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Old 11-05-2008, 09:00 AM   #1
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Decision time, any final advice?

I've found two SMBs for sale within my reach and must make a decision within a couple days. I appreciate the advice so far, which has been very helpful. Now the big choice. I'm going to use the SMB for weekend horse campouts, primarily just me, but I need to pull 6000# trailer but also want to use it as a second vehicle for city driving. Agility is a factor. Reliability is must when hauling horses.

SMB choice #1: MY2002 V10 RB PH "41" quigley 4x4 with 90K mi. Nice shape, never any drive train issues. Clean Carfax report. $35.5K. Winch, propane, frig, everything works. Nicer looking rig.

SMB#2: Listed on SMB in Santa Paula, CA. MY2005 EB PH 6.0 diesel, "50", 42K mi, no propane or any means of heat nor hot water, SMB 4x4. No winch. This SMB was donated to charity and is being liquidated by "Cars 4 Causes". Carfax has 6 entries "vehicle serviced" and one entry "transmission overhauled" at 13,000 mi. Although listed at $65K, They've dropped to $55K and I think I could get it for $50-52K.

I'm leaning toward SMB #1. Better looking rig, shorter, and seems to have a more reliable history. I love the SMB 4x4 of #2 for it's tight turning but not thrilled with the EBs length and lack of propane or any method of heat. Anyone have experience with the self-contained butane RV heaters? Because that's what I'd be using. The 6.0L engine with multiple "vehicle serviced" and "transmission overhauled" worries me, tho I'd prefer the diesel for hauling. My neighbor has a MY 2005 F250 with that engine. Twice this week I've seen him dead on our road with the hood up, cursing the engine. I may try to get an Oasis report if I decide to pursue #2 further.

As before, any advice for a newbie is appreciated.

Bruce
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Old 11-05-2008, 09:20 AM   #2
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My 6.0 has been great once I got a dealership to address the turbo.

#2... wow, who donates an SMB? They either have to be rich enough that it's like donating canned goods for me or wholly frustrated with a lemon SMB and not interested in selling in this market. Even if it is the former, just a taxable donation, I would think you might be able to pursue it as a deal. If you can't get it for low enough to take on any problems, then pursue #1.

I don't get the feeling you have a lot of competition right now, although people are definitly still buying.
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Old 11-05-2008, 09:45 AM   #3
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If you're serious about that diesel, I would definitley get the OASIS report.

At the price point of those two vans, the choices are limited, but ones do come along (I got a smoking deal). I did see a used one offered on the SMB site (under the Texas location) that may fit your requirements, but it is a Quigley, so not the SMB 4x4 turning radius. It's about 1/3 of the way down.


Van 2005 Ford E-350 4x4
Miles 46,000 Price $ 56,000
Engine 6.0 L Diesel
Seats 5 Sleeps 4
Cabinets Grey Interior Grey
Top Penthouse
Interior Height 6' 10"
Owner Whorton
Possession Sportsmobile Texas

Also Included: Marine Vinyl Floor, Carpet overlay, Day/Nite Shades, 3 cf Refrigerator, Mircowave, Starcool A/C, TV Antenna, 15" Flat Panel TV, Van Radio Switch, Quigley 4x4, Large Tires, Front Bumper, Front Bumper Lights, Rear Bumper with Storage, Rear Bumper Lights, Nerf Bars, Fender Flares

BTW, the one in Santa Paula was posted here some time back. I think they tried to sell it on eBay.


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Old 11-05-2008, 11:19 AM   #4
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Here are two thoughts. First, there is a 2005 Sportsmobile on the Texas section with 46,000 miles. It is an RB 50 with the 6.0 diesel and is listed at $56,000.

Second. The 4x4 Sportsmobiles go at price point. We found a 2004 two wheel drive RB 50 last winter at a great price in pristine shape. We then sent it to Salem Kroger for a very nice 4x4 conversion. It was a 2004 with 32,000 miles and we are all done for $52,000. So my second suggestion is to not discount some of the much lower priced 2 wheel drives.

good luck. oclv
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Old 11-05-2008, 06:47 PM   #5
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My 2 cents....the transmission in the 02 Quigely will not be the newer version 5 spd. With your heavy towing needs I'd be looking for a van that is an 05 or newer. Stronger tranny. Jage may be right on the "donor" van. Might not be a good deal if it has been a lemon. I also have to second oclv. I bought a very nice used 05 RB V10 with 35k on it for under $15k and had the 4wd done for another $15k. SMB put the top on and I've built a bunk and added flooring, a refer and solar. I'm in it for about $45k total. It's a fine van and exactly what I want. No more..no less. Check out the portable catalytic propane heaters...my next purchase.
Good luck.
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Old 11-06-2008, 08:48 AM   #6
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I didn't know about the transmission being different. Is the 5 speed reliable? How is the performance? This vehicle has "transmission overhaul" at 25,000 miles so I'm concerned. I called the Ford dealer that SMB is affiliated with and they ran the Oasis report, said that "only minor work done" (except for transmission overhaul). I also didn't know that Ford extended the warranty for the diesel engines to 5 yr, 100K miles. I'm starting to lean toward the '05 now. I just can't imagine why no propane or any way of heating the interior or heating water. I'm going to have a second look today.
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:18 AM   #7
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Will Sportsmobile retrofit a propane system? I would imagine it would be prohibitivley expensive, but it might be worth exploring.

I think Ford has had a 5yr, 100,000 mile warranty on the diesel engines for some time, but it is just the engine, and not the drivetrain (transmission,...).


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Old 11-06-2008, 09:49 AM   #8
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The extended warranty on the diesel engine only applies to the problem areas of the engine. I went thru the list. Seems to cover most of the engine but not ignition system. Seems like a good thing but there's nothing better than having an engine that just doesn't break in the first place.

I bet it wouldn't be that expensive to retrofit propane into a SMB. The portable heaters probably are fine tho. Portable stove is easy. I can live without hot water, tho my girlfriend may think differently.
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:04 AM   #9
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Can you find out which Ford dealer performed the trans overhaul, and get the background filled in on what the problem was, not to mention what they replaced/fixed? Seems like a very good deal except for the big unknown.

I will say before I even took delivery of my used SMB, the Service Engine Light came on. Turbo needed to be replaced (under warranty), but it did make me second guess our decision for quite some time.


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Old 11-06-2008, 11:53 AM   #10
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From what I learned during my search for a van the 05 and newer vans have the new transmission and it is more reliable and better suited for towing. You also should find out if the van you are looking at has the factory towing package. This gives you the "tow-haul" feature which when activated down shifts the tranny as you apply the brakes. It's really nice on a down hill with a heavy load.
As for heating and hot water, there are lots of ways to go without retrofitting a propane system. Coleman makes a portable hot water dispenser. Catalytic propane heaters are safe and portable. You can buy a lifetime supply of propane bottles for the cost of a built in system.
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