Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-29-2008, 03:18 PM   #1
Senior Member
 
Blackeye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA
Posts: 107
Our new Rocking 'R' Rig

I can’t believe I am even saying this, but after pulling the trigger in Feb 2008 and making all of the decisions, we recently took delivery of our new 2008 Ford EB350 PSD SPORTSMOBILE (SMB). Even though we are still in the "honeymoon" phase, we are so pleased with all of the choices we made and with the way SPORTSMOBILE West brought it all together.



The selection process and the design criteria were based on how we intend to use the rig. I wanted my wife involved in the decision making process at every step of the way. (I didn’t do this with my recent foray into adventure motorcycling.

http://blackeye.smugmug.com/gallery/317 ... 7217_2AHKz

Although it has been a great and exciting two years, it was in the end not the best way to go about it.)

After having used a variety of Class A Motor Homes and after having owned several off-road vehicles (Jeeps, D-90, Range Rovers, Hummers, FJ Cruiser, etc.), we wanted a self-contained adventure vehicle that we could use to explore this great country. We looked at various concepts but mutually decided on the SPORTSMOBILE 4x4 Ford van. (My wife even asked, after looking at some of the new rigs at SMB West, “Can we get bigger wheels and tires?”)



The tires are COOPER Discoverer STT in LT325 / 65 / R18 (E rated) mounted on AMERICAN RACING Punisher rims.

We wanted the fixed top for the convenience of being able to stand whenever and as soon as we stopped. It is a trade-off from height and COG but through judicious and creative packing, we have kept the weight down low. The decision to build the rack was both utilitarian (more on the rack later) and cosmetic. Cosmetically, we wanted to change the look of the fixed “voyager” top.



Since it is my intention to travel with my wife to wherever we decide we want to go, I wanted the ability to keep her as comfortable as possible. That was the basis for many of the selections listed in our “build list”.

Our maiden voyage (Yosemite, Cottonwood Canyon to Bodie, up US395, then west to Lassen, up to Redding, out to Hwy1 and back to SMB to pick up our truck) was primarily to try out the various systems and get a feel for things. We are so stoked! It is the perfect rig for us at this point in our lives.

We ran on some roads out near Bodie, CA…nothing too radical. We also ran on some pretty good stuff going up Hi Mountain Road from the Arroyo Grande / Lake Lopez side. We ran that at night and I was really impressed with the visibility, the suspension, the 4x and the power. (Not to mention the comforts of home when you get to the camp.)

We've been out rolling around CA and NV in the rig almost since we got it. We’ve driven a variety of on-road and off-road conditions and we are stoked with all of it.

Here are a couple of shots:





In addition to manufacturing both the front and rear bumpers, the brush guards, the ladder, the swing-out tire mount and the swing out “galley” box, Dave Hoskins at ALUMINESS

http://www.aluminess.com/

pulled off an incredible feat by creating the rack for the fixed top. The top has curves in multiple directions and Dave and his team worked tirelessly to make it work. We wanted to mount the four forward facing HELLA Compact 4000 Series off-road lights, the three sets of HELLA work lights, the antenna farm, the two KYOCERA solar panels and the LED marker / brake / signal lights from LED Trailer Lights.

Regarding the “utilitarian aspect of the rack, it was the ideal way to mount the off road lights, the solar panels and the antenna farm.



The antenna farm consists of 1) the DIAMOND ANTENNA NR770HB Dualband VHF/UHF Mobile Antenna Ham antenna with the DIAMOND ANTENNA K9000LRM Motorized Mobile Antenna Mount

https://www.expeditionexchange.com/diamondantenna/

This antenna is for the YAESU 144/430 MHz Dual Band FM Transceiver (Ham Radio) 2) is a WILSON ELECTRONICS RV / Trucker Spring-Mount Cellular Antenna for the WILSON ELECTRONICS Wireless Amplifier Cradle Kit, 3) is the new GARMIN GA 29 Low Profile marine Antenna for the GARMIN GPS 376c 4) is the K40 CB antenna and 5) is the KVH TRACVISION satellite antenna.

We would be pushing it if we attempted to mount all of this equipment directly to the “Voyager” fixed top. Dave of ALUMINESS took my design and ran with it. It really changes the look and accommodates the aforementioned items perfectly. If that were not enough, ALUMINESS designed the mounting system for the two THULE Sidearm bike rack mounts.

They’ve worked great on and off road.

