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Old 10-12-2006, 05:21 PM   #1
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Default Airstream Sprinter Westfalia vs. Mercedes James Cook

The following posts are archived from discussion of the comparison between the two somewhat different campers.
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Old 10-12-2006, 05:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: Airstream Sprinter Westfalia vs. Mercedes James Cook

[COPIED AND PASTED FROM YAHOO SPRINTERVAN GROUP; Interesting info re
European James Cook Sprinter versus Airstream Westfalia]

Hello Tony & Others -

I am going to chime in with my two cents (twenty cents?) on some of
these design questions. I am a Sprinter Westfalia owner and fan and
I am certain I will betray this and some other prejudices in my
response!

I agree with the folks that have pointed out the value of many
aspects of the Airstream Sprinter Westfalia / Mercedes James Cook
(same basic vehicle, different continents . . .). I love the
innovative layout and find that aside from the tight squeeze from
the "dining/ living room" into the "kitchen" it can't be beat for
getting so much into so small a space (I tell all new passengers
that the area just behind the step up into the kitchen is the "place
where nobody can stand around" - if they do just stand there they
block almost everyone from going almost anywhere!).

I think the tall roof is terrific. It could perhaps be a bit less
tall (but I am talking inches) and I do not find even in very gusty
winds that the vehicle is unruly (but it is worth noting that I did
not buy it in an effort to compete with the handling of my MINI
Cooper . . .).

I also feel that the Westfalia's use of the shorter 140 vs. the
longer 158 is a benefit - the ease of parking and maneuverability
more than outweighs the extra space of the longer 158 - I can park
in any space that a full size American Pickup can fit in.

And every longer wheelbase camper that I see suffers from
the "Pullman Coach" layout. If someone stands anywhere in the
vehicle they block movement to any other part/ area. If beds are
set up they often end up requiring folks to climb over them in order
to reach other areas. In the Westfalia, people can stand or sit in
the driver side of the "living/ dining room" and others can get by
easily. One (or in a pinch, two) people can stand in the kitchen
area right by the sink and people can still pass by to get to or
from the bathroom. Both beds can be set up and all but the vehicle
cab can be easily accessed while standing/ walking (albeit stooping
a bit under the upper bunk) - no need to climb over anything.

On to the LPG vs. alternatives discussion:

- in the European James Cook (vs. the Airstream Sprinter Westfalia),
the LPG is stored in two upright tanks located in the passenger side
rear corner of the vehicle (where the hot water heater is located in
the Airstream). US regulations make the LPG storage in the vehicle
interior impossible (I wish these regulations were not in
place . . .) so I have to put up with the negative impact on my
underbody clearance.

- in the European James Cook, the water heater is an on-demand
system located in the passsenger side rear corner of the high roof.
I am guessing that this unit uses less propane than the tank version
in the Airstream and would have preferred it as a result. It is my
understanding that Germany was told by folks in the US that an on-
demand water heater would not sell in the US. I am assuming that
this thinking came from the large motor home and trailer crowd and
not from the majority of people who will purchase and actually use
the Airstream Sprinter Westfalia.

- Germany was also told that Americans would not buy an RV without a
generator. This was predicated on the assumption that all Americans
would want a heavy duty A/C. I would love to see statistics on how
many Sprinter Westfalia owners who use their A/C are not almost
always either plugged in to shore power or driving the vehicle when
they really need their A/C. Admittedly I live and typically camp in
the Northeast where A/C is only needed for at most 30 days out of
the year - in the Southeast things are very different.

- I wish that a diesel generator could have been fitted as this
would lower the usage from the relatively small LPG tank - for that
matter a diesel water heater and stove might just make it possible
to live without LPG alltogether . . .

- In Europe relatively few Campers/ RV's have A/C - the climate is
temperate enough except in southern Europe that they just don't need
them. As a result, many more Campers/ RV's have solar panels on
their roofs and they use these solar panels to recharge their
batteries much more often than they plug in. I would love to see
more solar options here in the US - again, I am typically not
plugged in and typically not using the A/C so this would work great
for me - and I think for a majority of Airstream Sprinter Westfalia
owners.

Now the Cassette Toilet vs. tank systems:

- Germany was also told that Americans would not accept a cassette
toilet. Again, I think that people most familiar with large motor
homes and trailers were passing along their view and overlooking how
smaller CamperVans are used.

