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Old 03-27-2011, 05:25 PM   #1
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Location: Portland, OR
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New Rig! What's First?

I am blessed to be the new owner of a soon to home made Sportslikemobile. Here are some shots:

Right now the van is at quadvan getting converted. It is a 7.3 with 100k miles. This is a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. I plan on using for overnights at Mt St Helens for snomoboarding as well as surf trips. I have two teenage kids who like adventure but my wife not so much. With limited funds I was thinking of getting it heated inside first and then adding a removable "50" setup if possible so I can maintain versatility. It is replacing a quadrasteer suburban that my spouse is really happy with. It needs to fill the shoes of the suburban as much as possible. Given that what do you think is the most used part of your rig that would be your "must have" first item? It has two inverters already. It also has a rear heater core and an upgraded A/C unit for rear air. There are 4 captains seats and a powered removable bench seat. Some items on my list:

Hot water setup with tank.
Rear shower for surf days and dirty dog.
Roof Rack
Aluminess front and rear bumbers.
Rubber floor.

Thanks for letting me be part of the group!

Attached Thumbnails
Van2.JPG   Van1.JPG   Van4.JPG  

2001 Ford RB 7.3 Quadvan (sold)
2006 Sportsmobile EB Transformer 6.0
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Old 03-27-2011, 05:56 PM   #2
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Re: New Rig! What's First?

If you install an Espar water heat system, then you can use the existing rear HVAC for cabin heat, which could really save some space, and make "removing" your camping setup easier.

2000 E450 dually V10 wagon
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Old 03-27-2011, 05:59 PM   #3
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Re: New Rig! What's First?

Let me be the first to say congrats! Looks nice. You are opening a bottomless can of worms asking us for advice. As long as you are asking, I would add to your list:

Bilstein shocks

If you get a roof rack make sure of your roof load limit, you will need a rear or side ladder. Check on the for sale stuff here on the forum for some parts, I just sold a rear ladder for $100

E rated tires- BFG A/T, might be able to step up a size too.

Might want to loose the molded side steps and get some hoops, as those will get destroyed if you plan on doing any off-road stuff. Rocks love to crush any fiberglass.

Check out local truck supply/four wheel parts stores for ideas and recovery equipment. Heavy duty tow strap, air compressor, max axe or other multi tool, etc...
'03 Ford E350 7.3L Diesel
(de)SMB'd Custom RB-50
Quigley 4X4 w/Deavers & Agile Offroad's R.I.P. package
CCV High Profile Pop Top
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Old 03-27-2011, 06:04 PM   #4
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Re: New Rig! What's First?

I figured ladder and rack was a must. I'm in Portland and a mile from Van Specialties. They have a ladder in there right now I am eyeing. I just found some 600 mile F350 17" take offs to start with. They have E rated Michelins on them for $600. Quadvan needs them since my 16" wheels will not clear. I have some recovery gear from the old rig I will move over. Fiberglass is gone after I get back from quadvan. I like the hoop idea.

BTW it came with the name "Van Diesel" from previous owner.
2001 Ford RB 7.3 Quadvan (sold)
2006 Sportsmobile EB Transformer 6.0
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Old 03-27-2011, 07:13 PM   #5
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Location: AVL NC
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Re: New Rig! What's First?

Gorgeous van!
Chris Steuber
02 E350 7.3 (V4)
17 Focus RS, 90 SHO, 49 CJ2A, 89 LSC, 20 T250 AWD
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Old 03-27-2011, 07:51 PM   #6
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Re: New Rig! What's First?

Great van, congrats.

Once done with the 4x4 conversion, you will be good to go most anywhere.

I have 3 (growing) kids and the SMB is the best investment I have made in having fun with the kids.

We do a lot of long roadtrips, and camping trips of 2-4 nights.

My order of preference for 'options'

Built in heater
Biggest fridge you can fit
Good sound and entertainment system
Lots of storage
Small generator

I seldom use onboard water, and never need hot water. Solar showers do just fine.

Good luck with the build.
2006 SMB 4x4, EB-51, 6.0psd
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:27 PM   #7
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Re: New Rig! What's First?

Originally Posted by EMrider

I seldom use onboard water, and never need hot water. Solar showers do just fine.
Yah, but Mr. Parker is up here with us in the green (read "wet") northwest. We've barely seen sun in 4 months! Despite that, I would agree. We don't have on-board water, and we generally don't miss it. We have a couple of 5-gallon containers, and a solar shower, or a little extra fuel and some water on the stove can do for showers. From all the freezing, odor, gray water, and algae stories, on-board water is not high on my list.

I will agree on heater and a big fridge being high priorities. We have a big fridge and still take a cooler for the beer. If you don't have a separate battery and electrical system to power the fridge, you should do that at the same time as the fridge so that it's not running on the chassis batteries.

Are you going with the 2" Quadvan lift or something larger? With the 2" lift, 33" tires, and the RB van, I think you'll find it pretty domesticated. 4" lift is better off-road, but 2" is a little easier to get in and out of. If your wife liked driving the Suburban, I don't think she'll be too disappointed in the new rig.

Congrats on the purchase and welcome!
2002 E350 EB - Voyager top - 7.3 - Quigley 4WD
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:35 PM   #8
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Re: New Rig! What's First?

I really like that era of body style. It's bitch'n
Phoenix Arizona
2008 E-150 5.4L w/Quigley. Vangator II Wheelchair lift,
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:28 PM   #9
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Location: Turlock Ca
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Re: New Rig! What's First?

I kind of agree with Rob on the hot water. When I had my van built, I thought the shower would be an often used item. Actually I've only used the outside shower less than 10 times since 06. But I've used the Espar Hydronic to heat the engine on almost every trip during cooler weather. Being able to warm the engine has big benefits. I got by with Sun Showers for several years for bathing but wouldn't trade the Hydronic for anything. Yeah it's expensive, but it helps me to camp in colder weather.

My Espar heater is probably the #1 item on my build. Sure you can get by without a heater but I really enjoy the comfort.

I'd say the second most important item I have on board is the GPS map/tracking computer/software. I use Map Tech but there are a bunch out there. Find one that plots your paths and shows topo maps.

Solar is the other good item to have. It helps to keep the batteries up to par but overcast can turn it into a high dollar useless item. In Ca I don't run into that much. I don't think a huge array is necessary but all the more the better.

Twin 4-D batteries are nice and I like my Blue Sea separator over the SurePower I had.

I'm leaving out the refrigerator and things like that. Someone not having a refrigerator on board is missing something. Those are more standard items IMO. Like my Sirius Radio. I could not be without it. That is my friend while by myself. I'm sure other don't see it my way.

I also carry tarps to set up a dry camp away from the vehicle. I use extendable poles (from West Marine) and nylon rope to make my kitchen and dry areas. I have an awning but it's just a big sail in the wind and my cheap tarps have withstood unreal weather. It's also nice to drive back into a sheltered camp site. You can see those in my album.

Overall, each person has their priorities, so it's hard to say what you truley need. From my point of view, what I started thinking I needed has changed big time during my ownership. YMMV

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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