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Old 09-19-2017, 06:26 AM   #1
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Texas vs. Indiana - Does SM location matter?

We've decided on SM for our van conversion. Are all Sportsmobile locations created equally? We are in NC, so Indiana and Texas are about equally easy to deal with. Not sure if this even matters, but if one has a better reputation or higher volume, I'd love to know.

Also, I haven't yet met with my local Sprinter dealer, but have folks found you can save money by buying your own van (off MSRP) or does SM discount off MSRP once you get serious?
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Old 09-19-2017, 02:52 PM   #2
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I'm in Tennessee and I went with Sportsmobile West because they were the most professional and easiest to communicate with. None are next door so any of the three require some creative logistics. Best of luck wherever you decide to go with!!
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Old 09-19-2017, 05:52 PM   #3
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I have experience with Austin and Fresno, none with Indiana. Be aware that some options are available at one site and not at another, suggest you discuss your build in detail with each site you are considering to see if one has a show stopper for you. For example, Austin will install a cassette toilet where Fresno won't.
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Old 09-19-2017, 06:56 PM   #4
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Several other threads out there address this same topic. Worth reading.

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...rth-15563.html

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...one-193-2.html

http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...here-5457.html
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Old 09-20-2017, 01:11 AM   #5
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The owner of the Texas facility holds the rights and the other two are franchised under his authority. Most of what each does is similar, but they each have little differences in the way they do things as well as what they will and won't do. TX will do cassette toilets; Fresno will not. Fresno is the only one to take Econoline vans and convert them to the highly capable off road 4x4s.

Indiana and CA can only do things with the TX owner's approval. Alan Feld (CA owner) wants an updated and better web site, but the TX owner is a very old man who thinks that is not an important part of doing business.

IF a Sprinter conversion is what you'e interested in, here is another option:
https://www.alaskacampervanconversions.com

If you find an old Econoline you want to have converted, there are 3 or 4 other places that can convert them to 4x4, lift them, and upgrade suspension.

SMB gets the vans from local dealers for only the slightest markup, less than you can buy it for, and adds no more markup to the price of the vehicle. They make their profit in the upfitting. If you change your mind after placing an order, however, they will not sell the van to you without doing the upfit. You just lose your $2k deposit.
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Old 09-20-2017, 05:39 AM   #6
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I bought my Sprinter from the local Freightliner dealer and got a better deal than I would have from SMB. I did it to establish a local long term service relationship also. The Freightliner dealer also gave me a list of their service prices and they are considerably cheaper than the typical Mercedes dealers.
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Old 09-20-2017, 08:04 AM   #7
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If I ever decide to sell my E350 and move to a sprinter, SM would not be on my list to convert it. I had my E350 conversion done at Van Specialties and could not be happier.

I built it the way I wanted, custom. SM has standard cabinets, and you can arrange how you want them, but if you want a bigger/smaller size, they won't do it or charge extra. Plus, I saved 1,000's of dollars going with them over SM. It was worth the drive to Oregon for it.

Since I converted my van, many other new shops are now in the business and provide a quality product. Many of them are on the forum and are very receptive to the members here.

I would do more homework before deciding on SM. It is a small price to pay for a huge investment.

Good luck
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Old 09-20-2017, 11:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GBreezy View Post
If I ever decide to sell my E350 and move to a sprinter, SM would not be on my list to convert it. I had my E350 conversion done at Van Specialties and could not be happier.

I built it the way I wanted, custom. SM has standard cabinets, and you can arrange how you want them, but if you want a bigger/smaller size, they won't do it or charge extra. Plus, I saved 1,000's of dollars going with them over SM. It was worth the drive to Oregon for it.

Since I converted my van, many other new shops are now in the business and provide a quality product. Many of them are on the forum and are very receptive to the members here.

I would do more homework before deciding on SM. It is a small price to pay for a huge investment.

