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  1. #1
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    Buying A New Mercedes Sprinter Van. Advice on build configuration?

    The girlfriend and I will be giving the Van Life a go starting mid June. After looking at available models from a couple different makers we have settled on a custom built Mercedes Benz Sprinter Cargo Van from the factory. We did give the Ford Transit a good look and were quoted a great price on a custom build in the largest available model but we decided it just wasn't big enough for us and the three dogs. We intend to live in the van for a minimum of 4 months traveling the West Coast to various destinations.

    - We are sure we are getting a 170" wheel base with the high roof.

    I have plenty of other questions and stuff I need to figure out but really looking for some input on these three questions right now.

    1.) Not sure whether or not to go with the Extended Body. (Leaning towards EB)

    - it does offer an additional 15" of interior cargo length but I'm wondering how much the extra overall length (289.8" vs 274.1") will hamper parking in cities and turning around in smaller trailheads or on logging road turnouts. Also will the extra weight of the EB have a real effect on climbing ability or MPG?

    2.) 4 Cylinder or 6 Cylinder (Want the 4x4 6 cylinder but the wait is too long...)

    4 cylinder-

    265 lb-ft of torque at 1,400 rpm
    No turbo lag with 2-stage turbochargers
    7-speed 7G-TRONIC transmission with 2 overdrive gears
    Emissions EPA14/CARB certified

    "Effortlessly combining the benefits of two-stage turbocharged power, 265 lb-ft of torque, diesel fuel economy and durability in one compact package, the impressive 4-cylinder powertrain with 7-speed 7G-TRONIC transmission offers you up to 18% greater fuel efficiency, standard on all Sprinter Van models."

    6 cylinder-

    188 hp at 3,800 rpm
    2,987 cc displacement
    Electronically controlled direct injection
    5-speed automatic transmission

    "Offering 325 lb-ft of turbocharged torque across a broad rpm range, the 6-cylinder diesel engine/5-speed automatic transmission option delivers greater horsepower. With peak torque coming in at a low rpm, the V6 engine gives you ample pulling power when the light turns green, when merging onto a highway, and especially under a load - precisely when it matters most."

    - Certainly would appreciate the the extra MPG (purported to be about 24 vs 20) of the 4 but I also understand the potential benefits of the 6...

    3.) Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (9990 or 10140 super single)

    - Besides gaining roughly 280lbs of additional max payload capacity what else are the ramifications of moving to the the 10140lb "super single" from the 9990lb GVWR.


    The website is http://www.mbvans.com/sprinter/comme...vans/cargo-van

    Play around with the build options and let me know what you would do...

    Thanks in advance for any input! Hoping to place an order by Feb 5th.
    Last edited by CelebratedSkier; 01-24-2017 at 11:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    Parking a 170 inch wheelbase will already be a pain in the ass in congested areas but it sounds like any extra space would be used. Regarding point three, some states require weighted tags and registration on trucks that break the 10,000 pound GVWR. Vans may or may not be similar.

  3. #3
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    Oct 2016
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    Thanks, I thought there was something about the 10K threshold. This will be registered in Oregon so I'll need to look into that. Leaning towards the EB just because it's already going to be a 170" base regardless, which will suck. Not sure if the extra length will add that much more suck...

  4. #4
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    There are 170 4x4 6 cylinders on the Freightliner lot here in SLC. What is it you need from the factory that is a deal breaker? They bring them in specially to unfit.

    PM me, we are having one built by Tourig starting in march
    I rip the groomed on tele gear

  5. #5
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    Not sure I get your Transit comment. There are 156 and 178 inch WB versions in Addn to the short WB diesel I have. Three roof heights. You could get all the space you wanted.

    The sprinter community doesn't like the 5 spd tranny much. Unfortunately the 7 spd doesn't work with the V6.

    After 3 months of research I bought the Transit diesel because of the overall advantages over the Sprinter. The I5 engine has similar power/torque to Sprinter V6 but 22-24 mpg and comes with the legendarily bulletproof Ford 6 spd heavy duty transmission.

    I run aggressive tread BFG ko2s and never get less than 21; typically 22 mpg mixed driving.

    Rear overhang sucks if you ever get off highways.
    Last edited by frorider; 01-25-2017 at 09:25 AM.

  6. #6
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    Although Sprinter has some disadvantages:
    - history of $$$ repair issues with DPF system
    - warranty voided if > 5% biofuel
    - hard to find experienced dealer service when you're far from a major city
    - other issues you can find on forums

    ...the Sprinter's new crosswind stability system is a big plus if you decide to get a long overhang configuration. Also stock they can take a pretty big tires, whereas I'll have to wait until I get the 2 or 4 inch lift as part of the 4WD conversion.

    http://www.caranddriver.com/comparis...omparison-test

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by frorider View Post
    Although Sprinter has some disadvantages:

    - warranty voided if > 5% biofuel
    That's the deal breaker. Too easy for them to claim improper fuel usage, especially in corn states.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by frorider View Post

    I run aggressive tread big ko2s and never get less than 21; typically 22 mpg mixed driving.
    Are you running the standard 16" tires, or did you upgrade the wheels and tires? That's the one thing I can't stand about my Transit, the wheels are so tiny... it looks like there's plenty of room to upsize in those wheel wells.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shredhead View Post
    That's the deal breaker. Too easy for them to claim improper fuel usage, especially in corn states.
    Yeah and on top of that, a lot of stations have B20 but don't have any signage indicating that fact.

