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Old 08-11-2019, 08:58 PM   #1
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Modifying a Sportsmobile???

Howdy, I am new to the Sportsmobile scene but I love these things. Long time Van lover and I currently have 1998 RV van conversion that I built and use weekly. I think I may have found a good deal on a mid 1990s van body SMB with a pop top. Does Penthouse mean that there is a sleeping option? Is it sacrilegious to do a custom interior on these older models? Or am I better off restoring what is already there? How far is too far if considering resale value? Thanks!
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Old 08-11-2019, 09:44 PM   #2
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Many of these vans were ordered custom to begin with, so there is no single "correct" Sportsmobile interior to compare to. (The original owners of mine literally took a blank floorplan and pasted in the cabinet and furniture pieces they wanted, and then Sportsmobile built it based on that.) Some of the original materials also have not held up well. As long as it's tasteful and everything looks like it's "supposed" to be there, I doubt you'll hurt the value.

A Penthouse top in Sportsmobile speak refers to a pop-up fiberglass top with canvas sides. There's generally a full-width bunk up there that can sleep two. Make sure the top goes up and down easily and that all the pieces for the bunk are there (in my van's case, there are three movable panels; make sure someone didn't take them out of the van and lose them.) Check the condition of the canvas -- any tears? Do all the zippers work? Are the metal bows that support the top straight, or have they gotten bent? Replacement is a big job so if the canvas isn't sound I'd either pass or demand a big discount.

BTW, the plywood used in the cabinets for these vans swells and warps when it stays wet for any length of time. If the cabinets are warped or separated at the bottom, you may want to ask some questions about water leaks.
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Old 08-11-2019, 11:10 PM   #3
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We had an 89 SMB for several years that we bought used. The cabinets were made of particle board. Some of it was water damaged and swelled up. As a result some of the cabinet door had loose screws.

You will get only advice and help from the forum members if you decide to gut the interior build a layout that works for you.
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:49 AM   #4
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BTW. if you're curious, this is the layout sheet the original owners of my van used. As you can see there was a high level of customization available.
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1990 E-250 Sportsmobile w/ penthouse top, converted in 1990 by SMB Texas.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:12 AM   #5
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Thank you for all of the input. It is a 1995, standard length Dodge, pop top, 135,000 miles, V8, 2wd. I have not seen it yet with my eyes but it looks fine in the pictures. What price range do these things normally go for along the East coast? Anything else I should be paying attention to? Thank you for the input!
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:17 AM   #6
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in all things Dodge member Pntyrmvr has encyclopedic experience. he has several Dodge vans.

1st, see post #8 of this thread - http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...rts-24292.html

then, you might search his other posts or PM him
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:35 AM   #7
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mileage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Green View Post
Thank you for all of the input. It is a 1995, standard length Dodge, pop top, 1350,000 miles, V8, 2wd. I have not seen it yet with my eyes but it looks fine in the pictures. What price range do these things normally go for along the East coast? Anything else I should be paying attention to? Thank you for the input!
Is that really over a million miles? Or just an extra zero?
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Old 08-12-2019, 10:55 AM   #8
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Woops. 135,000 miles.
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Old 08-12-2019, 11:59 AM   #9
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I started out back in Ď06 with an Ď03 full SMB RB-50 build, I donít think I have anything left from the original SMB build on my van except for the Quigley 4X4....and thatís pretty worked over too.
If youíre planning on gutting the thing and starting over, it may be worth considering finding a clean slate to work with and building it out how you want....wait, did I just say that!?!
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Old 08-12-2019, 12:50 PM   #10
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I started out back in Ď06 with an Ď03 full SMB RB-50 build, I donít think I have anything left from the original SMB build on my van except for the Quigley 4X4....and thatís pretty worked over too.
If youíre planning on gutting the thing and starting over, it may be worth considering finding a clean slate to work with and building it out how you want....wait, did I just say that!?!
If I am going to gut it, this might be a good one anyway. I anxiously am waiting to go inspect it.
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