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Old 01-13-2017, 11:28 AM   #61
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Originally Posted by boywonder View Post
$200-$300 diy
Ok, that's good - I'm comfortable enough with wiring and anything less than $1000 would be good in my book. Still, the van itself seems overpriced in general.
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Old 01-13-2017, 01:00 PM   #62
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Sure would be nice to see what's under those rear benches. There may be some answers, there may be some mysteries.

I'm not sure if SMBw (assuming it was made in CA) will do it, but if the seller can provide the VIN, SMBw may be able to send you a build-sheet. That will at least tell you with what options it started with.

Some thoughts if you go see it:
- Make sure the awning crank is in the van, and make sure the awning works.
- Make sure the fridge works.
- If you, or someone who is going to camp with you, is planning on sleeping on the downstairs benches, fold them out and see if you fit. I would guess you'd have to be shorter than 5'5" or so (maybe less) without sleeping at an angle or with bent legs.
- Can you live with the tunnel-view through the interior rear view mirror?
- Looks like a regular sink faucet, and what looks to be a drinking water faucet, so maybe there is/was a hot water heater?
- The tow hitch looks well used, and because of that, rusty. Were they towing heavy weight, or light weight trailers?
- It looks like there's a spare underneath, but check the condition.
- Can't tell if there's a door galley module. Very useful space if there is.
- Get a ladder and check the exterior of the penthouse roof for cracks (especially around the thru-bolts).


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Old 01-13-2017, 01:54 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by BroncoHauler View Post
I'm not sure if SMBw (assuming it was made in CA) will do it, but if the seller can provide the VIN, SMBw may be able to send you a build-sheet. That will at least tell you with what options it started with.
Actually, you have to know the first owner's name. They keep record by customer, not by VIN. Why? Who knows.
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Old 01-13-2017, 04:25 PM   #64
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Actually, you have to know the first owner's name. They keep record by customer, not by VIN. Why? Who knows.
Interesting, but good to know. Must be one of those 'seemed like a good idea at the time' decisions and they haven't looked back.


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Old 01-13-2017, 05:33 PM   #65
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Ryan, I just PM'd you but I'm going to throw out some more info here.

This is the rig you might want to steer clear of. Why? You can do a lot better for your budget and it's really not that great of a deal.

The solar is old, only 80 watts, and will need updating. For your proposed use at the beginning of this thread I recommend 200 watts of NEW panels. The technology is astoundingly better. Still probably a $300 DIY on the newer van you're considering.

The inverter is small, like 600 watts I think? I would recommend a 1000 at least if you're going to work out of the van, run laptop chargers and the like. The Zamp pure sine inverters on sale at Lowes right now are an amazing deal, and pure sine!

The fridge is tiny, and there's no way that old solar runs it efficiently or for long. They're exaggerating when they say 'solar powered fridge'. They mean solar powered for a little while, until the batteries drain down.

Older leaf spring suspension is going to beat you to death. Those things ride ROUGH!

5.8l in that older 4x rig is going to hurt you on fuel mileage, bad. I'm betting 10 at best, maybe less. The newer van with a 5.4 will get 14-15, maybe more. *Everyone online exaggerates fuel mileage except me. The people who say they are getting 17-18 in a 5.4 are having illusions of grandeur. I got 12-13 with my heavily loaded 5.4 van, but it had a higher top and was an EB and much heavier build than this one. I would bet you'll get 15 in the newer 5.4 van if you don't lift it too high and put huge tires on it.

I also suspect this 91 is going to nickel and dime you to death. It's 15 full years older than the newer van you're considering. Just sayin'.

The unusual yet open floor plan of the newer van is growing on me, but that's just my opinion of course. It means nothing to your needs. You could stealth camp sleeping in that rear single bunk when needed and stretch out with the top up otherwise.

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Old 01-13-2017, 08:46 PM   #66
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@86Scotty - I've received a ton of excellent advice on this thread, but I especially appreciate yours. It's really hard to know what sort of problems you can expect to encounter in each of these vehicles, and having an understanding of the issues in that 91 SMB makes that a clear pass. Really needed to hear the specific concerns, so thanks for that. For now, I think the search continues!
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