Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 07-05-2020, 02:38 PM   #1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 6
Help! My Husband Wants a Sportsmobile!

Hi Friendly Sportsmobile Forum People.

Help! My husband wants a sportsmobile. And I'm not opposed to the idea, but it's a big investment (our budget is between 90-125k) and we have literally never even camped in one, so I wanted to start by asking this forum a few questions, bear with me.

1. We're looking for a Ford 4x4, these seem, uh... incredibly hard to come by. What's the chance of even getting ahold of one in our price range? Seems like they sell within minutes of being posted. This seems like a recipe for heartache to me, and a thrilling hunt to my husband. Ah, marriage! Thoughts on realistic availability?

2. We have a dog and are big skiers and mountain bikers, meaning we often take trips to places where the dog can't be on the trail with us (too long, too hot, too snowy, etc). I'm nervous about bringing the dog along and potentially being in a situation where she has to be in the van all the time. Obviously we can leave the dog home sometimes, but it would be nice to travel with her and be able to go for longer trips with a sportsmobile. Any dog owners on the forum care to chime in on what life with fido in the Sportsmobile is like?

3. Now for the crazy questions: can we try one out anywhere before dropping all this cash? I found one rental outfit in Boulder, but they seem pretty slammed (and expensive--300$/night!). Or did you just dive in? Yes, I've been car camping many times, but it just seems like I want a chance to try this before spending so much money. And, two, as a lady, I worry about dispersed camping way off the grid. I have this crazy fear of hill people driving up to our campsite in the middle of the night an murdering us (yes, I realize this is unlikely and unreasonable). Any one care to reassure me that this is not a concern and that in all their years of camping they've only ever encountered nice people (and maybe one weirdo)? Or, is this why people are always talking about how their SMBs are bullet proofed--because that def seems to be a thing?

HALP!
__________________

Tioga is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2020, 02:54 PM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 349
That is a very healthy budget, so you have a lot of options. You could get a very nicely equipped E350 4x4 with all the amenities for half your max budget if you are okay with getting something used that is around 10 years old.

I do also have a dog and we travel a lot together for extended trips. We haven't left her in the van for more than a few hours tops. My biggest concern would be hot temperatures, unless you are plugged in running A/C it will exhaust even the largest house battery system.

Cold temperature is not a big deal as long as it is insulated decently and you can have a furnace running to keep the pooch warm or an electric blanket. It draws minimal power compared to cooling.

If you are doing something extended or a day trip without the pooch, I would see if there is a pet hotel or doggy day care you can do drop ins with. You would likely need to book this in advance as most places will not do walk ins if you aren't a pre-existing client. I'm always paranoid about leaving my pooch in the van unless if I'm not close and can't check in on her from time to time. Also worried some good Samaritan will break my window to rescue my pooch only to get bit.

It would be prudent to try camping in an class B RV or something similar before dropping this much money on something before you even know it is for you. Hell if you are serious maybe someone who is selling would be interested in renting to you for a week and if you buy it that money goes towards the sale?

Bullet proofing is the term used to do preventative maintenance on a Ford 6.0 Diesel Engine. You want this done or should plan on doing it if you buy a vehicle with this engine. It costs around 10-14kish to do and it should be done for reliability so you don't get stranded in the middle of no where.

Also, if you are serious about buying one you need to have cash in hand and be able to fly with short notice. Financing I've been told is a pain and sellers will typically not wait around if you haven't sorted this out yet.
__________________

__________________
2004 E350 RB 5.4L Chateau
4x4 Quigley w/ Fixed High Top
Cyrull is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2020, 03:04 PM   #3
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Posts: 6
Quote:
Bullet proofing is the term used to do preventative maintenance on a Ford 6.0 Diesel Engine. You want this done or should plan on doing it if you buy a vehicle with this engine. It costs around 10-14kish to do and it should be done for reliability so you don't get stranded in the middle of no where.
Well, I feel dumb. Thank you for explaining that! I was starting to get concerned about the number of vans that had been "bullet proofed." I mean, we go dispersed camping all the time, but I thought, jeeeze, these sportsmobiles must end up in some really rough places. LOL
Tioga is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2020, 03:22 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 349
All good, this place is a really good resource and everyone is quite friendly and helpful. Of course you don't need to worry about this if buy a gas engine (5.4/6.8L). I believe the diesel 7.3 doesn't share the same maintenance issues as the 6.0

I would recommend scrolling through the classified on the forum to give you an idea of what you could buy with your budget but also the different layouts available that could work for your intended purpose.

For example you mentioned skiing, so cold temps you will want 4 season insulation. Do you want on board water like a sink or shower? If so, you will likely need to have the tank inside the van vs underneath because it could freeze, etc.
__________________
2004 E350 RB 5.4L Chateau
4x4 Quigley w/ Fixed High Top
Cyrull is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2020, 03:27 PM   #5
Senior Member
 
Steve C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: West Central Mountains, Idaho
Posts: 196
Garage
I second everything Cyrull said!

In addition, I find the further I can get into the backcountry the more secure I feel. The only issues I've had when traveling, have all occurred in closer proximity to lager population centers.
__________________
2001 Sportsmobile RB50 7.3
West Central Mountains, Idaho
Steve C is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2020, 07:07 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
ShuttlePilot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 489
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
I second everything Cyrull said!

In addition, I find the further I can get into the backcountry the more secure I feel. The only issues I've had when traveling, have all occurred in closer proximity to lager population centers.

This is my experience as well. Within an hour of a city/metro area is where I've been more choosy about where to camp. Less people less problems, which is one reason why I've owned one of these. Also, just a heads up, as of the last few years, since #vanlife happened especially, everyone will want to walk up to you and ask questions about the van. Everyone.



