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Old 03-23-2013, 01:30 PM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 73
Re: Nissan SMB

The process for purchasing a Nissan SMB is more like purchasing a RV from a lot than going through the build process. Nissan owns the NV and SMB west does the RB-30N or RB-50N conversion; the finished vehicle is returned to the dealer. In our case, SMB west had 2 (V6 and V8) completed RB-50N conversions still at SMB west. The one we chose was completed on 9/1/2012. (We previously owned an '83 VW with this floor plan and liked it. We had considered a used 2005 SMB Sprinter, as well as a new one, before deciding on the Nissan in August, 2012.) We chose the V8 with navigation package, tow package and side and curtain air bag package. Since it was still at SMB, we had them add a larger (17 Gallon) water tank and flat plate. We picked up our NV on 9/26/12. We immediately took it on a 10 day, 1091 mile trip to Lassen Volcanic National Park and northern CA. We left our VW tdi wagon at SMB, which we later towed home.

On 11/5/12, we took an 8 day, 1911 mile trip through Utah. Early winter storm and very cold temperatures made for interesting camping in Arches and Canyon Lands.

On 12/9/12, we took a 9 day, 1086 mile trip to southern California staying at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, and on our way home we stayed at Anza-Borrego State Park.

Except for a poorly sized (large gap) screen on the side door and a "sometimes" rattling front ph latch, the quality of the SMB conversion is excellent. Same for the NV. I fixed the gap with left over screen from our side door project. (We purchased the driver/passenger door screens from skeeter beaters, as well as enough screen material and magnets to make a side door screen. The door screens are the same pattern as Sprinter. Skreenz wanted to make a pattern that would cost $150 plus the cost of the screens and no longer made side door screens.) We'll see if this fix will thwart the 25 varieties of Mosquitos in Alaska this May/June. We're excited about our upcoming trip...
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:30 PM   #2
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Posts: 73
Re: Nissan SMB

Here is a link that provides some of the best/most useful information for the Nissan chassis.


Looks like Nissan NV is getting their act together. More and more on the roads in Tucson.

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Old 04-22-2013, 10:31 PM   #3
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 73
Re: Nissan SMB

Long term NV road test and 4th recall: Motor Trend (Truck Trend) completed a 12 month road test of the 2500 NV.
total miles: 25,616 (14.0 mpg)
maintenance cost: $225.75 (5x oil change, inspection; 1x tire rotation, cabin-air filter
recalls: Oil cooler 0-ring and stud (R.1115)

I believe the 5/13 issue of Motor Trend has the "hard copy" article or you can go to the link below:

http://m.trucktrend.com/roadtests/van/1 ... ewall.html

When looking for comparison maintenance costs for Ford, Sprinters and Nissan on edmunds.com I discovered another recall (13V-095) for a check of the "transmission lever gear selector plate lock clip" was in the works, effective 4/8. Received the recall notice on 4/21 to see if it was installed correctly. Called the dealer this morning expecting to have to set up an appointment and was told to come on in. (NV dealers have a policy of getting NVs into the next available bay.) Dealer took care of this and installed new rear door hinge stops (3rd recall) that I put off, pending the next oil change. Lock clip had been installed correctly and stops were replaced. Although these recalls are annoying and no problems were evident, it was quick and easy... The 2 earlier recalls were addressed prior to our picking up of the Nissan SMB on 9/27/12.

Trip from Tucson to Canada and Alaska starts in less than 2 weeks. One of the camp grounds between Banff and Jasper, requires all "soft sided" camper vans/trailers/tents to be in an area enclosed by an electrified fence. Guess this includes the PH...
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Old 04-23-2013, 12:05 AM   #4
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Location: Franktown, CO
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Re: Nissan SMB

Originally Posted by radin2son
enclosed by an electrified fence. Guess this includes the PH...
You could always keep the top down. Or argue it's not technically a pop "out" but a pop "up". No, probably not, it does specifically mentions vans. Who knows, maybe the soft sided penitentiary will be nicer and won't have any giant RVs running their gennys.
and then
everything changed
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Old 04-23-2013, 08:13 AM   #5
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Re: Nissan SMB

"Electrified fence " What are they protecting you from or from you? Grizzly, Wolf or Sasquarch? Very strange.
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:29 PM   #6
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Re: Nissan SMB

It's a toss up regarding protection from bears, large RVs etc.
At Wilcox Creek camp ground also on the Ice Fields Parkway, they recommend parking first, walking in and checking out the campground that is terraced into the mountain to see if you can negotiate the tight turns. RVs over 30' are not recommended. This is the right kind of RV protection.
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Old 04-24-2013, 10:39 PM   #7
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Re: Nissan SMB

I agree regarding bears but I've never really worried about it. I've camped in tents for years with no problem but always hung our food and of course you never cooked in the tent. Yosemite has black bears which are less aggressive than brown bears but the bears in Yosemite are more exposed to stupid human tactics. They seem to know the serial numbers of each ice chest made and will pop out your window to get at it. A little common sense goes a long way. As far as up north beyond places like Yellowstone I have no clue about what can happen there. Even in Yellowstone/Teton areas I pack a hot .44 but YMMV.
2006 Ford 6.0PSD EB-50/E-PH SMB 4X4 Rock Crawler Trailer

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Old 04-24-2013, 11:34 PM   #8
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Nissan SMB

