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Old 04-06-2012, 02:41 AM   #1
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To convert or not?

I am new to the forum so I apologize if this question has already been posted. (so many to view) If so maybe someone can direct me to the previous thread. My issue is that I am hesitant to build my own versus purchasing a complete SMB because I am having difficulty finding providers near Chicago to do some of the work I am unable to do myself. To begin with where do I go to have a penthouse roof installed? When I Google I get replies for home roof repairs or apartment ads in the city. Next, I guess I should go to an RV shop to have the wiring installed properly to the split charge relay, leisure batteries and breaker switches and take it from there? As far as amenities do I order through an RV dealership things such as seats and sinks or are there suppliers on line that are more cost effective? Thanks for any advise to help me get started!
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:11 AM   #2
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Re: To convert or not?

Sportsmobile has a facility in Huntington Indiana. They can do everything you want and more. Give them a call.

http://sportsmobile.com/contact.html
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Old 04-06-2012, 08:33 AM   #3
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Re: To convert or not?

For the pop-top SMB can do it and there are also other choices. Search through recent threads for "Colorado Camper Vans" and for "GTRV". There are also threads on here that give lists of suppliers of RV equipment as well as very detailed DIY stories. Those should give you enough information to get you started.
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Old 04-06-2012, 03:00 PM   #4
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Re: To convert or not?

What are your goals / needs? Price range? How old of a vehicle are you willing to get? 4x4? How picky are you about interior fit & finish?

Depending on what 'RV' components you want, buying used can be a heck of a bargain especially compared to building and buying new parts. Anything RV / Marine is spendy and those pieces can really add up depending on what you are after.

If you want a 2wd, you could likely find a good deal on a SMB that already has a penthouse (if that is something you want) and amenities and revamp the inside to your liking at quite a savings compared to starting from new.

good luck and have fun searching / researching! (and welcome to the forum!)
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Old 04-06-2012, 05:45 PM   #5
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Re: To convert or not?

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Old 04-06-2012, 08:43 PM   #6
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Re: To convert or not?

If you are going to have major systems done by somebody, I would suggest going SMB may actually save you money and headache in the long run. Trying to have different companies work on various major systems could cause interference problems, and finger-pointing if things don't work out. Besides SMB, I don't think there are too many companies that can do a full build from the ground up (Van Specialties is one, by they are also west coast).
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Old 04-09-2012, 12:03 PM   #7
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Re: To convert or not?

If you can't decide between build and buy, buy used and plan to tear out/heavily modify.

It's also a question of: do you want to camp this summer, get it this fall, or spend the next year building it?
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Old 04-13-2012, 01:20 AM   #8
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Re: To convert or not?

Some other things to consider are:

Do you have all the tools you need to do the work?
Do you have a place to do it? (some places are not really happy if you are doing it in your driveway)
Can you do the work you want to do? (carpentry, plumbing, electrical)
Do you have the time to do it (also What Jage said "It's also a question of: do you want to camp this summer, get it this fall, or spend the next year building it?") It take lots of time to do it yourself.
How much do you want to spend per hour vs how much you make per hour, that's something my better half always reminds me of.
Do you know what you want or only think you know what you want? Are you going to want a full on 4x4 Sportsmobile or just a 2WD van to do some light camping in.
Personally I like to do all of my own work because I can do it, I have the time and the tools and I am almost never completely happy with anyone else's work anyways.
You can always find someplace to do some of the work you want within an hour or so from where you are but you will need to look and ask around. (but it might take a few shops to complete a whole van)
If you want it done at a shop Like Sportsmobile or Van Specialties (or any number of places that do custom van work) you could consider shipping or driving the van to those places.

Good Luck with whatever you decide. I have had vans for camping and travel for over 35 years now since I bought my first van in 1976 and I still love to get in my van and go someplace. There is nothing like it.

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Old 04-13-2012, 09:04 AM   #9
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Re: To convert or not?

Jage is right, I bought and built my own, because I was having trouble finding a newish van with an SMB conversion that had everything I liked. So I build my own ground up. In retrospect it wouldn't have been much harder to demo parts of an SMB than regular interior. I did however do a CCV poptop which so far is far and above an SMBPH.
Cheers,
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:08 PM   #10
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Re: To convert or not?

Quote:
Originally Posted by c7train
Jage is right, I bought and built my own, because I was having trouble finding a newish van with an SMB conversion that had everything I liked. So I build my own ground up. In retrospect it wouldn't have been much harder to demo parts of an SMB than regular interior. I did however do a CCV poptop which so far is far and above an SMBPH.
Cheers,
C.
My wife and I are currently debating on CCV top or SMB. I like the low profile of the SMB top, but I am curious why you like the CCV top so much more?

Curious how much weight a CCV top adds -- it certainly looks heavier than an SMB.

Thanks,
DJM
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