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Old 11-01-2012, 01:10 PM   #1
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experience with smb "trasformer" layout?...vs eb50

I currently have a 2000 v10 eb50 quigley, in extremely good shape, and am considering switching over to a transformer type of van, maybe a new van and maybe an rb. With the kids and hauling them around all of the time, it may be a better day in day out van for us, not really sure. Anyone have any experience with that sort of layout and pros/cons ? I also want to be able to put a furnace in it, which may be more difficult? not sure.
What we have found over two years with our eb 50 is that we use the heck out of the fridge and beds, and outside shower, and furnace in the winter. not so much the cabinets and stove and storage. also may consider the v8 too, we'll see. anyway, if anyone wants to give me their two cents, id like to hear it! thanks, jas
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:33 PM   #2
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Re: experience with smb "trasformer" layout?...vs eb50

I thought SMB quit offering the transformer model but can't recall why. Maybe they'll do a custom job though. I've looked at a few of them in Fresno but have also looked at a few "transformer like" builds. Guess it might depend on how many seats and windows you want. I'd want rear air. Ford doesn't offer a diesel and from what I gather SMB hasen't started to install a gas version of the Espar (or similar) so you would have to go with a propane cab/water heater. Maybe that doesn't bother you.
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Old 11-01-2012, 04:40 PM   #3
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Re: experience with smb "trasformer" layout?...vs eb50

We have a 2006 E350 V8 RB 2x4 with the transformer layout. We bought it used earlier this year. After looking at a few local SMBs, most with "50" style layouts but a couple other styles as well, we put the transformer layout at the top of our wish-list when looking used, with the 50 in 2nd place. We were coming from camping in a Honda Element; we were used to minimalist camping and ultimately looking for more space (and the ability to at least sit-up inside, if not stand-up!), not necessarily all the comforts that come with many SMB interiors (microwave, stove, large storage closets, etc.). The transformer is very configurable; it is great to be able to put in the seats, take them out, remove the bed/storage platform, etc. We've done this a few times to haul things, camp with the nieces, just camping by ourselves, etc. So, we're very happy with the transformer, as it suits our needs very well.

That being said, we got see quite a few other SMBs at the gathering at the Hungry Valley get-together a few weeks ago. I don't regret our transformer, but, let's just say there's quite a bit of envy regarding the other layouts and interiors. In general, they were all pretty sweet, unique, and with great amenities that we don't/won't have. I'm making some mods based on what we saw.

daveb: my info is 3rd hand and could be wrong; my understanding is that SMB no longer advertises the transformer model but it can still be ordered/built.
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:21 PM   #4
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Re: experience with smb "trasformer" layout?...vs eb50

I talked to SMB west about converting an RB chateau to the transformer layout. It wasn't cheap, but could be done no problem. If I recall correctly, they quoted me about $24k for electric pop top and interior.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:06 PM   #5
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Re: experience with smb "trasformer" layout?...vs eb50

If hauling people is your goal this thread did a good job addressing the issue but I suppose cost is a different story.

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=4003
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Old 11-25-2012, 10:14 PM   #6
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Re: experience with smb "trasformer" layout?...vs eb50

anybody have any firsthand experience with a pop top being put into a passenger van by smb west? that would be my first addition and i live an hour away so it would be easy to have them do it.
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Old 11-25-2012, 11:14 PM   #7
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Re: experience with smb "trasformer" layout?...vs eb50

I had an electric PH top installed by SMB West a couple of years ago on my 2006 E350 RB passenger van. As expected the overhead center plenum disappears so no more overhead vents. The rear AC is capped and 3 vents are installed in the rearmost pillar on the drivers side.

A manual PH is a one day job, electric takes about 2 days. The roof is cut away and the PH is installed in just a few hours, the rest of the time is spent tidying up the trim with a little more work if electric. I've never had a problem with it although I haven't used it lately because of my unyielding work schedule.

I had them install Thule tracks and I elected to leave the PH top white. My van is silver/light gray so the white top doesn't stand out too much. A Rhino type lining wasn't available at the time and I would definitely get that now.

At the time a transformer is still available if requested. I thought about it some but decided for the super lower cost low tech solution for my basic camping needs.

I understand the flexibility of carrying people and sometimes carrying stuff. My solution is I have 2 E350s, both are 2006s. One is a super low cost homebrew version of a transformer with electric PH top. The other is a V10 Quigley Chateau with 2nd row buckets when I need to carry more people or go to Tahoe in the winter.

Hope this helps™,
Ray
2006 E350 RB
2006 E350 Quigley V10
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