Sprinter Vans - Page 3 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 01-27-2011, 04:59 PM   #29
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What is the break point on the cost effectiveness on the diesel vs gas debate?
I notice that many North Americans when talking about economics of diesels only look at purchase cost and running cost.

Here in Britain we were about the last Europeans to take up using diesels in a big way and we used to do the same. But the resale value of diesels really needs to be included - now that we are used to them, diesel-engined models are worth a lot more second-hand than petrol(gas)-engined ones here - usually the depreciation (in $ not %) is less for diesels despite their higher initial price, so they are cheaper to own and cheaper to run. Servicing costs are higher, but only like the cost of a tankful a year or so.

The preference for diesels increases as vehicles get older- because the buyers are getting poorer and so they value the fuel economy more. In fact people will pay over the odds for old diesels in order to save the fuel cost - a cousin and his wife runs things like 5-year old Mercedes with large gas engines because almost no-one wants them so they are ridiculously cheap (like less than half the value of a diesel model) and the extra fuel doesn't cost that much.
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:07 PM   #30
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Typos....I've made a few...only to be discovered AFTER hitting submit. sigh.

Good points, Andrew. Same seems to be true for our little fibreglas eggs as well.

Freightliner has a shop about 30 miles from here where they take the importated deconstructed cargo Sprinters and build them back with the kits sent with them. (thereby getting around that little chicken tax thingy) They would probably be good (though expensive) for local repairs, but won't help out on the road, of course. I don't want to have to take a diesel mechanic course to hit the road, yanno?

Saw a baby Sprinter passenger model on the way home yesterday...sort of Midnight Blue and not altogether so awfully ugly. Must be something wrong with my eyes.

A used car lot/repair shop has grown up on the corner of the entrance to my little podunk digs....a rather roughly used big Sprinter with plumber's rack on top sits under the skeleton of the maple in the middle of the lot. It needza good home... but not mine.

The upside to the Sprinters being discovered by tradesman is that there will be more on the road, more mechanics needed, more parts available, etc which could possibly bring down the prices. The future might be brighter for finding something roadworthy. Or not.
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:30 PM   #31
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2yax2go,
Just happened to talk to my neighbour concerning his 5 cyl, full sized camperized, loaded Sprinter When I say full sized I mean its as big a Sprinter as I've seen with lots of space to haul stuff or fill with junk.

He tells me that he has towed a hybrid Toyota car on a 2 whl car dolly from Winnipeg Manitoba Canada to Kansas City Kansas? and back thru the mountains, prairie winds, spring and fall weather conditions etc and is quite pleased with it's performance. He says that on the steep grades what he did was shift the 6 speed auto transmission down to 4th, to keep the revs up slightly and it kept the speed up, loosing very little performance and mph but definitely lost mpg at least on those relatively short portion of travel.
Towing the hybrid he thinks that he may have lost 20% fuel mileage.

Have you tried looking in Canada for a used Sprinter? I've noticed some Sprinter passenger buses for sale up here -@ not too unreasonable prices, or kilometers. (kilometers / 1.6 = miles) Sometimes they are advertised on Kijiji.
I don't know if you would be allowed to import these into the USA as I don't have a clue what you guys are talking about when you mentioned the "chicken tax"

Wayne
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Old 01-27-2011, 08:52 PM   #32
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He says that on the steep grades what he did was shift the 6 speed auto transmission down to 4th, to keep the revs up slightly and it kept the speed up, loosing very little
Not to nit pick... But his Sprinter has a 5 speed trans. That's the only one they sent over here with the 5 cylinder vans. Could be a mis-type or he could be mistaking TC lockup for an upshift.
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Old 01-27-2011, 09:20 PM   #33
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Good evening mcbrew;

Could be a 5 speed and not a 6. 6 speed is what he told me.
Anyway the thought being that you can shift down, keep the revs up to a reasonable number and get reasonable performance at the expense of mpg.

I've never drove or even sat in a Sprinter so it's all third hand info to me.

Wayne
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:11 PM   #34
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Good evening mcbrew;

Could be a 5 speed and not a 6. 6 speed is what he told me.
Anyway the thought being that you can shift down, keep the revs up to a reasonable number and get reasonable performance at the expense of mpg.

I've never drove or even sat in a Sprinter so it's all third hand info to me.

Wayne
Wayne, I hope it didn't come across the wrong way. I just wanted to keep the facts straight for those who are seeking info on Sprinter vans. They used a really nice 5 speed transmission that can be shifted manually by tapping the shifter to the right or left. Also, if you hold the sifter to the left, it will drop to the lowest gear possible, which is great for engine braking.
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Old 01-27-2011, 11:33 PM   #35
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2yax2go,
I don't know if you would be allowed to import these into the USA as I don't have a clue what you guys are talking about when you mentioned the "chicken tax"

Wayne
Here ya go, Wayne...a little tidbit from Wikipedia:

Chicken tax - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Does a good job of explaining the "chicken tax" and how it's gotten around by the dealers.

