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Old 01-16-2015, 10:43 PM   #1
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New Member Intro - Quadvan / Sportsmobile almost done!

Hello All,

Greetings and an introduction --- after dreaming for the past 12+ years of owning a Sportsmobile, it's finally about to become reality as I'm scheduled to pick my van up next week (January 21st) from Fresno!

First off, a big THANK YOU to this forum and its members for providing so much helpful info during the research and planning period for my build. While this is my first post, I've checked in here often over the past year and used the search function exhaustively to tap into the collective experience of all of you on everything from awning brackets to tire choices to bumpers - you name it...this site has been a tremendous help!

So finally, "someday" is just about here!

It took Ford ending production of the Econoline to push me into making this the year to pull the trigger.
I know there's a lot of great reasons to look for a nice used van to convert, but my dream was to begin with a new factory ordered van - extended body, V10, barn doors, up-fitter switches, dual batteries, etc...and I'm fortunate enough to be able to go that route.
However, by the time I got into a dealership last April I was promptly told that I was a few months too late to order the V10 anymore. I then several spent weeks searching online and calling around the country for a V10 van equipped as I wanted it. I hit nothing but dead ends. The only ones that were close were loaded passenger vans and I wasn't going to tear something like that apart just to start over.

As luck would have it I had called John at Quadvan as I had decided (again, with the help of a LOT of research on this forum) that eventually I wanted him to handle the 4x4 conversion. I mentioned to John that I was having a heck of a time finding the van I wanted. He put me in touch with Dale at Newberg Ford (right down the road from Quadvan) who told me he was waiting for the last of the V10 vans he'd ordered months before. Though the vans hadn't been built yet, he'd been issued their VIN's which about guaranteed that they'd be built as he'd ordered them. Turns out Dale works closely with Quadvan and orders (or at least did when they were still available new) a lot of his vans with the options that are ideal for a pre-conversion rig.

After a long wait for Ford to build the van and then get it to Portland, John took over. My goal with this build was to have a very capable rig that can go just about anywhere (and get back) while keeping a relatively smooth and comfortable ride on pavement...after all, 90% of my miles will be on the highway.

Here's what we decided on for the Quadvan part of the conversion;

Standard 4x4 conversion
Bushwacker flares
Shift on the fly
4:56 gearing, factory LS rear, Eaton TrueTrac front (may spring for a full floater rear someday)
ATX Crawl 18" rims (about the strongest I could find at 3600lbs)
Toyo Open Country 285/75/18 tires
Buckstop Outback front bumper with Warn 16.5 winch
Aluminess rear bumper with large galley box, swing out spare
46 gal tank
Amp powered running boards
Ride Rite rear bags
ARB Twin Air mounted under hood
Dual steering stabilizers
Rear sway bar

I have to put in a huge endorsement of John and his Quadvan shop here.

It's rare to get such knowledgable, competent and personable service these days, but John has it down. Yes, it's not the easiest thing to reach him - I believe he only has 1 or 2 guys working with him and there seems to be no shortage of people trying to get their vans to him. There were a few occasions I got a hold of John to ask a question about something and before I'd realized it, an hour had gone by and I now knew more about sway bars or gearing (or whatever) than I thought I'd ever know!

When I picked up my van from Portland, I drove it down to So Cal and then back up to Fresno, putting about 1500 miles on it. Absolutely no surprises, no strange noises, no tire rub (even on tight u-turns in the city), everything worked great and as it should. The ride is excellent and it tracked straight and smooth in very strong wind and rain all the way through Oregon and then through heavy crosswinds on the highway near Shasta. Fit and finish on everything is great. I've put many mile on 15 passenger Fords before for business, loaded and unloaded, and I'm amazed at how much more sure-footed and better handling this one is.

The experience with everyone at Sportsmobile has also been a great thus far.
My wife and I spent a half a day at Sportsmobile with Nick going over their end of the build and taking a look at some of their current projects for ideas. After getting to know our intended use for the van, Nick suggested the tried and true EB 50 layout. We'll also be having a third captains chair behind the passenger seat added. Of course it can be removed for trips where we just don't need it. I was initially leaning towards the EB 27 with the extra captains chairs for trips I hope to take by dad and in-laws along on. But after thinking through the ratio of those trips against the trips my wife and son will be taking as a threesome (likely a lot more of those), the EB 50 made the most sense. The 50 with the removable seat is a great compromise that should serve us well.
In addition to the 50 interior layout and penthouse top, we're going with a full length roof rack, 1 solar panel, hot water (large tank), exterior shower, propane heat, A/C, awning and ladder, upgraded sound (amp, speakers, etc...), cold weather insulation, and few other bits and pieces.

Again, this site has been a big, big help along the way. I've got my "pick up day" checklist, with a few tweaks ready to go based off of daveb and Jack's post (thanks!) and I'm counting the days down to wednesday! If I can, I'll be happy to try and get some pictures of any builds in progress while I'm up there. Just let me know and I'll do my best.

...as the late, great Huell Howser would say..."Let the adventure begin"!

-Norm
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Old 01-17-2015, 08:21 AM   #2
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Re: New Member Intro - Quadvan / Sportsmobile almost done!

Norm! (in my best Cheers voice).

Congrats on the new rig, and sounds fantastic, but as we say, 'Pics or it didn't happen'


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Old 01-17-2015, 08:28 AM   #3
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Re: New Member Intro - Quadvan / Sportsmobile almost done!

Nice! I hope you've got your camera warmed-up......
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Old 01-17-2015, 10:39 PM   #4
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Re: New Member Intro - Quadvan / Sportsmobile almost done!

Ok, here's a couple of pictures to show it happened!


That's John taking some pics (another customer's van is in front of mine)...3 days and counting and the camera is ready!
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Old 01-20-2015, 02:46 PM   #5
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Re: New Member Intro - Quadvan / Sportsmobile almost done!

Nice one!!

My SMB is at John right at the moment. Cant wait to see it converted!
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Old 01-31-2015, 05:25 PM   #6
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Re: New Member Intro - Quadvan / Sportsmobile almost done!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chetubi
Nice one!!

My SMB is at John right at the moment. Cant wait to see it converted!
I was just at Johns Monday. What a place, all vans all over. Also got my v10 from Dale at Newberg. Should be shipping to cali in a couple weeks for SMB to take over. Super stoked!!!!!

John is too smart for his own good! Always learn so much in speaking to him.
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