The $3,000 Sportsmobile project

upcruiser

Perpetual Transient
Long time Expo member but have been on hiatus for a few years and doing a bit of a soft reentry. As the title states I just picked up a 2000 7.3 Sportsmobile with a Quigley Conversion, penthouse top and RB50 layout. It has 140,000 miles on the clock, and needs a bit of love. The known issues are an occasional death wobble under certain circumstances, needs new rotors all the way around, shocks, front heat is stuck on defrost, the Espar Airtronic furnace is not working but a new unit in the box came with, and lastly the body is rusty. The rockers are pretty bad and some of the door bottoms as well. Overall though the truck runs and drives well. I plan to focus on getting the mechanicals back in good order, put some new tires on it, then have the bodywork professionally done. I thought it might be fun to share the process here and also gleem a little insight and advice from the experts.

I have a wife, a 6 year old, a 4 year old, and an 11 month old baby currently and am looking to use this for cross continent trips as well as mountain bike base camping. We had been running Land Cruisers it as we kept adding kids we had to tweak things to a Suburban, then more recently been using a travel trailer for basecamps for our bike and cross country travels. I was contemplating putting a 4 person RTT on our 2500 Suburban but then I came into this van which I think could work pretty well with some tweaks.

I will attach some pictures and post more info here as I go along.5FCDDA81-8FBB-4C83-A8E8-B72C56FDAD03.jpegD75636C5-6FA3-46EF-B21D-52A6E30C30BE.jpegE4362B01-15F6-4351-A816-72AF4DD1E6B9.jpeg4060E4F4-23C1-406A-9D85-71D623141C28.jpegF8F89C97-E903-464E-A460-8E9FCAEDF1E2.jpeg3F664192-29B9-484A-AAC7-735748A1E603.jpegC8699D08-BB6C-4504-A768-24E5307A3C61.jpeg9FBCB8E6-F48C-4496-A72D-2D8C6B809869.jpeg
 
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marret

Active member
Looks like a great deal. Congrats.

Not much activity in this forum. Most just post in the 4wd (and 2wd) Camper Van forum. You might consider Sportsmobile Forum. It is an active and helpful site, if you are not familiar.
 

upcruiser

Perpetual Transient
Looks like a great deal. Congrats.

Not much activity in this forum. Most just post in the 4wd (and 2wd) Camper Van forum. You might consider Sportsmobile Forum. It is an active and helpful site, if you are not familiar.
Thanks, yeah good call, I guess there are some new sub forums I need to check out. I have been browsing the Sportsmobile forum for info already, still need to register and become a member. Just starting the research phase of this whole thing. Our 4wd travel rugs have always been pretty simple setups with modular camp systems we could use between vehicles. I have a lot of learning to do in the systems of these trucks.
 

brushogger

Explorer
Thats a great deal! Fixing severe rust can be a #$%&!. It might be easier to find a similar rust free van, and swap over the SMB and 4wd parts. The value would jump dramatically! Rust is the issue no one wants to deal with.
 

upcruiser

Perpetual Transient
Thats a great deal! Fixing severe rust can be a #$%&!. It might be easier to find a similar rust free van, and swap over the SMB and 4wd parts. The value would jump dramatically! Rust is the issue no one wants to deal with.
Yeah, I am going to try to source replacement doors to start and I have a lead on a local guy who might be willing to tackle the rockers on it. Not looking to make it perfect but I detest rust.... goal is sto get it mechanically sound and presentable, might get the bodywork done, get it into primer then do something fun with my boys like snow camo it or something. If it was super nice I would be to nervous pinstriping or damaging the van using it. I want something that we aren’t afraid to use and get it a little dirty along the way. This is the perfect candidate.
 

upcruiser

Perpetual Transient
Are you saying you bought that for 3k?
Yep, from the original owner. He’s a good buddy and just replaced it with a Winnebago Revo. He took this thing all over the place including Alaska multiple times and various forays into Mexico. Hoping to dial it in so our family of 5 can make it work.
 

obselesc

Member
Jealous of this score! You mentioned a death wobble and needing new rotors, but we had some death wobble that only occurred while breaking and new pads/rotors took care of it. Not sure if that is the wobble you're experiencing.
 

upcruiser

Perpetual Transient
Jealous of this score! You mentioned a death wobble and needing new rotors, but we had some death wobble that only occurred while breaking and new pads/rotors took care of it. Not sure if that is the wobble you're experiencing.
So I think from sitting the rotors got very pitted, I am planning to replace them all but I wasn’t getting the brake pulsing of warped rotors. It was more like if I was decelerating at over 55 mph and I applied the brakes lightly it would induce some good shaking in the front end and steering wheel. If I downshift or steer to one direction or the other it stops. If continuing to brake and try to keep it straight, the instinctive urge, it keeps going. The seller told me it’s just the steering stabilizer and that had that same symptom awhile back and a new stabilizer solved it. I imagine there is probably more to it.

