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Old 09-22-2017, 11:49 PM   #11
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CTB, the times are a changing. Sorry you feel that the home builds and folks taking things to another level are muddling up the forum, but truth be told, these homebuilders and start ups are the only future that the econoline platform has left. SMB is now a full on sprinter factory and most of what I saw were high roof models. Thing is, without this forum and the homebuilders sharing knowledge, a person like me would never be able to buy a newer model econoline and get it to camper level. Just would not happen. And I will keep posting my ideas so that others can benefit, just like folks did before me. I think what you are also seeing is people needing advice on how to fix up their used vans because that's all that is out there. Not everyone can make it to SMB to fix things that break, better their vans, and upgrade their suspension and steering.

This forum is not owned by Sportsmobile nor does it sponsor this forum. Site traffic allows the owners to get paid by sponsors. They are actually very cool here and at the end of the day, it's all about what the people put out there.

I have nothing bad to say about SMB and they got a nice chunk of my change to install a pop top and I love it. I also understand what they do and have to do to stay profitable. They must be doing something right because the place was absolutely stuffed with amazing vans. I could certainly be very critical about certain things they did, but I am more interested in all the things they did right and all the experience that goes into my modest SMB purchase.
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Old 09-23-2017, 03:25 PM   #12
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Yes Breezy the site isn't owned or sponsored by Sportsmobile...and yes members on here are too cool for words alone saving countless money and hours with advice on how to fix things in the driveway instead of taking to N, S, or W....started by (I think) DaveB with a majority of his own funds and hours of time and energy, FINALLY selling the site for a well deserved reimbursement (though I am sure nowhere near what he ultimately put in)and vacation from constant upkeep and mgmt of the site. And yes the Econiline Sportsmobile dominating the three locations is nearly dead (unless West can get the fiberglass shell for the box version of the Econoline going before they end production in '19) times are a changing..maybe you should start the "Homebuilders Van RV" website to get some advertising $ lol!..but, I still don't think the "homebuilders" are taking the site to a "new level", I think they are building and copying what has been done by Sportsmobile for over 50 years....but, I think it's original intent was for SMB users to talk to one another and enjoy the exclusivity of owning a Sportsmobile RV...as I said to discuss SMB related problems and fixes, TRIP REPORTS, and upgrades to Sportsmobile rigs...if it doesn't say Sportsmobile on the sticker it isn't a Sportsmobile....I hope you know I never said you couldn't state your opinions or advice, I was just saying it was/is a Sportsmobile Brand dominated site with proud owners who might think it odd you were driving the discussion away from using a particular Sportsmobile builder , which (as not to "hijack" the thread)is what the original question was...so Breezy, which location should they pick? Texas or Indiana? Thanks for the banter!
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Old 09-23-2017, 03:42 PM   #13
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That’s an interesting debate. If a van wasn’t completely built originally but had work done at Sportsmobile, how much work would have to be completed by Sportsmobile for it to be truly considered a ‘Sportsmobile’ ?

Not that I care really, lol, but I am having my van converted by Ujoint and than a penthouse and rear sofa bed installed by West this winter. Would that qualify as a ‘Sportsmobile’ or must it be 4x4 converted and the interior build out done by West up front to be considered a true Sportsmobile?

I recently sold my syncro and we just call vans campervans so I’m really just curious what people think.

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Old 09-24-2017, 10:44 AM   #14
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Texas vs. Indiana - Does SM location matter?

Interesting debate.

The SMB Forum, to me, is about the people.

The uniqueness of this forum is its inclusivity to (mostly) Offroad camper van enthusiasts of all types. More forums of individual brands would just muddy things up more.

If we were to rename the forum if should no doubt be the Ford Econoline Offroad Camper Van Enthusiasts Forum, but we shouldn't IMO. Furthering this discussion only leans towards elitism. I agree mostly with Flux above.

Having owned, seen and improved/repaired the work of SMB for a while I can tell you that their designs are most definitely not changing with the times and there are better options out there. Everything stated above by TomH should tell you that. Does this make SMB bad? Absolutely not. They're still doing great things.

This topic comes up every once in awhile and I think anyone who disagrees with non-SMB related stuff on this forum should probably go start an a new forum themselves. Name ideas should include:
'SPORTSMOBILE ONLY GET OFF MY LAWN Forum' or possibly 'MY OUTDATED OVERPRICED NAME BRAND OVERLANDING RIG IS BETTER THAN YOURS' Forum.

Hope I didn't offend, but someone's always offended, aren't they?

Jtmtb, oops, I got carried away and didn't even help answer your question. If in NC I would look at Texas. I really like Nancy and the North location but I personally think they are a bit old-fashioned I. Some of their thinking. Distance matters, to me anyway, so I would probably rule out Fresno. I've never been able to communicate with them at all. The most important thing to remember Is that after a purchase from any of them it's mostly just an RV and any decent RV place can help you with it.


