Sprinter versus Transit?

DCGibbs

Observer
Hello All,

This post is especially for current Sprinter owners. The Mrs and I are seriously considering selling the 88-62 Series LandCruiser because she just can't sleep on the ground anymore. I am really impressed with the turbo diesel 4X Sprinter. Beef-up tires, front & rear bumpers... Add additional Lights [Flood, Fog, Driving] Build-out the interior as we use it. What are the draw-backs?

My mechanic said they are a service nightmare? To keep it in Warranty, do I have to take to the Mercedes Dealer for service? I've read several articles that the Newer units have an expensive, complex exhaust system

Second topic & Questions
Over the weekend we road tested a Ford Transit, with a Queen Bed, Sink, Stove, Dometic Fridge. The Eco-boast had good power and with Dually's handled very well. But I hear to add 4-Wheel Drive package is like 18K. So, any other drawbacks to this Van?
DCG
 

brianjwilson

Some sort of lost...
I think you should first address the differences in wheel base, stand up height, overall interior length, rear overhang etc.

I don’t recall the different interior heights of both vans but the sprinter high roof is enough for me to stand plus a couple inches. The transit has a medium roof which I can’t stand up in, and the high roof is ridiculous high and looks goofy (to me).

The sprinter 170” wb had just enough length for the layout I wanted. Without a ton of overhang in back. In the transit it would either be quite a bit shorter or way longer with a huge rear overhang. as much as I hate to admit it, the appearance alone of a long high roof transit steered me away and the smaller versions wouldn’t work for us (family of 4).

SO if you’re still open to either van after those considerations.... personally I would have gone with a transit with eco boost if all things were equal and factory 4x4 was available (or if a better aftermarket setup was available - there will be soon). Lots of smooth quiet power, an extra gear in the transmission, likely better build quality and definitely should be more reliable without the diesel emissions. Service should be a breeze compared to a sprinter. I got a letter from M.B. about a software update and called the dealer only to find out that their schedule for sprinters is 4 weeks out.

My next thought is, do you need 4x4 right now or would you be willing to wait and spend some money down the road for a better performing aftermaket 4x4 conversion? You would have to set aside a substantial amount of cash and that isn’t an option for everyone. The ability to add lockers would be great as the sprinter market is non existent for this.

I’ve decided to leave my sprinter engine/emissions stock for the time being. But I may well delete the emissions and install different software down the road for more power and better reliability. Stock suspension is not great so I’m upgrading to agile off road components. Hard to say if I would come out paying less in the end for one setup or the other. You just have to decide what makes sense for you.
 

vintageracer

To Infinity and Beyond!
I looked at a 4X4 Sprinter just last week.

"I" thought the 170 inch wheelbase Sprinter while nice with the extra length was too long for a 4x4 van that would see off-road use and therefore "I" would only purchase the 144 inch wheelbase model which might be a little compact for most folks however far more capable off-road when the build is completed. I would purchase the 3500 series (1 Ton) over the 2500 series (3/4 Ton) single rear wheel 4WD Sprinter. I would not purchase a dual rear wheel model 4x4 van. What's the point of dual rear wheels off-road?

With the completion of the new Mercedes van production facility in SC the availability of 4x4 Sprinters should dramatically increase since they will no longer have to ship the van from Germany to the dock, disassemble it and then"Kit" build them back together here in the USA to avoid paying "Chicken Tax" on all the vans.

The only engine option with the Sprinter is the diesel engine. Like any other engine built today complete the required service and you will get years of reliable service. Same with the Ford Transit.

The Ford transit is plain just BUTT UGLY in the front. Having said that there are things to like about the Ford Transit as stated above.

In the end "I" would want a BRAND NEW 4WD van that was engineered to be 4WD and built by the OEM rather than any BRAND NEW 4WD van that was an "OEM Authorized" conversion by an outside vendor. Just my opinion when it comes to purchasing a BRAND NEW 4WD van in today's world. My opinion could change as the aftermarket begins to embrace the 4WD conversions on the Ford Transit. Maybe Ford will up their game with an in-house built 4WD Transit van at some point. I doubt it however one can only hope!

If "I" was purchasing a USED 4x4 van (2016 model and older) my only choices would be limited to a "Converted" 4WD van since NONE of the domestic OEM's or foreign OEM's were producing, importing or offering for sale in the USA market 4WD vans built in their OEM production facilites.

We all here know the various suppliers who have provided the 4WD van conversions in the USA along with each of their strengths and weakness's as reported here on this forum!
 
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MarcusBrody

Active member
I think you should first address the differences in wheel base, stand up height, overall interior length, rear overhang etc.

