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Old 12-27-2009, 07:42 PM   #1
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Life span of a SPORTSMOBILE

Hello all,

I have been secretly drueling over all of your photos and trip reports for a couple of months now; as well as reading through most every thread that has been posted since this forum started and there is one question I have:
WHAT IS YOUR EXPECTED LIFE-SPAN OF YOUR SMB?

Almost all of the used SMB's are under 50K miles and most are under 25k. I realize that most of these sales have to do with a change of financials rather than just selling off to upgrade.

Additionally I don't hear about any SMB's that are hitting record mileage and bragging about still going.

If I am able to purchase a SMB it will be because I can use it for part of my work travel which will put an extra amount of mileage on the van. I would need to get about 200k for it to be a "smart" business decision, but not everything needs to be that smart.

So I ask all of you; how did you warrent the purchase and was it just for fun or did anyone do a study on your "Return of Investment" and decide to jump in?

I do have a 1994 Suburban that is about to hit 200k so I am sure that a Ford Van will do the same but will everything else in the van still be with me for that trip?

Thanks for all your wonderful topics.

Kind regards,

Michael E.
Stevenson, WA

A hopeful 2010 SMB owner
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Old 12-27-2009, 08:28 PM   #2
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Re: Life span of a SPORTSMOBILE

I don't think being an SMB reduces or increases the mileage potential of the vehicle- the SMB should have similar engine life to whatever a similar van or Sprinter would get.

The one codicil to that is that being expensive vehicles at the get go, I would think people would take better care of them- so you're likelihood of getting a cared for engine might be higher, which might result in a longer overall life (no guarantees out there though).
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Old 12-27-2009, 10:18 PM   #3
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Re: Life span of a SPORTSMOBILE

I think @jage's responses are probably on the mark. Do note that with all the extra weight in the sucker, unless you're using those features FOR the business (pop top, kitchen, cabinets, bumpers, whatever) it is going to give you slightly (if not moderately) reduced fuel economy. That, over 200,000 miles, will DEFINITELY factor against a good financial payoff.

But, on the other hand, since you can SLEEP comfortably in it, live in it, skip restaurants, hotels, motels, etc, that can save you a ton (although then you don't have those receipts to write off). For instance, I go skiing every weekend when I'm home. I get ~ 15 mpg, diesel, there and back. My friends get sometimes 20-24mpg there and back. I spend probably $50-80 more for fuel each weekend. I also don't have to pay to eat out, pay for a place to stay/condo, worry about traffic (I pull over, watch a movie, have a meal, sleep), etc.

I plan to keep mine forever.
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Old 12-27-2009, 10:32 PM   #4
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Re: Life span of a SPORTSMOBILE

Quote:
Originally Posted by breadmobile

So I ask all of you; how did you warrent the purchase and was it just for fun or did anyone do a study on your "Return of Investment" and decide to jump in?
First of all I would never use the word "investment" with anything having anything to do with cars! It is true that sportsmobiles have excellent resale value and that deffinatly helps to justify spending so much money on a van. I usually keep my cars for at least ten years and do not know or care what my SMB will be worth when I'm done with it. I figure when I'm done with the van my use of it will be worth what I paid for it. I'd bet that any vehicle with 200k on the clock would be worth very little in terms of resale, SMB included. You see lots of low mileage SMB's because lots of them are dedicated campers, not commuters.
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Old 12-28-2009, 07:27 AM   #5
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Re: Life span of a SPORTSMOBILE

I'd also consider our SMB a consumption good, not an investment.

But in terms of enjoyment per $$$ spent, it is one of the highest ROI items we've ever purchased.

I tend to own my vehicles a long long time, unless they give me a lot of trouble mechanically. So far so good with the SMB and although the PSD motors have their share of issues, I'm confident that they are 'good' for 200k miles, probably a lot more. My guess is that I'll wear out the inside of the van long before it gives up mechanically. Road trips and camping, with kids, can be hard on interiors. Or that I'll break something major while off-roading.

Ideally, the SMB will serve us well mechanically for 10+ years and we'll have the interior 'remodeled' once or twice by SMB as the years go by.