- Eric
__________________
2005 SMB RB 4x4 6.0 PSD
A rocket on the pad is safe,
but it's not what rockets are built for.
ShuttlePilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2020, 07:11 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 349
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve C View Post
I second everything Cyrull said!

In addition, I find the further I can get into the backcountry the more secure I feel. The only issues I've had when traveling, have all occurred in closer proximity to lager population centers.
My experience has been the same, my only two worries about being off grid is getting stuck and mechanical break downs so I carry a fair amount of recovery gear just in case and I need to invest in something like a Garmin InReach or Sat Phone.

These worries are significantly alleviated if I we travel with other rigs, if we are solo I practice a lot more vigilance.
__________________
2004 E350 RB 5.4L Chateau
4x4 Quigley w/ Fixed High Top
Cyrull is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2020, 08:36 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Posts: 82
Before we ordered our Sportsmobile, I rented an RV from these guys in Denver for 2 nights. We had an excellent rental experience with them. This was the best money I ever spent. At that time I thought I wanted a Tiger RV on a 4x4 truck platform and we rented their Tiger RV to try it out. After 2 rental days, we completely changed our minds about RVs and eventually ordered a smaller Sportsmobile. It was much easier eventually designing our Sportsmobile after that rental experience. We learned so much just trying the bed size and configuration, using the kitchen, refrigerator, bathroom, closets, driving and parking the vehicle, etc. etc. etc.). We later didn't really make any mistakes on our Sportsmobile design primarily because of that rental experience. We got our rental money back many times over by avoiding mistakes on our Sportsmobile. They have multiple RV's including a Sportsmobile, Winnebago, etc..

https://adventuretravelsportrentals.com/
jrobe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-05-2020, 09:52 PM   #9
Site Team
 
daveb's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 9,909
Garage
I'd strongly suggest renting a vehicle just to see if a van fits both of your needs provided you can find one. Even going to a SMB group meet can help you decide if a SMB is for you. Just seeing how much leg room and how comfortable the seats are can be important to many. You can rent a vehicle without taking your dog. I don't have animals but I'd never leave them alone in camp by themselves however there are a lot of owners who haul their pets with them.

My van has solar so I can load up food, fill the fridge, and have all my gear packed a week before I leave if I want to. I canít say how much easier it is to leave on short notice. A smaller van such as a Ford or Chevy model can make for a daily driver so that makes a good second driver vehicle to use around home as compared to a larger RV. If you donít plan to take the more difficult off road adventures, the Chevy all wheel drive van might be worth a look. Being youíre into ski trips, a hard top might be a good choice.
Iíve got an electric pop top and although Iíve handled weather below the teens, a roof loaded down with snow bothers me. Cold weather also is difficult to contend with unless you have a heater of some sort. You should research how well different model heaters react to high altitude if you visit areas above 8000'. I have a diesel Espar heater that I wouldnít be without. It is so nice to kick back inside a warm van during bad weather if it moves in. I could live without a large potable water tank but the outside shower is sure nice during warmer weather after a sweaty day of activity. A couple good threads that are worth a look are:
https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...-smb-2121.html


https://www.sportsmobileforum.com/fo...-van-2126.html


I think you have to ask yourselves will you plan to use the van enough to justify the price. Insurance, DMV fees and maintenance have to be factored in besides the cost of the conversion. That said, Iíd suggest finding a vehicle with a gas engine. I love my diesel but it is has a high maintenance cost. Iíve spent about 3 grand on repairs just this year and my engine had been bullet proofed several years back. A Ford V-10 might be a gas hog but are way less problematic than my 6.0 PSD. The bullet proofing cost me over 12K, and I always ask far could I have gone on 12,000 bucks of fuel.


The interior layout varies from person to person. Iím a big guy and felt an interior with an isle was too confining to me. I prefer the 50 model. The back bed is large enough for two but can also be used for a storage platform. If you and yours are small enough, the SMB walk thru might be what you want. By renting a similar vehicle will help decide what you prefer to purchase or look for.


Iím not sure how many of these companies are still in business and with all this C-19 going on YMMV. I've also noticed more mini campers and off road tent top vehicles have taken over since the Ford van was discontinued.




https://www.roamerica.com/
https://adventuretravelsportrentals.com/
https://www.escapecampervans.com/
https://www.travellers-autobarnrv.com/
https://gomoterra.com/
https://www.campervannorthamerica.com/


Lastly, when I bought my van I was originally looking at the more larger traditional type RVís. They just were too large to get into the places away from the masses. I learned I really loved to off roading after I purchased my SMB and wouldnít replace the last 15 years of travel for anything. You may (or may not!) want to show my site to your husband. Haven't posted most of my late adventures but the posts will give you an idea what is possible.



https://autoramblings.com/sportsmobile/



Good luck on your quest.
__________________
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
daveb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2020, 07:37 AM   #10
Site Team
 
rionapo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Santa Fe, NM
Posts: 996
Garage
DaveB mentions meetup. Another great resource are the Overland Expos (canceled this year, unfortunately), where you’ll see everything on the market. There are a couple of other similar events that may be on schedule this year.
__________________

__________________
-Don-

ďOften bumpy roads lead to beautiful places. And this is a beautiful place.Ē

ó Dave MartŪnez
rionapo is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

» Sportsmobile Registry

EB Van

ebflow

Jiminy

Gooseberry
Add your Sportsmobile
Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3
Disclaimer:

This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by Sportsmobile SIP or any of its affiliates. This is an independent, unofficial site.


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:16 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
×