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Old 04-07-2008, 09:52 PM   #1
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What if I don't want many bells and whistles?

Hi.

I'm new to this forum and come here from the land of air and water cooled VWs.

For years, we've been camping and traveling in an '87 VW Syncro Westfalia. It's slow and underpowered. We don't use the stove, sink or fridge. As a result, I've posted it on the Samba (VW forum) for sale. Too bad the SMB dealers don't take trades.

When/if it sells, I'd like to get into a SMB. I am primarily interested in traveling and sleeping in comfort. We have no need for much inside other than beds and some storage. We get there; we sleep. We get up and get out onto or under the water typically.

I've fallen in love with the Transformers.

Can one of these be built or found that is clean and simple? I'd love to find an F-250 Passenger Van with a PH w/ bed and some storage. 4 WD would be nice but it doesn't need to be anything more than factory 4 WD.

Thanks
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:36 PM   #2
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Greetings. I too was a former Westy owner ('72, '80, and '89) and it pained me greatly to sell the cherry 89 with less than 40k miles on it when we switched over to what is, essentially, a syncro on steroids. I still miss it sometimes but alas, power, overall reliability, and safety (being able to cart more than 1 kid around safely) became the deciding factor for us.

Transformer is certainly one way to go, and you can add features here and there without loading it up completely. A simple sink unit with the small fridge can be added which might be the one addition worth making. Check out Bronco Hauler's album in this forum he's got a nice set-up that way.

Curious how much you listed the Syncro for and what condition?
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:38 PM   #3
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There is no factory 4wd in these vans and SMB doesn't build the transformer anymore. There are some out there, although I only personally know one person from the forum who has one.

You should talk to Nancy (or your nearest SMB location's used sales person) about how often they come up for sale. That will give you an idea about what you're up against.
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:51 PM   #4
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The syncro is for sale for $17,500. It is in very good condition and has trophied at many car and VW specific shows. http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/ ... ?id=582583

We take it from Ohio to the FL Keys annually but it is just so slow. We also have 3 kids and it is a bit tight. A Weekender would be better but I'm looking closely at the SMBs instead.

I have been talking via e mail with Nancy and we are looking at options. If they took trades I might have one by now.

I'll get this figured out soon enough.
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1987 VW Syncro Westy FOR SALE
2004 Z71 Chevy Suburban
2000 Harley FXDX
Looking for an SMB to replace the Syncro
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Old 04-08-2008, 07:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
There is no factory 4wd in these vans and SMB doesn't build the transformer anymore. There are some out there, although I only personally know one person from the forum who has one.

You should talk to Nancy (or your nearest SMB location's used sales person) about how often they come up for sale. That will give you an idea about what you're up against.
Jage, I think you're talking about the Traveller, and not the Transformer. I still see Transformer info-sheet on SMB's website, but not the Traveller. I think the Traveller is essentially just a 4x4 conversion on a van, while the Transformer includes the small galley (sink, microwave, fridge). I don't see why SMBw wouldn't just do a 4x4 conversion if that's all someone wanted.


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Old 04-08-2008, 08:41 AM   #6
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I would consider a modified RB50 in a 'budget' layout....delete the propane, fridge and some cabinets. Keep the options in check

A Transformer is more like a 3rd car than can also be used for camping. I think that a pop-up and a large minivan(or full size conversion van) would be better if you want to camp and have a daily driver.

Anoter option it to buy used...vans are designed for high mileage...unlike the VW's. To reach 300k miles is not out of the question before it becomes a money pit.

I paid less than 10k for a 12YO Dodge. Aside from a few minor easy fixes, to SMB has been reliable and all the fun of a new one..
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Old 04-08-2008, 10:28 AM   #7
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Have you considered a used van (talk to Nancy and Jim about what they will and won't convert) and having SMB put in a custom floorplan? You can draw up anything you want with as many or as few bells and whistles as you want and have Indiana either do a full blown conversion or only the penthouse top.

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Old 04-11-2008, 06:01 PM   #8
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There's a used Traveller for sale on the SMBw used van site. It's an '03 diesel, so hopefully it has the 7.3L turbo diesel instead of the 6.0L turbo diesel (at least that's what I'd wish for). Seems to be a fair price, and low mileage, but keep in mind it does not have the camper conversion or interior cabinets.

Might be a good starting point for someone to ease into a full-blown SMB.


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Old 04-20-2008, 07:17 AM   #9
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Transformer

I have owned 4 VW vans in the past and the best one was the 1968 Sundial conversion with no pop-top. I took out the entire cabinet system as all it did was add weight. It was simple and had a place to sleep. I had a cherry full westy, but NEVER used the stove, sink or fridge. I recently sold my Weekender and have looked for the last 6 months into many other options to the slow underpowered VW. I found a great used E-350 4x4 in Texas and am having the top put on it. I wanted the transformer until I relailized that the 12k cost was just the interior and another 6K plus for the PH top. I am going for the top only. I am going to turn it into a mini tow hauler.

On another note:
I saw on the SMD gallery that "Jason" used the SMP cutouts to fab his own interior. Does anyone know what the cut-outs are and if are what I think they are, are they available to purchase.
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Old 04-20-2008, 09:40 AM   #10
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This beauty had a bunk that cleared the wheel well on the passenger side and a 3rd captains chair behind the driver. The rest was old rugs. A few single mattresses (one on the bunk and one on the floor) and my wife and I spent a few months going around the country in 1997.

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