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Michael have you tried to use Intersection curves. Using them you may not need to use convert entities. It should be under Tools > Sketch Tools
You could also try, under Tools > Spline Tools > Fit Spline, window select all entities in the sketch that you're interested in and SolidWorks will lay a spline on top of them, even bridging small gaps if I am not mistaking - that would be the interesting bit for you here.
the first thing i would try is to knit all the surfaces together, then you should be able to to slect an open loop. if you can not get it into one knitted surface try to make a couple smaller ones.
My next question would be is? what cad system are they making the files from.
because that might explain why you are getting so many sliver faces or they are not the greatest modelers. if thats the case you'll always be fighting this problem.
crappy models = crappy exports!!!