A number of years ago we took our 72 VW pop top camper up to Banff and had no problems. The same warnings were in place. Things may have changed since then but there were elk wandering around the campground. That may be part of the reason for the electric fence. Not sure that a bear would even notice going through it.
Read detailed trip reports, see photos and videos on my travel blog, luinil.com.
Visit my Patreon page: patreon.com/LarrieEasterly
Current van: 2002 Ford E350 extended body camper with Colorado Camper Van pop top and Agile Offroad 4WD conversion.
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Old 07-16-2013, 06:51 PM   #9
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 73
Re: Nissan SMB

Quigley is now producing 4x4 versions of the 2500/3500 cargo NV ($30,000 msrp) and 3500 passenger NV ($35,000 msrp). The conversion adds $10k, according to a 12 passenger NV owner, who will be towing a travel trailer. His NV had all the options offered by Nissan ($40,000 msrp).

http://www.quigley4x4.com/TechnicalCent ... ducts.aspx
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Old 07-28-2013, 05:28 PM   #10
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 73
Re: Nissan SMB

Long Term Review:

2012 Standard Top V8 NV 2500 SL MSRP $31,605 (with options*)

Disclaimer: The pricing below is what we paid when we picked up our NV at SMB West in agreement with Dublin Nissan, who owned the converted van. Had we purchased it at one of the 8 Nissan dealerships selling SMBs, other than Dublin, we may have paid more. It was hard to compute as there were dealer added items (chrome rims and more aggressive tires). Now, they may be heavily discounted.

SMB discount $29,635** (About the same discount as on Fords/Sprinters)
SMB RB-50N $36,134
Total $65,769***

*Options: Rear door glass package, sliding door window package, side and curtain airbag package, tow package, technology package - navigation, improved audio, XM, USB input, bluetooth hands free with steering wheel controls and integrated rear view camera.)

**We looked for a similar NV to "build our own," but none (V6 or V8) were available in Arizona or surrounding states, and there were no projected delivery dates for 2013.

***Taxes, registration or insurance not included because these vary state to state.

Build date: 9/1/2012
Modification: 9/24/2012 (Added Flat Plate and changed 10 gallon to 17 gallon water tank - $ 1,082)
Delivery date: 9/27/2012

Trip #1 (9/27-10/6/2012) Lassen Volcanic National Park, Northern CA coast and Fresno to pick up and tow our Passat tdi wagon back to Tucson. (1,866 mi./13.39 mpg)

Trip #2 (11/5-14/2012) Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Capital Reef National Park, Goblin Valley State Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Zion National Park. (1,911 mi./13.83 mpg)

Trip #3 (12/9-19/2012) Doheny State Beach, CA and Anza-Borrego State Park. (1,086 mi/13.95 mpg)

Trip #4 (5/5-6/27/2013) Northwest Canada, Alaska, and Washington, Oregon and California coast lines. (10,790 mi./16.55 mpg)

NV service:
3,500 mi. oil change at Jim Click Nissan, Tucson. ($44)

8,500 mi. oil change at Grande Prairie Nissan, Alberta ($62)

15,000 mile "service" at Jim Click Nissan, Tucson ($327)****

****This service surprised me. It included the oil change, air filter, but added an engine oil flush and fuel injector service. Even considering the harsh road conditions of our last trip, it seemed much too soon for this type of service. The manual for severe use (city, bumper to bumper traffic, frequent stops, etc.) at 15,000 mi. specified the oil change, tire rotation, brake fluid replacement and overall inspection. There is an "a la carte" service, but it adds up quickly. Jim Click is known for his dealer add-ons. Normally, I use my mechanic of 30 years for all service from purchase on, but with traveling I would be using Nissan NV dealers. Now I know: When in Tucson, use my mechanic.

4 recalls: oil filter bracket bolt, air bag sensor, shift indicator clip, and rear door latches. The first two were taken care of before we purchased the van; the clip had been installed properly. The latches were replaced at the first oil change.

Annoyances: The computer Trip A and B have cleared themselves on their own. Check engine light came on twice during our Alaska trip, most likely due to road conditions. The NV dealer in Fairbanks checked and cleared the code (vent control valve). After the check gas cap and engine light came on the second time, it cleared itself. Codes checked at 15,000 mile service. No problems.

NV impressions: Best driver's seat of any vehicle we have owned. Great ride and quiet. Powerful. The fold back doors to the side of the vehicle are a great feature, as are the side mirrors that come with the tow package. Tow mode can also be used with heavy load; that has to mean a ready to travel SMB. The interior rear view mirror is functional. Inside the cavernous center console are 12 volt and 120 volt power outlets to charge/use phones, computers and printers while driving or parked. You push the NV's inverter switch, and it provides 150W while driving. When parked with the ignition "on," you get 400W. (The center console can be removed, but you lose the outlets.) Your iPhone also plays/charges when plugged into the audio system.

SMB impressions: RB-50N is just like our '83 VW, only more modern. Given the way Nissan SMBs are currently sold, an electric PH was not an option. After a long day, it sometimes is a struggle pushing it up. (Can only imagine what it looks likes to others in the campground. So far no applause when it reaches the magic lift off.) We are still not sure about the flat plate and its use. We also have rarely used the external shower, as it generally was too cold to use on our trips. Plus, we are not sure about the amount of water it uses. Still, it is nice having it for those days when you can smell yourself without really trying. Some quality issues as in poorly made screens on the sliding door. Can't see the other side well enough to tell. The panel on the sliding door bulges out in the center top edge. A center screw would help or a better cut panel. The most surprising quality issue was the plastic strip covering the panel seam. We expected wear and tear, but not this. Can there really be a cost saving to painting/coating white plastic?

Most likely modification: 2nd alternator? (Asked Alan Feld about this and he indicated the 130 amp alternator should be adequate to charge the starting and house batteries.)
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