I apologize in advance if this topic has been done to death as I am sure there are tons of variables out there, but I am looking for some advice before I begin an intensive search.
I have a family of 5 with three children age 2, 5, and 8. We love camping and hiking, biking etc so the sports mobile style vehicle is very attractive to us. We are currently camping in a 4x4 honda pilot but with all our bikes, boards and gear it is starting to get very very loaded down.
I am looking at the SMB style vehicle due to several factors:
-self contained go to camping vehicle (store all our gear in it, so we can just get up and go)
-4x4 to get us to the places we really want to (white rim trail, Mojave Road, Cali Lost Coast etc)
-room for a growing family (not necessarily all sleeping quarters as we can still carry a tent)
-diesel. Big believer in the reliability and durability of a diesel.
That said, I have looked at the Sprinter vans very long and hard and am still considering one of those, but at this point, the pop top of the SMB combined with the 4x4 is very attractive. I know the Sprinter will be 4x4 soon, but it will be a while before it becomes affordable.
So my questions are as follows:
- I know the 6.0L has some weaknesses, is this a design flaw or maintenance issue?
- buy a cheaper used van > $10k and build or look for cheaper used SMB.
I would like to stay under $35k and it is slim pickings for that price. But my calculations on a van and Ujoint Offroad kit comes in at around $30k. That would include the SMB pop top but no interior.
If you had my budget, would you be looking at a 1998 SMB or a 2008 Van that you can build up?