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Old 12-14-2015, 10:23 PM   #1
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Should I buy this SMB and U-Joint it?

Hey Everyone,

Long time lurker and admirer of all the amazing rigs on this Forum! After drooling over all your cool vans I think I found a SMB that works for me and I need some advice. It is posted on the SMB West site. Here is the Link:

http://www.sportsmobile.com/inventor...ventory_id=438

Its a one owner rig, 2wd, "50" with a manual Poptop. 5.4 with 117,00 Miles. I will do a U-Joint conversion at some point and use it for Adventures around the PNW and down into Baja.

Any opinions or recommendations on what I should look out for on this?
Will the 5.4 turn a 305 tire with out to much stress?
Will the awning rattle itself off and land in a cactus on a Baja 2 track?
Will the existing tranny (e40d?)hold up with the bigger tires?

It is located in Vasalia CA and I am in Portland so if someone is close and could help I will buy them a beer when I go to pick it up.

Thanks in advance for all the help!
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Old 12-15-2015, 06:10 PM   #2
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anyone? would love some input!
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Old 12-15-2015, 06:21 PM   #3
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I saw that one on the SMB website and thought to myself that it could be a pretty sweet rig with some minor tweaks. Just taking off the fiberglass running boards will do wonders to the look of that van. If the stripes on the side are decals (hopefully they are), then you can peel them off if you don't like them.

I think if its in your price range and it's the layout you're looking for, then go for it! If you want to run a 305 tire, then you will most definitely have to regear, but that's minor. I noticed it has a large fridge which will come in handy on your longer trips.

A forum member recently purchased a similar looking SMB (exterior) and took the stripes and running boards off. Here's the link to what it looked like before and after. http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ad.php?t=16141
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Old 12-15-2015, 06:26 PM   #4
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That van looks very nice. It would look great with the U-Joint kit and some proper wheels. My concern would be the 5.4 engine, it will have a lot of weight to pull around. I have spent some time in my friends RB non SMB 4x4 with a 5.4 and it does ok. We did find ourselves in a couple situations that we just did not have enough power to push the van through the terrain we were in.
Just my thoughts.
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Old 12-15-2015, 06:42 PM   #5
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1 Any opinions or recommendations on what I should look out for on this?
2 Will the 5.4 turn a 305 tire with out to much stress?
3 Will the awning rattle itself off and land in a cactus on a Baja 2 track?
4 Will the existing tranny (e40d?)hold up with the bigger tires?

1 Nope, looks good.
2 Yes, Chris is doing a lot of 5.4s these days. It will get the job done, but maybe not as briskly as a V10 or diesel. Don't expect better fuel mileage because it will be working harder to get the job done but it will do the job fine. I expect you'll average about 12-13 mpg with bigger tires on that rig. Call Chris if you haven't. He's very helpful and can tell you a lot more about what he can do to suit your needs.
3 No, it should be fine. Lots of hardcore SMBers have awnings that hold up just fine.
4 Yes, as long as it's in good shape. The e40d is the same tranny used in most ford trucks with bigger engines and more weight than this. The 460s and 7.3 diesels all had the e40d. I would service it when you get the van. It's about time and probably hasn't been done.

Good luck, nice van!
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Old 12-16-2015, 10:15 AM   #6
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Before I decided my route (I have your twin SMB, except the interior) I was looking into 4x4 with the 5.4. Everyone said it was fine. The only thing you have to look out for is towing. But I don't tow so it wasn't going to be a worry. I ended up going with WeldTec 2wd setup.
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Old 12-16-2015, 11:37 AM   #7
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This is great info. Thanks guys. I was definitely a little worried about the 5.4 with some more rubber and lift. I figured some gearing might be in order. The big fridge is a great option to have.

With 117000 miles on the clock should I worry about timing chain or any other major maintenance hurdles?
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Old 12-16-2015, 09:49 PM   #8
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I have a 2005 SMB with the 5.4 and am currently setting up the conversion with Chris at Ujoint. Pretty sure I'm going 6" lift but not set in stone on that, if I do I'm thinking of running 34" tires instead of his "normal" 35s hoping that will help a little with the power loss. He wrote up my estimate with 4.88 gears so I'm guessing that's the best setup considering his vast experience converting these rigs. Hope that helps a little.
Ps Buy it ! I did and never looked back.
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Old 12-16-2015, 11:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 86Scotty View Post
The 460s and 7.3 diesels all had the e40d.
Not entirely true...
Maybe you had a specific year in mind when you wrote that?

7.3PSD at least the ones I know of have the 4R100 transmission.

But a 5.4 with some mods will be ok, honestly I'd aim for the 7.3 or 6.8 with the 5R110 because if the need arises in the future for heavier loads or towing you won't even blink.
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Old 12-18-2015, 01:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbasso View Post
Not entirely true...
Maybe you had a specific year in mind when you wrote that?

7.3PSD at least the ones I know of have the 4R100 transmission.

But a 5.4 with some mods will be ok, honestly I'd aim for the 7.3 or 6.8 with the 5R110 because if the need arises in the future for heavier loads or towing you won't even blink.
I hear ya with the 5R110. No plans for towing with this rig but thanks for the input.

Does anyone know if the 5.4 in the 1998 models is the 2 or 3 valve?
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