I emailed Quigley the VIN number and 24 hours later they gave me a descryof the build and parts numbers needed to replace shocks, stabilizer, and rotors. Rotors are t cheap, they customize their own to fit the Dana 60 I learned and are $155 a piece. They also gave me the bolstering shick replacement part number too since I wanted to upgrade from the stock Monroe’s.

Just had new wheels and tires arrive. Going to get those mounted up and will share a picture. Going to start ordering parts for the brakes and front end soon.

Just said good by to my 80 series Land Cruiser yesterday that I have had for 18 years... selling our 2500 Suburban shortly, putting the funds towards this build. First time not having 1 or more Land Cruisers in 22 years... This van should suit us better so no regrets
 

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JPR4LFE

Adventurer
The seller told me it’s just the steering stabilizer and that had that same symptom awhile back and a new stabilizer solved it. I imagine there is probably more to it.
Good score on the van, I am super jealous! Agreed on the stabilizer though, a worn stabilizer should never be the 'cause' of death wobble, but a good one may mask the symptoms for a while. In any Solid Front Axle vehicle I have owned, it is likely a culmination of several worn components. Have someone turn the steering wheel back and forth and look at every joint for play. Ball joints, track bar, drag link/tierods, control arms, or any combination of the above. If there are components that have obvious play, start there first. A good tire shop may also be able to help Identify which components are worn.
 

obselesc

Member
So I think from sitting the rotors got very pitted, I am planning to replace them all but I wasn’t getting the brake pulsing of warped rotors. It was more like if I was decelerating at over 55 mph and I applied the brakes lightly it would induce some good shaking in the front end and steering wheel. If I downshift or steer to one direction or the other it stops. If continuing to brake and try to keep it straight, the instinctive urge, it keeps going. The seller told me it’s just the steering stabilizer and that had that same symptom awhile back and a new stabilizer solved it. I imagine there is probably more to it.

I emailed Quigley the VIN number and 24 hours later they gave me a descryof the build and parts numbers needed to replace shocks, stabilizer, and rotors. Rotors are t cheap, they customize their own to fit the Dana 60 I learned and are $155 a piece. They also gave me the bolstering shick replacement part number too since I wanted to upgrade from the stock Monroe’s.

Just had new wheels and tires arrive. Going to get those mounted up and will share a picture. Going to start ordering parts for the brakes and front end soon.

Just said good by to my 80 series Land Cruiser yesterday that I have had for 18 years... selling our 2500 Suburban shortly, putting the funds towards this build. First time not having 1 or more Land Cruisers in 22 years... This van should suit us better so no regrets

Sounds pretty similar to my experience to be honest. We did the steering stabilizer as well as a track bar bushing at first, but still had a good shake specifically when braking while going downhill. The new front rotors ultimately got rid of it. I felt similarly about those rotors, especially since we were travelling at the time and didn't want to wait for parts to be shipped. With the help of a great mechanic we found out that we could use a rotor spec'd for old chevy trucks which we could get at Napa! I had heard of this recommendation previously but could never find the exact details, anyways check this napa pn out: NB 4885843

Oh and I feel your pain, I sold my '89 Defender 90 which was my baby to fund our van...it was definitely the right decision though
 

upcruiser

Perpetual Transient
Ok, that makes sense as the list I received from Wuigly stated the the D60 was from an 86 Chevy K30 application though right after that they state that I need their specific rotors for the front. Will investigate that part number. Much appreciated!
 
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upcruiser

Perpetual Transient
Ok so winter came in a big way here already... since we just moved here this summer I have been building some outbuildings and planning to build a barn and shop in the spring. In the meantime I am stuck with no indoor place to work on stuff. That means I am probably just going to take the van to someone who can punch out the front end work. Also means messing with the new heater install and interior stuff will have to wait till spring. We just got 30” of snow on Tuesday and it’s been a bit unreal.... also got the new wheels and tires mounted up. 285/75/16 KO2’s with the 3 peaks rating. Can’t wait to throw them on... here are some pics of them plus the snowmageddon 😆F6E023AB-F9DA-48C3-9C6D-AF5D9B2053E8.jpegD07AEB9D-4C56-47F3-A791-47398658CE5A.jpeg
 

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vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
Do an online search and also here on this forum.

The rotors sold by Quigley have a small amount of very easy machining to make them work. U can have this done at any local machine shop for much less money when purchasing he rotors yourself and having them machined. Some folks have done the work themselves.

Check the Quigley Facebook group also for more information on how to get much cheaper brake rotor replacements.
 
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