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Old 04-07-2011, 12:53 AM   #1
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Why SMB?

Hello,
We are thinking of getting an SMB. Tried searching to find the answer to my newbie question, but did not see any postings that were relevant.

I am trying to figure out why people buy SMB instead of some other van conversion. We were looking at various other companies, but worried that we might need a 4x4 since we go on dirt roads to rock climbing sites. Clearance is a problem with some vans. That is why we started looking at SMBs.

It is overwhelming trying to understand this stuff. Since we are both clueless about cars/engines/suspensions/etc. it is scary trying to pick one over the other.

Can someone tell why they like SMB over all the other nice vehicles out there?

Thanks
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:31 AM   #2
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Re: Why SMB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kalyson
Hello,
We are thinking of getting an SMB. Tried searching to find the answer to my newbie question, but did not see any postings that were relevant.

I am trying to figure out why people buy SMB instead of some other van conversion. We were looking at various other companies, but worried that we might need a 4x4 since we go on dirt roads to rock climbing sites. Clearance is a problem with some vans. That is why we started looking at SMBs.

It is overwhelming trying to understand this stuff. Since we are both clueless about cars/engines/suspensions/etc. it is scary trying to pick one over the other.

Can someone tell why they like SMB over all the other nice vehicles out there?

Thanks
I can't articulate the technicals as well as others here, but for our family it was pretty simple.

SMB offered the most complete vehicle package for more robust off-road use.

If you don't need or want the off-road capability, there are a lot of other choices out there.

R
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:45 AM   #3
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Re: Why SMB?

For us the SMB was less money than the alternatives. The ability to customize the layout and features was important. Most of the other vans have fixed layouts, our SMB has a custom floorplan. Our van has a similar floorplan to some others, but with important (to us) changes in the locations of some items. SMB worked with us to get a layout that could be built and satisfied our wants/needs. Even our flooring material is not found in other SMBs.

For ground clearance issues, you can get a 2wd lift kit from several different companies, Camburg and Action Vans come to mind. That will save you $10,000 and still get you the ground clearance to go on bad roads.

A really big plus with SMB is this forum and all the help and information available through this group.

Good luck with your decision.

Mike
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:47 AM   #4
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Re: Why SMB?

We wanted a capable, heavy duty 1 ton 4wd vehicle that had more capacity, towing ability and amenities for camping than our Xterra. This lead us to SMB's as they have all of the above requirements. Another consideration for us was a 1 ton crew cab truck with a pop up slide in camper. We chose to go with the SMB because we liked the more open floorplan and robust running gear like the Atlas II transfer case, Dynatrac front axle as well as a large fuel tank. For us to buy a 1 ton crew cab diesel truck and make the needed suspension upgrades, bumpers etc. and then add a nice pop up camper, the cost would have been more than our used SMB by far.
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:53 AM   #5
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Re: Why SMB?

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.?
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Old 04-07-2011, 10:55 AM   #6
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Re: Why SMB?

Oh, and one more thing:

Do you think the pop-up top is just as good or better than a fixed raised top?
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:10 AM   #7
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Re: Why SMB?

And can I ask yet another ignorant question? (I've never been in an RV before of any sort)

If you don't get the type of conversion specifically for storing bicycles inside (I saw some of those), and you carry your bikes outside, you must be storing them inside the van when you are away hiking or something, right?

How do you keep your stuff safe? Are break-ins a problem?
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:17 AM   #8
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Re: Why SMB?

I bought my Sportsmobile so I could camp wherever I wanted whenever I wanted in remote areas where I didn't have to be crammed into a campground with thousands of other people. I wanted to get off the road and see what most RVers never get to see because their rigs are too massive. Eighty percent of the roads in Nevada are dirt. That means, at least in this state, in my Sportsmobile I can go to about 80% of the state that typical RVers don't get to see.

I also like a Sportsmobile because it's not big. It's easy to drive and maneuver. It's easy to maintain, even though I'm not mechanically inclined. And it doesn't require a lot of parking space at home.

Although Sportsmobiles do cost a lot, I like the fact that people can't tell that by looking at it. RVs say money and waste to me. Sportsmobiles say outdoors, appreciation for nature, camping rather than taking your home on the road, etc. In my opinion there is a completely different mentality in a Sportsmobiler than there is in an RVer. I know I'm generalizing here, but it seems to me people in Sportsmobiles prefer to be outdoors while people in RVs are merely bringing their indoors outdoors.

But perhaps the most important factor is a Sportsmobile just looks cool. It has a WOW-factor that turns heads and draws crowds wherever I park it. Being in Vegas, it's fun to take my Sportsmobile out to the Red Rock Canyon Loop for a lunch break, open the doors and pop the top, sit off somewhere on a bench eating my lunch, and watch people from all over the world gawk at my van. I like being one of the "few" people who have a Sportsmobile. Everyone and their grandmother has an RV. No one gives an RV a second glance, but they definitely notice a Sportsmobile!
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:27 AM   #9
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Re: Why SMB?

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!
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Old 04-07-2011, 11:30 AM   #10
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Re: Why SMB?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kalyson
And can I ask yet another ignorant question? (I've never been in an RV before of any sort)

If you don't get the type of conversion specifically for storing bicycles inside (I saw some of those), and you carry your bikes outside, you must be storing them inside the van when you are away hiking or something, right?

How do you keep your stuff safe? Are break-ins a problem?

No need to store bikes inside. Just chain lock them to something. I've been camping with bikes for 45 years and I have never had a problem. When I was a kid growing up in Wyoming I would ride my 10-speed bike 35 miles into the Uinta Mountains, chain my bike to a tree, and then backpack alone into the wilderness area for a week. No big deal.
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