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Old 05-08-2008, 09:24 AM   #1
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Delivery Checklist and Tips...

Here is a some tips and a checklist gleaned from others regarding picking up your new Sportsmobile:

From Jack:
SMB West is very good and basically will take you around and through the entire vehicle, explaining all of the controls, features, etc. They suggest that you camp nearby for one night or more after pickup to check everything out and make sure that there aren't any problems. Many have reported that this was a good suggestion and found little things here and there that needed to be fixed. Camping nearby makes it easy to take it back in if needed without a long drive. We didn't do that but we also didn't find anything that needed attention.

They cover a lot of information during the process. Someone mentioned video taping the process but, to me, that makes it more difficult to concentrate on what they are explaining.

For us, the most difficult thing to remember was the operation of the aftermarket TV/DVD/video player. California Stereo (now IA) was there to explain it and show how everything worked together but it wasn't the most logical operation. Also, everything that SMB covers is in the binder which they give you....California Stereo didn't provide a binder, just the owner's manuals which don't really cover everything.

You come home with a lot of paper....warranties, instruction manuals, etc. We set up a binder with sections for the van itself and each item....awning, Porti-Potty, etc. Into each section goes the warranty information, product data, etc. This binder is also a good place to keep maintenance records, etc.

The only suggestion that I would make is to try out each item yourself. It is easy to watch someone else pop the top, but two days later, you have forgotten to open a window first.

I would also suggest that, if you have 4WD, drive it out in the street in front of the shop and put it in and out of 4WD, just so that you are comfortable with the shifting.

On our first trip (4 days after picking up our van), we were trying to fill the on-board water tank at a FS campground. Everything was hooked up but it just wasn't filling the tank. Out came the book and....whops...forgot to turn off the pump and open the valve first.

What will seem complicated and hard to remember next week will become routine after the first couple of trips.

From Aaron:
I found it very helpful to videotape the whole delivery. The whole process after arrival took about 5 hours, but being new to RVs, I wanted to cover everything in a detailed fashion. There were so many helpful hints in the statements of the SMB personnel, some of which I was only able to fully understand on viewing the tape afterwards. (Thanks especially to John Kalmbach for helping via email and phone when I needed additional guidance!)

From Howard:
One thing I would advise anyone to do when they pick up their new Sportsmobile is to record the walk-through, either on video or audio. They will explain a lot of stuff in a couple of hours, and believe me, it is helpful to go back and listen to (watch?) it all again. Make sure you try to raise and lower the PH top yourself before you leave the plant, to make sure you can do it.

The second thing I recommend is that you take your new SMB for a minimum of two nights of camping not too far from the Fresno area. You are very fortunate in that there are lovely campgrounds in the Sierra-Nevada mountains within one or two hours of Fresno. I recommend staying one night with hookups (to make sure all the 110v, Starcool A/C, microwave oven, cable TV, grey and/or black water hose, and city water) hookups work, and another night without any hookups at all [or disconnect them and stay in the same place], to make sure the "boondocking" systems all work.

Test your furnace, hot water heater, stove, porta-potti (make sure to try to empty it), awning, inverter, and any other appliances. Watch or listen to your recorded walk-through, read all the manuals and materials, try everything, and write down your questions and suspected problems. Make sure you try that state-of-the-art stereo and/or video system you had installed (if applicable).

If nothing is malfunctioning and you understand everything, then you can leave for home [and by the way, you are a genius]. If there is something that you don't understand or you can't get to work, call Sportsmobile West and tell them you're coming back in. They will be happy to take care of you.

Back in '02, we picked up our Sportsmobile on a Thursday afternoon, stayed in a motel Thursday night, and headed for a campground outside Yosemite on Friday morning. We stayed there all weekend and headed back to Sportsmobile West on Monday morning to have a couple of things fixed and a few things explained. We were on our way home by Monday noon.

From Glenn:
Take a video camera or small audio recorder (as used for dictation). There's lots of information packed into to checkout, it is likely that you won't remember it all. If you have it down on tape you'll be able to use it as a reference.

From Mark and Arlene:
Ditto about the pocket recorder or video camera. A still camera is good too. I made a little photo book that goes in the SMB binder with detail photos of wiring, switches, hook ups and breaker locations along with notes on how to do stuff.

Prepare for half a day of briefings, instructions and hands on testing. Keep a clipboard handy for a "squawk" list of discrepancies you would like attended to while on site. Test and run EVERYTHING. Be prepared to meet other customers and wannabes who will ask you a lot of questions.

Open all the doors and drawers. Feel inside where all the hinge and hardware screws come through the other side and make sure the little plastic protector caps are all there.
SMB give us a bag with extra ones, along with extra "buttons" in the right colors to replace any snap on fabric screw covers we might loose.

Check the door and drawers for being square. Don't be afraid to ask them to vacuum out the flooring in the back of cabinets or under the bed better (if needed).

