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Old 06-25-2019, 11:05 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Poulsbo, Wa.
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How old is too old

It's been a long time since I've posted here! I am considering a Sportsmobile that is almost 30 years old and I am a little apprehensive given the age. It's got less than 100k miles and looks pretty clean. Aside from the mechanical aspect of this vehicle is there anything specifically with the Sportsmobile build that may have been suspect back then? Anything I should look for? Thanks in advance!

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Old 06-25-2019, 11:08 PM   #2
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If it has an absorbtion fridge, make sure it hasn't been recalled for fires.

2000 E450 dually V10 wagon
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Old 06-26-2019, 12:59 AM   #3
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Thanks Carringb! I will check that.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:17 PM   #4
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Location: Oregon Ciry Oregon
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Our first SMB was an 89. Mechanically fine. Other than routine maintenance the only major mechanical cost was replacement of the rear main seal on the engine. Some of the particle board cabinets were swollen where water had got to them. Also had to replace some cabinet hinge screws with longer ones that went further into the particle board. It also drove like a truck. Modern suspensions are much smoother and easier to drive on the road.
Read detailed trip reports, see photos and videos on my travel blog, luinil.com.
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Current van: 2002 Ford E350 extended body camper with Colorado Camper Van pop top and Agile Offroad 4WD conversion.
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Old 06-26-2019, 10:27 PM   #5
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Location: TN
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What chassis? Very important.

I'm going to guess Ford since 3/4 or more are, in which case I would not recommend anything older than 97. First year of the Triton engine, many upgrades from the ground up, OBDII.....the list goes on.
Currently vanless. Weird.
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Old 07-07-2019, 02:33 PM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Cincinnati, OH
Posts: 39
We had an extended '92 Dodge SMB. I loved the inside dimensions which were wide enough so we could pass each other easily and it was low enough so it would fit in my carport. But I did not think it was safe to drive. To get the extended version Dodge just welded a metal box on to the back end which meant that all of that mass depended on an altogether too short wheel base. Also, in order to fit the 35 gal fuel tank they eliminated the rear stabilizer bar. Those two things added up to a potentially hazardous vehicle, in my non-too-humble opinion.
Not all who wander are lost.
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Old 07-07-2019, 06:14 PM   #7
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Location: Helena, Montana
Posts: 18
I'm the 4th owner of a 94 Dodge SMB. Best purchase I ever made. This past winter we camped in Australia/New Zealand and I ended up renting 5 different campers. It made me appreciate how well our rig is designed. Mechanically, it's a crap shoot. We put about $500-800 into it every year. One year it's tires, then maybe the water pump or radiator, oh yeah...brakes. If you can do the repairs yourself, great. But if you're like me, you'll find a good mechanic in town and take it to them once a year for a little love and prevent defense. We've put over a 100K on it, been to Baja, travel 2 lanes and forest service roads whenever we can. It drive well (unless really windy) and loves to drink gasoline.

One thing that has cropped up the past 2 years is finding parts for the small things that go wrong. Major stuff is easy to get, but certain parts are often very hard to find. If anybody out there has a vacuum connector that connects to the heater control panel, let me know. With all that said, we'll probably keep the vehicle going as long as we can. He's now part of the family and would be hard to let go.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:09 PM   #8
Join Date: Jun 2015
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Look in the mirror and ask yourself the same question?

Older people and vehicles need more money, more maintenance, more fuel and more love to keep em running the older they git. Having said that the price of admission is usually much cheaper than when new.

I suggest for every $1000 extra you spend buying a better old vehicle will reward you with $2000 worth of rebuild/maintenance already completed by the previous owner. Basically you are buying repair work at half price in many situations. Yes shopping for a good old vehicle is a PITA and you might make a few dead runs however if it was easy everyone would do it.

Old does not always mean bad, worn out or crap. That is usually the situation however not always. It's those not always situations that take time to find, will cost "Mo Money" to buy and are NEVER close to where you live. Therefore always budget money for travel with looking for anything "Good, Old and Experienced"!
Remember "Drive Fast, Turn Heads, Break Hearts!"

2001 Chevrolet Express 3500 Quigley 4WD ATF "Bomber Van"
1995 Chevrolet ASSTRO 4WD Quigley Custom Van
1994 Dodge B350 Sportsmobile Van
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:13 PM   #9
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I have a 2017 on here and you will not have a worry in the world! Still under warranty!
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Old 07-08-2019, 11:56 AM   #10
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I bought a 91 five years ago. I had to put in about 5k right off but it has been a great vehicle it just turned 105,000. I am selling it now and moving on.

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