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Old 09-14-2007, 05:27 PM   #1
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We're getting a new Sportsmobile - Help!?

Hello to all,

We are couple in our late 70's and have been VW campers for over 25 years, but we're new to 4-wheeling. We aren't going to be doing any extreme driving, just looking forward to being able to get down to those beautiful spots by the streams and rivers that we have been unable to get to in the past.

We will be going down to Fresno soon to choose what we want in our new Sportsmobile (ordered 07-07-07!). We've studied the official list of options on the SMB website, but are wondering if there are any unlisted options that any of you are aware of and would highly recommend? (We are trying to be prepared and do our homework in advance.)

We have never used hook-ups, and don't plan to. We're getting solar panels mainly for music, water pump, refrigerator, and some lights. (no propane or microwave).


So thanks in advance for any suggestions you may give us for our upcoming trip to the factory.

Edie

p.s. I have been a "lurker" on this site for many months, so I've learned a lot from all of you.....
Many thanks!
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Old 09-14-2007, 05:48 PM   #2
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New SMB

The only unlisted option I'm still mulling over is a zippered screen that covers the side and rear door openings. It fasteneds with velco to the frame. I don't like sharing my space with flies, mesquitos, gnats, etc. so will probably get it.

philrod


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Old 09-14-2007, 05:50 PM   #3
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If you've been lurking, you've seen what most folks have. What I did, and now I'm really glad, is to not get the built-in stove. We really like the little butane ones and didn't think we would.

The one item I ordered from Ford was the opening window in the side door. Big mistake for us. We never use it, and the latch interferes with the window shade. I ended up removing the latch and making a permanent little bracket to hold the window closed. Now we can use the shade without cursing what I thot would be a good idea. That window doesn't have a screen either.

Just my thots....
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Old 09-14-2007, 06:01 PM   #4
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The only thing that immediately comes to mind is the extra insulation in the fridge cabinet, which reduces the compressor noise and helps stabilize the temperatures.


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Old 09-14-2007, 08:23 PM   #5
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The side door screen isn't all it's cracked up to be.



Without velcro on the bottom you can get in and out, but so can the bugs. If you velcro the bottom you can't really get in and out. I would up using the included straps which attach to the side step and they didn't work for ... wound up stuffing clothes in the gap and coming and going in and out the back door.

The best thing I've found as a feature in our used van was not cooktop in the van. We cook alot on the road, probably 98% or more and I love having the counter space instead and using the side cabinet & portable stove. Although I have plans to put in a propane powered stove I'm really glad there isn't one in the counter.

Also the optional XL storage top that has a bigger opening looks nice. I've had to crush a few things to get them throught the regular size opening to the XL storage.
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Old 09-15-2007, 04:10 PM   #6
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Thanks Philrod, Scatter, Herb, and jage for your good suggestions about unlisted options. I wonder if the Penthouse screens have zippers. In my VW camper I can unzip the screens in the pop-top and let those little critters out. They tend to accumulate up there sometimes. I'll find out when we go to Fresno.

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Old 09-15-2007, 04:40 PM   #7
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New Sportsmobile

Edie, the front two of the five screened windows in an SMB with a penthouse top zip down, and allow you to let the trapped bugs out. This used to be a special feature in the "photographer's edition SMB " but the zip down screens are now a regular feature.

We have the bug screen for the side cargo doors and so far haven't used it. Actually, it may be more usefull to get a screen for the rear doors to give whoever is sleeping downstairs a little more air during really hot weather.

A couple of last minute items we got on our SMB last year when we arrived for pickup; a carpet insert over the Loncoin floor, and a white mesh privacy screen for the front windshield and front side windows. The carpet insert keeps the floor warmer during cold mornings and the privacy screen allows you to look out but obscures looking in. it works great as a partial sunscreen and even acts as a bugscreen for the open front windows for anything except no-see-ums.
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Old 09-15-2007, 09:58 PM   #8
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smb options

Congratulations on your decision to purchase a SMB rig!!!

A few options to consider:

On our first visit to SMB Fresno, we saw a van with an AMP auto deploy side step. I thought it was a frivilous accessory until I realize my wife and young daughter would have difficulty climbing in and out w/o some step. We ordered hoop steps, but they dictate where you climb in. The AMP opens immediately when you open either passenger door; we ordered them solely for the passenger side. I'm 6' and had one hoop step installed drivers side.

Unfortunately there are more options which are not on SMB's site. Different SMB locations offer diffeent options...but they share the same webspace. There is room for improvement in the advertising of options.

We addeda roof rack, which wasn't listed as an option. You can go to Aluminess website for a bunch of options that can be added, or customized for your truck.

I think one of the best methods is making one or two additional trips to SMB Fresno and checking out other people's rigs...you get a good idea of the many personal options that people added, or found and had SMB install.

One thing we'll replace soon are the interior lights. I don't know why SMB doesn't install LED lighting. It's readily available, mostly for maritime applications but would be ideal for SMB use.

Hope this helps, good luck with your design & planning.

Jeff & Maranda
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Old 09-16-2007, 09:20 AM   #9
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I'll agree with some of the other comments.

We did get the carpet overelay (which I belive is listed somewhere) when we went up to SMB West for some mods.

IMO, SMB should be offering LED bulbs as standard, if not an option.

Let's face it, you're likely to be spending in the neighborhood of $100K. Either a trip or two to SMB West (if that's where you're going to have your vehicle done) is a worthwhile investment, or find some gathering of SMB owners (in addition to this site), where you can pick their brains for a while.


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Old 09-18-2007, 09:17 AM   #10
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Hi Ed in Montana, Thanks for the advice on the carpeting ( we have something similar now in our VW). The white mesh privacy screen for the front and side windows is a GREAT idea! I think we'll go for that. Also, I'm very glad to hear that they have zippers on the Penthouse window screens. I guess the bugs are, too!

Jeff and Maranda, We'll check on the AMP steps and other options. Thanks. I'm 5'4" so will definitely need a portable step while camping.

And Herb, the LED lights sound like a must. (We mostly use candlelight in the evening).

We leave tomorrow on our vacation and meet with Jonathan next week. Can't wait to see all those Sportsmobiles!!

Edie
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