They may have already put in some clothes hooks here and there. They waited for our pick up and put them where we wanted them.

Make sure the GVWR sticker SMB puts in is correct for your rig. Something was off on ours and it resulted in a gain of about 50 pounds in cargo capacity. Not a lot but it's an
extra 200 feet of rope, two dozen carabineers and a case of beer.

Bring a couple of clear plastic sandwich storage containers. I got this from someone else on the list. SMB gives you all sorts of extra buttons, bolt covers, spare mounting hardware and the like. Instead of just throwing it in a drawer, keep it in the sandwich containers.

KEYS ! Don't loose the keys for the spare tire cover, the spare tire locking hub or the outside shower.

Wear grubs and climb around underneath. Check all the places where tubes, pipes and wires pass through the floor of the van to the underside for fit and seal. Bang on things and wiggle things. Odds are you will find everything tight, but it is an education about how things are attached and where they all go.

I was not impressed with the lack of underbody coating from the van mfg. So when I got the rig home, I put on spray undercoating on anything metal and on all the fittings that hold on the waste water tanks, running boards etc. Be sure not to clog anything, stay away from the a/c compressor and DON’T spray the exhaust or the muffler!

Drive 75 miles, go camping a night or two and IF anything is in need of tightening, head back to have the fine folks at SMB take care of biz.

Also from Howard:
Mark gave some really good advice. I would second the idea of camping in it a night or two somewhere reasonably close to the SMB facility, both with and without hookups, and if you find anything wrong or just don't know how to operate something, head back to SMB to get it taken care of. With a complex vehicle like this, I was really amazed that all the systems on my van worked on the first trip.

In particular, if you're getting a penthouse top, make sure you can put it up and down by yourself. Don't forget to open a door or window first. Learn the trick to making the top go down straight by hooking the rear of the PH bed mattress up to the ceiling and leaving the front of the mattress down -- it helps guide the top down straight. (Peter at SMB West was the person who showed me that trick.)

From Aaron:
If you are flying in to pick up your Sportsmobile and are concerned about getting your camping stuff for your trip back home, you can send a box with some camping gear to Sportsmobile, and just load it into your new SMB. I did this when I picked up a SMB in '04, and it was great to have gear without having to hunt around Fresno for everything. (And it saves the hassle of having unusual baggage at the airport!) The best way was to address it to your name, but in care of Sportsmobile. That way they aren't obligated to open it up. Check with your contact at SMB to make sure it's still ok.


Check List from Charlie and many other sources:

ORIENTATION
o Video and or Audio Tape the Orientation
o Receive SMB Owners Manual
o Test and operate all systems
o Water
o City hookup and filling
o Hot water pump
o Cold weather draining
o Exterior shower & curtain
o Penthouse (raise & lower)
o Awning (deploy)
o 4WD
o Transfer-case
o Lockers & hubs
o Sway Bar
o Winch
o Air compressor & hose
o Furnace
o Starcool
o Porta-pottie
o Marine Toilet
o Refrigerator
o Photo Voltaic System
o Batter Charging System
o Exterior Lights
o Interior Lights
o AMSOIL Package
o Hella tire pressure monitor
o Microwave
o Inverter
o A/V System Orientation
o Receive A/V Operational Manuals
o Alarm system
o Remote start
o Temperature paging system
o Stereo/Navigation system
o TV/DVD player
o Backup camera
o XM / Sirius Tuner
o Ipod cable
o Bluetooth adapter

ITEMS TO CHECK
o Penthouse screens not cut or torn
o Winch isn’t missing any bolts at attachment
o All bolts are secured in spare tire & box brackets and that latches work properly
o Awning is securely attached
o Window shades all operate
o Black Rat Recovery kit
o Portable Stove
o Fairlead Cover
o Hood Mask
o Locking Lug nuts and keys
o Bottle jack
o Shackles on rear bumper
o Open all the doors and drawers. Feel inside where all the hinge and hardware screws come through the other side and make sure the little plastic protector caps are all there
o Check the door and drawers for being square. Don't be afraid to ask them to vacuum out the flooring in the back of cabinets or under the bed better (if needed).
o Make sure the GVWR sticker SMB puts in is correct for your rig.
o They may have already put in some clothes hooks here and there. They waited for our pick up and put them where we wanted them.
o Bring a couple of clear plastic sandwich storage containers. I got this from someone else on the list. SMB gives you all sorts of extra buttons, bolt covers, spare mounting hardware and the like. Instead of just throwing it in a drawer, keep it in the sandwich containers.
o Check all the places where tubes, pipes and wires pass through the floor of the van to the underside for fit and seal.
o Operate all windows
o Lug nut torque
o Sound Deadening installed
o Speakers provided (3 in box)
o Fan
o Front Shades
o Tie Down Clips
o Expedition kit & locks
o Keys for galley box

ITEMS TO DO
o Setup binder with tabs for all products.
o Setup Maintenance Binder

.
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Old 05-08-2008, 10:49 AM   #2
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Thanks Jack! Very informative. We will definitely use all these tips when we pick up our rig!
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:13 AM   #3
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All good suggestions.

