1. Attention: We have put together a thread with tips and a tutorial video to help with using the new software. Please take a moment to check out the thread here: Trapshooters.com Tutorial & Help Video.
    Dismiss Notice

Sprinter Conversion van?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by 635 G, Dec 27, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. 635 G

    635 G Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    6,222
    Thinking about getting a Sprinter Conversion, to go to longer multiday shoots. Intend it to use to relax between events only. Still will sleep in motel/hotel.
    Anybody have one of these? Looking for comments .

    Phil Berkowitz
     
  2. AveragEd

    AveragEd Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    5,481
    Location:
    Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania
    Phil, I have no experience with conversion van ownership (for reasons that will become obvious) but as a retired dealership service manager, I had a lot of customers who did. The grass is not always greener.

    Yes, Federal law requires that the aftermarket gear be covered by a warranty for as long as the chassis manufacturer warrants it. But there are some huge loopholes ahead.

    You have to be willing to accept the fact that all the conversion components - fabrics, seat frames, trim and electronics - will be stuff that the upfitter (if you want to call them that) purchased on the cheap as distressed or close-out merchandise. As such, to coin Ollie's famous phrase, "when it's gone, it's gone" and if a replacement is needed, the exact item may no longer be available. I've had customers whose TV sets and VCRs, for example, went on the fritz during the warranty period and the replacement wouldn't fit in the custom-made enclosure that housed the original.

    That means another part order (and those guys can't spell "overnight") and trip back the dealership, where a technician trained in the mechanical components of your van will undertake soft trim, electronics and occasionally plumbing repairs. And when any of that "custom" interior stuff has to be replaced after the warranty expires, you don't want to know what those thieves charge for it.

    Sometimes, the upfitter has dropped that interior package and a replacement part no longer exists. Now the failed component has to be sent to a repair shop that didn't sell it, has no interest in your satisfaction and is in no hurry to repair it. I've even had that happen with the worst case scenario as a result: a replacement part for the failed component - which, let's recall, was a discontinued item to begin with - is no longer available. From there, it gets REAL ugly.

    Imagine something tears a seat cover and that fabric can no longer be purchased. They send you something close, but how soon will you tire of explaining the mismatch to everyone who comments about it?

    You're always better off buying "factory" equipment. Motor vehicle manufacturers are required to supply exact replacement parts for seven years after they last used a part, converters are not. And the vehicle manufacturer wants you buy your next van from one of their dealers. An upfitter knows that conversion van purchases are made with more consideration applied to the choice of chassis and the purchase price, not the name on the conversion. Accordingly, goodwill assistance on a conversion problem after the warranty expires is VERY rarely granted. The loyalty reward just isn't there for them.

    I know there are guys on here who will rave about how much they like their conversion vans and how little trouble they've been. But go ask a dealership service manager from a store that USED to sell conversion vans how much in the minority those guys are.

    I had a lot of pride in my customer satisfaction survey scores and my wife and I enjoyed many free, first-class international trips as a reward for my efforts. Over the years, my lowest scores were on surveys returned by conversion van owners (survey respondent identification is protected but upfitted vehicles can be distinguished by a character in the VIN). That should tell you something.

    Ed
     
  3. Chango2

    Chango2 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2007
    Messages:
    3,518
    A diesel mechanic friend of mine thinks very highly of the Sprinter. Most RV's unless top of the line are junky. Major components, e.g., heaters, bed frames, pumps, electrical converters, AC, toilets etc. are generic and off shelf.

    My RV is a very high quality Canadian built and new fiberglass 27 foot tt. (Bigfoot) But the price was 2/3 that of a new Airstream of the same size. You do get what you pay for. Even with this high quality trailer, new, we had one problem. A gaskit leak that was fixed well by a local rv specialist and repair shop.

    That company knows the stuff about rv's. They recommend, and we were just b-essing, the "Lazy Daze" brand of van converted RV. The components, body parts, quality, etc., have all been good and, importantly, made the same for years. That company also knocked some big names etc. They see the stuff every day. Lazy Daze has a website and might be pricey, there is no middle man, factory direct deal out of So-Cal. Outside of what I think is a dumb/lame name, the Lazy Daze has my respect.

    David
     
  4. Tron

    Tron Supporting Vendor Banned Supporting Vendor

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 1998
    Messages:
    6,665
    I like the Sprinter a lot. But, speaking from experience, you can't take a bigger bath with resale than you can a conversion van. We always had a ton of real nice ones that would sit on the lot forever and we'd end up sending them off to auction.
     
  5. LUGNUTZ426

    LUGNUTZ426 TS Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Messages:
    855
    AS OF JANUARY DODGE DEALERS WILL NO LONGER SELL SPRINTERS AS THEIR RELATIONSHIP WITH MERCEDES IS DONE. PARTS MAY BE AN ISSUE IN THE FUTURE. EVEN NOW THEY ARE HARD TO GET AND VERY EXPENSIVE. I KNOW SOMEONE THAT HAS 2 OF THEM FOR A PLUMBING BUSINESS. HAD A TRUCK DOWN 2 MONTHS FOR A WIRING ISSUE. THE HARNESS CAME WRONG FROM MERCEDES/GERMANY AND HAD TO WAIT AN ADDITIONAL MONTH FOR THE CORRECT HARNESS TO BE MADE.
     
  6. psliger

    psliger TS Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    We have had a Sprinter Van for about five years, 152,000 miles and love it. The 5 cyl eiesel engine gets 23-25 mpg regardless of city or Interstate driving. No major problems. The EGR valve went bad under warranty. The remark about the parts may be correct. We have a full-windowed model and broke a side window passing a lawn mower. The dealership ordered the wrong window three times because the parts list had the wrong window listed. Finally a glass shop found the correct one and ordered it. As with any diesel, the heat rejection is hardly enough to have heat quickly. Everything else is great and we love it!
     
  7. W.R.Buchanan

    W.R.Buchanan Member

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
    Messages:
    913
    Location:
    Ojai CA
    The Sprinters are actually MBZ vans with the Dodge name stuck on them, they are common in Europe where they say MBZ on the side instead of Dodge.

    You will always be able to get parts thru the local MBZ dealer, and you'll find the prices aren't any different as Dodge bought, and resold all the parts from MBZ anyway. In fact with what I've seen with my local Dodge dealer, I'd bet the parts from MBZ are cheaper anyway.

    Now,,,, aftemarket additions to that van are an enitirely different matter, and there is no way to predict the future availability of of RV type parts as Elkhart IN where most of this type of stuff in built is in the "depths of Depression" right now, and probably will be for the forseeable future.

    Randy
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.