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Off-Road Camper Van
The Sportsmobile 4x4 is a camper van conversion by Sportsmobile West that could well be the ultimate in off road motorized campers.
When I got the opportunity to try one out, I have to admit, I had never even heard of the Sportsmobile until my son called and said he was coming to visit me in his new Sportsmobile conversion van.
My first impression was quite different from what I’d imagined the van to look like.
Instead of a regular van with four-wheel drive and some camper amenities, this thing appeared huge, very high off the ground “lifted”, and rugged looking to boot.
This particular conversion was the Ford E350 one ton, extended van, with the Power Stroke 6.0L turbo diesel and 5-speed automatic transmission.
Also standard, are new steering components from the box down with tighter turning radius, beefy leaf springs, large brakes, 46 gallon fuel tank. You have a choice of open, limited slip, or locking differentials, manual locking hubs, and the list goes on.
Off Road Performance
We were anxious to take the Sportsmobile off road, so we left the house, turned onto Sunrise Pass Road for a jaunt up into the Pinenut Mountains. The first thing I noticed was that the front seats’ leather was extra firm, but felt better as time went on.
The other thing, the initial ride was very harsh, even on the graded dirt road. My daughter-in-law, riding in the back, kept hitting her head on the ceiling.
Off Road Ride
I suggested that we air down the tires. After lowering the pressure from 55 psi all-around to 38 psi in the front and down to 40 psi rear, the ride was actually very comfortable, even when we drove some rocky, rutted jeep trails.
When it comes time to air back up, the on-board air compressor also comes in very handy.
This Sportsmobile 4x4 is equipped with the BF Goodrich 16”, T/A all terrain tires, mounted on 16“ aluminum wheels. A good choice for this type of rig that spends most of its time on the highway, but requires a good off road tire with strong side-walls for off road travel.
We didn’t do any extreme 4-wheeling, but did put the rig through its paces on some moderate 4x4 trails. From inside the cab, the Sportsmobile 4x4 appears much wider than it really is, and not able to fit between normal obstacles.
In fact, it’s really no wider than a standard 4x4 pickup and does quite well on narrow trails, even though the wheel base is slightly wider and longer than stock.
Road clearance is excellent at 16.5 inches, even better than most lifted trucks due to the rearrangement of some of the suspension components.
You do have to watch the overall height for clearance under tree branches. The vehicle length in tight turns and switchbacks is a consideration, too. The winch is built in behind the rugged front bumper, out of the way until you need it. The GVR is 9,500 lbs. and it easily tows a 10,000 lb. trailer.
I was especially impressed with the quality of the
camper interior during rough 4-wheeling. The cabinetry and fixtures didn’t rattle and doors and drawers stayed shut, even in rocky, off-camber conditions. The front and rear bumpers and guards didn’t even rattle. As a matter of fact, the off road ride was extremely quiet in all respects. The Sportsmobile 4x4 is a very tight package all around.
The interior setup is roomy and includes everything you might need for comfortable off road camping.
Some features include; a 2-burner stove, 3-way refrigerator, microwave, sofa, swiveling front captains chairs, storage cabinets everywhere, stowable table, porta-potty, exterior shower, holding tanks, power inverter and a penthouse roof extension with sleeping quarters and roof rack.
On the outside, there’s an awning and outside shower. Other options can include an enclosed bath with shower, generator and sleeping accommodations for up to five. There is practically no limit to what can be done to customize the Sportsmobile 4x4 van.
I was quite impressed with the Sportsmobile in all respects; ride, overall comfort, 4x4 capability and, especially, the quality and workmanship. So, if you have $70,000 or more (over $100,000 for this unit) to spend on a first rate 4x4 camper van conversion, this is the one to consider.
It is eally impossible to cover all the features and options in this short article, so to learn more go to
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