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Old 03-13-2015, 07:21 PM   #1
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Newbie Looking for Some Advice

Getting ready to pull the trigger on my new van. I grew up driving around in my grandfathers
Westfalia Aircooled Van and camping and
always loved it. Now I have three kids my own and was thinking about
buying Eurovan Camper (wife wouldn't drive an aircooled van and I can't blame her).

After researching thoroughly VW's which are
cool soulful little cars the reliability is not what I or the wife want to deal
with. We are going to sell my wife's 4Runner and we're going to get a
camper van and after research I want an SMB.

Reliability coupled with the fact that they look
killer. I love this forum, good people and very informative.

So thought I would throw out a post to get some quick feedback on some
probably pretty standard and easy questions.

We're not gonna go for a full-blown SMB out of the gate but more of a
SMB version of the westfalia weekender.

So thinking about buying a
2014 E350 XLT or 150 XLT and throwing a penthouse on it from
Sportsmobile, action van suspension, rim sizes that you guys suggest
and a safari rack.

I have three little boys 9,9 and 7 and my wife will be traveling with
me. My wife will use the car as a daily driver (she doesn't even put
4000 miles on a car year) so the focus is going to primarily be on a
daily driver first that would be a good camper and tailgate vehicle
for SEC football games.

Questions are this:

1) what rim and tire combos would you guys suggest post lift for a daily driver

2) Can bench seats be taken out of a 2014 XLT and Captains Chairs be
bolted straight in or is there a mod necessary (trying to choose between the pricier 7 passenger and other versions of the RB) it would be a big savings if that was the case.

3) Who's sells the best bed sofa combo if you are going to do that DIY


Thanks in advance - this newbie appreciates it.
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Old 03-13-2015, 11:08 PM   #2
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Re: Newbie Looking for Some Advice

I have 4 kids and two captains chairs in the middle with a bench in the back work great for us. Going to SEC football games sounds wonderful....I'm an SEC guy stuck in the heart of PAC country....but I digress. Keep in mind the heavier duty chassis is better for a bigger build out depending on how much you plan on doing.
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Old 03-14-2015, 06:36 AM   #3
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Re: Newbie Looking for Some Advice

Any reason your set on the RB? I have three kids also and I'm building out my second EB. The extra two feet or so in the rear makes a huge difference.

I ordered a manual sofa bed from shopforseats.com for my first build. I want to say it cost around $800. But the shipping was outrageous. I think I paid another $400 in shipping.

On my current build I found an older conversion van that I paid $600 for, It has all leather seating with swivel bases and a power fold out rear sofa.

Search your local junkyards they are out there and usually pretty reasonable.
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Old 03-14-2015, 07:56 AM   #4
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Re: Newbie Looking for Some Advice

Welcome newbie!

Quote:
Originally Posted by thestoneman
Any reason your set on the RB? I have three kids also and I'm building out my second EB. The extra two feet or so in the rear makes a huge difference.
Think hard about this! We have two kids and went from an EB homebuild to an RB SMB. The storage and seat space in that extra 2 feet is huge, and we miss it. It makes a big difference. Remember that the RB and EB chassis are actually the same wheelbase and drive the same. If your wife is paranoid about a bigger vehicle, I dare say she'll get used to it quickly. With three kids, I would 'surrender' to a bigger vehicle. Put a backup camera on it and go.

I do understand your desire to keep it as small and simple as possible but still...
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Old 03-14-2015, 09:10 AM   #5
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Re: Newbie Looking for Some Advice

My SMB is an EB, and I also occasionally drive my dad's RB work van. Hands down I'd rather have an RB as a daily driver, especially in an urban/suburban area.
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Old 03-14-2015, 05:27 PM   #6
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Re: Newbie Looking for Some Advice

Thanks guys great feed back. WhitH did your van come with the other captains chairs or did you switch out a bench. Is it a straight bolt up deal?
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Old 03-16-2015, 11:41 AM   #7
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Re: Newbie Looking for Some Advice

Mine is a Chateau which came with the second row captain chairs as standard. Again, we really like this seating configuration for both adult seating and for kids as it allow easy access to the third row if there is an issue with those seated in the back, which happens....sometimes...ok a lot when we are road tripping.

Do give consideration to what everyone says regarding EB vs RB in light of your intended use. We use ours primarily for road trips and as a mode of getting to a destination with the added function of camping base/hub. Nobody really ever sleeps inside the van. As such the RB is great for us even with 6 people. We can fit all of our junk, food, water, cooler, and people inside and I can put bikes etc. on the hitch. If you are planning on doing some sleeping inside the van as well as adding cabinets etc you may consider an EB.
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Old 03-19-2015, 07:17 PM   #8
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Re: Newbie Looking for Some Advice

We ended up with a 2014 350 XLT RB. Wife looked at both and said RB or no deal. I don't anticipate putting cabinets in it etc. Just grabbed two captains chairs on Ebay brand new for 250 total shipped and looking for a van sofa now. Hoping to sell the existing bench seats to offset cost of those. Headed to Tampa in the morning to pick the van up at Manheim.

Thanks guys I am stoked to get this project going!
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Old 03-19-2015, 11:37 PM   #9
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Re: Newbie Looking for Some Advice

Good to hear. You should be able to road trip and tailgate really well from an RB. I built a platform for the back of mine that allows more use of the ample vertical space. Bags and etc go underneath and the cooler and provisions on top for easier access. You'll find plenty of ways to spend your time and money on here if want to. Happy vannin'.
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