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Old 05-01-2019, 11:30 PM   #1
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Default Sportsmobile build

Looking into a Sportsmobile build. Has anyone out there had any good or bad experience with them? I sure would appreciate any information
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Old 05-08-2019, 07:14 PM   #2
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All I can say is, for the love of God, don't ask this question on the Sportsmobile forum website itself. I got reamed over there a year ago when I asked the same thing & dared mention people who had less than an ecstatic experience with the company. They are True Believers over there...

From what I gather, the Calif. location is the most back-logged and seemed to have the most complaints. The Indiana location got the most kudos, tho' they appear to be the most old-school when it comes to features. Austin, TX had the fewest number of reviews, but I don't recall hearing anything esp. bad about them.
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Old 05-08-2019, 07:26 PM   #3
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I visited the Indiana shop and was not impressed at all. Not at all. Doesn’t even compare to the video on the west coast shop. I can’t believe they are both related businesses
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:26 PM   #4
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West is actually franchise

Texas was/is the original owner of sportsmoble north.

sportsmobile north which is the original just plain sportsmobile is /was owned by someone else when original went to texas.

Sportsmobile Vegas is a franchise.
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Old 05-09-2019, 01:25 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nupe224 View Post
I visited the Indiana shop and was not impressed at all. Doesn’t even compare to the video on the west coast shop.
Sportsmobile North (Indiana) is old school for sure. They're a small shop that produces traditional units with excellent handiwork and great customer support. I don't think I've ever heard of a serious customer problem originating from the Indiana plant.

SMB West in California produces far more units and specializes in more exotic 4x4 rigs and technology. West is definitely more impressive in scale and technology, but they've also had a few troublesome rigs and unsatisfied customers. Perhaps that's just the result of a larger shop, more complicated products, and a less stable workforce.

Sportsmobile Indiana and Texas plants are under the same ownership (at least when we bought) and trace their heritage back to the original Sportsmobile operation. Sportsmobile West has separate and more recent ownership, and also more aggressive marketing and growth targets. SMB Nevada is an offshoot of SMB West to avoid tax complications from selling California produced units to out-of-state customers (previously they hired brokers to drive them across the state line for delivery).
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Old 05-14-2019, 03:07 PM   #6
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Nupe

If the east coast works for you, you may want to check out Off Grid Adventure Vans in MD. Paid them a visit about a month ago to have them estimate some mods on my Roadtrek. They had just moved into their new expanded shop. Very nice and welcoming. Looks like they do quality builds. They focus on Promasters but you can bring them any kind of van. They hold open houses occasionally.
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Old 05-17-2019, 03:10 PM   #7
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Just for the record, Sportsmobile North did a great job on my van. Nancy, Jim and the gang there were awesome to work with. They are a small hometown shop (more like a family than a business). This is a good thing in the modern world. Their indoor working area holds 2-3 vans with a small crew of longtime and experienced workers on each van. When you call their phone number, Nancy picks up the phone directly and takes care of any questions and concerns. When I would email her, I usually got a response back within an hour. We designed my whole van by phone and email. Nancy and Jim saved me from many mistakes in the design process with their many years of experience.

I bought my van from my local Freightliner dealer and brought it to them. They had no problem with me buying the van locally instead of from them. When I delivered and picked up the completed van, Nancy herself drove me to the nearest airport and arranged hotels and transportation for me. The build quality of the van exceeded my expectations. The fit and finish is very good. Thy did a great job. Everything has worked perfect now for about 2 years. I haven't had to do any repairs whatsoever, certainly nothing based on poor initial workmanship. Their waiting list was about 1 year when I placed my order and the time to completion was very close to what I was initially told. It helped that I bought my van myself so I wasn't dependent on Mercedes delays. The price that I paid was exactly what I was initially quoted based on my choices. There were no surprises whatsoever.

I would give Sportsmobile North the highest possible rating and recommendation. If and when I buy a new Class B van to replace this one, I will definitely go back to Sportsmobile North. It wouldn't even enter my mind to go elsewhere.
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Old 05-24-2019, 05:53 PM   #8
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jrobe, Thanks for the in-depth review. It lines up with pretty much everything I've heard about the Indiana location.

Would you know if "old school" there extends to not much experience with lithium batteries, underhood generators, solar, and/or compressor fridges ? Any idea if those things are inside their comfort zone ?
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:26 PM   #9
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Sportsmobile North did a great job installing my second alternator ("underwood generator"), compressor refrigerator, Espar diesel furnace (cleverly mounted under the passenger seat to save space), and a satellite television and sound system.

The would have gladly installed solar panels for me which I declined. It takes very little daily driving for me with my second alternator to exceed the charging capacity of solar panels even on a sunny day. Our use of the van easily includes this amount of daily driving.

I also did not choose to add lithium batteries 2-3 years ago when we designed and built our van. I am pretty sure that they would have offered a lithium option back then and certainly must now. As I recall, they use the expertise of the Texas plant for their lithium setups. I thought that I might someday spend the considerable money to upgrade to lithium but, now after 2 years, I have no desire to do this. We have never exceeded our current AGM battery capacity, have never needed to idle the Sprinter van for battery charging and have never felt the need for limited battery powered air conditioning based on our usage. Again we drive at least 30 minutes daily which recharges our battery bank from the second alternator. We certainly have never needed a gas or propane generator although they would have installed this.

There was nothing else that we encountered where Sportsmobile North didn't have the appropriate expertise.
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