By Dave Boyer
Thank you for joining this ongoing article.
In the past postings (parts 1-6), I have gone over the purchase of a recreational vehicle I acquired a few years back called a Sportsmobile. The last post dealt with models and designs. I’m sticking to SMB 2005 brochure and the following article will cover some of the basic inside options such as the floorboard, window options, seat coverings and colors.
Please remember these are my choices and my opinions. I have no affiliations with the Sportsmobile Corporation other than being an owner of a Sportsmobile vehicle. Also be aware that the brochure has been upgraded since 2005 and many of the options have changed.
The inside floor board comes in a few styles. I asked for the marine grade vinyl because it looked like it could take abuse over the standard vinyl floor. After seeing how it’s applied, I now think they will all wear to some extent and it would be difficult for me to say which is more durable.
SMB now offers some flooring that I would prefer over my choice in late 05. As I said, I really can’t comment how any of these choices will hold up to traffic, but the diamond plate floor feels very heavy duty and I like the looks.
The Loncoin seen here in the picture below seems to be very popular with many new buyers.
Some people use the vinyl floors as the only surface to walk on and colors can be matched to compliment the inside of the van. But I had plans to put in the pre-cut carpet option which would keep the wear spots to a minimum, add cushion and help in controlling the floor temperature. At around $220.00 dollars, the pre-cut carpet overlay for the EB-50 fits well, is easily removable, and allows you to shake off all the debris you track in. The Marine Grade vinyl is rough and looks like it would keep the carpet from sliding around, but I’m not sure how the other floors will react to the carpet overlay.
Later I found a cheaper rug to throw over the SMB carpet. This might be overkill but if it gets stained, all I have to do is run down and buy a new one. Some of the newer floors definitely look like they would be easier to clean than the Marine grade vinyl. The Carpet Overlay was expensive but if you’re handy, a cheap throw rug from Wal-Mart fits pretty well in the EB-50. One thing I highly recommend is to ask SMB to add as much insulation under the floor board as possible. My extra rug helps a bit, but additional insulation below the floor board would keep the inside of the van cooler in summer. Insulation is an important issue that I will go over in more detail later. SMB has taken a more pro-active approach toward the issue of extreme temperatures which was mostly due to customer input. I was surprised how warm the floorboard got after a long drive. It only took a few trips before I realized what others were talking about and decided to add another layer of carpet. More carpet also helped while kneeling inside the vehicle with the top down, something unavoidable for me. Make sure the lower cabinets will still open if you add an extra carpet. The cheap carpet has saved me from the crews tracking in grease, silicone, and other junk that will stain the carpet overlay. I’ve already tossed one cheap carpet.
Windows and window accessories.
Window shades keep prying eyes out, but the Day/Nite shades do not completely block the entire window.
These “accordion style” pull down type shades travel on vertical strings and have two different modes; a blocking mode as shown in the above image and a sheen mode seen below.
Too bad they can’t cover the sides of the windows. I don’t care because I usually put in some reflecting material cut to the window size anyway.
This helps keep out heat and cold, plus if cut correctly it will completely cover the windows. The window shades (fabric curtain types) look to old fashion for my tastes. I passed by on this option even though I believe these were a standard no cost item. It is important that the inside stays hidden when the rig sits. Most people have no idea what is in the van, and that’s a good thing when it comes to theft. I would rather have the windows covered and a sticker that indicates there is an alarm on board over an uncovered window that shows an alarm light. On the other hand, the sight of an active alarm plus a “Club” device on the steering wheel might deflect would-be thieves. A broken window might be more costly than stuff like clothing, utensils, and the typical junk that might be stolen from an un-loaded van. The day portion of these shades will let in light, which allows you to look out, while making it very difficult to see in as shown in the image below.
These work quite well and help to maintain daytime privacy while allowing you to see what’s going on outside. They’re great at the beach. You can gawk all day.
One problem the Day/Nite shades can have is with the strings breaking. Vibration can wear on the string but so far I have had no problems to date. My conversion also came with a cloth privacy curtain that snaps to the windshield but I rarely use it.
