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Old 09-11-2009, 07:22 PM   #1
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Riding with 4 Adults

So, I've done my research on the SMB and wanted to get some user feedback from the experts.

We're a group of 4 young adults that plan on taking 9 months off and traveling down the Pan American highway. Concerning the vehicle choice, 4x4 seems like a no brainier from the reports I've read. And having a pop-top rig that slept 4 would be great on many levels. Naturally I arrived at the SMB to get the job done.

My question is, of all the vehicles out there do you feel that the SMB would be the best alternative?

Specifically I'm concerned about driving with 4 adults. We have a limited budget for the vehicle (~$25k) so getting anything custom is out of the question. I estimate that we'll have to settle for an early 00's model.

Lastly, if you wouldn't recommend the SMB, what would you recommend?
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Old 09-11-2009, 08:18 PM   #2
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Re: Riding with 4 Adults

I hate to recommend another forum, but you might try browsing ExpeditionPortal.com

A wide variety of vehicles discussed there, not to mention an Expedition Vehicles For Sale section.


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Old 09-11-2009, 08:44 PM   #3
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Re: Riding with 4 Adults

I can only recommend against the "50", the limited view and less than comfortable bench (it's great in camp but not on a twisty turny road) makes passengering in the back horrible. I'm also opposed to anything with a sideways seat, as I get horribly car sick even thinking about it.

Ideally a 4 captain chair model, or even a "50" with the 3rd captain chair (then the couch might be change of pace 25% of the time).

Considering your budget a 00-ish F250 crew cab long bed with a slide in pop-up camper might be the way to go... although I've never been in the back seat for long... you might have to do something custom to make it comfortable (plenty of room just a narrow kind of bench).

Herb, you're banned btw.
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Old 09-11-2009, 10:36 PM   #4
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Re: Riding with 4 Adults

Jage, about the sideways seats. We've got 'em in our dinette arrangement, and they've got seat belts. BUT - apart from the idea of getting nauseated, riding sideways with or without a seat belt is simply not safe should an accident happen. There's lots about this somewhere in some thread on the Forum.
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Old 09-12-2009, 08:47 PM   #5
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Re: Riding with 4 Adults

Thanks for the advice; I've posted at ExpeditionPortal.com and received great advice also. They too have encouraged me to go with a crew cab and camper. However, Ford seems to be a dirty word over there

Let me ask you this... which SMB setup would be best for this trip with any budget of $30k?
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Old 09-12-2009, 09:14 PM   #6
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Re: Riding with 4 Adults

A MAJOR factor in your choice of vehicle is service. You need to pick something that is commonly used in the 3rd world area you are going to. Since you have a small budget an older vehicle (ie: pre emission controls w all the engine electronics) that most garages down there would know how to service and can get parts for might be a good choice.

http://www.vwvagabonds.com/jova.html

It really all depends on how you are going to use it while on the trip.
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Old 09-12-2009, 11:47 PM   #7
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Re: Riding with 4 Adults

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockandroll
Thanks for the advice; I've posted at ExpeditionPortal.com and received great advice also. They too have encouraged me to go with a crew cab and camper. However, Ford seems to be a dirty word over there

Let me ask you this... which SMB setup would be best for this trip with any budget of $30k?

Not at all. SMB is a very well accepted vehicle in the Overland Community. In fact when I was thinking about buying my SMB, I was worried about parts and service for the intended overland use and both Scott and Graham with Overland Journal/Training encouraged me to buy the SMB. Their thinking is that you can have a part shipped anywhere in the world within a couple of days.

And 1leglance, who has given you great advice on Expedition Portal, is within 30 days of having his SMB build completed.
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Old 09-14-2009, 12:14 AM   #8
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Re: Riding with 4 Adults

Say my name and I appear
4 adults & $25k means no SMB unless u go for something from the 1990's and even then you won't have any comfort for 2 of the 4 while driving.

I said it on expo & I'll toss it out here in case anyone disagrees.
Get 2 Toyota 80 series and take out all the rear seats. Build some simple wood drawers with a sleeping platform. Use good foam, tint the window dark, make velcro on shades for the windshield & front windows.
This will keep you well under $25k, give you a backup rig in case of breakdown or theft. You will also have plenty of gear storage w/out overloading 1 rig (easy to do w/ 4 guys & gear).
Then take the leftover money and go!
You could also do this w/ 4Runners but the 80's have more room inside and are more common in CA & SA.

Oh and I have traveled most countries in CA/SA, my wife is Perivian, and I am just trying to offer you advice based on experience.
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Old 09-14-2009, 07:01 AM   #9
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Re: Riding with 4 Adults

Quote:
Originally Posted by DisabledExplorers
....
I said it on expo & I'll toss it out here in case anyone disagrees.
Get 2 Toyota 80 series and take out all the rear seats. Build some simple wood drawers with a sleeping platform. Use good foam, tint the window dark, make velcro on shades for the windshield & front windows. ...
ohhh, it won't help you if you want two 80 series for under $25K, but I did see a '94 FJ80 with a Cummins 6BT conversion. They were looking fro something like $24K. I would have thought the 6BT would be too heavy for a Landcruiser, but it looks like someone may have made it work. Personally, I'm a big fan of the Cummins 4BT.

You could try searching for Canadian Landcrsuiers. They were fortunate enough to have factory diesels available to them for a number of years, and these same diesels were sold in Central and South America as well. Should be fairly easy to get parts and service for them in your travels.

Oh, one more thing, learn Spanish. It won't help you everywhere, but it will make your trip much easier.


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Old 09-14-2009, 06:56 PM   #10
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Re: Riding with 4 Adults

Thank you everyone for the great advice.
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