The following represents our “build list”:

FORD E350 Van with 6.0 Power-Stroke diesel
Voyager fixed top
SPORTSMOBILE EB-50 floor plan
40x25 awning window
Carpet Overlay
DAY/NITE shades at lower windows and at van side and rear doors
ULTRALEATHER Captain Seats, sofa and mattress
16.5 gallon fresh water tank
3cf NORCOLD 12v refrigerator
Portable Stove
LONPLATE (diamond plate) rubber flooring
Solid Surface counter top and sink
Front and rear 12v air conditioning system
Windshield / Cab Screen
Tinted windows
ESPAR Airtronic heater
Porta Potti
Interior and exterior shower
Flat Plate water heating system
Privacy curtain
XL Storage-EB with locking XL storage lid
Safety mirror with outside air temp and compass
Heated captain seats
HELLA map lights (x2)
AGM 4D auxiliary battery
2 KYOCERA Solar panels with the BLUE SKY Controller
TRIP-LITE inverter 2000
Microwave
COBRA CB with K40 CB Antenna
HELLA work lamps (2 ea at both side and rear)
HELLA Twin Supertone horns
KENWOOD DNX8120 stereo with XM, DVD, GARMIN NAV, iPod, Bluetooth
KVH TracVision satellite TV antenna and receiver
POLOROID 19 inch HDTV with separate DVD
Back up sensor system
DYNAMAT sound deadening
FIAMMA awning
Window curtains at upper windows
Upper bed (3 removable panels)
Attic Fan with thermostat and rain sensor
Upper side cabinets
ALUMINESS Trojan front bumper
ALUMINESS Trojan rear bumper with large Galley box
Nerf Boards
HELLA Rallye 4000 Euro-beam driving lights (x2) at front bumper
HELLA 4000 Compact driving lights (x4) at rack
HELLA 500 fog lights (x2) in front bumper
HELLA 550 backup lights (x2) in rear bumper
WARN 12,000lb winch in front bumper
BUSHWACKER flares
EXTREME AIR compressor with remote switch
AMSOIL oil by-pass oil filter system
HELLA remote tire pressure monitoring system
Black FORD grille
ALUMINESS ladder (passenger side / rear)
ALUMINESS "Custom" roof rack
DYNATRAC full-floating axle
18” AMERICAN RACING Punisher Wheels
COOPER Discoverer STT LT325 / 65 / R18 (E rated)
PANELTRONICS (#9960013) 8 switch horizontal auxillary switch panel
DIAMOND K9000LRM Motorized Mobile Antenna Mount
DIAMOND Antenna NR770HB Dualband VHF/UHF Mobile Antenna
YAESU FT-8800R Dual-Band FM Transceiver Radio w/ detachable face kit
WILSON Signalboost Cellular Amplifier Kit
GARMIN GPSMAP 376c global positioning system
GARMIN GA 29 remote GPS antenna

The crew at SPORTSMOBILE West and Randy with Integrated Audio Solutions (SMB’s audio / video source) did a great job in coordinating the wiring. They ran all of the wiring for the solar, communication and lighting through wiring looms and then through the roof. It was definitely not their first rodeo.

The rear area of the rack (behind the solar panels) is a storage deck. There is so much storage in and under the rig that I will likely only use this area occasionally. We could stand up there for scouting and photography.

Here are a couple of interior shots. I took them last night and the lighting isn't all that great.


...from the sofa area.


...the cockpit.


...upper bed area / storage.


...the kitchen counter.


...from the passenger side.

Thanks again to the entire Team at Sportsmobile West, Integrated Audio Solutions, Aluminess and everyone else who took part.

Thanks go out also to everyone on this forum as your posts have been a great help!
__________________

__________________
"I wonder as I wander out under the sky..."


In between rigs at the moment.
http://www.overlandtraining.com/ Overland Certified #OC0008
Blackeye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2008, 03:55 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
John and Dana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Normandy Park, WA
Posts: 362
Blackeye,

Great looking rig. I love those big Cooper tires. Any problems with clearance on the front fenders? We picked up our '08 in June and have 315/70/17's and at hard lock we rub against the back of the front fenders on even small bumps.

John
__________________

__________________
'08 SMB 4X4 6.0PSD EB 50 (80K)
'98 Jeep Wrangler (356K)
'95 Chevrolet S-10 (148K)
'71 LT1 Corvette
John and Dana is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2008, 03:59 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Forest Falls CA
Posts: 876
Like i already said on the Portal.... great looking rig man!!
__________________
Dave and Yoshi [Ki6LBB]
http://www.adventureduo.com
2003 Baja Tan SMB EB50 V10 (SOLD in 2008)
2003 Baja Tan SMB EB DYO 7.3 Diesel

Tread Lightly! Trainer
Pack it in Pack it Out>>>> http://www.trasharoo.com
adventureduo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2008, 08:55 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Blackeye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA
Posts: 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by John & Dana
Blackeye,

Great looking rig. I love those big Cooper tires. Any problems with clearance on the front fenders? We picked up our '08 in June and have 315/70/17's and at hard lock we rub against the back of the front fenders on even small bumps.

