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Old 12-14-2016, 01:13 PM   #1
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Best SM location to have a build done?

Anyone have experience or info on which SM location is the best to work with for a build? I visited SM South and was impressed and I want to get a build started but have been having difficulties in them getting back to me. I believe they are busy with end of year stuff, but a returned email would be nice. Anyone have experiences with North and/or West?
Thanks in advance!

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Old 12-14-2016, 02:03 PM   #2
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I'd say whichever is closest to you, for follow-up and potential warranty work.

I've had good customer service from SMB Indiana, but only with buying parts and asking a few questions. I bought my van used. I visited SMB West on a XC trip in 2015 and they were very accommodating to questions, too.

Lots of posts on the forum to basically the same question, so you may want to peruse those as well.

Good luck!

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Old 12-16-2016, 09:28 AM   #3
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I've spoken and emailed with all 3 locations. Indiana was quickest with emails, but they didn't seem too keen on some of my ideas and what we wanted to accomplish.

I believe work quality will be roughly the same between the 3. People have issues with vans coming from every location, and they all seem great about getting these fixes done.

We're going with the West location since a lot of their vans will see similar use as ours (mountains, winter, etc). We're working with Brian, and he can be slow to return emails on things that aren't time-critical, but returns emails quickly on things that are critical. Which I'm fine with.

They're all extremely busy. I think it's best to email a bunch of questions in a numbered format, and written as succinctly as possible. I would imagine it can be daunting balancing paid client emails with people that have not committed yet.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:00 AM   #4
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I just completed a long-distance build with Texas, very happy with the communication and the build quality. I purposely used e-mail as our primary means of communication, I sent individual e-mails by subject, and I used a standard subject line format to help with sorting - my last name & topic. In addition, I maintained a tracking spreadsheet to record all decisions and costs and I shared this spreadsheet with Texas several times as we went through the process. The end result was no surprises and a successful build.

I took ownership of the process. I suspect that had I not my satisfaction level might not be quite so high.
“Flint” - 2016 SMB Sprinter 4x4 144" RB 150S w/ PH
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Old 12-17-2016, 07:43 AM   #5
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I had all 3 locations review my custom layout for a Ram Promaster 136 WB hightop van. I wanted a propane system for furnace, 3way fridge, and gas/electric water heater. Paul who heads up SMB Texas was the only one willing to do propane and some other non-standard components I wanted. I took a similar approach to Fitz for communication after an initial in-person planning session with Paul. The whole process took about about 8 months from initial order to pickup in March 2016 and after 10,000 miles we are very happy with the results
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Old 12-18-2016, 03:52 PM   #6
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Thanks for the insight, I was beginning to worry about Texas as they hadn't been very responsive to my email or calls.
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Old 12-18-2016, 08:03 PM   #7
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There are countless posts on this topic...just use the search function and you will find plenty of opinions...and it boils down to that and actual money...if you are calling with check in hand for the will get a more responsive reply...and whatever your "thoughts" are, I am sure it will take more money than the standard builds/designs and they will gladly accommodate...I had mine done at North and feel they are superior...As I say..."the South sucks, the West is worse...its North or Nothing"...but then again...I AM BIASED and THEY ALL make a kick ass product...I'd go with LOVE Jim and Nancy at SMB North...but again I'm know when you buy such a sweet Rig that is a heart-string purchase and you get taken care of so well..try that search option thing..good luck!
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Old 12-20-2016, 07:34 PM   #8
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Only SMB West does 4x4 off road conversions on the Ford Econoline. This includes 4x4 six speed dual range, articulating/floating axles, heavy duty brakes from the F-550 truck, differential options that include lockers. None of the other vehicles come close to the off road ability of this vehicle, not even the 4x4 Sprinter. The regular E-series was discontinued, but Ford kept the cutaway version of the E-350 and E-450.
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Old 12-20-2016, 07:46 PM   #9
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How did the 3-way fridge work out for you, away2go?
2003 EB350, 7.3L, SMB 4x4, "50" w/propane
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Old 12-22-2016, 09:03 PM   #10
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Working very well. Norcold N3150 2 door separate freezer 5.3 cu.ft. absorption type fridge. With the Sportsmobile-installed 2000 watt inverter and 400 amp AG rv battery, we run the fridge on 110AC while driving and when camping with shore power. If stopped for a while when traveling, or camping "off grid" we use propane. It is virtually silent, cools well, and the separate freezer is a plus. The third option is 12V DC from vehicle battery while driving, but not really needed with the inverter. SMB Texas had no problem installing this unit.

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