My opinion is that SMB should give all new owners a video orientation when they pick up their vans. This would be easy and relatively inexpensive to create. Being able to pop in a video to review many of the functions on the van would save SMB dozens of hours of follow up calls and emails with questions from owners. I've probably burned 2-3 hours of Jonathan/Peter/Heber's time with questions about things I simply forgot from the "orientation". Do the math and this sort of activity must be costing SMB thousands per annum. In my case, the "orientation" did not include some major items, such as how to properly lubricate the chassis and suspension. Big items that won't be familiar to a new owner like me, but could be easily and well covered in a video. That ended up costing ME a lot.

And the owners manual is ancient. Mine looks like it was created circa 1989. Needs to be updated with new diagrams and photos.

Yes, a bit of a rant, but I think these steps would greatly benefit both SMB and new van owners.

R
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Old 05-08-2008, 11:21 AM   #4
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Jack, it is great to see you active on these forums. You have always been a wealth of knowledge and experience in the Yahoo group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EMrider
All good suggestions.

In my case, the "orientation" did not include some major items, such as how to properly lubricate the chassis and suspension. Big items that won't be familiar to a new owner, but could be easily and well covered in a video. That ended up costing ME a lot.

R
Can you please share what you learned with this? I've only found three grease gun fittings on our 2007 PSD 4x4.
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:05 PM   #5
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Thanks for pulling this over, I am doing my pickup next week and this is very handy.

-Mark
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:40 PM   #6
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Mark,

I am envious! Our SMB was originally supposed to be done mid May but SMB West discovered a problem with the steering box in our van and it had to be sent back to Ford for repairs which has bumped our delivery date by a month.

Just out of curiosity when did you place the order for your van?

John
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Old 05-08-2008, 04:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdwindansea
Jack, it is great to see you active on these forums. You have always been a wealth of knowledge and experience in the Yahoo group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EMrider
All good suggestions.

In my case, the "orientation" did not include some major items, such as how to properly lubricate the chassis and suspension. Big items that won't be familiar to a new owner, but could be easily and well covered in a video. That ended up costing ME a lot.

R
Can you please share what you learned with this? I've only found three grease gun fittings on our 2007 PSD 4x4.
If you already know where grease fitting are, you're fine. I've never owned a vehicle that required this sort of maintenance and it was not covered when I picked up the van. End result was that I had to replace the u-joint and ball joints at 25k miles. I'm fine with replacing these items because they do eventually wear out, but the u-joint could have been a safety issue and that is not OK.
R
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Old 05-08-2008, 06:40 PM   #8
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Thanks Jack! this checklist was incredibly valuable when we picked up our SMB in the fall of 2006.

I got a chuckle out of your statement about the lack of documentation on the DVD/stereo. Driving back from Death Valley National Park, my co-pilot friend Kevin became irritated with my Kenwood stereo flashing the wrong time. Diving into the incomprehensible owner's manual after two hours, Kevin managed to get the correct time to display, but somehow turned the speakers off. It took another hour of fussing to turn them back on.

At one point in the process the Kenwood screen flashed a series of icons of the Great Pyramids with a sun symbol behind them. Glancing over at the stereo while driving, all I could think of was that Kevin was trying to open a Stargate, like something out of the SF series Stargate SG1.
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:54 PM   #9
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Ed wrote: I got a chuckle out of your statement about the lack of documentation on the DVD/stereo.

Our problem was trying to include too many outputs into the head unit....it had a DVD/CD player, tape player (books on tape), AM/FM radio, and output to a built-in/drop-down TV. To make it work, they had to add a toggle switch which was part of the DVD/TV output...I think. It was always interesting to try to play the TV, turning the toggle one way and then the other while changing outputs on the head unit, etc. That head unit has now been changed out (to gain XM radio and to have an iPod input) and is much more logical. But the documentation comes out twice a year to change the time when daylight savings comes and goes...
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Old 05-08-2008, 10:19 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John & Dana
Mark,

I am envious! Our SMB was originally supposed to be done mid May but SMB West discovered a problem with the steering box in our van and it had to be sent back to Ford for repairs which has bumped our delivery date by a month.

Just out of curiosity when did you place the order for your van?

John
John,

We sent the check in January and ended up buying one of the vans (diesel EB) off their list to speed things up. Along the way we have deleted options to make sure we had the van by the time the kids were out of school since summers are precious to us

Even with the delay, it sounds like yours will also be in time for the rat race of the national parks in summer

Good luck.

-Mark
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