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Old 04-03-2016, 12:51 AM   #1
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Regular or Extended?

Hi everybody, first post. Fantastic community here, I spend a lot of my free time browsing the site.

I currently have a lifted 2003 AWD Astro van that I had planned to convert to 4WD and turn into a mini-SMB. But the deeper I get into the project, the less I feel the chassis and running gear are up to the tasks I have in mind.

Years ago I had a 1999 7.3 EB50 4x4 with a pop-top. I mostly loved it...except that the body was longer than I really wanted or needed. In fact, I had a 2001 RB50 4x4 on order with SMB West when the dotcom bubble burst and put paid to my plans.

But as you all know, SMB fever is an incurable condition. So now I'm in the market for a homebuild candidate. Ideally a 1999-2003 7.3 RB with barn doors. (Yeah, I know, I've always been a bit of a unicorn hunter...)

Unfortunately I see a lot more extended vans for sale than regulars.

So I wonder...am I missing something here? Is an EB the better way to go? Which body do you guys (and girls) have, and why? Do any RB owners feel like their van is too small and wish they had an EB? Or vice-versa?

(For the record, I have no wife, no kids and no pets; though I love taking a girlfriend camping and on road trips when I have one. I'll be using the van for fishing, hunting, camping, and if all works out, a 1-2 year road trip from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego.)

Any input would be much appreciated!
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Old 04-03-2016, 04:16 AM   #2
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EB for me. That extra 18 inches, can make a lot more comfort space
in your van, giving more layout options. Downside depends on how
much 4x4 work you expect to do, extended will reduce your angle of departure.
I've used that space in the rear of the camper for extra
storage.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:10 AM   #3
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Always cool to see what the various rationales are for "going short" or "going long."

I'm as curious as anyone to see what the consensus opinions (and reasons for them are) as well. While I'm currently sporting (no pun intended) an RB length van, I almost always have my girlfriend with me on the camping/adventure trips and I know on more than one occasion we've wished for the extra room of an EB.

That said --- I'm beginning to lean back towards a belief that (for myself), the RB length is ideal, especially with both a front/rear hitch installed to be able to add on extra outside storage boxes/racks/bikes etc for the trips we take them on (almost all trips involve mountain biking). By starting with the relatively-shorter RB van and adding on those racks/boxes/length, we don't end up with an utterly-un-parkable limousine-length rig by the time we do so.

We have to realistically acknowledge that some things we just don't want to store inside the van....like dirty bikes. I wouldn't want to stash those inside the van with us, would utterly wipe out the benefit of having a longer van if there were awkward and messy bikes jammed in there with us. So we know that *no matter how roomy (or long) the van is,* we're still going to end up bolting another 3 or 4 feet of bike rack on behind the van regardless.

And it's become a strong belief as well that other potentially messy things like firewood, blocks for leveling the van, recovery chains etc don't want to be inside the van either. Inside of van = clean living space. Outside of van storage = outdoorsy/messy items. So the RB length van lets us "compartmentalize" and isolate the outdoors and indoors more easily. Chocolate stays out of the peanut butter

And yet -- this is cool --- for those times when we're *not* out on an adventure, it's super-nice to be able to *remove* all those front and rear racks/boxes, and have the nice/compact/nimble RB length vehicle that fits easily into most parking spaces, even the extra-tight ones that seem to populate most of SoCal's parking landscape.

So --- hey, look at that --- !
I guess I went and threw my hat in the ring. One vote for the "modular" nature of an RB length....I effectively "add EB-length storage" when I need it via the hitch-mounted storage racks and boxes front/rear, and leave that extra length behind when I don't need it. (Sometimes the van just goes to a nearby park, to pop the penthouse roof and drink tea/read a book.)

Just this particular happy fool's $.02
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:04 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountainBikeRoamer View Post
Always cool to see what the various rationales are for "going short" or "going long."



I'm as curious as anyone to see what the consensus opinions (and reasons for them are) as well. While I'm currently sporting (no pun intended) an RB length van, I almost always have my girlfriend with me on the camping/adventure trips and I know on more than one occasion we've wished for the extra room of an EB.