R
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:22 PM   #6
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Re: Life span of a SPORTSMOBILE

Thanks for the comments.
As for the investment side I currently travel for work about 30 weeks a year and spend about $40k per year doing so. I am hoping to use the sporty for about 25% of that time and apply the goverment allotted perdium. I also want to include my wife and daughter in my trips more and the sporty will help with that.
I am happy to hear that some of you plan on 200k miles and 10 years of service.
Thanks to everyone and I hope to be meeting many of you later this year.

Michael E
Near Portland, OR
Hopeful SMB owner
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Old 12-29-2009, 08:58 AM   #7
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Re: Life span of a SPORTSMOBILE

Michael, I bought my SMB new in March 2005. Probably the silliest thing I've ever done, how can a person justify spending $80k on a vehicle that sit's in a garage 70% of the time? So, that being said, with care, I hope to have The Van for many years to come. It's only got 35k miles on it, 90% are highway miles, 9% very carefully driven forest service road miles, the remaining 1% I figure are getting to and from the freeway on ramp. There are some folks on the forum that claim they drive their vans on a daily basis. At 9,200 pounds, it's a pretty solid chunk to be horsing around town in, so mine only get's used when I'm getting outta' town.

But if I ever have to, or want to sell The Van, I think I'll get a good price for it because it's been well cared for. Like some of the other responses to your post, I too, tend to keep my vehicles for a long time. My current "daily driver" is a 1992 Isuzu Trooper with 105k miles on it, that I bought new. The vehicle I sold to buy the trooper was a 1977 VW Bus with 120k miles on it, that I also bought new. Good luck in your search to find a used SMB, or just suck it up and pop for a new one. The folks in Fresno at SMB West are awfully nice.

Tom
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Old 12-29-2009, 03:01 PM   #8
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Re: Life span of a SPORTSMOBILE

The Wheelchair Accessible Van for Expeditions just crossed 6000 miles and isn't 2 months old yet
I daily drive it and it take disabled folks out very regularly along with attending events, show and presentations.
I have the 200k extended warrenty and expect to go beyond that, but at the rate things are going that might happen in under 5yrs. The rig gets used, that is what I took the personal loan out for, so the non-profit will have the resource it needed.
Since it is often driven by newbies I don't expect it to be as pretty as if it was my own private rig. There are already lots of desert pinsriping and the underbelly has some scratches along with the back bumper.

Most important is that I love the rig and it is beyond my expectations.
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Old 12-29-2009, 10:26 PM   #9
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Re: Life span of a SPORTSMOBILE

Michael, you live in an awesome part of our state and, as you know, both WA and OR have wonderful places to go with an RV. We've had our "vintage" Sporty all over the area. It is third hand, a 1993 E350 Econoline, and is now above 85,000 miles. Everything is original except for the transmission, the tires, and the batteries. The second owner managed to get the tranny to start leaking after some heavy towing into the mountains. Our mechanic says the whole shebang is in good, solid shape. We paid a fraction of the original price, so the first and second owners can't say it was an "investment" from the $$ standpoint, but each of them got lots of use and fun from this vehicle. Now we're doing the same. More than half the plumbers and electricians and carpet guys and etc. etc. in our great big county run Econolines with similar weight in them to what a SMB carries, and those Fords just keep on going (with proper care, of course). If you ever get up Port Townsend way you're welcome to stop by and see ours. You'll be amazed at how well the interior stuff has lasted.
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Old 12-30-2009, 05:32 PM   #10
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Re: Life span of a SPORTSMOBILE

Quote:
Originally Posted by Psomaki
If you ever get up Port Townsend way you're welcome to stop by and see ours. You'll be amazed at how well the interior stuff has lasted.
I do come up to Port Townsend a few times a year. In fact we love the area and were looking to buy a second home there but we have decided to buy a SMB instead for now. Next time we come up I would love to stop by and say hello and check out your Sporty.
I also love the little bakery you have there in town.

Michael E.
Stevenson, WA

PS. Does anybody have any a SMB in Portland, OR or the Columbia River Gorge area that they would let me check out? I have not seen one up close and would like to check one out.
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