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Old 10-01-2018, 09:30 AM   #1
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Hello from the Southeastern US!

I have been lurking here for several months learning about off road RVs. I have spent the past 12 years working (after divorce), saving, raising my kids (done!), and touring the country by motorcycle (both on & off-road). Colorado and Utah both blew me away. For me - the sense of an adventure coupled with the natural beauty of our country always excites me.

So last year at the ripe old age of 59, while dangling my legs off a rock cliff at Moki Dugway, I made the decision to Ďsell everythingí and move somewhere out west. But before I decide where I want to move I plan to first spend a couple years exploring/camping/RV living full-time.

I suspect Iíll be doing about 70% boon docking and maybe 30% at more formal camp sites. I tend to like to wander down the most remote looking roads and trails to get to the nice views (even when Iím on my darn street bike!) so Iím pretty sure 4WD & a winch should be standard equipment LOL.

So anyway Iím here to learn about the different technologies and to see which vehicle would be best for me to outfit. I have a limited budget for the vehicle (45k) and I want the biggest bang for the buck in terms of reliability and features. The low miles older E-Series Fords look attractive right now but who knows what I will end up with when I decide to pull the trigger.

Is something like this possible on that kind of budget? Is it just too darn heavy to explore remote areas with?


I guess I answered my own question b/c I just found a Ford E-Series V10 Starflyte like this one with under 60k miles for $24k and could take it over to UJOR for turn-key conversion (about $20k) and still meet my budget! Yay! Or is something like this just too darn tall & heavy to explore remote back country with?

Anyways I am looking forward to this new adventure in life! This is an awesome web site and I am sure it will be an invaluable resource for me in coming days and months!


.
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Old 10-01-2018, 10:18 AM   #2
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Welcome. That is a sweet looking rig you picked as your vision. As you've already found out, you can fulfill your vision for your budget, but with most older vehicles, be sure to set aside a reserve amount for maintenance and repairs, especially if you'll be spending a considerable time in the backcountry.


Herb
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Old 10-01-2018, 01:48 PM   #3
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Come down to the southwest of California and outfit your rig with an Aluminess front bumper, set your winch up and you’ll be matching that beast pretty spot on.
Cheers and welcome!
PS, post up pics!

eme and Granny
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Old 10-08-2018, 04:10 AM   #4
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That will be an awesome vehicle to explore backcountry! IMO, if possible, when converting to 4x4, avoid dually on rear axle, it's better to have single wheels when offroading.
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Old 10-08-2018, 11:25 AM   #5
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Clearance is the only other aspect to consider...FIRST time we ever saw a Sportsmobile we were heading down a mountain road (I have been meaning to post this question b/c we haven't been back and I am not sure if it was coming into Vail, CO, Telluride, or which Co city for sure?) about a lane and 1/2, 4000ft drop one side, wall of rock other side, and there was an overhang of rock that I was sure would cancel most vehicles trying to drive the road...then we saw the White Sportsmobile and sd WTH was that?!?!?! That is what we NEED!!!! Took us about another 3-4 years of planning/saving...Rest is history...get going on that dream ASAP!!!
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Old 10-11-2018, 12:25 AM   #6
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Holy crap! I did it!! I found a newer/better one for almost half the price and 17k less miles! 2002 Starflyte, 43k miles, E-350 Ford chassis, 6.8L V10 (instead of V8), very good overall condition. Just had it checked out by an RV tech and he liked it a lot. It does have an area of delamination in the rear but shouldn't be too difficult to have repaired. Good all around shape for a 16 year old and very clean interior. No rust (spent its entire life in VA until 2016 then out west, retiring 6 months ago to WI). It's headed to Ford dealer tomorrow for the 50k, new belts, hoses, plugs, fluid change, and general engine/drivetrain check out. The damn thing even has almost new Michelins on all 6 wheels!


Now for the bad news ... U-Joint has a 10-12 week backlog


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Old 10-11-2018, 01:54 AM   #7
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Congratulations! Looks like a great rig.

10-12 weeks isn't too long, you could likely start travelling without the conversion done. As a foreigner, I waited much longer before having VivaLaVida registered. ;-)
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Old 10-15-2018, 09:24 AM   #8
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We are thinking a similar thought, but are worried about converting a "street" camper to a "4x4" camper and how the cabinets, plumbing, electrical, etc. will hold up to increased vibrations on gravel roads.
Also, what about the cab to body joints? With speculation that the holdup on SMB's cutaway conversion may be due to reliability at those junctions, it is certainly in my mind as well.
We obviously don't intent to rock crawl, but unpaved roads are certainly a different animal.
Thoughts?
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Old 10-15-2018, 09:38 AM   #9
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I personally wouldn't worry about that if you don't rock crawl. Body joints would only be under tension with torsion of the frame and it doesn't happen just driving gravel roads.
Regarding cabinets, if you see how a Sportsmobile is built, I wouldn't worry either.
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Old Yesterday, 10:19 AM   #10
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Similar issues

We are looking to be more comfortable than our present, but wonderful 4x4 Sportsmobile. We are now in our 70ís and need a bit more space. The idea of a short C Class is appealing with a UJOR upgrade is equally appealing as the Ford Transit LB would be a perfect fit IF ONLY it could be lifted more than the 2.5Ē possible. Our issue centers around the frig and batteries/solar panels: our first (very old/Ď84) van had a 3 way frig which ran for ever on propane, but had to be LEVEL. Because then the 3way was a heat exchange and not a compressor system, it was a huge drain on the batteries when not level. We are currently checking out the same options you are, but VERY aware of battery issues. I use a CPAP and with the AC/DC compressor and solar panels can essentially stay out forever. Good luck.
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