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Old 08-09-2013, 06:20 PM   #11
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Re: Nissan SMB

Received a response email from Alan Feld regarding the wear on the seam strip. First time this issue came up, and he was unaware it was a plastic coated piece. He thought the current T-molded strip was a solid color, and he would send me a replacement strip as soon as I sent him the measurement. Later, Alan emailed that the molding they have is not a solid color, "just color matched on the exterior of the molding." He still offered to send me the replacement strip, and agreed with me that it may be hard to remove/install. Plus, the same wear could reoccur.

Painting was the easiest way to go. Alan suggested masking off the area and spray painting it with standard brown (fast drying enamel) from Orchard Supply Hardware Store. No such store here, but I decided to get a bottle of Testor "gloss light brown" paint ($1.59) to see how close I could match it; not very close but much less noticeable than white. Made no effort to sand it and used a Q-tip to apply it. Will see how well it stands up before I do more.

There is only one exposed seam (basically the wall boards) on the "50" floor plan.
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Old 08-14-2013, 10:48 AM   #12
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Re: Nissan SMB

SMB insurance: Last September, when we picked up our NV SMB, I faxed all the purchase info our Farmers' agent needed, as well as emailed SMB info. (He was not familiar with the NV or SMB.) Because I referred to the NV as a camper conversion, he added it to our auto policy with $10,000 coverage for the "conversion," the maximum. We did this all on the phone, and I was not aware that I was underinsured by $30,000. It wasn't until after reading the thread about difficulties insuring 4x4 SMBs that I wondered what coverage I had.

We corrected this yesterday. It turns out that my agent assumed the NV was converted after purchase; therefore, the "conversion" coverage. When I pointed that NV SMBs are purchased as completed camper vans through a dealer, he attempted to add the total conversion price. The computer kicked it back to $10,000. The solution was to cancel the "auto" coverage for the NV and insure it as a "2012 Sportsmobile Class B" motor home with Foremost Insurance, owned by Farmers', for the purchase price. This is a depreciation, not full replacement, policy for $667 annually.

You don't have to use Farmers'. The key seems to be talking to your insurance agent and making sure you have RV or motor home coverage.
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:58 AM   #13
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Re: Nissan SMB

Anything new re your Nissan?
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:11 PM   #14
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Re: Nissan SMB

We completed 3 more trips since Alaska in May/June, 2013.

1. August, 2013. Homolovi (Winslow, AZ), Mesa Verde, Salt Missions (southeast of Albuquerque, NM) and El Moro National Monument (west of Albuquerque). Great trip and weather. 2287 mi at 16.56 mpg.

2. September, 2013. Joshua Tree National Park, Manzanar National Monument (must see), Tuolomne Meadows in Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Park and Joshua Tree NP. Great trip and weather. 1900 mi at 15.69.

3. November, 2013. Kodachrome Basin State Park (East of Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah) and Canyonlands/Needles. Last November we skipped Kodachrome and never made it to Needles. Cold but great weather; just beat a major storm. 1780 mi at ? mpg. Still have to do the numbers...

Our next trip is to the Everglades either this month or next.

No problems with the Nissan. For some reason, the dealer declined to charge me for the 20,000 mi oil change. All I complained about was missing the shuttle while in the restroom...

No SMB issues. The water leak when hooked up to city water disappeared, so I probably did not tighten it enough. Even if it continued to leak, it was outside so not an issue. We learned to use the flat plate and external shower. We like it. Get Campsuds; works top to bottom. We clamp a tarp to the rear doors to make a shower stall.

Gave up on trying to fit 2 road bikes inside the van; just took up too much room. Looked at Bike Fridays (20" wheels), but ended up buying 2 Ritchey Cyclocross Breakaway bikes that come apart and are full size bikes that fit in "no charge," airline approved suitcases. Just don't exceed the 50 lbs weight limit.

Next planned improvement under consideration is a portable solar system. Following the thread on this. Also looked at a portable solar generator. Too heavy and expensive to consider to make coffee, toast and use the microwave for 30 minutes a day. There are some other ways to go with the generator, but beyond my understanding. This might work in the build process to make space for one.

