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HappyCamper 08-08-2012 01:41 PM

Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience
Great updates as usual. Interesting that the van length question came up as I had intended on posting about length issues somewhere just hadn't figured out where yet!

Our first build was on a Ford E250 EB. We wanted 4 bucket seats for family travel and couldn't fit it all in with a shorter van. I think that was a good decision for us at the time. We included all the bells and whistles - grey water tank, city water hook up, porta potty, stove, refrigerator, microwave and heater. Jim at Sportsmobile, IN suggested that we leave a little space at the back of our van without cabinets. That space has made the van much more flexible over the years - at first it held a porta-crib, later a screen house and ultimately a removable wire rack system for groceries.


We are working on our second build now and have decided on the Sprinter 144 for many of the same reasons Chumley mentioned. The primarily reason the 144 is our choice is because we love the PH top and it is only available on the short wheel base Sprinter. Our build is likely to be much more minimal so that we can maximize our storage space. But, at least this go round, we know what we use!

The LB might be fine since the wheel base is longer but there are issues with EB vans:

Towing - the tow bar that was installed does not clear the van tire (exterior storage) by enough to allow us to mount a bike rack without an bar extension. (Probably an issue on all vans with exterior tire storage.) The extension combined with the extra van length and a 4 position bike-rack makes for very long lever arm. The back of the bike rack sags as the mileage accumulates and the bikes literally whip up and down on every bump. I would suggest using a trailer instead. It is actually easier to pull a trailer than drive with the long rack on an EB van.

Being Towed - We had the misfortune of needing to be towed twice on a recent trip. (What can you expect with an 18 year old Ford!) Once to the campground to unpack all gear and then once to the dealer for repairs. In both cases, the van could not be lowered to the ground without the hitch digging into the ground. On the sand, the tow driver kept going until he saw my reaction when the back bumper began to hit the ground! :b8: He had the necessary boards and blocks to lower the van onto the boards first and then to the ground. The second tow driver actually filled our hitch with the dealer's asphalt lot before realizing that it wasn't working. The dealer had the necessary board to get the van off the platform truck. The hitch probably saved the grey water tank from damage. The front of a back cabinet was popped out a bit but was easily repositioned and the screws retightened - great work SMB!

Net, I might consider the 177 for the extra space but will not do another EB.

frostyone 08-09-2012 06:08 PM

Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Great thing I will tell you though, speaking from experience. Have them run the Sirius receiver OUTSIDE the van. Reception inside sucks. Use a 50' home extension kit, run the cable from the dash, to the back of the van. Run the receiver up and out through the rear brake light on the roof. This is how Outside Vans does it and it works great(I had their audio guy do my Sprinter). I think you will have issues with the receiver in that center speaker spot...


Chumley 08-10-2012 11:20 AM

Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Thank you for sharing. I really want this thread to be a place where all comments of your experiences can live, good and bad. It would be nice to have examples of what is good or bad but sentiment has its place, it can often be the culmination of a broader experieince base where no one issue stands out. Upon delivery of your build I sense that the euphoria can override some of the poorer memories so just what does stand out a few months later? As a person who builds things for clients, all custom tailored to their needs, I rarely have a project without some hiccup. I just want to make it right and move on with enough successes to leave that long term positive memory. My business largely depends on positive word of mouth. So far, so good. I am not perfect but my past shortcomings allow me to also see those same things in others now. It also allows me to have an understanding of how things can go sideways on any project, how hard it can be to get the customer's confidence back, and to be harsh when I know it could have been corrected if someone just cared a bit more.

Don, I know that you had some issues based upon a thread you started in the "General" forum. I also understand that the major issue was resolved but there must have been some other smaller issues that left you thinking... It's always the "small" stuff. I too take every aspect of the build seriously. Most of us will have spent a substantial amount for our builds but besides the cost these builds tend to become personal because it can be so custom tailored to each of us. I have a vision in my mind and I expect that vision to be fulfilled. Any deviation and I will be disappointed. I hope that SMB can resolve whatever issues remain. Good luck.