Good luck

Yes BUT he was talking SMB...and since we are ON THE SMB FORUM, I would think he has his mind made up there....of the Conversion companies you mentioned, many are "newbies" I wouldn't spend a dime at....this is an expensive decision you are making and if they haven't been doing it for "years" then there may be things/problems they aren't used to or haven't run into yet with their designs...OR they might not survive the lean years and won't be there if you have any needs...I would use an SMB dealer to get the best product for the best price...if you are looking for a E350 conversion, thendefinatley use SMB....Ford sold them the LAST Econoline manufactured (full van, not box) in '15 or ' 16....which tells you something about the Brand Sportsmobile and Ford relationship...As for a Sprinter conversion, they have been doing it for many years as well....I talked to both shops before and after conversion (talked with South before then after filling out exit questionnaire and interview), I think they all get along very well and are consistent with a majority of their offerings, and no, South does not do 4x4 for any vehicle...they send it out to the Cali location and send it back (unless you are getting Quadvan or Quigley) and Sprinter's 4x4 are from the factory...all that said, there is a reason this Forum has so many fans with so little problems/unhappy customers...SMB make a great product for a great price for over 50 years....Jim at North for 35 years alone!! SO look at other conversion people sure, but listen to the majority...plus if a person didn't use a product or manufacturer that they are commenting on, how do they REALLY know anything about SMB in the first place? Sounds more like sour grapes than good advice...Good luck!
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Old 09-21-2017, 08:09 AM   #9
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CBT, If I upset you, I apologize. I never said anything bad about SMB, nor was it my intent. I used SMB for my pop top, so I do have first hand experience with them. I also visited and toured the SMB west shop. In addition, I have spoken to many SMB owners on this and other forums, and through out my travels.

Before I spent thousands of dollars on a conversion, I did my homework. I needed a van to stand up to the test of time, and meet my specific needs. I spend a lot of time in my van. I have over 100 days in it so far this year, including a 70 day road trip. I was impressed by SMB, but in my opinion, I felt there was better. Plus, I saved over $20K, which is big for me.

Yes this is a SMB forum, but there are a lot of non-SMB owners on here. I am saying this because there is a "home build" section for non-SMB owners. People come here for advise/opinions, and to learn about camper vans. There are a lot of very knowledgeable people on vans on this forum, and people come here seeking information.

SMB is like Kleenex. If you think about getting a tissue, you think about Kleenex, but there are others to choose from. If you think about camper vans, you think SMB, but there are other quality builders out there. Just because someone had been around the longest, does not necessarily make them the best.

I posted on this topic because some people do not realize there are other companies out there. With the year of research I did prior to my conversion, I feel I have good information to pass on.

It is to bad you would not spend a dime at any of these other places. They offer great products and provide a quality service.


"SO look at other conversion people sure, but listen to the majority...plus if a person didn't use a product or manufacturer that they are commenting on, how do they REALLY know anything about SMB in the first place? Sounds more like sour grapes than good advice...Good luck!"

Maybe you can heed some of your own advise. "Sour grapes" not sure why that was warranted, I have no regrets for the decision I made. I could not be happier.

If you feel the need to respond, please PM me so we do not hijack this thread.
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Old 09-22-2017, 09:53 PM   #10
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Hey GB,
Sorry if I offended you, but the Forum is loaded with folks just itching to bad mouth SMB b/c of their own lack of ability to buy, or have another mfg. to support/champion. I used the term "sour grapes" for those who really do deserve it...I have NO SOUR GRAPES concerning my purchase cost, design or even the decision to go with a Sportsmobile...I did so much research and came to the conclusion that dollar for dollar, design for design, reputation, history, and bottom line, REFERRALS, I chose to spend my major dollars on a trusted name. I do LOVE my SMB! I would do it again in a second!...And yes, the "homebuild" folk on here are doing it on their own, and are on the forum, which irks me to no end...The Forum has been hijacked (speaking of) by folks that want to know where to put this, what should I do about that, see what I did here, there, etc...etc......on and on. It is a bit tedious for those who own the "real thing." I could care less about their builds and their need to "show off" or get "credit" for something they are building....yes MUCH MORE TALENT than me, but it IS a SMB forum, NOT a Homebuilt Camper forum....now i don't want to be accused of being an a-hole about it but, I do miss the days of the 'pure' forum ie. Trip Reports, some advice on problems/fixes, and 'things' that SMB's do...ANd yes there are other folks on there Forum that build and do add-ons as well, but they never solicit or try to steal business...they generally respond to questions with out favorability....so I know that you were trying to "help," but to me personally, I felt as if you were doing the Forum an injustice...I don't see Burger King on the McDonalds website saying that they saved money or had a better burger than McDonalds (yes just an analogy, I don't know if they even have a web site option like that lol)...so that is where I was coming from. Thanks for the email. Maybe I will try to convey my intended message better in the future.
Sincerely,
Chris (CTB)
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