That's about it. Thanks for asking.
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Old 12-09-2013, 05:56 PM   #15
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Re: Nissan SMB

Wow. You guys are really getting your moneys worth out of that rig. When you bought it. Did they say what the mpg difference would be between the 6 and 8 cylinder versions? Do you ever cook inside and what do you do for heat. I use a Black Cat but have never been to places as cold as you have.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:27 PM   #16
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Re: Nissan SMB

I just pulled up the V6 mpg as claimed on the NV owners' forum. "Fully Loaded" (?), reported 18-19 mpg highway and 14.5 city for an average of 16-17 mpg. Others say 13-14 mpg. Poor mpg is a common complaint. We get close to 18 mpg on the highway (65 mph) based on fill up info.

We didn't take delivery of our NV at a dealership, although it was destined to go back to Dublin Nissan, west of San Francisco. SMB west had a V6 and V8; we had our pick and chose the V8. We have always had underpowered cars, and the V8 was recommended. Alan let us make the choice...

So far we just use the microwave, coffee maker and toaster. Our backpacking stoves sit unused; actually we only bring 1 now, part of our take less. When we have a craving for eggs, bacon etc., it is time to stop at a cafe.

We still do not have heat, and I was cold in Utah (21?). Upon returning to Tucson, we bought Thermolite "extreme" sleeping bag liners, that will increase bag warmth by 25?. When I get out of my bag, I plan to wear it. Hot coffee always helps...

The reason we looked at solar generators (www.solaaron.com) was to be able to power a small electric heater in the morning and the microwave and not have to use the engine when dry camping. Another reason was to maintain our house batteries. In Utah, we never had more than 5 hours of usable sun. Using the van engine as a generator only decreases mpg by .2-4 mpg over 2 or 3 days of not moving.

So is solar redundant, probably. We still may give it a try.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:26 AM   #17
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Re: Nissan SMB

Thanks for all of your contributions and impressions of the Nissan. Although I'm leaning more towards a Ford-based SMB, I have to say that I'm intrigued by the NV. It's just the right size for two and looks so stealth going down the road or when parked. I hope these really take off for Sportsmobile.
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:38 AM   #18
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Re: Nissan SMB

The solar generator is more of a gimic. A big panel on the roof will serve you better and no need for storage. Another option is none at all. I have panels on both my class A motorhome and my van but without extra batteries they are practically useless. It sounds like running the van is good for your electrical and heating needs. Keep posting from time to time. We are interested.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:45 PM   #19
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Re: Nissan SMB

Thanks for the info/opinion on the generator and solar panels. Since we now know more about solar fixed and portable panels, we can see whether or not we could/would use them on future trips.

In slightly more than a year, we have yet to see another Nissan SMB. Mostly we see lots of Fords and a few Dodges. The Nissan generates a lot of interest where ever we are, but no major sales apparently. There may be some high tops, like the home build in the video and several high top SMBs that we missed. Saw a home built high top from Washington at a dog show in Tucson. Couldn't tell if it was a work in progress or used just to transport show dogs. Our dogs would probably vote that it counts.

Before anyone gets put off by microwave cooking, you can do much better than the frozen food section in the market. Frozen waffles, however, are great toasted with cream cheese and honey. We have given up on English muffins as they set off the smoke alarm. If you like stews and soups, you can make hearty meals with canned fire roasted tomatoes, any type of beans you like, canned sweet potatoes, and lots of spices over couscous, quick rice (in cups) and instant mashed potatoes. Salads are easy to make as well. Yes, you are right, we don't eat a lot of meat. We are considering getting a cheap, electric 1 burner stove, just in case we need to saute... or should I say fry up, some fresh vegetables. Another oddity in our travels is the lack of farm stands or markets. Could be the time of year we travel... Agribusiness?
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Old 12-10-2013, 02:26 PM   #20
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Re: Nissan SMB

Quote:
Originally Posted by radin2son
We are considering getting a cheap, electric 1 burner stove, just in case we need to saute... or should I say fry up, some fresh vegetables.
Single burner butane stove are awfully convenient. Long-term fuel cost is more expensive, but for occasional use its hard to beat the compact self-contained units. I use all propane now, but I think I will switch to butane for inside cooking (I did pick up a propane instant hot water heater, so I won't need to boil water anymore). I'll still use propane outside though.
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