Happycamper, thank you for that feedback. We all have different needs and it is nice to have the experience based comments that might help tip the scales. Back in the beginning I remember needing to make a lot of decisions and it took a while to get proprer footing. It's easy to forget how vague the process of planning a build is at the beginning because you amass a large amount of knowledge quickly. Deciding what size van you start with becomes the basis for the rest of the build.

Frosty, I am still a bit concerned about that antenna install location. I have forwarded your comment to the installer. I think he will say we are too far along now but besides that he said that he has not had any complaints on his current installation location. Could others provide some feedback and your relative location? I ask this because apparently the farther north you go the more common reception problems become. I have been warned that heading north and downhill will create problems for my installation but could do the same thing if mounted on the roof at the front too. I also believe that the installer will be honorable and take care of my issues, I believe I have an option for remedy.

I think my last few posts have included a lot of personal philosophy and I apologize if is trite to some. I will try to stay on topic but I personally start looking at corporate culture and how individual personalities can influence customer opinion. The future of a lot of my money is sitting in someone's shop right now and I want to know it is being taken care of the way I can understand and appreciate. I believe you get my money when I get my product and I am happy... usually... read that fine print... :b2:

Chumley 08-10-2012 06:02 PM

Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience
Week 5 has past, halfway point!

Another week down and I'm starting to get used to the SMB way. They appear to be moving at a good pace and don't call unless they have to, which is normal to me.

A previous post of mine resulted in a response about the XM radio antenna location. I have attached a picture of how it is normally done provided by the IA folks. This view is looking through the windshield onto the center speaker on top of the dash.

I forwarded the reply by Frosty to Rob at IA and he called me very shortly afterwards. He said that he could not do the installation as noted because the upper cabinets were already installed. Running it under the van and back up would just be too much and more prone to failure. His concern was for long term durability and ability to repair but also felt that the dash installation is good. He said that the XM network is different from Sirius and its drop outs are not as noticable by network design. He did qualify that satellite radios don't work as well farther north. I am okay with the installation and worst case is I get someone local to redo the antenna somehow. Really doubt that I will need to.

I received an e-mail from SMB informing me that the upper cabinet across the rear (additional cost option) could only be 18" deep instead of 24" due to proximity with the ac unit's interior component. I appreciated that e-mail and am reasonably sure that if I decided I didn't want the cabinet I could have deleted it at that moment. Actually that might not have been possible if the other uppers were made to allow for it, oh well, I'm sure we could've worked something out. I also received a call from SMB asking me about how I want the rear door windows treated from a window covering standpoint. You can have the same shades used in the other windows with the day and night shades but to do that they must box out the rear windows to square them up and you get a much reduced view out the back. The other option, which I accepted was to have a set of curtains that are on tracks installed. That left the trim contoured to the window openings for a larger overall opening and better rear views as shown in the picture of another van in progress (SMB's model).

Here are this week's photos from the front:

As you can see there is no moss gathering on any stones around here.

The picture with the heater at the bottom of the cabinet was a surprise since I was told the heater was the size of a shoe box and expected to have a lot of space above it. Turns out that a heater needs some ducting, my goof. I do get a drawer and a decent size cabinet space below for plates and bowls and such. The pots and pans will have to go under the sink, I think. I did get my additional electrical receptacle though. Now we can put our laptops on the counter for charging.

I really like the microwave on its own shelf. I guess I better buy a spare microwave in case this one pukes since the shelf appears custom sized to that unit. You know, come to think of it, this is normal in any type of construction and I can always come back and have them modify the shelf if necessary, maybe I don't need the spare microwave. You can also see where I have everything from the "B" pillar forward (the cockpit) is grey to match the majority of the MBZ factory color scheme. The tan in the black seats should tie in the cab to the rest of the van interior which is all brown tone. I hope. I am no color specialst and it could suck, I really hope not.

The upper cabinets are looking good.

