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Old 07-01-2015, 08:06 PM   #11
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Re: The Westy Crossroads - Sell for an SMB?

Am a VW camper guy from way since the early 70s. Have owned several and always liked them. We were originally looking for another one when we discovered Sportsmobiles. Have never looked back. We do not have the kid issue do have grandchildren and will need to figure out how to take them with us in the next few years as the SMB only has two forward facing seats. I like regis101's option. While 4x4 is nice to have you may want to think how much you will actually use it.
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Old 07-02-2015, 08:45 AM   #12
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Re: The Westy Crossroads - Sell for an SMB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by regis101
Keep the Westy.

Buy the SMB.

Then decide.
Keep the Westy, buy and SMB, trailer the Westy as a guest house.

No seriously, Westies (?) are cool but man the space in an SMB...
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Old 07-02-2015, 09:54 AM   #13
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Re: The Westy Crossroads - Sell for an SMB?

This must be a common thread... because I'm wrestling with the same issue.

I have a '78 Westy that I love. I bought it a decade ago before my wife and I got married... we took our honeymoon in it. We've just outgrown it, we have 3 kids and it has 4 seat belts. We're also planning on one more kid. It also has other drawbacks... I took my five year old camping in the Sierra's earlier this week but we cut the trip short because I didn't want to drive a 37 year old bus with no AC in 106 heat. If we were in a SMB we'd still be camping.

I disagree about the getting over the cool factor quick. I still love getting the thumbs up when I drive my bus and having people want to talk to me about it whenever I park it. I'm willing to be SMB's get the same type of reaction, just from a different crowd.

My solution is keep the bus and buy a SMB. The bus has more sentimental value to me than it's worth... and it's certainly not losing value, real or imagined. It's still great for day trips to the beach without the entire family.

Now, the hard part seems to be deciding what exactly to do regarding the SMB/Ford Camper Van. Do I try to find a used complete SMB (do they even exist with 6 seat belts?) or try to find an old church van or fleet van on sale for cheap and have it built to suit? I have an F250 with a 7.3 PSD and love it, so I'm looking for that.
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Old 07-02-2015, 07:18 PM   #14
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Re: The Westy Crossroads - Sell for an SMB?

I had a 78 Westy pop top for ten years. Sold it. Miss it.

I now have an 85 Weekender pop top for the past three years. Still under powered. Still fun.
I hang with a VW camper group here in NorCal. Lots of GTG's. Good peoples or volks, as sometimes known.
At least three times a year someone leaves a note on the windshield asking if its for sale.

I have a 98 E150 that used to tow a tent trailer. Tent trailer is gone. Have thought about having a penthouse top installed numerous times. E150 is a bit light but I'd only use it as a weekend warrior thing anyway.

I have a single wheel trailer that each vehicle can tow for the camping stuff. Each vehicle can be a daily driver.

On any given day, I'd rather drive the Ford, mostly due to the automatic and A/C.

But I'd be hard pressed to sell the VW first.

Very convoluted. Just my hang up.
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Old 07-03-2015, 12:01 AM   #15
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Re: The Westy Crossroads - Sell for an SMB?

We had an '89 Westy. Sold it in 2009 after we got our E350. Miss it all the time.

I miss the coolness. I miss the driving position. I miss the manual transmission. I miss the turning radius. I miss the waves.

But we needed something bigger and more reliable. The Westy had over 350k kilometres; rebuilt the original motor, then threw a rod and put in a used engine of dubious history. The search was already on for the Ford, and when the conversion was completed, we parted ways.

The new rig has been great and we haven't looked back, but I still miss it.

I would suggest that you find a new rig and sell the VW, as hard as that may be. As you say, it will fetch a great return; if you keep it, it will continue to get older and require maintenance. Sell it now and don't look back.

As regis said, it's convoluted.

Would be curious to hear what the folks on the Samba are telling you to do.

Cheers and good luck.

Brent

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Old 07-03-2015, 08:23 AM   #16
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Re: The Westy Crossroads - Sell for an SMB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brett
Now, the hard part seems to be deciding what exactly to do regarding the SMB/Ford Camper Van. Do I try to find a used complete SMB (do they even exist with 6 seat belts?) or try to find an old church van or fleet van on sale for cheap and have it built to suit? I have an F250 with a 7.3 PSD and love it, so I'm looking for that.
I sold my Jeep recently, my first and only ever new vehicle that I built bolt by bolt myself over the last 15 years. I bought a Harley Forty-Eight yesterday to ease the pain.

In any case I would buy for seating first. The 50 has 5 seat belts, but the bench is tight with two full sized car seats. You can find them with a 3rd captains chair, which would give you 6 seatbelts, and I'd guess that would be two full size car seats and two boosters, without getting into special narrow seats. At least two of those would be lap-only belts (2/3 seats on bench) which actually was great for our niece because at 6 she was in a booster but didn't need it in the van because there was no shoulder belt in the middle to obligate it's use.

