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Old 01-23-2010, 12:55 PM   #1
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SMB Ford vs GM

Hey all,

I've been looking at SMB's for some time now... don't own one yet. I like this forum site, lot's of good stuff going around on here.

What the opinion on Ford vs Chev/GMC Sportsmobiles? Did SMB stop making GM models? Doesn't seem to be many on their site. The GM models sure seem to be pretty rare.

I guess I like a GM product better than Ford, but I don't see anything wrong with the Econoline van. My personal opinion is that the Chev models are much better looking.

Have there been issues with the Express van SMB's?

What are some thoughts on Ford vs Chevy SMB??

Thanks,
Jon
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Old 01-23-2010, 01:59 PM   #2
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Re: SMB Ford vs GM

Jon,

We originally were interested in the Chevy van primarily because the Duramax diesel has a much better reputation than the 6.0L PSD. In the end we bought the Ford van because SMB is able to do the 4x4 conversion in house on the Ford vans where with the Chevy vans are shipped to Quigley for the 4x4. When researching the differences between the Sportsmobile 4x4 conversion and the Quigley conversion it was clear that if you intend to take you van over really rough terrain the Sportsmobile conversion has higher clearance and more robust components. At the time we ordered the added time of shipping the van to Indiana for the 4x4 conversion was also a factor. Also we were interested in the extended body and with the Ford you have the same wheel base but the Chevy has a longer wheel base which off road makes it easier to high center. Although the trade off with the Ford is the huge overhand on the back which can be limiting as well. I also remember that SMB West told us that Ford uses a double wall van body where the Chevy is a single wall body. This makes the Ford body stiffer and less prone to flexing in off road use.

Bottom line if you aren't interested in a 4x4 or you only intend to do light 4x4 trail the Chevy may be a better choice for you.

John
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Old 01-23-2010, 07:00 PM   #3
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Re: SMB Ford vs GM

The Ford has the V10. The largest gas motor on the Chevy is the 6.0. This results in 4000 pounds more towing capacity with Ford (Chevy = 16,000 GCWR, Ford = 20,000 GCWR).

The frame on the Ford is much larger and more robust. Not a problem if always within GVWR and driving on pavement. But if traveling overloaded, or doing serious off-roading, it matters. As mentioned above, the body construction also results in a stiffer platform (and better side impact protection too).

The Ford also has much better brakes. Also has nice options like trailer tow mirrors, integrated trailer brake controller, back up camera, fully isolated trailer electrical, engine oil cooler, power steering cooler, 220amp alternator, upfitter switches. None of those items are available on the Chevy.

The Chevy has a smoother empty ride (of course, a SMB will never be truly empty). Chevy has better passenger footroom. It also has a stronger "on-center" feel in the steering. It also has a dome light-light override standard on the dash, which I wish Ford had (can be added, at least they have instructions available)
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Old 01-23-2010, 07:10 PM   #4
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Re: SMB Ford vs GM

Chevy's EB stretches the wheelbase making it more stable and better (relative to the same vehicle with shorter wheelbase). The Ford EB has the same wheelbase as the RB which means more weight over the rear axle. This also makes the EB chevy harder to park in a parking spot because of the longer wheelbase.

Also if you go GMC you might not cringe as much when people go "heh-heh, the A-Team!"
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Old 01-23-2010, 09:34 PM   #5
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Re: SMB Ford vs GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by jage
you might not cringe as much when people go "heh-heh, the A-Team!"
Careful there Jage. What you talking about fool?

mr.t
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Old 01-23-2010, 10:24 PM   #6
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Re: SMB Ford vs GM

So, I guess that's just a thing if you have a lifted van.

I discovered that recently in Portland when I picked up the Quadvan. Kids in gas stations were saying "I thought the A-Team was rolling in." or "I thought Mr. T was going to get out of that van."

Why can't people be more imaginative with their media associations?
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:33 AM   #7
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Re: SMB Ford vs GM

Carefull about ordering the ford back up camera. It's really neat but you'll pay for a camera twice if you add the aluminess rear bumper as I just learned. SMB said ford's camera can't be moved. The replacement camera isn't as nice. RD
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:16 PM   #8
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Re: SMB Ford vs GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dowgars
Carefull about ordering the ford back up camera. It's really neat but you'll pay for a camera twice if you add the aluminess rear bumper as I just learned. SMB said ford's camera can't be moved. The replacement camera isn't as nice. RD
I take it you got one of the carrier setups? I like the stock location for the camera since it sees the hitch ball. But a carrier will block it.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:38 PM   #9
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Re: SMB Ford vs GM

All of the above seems pretty much spot on. I had not heard that Chevy's frame was weaker than Ford, but I guess it's true as it would probably be defamatory for S-K to publish this on their web site if not.

A few thoughts from a (newer and rare) Chevy owner:

Regarding the suspension and 4x4, it's a trade-off like most other things in a SMB. Chevy's front-end is coil spring, which means a softer on-road ride (coupled with the better ride from the longer wheelbase and less cargo behind the rear wheels). With the coil springs comes less suspension travel, which we tested as recently as yesterday. On the other hand, I have seen videos lately where it appears that Ford SMBs have shown much less front suspension articulation than is theoretically possible, interesting since they are advertising that as one of the main benefits.

The Atlas II transfer case in Ford SMBs cannot be minimized. I plan to convert to one when my warranty with Quigley is up. I'm already on my 2nd New Process trf case at 10k miles and having issues with it. The Atlas II seems bullet proof and gives much more flexibility with all of the different drive combinations.

Good luck! I don't think you can go wrong.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:55 PM   #10
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Re: SMB Ford vs GM

Quote:
Originally Posted by dowgars
Carefull about ordering the ford back up camera. It's really neat but you'll pay for a camera twice if you add the aluminess rear bumper as I just learned. SMB said ford's camera can't be moved. The replacement camera isn't as nice. RD

Well, in another couple of weeks, I'm going to try to move mine. The Aluminess grub box does, indeed, block it, but I don't see why it cannot be pried out of the license plate holder, the wires lengthened, and it be affixed somewhere else.

Did SMB say *why* it cannot be moved?
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