The sink and stove counters look good. I wish the backsplash would have continued to cover the back of the sink area so it actually functions as a backsplash. Maybe line up with the upper cabinet that ends over the end of the sink area of the cabinet and does not go over the stove area. I understand why they did it so I guess I am okay but I wish it would do what a backsplash was meant to do. The problem is that if the sliding door is closed and water gets splashed down the back then you have to open the door to clean it up and you may not even notice you splashed the water. Simple solution is to put a groove in the bottom edge of the return on the back of the countertop so water drips away from the cabinet but then it drops on the floor and gets soaked up by the cut edge of the plywood (that's the real concern). There is a good reason this part of the countertop is called a backsplash. Good thing this is all warrantied for 50,000 miles. This is an example of the type of detail that I always try to make people aware of in advance because it looks kind of strange and if you don't know why it was done it could become an issue. Also, we have a flip up countertop extension which folds up at the stove's end of the galley countertop. I can't tell from the photos but I hope the edge of the countertop which meets up with the extension does not have a radiused bullnose and is cut square to allow the tops to form a single monolithic surface without much of a gap between. That is a detail not yet discussed and hope it doesn't get away from them. It's all in the details...

The back of the van shows that they put the batteries in boxes. I didn't know they did that and it is nice. Apparently there will be some heat put off by the inverter back there but there is not much I can do about it. Maybe it'll heat the water tank and I won't have to turn on the water heater (the engine in the case of the flat plate heater).

It may be done a week early but there is no commitment right now. Gotta sell my van right away to get ready to make room for the beast. I also looked at the tree branches over the driveway and it looks like I have to do some trimming.

We're at least half way there and I'm feeling pretty good about the build. :b5:

I better join Sam's Club and start ordering those special things that time to get.

mmitti 08-13-2012 01:41 PM

Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience
It is karma that I've discovered your journey. I'm planning on planning on getting a Sprinter SMB, but am in the dreaming stages. I've spent hours and hours on the "design your own" place and have saved lots of plans.

I'm a single woman age 58. I'm finally in a position to start saving for the possibility of a SMB. I've dreamed of owning one for the past 10 years. I want the regular body Sprinter, and your discourse is so enlightening. I really want to get a grip on the realities and picayune details of building one and owning and maintaining one.

Your tips and things you've learned are really valuable to me as I start planning what I want. I'll be using the Indiana location. I traveled there one day several months ago and spent an hour looking around. It's pretty close, so I can go more times and really get to know what they do.

I'm planning on my own setup instead of one of the standard plans. The more layouts I plan, the more I tweak what I want.

Anyway, thanks for your info. It is really really helpful to me.


Chumley 08-13-2012 01:58 PM

Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience
Build clarification for some items from my last post.

I sent my Sales/PM some questions since I had a conversation with my boss (the wife) and I realized that I could not answer some of her answers difinitively, just provide my assumptions which were admittedly weak.

I asked why the shelf with the microwave just kind of hung there and did not tie into the forward overhead cabinet. I got a picture and explanation. Written explanation not necessary.

I asked about why the backsplash did not continue behind the entire length of the countertop. I was told that the backsplashes tend to get used as grab handles for stepping up into the van and get broken off. That makes sense. they will seal the cut edges of the base cabinet due to my concerns about water getting splashed around. I think that the customer should be made aware of the situation and then given the option but who wants a bunch of pictures floating around with broken backsplashes, right?

Another question was how the countertop extension is figured into the rest of the countertop. In otherwords, was the extension designed to be an extension with as little gap or noticable seam as possible? This would leave a square edge instead of rounded (bullnose) on both the main countertop and the extension where they abut so it appears monolithic. Or is it another surface that sits next to the main countertop so that the main countertop looks finished without the extension up and in place? SMB's standard practice is to bullnose both tops all around so the main countertop looks finished when the extension is folded. I assume that it is also a bit smaller so that when folded the extension does not stick out past the base cabinet on either side. Completed as shown:

I asked and I got answers. I am a little conflicted about how much information the customer should have and to what extent the customer should be involved in such minutia. It would be nice to know but then it could almost paralize a project. On the other hand a booklet of standard details or a place where you could go to see all of the details, like on the website, would help. This is what the construction industry uses since we don't like to leave much to interpretation because confusion and misunderstanding usually costs someone a lot of money. Pretty much always the architect and contractor.

