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Old 08-16-2013, 09:54 PM   #1
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SMB in Alaska?

Hello to all. Second post on the site now. I have been mulling over SMB and Quigley rigs for about four days now, and it already seems like a lifetime! I am more than a little excited about the possibilities.

I own a fishing guide service in Alaska and frequently drive many miles to destinations. I have been looking at lodging options, from RV's, to cab-over campers, motorhomes, even buying property. Because my locations vary, and are usually between 80-200 miles (one way), having a vehicle capable of towing my boat (21' aluminum - about 2,500lbs), with a bed, toilet, hot water, stove, interior/exterior lighting, basic power generation (laptop and cell phone), small fridge, heater, food and fishing tackle storage, chairs (you know what I mean), would be a great deal for me! I would typically be in the van alone, but my lady friend or a fishing buddy will join me on occassion. On the rare extreme end, we might bring the boys along for an overnighter and sleep up to four.

Anyways, I am considering an order w/ GMC or Ford (EB, V8), Quigley mods, and delivery. Then, over the winter I can get inside and fabricate furnishings and so on. I have looked at a lot of pictures already, but have questions about what materials are best used for building from scratch, items that have served others well, and ultimately, if there are any SMB's sitting in Alaska, preferrably in SouthCentral (Anchorage area) that I could put 'eyes on.' That experience would be invaluable in determining what 'right looks like' for me. Anyone got an SMB up here, or know of someone that I could contact to do some 'tire kick'in' on their rig?

Thanks for any help in advance,
Phil
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Old 08-17-2013, 12:50 PM   #2
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Re: SMB in Alaska?

Phil,
Welcome...I have used my Van for the exact same thing but only in the pacific northwest. With the climate that you have in Alaska I would recommend a fixed top and would reconsider buying a v8 due to the weight of our rigs once they are loaded with a camper conversion (8500lb+), people and gear not to mention towing a boat at high altitude. I understand why you would not buy a diesel living in such cold climate but I would buy a V10 over any v8. Sounds like you are planning to buy new if so I would have Ujoint do the 4wd conversion for obvious reasons..one being 4wd capability/durability, and ease of sourcing replacement parts in your limited geographical location!!
Just my 2cents
Buck
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:53 PM   #3
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Re: SMB in Alaska?

Thanks, Buck! A few questions for you now.

First, why the fixed top? Would you expect problems with the Penthouse in heavy snow regions, or is it something else that makes you say that? The van will be garage kept in the winter (usually), so she should never get large accumulations of snow on her.

I will do a 4x4 conversion for sure, but I was thinking about the Quigley before having it delivered to SMB. I will look at this other organization you mentioned (U-Joint).

I agree with you wholeheartedly on the powerplant. I wish like hell I could get the Ford E-350 w/ Powerstroke. They just don't put the diesel engine into their vans. So, I will end up with the V10 6.8L, which converts to a 415cu/in displacement. I am guessing the rear end of the van will be carrying additional weight (furnishings, water, fridge, etc.) between 300-400lbs, and when hauling the boat, up to about 3,000lbs there. I don't believe that kind of weight will be an issue for an engine of that size. Thankfully, I start hauling at sea-level and don't get above about 3,000' vertical feet. That should be manageable as well.

BTW, I see that you have a Powerstroke. Do you know what year that Ford stopped putting the diesel into their vans? For some reason, 2010 comes to mind. I am not at all opposed to buying a used van, as long as I can get what I am looking for in it.

Thanks for your response, Buck. Any other thoughts? Again, anyone know of a SMB in Alaska that I could put 'eyes on?' If not, I guess I am off to the factory to have a look.

Phil
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Old 08-17-2013, 03:22 PM   #4
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Re: SMB in Alaska?

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilG

Anyways, I am considering an order w/ GMC or Ford (EB, V8),

Thanks for any help in advance,
Phil
Phil,
This was the only reason I mentioned V10, sounded like you wanted a v8. Now in regards to a fixed top vs poptop its because of loss of "heat". The fixed top is much more insulated and in that Alaska weather I would imagine would be easier to keep warm.
When it comes to diesel engines I would never buy anything later than early 2003 E350 (just my opinion)...I know you can "so call bullet proof a 6.0" but why would you invest all that hard earned $$ into your dream vehicle on the hopes of solving the known problems, better yet risk being stranded with your family!!

In my experience as a GM of a ford dealer its not if your 6.0 will break down its when! I did like all the shop time..$$$

Buck
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Old 10-13-2013, 04:55 PM   #5
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Re: SMB in Alaska?

its gonna be hard to find a 7.3 with decent mileage and condition.
i ended up buying my 00 with 317k on the clock and I am fixing things. can't afford a rebuild but I am now vested in my van so I am rolling with it.

as for the vans after 2003 with the 6.0. I had the same thought process that you have. BUT I also found out later that the Van 6.0's where de-tuned. so they are less likely to have the trucks issues. (dont mean you wont get them, just less likely what was told to me). and there are a few things that can be done to fix the problem area's. so if i did it all over again I would consider a 6.0. (key word consider) as I have owned two 7.3's no and know a little more about them than any other motor. but mind you I have have a love hate relationship with my van as I am sick of working on it with no $. makes the build SLOW........


for a hard top. its also a love-hate.
I like the full time storage or options for a full time bed and standing head room with out having to pop the top up. insulation was a big factor, as I eventually want to make it to AK for some adventure, and ski trips that will let me camp in the parking lot on good powder days. nothing like first tracks . I like the idea of not having a wet tent to deal with. so on wet trips you have to dry your penthouse out eventually.

it sounds like you are looking for a summer rig since it will be inside during the winter. so the pent house can work.

the good on the pop top is over head clearance. that sure is nice to have at time of off trail adventures (low tree's or top heavyness). and helps gas mileage.

but honestly it all comes down to what YOU want and will work for you needs. quigly does have a smaller tank than stock because of the transfer case.that might have changed in new rigs, as I am going of my current 2000 year van. if you go with Ujoint I think you have the option for a bigger tank.

I have an esbar diesel heater and plan to have a aux tank built for that. and it big enough to be able to transfer to the main tank since my stock tank is only 27 gal.

all food for thought and i hope I didn't confuse with my ranting.
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Old 10-13-2013, 05:59 PM   #6
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Re: SMB in Alaska?

See the thread:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=11626

Mike
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