- In a large rig (motor home or trailer), the tanks are large enough
that the odious task of dumping them is relatively infrequent (even
when more than one or two folks are using the rig).

- In a smaller CamperVan, I frequently find myself using public
toilets and therefore don't have to dump all that frequently. But
given how small my tanks are - given the limited space available in
a small CamperVan - I still have to dump more frequently than I
would in a larger rig even if I always used my own toilet and I was
traveling with the Brady Bunch!

- I have used cassette style porta-pottys in other vehicles and they
always seemed both convenient and less messy to me. I could carry
the cassette into my own bathroom or into public restrooms while on
the road and I think I never had any effluent leak onto me, my
clothes or anything else. Whenever I dump my grey and black water
tanks I am always glad that I have a good thick and water proof pair
of gloves - which I then need to store in a hygenically isolated
box . . . When I open the outer drain pipe cap I seem to always
find a little bit of liqued dribbling out and getting onto my
gloves/ the ground (not to mention the road dirt on the outside of
the pipe and it's plug dirtying my gloves). When I want to pull my
flexible hose out it needs to have it's cap loosened enough to allow
air to enter it so it can pull in air needed as it is expanded/
stretched. If anyone knows a way to do this while staying as clean
as I could with my cassette toilettes I welcome suggestions!

- And don't I see big rig campers with their wheeled tanks moving
effluent to dump stations in campgrounds? How is this different
from a cassette toilet? Except that it is more messy as there are
now two open transfers of yuck and neither device has the convenient
seal of the cassette toilet . . .

- Also, in the European James Cook, the cassette toilet takes up so
much less space that the storage space under the bathroom is
basically at least doubled - I would love that storage!

As I said, these are just my opinions. Hope they are of some value
as you are thinking about how you will lay out your Sprinter based
rigs!

Zach Woods
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Old 10-12-2006, 06:27 PM   #3
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Default Re: Airstream Sprinter Westfalia vs. Mercedes James Cook

Hello

Just another message cobbled together from my impressions of my
visit to the Westfalia-Werke in Rheda-Wiedenbruck, Germany. I had
been planning to upload this to some webspace that I have and
include pictures but here is a pre-release version for your perusal.

This time, I'll compare the similarities and differences between the
European Mercedes James Cook and the US Version.

First off, in Europe the vehicle is called the Mercedes James Cook.
And in Europe they call the version that we get the NAFTA Cook.
NAFTA stands for North American Free Trade Association and it sounds
like the vehicle was intended to be available in all of North
America (Canada, US, Mexico). I found the term NAFTA-Cook quite
amusing and it took me a bit of time to get used to hearing the
Westfalia folks use it as freely as they do. That said, I am going
to use these two terms here as they do provide the shortest and
easiest way to differentiate them in print or discussion.

Next, I am going to divide this into two sections. One will cover
changes that were necessary to meet US (maybe NAFTA?) regulations.
The second will cover changes that were the result of compromise
between Westfalia, Mercedes Europe, Mercedes US, Dodge, and
Airstream. With that many parties involved in the discussions there
must have been A LOT of compromise!

I am not trying to list all the base Sprinter changes here that
would be a whole other email and probably even more typing than
below!

One interesting thing that did not change but that I have not heard
anyone here talk about: both Cooks (James and NAFTA) come with the
heaviest duty suspension available for the non-dual rear wheel
Sprinter. Westfalia folks led me to believe that this was unlikely
if not impossible for the US Sprinter RV Conversions to have.
Promising in terms of the suspensions ability to deal with the
weight of the Westfalia and also in terms of the vehicle being able
to last as long as I plan to own mine.

Regulation Required Changes:

- Propane Tank

1. James Cook Propane is stored in two large tanks that fill the
space that contains the hot water heater in the NAFTA Cook. Tanks
can be removed from the vehicle (there are straps to hold them in
place) for re-filling.

2. NAFTA Cook US Regulations required that the propane be moved
to outside of the interior of the vehicle. I don't know if the
regulations had any more effect on where/ how the propane was
located/ designed to function.

- Safety Sensors

1. James Cook At it's base configuration (roughly 53K Euros
very few are sold this bare bones) the James Cook does not come w/
any CO, LPG, etc. safety sensors (I may have this wrong correct me
if I do). When they are added, they are added in forms that are
much more cleanly integrated into the vehicle. One sensor that many
people in Europe add is a sensor for some gas that thieves are
apparently injecting into vehicles in order to knock-out the folks
inside them at which point the thieves break into the vehicle and
steal what they can. Westfalia said the only problem is that
flatulence will set these sensors off as well as the gas!