  10. #10
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    Subscribed. A good friend is looking to get one as well within the next year or so.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by smmokan View Post
    Are you running the standard 16" tires, or did you upgrade the wheels and tires? That's the one thing I can't stand about my Transit, the wheels are so tiny... it looks like there's plenty of room to upsize in those wheel wells.
    My first upgrade was 225 75r16 mud/snow tires, with a diameter of 29.5 inches I think. I could fit larger tires but these are ok for now. Once I get the 2" lift, I'll go to 31" approx. and still have chain clearance on rear.

    Ford is selling over 60k transits / month. 10X Sprinter sales. The aftermarket for this van will get hudge. Mercedes is bummed they are losing the market they created in the US.

  12. #12
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    Newberg ford in oregon has a bunch of new ford transit 4x4 conversions in stock. I think they do quigley conversions. They will cost you though

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by frorider View Post
    My first upgrade was 225 75r16 mud/snow tires, with a diameter of 29.5 inches I think. I could fit larger tires but these are ok for now. Once I get the 2" lift, I'll go to 31" approx. and still have chain clearance on rear.

    Ford is selling over 60k transits / month. 10X Sprinter sales. The aftermarket for this van will get hudge. Mercedes is bummed they are losing the market they created in the US.
    Does the aftermarket offer a final drive suited to bigger tires?

  14. #14
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    What rear end does a Transit have?

    I know some locals near me that have the van's for work, and one of them told me he went with a Transit due to the previous repair and service costs of his last Sprinter.

  15. #15
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    Consider a low mileage Mercedes Class B that's already tricked out? Raodtrek, Winnebago. There's a lot of them with really low mileage. Those things were $130k new.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by frorider View Post
    Not sure I get your Transit comment. There are 156 and 178 inch WB versions in Addn to the short WB diesel I have. Three roof heights. You could get all the space you wanted.

    The sprinter community doesn't like the 5 spd tranny much. Unfortunately the 7 spd doesn't work with the V6.

    After 3 months of research I bought the Transit diesel because of the overall advantages over the Sprinter. The I5 engine has similar power/torque to Sprinter V6 but 22-24 mpg and comes with the legendarily bulletproof Ford 6 spd heavy duty transmission.

    I run aggressive tread BFG ko2s and never get less than 21; typically 22 mpg mixed driving.

    Rear overhang sucks if you ever get off highways.
    Where did you get those wheel base numbers for Transit? Aren't they only offered in 130" or 148"? As far as I can tell the biggest Transit has 12" less conversion space length than the Long Body Sprinter, and 27" less than the EB sprinter.

  17. #17
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    Yup that long WB is for the chassis cab version, not the std van. There are converters building those into motor homes.

    148" WB with extra overhang is biggest Transit unibody van. 264" total length. That's 10" shorter than biggest Sprinter I was aware of in 2015. But it looks like they have an even longer one. I can't imagine driving those on USFS roads. YMMV. I roadtrip with my GF and one dog, 2 mtn bikes, full kitchen, and ski gear in a 130 WB Transit but our shower is external. Sounds like you want a motor home experience that stays near hiways...which is why I mentioned chassis cab transit so you could avoid the Sprinter power train issues.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyg82 View Post
    What rear end does a Transit have?

    I know some locals near me that have the van's for work, and one of them told me he went with a Transit due to the previous repair and service costs of his last Sprinter.
    Rear end is a standard Stirling unit, 9.75" 34 spline as I recall. ARB lockers, Detroit lsd, etc fit directly. Same rear end as Ford Raptor.

  19. #19
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    frorider, tell me more about the lift and conversion, seems you edited some info out about that on your OP...

    Actually, I'm pretty intrigued about your whole setup.

    Or for anybody else, what's involved (including costwise, approximately) on a Transit 4x4 convo?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by klauss View Post
    Newberg ford in oregon has a bunch of new ford transit 4x4 conversions in stock. I think they do quigley conversions. They will cost you though
    It's a Quadvan conversion, not Quigley. I'm in line to get the second (or revised) version of the Quadvan conversion.

  21. #21
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    Cost for quigley or Quadvan conversion is $12k. But it significantly increases resale value, so....

  22. #22
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    I'm in regular contact with Quadvan but I'm not sure how many of the details I know are public yet.

  23. #23
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    i went the craigslist route of affordable.................Click image for larger version. 

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    if its got tits or wheels...it will give you trouble..

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mazderati View Post
    Does the aftermarket offer a final drive suited to bigger tires?
    In case my comment about it using the Raptor rear end wasn't clear, the transit overlaps with std ford components so any gearing you want is easy and cheap. My diesel has plenty of torque, so I went up to 3.31 to make sure I could run 32s down the road. But 3.56, 3.73, 4.10....etc...it's all cheap and available.

    My front end conversion will be mostly F150 parts. NA's #1 selling vehicle. Easy to get worked on in bumfuck Idaho or BC or wherever.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuanworm View Post
    i went the craigslist route of affordable.................Click image for larger version. 

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    Wife and I did that 10 years ago. Lived in it for about 10 months including 2 in Mexico. Best thing we ever did, quitting the job, selling the house and climbing full time.
    By the end though, I would have paid a million bucks for something I could stand up in. It got to where my back would start hurting as I walked toward the van.
    If you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it tubeless, I will. I got spare time.

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