...

I was at SMB North last week to make my first visit and work on my build. Nancy, Jim, and the team were great. It was my first time ever seeing an SMB and Nancy took the time to walk through every vehicle they had (in various states of build) and explain everything.

Having done that we were then able to spend 1+ hours in my actual van going over the build plan and even taping out some of the cabinet location/sizes on the floor to get a better idea. We didn't end up changing anything from the plan though it was incredibly useful to see the builds in person. They already had most of the parts for my build so I was able to lay down the shower pan to get a better idea of placement, check out my AC unit, the sat dish, external lights etc.

I won't be back until I pickup the unit after the build is completed so it felt good to go through everything in detail before they start (measure twice/cut once) and this will hopefully avoid any surprises at the end.

Even though my build isn't supposed to start for a few more weeks, they got the Contempo top painted and installed before I arrived so I could get an idea of the interior stand-up height and we could stand an move around inside the empty van as we talked.

I'm going with the cherry colored walls though am making a few decor changes - I'm using a "bright white" corian for all the countertops (just solid white without any pattern) and went with a "lonzebra" flooring pattern - made the same folks that make the loncoin but a little more exotic pattern that I liked.

A few photos below of the empty van and the flooring. More photos to follow as the build progresses.

Biggest thing now is deciding on new rims - I took the standard painted rims from Quigley and want to replace them with a black rim keeping more in line with my "stealth" theme for the van. I also traded my "chrome" grill for the matte black grill and I'm putting on front/rear aluminess bumpers.

Now that the build has started, it's exciting. I hope to have the van sometime late February/early March in time for the 2012 camping season!



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