I think that I will start another thread that could become a sort of a checklist where everyone could post something that they have learned that might not be immediately apparent to the 1st time customer. I have quite a list myself. I wonder if the Admins will allow it?



Chumley 08-17-2012 05:38 PM

Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience
Week 6 is done, woo hoo!

Just feel excited. It's only going to be another 3 to 4 weeks! I hope.

I wanted to say to mmitti that the planning is a lot of fun but the build is (can) be more fun. The anticipation is in high gear.

Of course I can rain on my own parade so I have some puffy clouds in the sky, just enough to make it interesting but with no fear of rain. I get the feeling that if anyone of my particular personality type goes to visit during the build it will be "interesting". I believe that most that go will be very happy with all of the explanations for why things were built the way they were and motor on very happily. I am cursed. I want to know that what is being done is the best (remember the cost for these things and expectation of long term rapture?) and is what I want and expected. Not always so but then almost everything has a perfectly sound explanation that I cannot or do not think is worth arguing over. Amost everything is really really well done. Almost...

As always the folks at SMB West are really nice when I show up. I don't know how often people visit their builds but being only 2 1/2 hours away this is my 5th visit overall. If they are this happy to see me arrive they must surely dance on their desks when I leave...

My Sales/Pm was really happy to take me to the van. I wonder if he is engaged in this thread? If so, hi! :d8: I am enjoying working with him and he does not shy away when I ask him things like "is that glove box door scratched"? Quick response was we'll replace it.

Philosophy point: if you make sure that nothing gets damaged in as tight a space as they work with and everything is as exposed as they need be for the necessary access something has to give. Either you slow productivity by being careful or covering things up repeatedly (also a source of damage) or you be as careful as possible and fix the occasional damage. I don't see much damage so they appear careful but they are keeping production up so it appears that the balance is between productivity and replacing damaged stuff. Works for me. Much better than the go like hell, damage stuff and say, oh well... Like so many other places these days. You know what I'm talking about. From what I have seen they border on "classy" but I'm not willing to say that yet.

So I started the tour with the walk around.

I see that the awning is on and doesn't stand out too much. I like the simple black and wet cement (tonyvoudy's apt description - how's the build?) color combination. The ac unit will be black too so it is very consistent. I think I have 2 of the colors of desert camo going on here. I better get a bright orange banner so if I need to be found I can be seen from the air.

The backup light has been changed to the Rigid Dually 4 lamp and I like it. The doors will have the curtains sliding on tracks which leave the rear window wiewing area much more open but I don't get those fancy "day/night" shades on the back.

Sales/PM tells me that they can't use the blank spaces on the dash to install switching for my backup light and the future driving lights (pre-wired by SMB for my future installation on a TBD nudge bar). You know, I just knew that it would happen. They will make a plate to cover the blank locations on the dash and put a couple toggle or rocker switches (prefer rocker - wouldn't knife switches be cool?). He will review with me before installation. Now I don't have to fill those blanks.

We go to the other side and I see the scratch on the glove box, and it has the lock in it too. Bummer. Oh well, have to keep him on his toes... So I see that wierd floor condition again, where it was cut short and the cabinet is just hanging there. I stopped and looked at another van and the floor on that was cut properly and the cabinet stuck out further into the door opening than mine. So I know that there isn't a "standard" floor template. So I asked, "did someone just screw up?". I know he feels bad and promised I will like it when it's done. Hmmm... boy this is going to take some creativity. You know, there was this point in time where it was noticed and the whole world had not yet been bolted down and it could have been made right. Opportunity missed. This could really determine my demeanor at pickup (refusal?). My wife asked me why I wasn't more upset with this, and a couple other things, since I normally readily fall into making comments about a person I politely rename "idiot". Not here. I see what they're doing and I get the issue with wanting to ask the customer questions and waiting or getting it done. I see the general quality and it is good. So the wife understands. But there are things I will not accept and I think I have found at least one, fingers crossed on the others.