Hadn't considered Canada, dunno the realities of trying to bring it into the states. I suppose if we were gonna be among our northern neighbors anyway it would be something to check out. Still, it's not the craziest thought in the world.

Losing 20% seems like a lot. If you were getting 20 mpg, you'd lose 4 making it 16. We got 22 on the old 6 banger S-10 with no trailer prior to pick up and 16.6 with the rig under tow and empty of gear on the way home with it. But, if you were not losing your speed all that much in tough hauls it might be worth the extra mpg loss under those conditions.

When looking at the mathematics of it all, I have to take into consideration that our plan is not to be tied to the expenses of owning and maintaining a sticks and bricks stay-put place as well as the caravan.

Y'all are giving me and the Handyman good stuff to be thinking about.
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Old 01-28-2011, 05:55 AM   #36
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Mcbrew,
Initially yes, I was a little disturbed, sort of. But it passed. I'm dealing with second hand information. As mentioned I can only go by what one owner is telling me. I usually deal in facts that I know or have researched, but tried to add my 2 cents worth.
These vehicle are something I'm generally watching the price of and am interested enough in them to have read problems associated with them on different forums.

2yax2go,
Thanks for the information on the "chicken tax" I haven't read it yet, but I will.
Concerning forums. One thing that I've found is that most people will be highlighting their problem areas on their whatevers. There could be thousands of others that are perfectly happy with their purchase.
20% ? don't really know, just a number that he tossed off the top of his head.
He probably has exact numbers. If you want, I could ask him.
This is a long, tall vehicle, much bigger than the one pictured previously.
He was talking pretty impressive (to me) mileage figures that I just couldn't believe for a vehicle of that size. The forums that I've read, back those numbers up.
I won't quote the figures he is telling me as they are in mpg (using the Canadian gal - Imperial) and not USA mpg. This could be further confused by quoting the Liters/100 kilometers that Canada now uses. It gets complicated.

Lots of good information coming out of this. Thanks to all

Wayne
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:22 AM   #37
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As for problems, we've had a few. Around 60k miles, we lost power, and the dealership diagnosed it as a failed EGR valve. They replaced it under the 100,000 mile emissions system warranty and everything was good. Around 90k miles, we started experiencing another loss of power intermittently. Took it in for a recall repair and they diagnosed the power loss as a failed turbo actuator. I also had them replace the heater control knob cable, which had become very difficult to move. They fixed both issues for about $1,500.

Pricey, to be sure... But expected for dealership work. You just can't take these things to the corner mechanic.
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:45 AM   #38
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I have a lot of experience with European diesels. I have owned about ten Mercedes diesels over the years, as well as volkswagens. My recent experiences with VW diesels has turned me off for the time being. They really screwed things up in recent years. For a couple of years, they had model ps that needed a timing belt every 40 to 60k miles, and they charge over $1,500 for the job. Just the parts cost over $300 and there are special tools and a computer hookup needed. Oh, and to change the auto trans fluid on the newer models (needs to be changed every 40k miles) you need a special filler coupling, a computer, and a few liters of expensive fluid. Basically, everything is way more complicated a d more expensive than it needs to be. I did all of the work on my VW myself, except for the clutch job (bad run of clutches that year), but I kept track Nd figured that it would have cost me approximately $6,000 at a dealership in the 145,000 miles that I owned it. This is not acceptable in my book. You don't buy a modern diesel VW to save money. My experience is limited to six of them between 2003 and 2006 models. By the way, those years include three different engines, all with their own issues.

The reason for this rant is to show that thenSprinter is relatively trouble free compared to other modern Euro diesels. What you should not expect out of a Sprinter is to drive it 300k miles and only change the oil. They will need service and some $$$ thrown at them along the way. On the other hand, we have a 1995 Chevy van with a 6.5L diesel, and it is a whole different beast. It has about the same power as the Sprinter, but needs nearly two and a half times the displacement to get there. It is a much smaller van, but gets a little less MPG than the Sprinter. The Chevy is much more crudely built, and less comfortBle to drive. It actually feels bigger and less maneuverable than the Sprinter. Basically, it feels like someone mated a metal tool shed to a diesel engine and some wheels... None of which seem to be designed to work together. There is nothing I can point to on the Cnevy and say, "that is a well thought out design."
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Old 01-28-2011, 07:10 AM   #39
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Wayne...no need for the exacts...ball park's OK. We've been on several websites that back up the general figures you're quoting and for now that works fine.

Truth is a rig as big as your neighbors would be serious overkill for Li'l Scamp and who ever said we should just live in the Sprinter at that size would probably be right. If we decid on a larger, heavier rig it could be just right. We're still at the "is this 16 footer something we can be in long term" stage. If it Li'l Scamp proves to be THE right size for us the baby Sprinters or something like the Mahindra (if it ever comes to North America) could be a good match. We'll keep our eyes and ears open as the time passes to see what shakes out in the end.