There are also options with a gaucho and dinette, but the kids are all side facing now and some are in the back.

In any case, while the 50+1 exist, finding one in the condition you want in the year you want with the engine you want is a lot less likely than finding a good van base with good seating, then adding a PH at SMB or CCV, and then turning all the space that's not required for seating into sleeping spaces (or buying a little popup trailer to suppliment).

I'd really be looking at a Promaster or similar if I were you- they're basically factory church busses, and would give you a lot more left over space after the required modern, factory forward seating.
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Old 07-03-2015, 11:31 AM   #17
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Re: The Westy Crossroads - Sell for an SMB?

I have no business giving advice in this thread, so I will go quick to keep the inaccuracies to a minimum. I read somewhere that "Real Jeeps are not bought, they are built." And that has been my experience with my 2002 7.3 PSD E350 EB which I ordered new from the factory.

I have no experience with Westy's (except for a Syncro which my buddy owned which he could not afford to keep rolling...), but if yours is perfected meaning that you have worked out the kinks and if you understand it, you may want to keep it and save yourself the hassles of a new or different vehicle.

Because Nobody is Exempt.

I mean from mechanical failure, less than optimal design, or defective contruction. Or if you are buying used, add to that previous poor maintenance. All mechanical things break. All physical things can be made better. Some physical things which you pay dearly for are not designed or constructed in the manner which you would have designed or constructed them once you have lived with and experienced the inadequacies of the commercial variant of the thing.

On the other hand, do you understand your 7.3L PSD? I like the 7.3L PSD. (But in a van it is a bitch to work on...) And do you have the time and the patience to take on the challenge of building your own SMB or adding to whatever you have Sportsmobile install on it? (I had SMB Austin install my Cruiser top). If so, go for it.

That is why this forum exists.

If you get a Ford diesel of any variety, just replace the steel fuel tank before it delaminates causing you to have to replace your injectors.

Should you look into the other newer van alternatives? Absolutely, plan on spending the next 6 months on each of their owner forums. Get to know the people and you will get to know the vehicles. And then you will be able to make a good choice. And please post your thoughts here so we can all learn from your investigation.

But remember, nobody is exempt...
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Old 07-05-2015, 06:15 PM   #18
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Re: The Westy Crossroads - Sell for an SMB?

In the market for a Vanagon, maybe we can work something out.
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Old 07-05-2015, 08:44 PM   #19
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Re: The Westy Crossroads - Sell for an SMB?

Hey guys - great stuff - and thanks for the thoughtful replies. SCBrian - not sure if you know my buddy Jim Cardinale - owns the small engine shop in Georgetown, along with a Syncro tintop and a Westy. He's an old surf buddy.
As for selling the van - I'm still torn, but leaning towards keeping it. I drove my friend's 2wd Ford 2004 RB50 last week, and man, it feels and drives like such a bigger machine despite feeling a little smaller inside. (Not sure if it actually is, but it felt no bigger inside than the Vanagon.) After having to deal with repairs on JB's diesel Ford SMB's, I definitely know that's one route I simply couldn't afford.
I think everyone on here is right - there is no perfect solution. I have so many spare Vanagon parts, and know my van so well, that it seems like it might be unwise to sell it. And I mean, I paid $9000 for my Westy - that's unheard of for a nice one of the 1991 vintage. If I put even $10K more into it for a Subaru swap and some other features, I'm still so far underneath the cost for a new van.
Gonna give it some more thought. And BTW, the Samba crew were, as you'd expect, more leaning towards keeping it but not everyone. More very thoughtful comments that surely apply to some of the SMB crew.
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/vie....php?p=7729503
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Old 07-05-2015, 11:09 PM   #20
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Re: The Westy Crossroads - Sell for an SMB?

The Samba crew seem like nice people.
On the Sprinter deal, converting a Sprinter to 4x4 is an abortion or more accurately a Frankenstein.
I would wait until the 4x4 is imported and the kinks are worked out. Personally, I would never again own a front engined SMB without 4x4. Been there during the years before I converted my van -- and experienced the light rear end trying to push its way sideways to circle around the center of mass rather than push that mass forward up an icy hill. You get stuck in your driveway with 2 inches of snow for goodness sake.
And the main thing is that while you can replace your Westy, you will abandon the reservoir of knowledge which you have accumulated about your current rig and you will pay dearly to learn the quirks/issues/problems which come with a different style/manuf. rig. Which is ok if there are sufficient gains to justify the time necessary to gain that knowledge and the new rig is perfectly suited for what you want to do. For me at least, the vehicle which would justify such a change is not out there yet.
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