We go inside and it looks nice. The cabinet behind the driver's seat is finished and I pull on the cabinet door. Surprise, it's not a cabinet but a drawer! It's a nice padded drawer and is better than a cabinet since I can use every square inch now. But it was a surprise!?! I like having the upper drawer for cutlery/silverware and the one below for dishes and drinkware but I didn't know it was happening. Maybe I should look at it this way - I did't know how much I would like it.

I didn't take pictures but the refrigerator that I supplied substantailly fit the cabinet they made. Unfortunately the flanges were too wide and they extened beyond the cabinet so it doesn't fit now. There are optional flange kits available but this looks like a hassle. I provided the refer so I will take care of it if it was not a SMB goof. I just want to see the installation instructions first.

I look up and notice that the cabinet upper over the sink is not there. I am told it should be fine because they put in a door trim before that section of cabinet but am confused. In some of their pictures I see the standard cabinet run across and over part of the sliding door opening. In others they have a scaled down cabinet that looks appropriate because it sits back further from the head and is higher up so you get more room to work. But I see both and don't know what I am getting so I ask. He will get back to me. Also, in this area, how do you get light over the cooking area and that counter extension of mine? I asked that question too. Waiting for answers. This goes on my checklist for the future.

General pictures. Looks pretty nice, don't you think?

I saw the shower stall. No that is not an optical illusion. The shower controls are at my ankles. Waiting to hear how that one will work out. My back is trashed so I really can't bend over too well until I loosen up in the morning. The bad knees don't help here either. Hmmm... shower only at night? Hopefully there is a valve on the shower wand. Cute little medicine cabinet in the shower stall, sorry no pictures.

I met Rob of IA and we confirmed the location of the safe. It is now much smaller than originally thought but the cost seems fair and it will be used for something. I think we have the sub-woofer location figured out.

We added a couple of mirrors on the shower door, kind of like the Roadtre, since we did not have one anywhere else in our build. Vanity does not take a vacation.

It just dawned on me. I do not know what type of finish goes on the sliding door and what blinds go on the window. Can someone tell me what I get?

As usual I reviewed my pictures at home and came up with more questions so have sent them off to my SMB Sales/PM guy. I will likely get good responses and we will go on to next week. I plan on visiting again in 2 weeks since things are getting to come to a close quckly.

I will go the day before I am supposed to pick up the completed van and review it to make sure it is truly ready. I prefer not to get into a routine where I have to come back for every little thing over and over. I want it to be visibly acceptable when I pick it up. I only want to come back right away for adjustments and re-training. If I find there are other problems later (hidden or latent I call them) then I will deal with that as they come up but I don't want to drive off with a list of items I know I have to return to have corrected right after I have taken possession. I expect to accept a new vehicle where it is as good as it gets (perfect?) at one point in time and this should be that time. But that's just me.

Thanks for hanging in there and I hope you have another week's worth of build info to help you understand the process, I do.


Chumley 08-20-2012 10:48 PM

Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience
Week 6 or 7?

When I started this thread I wanted it to be a place where someone new to the Sportsmobile experience could get a flavor for what the process of building one might be like. I assumed that my experience would be kind of typical. I also know that I am nit-picky so might find more issues than most. I also work in a similar industry so think I have a feel for the proper level of communication (translation – yell until understood), understand processes, and also what is reasonable to expect and what is ridiculous. I also understand we are all different. My elaborate diagnosis of “objective” observations seem normal to me but probably appear as pontificating at times (well, maybe always) or simply annoying.