2. NAFTA Cook Sensors are simply commercially available white
units mounted externally to the Westfalia cabinetry. The LPG sensor
is very near the floor on the kitchen side of the bathroom wall very
near where the stove/ sink cabinet meets that wall. The CO and fire
alarm are both mounted on the A/C cabinet on the far left just in
front of the funny drop down storage space.

- Emergency Exits (I am guessing this is a US regulation but I could
be wrong correct me if I am)

1. James Cook has a primary (sliding door) and a secondary
(window across from the sliding door) exit exactly like the NAFTA
Cook it just doesn't have an "EXIT" sticker placed anywhere near
either of them.

2. NAFTA Cook "EXIT" stickers have been placed above the sliding
door and above the open up and out window immediately behind the
drivers seat and across from the drivers door to show clearly where
the alternate means of egress are.

- I am pretty sure that other than the items I've listed above (and
those that were made to the base Sprinter itself to meet automotive
standards for the US) there are no other changes that were the
result of regulatory requirements. As always, I welcome hearing
otherwise if I've missed something.

Compromise Changes:

- bump in center bottom of dashboard (this doesn't fit this category
100% but I am putting it here because I don't want to add another
category)

1. James Cook the Sprinter in Europe is offered with 3 different
transmission options. Standard (by far the most common),
Sprintshift (which is an automated manual transmission actual
manual transmission that is controlled either by the driver or the
Sprinter and does not require the driver to operate a clutch), and
Automatic (most likely less common than the Sprintshift). Of the
three, only the Automatic has the bump in the center bottom of the
dashboard. The other two are flush with the dashboard (do not stick
into the space between the front seats).

2. NAFTA Cook Automatic transmission is the only option. The
rotating Captains Chair front seats are much harder to rotate with
the Automatic Transmission bump in place.

- various Sprinter specification differences (again, these don't
exactly fit this category but here they are)

1. James Cook There are many options available in Europe that we
don't get here. A couple of examples: MSS Motor Stop Start when
engaged, the motor will automatically stop running when the vehicle
is stopped (at a stoplight for example) beyond a certain length of
time when the clutch (reason #1 that we don't have this
option . . .) is depressed the engine starts itself up again
designed to save fuel. Back-up sensors (correct me if these are
available on US Sprinters) in the rear bumper that let the driver
know when the bumper is getting close to solid objects.

2. NAFTA Cook There may be a couple of these sorts of options
that we have but Europe does not but I doubt it. I think more than
likely that we get fewer choices than the European market.

- tires (again, may not fit this category as this may have been made
necessary by what tires were readily available in the US market)

1. James Cook Runs Continentals.

2. NAFTA Cook Runs Michelins (at least mine did).

- rims

1. James Cook base configurations all have simple steel rims
without the "truck-look" wheel cover and with no need for air valve
extensions.

2. NAFTA Cook base configurations all have simple steel rims
covered by the "truck-look" wheel cover and therefore need air valve
extensions.

- passenger seat pedestal

1. James Cook simple steel column offset to front left under
seat.

2. NAFTA Cook simple steel column plus a steel brace running
from column towards back of vehicle that the seatbelt receptacle
attaches to (at least mine has this Westfalia had no idea what
these were or where they came from!)

- household outlets

1. James Cook pretty obvious here, EU style outlets (does anyone
know if the EU has standardized outlets or if different European
countries are still likely to have their own outlet type?)

2. NAFTA Cook US style outlets.

- telephone outlet

1. James Cook - I believe that there is no option for an internal
telephone outlet in the European James Cook. Europeans simply use
cell phones in the James Cook.

2. NAFTA Cook - A standard US telephone outlet is mounted on the
left interior wall behind the driver, near the storage bin a bit
above the floor and in front of the rear bench seat when it is
pushed all the way back in riding position.

- clips for awning tool

1. James Cook I don't know if this is just something I saw on
one of the new Westfalia James Cook's that I was shown or if this is
standard to all of them plastic clips were mounted on the wall of
the stove sink cabinet that faces the front of the vehicle nearest
the sliding door. The awning tool was stored here on these clips.

2. NAFTA Cook awning tool has no special home . . .

- microwave

1. James Cook It would be very unlikely that a European James
Cook would have a microwave but it may be an option.

2. NAFTA Cook They didn't enter the country with microwaves but
almost every one I have seen has been "upfitted" by a dealer to
include a microwave.

