Hello all! I have stalked the forum a fair bit since I reluctantly sold the SMB and I miss the camaraderie of it. After trying without success to find a decent E series platform to build or another SMB I decided on a truck/camper combo.
I found an 2002 F250 4x4 with the 7.3L with only 110k miles and then purchased a 2014 Lance 825 (the smallest one Lance makes). I'm into the whole setup for less than $41k.
I have sacrificed some off road ability for a bit more comfort it seems. Still not 100% sure if i'm ok with that decision yet but we'll see where I have the nerve to take this setup. The combo weighs in at 10,800lbs, the same as our 04' SMB did.
A few observations from the 9 day trip we spent in our new rig:
A lot of easily accessible storage (more than the SMB)
Great kitchen layout and countertop height
Queen size bed
Quiet and well insulated (double pane windows)
30 gallon fresh water tank
Heated holding tanks and plumbing
The ability to drop the camper, not break down camp and drive the truck elsewhere
7.3L reliability and simplicity
No cool factor like the SMB
Living space separate from the driving space
Overall height and width
Off road prowess
Less open to your campsite
Makes us feel old
Smaller fuel tank on the truck
Reduced battery capacity
The truck handles the weight of the camper with ease. It's not top-heavy but does sway more than the SMB did.
The microwave has since been removed and a cabinet door is in place.
Perhaps someday we will have a SMB again but we're going to give this a shot for a while.