Well, nothing prepared me for today’s visit. For some reason my visit last Thursday left me uneasy about several little things. I asked questions but had not received the usual prompt answers. This was explained when I learned that my Sales/PM was off last Friday but there was more to it. I had to see the combination of a series of dimensions for myself so I decided to simply drive the 140 miles and 2 ½ hours to see what was up. I am not usually this reactive and rash (no, seriously – do I appear at all like the spontaneous type?) but several little things bothered me. Most concerning was that the shower enclosure appeared to be more than the 36” long stall identified in the design. That issue stuck in my brain and it hurt, and kind of itched, kind of like a cranial hemorroid. I wondered where the extra room was captured from because this build was so tight and had to be on the mark. I thought that the stretched stall might be pushing up against the adjacent cabinet and into the driver’s seat so it wouldn’t swivel properly. That seat being able to swivel was the reason we gave up a full height closet and moved the shower stall back from right behind the driver’s seat and put a low cabinet in its place. I get there and the seat swivels fine and that is nice. It was something else.

I have to say that I really thought about whether or not to post this but after the conversation I had with my Sales/PM today I almost feel like I have to. We discussed how so many people complain about issues that had never been voiced so the honest offer to correct them is lost. I also get that a lot of people are non-confrontational but somehow something should be said, it really is fair for everyone. So I am telling the full story here so we can follow an honest effort to resolve a real problem.

The sleeping area is 3” shorter than planned (73"). That was a critical dimension that was clearly marked on all of the plans. So how is that a big deal? Well, let’s see. The shower stall has to be disassembled to make it 36” wide, that includes all walls and the ceiling, light fixture, making another medicine cabinet, moving the shower pan, plumbing lines... The cabinet with sink, refer and stove gets moved 3” – this exacerbates the hanging cabinet issue. The 2 ottoman have to be rebuilt and made 3” longer. The upper cabinets that go over the sink and those across the van that die into the shower stall get remade. A couple wall panels get replaced because of holes to be left by the “L” brackets now being relocated. The entire headliner may need to get replaced. Now all of the holes left by those very secure “L” brackets bolted through the floor will have to be filled properly and weather proofed. I will have to find out if the Mercedes factory outer body warranty (5 years/100,000 miles) covers the floor too. I have the extended warranty covering me to 6 years and 125,000 miles too so it has to be done right.

I saw and will also resolve a couple of minor issues too. The microwave shelf was off by ¼” across 20” as measured from the countertop below which I used as a reference point (the reference “level”). It was one of the things that bugged me but couldn’t put a sure finger on it. It is oddly noticable but not obvious until you look at it a bit. The two LED hockey puck lights over the driver’s/passenger seat will get installed. The refer will get installed so it is a flush (semi-flush?) fit and not stick out so far due to the flange kit interfering. It now sticks out well past the countertop edge. Seemingly big issues are now minor and will be taken care of.

As you can imagine I was not really that happy for a while since I had all of those little issues and then now this bombshell. The interior will practically be completely redone. This is pretty incredible. I met Alan Feld and don’t think I made a good first impression. So this is all bad right? Well, it’s not great but I think it will turn out good in the end. If you think I write long posts you should talk with me when I have issues. However, throughout the verbal barrage I never heard ”no” or “only” or “maybe” or “if” or anything else that would qualify as a qualification for the correctness and completeness of the repair work. I have been assured that it will be fixed until no one could tell it was not a new clean build. So often a person or company starts to qualify what the repairs will be like. They already face the prospect of losing a lot of money and many want to minimize that loss. They do it by simply doing less than what is necessary to do it right and turn away from the customer. I am sure you have seen examples for yourself, the negotiations to get you to accept less so they save more. Not these guys. They know they made a mistake and are humble and taking full credit for the goof. No excuses. Everyone makes mistakes, doing it right makes you the most money, fixing the mistake right the first attempt is the next best. Trying to cheap out and not fix it properly the second time is stupid because someone like me (maybe most of us) is going to make them do it a third time, and a fourth, so on until it is right. Suck it up and fix it. You’re gonna lose money so you might as well salvage something, it might as well be a relationship and some reputation. I think they’re doing it but we just got started.

