Sprinter versus Transit?

DCGibbs

Observer
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.

THANK YOU. I was very impressed with the Transit. I got 16.5MPG, in our shakedown run. Lots of power, yet on cruise-control at 72MPH, was easy, able to pass Semi's without issue.
 

MaxSpeed

New member
THANK YOU. I was very impressed with the Transit. I got 16.5MPG, in our shakedown run. Lots of power, yet on cruise-control at 72MPH, was easy, able to pass Semi's without issue.
The first 12k miles in my 144" Sprinter high top returned an average 22 MPG driving 70% highway 30% local. That gives a cruising range of over 500 miles while maintaining a reserve of 30 to 50 miles depending on conditions. I really like that about it!
 

Ranchero

Wanderer
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?

Yes, rides great. Just like a stock transit. I've driven a Quigley E350 and it definitely rides better than that. Think of it like a new 4x4 F150. That is how it rides. Now I have to say it doesn't have the flex in the front end that a solid axle E350 4x4 has, so in theory it might not be as good offroad at the limit. It also weighs about 2000 pounds less than my E350 4x4 SMB did.


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...

The main parts, including front differential and hubs are factory Ford ones as I understand it. The transfer case is a Magna. I'm guessing in the long run we'll see more aftermarket parts. The Quigley and Quadvan 4x4 Transits are just starting to appear in numbers. Definitely more of an aftermarket for Sprinters at this point.

Would love to have a Fuso! Thinking of building one of those with a Total Composites body. Not sure if marriage would survive it though.

Also, I don't mean to malign Sprinters at all. I was on the fence. Super happy with my choice, but I'm sure I would have liked a Sprinter too.
 

AbleGuy

Officious Intermeddler
Forgive me for wandering off the van choice a bit (and I’ll delete this post if you pm me and ask me to do that), but....

Have you considered looking at the relatively unknown Provan Tiger?

It’s a one ton body, short wheelbase (mine’s about 135”), real 4WD, completely self contained camper unit with solar and generator etc., all on a full size truck with a heartily insulated hard sided fiberglass unibody, big bed over the cab to give you lots more living space but only about 20 feet in total length. And it has an easy crawl opening from the cab to the living quarters.

You’ll get decent gas mileage if you go with a Diesel engine. You can get it built on a Dodge, Chevy or Ford chassis. And you have enough power to pull a boat, gear trailer or???

And one added safety bonus....if you get smacked head on by another vehicle or hit a large ungulate crossing the road you have that almost 6’ of truck front end to protect you.

A9B1B905-7FD0-4394-A8A3-BB3EAD8AD4DB.jpeg
 
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mgmetalworks

Explorer
Overall progress has been good. All of the custom parts made so far look incredible. A few of them still in process. New update coming out soon. I'm trying hard to clear my plate of a bunch of lingering 2017 projects so I can get the first few vans converted and put some miles on them.
 

DCGibbs

Observer
Forgive me for wandering off the van choice a bit (and I’ll delete this post if you pm me and ask me to do that), but....

Have you considered looking at the relatively unknown Provan Tiger?

It’s a one ton body, short wheelbase (mine’s about 135”), real 4WD, completely self contained camper unit with solar and generator etc., all on a full size truck with a heartily insulated hard sided fiberglass unibody, big bed over the cab to give you lots more living space but only about 20 feet in total length. And it has an easy crawl opening from the cab to the living quarters.

You’ll get decent gas mileage if you go with a Diesel engine. You can get it built on a Dodge, Chevy or Ford chassis. And you have enough power to pull a boat, gear trailer or???

And one added safety bonus....if you get smacked head on by another vehicle or hit a large ungulate crossing the road you have that almost 6’ of truck front end to protect you.

View attachment 444970
AlgeGuy - Thanks for the chime in. No Need to delete. Most "RV Mfg" do not build with my standards in-mind! I need flex, agile, tight, capable, long-running (300K)... I love build cabins on LandCruiser frames. The problem is, they won't support a true "100% Self Contained" Cabin, for long-range overlanding or severe travel conditions. "I want to come home" - My problem with the Provan Tiger, 3 test drives, 3 major allergies due to the toxic forms, insulation, and laminates. This is why I am looking for a tighter smaller unit, that can be modified to extended fuel, multiple spares, adequate water, etc. Since I have separated a Dolphin Cabin from a Toyota Truck, means that I could do the same thing with a Tiger. It's also why the Mrs., wanted to move away from heavier "3500-Turbo Pick-up and Top-heavy Camper". . . THANKS for your input, seriously - this is a learning experience. Too your last point; NTSB states over and over again - do not misunderstand inertia... THANKS
 

AbleGuy

Officious Intermeddler
Thx much for the informative response.