I keep Reflectix in the windows religiously while the van is not in use, and keep the Day/Nite shades up to help keep their shape. The reflectix protects them from sunlight. Too bad I had to give up the idea of buying a home with a 4 car garage and RV section, but then I wouldn’t be able to afford the Sportsmobile. PRIORITIES!
There are options for different styles of windows, tints, and placement. Just beware that a few people have had problems by asking to have a window installed a unique spot. Once the hole is cut, that’s it. The window in the next image offers some added ventilation but this particular style doesn’t completely seal out all insects when open. Actually most of the windows do more than adequate toward stopping most flying pests but the dreaded “No See-Um’s” can get through screens, especially the penthouse screens. I hope I never have to deal with these tiny bugs.
This image shows the tint that SMB recommended and although difficult to see, the picture below shows the mechanism that not only opens and closes the window but the area where insects can enter.
Also, some feel claustrophobic without windows on all sides while sitting in the back but I don’t have a problem with this. My only complaint with the EB/50 passenger side window I have is that the opening knob is not accessible from the entry doors. Having to climb back in to open and close it is a pain.
Concerning the tinting of the windows, if you add a dark tint the rear windows on the back doors, the light from headlights behind you will keep the auto-dimming rearview mirror from doing its job unless the lights are unusually bright. The “safety mirror” is expensive and I would have liked to have full use of it. Speaking of cost, I was surprised that I had to pay for the window screens which are necessary to keep insects out. You would think these would be a standard item. Make sure they fit snug or you will hear an annoying rattle while driving.
Interior colors, bed and seats coverings.
I opted for leather seats when I bought my van. They are more work to maintain but I like the looks of leather.
My seats are a solid color but the picture above shows a multi color pattern. I also figured that a spill on the sofa would be easier to clean up on leather. Who wants to sit were the Koolaid spilled or even worse, where beer or wine soaked into a fabric seat But SMB offers a simulated leather product made of a vinyl that is worth looking into.
This stuff is very durable from what I have been told. It feels extremely soft to the touch and is thinner than the standard leather SMB offers, but if it stands up as well as advertised, this would have been on my list.
The multi colored patterns are striking IMO and with less maintenance, it’s a good choice.
The only down side I can see is it’s priced about the same as real leather. Another way to go is to look into seat covers similar to the types Cabelas offers. These can be replaced if something bad happens. Still, I do see a lot of fabric seats coming off the line. Definitely nothing wrong with that. Fabric also wears well these days. At least you won’t be screaming bloody hell like when you jump in on a hot leather seat while wearing shorts on a 100 degree day. On the flip side, vinyl and leather and can be cold to sleep on, but a blanket or Therm-A-Rest works OK. The upper penthouse bed is fabric and I prefer this because it’s lighter and warmer.
I also ordered the fully electric seat with the heater and lumbar support. The heater is really nice. In very cold climates, leather seats can be a problem when you climb in, but I usually don’t get in colder weather than 15 degrees around here. When camping, the furnace keeps everything reasonably warm inside, but the seat heater is worth its weight in gold if your back is in bad shape. The lumbar support and electric seat help during long rides reducing fatigue and the seat heater knocks off the chill while driving.
You can pick out a couple of different colors for the cabinets, and it looks like I had to pay extra for the gray and white. Almond was also another color on the list. Lately I have seen some very dark charcoal cabinets that look great. Wood grain type cabinets remind me of the traditional looks of the older campers of the past. Kind of cool, but I preferred white and gray. It seems the gray or brown should also be a standard item considering most vans utilize these colors. Maybe this has changed because I rarely see vans with the wood grain cabinets coming off the line. As far as other colors I never asked, so check with SMB. One thing I found is it’s a good idea to keep soft non-marking items against the cabinets. I had some boots and a bag roll over and mark up one door. The white really show marks. I have been told that a gum eraser cleans them up good. I always take care while fumbling around inside the van.
The next post will go over my decision on the refrigerator and the water system. Thanks for following the special vehicles section on Autoramblings.com