Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 12-29-2019, 01:06 PM   #11
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 34
Nice!!! Reminds me fondly of my 1994. Which I shouldn't sound so wistful about, it's in my garage and I just spent Christmas night in it (no, it wasn't fun, it's just the only way to visit the inlaws without dog fights and human fights).


A few questions / considerations off top of my head:
1) With roof rack and rocket box (is that what you mean by "case"), be careful with how much weight you add. We have a big overlanding style rack and once we added solar panels to it it added a lot of weight to the roof and made it hard to raise and made it sag a bit when it was up. It's impossible to raise the roof with stuff on the rack (other than my max ax and shovel). You can adjust the spring strength of the roof (I believe there's a DIY thread for it on the board but it's scary to me, I had Sportsmobile do it when they replaced my canvas) or go bigtime and make it electric. Also factor in how tall the rig will be with the rack. I really only use my rack for a few rescue tools (not even a high lift as it's too heavy) and lights, I had to change out the lights I first mounted because they stuck up above the rack and I couldn't get into my 8' garage. Rack, rocket box and 4x4 will limit a lot of parking garages, drive throughs etc. My 1994 with Quigley 4x4 and 265/75R16 just barely fits in an 8' garage.


2) Don't know about bumpers so can't help there. We didn't have too much trouble finding a brush guard, though, which I like the look of and it gave me good mounting location for driving lights. You could consider mounting a winch on a 2" receiver platform, put receiver hitches on front and rear of van and then you can move it and winch from either end (not trivial setup when you consider all the thick wiring etc but a very flexible setup).


3) Take the big picture view of your interior electrical items as they may all be quite old. For example, you'll see a huge power savings by switching out to LED bulbs for all your lights (although I never did replace the three small fluorescents), you might find a new fridge will work a lot better and more efficiently etc.


4) Everyone has a tough time remembering to follow up but please do with your changes here, and definitely let me know what you find out about seats, it's something in the back of my mind to upgrade but I've never really looked into it (not sure even how easy or hard the swap out is to keep them working as rotating).


5) Does it have a hot water heater? Make sure you check and replace the anode rod in there, probably hasn't been done in a while.



Enjoy!


-- Bass
__________________

basssears is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2020, 09:39 AM   #12
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 11
Garage
Thanks for the comments Bass!

Our plan is to initially use the van as-is to see how we use it and what we would like to add for additional comforts. I was going to reach out to Sportsmobile before I purchased a rack to verify what you addressed regarding weight for a manual roof. It does require effort to get it popped up as is. So that is definately a concern of mine. Electric would be interesting if that adds more function, just depends on cost. I would rather spend the money on other things for the camper at this point.

Spot on regarding the brush guard/front receiver. That would be relatively simple and retain the original look. Although I would ideally like some front end protection as we live in Michigan and travel north quite a bit. Last year I smoked a deer in our truck and don't care to relive that in the van. Additional lighting is desired due to the roads we travel regularly. Our truck has some long distance Ridgid lighting that is amazing. Not inexpensive though... Looks like Buckstop may have some options with some minor modifications. https://www.buckstopinc.com/vintage-series-bumpers/

Great idea on LED lighting and fridge. No hot water, so no anode to worry about. Would like to figure out some solar shower on the roof. A shower is a nice option after a long day in the middle of no where. Yakima just purchased Road Shower. I like that concept but it is heavy without the water, so I need to figure how to mount if a roof rack does not allow the pop top to function.

I will send pics of anything I modify/upgrade. Timing will probably be this spring. Is there a more appropriate thread to populate vs. continuing here with the updates?
__________________

Churley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2020, 10:18 AM   #13
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Churley View Post
Electric would be interesting if that adds more function, just depends on cost. I would rather spend the money on other things for the camper at this point.

That's where we came down on it and didn't go with electric, just had Sportsmobile increase the spring tension. We also use a small board to prop the roof up if we think we're going to get snowed on, doesn't take that much snowload to make our top start to sag down on us.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Churley View Post
Additional lighting is desired due to the roads we travel regularly. Our truck has some long distance Ridgid lighting that is amazing.

Another thing to look into (I believe there are some threads about it on the forum) is replacing your stock headlights, you might get more / better visibility at night that way than with driving lights and then no hassle with using off road lights on road etc. I'm looking into it but haven't done it yet, would be nice.[/QUOTE]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Churley View Post
I will send pics of anything I modify/upgrade. Timing will probably be this spring. Is there a more appropriate thread to populate vs. continuing here with the updates?

Perhaps someone with more time on the forum can chime in, but I think you'd be fine to continue this thread since you started it about your new van, but plenty of people also do "build threads" to document changes they've made over the years.


Enjoy!


-- Bass
basssears is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2020, 01:45 PM   #14
Orv
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Posts: 315
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by basssears View Post
With roof rack and rocket box (is that what you mean by "case"), be careful with how much weight you add.

On this note, before you start adding heavy bumpers and such you should weigh the van and see how its current weight compares to the GVWR. These vans get overweight very easily, especially with 4x4 running gear. I think I see an E-350 badge in the pics so you're probably OK, but it's best to know for sure.