It will be fun for us all to follow your progress and see what kind of cool rig you come up with.
 

86scotty

Cynic
This would be a downright fistfight on a couple of the other van forums. Thanks for keeping it civil and acting like mature adults. It’s always nice.

OK, stepping off the podium and offering honest feedback. I would not trust theSprinter for deep overland travel. I drove them at work for many years and the mechanics hate them for their lack of reliability. Everything else about them is amazing! Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan too but my Transit at 91k has been rock solid. Torque converter replaced and the driveshaft recall and those are both well known problems. There are a few odd design flaws which I think will be addressed in the next couple years. The jury is still out on whether or not they will be as tough as an E-series but I’m hauling up to 4000 pounds in mine routinely and averaging about 16 MPG with no other problems.


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DCGibbs

Observer
This would be a downright fistfight on a couple of the other van forums. Thanks for keeping it civil and acting like mature adults. It’s always nice.

OK, stepping off the podium and offering honest feedback. I would not trust theSprinter for deep overland travel. I drove them at work for many years and the mechanics hate them for their lack of reliability. Everything else about them is amazing! Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan too but my Transit at 91k has been rock solid. Torque converter replaced and the driveshaft recall and those are both well known problems. There are a few odd design flaws which I think will be addressed in the next couple years. The jury is still out on whether or not they will be as tough as an E-series but I’m hauling up to 4000 pounds in mine routinely and averaging about 16 MPG with no other problems.


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THANK YOU. I am traveling for work, and am in Minnesota. Currently visiting customers south on Minneapolis /St. Paul. Today I saw a new FedEx van that WASN'T Sprinter, of Transit. It wasn't a Promaster either. Anybody know what Chassis is?
 

86scotty

Cynic
It is more like a box truck if we’re thinking of the same one. It’s made by Isuzu I think. It’s a Fedex only vehicle.


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MarcusBrody

Active member
Is it this guy:
Utilimaster_FedEx_truck1_v4.jpg


That's an Isuzu Reach.
 

luthj

Engineer In Residence
Up to 06 sprinters are reliable stock, about the same as the diesels used by GM and Ford from similar eras. They do have some quirks, but the forum community is priceless, so the average DIY should have minimal troubles with a clean van. up to 11 (or 09?) the NCV3 is DPF only. So a tune to remove DPF and disable swirl valves and EGR takes care of 90% of the issues. Again, I would consider it on par with diesels of that age range in other applications (not counting cummins). Later models have various revisions of the adblue system which can cause trouble. A delete via software with bypass pipes works well for many. The 4 cylinder dual turbo engine is extremely good, and puts the 6 cylinder to shame. For overland and expedition use you would need to remove the adblue system.

The majority of sprinter horror stories are simply due to dealers who won't train their techs. Early on the benz and chrysler merger/split also caused lots of service havoc.

For any of these vehicles, you would need a decent scanner, and know how to use it. Something in the 200-400$ range would work (autel MD802 etc).

None of these is as easy to diagnose and maintain (from the technical standpoint) as a gasoline powerplant, as electronic diesels are always more involved. Although the added complexity of the turbo in the ecoboost does add another element.

The 4x4 sprinter is only available with the V6 and 5 speed auto. With a decent scanner you can drive to some remote areas, but you need to pay attention. Ignoring an emissions issue can get expensive.


The sprinter 4x4 system is a open center diff with a 60/40 torque split. The ABS/traction control is good, and manages wheelspin. The transfer case is trans integral with electronic actuation. Most folks seem to have minimal issues with it, but earlier models did have some clunking which has been remedied in part revisions. The system overall is great on a variety of surfaces, and can be used at highway speeds on pavement without issue. There is some sacrifice in true off road situations compared to a mechanical locked setup.

The sprinter has somewhat limited front articulation, a sway bar disconnect or removal helps a ton. Aftermarket kits from Agile or Vancompass make the van handle amazingly well even when loaded. the sprinter can also handle some fairly large tires. There is a good aftermarket support for these vans in Europe (still developing in the USA). Hopefully some vendors will start distributing the serious off road stuff for sprinters here (locking diffs etc).
 

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