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Old 11-08-2010, 05:54 PM   #11
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Re: Attn anyone who had westfalia and then SMB - Your thoughts?

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Originally Posted by TroySmith80
My westy does have a subaru engine (last winter's project) and will go over the pass probably as fast as the SMBs (if i want to downshift and rev it in 3rd, it will go over most any highway pass at 60-70). The subaru is reliable and this is a water cooled van with 2 heaters so that's no problem.

The lack of windows in most SMBs and the excellent use of space in the westies would probably lead to me building out my own van if i do go the ford route.

Bottom line is, i MUST have 4x4. And for the money the syncros are commanding, I can get a rig that is so much newer. Hard to ignore that.

I do love the driving position in the westy, being over the front tires like that. So much fun on back roads/off-road. And great visibility while driving. And good god, the thing turns around on a dime. Do the syncros turn as sharp as the 2wd?
I get better gas mileage than my friend's VW westy (with VW motor, just rebuilt), even though I have 4x the horsepower.

The QuadVan 4x4 vans and SMB 4x4 vans will turn much sharper than stock 2wd. Quigley 4x4 adds to the turning radius.
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:44 AM   #12
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Re: Attn anyone who had westfalia and then SMB - Your thoughts?

Jumping in here a little late, but I have a little experience with Westfalia type campers. I had a 1977 VW Bus (yes a bus, not a van) I bought new in 1977 and "camperized" it. It had a sunroof, 1/3 the size of the top that i rigged a tent on top of, so I could stand up inside. I built cabinets, installed a bed and for a 30 year old hippie, this was about as cool as could be. I drove this wonderful vehicle for 15 years, and took it places that I might think twice about taking my SMB now.

Now that I'm 62, I think back about driving a vehicle that had no heater to speak of, about 100 horsepower and about 80 pounds of torque, and scariest of all, about 1/16 of an inch of sheet metal between me and instant death. Oh what fun Red Bus and I had though. I put about 150,000 miles on it, never had any problems, took it to places that I probabaly shouldn't, and would never want to do it again. There's something to be said about rumbling into your campsight, late at night, a hard drive behind you and being able to get up, walk between the seats, put the top up and have a proper cocktail before dinner. I could never do that in Red Bus. I ususally had to rearrange various gear, putting some outside under a blue tarp and then try to make room for the two of us inside.

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Old 11-10-2010, 12:55 PM   #13
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Re: Attn anyone who had westfalia and then SMB - Your thoughts?

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Jumping in here a little late, but I have a little experience with Westfalia type campers. I had a 1977 VW Bus (yes a bus, not a van) I bought new in 1977 and "camperized" it. It had a sunroof, 1/3 the size of the top that i rigged a tent on top of, so I could stand up inside. I built cabinets, installed a bed and for a 30 year old hippie, this was about as cool as could be. I drove this wonderful vehicle for 15 years, and took it places that I might think twice about taking my SMB now.

Now that I'm 62, I think back about driving a vehicle that had no heater to speak of, about 100 horsepower and about 80 pounds of torque, and scariest of all, about 1/16 of an inch of sheet metal between me and instant death. Oh what fun Red Bus and I had though. I put about 150,000 miles on it, never had any problems, took it to places that I probabaly shouldn't, and would never want to do it again. There's something to be said about rumbling into your campsight, late at night, a hard drive behind you and being able to get up, walk between the seats, put the top up and have a proper cocktail before dinner. I could never do that in Red Bus. I ususally had to rearrange various gear, putting some outside under a blue tarp and then try to make room for the two of us inside.

Tom

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Old 11-13-2010, 10:58 PM   #14
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Re: Attn anyone who had westfalia and then SMB - Your thoughts?

Here is our short story about our Westies to SMB.
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Old 11-14-2010, 12:45 AM   #15
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Re: Attn anyone who had westfalia and then SMB - Your thoughts?

Thanks surfgeek. Why are you selling it now? What's next?

Thanks also flyfisher and everyone else for your feedback. I'm feeling more and more confident that a Ford 4x4 is going to be in my future. Just a matter of how the cards fall into place, and when it will all happen. In the meantime, i have a pretty darn good westy and that's good too! The main thing, is just to be sure to get out and use whatever i have!

PS - tried flyfishing for the first time ever today... could be a new thing for me, pretty neat.
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Old 11-14-2010, 10:22 AM   #16
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Re: Attn anyone who had westfalia and then SMB - Your thoughts?