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Pricey, to be sure... But expected for dealership work. You just can't take these things to the corner mechanic.
Beyond the basics you can't take many of the newer vehicles to the corner mechanic any more. Small shops can't afford all the new computerized toys or the training required just to diagnose a challenge, let alone fix it. We have a few specialty shops around here with the equipment and the skills, but they are almost as high as the dealerships.

Every vehicle has its own issues. None are perfect or there'd be fewer choices out there. My experience could be better or worse than another with the same vehicle. YMMV, I think it's put. I have a rather unscientific method that if there are too many of what I'm interested in on the market at a price that seems to be too good to be true, there may be a mechanical reason for that requiring some deeper research or a change of course.

Take the Subaru Forrester as an example. Before I'd ever done any real online research I liked the look of the thing. It seemed there were many on the road while few to be found that weren't more than well travelled on the used market. Those that were in good to excellent shape commanded a higher price than I would have thought and remained out of my price point. Even today I would have one if it fit in my budget. Over the long haul these have continued to be a well manufactured, long lasting, workhorse vehicle earning high marks from groups that do that kind of thing. My long lunged point is that the Sprinters bear watching for our down the road life in a couple year's time.
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Old 01-28-2011, 07:35 AM   #40
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2ya2go,
One last thought - well a couple:
2 smaller sprinters cargo vans for sale locally 179000 kms (112000 miles) $13000 $14000.

Have you considered looking at an older 1985 ish Toyota Land Cruiser station wagon
diesel ? They used to come in 4 and 6 cylinder diesels. Good dependable machines, if you can find one that's not rusted out.

I had one years ago. I would buy another one but can't find one that's not rotted out. Lots of them still in the mountains in good shape.

Wayne
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:08 PM   #41
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Basically, it feels like someone mated a metal tool shed to a diesel engine and some wheels... None of which seem to be designed to work together. There is nothing I can point to on the Cnevy and say, "that is a well thought out design."
OK...I am SO glad I did not have that coffee in my mouth when I read that. Dude, that made me.

As well, thank you for the bit of reality of your experiences on the cost of operation/repair with diesel's in general. I had wondered about all the technology/tool speciality that might be required if one wanted to try to be a backyard mechanic on these thing...new or old. I know my office manager often has challenges in that her very capable dad can't always work on her diesel Jetta that has recently required more than one visit to the local VW dealership reapair shop at what seems to me to be rather high priced attention to its details.

Hmmm....didn't know such existed, Wayne. Thank you for another to check into. Mister's son belongs to a Land Cruiser group in NC. He loves the things, but I don't that anybuddy has a diesel in the group. But, I will sure ask the next time we go see our GrandBit.

As I said, we're not dead set on a diesel and will doubtless end up with a gasser for at least the short term of figuring this whole tugged rig set-up.

Since we ended up with Li'l Scamp after a bit of what we feel was universe conspired serendipity, the same could happen with her yet to be tug for the first leg of her journey.
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:47 PM   #42
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When I got my first egg I towed with a 95 Land Cruiser,which I still have.
I am convinced that beast saved my life one day when the Egg threw a wheel while driving on an interstate.
Another time I had to unhitch at the end of a logging road and make a new road to get to the other end of the trailer,turn the trailer around by hand and re-hitch and cruise out the way I came. Thank God for 13' Egg's.
They are amazing indestructable and capable vehicles for sure but good gas mileage is not what a Cruiser does.

Again I would implore you to go to Sprinter-Source.com,join up and just soak up all you can if really considering a Sprinter at all.It is one of the better groups I have been in and like this one is a great resource for info and ideas from a practical perspective too.

Another point I want to make is that I have driven a lot of Sprinters and they are not all the same.
I have a friend with a 144 tall one (longer and taller than my 118)and he says mine feels like driving a sports car. It does too! It is lot lighter and smaller than the bigger ones and it took me several years to find the exact combination that I did.
I wanted a Shorty with windows and they are somewhat rare compared to the huge ones.
It is surprisingly peppy around town and stable on the highway.
I also have a Honda Odyssey and it is longer than my Sprinter but the Sprinter feels huge next to it?

Again I agree about the mechanic.The Dodge dealers in general are clueless,the Mercedes dealers are not interested and the Freightliner dealers are few and far between.
So if I hadn't found a local specialty shop with a lot of Sprinter experience I likely would not have jumped in.

It would be a lot easier to find a nice F150 and get that and be done worrying. If all I wanted from a vehicle was to tow an Egg who knows?
But that is just not how I roll.

I love my Tundra too and it is perfect for the Egg but the mileage sucks.I feel secure with it though and it carries the rest of what I need to work out of town so that is my Tow of choice for now.

I bought the Sprinter as a local work truck and it is great for me for that and if I can get double duty when needed it is just icing on the cake.
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