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Old 04-07-2011, 12:31 PM   #11
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Re: Why SMB?

Pop top vs. Raised roof can be personal preference. See the topic:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=5342

Dynatrac is an aftermarket axle used by SMB on 4wd conversions. Unless you specifically want that axle, I'd stay away from it. The 2wd front suspension and F-Series Ford axles can be repaired at any Ford dealer, and most dealers won't touch the aftermarket axles. There are other 4wd conversions available for SMBs, Advanced 4WD, QuadVan, Quigley, WhiteFeather Conversions that use Ford parts, not aftermarket.

The 46 Gallon fuel tank is primarily for 4wd vans. The put in a 4wd conversion requires reducing the size of the stock fuel tank. To travel far off road you want more fuel capactiy, not less so many of us have upgraded to the larger fuel tank.

My bicycles are stored outside - where they travel. I lock the bikes onto the carrier when I'm not riding.

BTW, Mac (the previous post) has a 2wd lift kit on his van, not a 4wd.

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Old 04-07-2011, 12:48 PM   #12
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Re: Why SMB?

Most of my reason are in this posting that you might want to look at:
SMB article link
But to sum it up:
>SMB is about an hour away so warrantee work would be close by.
>The low top of the PH lets me get into areas that a cab over camper might have problems with when dealing with clearance.
>SMB uses heavy duty parts like dynatrac axles and transfer cases such as the atlas II.
>SMB is willing to retrofit or design something out of their design line most of the time.
>They have the best customer service I've ever had (not to put other companies down). Quality control is something most every company has problems with. Some are satisfied with SMB, and some folks are not. I'd be lying if I said I have not had problems but feel any high tech rig is gonna have problems to work out after the build. I feel they are on or close to par with any typical camper outfit out there. If you're real picky you might want SMB do the 4x4 conversion (if that's what you're after) and somebody else to do the interior such as a private shop.


The fuel tank helps you to operate the rig more like a expedition vehicle...no gas stations in the outback while off road. Many owners also carry extra fuel and water cans as well.

Dave
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Old 04-07-2011, 12:52 PM   #13
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Re: Why SMB?

I looked at 16 other van conversions, etc. One of the main reasons I chose SMB is because I could get the floor plan I wanted and no one else had it.

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Old 04-07-2011, 12:57 PM   #14
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Re: Why SMB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kalyson
Very good points from macmcintire.

We felt the same way so that is why we are looking at van conversions instead of RV's. I was posting more to find out why SMB vs Roadtrek vs PleasureWays, etc. Sorry if the post was unclear on that issue.

Thanks again for the info!
I like the 4x4 conversions on Sportsmobiles or, like mine, the lifted 4x2 so I can go to rougher and more desolate areas. I like the openness of the pop up top. I like the "Ford" look of the van, versus the "conversion van" look of Roadtrek or Pleasureways. The Sprinter version of the Sportsmobile seems to match the Roadtrek and Pleasureways, so perhaps there is no difference there. If so, one's choice would only be a matter of the options one wants and the difference in quality of the actual vehicle product between Sportsmobile, Roadtrek or Pleasureways.
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:02 PM   #15
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Re: Why SMB?

Great info, guys -- thanks!

Daveb had some reasons I had not considered for choosing SMB.

I am gathering that there are two main reasons for most people:

1) Ability to customize

2) Ability to go off-road

Both great reasons. If we are getting pre-owned, #1 is not germane, and it may be possible to raise some other van conversion like Roadtrek if we got a great deal on it from what I'm hearing.
Lots of options... SMB is about 2 hours from us in Sacramento so we will head down to visit them soon.
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:07 PM   #16
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Re: Why SMB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by macmcintire

I like the 4x4 conversions on Sportsmobiles or, like mine, the lifted 4x2 so I can go to rougher and more desolate areas. I like the openness of the pop up top. I like the "Ford" look of the van, versus the "conversion van" look of Roadtrek or Pleasureways. The Sprinter version of the Sportsmobile seems to match the Roadtrek and Pleasureways, so perhaps there is no difference there. If so, one's choice would only be a matter of the options one wants and the difference in quality of the actual vehicle product between Sportsmobile, Roadtrek or Pleasureways.

Yes, that is one of the things I am trying to discover -- did SMB folks decide that these vehicles are higher quality than the others? I did research enough to see that SMB stopped using composite boards for its cabinets, etc.
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Old 04-07-2011, 01:18 PM   #17
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Re: Why SMB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kalyson
Great info, guys -- thanks!

Daveb had some reasons I had not considered for choosing SMB.

I am gathering that there are two main reasons for most people:

1) Ability to customize

2) Ability to go off-road

Both great reasons. If we are getting pre-owned, #1 is not germane, and it may be possible to raise some other van conversion like Roadtrek if we got a great deal on it from what I'm hearing.
Lots of options... SMB is about 2 hours from us in Sacramento so we will head down to visit them soon.
Hey, don't forget the coolness factor!
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Old 04-07-2011, 02:53 PM   #18
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Re: Why SMB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kalyson
Thanks for the replies!

What is Dynatrac? I keep seeing that and don't know why that is a good thing.

Also, why do you want extra fuel? I was puzzling over this -- 46 gallons, I think they said?
Wow. Do you use the fuel for something besides driving?

Mike mentioned a kit that would raise other types of vans which is interesting.

So you think the build quality of SMB is on a par with the others out there, like Roadtrek, etc.?
We tend to travel in the most remote areas in the lower 48 and it's often over 300 miles or more between fillups. We had a dirt road trip across Nevada once that was 398 miles before we filled up.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:19 PM   #19
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Re: Why SMB?

I think if you go look at a Roadtrek and then a Sportsmobile you will see the difference even with a 2 wheel drive.

The Roadtrek and others are "luxury" motorhomes meant for smooth surface travel. They all have a large amount of plumbing (flush toilet, shower, fresh water, hot water, black water, and grey water), many have plastic parts that reduce ground clearance, and due to all the luxury items have very little storage.

The Sportsmobile can be built the same way, but many of them are more spartan, and have more room left for gear and for lounging. There are usually no running boards or ground effects kits to reduce ground clearance. Bottom line the Sportsmobile is totally custom.

If you get a used one, it can be modified but at a cost.
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Old 04-07-2011, 05:31 PM   #20
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Re: Why SMB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dhally
I think if you go look at a Roadtrek and then a Sportsmobile you will see the difference even with a 2 wheel drive.

The Roadtrek and others are "luxury" motorhomes meant for smooth surface travel. They all have a large amount of plumbing (flush toilet, shower, fresh water, hot water, black water, and grey water), many have plastic parts that reduce ground clearance, and due to all the luxury items have very little storage.

The Sportsmobile can be built the same way, but many of them are more spartan, and have more room left for gear and for lounging. There are usually no running boards or ground effects kits to reduce ground clearance. Bottom line the Sportsmobile is totally custom.

If you get a used one, it can be modified but at a cost.
Excellent points. Yes, that makes sense.

I just went to an RV show at Arco Arena just to have a point of comparison. As you might imagine, the sales guy was saying buying a conversion van was not a good idea. Yes, those RVs looked comfortable, but they are HUGE. We want to travel a bit lighter, so next trip will be to look at our first converted van.
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