Re lighting, one advantage of these older vans is they came with sealed-beam headlights, so there are lots of drop-in LED replacements. Installing them is super easy, barely an inconvenience. Sites that sell parts for big rigs often have good options, since many semi tractors used sealed beams well after light vehicles had switched to aero headlamps.


Just out of curiosity, what engine do you have?


If you have space under the hood, a very simple but often-overlooked improvement is to add a coolant recovery bottle. This will keep you from blowing coolant out onto the ground when the engine gets hot. If there's an auxiliary battery on the driver's side you may not have space, though.
__________________
N8SRE
1990 E-250 Sportsmobile w/ penthouse top, converted when new by SMB Texas.
Orv is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2020, 10:28 PM   #15
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 11
Garage
Thanks for the additional thoughts Orv. I think an LED headlight set would work great. I do like the looks of an over sized aux light. We shall see how this evolves.

I have the 5.8L with the overdrive trans. Previous owner installed a Gear Vender system. Not sure if I like it. Just drove it home from Phoenix but didn't have time to read up on the system prior to the trip home. It is not the modern work horse I have in my F150 (6.2L paired with the 6spd)...

I have two batteries in the engine bay.
Churley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2020, 01:02 PM   #16
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 15
Congratulations on the new van.

We need more information and Pictures of this van… what motor, transmission, transfer case, axles, and suspension setup?

The most important thing is that it gets you home. Second is that it gets you far from home. None of that other stuff matters. LEDs are a great idea.

First thing I would do is go through the brakes. Check the rubber lines for cracks, check the pads, rotors and drums. Replace and blead brake fluid. If in doubt, replace it.

Next, I would replace all the fluids. Now you will know it’s been done recently and know when it should be done next.

Then check all the bushings, ball joints (or king pin, idk), u-joints, tie rods, track bar bushings, sway bar bushings, leaf spring bushings, tranny and motor mounts. U-joints are easy to replace so I would replace the ones on the front and rear driveshaft. If the u-joins or ball joints in the front axle are bad it is a good time to familiarize yourself on how the outer assemblies and axle shafts are disassembled and reassembled, along with repacking of the wheel Bearings (a special castle nut socket is required and you should have that in your tool box. a spare locking hub is a good idea). If the steering needs work, I highly recommend getting a red head steering gear and Moog tie rods. New shocks and steering dampers if needed, if in doubt, replace it.

Do an alignment and make the new tires last.

If the battery is more than a couple years old, I would consider replacing it, if the alternator looks old and grungy consider replacing it with a quality unit. The second the starter does anything funny… replace it with a new unit. Check the major electrical connections and clean if necessary.

Extra gauges are a great idea as it can help you quickly notice and diagnose problems.

For some extra credit, air filter, spark plugs, wires, cap, rotor, coil………

As far as rust is concerned, DON’T undercoat it! Clean it, spray any bare metal with an epoxy and spray the hole thing with a light coat of oil (specialty products are available for this). For extra credit, use some cavity wax. The floor is the most likely spot as the carpet does a great job of hiding and facilitating it. I have a great video on that subject (http://www.sportsmobileforum.com/for...ect-24624.html).

The only bumper I have been able to find is a simple bull bar. If you want good recovery points or a winch, something custom will be needed. This is one of the next projects on my van.

The old brick fonts are easy to work on but will require more upkeep than a newer rig. I hope you are handy with the tool because taking it to a shop for everything will get expensive fast.

Looking foreword to seeing what you do with the van.
Best of luck.
TimelessAutoWorks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-03-2020, 02:45 PM   #17
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Posts: 15
I was messing around with some parts I had laying around and


I have decided to integrate the winch into the bumper now.
TimelessAutoWorks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2020, 11:24 AM   #18
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 11
Garage
Thanks Timeless... I will dig through the stuff I have an get more details for everyone. As for pics, it is now at my body shop, so it will be a couple of weeks before I can get more up to date pics. I can upload some existing pics that show more detail.

Fortunately I have really good records of all of the items that have been done to the vehicle. Apparently the original owner was a airplane mechanic and kept incredible notes and records. It has been in So Cal and Phoenix it's entire life, so that has preserved it really well. Great info on under body preservation! My body shop guys will do some poking around under the back where carpeted, along with other areas. The back door seals were leaking really badly when I washed it last week. I suspect that is where we may find some issues if there are any. Seals will be replaced...

Alignment was done at the time the tires were installed.
Churley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2020, 11:59 AM   #19
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 11
Garage
Here is the floor plan along with some recent pics. The last one is after I used a rubbing compound to remove the oxidation from the AZ sun.
Attached Thumbnails
IMG_0593.JPG   IMG_0594.jpg   IMG_0596.jpg   IMG_0597.jpg   IMG_0649.jpg  

Churley is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-04-2020, 12:03 PM   #20
Junior Member
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Posts: 11
Garage
It does not have the furnace, which is a bummer but will make do with it. It does have a solar panel, generator, sink/water, microwave and porta potty.
__________________

Churley is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:12 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×