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Old 09-17-2013, 01:36 PM   #1
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Taking a SMB on a round the world trip - is it a good idea?

My family is planning on a big trip around the world - down the Americas, ship to SE Asia, drive up to Europe - it's a big and long trip and needs a tough vehicle. And we have two little kids. We really like the Sportsmobile setup and are considering the EB model with 4x4 conversion. We can actually fit 4 chairs, plus a dinette bed, a penthouse bed, kitchen and maybe even a shower pan - all in a one-piece van that is not too big and can go off-road.

However, we have been researching this since January and have yet to read about folks using a SMB for a extended trip like this? There are tons of Defenders, Tacomas, Land Cruisers, Unimogs, all sorts of custom campers - but no Sportsmobile. And even on the SMB forums, the trips are usually short term or rallies.

Do you guys think SMB is a good choice for the trip we are planning? Why and why not? I understand getting parts may be more difficult than getting them for a Land Cruiser outside North America, let's say. But how much more difficult? Do you know anyone who's done it?

Thanks for your help!

Kari
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Old 09-17-2013, 02:21 PM   #2
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Re: Taking a SMB on a round the world trip - is it a good id

I've been told that the original owners of my SMB spent 2 years and drove it up to the North end of Alaska then to the South end of Chile and back. There's some service records in the binder from some countries down there, so I believe it.

can't wait to read some responses to this thread!
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Old 09-17-2013, 03:05 PM   #3
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Re: Taking a SMB on a round the world trip - is it a good id

My concern would be availability of parts and mechanics familiar with an American V-8 vehicle. Most of the vehicles you mentioned are commonly seen world wide. Not so with a Ford van.

I wouldn't be concerned about the durability of the van, but every vehicle can have failures, can they be easily repaired?

I've had my van repaired in the Yukon and in Newfoundland - but they are North America and the vans are common here.

Mike
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Old 09-17-2013, 05:55 PM   #4
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Re: Taking a SMB on a round the world trip - is it a good id

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
My concern would be availability of parts and mechanics familiar with an American V-8 vehicle. Most of the vehicles you mentioned are commonly seen world wide. Not so with a Ford van.

I wouldn't be concerned about the durability of the van, but every vehicle can have failures, can they be easily repaired?

I've had my van repaired in the Yukon and in Newfoundland - but they are North America and the vans are common here.

Mike
What Mike is saying, I think, is get a gas van and not a 6.0 diesel
You'll be fine. Take lots of pics!
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Old 09-17-2013, 06:43 PM   #5
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Re: Taking a SMB on a round the world trip - is it a good id

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Old 09-17-2013, 07:23 PM   #6
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Re: Taking a SMB on a round the world trip - is it a good id

I assume you have found this web site

http://www.turtleexpedition.com/
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Old 09-17-2013, 07:54 PM   #7
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Re: Taking a SMB on a round the world trip - is it a good id

Actually, what I'm saying applies to both a gas and a diesel engine. Service for these vehicles can be hard to come by outside North America.

A Sprinter may be easier to service in remote places, but I wouldn't count on it. Any new vehicle from here has electronics and smog controls that may not exist in 3rd world locations. And even an older, non-electronic vehicle may not have parts availability there.

Everytime my van has had problems, the techs hook it up to a computer and troubleshoot it in a few minutes. Do you think techs in other parts of the world will have software to troubleshoot a vehicle they may never see? If you can troubleshoot your own vehicle (I have software to troubleshoot my van because I go to remote places in North America) and have phone service, you can probably get parts shipped anywhere in a week or so. Since Toyota and Land Rovers and the like are found worldwide, it might make sense to start with one of the world vehicles, even if it isn't available here.

Mike
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:16 PM   #8
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Re: Taking a SMB on a round the world trip - is it a good id

I actually have a similar trip planned but staying in the America's. Basically North Pole to South Pole and I don't have any doubts or concerns with my Diesel Chevy holding up to it. That being said, I work on the Van myself and feel confident with having a GM vehicle because they are the biggest auto-manufacturer in the world so their vehicle parts network is bigger than say Ford's or Mercedes.
I do agree with getting a vehicle that is a few years older so you don't have to bother with all the new emissions crap (especially with the new Diesel's).
Also I would suggest getting a Diesel whatever you do (just NOT the 6.0L Ford Diesel), reason being is that Diesels they are simpler in design(less parts less problems), more robust, more reliable, and Diesel is alot more common in parts of the world where finding 87-91 octane gas would otherwise be impossible.

Also in addition to the software code readers and what not, just get yourself an Banks IQ or something of the like and it will read and translate any engine codes you get. No need to have to find someone with a Tech II to read your OBDII port. Most of the engine monitoring systems today can simply tell you what sensor is out which should simplify diagnosing problems and ease service requirments.
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Old 09-17-2013, 08:36 PM   #9
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Re: Taking a SMB on a round the world trip - is it a good id

Thanks so much for your replies. Keep them coming. I am learning a lot. Not very mechanical to begin with so I now have lots of keywords to google on. Thanks lots!
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Old 09-17-2013, 09:00 PM   #10
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Re: Taking a SMB on a round the world trip - is it a good id

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford_6L_E350
Actually, what I'm saying applies to both a gas and a diesel engine. Service for these vehicles can be hard to come by outside North America.

Mike
The 4.6L is widely available around the globe. The V10 is just a 4.6L with longer stroke and an extra pair of cylinders. The E-series is not a stranger to central and south america. The Mustang is available in most of Europe. Asia even gets the 4.6L in the E150 assembled in the Philippines.

http://www.ford.com.ph/trucks-and-vans/e-150

Besides.... Not much goes wrong with the gassers anyways. And the overhead-cam architecture should be pretty familiar to most mechanics around the globe if something did go catastrophically wrong.
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