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Old 09-24-2017, 01:42 PM   #15
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I think the 'total' SMB package would have to be one built at a SMB site...but that said, my SMB had its 4x4 done by Quadvan, so not really a 'pure' SMB by that standard...and U-Joint is one aftermarket outlet making Econolines & SMB's the official 'bad-ass' 4x4's, so maybe the Penthouse would be the 'factor' of pure SMB b/c they have the patent and been doing it over 50 years....I don't know but pride of ownership has plagued owners of high cost vehicles for many years...lol...Vette's, Lambo's, Ferrari's...hats, coats, gloves, keychains. maybe THAT is what makes you an official SMB owner...how many of those items do you wear in public? Man, I need to buy some of that to REALLY show my pride! Or maybe it is how much you can get when you go to 'sell' your rig...I mean a kit or homebuilt Shelby Cobra won't fetch a tenth of the price of a real Shelby...so, hmmmm, I will have to keep thinking on that one...bottom line is, I would have to STILL say North, B/C they are old fashioned and run one of the cleanest most organized shops I've ever seen. Old fashion works for me! Again, good luck, and man did you ever get your $ worth on this thread! LOL! See you all on the road!
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Old 09-24-2017, 02:01 PM   #16
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As a brief positive (and recent!) anecdotal tale about communication with SMB Fresno:

Despite all the accounts of not being able to get through to Peter Deltoro at Sportsmobile West....(or get a reply from him), I called SMB West just two days ago (Friday afternoon, at around 3:30pm West Coast time) and mentioned to the person answering the phones that I was looking to inquire about some possible service/updates to my '95 SMB. She was super pleasant, and she immediately routed me through to Peter Deltoro's phone/voicemail line.

And.....*drumroll please*.....HE IMMEDIATELY PICKED UP!

And he was super cool. And patient, and very amicable to discuss the various ins/outs of having some work done (some things that are NOT high-dollar rig jobs, by any means....). I am looking into having the original, 22-year-old penthouse canvas replaced for instance.

He spent well over ten minutes on the phone with me, never once seemed to hurry me along during the phone call, and didn't seem at all fazed in the least that I was asking questions about having a 22-year-old van worked on, with potential jobs that by no means would bring in anything but chump change to a shop that sells six-figure rigs all day long. I felt like I had his kind attention in equal amounts that he would afford to someone spending 50 times what I would possibly be spending, he was great.

So after we hung up, I sent him a follow-up email to thank him for his time....

....AND HE PROMPTLY REPLIED!

Peter certainly seems a courteous and customer/service-oriented fellow, very polite and dedicated. I'm sure they're usually swamped and he can't catch up on every last call. But when you do get in touch with him --- it seems he's very much the kind of gentleman you'd hope to speak with at a company like SMB. Focused and knowledgeable, and again very kind.

Just my $.02....and hopefully worth some degree of value to the OP's question.

EDIT: just noticed that the OP was asking for comparing between only the Texas and Indiana SMB locations, not the West location. But this thread has wandered so sideways since that first OP inquiry....yeah I got a bit lost in it, lol. Anyway, still wanted to share my bit of positive vote for SMB West *not* being a total lost cause to make contact with.
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Old 09-24-2017, 04:50 PM   #17
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And here comes a similar story regarding Paul (SMB President) in Austin. It has been just over one year since we picked up Flint in Austin. I recently had a problem with an electrical component installed as part of the build. I sent Paul an e-mail last Sunday evening and had a response from him Monday morning. We exchanged two more clarifying e-mails and the part went in the mail Wednesday and was delivered to my door Friday. From my experience over the past year in dealing with both Austin and Fresno this has been the norm and not the exception.

To the original question. I have no experience with Indiana, but my Austin experience was first rate through design, build and one year of ownership. Are they busy - yes. I am too and I'd much rather deal with busy than with the opposite extreme. Based on my experience I would gladly work with Austin again were I to do it all over again.
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:32 PM   #18
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And just for the fun of it. We had our 2008 E350 Quigley converted at Indiana. Great service on the original installation and great service since then. They always answer the phone and help as much as they can. We had new canvas installed on the pop top and new upholstery in the coach a while back and the work was done well and quickly. No complaints.
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Old 09-25-2017, 02:11 PM   #19
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I emailed Brian at SMB west the other day to see about scoring some more push on led lights like they used in my PH top. He promptly replied so now I can buy those lights and put a few more in.

Both companies I chose to convert my stock van have top notch customer service. John at Agile is all over it and Brian at SMB the same.

Now the guy doing the home build portion spends too much time posting and laying around the house. He's really good at buying the stuff, just not installing it in a timely fashion.
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