It will take a lot to get me comfortable with a mildly perforated floor, replaced interior finishes, and furniture but I will give them a chance and I will report to you all honestly on how they do.

This is huge, it represents incredible odds and probability. Ah heck, I know nothing about odds or probability except to say that it is incredible odds that I would be writing this thread and all of this would happen to me. I mean, c’mon what the heck!?! I know I said I would take some heat for the betterment of all future SMB customers but this is too freakin’ much! Note: they were honest enough to say that this does happen from time to time but the frequency is something like once every three years. I tend to (want to) believe them but if anybody else has a story like this one plesae feel free to share it here.

You think I was nitpicky before? Now my time and anguish will put a fine point on my observations. I will try very hard to remain objective but if there is any potential for me to pay some price for a latent issue derived from all of this I may become unpleasant, or just talk them to death.

I will say that my Sales/PM guy felt really bad as did Alan Feld, honestly. Heck, I felt bad for them because they have to deal with me in this altered state now as well as put this project in reverse for a while before shifting into drive again. Options? I know I have all of the options I need but what I really want is the van done and right. It will supposedly be done when I had originally been told but I want it done right more than right now. This is also the opportunity to make it better than it was so let's get it all right. God, I wonder what that efficiency expert would have to say…

I can't believe what strange set of feelings prompted my visit today. I would have found out eventually but to be there as it went down was something else. I am not sure where they were when i first walked in since they had at least one guy working in there when I showed up but I don't think they installing anything more at this point. Ouch!

Thanks for tuning in. Time for about 4 fingers of scotch or bourbon, neat.


ecopco 08-20-2012 11:03 PM

My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Sorry to hear about this major setback. I've met Alan several times through a friend of mine who has had 2 SMBs. Alan is a stand up guy and he stands behind his company and their workmanship. Good luck with the rest of the build. Keep the faith!


Chumley 08-21-2012 12:25 PM

Re: My SMB Sprinter Van conversion building experience

Thanks for trying to help settle my shaken, well, confidence in SMB.

I know mistakes happen but after about a day since first finding out about the goof the mind tends to wonder if it will get worse or better first.

The first issue is how Mercedes is going to react and if their demands on the floor patch make it too difficult to even pursue. Could you imagine if we were where there was a lot of seaspray or road salt corrosion? I think they would be excreting masonry units about now. The next thing is me knowing that most people or companies will immediately promise the world when a goof of this magnitude is discovered only to later settle down and backpedal as everything is put back into a normal setting and perspective, kind of like admitting to the police at an accident scene that it was your fault only to recant later. I don't think I see any issues in these guys but it is only day two of the first day of the rest of this build's life.

I expect to know exactly what is going to be replaced and what to expect as far as schedule, it looks like more visits are in order. That little goof on the floor cut short has got to be somehow fixed perfectly in my eyes, especially now. All of the little issues need to be fixed. There is just a lot of little stuff that got magnified and it has all got to get fixed properly. Does this have to be the most perfect van ever built by SMB? NO. But when I see issues in my van and I can walk over to another sample in their display floor and show them how it was done properly there, which I think we could all easily agree was correct, then I expect to see it on my van too. Simple. No unreasonable expectations. Do it all right not just most of it. The magnifying glass is out. I hate to be this way but when something like this happens it just shakes the confidence. They have to get it back in about 4 weeks or the day of preview before pick up will be a long one. That day will be the day that I decide that I drive my dream SMB or? I have told them all of this so this is no secret.

So do I think they will pull it off? Yes. Am I still worried? Yes. Will I accept any compromise? No. Will I move on and forget about all of this if they pull it off? Heck no, I will respect the company more for taking this situation and fixing it when the odds just became stacked against them.

Good luck SMB, good luck me.


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