I don’t recall the different interior heights of both vans but the sprinter high roof is enough for me to stand plus a couple inches. The transit has a medium roof which I can’t stand up in, and the high roof is ridiculous high and looks goofy (to me).

The sprinter 170” wb had just enough length for the layout I wanted. Without a ton of overhang in back. In the transit it would either be quite a bit shorter or way longer with a huge rear overhang. as much as I hate to admit it, the appearance alone of a long high roof transit steered me away and the smaller versions wouldn’t work for us (family of 4).

SO if you’re still open to either van after those considerations.... personally I would have gone with a transit with eco boost if all things were equal and factory 4x4 was available (or if a better aftermarket setup was available - there will be soon). Lots of smooth quiet power, an extra gear in the transmission, likely better build quality and definitely should be more reliable without the diesel emissions. Service should be a breeze compared to a sprinter. I got a letter from M.B. about a software update and called the dealer only to find out that their schedule for sprinters is 4 weeks out.

My next thought is, do you need 4x4 right now or would you be willing to wait and spend some money down the road for a better performing aftermaket 4x4 conversion? You would have to set aside a substantial amount of cash and that isn’t an option for everyone. The ability to add lockers would be great as the sprinter market is non existent for this.

I’ve decided to leave my sprinter engine/emissions stock for the time being. But I may well delete the emissions and install different software down the road for more power and better reliability. Stock suspension is not great so I’m upgrading to agile off road components. Hard to say if I would come out paying less in the end for one setup or the other. You just have to decide what makes sense for you.
I'm curious about the better aftermarket 4x4 setups that will be available soon for the Transit. Do you know of something in the pipeline or just presuming based on their popularity?
 

deserteagle56

Adventurer
My first question would be the diesel engine in that Sprinter...what is required to keep that thing happy with the current emission controls in place? I just bought a Kubota tractor and it is equipped with a DPF canister so it has to go through a regeneration process. The owner's manual tells me that if I do not keep the rpms up the regeneration process will happen very frequently. They are correct...if I'm just puttering around the place doing chores with the tractor I've had it go through the regeneration process every 7 hours or so. That involves running the engine at high rpms for about a half hour. Same with a buddy of mine who has a newer Dodge with the Cummins - he tells me that when he is out putting around in the outback scouting for elk periodically he has to stop and let the engine go through its regeneration process. At highway speeds, though, the regeneration happens and he doesn't even notice it.

If I had known about this DPF business I would have found an older tractor without all the diesel pollution control crap.
 

Farfrumwork

Well-known member
Personally I don't like the appearance of the Transit, and they are everywhere. I like somewhat unique vehicles.
I also echo the thought around OEM 4x4 (or AWD...) vs aftermarket.
Resale should be greater with the Sprinter as well. I think they may appreciate over the years actually.

I looked and pondered what to get for a long time, but in the end I bought the 4x4 Sprinter, after a 13mo wait from deposit (144" low top - I'm adding a SMB pop-top). And although I have not owned it long - I don't regret my decision one bit. It is ************** and I stop and look at it parked outside frequently as I walk by window with a view from my house. (swoooon)
I fit 33"s on my Sprinter - you need to trim parts to do that with the Transit (max is ~31"?), and you can fit as much as 35"s with spacers on the Sprinter.
No lockers (in the USA) yet for the sprinters, but they exist in Europe - its only a matter of time. And I will have one when they finally do arrive, or I smuggle one out of Germany :cool:

DPF bluetech stuff - It's not my daily driver and it will see longer trips to help keep the system happy. I don't mind some extra maintenance over the years either. My last van was an VW Syncro so I'm not worried about issues :) (but all those issues I could address myself, unlike the Sprinter).

I believe the mileage is quite a bit better in the Sprinter too, especially compared to the eco-boost.

Not trying to put down the Transit, its just that the Sprinter is more my cup o' tea. Others needs and desires may drive them differently...

clearance 2.JPGFR view.jpg
 
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MarcusBrody

Active member
MGMetalWorks/Expovans is working on a system.
Oh that's interesting. To people prefer their conversions for existing vans over Quigley or Quadvan versions? I don't have any experience from which to compare.

I'm a couple years out from any potential van build in any case, so I have a bit of time to wait and see how things shake out.
 

86scotty

Cynic
It is rumored that an AWD Transit is coming out by 2020 so you may be in luck if you aren't in a hurry.

