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Old 03-06-2012, 10:38 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Lakewood CO
Posts: 191
Mental Support

I have been shopping around for awhile trying to decide what I wanted to do... Buy a built (used) SMB likely with high mileage, or a much newer cargo van and build it out myself. Now, I think I am close to committing (Low mileage 2011 cargo van) and am having a small touch of cold feet about trading in my other car. I will be trading in a Mustang GT I bought brand new and was my dream car at the time, but no longer really suits my habits/lifestyle. I just don't want to have regrets.

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Old 03-06-2012, 10:56 PM   #2
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Location: Bend, OR
Posts: 800
Re: Mental Support

I gave up my Ducati to help fund the purchase of an '84 E350. Make you feel any better? I miss the moto, but the van gets more use and makes my family happier. Makes sense to me, at least for the time being!

2009 Express AWD, CCV Top & 50-ish home build. Daily driver/camper/kid hauler
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:03 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Paso Robles
Posts: 144
Mental Support

I gave the 05 Subaru outback top of the line to my wife and we sold her Mitsubishi lancer rally and I drive my 05 SMB daily. No regrets. I miss the Suby but it's in the driveway anytime I want it. She misses her car but we sold it to my brother do its only a 45 minute drive. The SMB is truly the most amazing vehicle I have owned. I have the e-350, 5.4L v8 gas with ph top, big bed, fridge, tinted windows, shower, sink, best stereo I have owned, and even though it is only 2wd I still love it. I don't know what else to say. Good luck. Check out home builds on here. Lots of guys gave me great ideas on things I could have and still could do. I think get a used van with relatively low miles. Diesel or gas? Im not the one to answer on that. I think you always want what you can't have. I would love a 7.3 diesel. But I'm fine with the 5.4 after that you have a blank canvas. Do some yourself and hire pros for the harder stuff. If I had to do it again I would do that. Oh, windows or no windows? Lots of questions. Look around, price, dream, and then live out your dream.
Nick Otto
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:17 AM   #4
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Norwich, Vermont
Posts: 84
Re: Mental Support


I'm in the same boat....can't afford even a used 4X4 SMB so for the past year i have been on the forum everyday looking and learning and asking questions regarding home builds. The people on the forum have been very forthcoming with advice. Gradually I am coming to the conclusion after talking to the forum members that i will buy a used (2011) Cargo Van E-350RB (recreational model?) 2WD and go for it.

There are many pics and details on home builds so jump in and have fun. Since I am not a skilled carpenter etc I am going to have a local guy do some of the stuff I can't do myself.

My design will be similar to the RB-50 layout without all the whistles and bells such as stove, heater, water, tv, etc. Since my main goal will be to travel light and be camping I will use my coleman 2 burner stove, 5 gal water containers, lil Buddy propane heater (careful there), Ipad, Kindle, you get the idea. Need plenty of inside storage for camping, fishing, shooting, backpacking, etc. No PH top right now. But a good rooftop cargo carrier.

Can't wait to start the build this spring.

Goiod luck,

2011 E-250 Home Build 2WD
Action Van 4" Lift
American Racing ATX Black Teflon Rims
Toyo AT 2's 285/R75-16's
1959 Chevy Apache Hot Rod
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Old 03-07-2012, 05:45 AM   #5
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Location: Southern New Mexico
Posts: 9,771
Re: Mental Support

Gave up:
'02 F250
'85 FJ60 w/Chevy 350 & twin transfer cases
'95 Honda del Sol VTEC
'91 Ducati 907ie

Do I still miss each one, you bet.
Do I regret my SMB experiences, not a chance.

SMB-less as of 02/04/2012. Our savings account is richer, but our adventures are poorer.
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Old 03-07-2012, 08:04 AM   #6
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Location: Lakewood CO
Posts: 191
Re: Mental Support

Thanks all. I guess that was the reality check I needed. I will let you all know what happens.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:14 AM   #7
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Location: Turlock Ca
Posts: 10,176
Re: Mental Support

Since I bought my SMB, my SS Impala just sits, my Harley has a dead battery, the Camaro’s fuel has gone bad, and I haven't been Bass fishing in my Ranger for over four years. I still drive my pickup to the dump from time to time.
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

Sportsmobile 4X4 Adventures..........On and off road adventures
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:05 PM   #8
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Location: Ashland, OR
Posts: 372
Re: Mental Support

My wife and I used the money set aside for remodeling our master bathroom to cover what we couldn't finance in order to buy our SMB. It's funny how fast my aversion to the pink tile shower and black linoleum flooring evaporated. I also sold my cherry 1978 Volkswagen Westafalia which was, before discovering Sportsmobiles, my ultimate dream machine. When I find myself longing for the Westfalia, I just think about all the great places I have been since we got our SMB that could never have been reached in the VW.

Steve in L.A.
2010 Red EB50 V10, Quadvan 4WD (El Guapo Rojo)
1978 VW Westfalia Champagne Edition (Pepe - gone, but not forgotten)
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:51 PM   #9
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Location: Bay Area, california
Posts: 159
Re: Mental Support

hey 2horsegarage -
if you are a DIY kind of guy and have lots of time then that is one approach..... because it will take a long time. And, do you want 4 wheel drive? Can you do that yourself? Can you lift it yourself? So it really depends on what you want ....

If you can swing it I recommend buying a used SMB - as you know this site and constantly list inventory for sale.

Eventually all kinds of SMBs come across for sale ... for example, you might find Cargo RB with just a 4x4 package and/or maybe a PH ... you could buy cheaper than new and DIY the rest.

I looked to buy used for months because you can save a lot of money that way and there are plenty of later models out there. IF you want diesel engine you will have a lot of choices if you are willing to wait for what you want. I wanted the V10 gas engine so my choices were very limited and eventually I bought new and went that route - RB-50 plan, 4x4, etc.

It is OK driving around town as a daily driver but it is BIG and sucks fuel when in town .... so IMO you don't want to drive it daily IF you can help it.

But .... if you like the outdoors, driving to anywhere and camping, hiking, etc. you won't regret the SMB .... but there is a lot to learn about an RV and all it's systems, and the SMB is a class B RV if you upfit it like that ... so that is somehting you have to become smart on ....

However, getting the 4x4 package is, to me, what is so great about the SMB because it will go almost anywhere add to that an electric PH and it's fantastic!!


2010 E350 RB 50 Ash Gold V10 gas engine w/mud flaps and rock sliders!
2011 VW GTI
2009 Tacoma 4x4 TRD
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