That said --- I'm beginning to lean back towards a belief that (for myself), the RB length is ideal, especially with both a front/rear hitch installed to be able to add on extra outside storage boxes/racks/bikes etc for the trips we take them on (almost all trips involve mountain biking). By starting with the relatively-shorter RB van and adding on those racks/boxes/length, we don't end up with an utterly-un-parkable limousine-length rig by the time we do so.



We have to realistically acknowledge that some things we just don't want to store inside the van....like dirty bikes. I wouldn't want to stash those inside the van with us, would utterly wipe out the benefit of having a longer van if there were awkward and messy bikes jammed in there with us. So we know that *no matter how roomy (or long) the van is,* we're still going to end up bolting another 3 or 4 feet of bike rack on behind the van regardless.



And it's become a strong belief as well that other potentially messy things like firewood, blocks for leveling the van, recovery chains etc don't want to be inside the van either. Inside of van = clean living space. Outside of van storage = outdoorsy/messy items. So the RB length van lets us "compartmentalize" and isolate the outdoors and indoors more easily. Chocolate stays out of the peanut butter



And yet -- this is cool --- for those times when we're *not* out on an adventure, it's super-nice to be able to *remove* all those front and rear racks/boxes, and have the nice/compact/nimble RB length vehicle that fits easily into most parking spaces, even the extra-tight ones that seem to populate most of SoCal's parking landscape.



So --- hey, look at that --- !

I guess I went and threw my hat in the ring. One vote for the "modular" nature of an RB length....I effectively "add EB-length storage" when I need it via the hitch-mounted storage racks and boxes front/rear, and leave that extra length behind when I don't need it. (Sometimes the van just goes to a nearby park, to pop the penthouse roof and drink tea/read a book.)



Just this particular happy fool's $.02


Same for me the EB is just a way to get you rear hung up. I do wheel my rb and would be limited on the places I go with the extra length. I do have a bike box that has the stove,oven and tables in it.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:13 PM   #5
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I like EB for the room. If I was going to take it extreme hard core 4x4, eh I might change my mind, but most likely not. The extra room is great. I checked out a RB before I got my EB. Going to an RB would be tough now. That being said my smb is my transport to mountain climbing and rock climbing. A lot of expensive and bulky stuff.
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Old 04-04-2016, 08:14 PM   #6
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My wife and I spent two years trying to decide whether to get the RB or the EB and whether to go gas or diesel. We finally decided to buy a pre-owned one figuring we would use it for a couple years, decide what we like and dislike, and then order a new one and sell the used one. That was eight years ago and we are still extremely happy with our RB50 with the V10 gas. We have a Thule box on top and carry two mountain bikes on the rear. It's just the two of us and we haven't had a need for more space. We do a lot of dirt roads and even two track mountain roads so the RB seems more manageable. We use it a lot in the winter for our ski area vehicle and it parks well in the tight ski area lots. We've taken it on 6 week trips and even on long trips it didn't get too cramped. Everyone has different needs but for us the RB has been fine.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:44 PM   #7
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Obviously very subjective, but we much prefer the extra room afforded by the EB. Our first SMB had the extra 18" as open storage space which was great for carrying the cooler, generator, camp chairs, etc. Our new van has the two couches right to the rear doors, so that storage space is now under the couches, which I actually like better even though we can't fit the larger items. We can put short items in the aisle, fold out the couches, and the dogs can hang out there while driving. Still working out where we will store everything so the under-couch storage will become more efficient as we go. Now it's mostly tarps, water hoses, coveralls, elec cords, camps chairs, etc. Haven't measured yet, but we may be able to store our 'dry' EU2000 under one couch on its side.

Anyway, EB for us all the way. Even after the lift kit is installed, we're not likely to do off roading where it would be a hindrance.
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:07 PM   #8
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Google sportsmobile forum EB vs RB and you'll get some good results. EB vs RB
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Old 04-04-2016, 10:22 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input everybody and for the link daveb.
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Old 04-10-2016, 08:55 PM   #10
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After having an EB SMB I just couldn't go consider a RB. I really found the extra room worth the sacrifice of departure angle. I spent a lot of time in 4 lo off the beaten path, even places I shouldn't have taken an 11,000lb van. I scraped the receiver hitch but that was about it. I found my unicorn 7.3L EB and looking forward to scratching it on sagebrush
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