- TV, etc.

1. James Cook Again, very unlikely that a TV would be found on a
James Cook. But Westfalia can install one (or more) and they have
done it. TV's are almost always smaller and if there is an antenna
it is likely to be a satellite dish or better antenna than the
flying V. As a result, James Cook's are unlikely to have any of the
items associated with the TV from cable hookup outside to inside.

2. NAFTA Cook Much like the microwave. They didn't enter the
country with TV's but most all of them have them now . . .

(continued in next post)
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Old 10-12-2006, 06:28 PM   #4
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Default Re: Airstream Sprinter Westfalia vs. Mercedes James Cook

(continued from previous post)

- A/C

1. James Cook - Few European campers (James Cook included) are
ordered with the A/C - temperatures are temperate enough in Europe
(they don't have the highs and lows that we get in the US) so that
most folks just do without. When they do order A/C the standard
option available has a much lower cold air output and much lower
energy requirements than the A/C in the NAFTA Cook.

2. NAFTA Cook - The first A/C planned for the NAFTA Cook (it may
have even been a higher output unit than the standard European A/C)
proved to be inadequate for many folks in the US. A higher output
unit was installed which requires more energy and is a bit taller
than the first one.

- center skylight

1. James Cook - I believe that the skylight is an option in the
James Cook. I think that you can get a James Cook without a
skylight, with a smaller skylight, with a skylight that does not
have a motor to open or close it, and with a skylight very much like
what the NAFTA Cook has. The motorized version uses a different
frequency for the remote control and it is possible to close it with
only one push of a button. Correct me if I am wrong on any of this.

2. NAFTA Cook - Because the frequencies used by the remote control
were in use by other items here in the US (and the skylight would
just open itself up at inopportune moments before the frequencies
had been changed), the remote control was changed from a longer
thinner one to the shorter wider one that we have. Also, at the
same time, the "safety feature" that requires that we hold the close
button down was added. I don't understand why the rain can close
the skylight after only one drop of rain but I am not allowed
to . . .

- bathroom skylight

1. James Cook - I think that the bathroom skylight may also be an
option like the center skylight. Correct me if I am wrong on this
one also.

2. NAFTA Cook - We get the skylight wether we want it or not. I
am happy on this one!

- toilet

1. James Cook - A Thetford cassette style toilet (similar to the
C2 or C4) is used. The cassette can be easily slid out from under
the toilet via the back doors of the Sprinter. When the cassette is
slid out it automatically seals so that until the user opens the
drainage spout nothing leaks out. While the cassette offers smaller
black tank storage than in the NAFTA Cook, it is very quick and easy
to remove it and dump it into any toilet or dump station.

2. NAFTA Cook - A Thetford (Bravura model, I believe) toilet is
used which drains into a black tank located under the toilet/ floor
of the bathroom. The black water storage is increased and it can be
dumped via the drain pipe at the driver side rear corner under the
bumper of the Sprinter.

- bathroom storage

1. James Cook - If you do not have the A/C you get storage in the
box above and in front of the bathroom door. You can access this
storage (and it is pretty good sized) via the drop down door above
the bathroom door in the bathroom.

2. NAFTA Cook - You've got the A/C so you don't get the storage.

- rear door shelves

1. James Cook - The base level James Cook comes with no rear door
mounted shelves. There are a number of optional shelves that can be
added until the James Cook has the full complement that are found in
the NAFTA Cook.

2. NAFTA Cook - The NAFTA Cook gets the plastic mouldings that fit
where the rear door windows would be and the pieces that provide
shelves in this area.

- back wall of bathroom facing the rear doors

1. James Cook - The wall only goes as far down towards the floor
as the top of the storage area from the drivers side wall of the
Sprinter all the way across to the start of the recessed area where
the back closet door is located. There is an opening on the left
side (nearest the drivers side wall of the Sprinter) and above the
storage area where the toilette cassette can be seen when installed
and through which the cassette can be easily slid out for dumping.

2. NAFTA Cook - The left side of the wall goes all the way from
the floor of the Sprinter up to the top of the rear door opening.
This lower left portion of the wall covers the Black Water tank that
is added to the NAFTA Cook.

- storage under bathroom accessed via the rear doors

1. James Cook - The storage area goes all the way from the drivers
side wall of the Sprinter under the entire bathroom floor to the
wall that marks the point where the recessed closet back door area
starts.

