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Old 09-22-2015, 04:16 PM   #1
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Not an original owner and the challenges along for the ride

Hi All,

Been lurking for awhile but its time for an introduction and advice.

Purchased an '06 RB-50 (built by SMB West) from my wife's uncle at the end of May. I've been eyeing SMBs for a bit and when the opportunity came up, I jumped! And now the reality is setting in . What I know about the history of the rig I can fit in a very thin folder:
> I'm the 4th owner,
> 55K on then odometer,
> The last 6 years have been in Vermont
> Lots of sitting in the past few years, the uncle-in-law drove it very little
> No service records
> I do have the original gray SMB owner's notebook

I'm learning that owning a specialty vehicle can be challenging at times:
Me: "I'm calling about my 2006 Sportsmobile"
Mechanic: "Your what?!"
Me: "Ugh" & a heavy sigh

What I've done so far:
> Replaced the original tires (cracks and all),
> Replaced the original house battery (dead, dead,dead),
> Replaced the original front shocks (PO had a set of Fox he ordered from SMB)
> Replaced front wheel bearings (had a broken stud that needed replacing and when doing that work the shop recommend doing the bearings)
> Had a vehicle inspection done by Ken Imler who put together a list of "to dos"
> Lots of searching this forum and learning

To say I'm feeling overwhelmed by the vehicle is an understatement and the $$ are just beginning to flow out. "Buyer beware" and "Be careful what you wish for" certainly apply ... no regrets (yet) but my optimism is waning.

Now for my questions:
> What do you folks recommend for tackling rust? Nothing inside the van, its all underneath and appears to be just surface rust ... I've poked and prodded and everything still seems solid but I'm concerned about the small things like fasteners and clamps.
> Lots of info about the front axle, where can I learn about the rear?
>Thoughts about engine mods/fixes? Bulletproofing, etc.
> Any words of encouragement? (Much needed right about now!)

Any and all comments/thoughts welcome ... thanks for reading and I really enjoy this forum, great info.

Thanks,
james
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Old 09-22-2015, 06:30 PM   #2
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Re: Not an original owner and the challenges along for the r

Quote:
Originally Posted by jfgarberiv
> Any words of encouragement? (Much needed right about now!)
I encourage you to (pick one):

A. Sell the dang thing... SMB's will have no mercy on anyone at anytime
B. Embrace your new PITA... I keep a constant wishlist... constant

Welcome to the addiction, you are among friends... pix will get you extra love
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Old 09-22-2015, 06:30 PM   #3
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Re: Not an original owner and the challenges along for the r

...Post a few pics!......
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Old 09-22-2015, 06:59 PM   #4
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Re: Not an original owner and the challenges along for the r

You mentioned 'bulletproofing'. Is this a 6.0 diesel? If so, sell it. You don't sound like you are the type who wants the hassle. If it is a gas engine no bulletproofing is necessary.

You essentially have a Ford van. If you take it anywhere for maintenance just tell them it is a Ford van, don't confuse them with 'Sportsmobile'. They will see and figure out the differences.

Any RV shop/dealer can help you with any of the stuff inside the van as it is mostly just standard RV stuff (appliances, propane, furnace, fridge, etc.)

Don't get too freaked out, it's just an RV and just a Ford van. They are just incredibly rare in the East, but it won't freak out a mechanic.

Good luck!

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Old 09-22-2015, 07:10 PM   #5
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Re: Not an original owner and the challenges along for the r

Using Klen Imler is a very good start.
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Old 09-22-2015, 08:40 PM   #6
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Re: Not an original owner and the challenges along for the r

Hopefully you don't have a 6.0 but several people have had reasonable luck with the 6.0PSD. If you don't this will be a moot post but you mentioning bullet proofing threw up a red flag.. We had mixed results with our fleet trucks but emissions made us cut them short compared to the 7.3's. The 6.0 would not have been my choice knowing the trouble some have had but the fact is many diesels are expensive to maintain and the 6.0 is very prone to upkeep. I'm no mechanic but work with several, some who own 6.0's.

Change the oil at least every 5K miles. I use AMSOIL with twin filters but I still replace my oil at 5K if I'm not on the road. I'm in the process of adding Archoil this weekend after having my engine bullet proofed last year.

Engine bay heat is a bad thing. Deal with it as best you can. Hood louvers made a big difference on my van.

Drive the vehicle on a weekly basis as a minimum which seems to help. Most of out fleet vehicles didn't seem to have issues because they were on the road or running at high idle when in use. Still the disclaimer... is we never had a chance to really test the vehicles for longevity because of gov-regs. Most were sold in auction by the time they had 200K on them. Of course the high idle times on some of them were huge.

Don't idle for long periods of time and always use Cetane booster in the fuel. If you can, do an EGR upgrade.

Get a coolant filter installed and change the coolant on a more regular basis than what Ford suggests.

Don't baby the vehicle. I think Ford added a program that forces the turbo veins to open and close at start. Driving it hard makes the turbo operate from what I've been told. I just got rid of that style turbo which seems to be an issue with the 6.0. However at 90K miles my stock turbo was clean, probably due to being a daily driver and the use of Cetane booster.

Get a EGT gauge and make sure to keep the temps reasonable on hard climbs. Also let the turbo cool down before shutting down the engine.

Get a good engine tune and tuner. I'm not after power, that means more heat but a good programmed tune can mean a more efficient cooler running engine if you get the right one.

Spend the money for maintenance!
Spend even more money and do the bullet proofing...still doesn't mean you're not going to have issues. So far I've only lost one injector and that was due in part to not doing more frequent oil changes, not using the fuel additive and lengthy idle times before I knew better.

Watch every video this guy has put out:

And then pray
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Old 09-23-2015, 01:00 AM   #7
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Re: Not an original owner and the challenges along for the r

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Hopefully you don't have a 6.0 but
Well that sounds easy enough!!!
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Old 09-23-2015, 09:31 AM   #8
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Re: Not an original owner and the challenges along for the r

Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler
Using Klen Imler is a very good start.
Yes, the folks at Imler have been great and patient with a new diesel owner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Hopefully you don't have a 6.0
Oh yes, blessed with a 6.0! I've been reading, and watching, all I can about this amazing piece of machinery and as soon as I feel halfway comfortable I read the next article or story and panic again ... I really should look into a therapist!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty
Don't get too freaked out, it's just an RV and just a Ford van.
Thanks for the calming words ... I'll try to keep this in mind.

Pics will follow this weekend, still green with posting so I need a little quite time at home (we have an 11-month scooting around) to figure the technical stuff out.

Thank you all, I appreciate the wisdom!!
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Old 09-23-2015, 06:25 PM   #9
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Re: Not an original owner and the challenges along for the r

Try Photobucket or one of the other picture hosting programs and post the image code. That's a little easier than posting to this site. Also, if you have a smartphone you can get Tapatalk (free app IIRC) and post phone pics quick and simple from there.

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Old 09-24-2015, 10:34 AM   #10
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Re: Not an original owner and the challenges along for the r

Quote:
Originally Posted by twogone
pix will get you extra love
Getting better with the posting process!

Any thoughts/comments on treating the rust will be greatly appreciated!! (See below)
















Thanks for looking and the ideas!!

James
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