Transit: I have a 2015 Ecoboost Transit (pictured to the left) and have put 50k on it in the last 6 months working in it. They are not trouble free. No vehicle is anymore, especially new. There are many problems which shouldn't happen on a new vehicle but that's just the problem. The saying 'they don't make things like they used to' is subtle. Flex disk recalls, torque converter died (and many have had this problem but it's not commonly known), leaks, cooling system issues, rust in the footwells, etc. Am I happy I bought it over the Sprinter (which I considered)? Yes and no. I had to go with a new high roof van for my purposes, work and play. The engine and tranny (3.5 Ecoboost and 6r80 trans) are proven in the F150 for many years now. Not worried about them so much though I have had some issues.

Sprinter: I drove a T1n for about 100k with my former company. The mechanics hated them and really, really have a burning white-hot hate for the newer ones. They can't maintain them. DPF, DEF, electronic sensors and an overly complex electronic system that is not useful for fleet use. But.....lots of fleets use them and pay the price. For personal use? I dunno. I have heard so many say that the good diesels are gone. I'm afraid to buy a diesel, any modern diesel. I prefer to enjoy vans rather than work on them. I reserve the work for the camper build out.
All this said, would I love to have a 4x4 Sprinter? Sure. Would I be too paranoid to go far off road with it due to risk of walking out? Absolutely. I'll wheel an old Ford V10 instead any day.

If you're skeptical about a Sprinter then don't even think about the unreliable 3.2l Powerstroke diesel Transit but you didn't mention it anyway.

Good luck, this is not an easy question.
 

mgmetalworks

Explorer
Oh that's interesting. To people prefer their conversions for existing vans over Quigley or Quadvan versions? I don't have any experience from which to compare.

I'm a couple years out from any potential van build in any case, so I have a bit of time to wait and see how things shake out.

Email us through our website expovans.com and we'll put you on the mailing list for updates on the 4x4 development.
 
I've read several articles that the Newer units have an expensive, complex exhaust system
Funny you should mentions this. We bought some used equip from a contractor with a brand new Transit van, so we would up talking vans. He had a Sprinter for about 100K miles, and the engine was fine, but it was rusting out. The nail in coffin was the exhaust needed replacing and it was going to run $1,600 (that might have included install - not sure), so he had it patched and traded in the van. Anyways, I don't know the age of that van, but should used models wind up on your radar, you'l need to inspect consider the exhaust condition and replacement cost.
 

Ranchero

Wanderer
I had a deposit on a 4x4 Sprinter but pulled it after I drove an ecoboost Transit and found a new Quigley 4x4 converted one on the lot at Newberg Ford in Oregon. For me it was: #1 the power. The ecoboost Transit is downright sporty. The Sprinter is no slouch, but the difference is noticeable. #2 The transit feels like a more modern van (it is) than the sprinter and handles better. #3. I live in the boonies and the nearest Benz dealer is 110 miles away. The Ford dealer is .5 miles away and they are in every medium size town in the western US. #4 Fully manual transfer case. Limited slip and lockers available front and rear. #5. Everyone and their brother in Colorado has a 4x4 sprinter. 4x4 transits are rare, but will likely be more common than sprinters within a few years.

I spent 15 minutes trimming the front wheel fascia and fit 32s". 33s" will be no problem. 35s are likely a no-go however. Totally agree that the Sprinter looks better. And gets better mileage. I'm just under 16mpg average (high top) for 16k miles. Would love to have a bit more mpg, but my 10k service costs $30-$40, so there is that.

It remains to be seen what MGs 4x4 kit for the Transit will be like, but he does great work. I used his kit to convert my E350 SMB to 4x4 and it was top notch.
 

familyvan

Adventurer
Ranchero, Thanks for the comments. How does the quigley 4x4 ride? I had an e350 quigley and the ride was pretty rough. Does it handle rough roads ok?
 

Buckstopper

Adventurer
Ranchero - I had heard somewhere along the line that that the 4x4 Transit conversions that Newberg Ford is selling use a lot of factory Ford parts from 4x4 F series pickups. Is that true? If so, that seems like it should be a pretty tried and true product and there should be some aftermarket upgrades available.

We are happy with our Fuso for now but once we get too old to climb into the cab we will probably end up in a van of some sort. Given the cost of Mercedes parts and service I would buy a Ford again (I've had several) over a Mercedes if all things are equal as far as 4x4 and interior dimensions are concerned.

This is an interesting discussion...
 

mgmetalworks

Explorer
Newberg Ford has sold both Quigley and Quadvan converted Transits. Both use mostly Ford F150 parts up front and a few necessary custom bits. Those conversions retain the Transit's original suspension layout and they both drive like a stock Transit.
 

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