Had a 99 eurovan westfalia wkender gave it to daughter and bought a 92dodge smb. THe thing I miss most is it's cornering for back roads. THe DOdge is like the great white whale in comparison through the twisties. Love the old SMB's furnace, I think a better pop up design and frig. Also the old american van allows accessability to cheap parts compared to the VR6 and vw computerized transmission.
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Old 11-23-2010, 09:53 AM   #17
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Re: Attn anyone who had westfalia and then SMB - Your thoughts?

Multiple Westies over the years from Splitties to Bays and then several Vanagons, including a Syncro and I even tried a Eurovan for a while. Finally realized that to get the performance I wanted was going to cost an absolute fortune and I would still probably not end up with a reliable vehicle capable of handling modern highways and speeds. So I found an Ford RB Quigley, had SMB add a PH, added an awning and am slowly working it up to a full(er) camper. I don't plan on having a stove inside but do want to mount a fridge and have storage. And I'm in it for less than Syncro camper.

I look at my Ford now, having had it for 9 months, several long trips and 10,000 miles and wonder why the hell I waited so long. I've taken it in some serious 4wd areas and I love it and it cruises all day in comfort and quiet. The only things I don't like is the fact that the van's controls are typically American and it feels like it is all held together by giant rubber bands. Oh, and the turning circle!

I don't regret giving up on VW's at all but do wish we had a slightly better choice of vans as they do in most of the rest of the world. But until we do, the big Ford is the dog's bo**ocks.
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:03 AM   #18
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Re: Attn anyone who had westfalia and then SMB - Your thoughts?

More good input, thank you. I suspect i'll feel the same. THere will be things about the westy that nothing else can quite match, but still, i think i'd be a lot happier with a more modern, heavy duty and 4WD van.

I've swapped on some better winter tires onto the westy, and headed up to the ski hill a couple times now. It's definitely a lot better with those tires. Pretty respectable for a 2wd i suppose. But then i jump in my AWD Astro work van and floor it and the thing just goes, you can feel all 4 tires fighting and squirming for traction, and between them, they find plenty!

I have listed the Westy for sale at the high end of the spectrum. If it sells, i'll have enough money to begin a homemade SMB type build process. If it doesn't sell, then that's fine too.
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Old 11-23-2010, 11:49 AM   #19
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Re: Attn anyone who had westfalia and then SMB - Your thoughts?

I am late here to and since my van is not a full SMB it might not be worth posting but here are my thoughts.

I had a 1986 Syncro Van that I ran with the stock 2.1L motor and then later changed out for the 3.3L SVX engine. The van was cool but that was about it. The bigger motor caused a ton of problems in the drive train and in the suspension. Axles were too weak for the torque, viscous coupling was a problem that I swapped out for a de-coupler and so on and so on. In the end I decided I wanted a more reliable rig so I went with the 6.0l Diesel 4x4 van. I have not been more happy about a vehicle. The bigger van does not maneuver quite like my little syncro but it by far out performs in the mud and snow. The mechanics of the big vans are much more heavy duty so you can plan on less fixing and breaking down on your missions.

We recently had a little snow storm up here in the PNW and I have also been towing people out of ditches left and right. Although I did it once with my vanagon this van handles much better under load and it also tracks better in the snow and ice. Now I would not recommend you got out as a good samaritian and help stranded motorists because I have already racked up almost 3k in tickets over the last day for various offenses relating to operating as a non-licsensed roadside assistance service but since I have not charged any money I will just go to court and get the tickets dropped. For some dang reason police around here don't like citizens helping each other out but that is a topic for another thread.

Good luck with the selection, I am sure you will be happy if you choose to convert. I will be the first to welcome you to the dark side. Oh and the only thing that I do miss was the passing friendship and waves. Because SMBs are so much rarer your not going to have that daily opportunity to wave and smile at fellow owners and as hard as I have tried Westies and syncro vans just don't want to give me a wave back now that I am in a big boy truck.
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Old 11-23-2010, 02:14 PM   #20
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Re: Attn anyone who had westfalia and then SMB - Your thoughts?

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Now I would not recommend you got out as a good samaritian and help stranded motorists because I have already racked up almost 3k in tickets over the last day for various offenses relating to operating as a non-licsensed roadside assistance service but since I have not charged any money I will just go to court and get the tickets dropped. For some dang reason police around here don't like citizens helping each other out but that is a topic for another thread.


Wow, that's a messed up situation. Now you get to waste a day off to drop tickets that shouldn't have even been issued. Good luck in court.


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