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Old 01-23-2020, 04:34 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2020
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New to me 1996 E250 SMB

I didn't think we would find one in our price range but we picked this up as soon as we saw it posted for sale. It needs a few little things here and there but overall is in surprisingly good condition for its age. Excited to start camping in comfort!

I have a lot of questions but I am going to wait until I read through all the obvious stuff already posted on here - Need to start going through and removing all those stickers because I think we are going to get it painted to clean it up and update it some. Also want to freshen up the suspension, steering, and a few other mechanical things to get it ready for a 3-6 month adventure around the US with my fiance (wife by then) and our (small) dog

It has a Dana 60 rear that I think we are going to add an ARB locker and then try and fit some 33's without lifting it. I want to be able to get to some more remote campsites so I will likely just add some sliders and a winch to get me where I want to go.

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Old 01-23-2020, 04:45 PM   #2
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Location: West Central Mountains, Idaho
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MDB, congratulations on purchasing your "new" rig and I hope you have a great break in trip. After a 3-6 month inaugural journey, you should have a much better idea on what upgrades you're willing to spring for. My guess is that a moderate lift and locker will equip your rig to meet 95% of your needs.
2001 Sportsmobile RB50 7.3
West Central Mountains, Idaho
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Old 01-23-2020, 06:11 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by MDBergholm View Post
excited to start camping in comfort!
Congrats on your Van - I'm sure it will provide you some great memories. Just pack so you have a cup of hot coffee in the morning, a warm sleeping bag, and good company to make every trip(s) enjoyable.
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Old 01-23-2020, 06:31 PM   #4
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Location: San Clemente, CA
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You can fit 265/75/16 on a stock van which is a ~32" tire. I really doubt you could fit a 285 (33") without a lift. I have 265's on my van and the look is pretty nice.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:35 PM   #5
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: TN, Nashville
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Congrats on the purchase. I happen to have a 96 as well and just picked up a full set of factory service manuals. Hopefully you don't need the info, but if you need something looked up, let me know.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:42 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone! I have some new bedding coming in the next few days - got my heat and stove all working so im pretty much ready for a quick weekend away already.

Thanks @Grampswrx - good to know so I don't buy tires and then realize I have to spend more money on a lift right away!

Mine also came with a full set of factory service manuals, as well as all the original paperwork from Sportsmobile so thanks for the offer but I have it all packed into the van in case I need it along my travels!
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:06 PM   #7
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Make sure you post up your renovations and replacement articles here so others can benefit! We have may that do this and it gives others options or second choices on products they may not have seen or heard of.
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:30 PM   #8
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So far I have just been going through and cleaning and testing all the onboard systems. The original sleeping platform was pretty beat up so I went and got 3 pieces of maple plywood and a tri-fold mattress to redo the sleeping platform. I didn't like the way it hung from the ceiling in "camp" mode so I made it 3 pieces that fold up near the back side of the van and give me a shelf/more headroom.

I need to go through and clean/condition the canvas. I want to replace the curtains the previous owner had for the canvas - they are house shades that they just cut the center mechanism out of and put some wood screws through the plastic.

Also planning the rebuild the cabinet on the rear driver side above the furnace. I want to make space for my dometic 50qt on a slideout to allow for shelving storage above it. Also want to just better optimize the space and some of its in kinda rough shape.

I also need to replace the factory lighting with some LEDs. They are a comfortable temperature bulb so I will need to find some LEDs that don't make it feel like a science lab in there. The previous owner replaced some bulbs in the interior with LEDs that look like Honda Civic HID ebay kits. Very uncomfortable lighting. I want to improve our 12v system and add another battery to try and get around 200AH total.

Then I need to figure out roof racks (scared to drill through penthouse!) and get some solar panels mounted and probably a roof box as well. I just want outdoor storage for camp chairs and trash basically. When I start typing it out it feels like the list could be endless if I wanted it to be
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Old 07-23-2020, 07:08 AM   #9
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I haven't updated my build log here in a while. Since my last post we have done quite a bit. It needed ball joints pretty bad so I did those (not fun) and I did a few other little mechanical things like diff fluid, a few engine sensors, and tune up items.

Also had it painted Toyota Quicksand, Removed the entire rear cabinet from the old fridge, replaced the entire 12v system, installed a 330w solar panel on the roof, repaired and reinstalled the original Fiamma awning, got new wheels and tires, replaced some plumbing fittings, replaced all the interior lighting with LEDs, and probably more that I am forgetting.

Its starting to come along to a point where we can just get in it and go! Time to sell and build another
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Old 07-23-2020, 08:53 AM   #10
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Location: Columbia River Gorge
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That's a bunch of work. Love that color!
2003 EB50 7.3L PSD Q4X4
2000 Chevy Express 3500 High Top EB37 - Sold
2003 EB30 - Sold
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