John
Hey John,

First of all, I am excited for you guys. I was aware that we were "waiting" for our SMB's around the same time. Congrats on a fine ride.

Regarding tire rub, I have noticed a little rub at full crank. I had this on our FJ as well due to the oversized wheels and tires. This type of rubbing usually occurs at super slow speed. I saw no noticeable wear on the BFG-ATKO's on the FJ and none so far on the Coopers. Off road, even with some pretty good articulation, I didn't notice rubbing.

I look forward to hearing about and seeing some of your adventures.

Blackeye
__________________
"I wonder as I wander out under the sky..."


In between rigs at the moment.
http://www.overlandtraining.com/ Overland Certified #OC0008
Blackeye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-29-2008, 08:57 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Blackeye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA
Posts: 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by adventureduo
Like i already said on the Portal.... great looking rig man!!
Hey Adventureduo,

Thanks for your kind words. Nice avatar and timely name change. Great website too!

Get out there.

Blackeye
__________________
"I wonder as I wander out under the sky..."


In between rigs at the moment.
http://www.overlandtraining.com/ Overland Certified #OC0008
Blackeye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2008, 12:57 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
Greg In Austin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 1,545
Send a message via AIM to Greg In Austin Send a message via Yahoo to Greg In Austin
We have those same nice looking Coopers on our rig. They do rub, but not on the fender well. They rub on a nice large smooth and rounded suspension member. I have not been able to find any harm being done. It is rubbing off a little paint or coating on the suspension member.
__________________
Greg in Austin
2008 Ford 6.0PSD EB/E-PH SMB 4X4 Aluminess f/r bumpers (13.5mpg avg, 15mpg hwy) 52k miles [Texas McBeast]
2006 Toyota Prius (48 to 68 mpg) 120k miles [Penelope]
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon (15 to 18 mpg) [Johnnie]
2012 Mitsubishi MiEV (no gas required) ($.50/day in electricity) [Evie]
http://badge.facebook.com/badge/1232...3.32047100.png
Greg In Austin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2008, 05:54 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Blackeye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Santa Ynez Valley, CA
Posts: 107
Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg In Austin
We have those same nice looking Coopers on our rig. They do rub, but not on the fender well. They rub on a nice large smooth and rounded suspension member. I have not been able to find any harm being done. It is rubbing off a little paint or coating on the suspension member.
Hey Greg,

I've admired your rig during your "build". It was based on your research that I elected to go with the Coopers. I have always run the BFG ATKO's and thought I would give these a shot. I may stay with these, but will consider the BFG Mud-Terrain T/A® KM 2 when they produce more sizes. Thanks for your helpful postings.

Blackeye
__________________
"I wonder as I wander out under the sky..."


In between rigs at the moment.
http://www.overlandtraining.com/ Overland Certified #OC0008
Blackeye is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-30-2008, 06:17 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 989
That is a great looking "van" Blackeye. Congratulations and I'm happy to hear you are already enjoying it. So, have you figured out what everything on your headline does yet? More importantly, can you do it all with your eyes closed ? That is an impressive array of gear you have, I'm jealous. Have fun and I'm looking forward to hearing more about it.
__________________
2007 Ford RB Diesel SMB 4x4 Pueblo Gold; Custom configuration (aisle layout); PIAA 580 driving lights; Picked up on Oct 19, 2007.
sdwindansea is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-01-2008, 09:40 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
jage's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Franktown, CO
Posts: 7,597
I think you get the award for "tightest switch install ever". I like the hardtop/4x4 combo too (personally would never go for one w/2wd).
__________________
and then
everything changed
jage is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-02-2008, 09:24 AM   #10
Site Team
 
BroncoHauler's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Southern New Mexico
Posts: 8,908
Very nice, and lots of room when you pick up those wine club shipments in your own backyard (Santa Ynez). We've used our SMB to pick up our wine at Andrew Murray and Beckmen wineries, as well as a few wine tasting adventures.

One question. I didn't think that a rear ladder was compatible with the rear Aluminess bumper. Is there something new?


Herb
__________________

__________________
SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
BroncoHauler is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 01:51 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.