2. NAFTA Cook - The black water tank takes up at least 50% of the
storage area that is available in the European James Cook.

- spare tire vs. propane generator

1. James Cook - Does not have a propane generator so there is room
in the standard 140 Sprinter location for a spare tire.

2. NAFTA Cook - A propane generator is installed in the location
where the spare tire is located in a standard Sprinter 140.

- water heater

1. James Cook - An on-demand propane fired hot water heater is
located in the high roof area above the clothes closet (passenger
side rear corner of vehicle). There is a white plastic vent on the
back of the passenger side high roof for the on-demand hot water
heater. As stated previously, there are two removable propane tanks
in the compartment below the clothes closet that is accessed after
the rear doors are opened.

2. NAFTA Cook - A tank style propane fired hot water heater is
located in the compartment under the clothes closet. The insulation
around the tank can be seen when this cabinet door is opened. The
water heater is lit and controlled via a drop down door on the
outside passenger side above the rear wheel.

- telephone in plug

1. James Cook - I believe that there is no option for an internal
telephone outlet in the European James Cook so there is no need for
an external telephone line in plug. Europeans simply use cell
phones in the James Cook.

2. NAFTA Cook - A telephone line-in plug with an open-up door is
located on the drivers side of the Sprinter above the rear wheel.

- cable/ antenna in plug

1. James Cook - I believe that there is no option for a cable/
antenna capability in the European James Cook.

2. NAFTA Cook - A cable/ antenna line-in plug with an open-up door
is located immediately next to the telephone line-in plug (and looks
superficially identical to the telephone plug) on the drivers side
of the Sprinter above the rear wheel.

- household current in

1. James Cook - The electric-in plug is located in the same place
on both Cooks - on the drivers side of the Sprinter approximately
above the rear wheel. The European Cook has a different power
inverter and it is located in a different location than it is on the
NAFTA Cook (I don't know where - anybody?)

2. NAFTA Cook - The electric-in plug is located in the same place
on both Cooks - on the drivers side of the Sprinter approximately
above the rear wheel. I can't remember where the inverter is in the
NAFTA Cook (anybody?)

- TV antenna

1. James Cook - If a European James Cook has a TV antenna it has
been added aftermarket.

2. NAFTA Cook - They didn't enter the country with TV antennas but
most all of them have them now . . . The antenna used is a flying V
style and it is powered with an on/off switch located on the power
outlet for the TV on the wall above and to the left of the clothes
closet door. The wiring snakes around from the antenna location in
front of the center skylight to a point behind the center skylight.

- TV power plug

1. James Cook - If a European James Cook has a TV power plug it
has been added aftermarket.

2. NAFTA Cook - They didn't enter the country with TV power plugs
but most all of them have them now . . . The plug is an automotive
cigarette light style and it is located on the wall above and to the
left of the clothes closet door.

- Solar charging system

1. James Cook - Installed aftermarket, potentially by the Kunden
(Customer) Center. Because there is probably no TV antenna and in
many cases no A/C on the roof, there is room for solar panels that
can be used to charge the gel-cell batteries. Still in the
minority, solar systems are becoming more and more common on
European campers.

2. NAFTA Cook - I would love to hear if there are Cook's in North
America that have solar systems installed.

- various accessories

1. James Cook - Westfalia has many aftermarket accessories
available for sale at their Kunden (Customer) Center and on their
website. Including: a tent that attaches to the side of the van
that has the sliding door and can stand-alone when the Sprinter is
driven away from it, a snap-in mosquito screen for the sliding door
opening, fitted carpeting, etc.

2. NAFTA Cook - Airstream is not selling all but a very small
number (1 - outdoor shower) of the Westfalia accessories in North
America. I wish they were . . .


I am certain that I have overlooked various of the differences and
that I have a few details not quite right. I welcome the opertune
to add to or improve this list and look forward to putting some web
pages together that will include pictures and/or diagrams for
(hopefully) all of these differences!

Zach Woods
zwoods@...
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Old 10-12-2006, 09:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: Airstream Sprinter Westfalia vs. Mercedes James Cook

Thanks. Great to have this listing as a comparison source (maybe
sometime somebody will do a nice fancy chart).

What's the heavy duty suspension??? Heavier springs in rear?
Heavier spring in front???

As I've had the original shocks replaced with Konis and a heavier
anti-roll bar put in, hopefully those items weren't the heavy duty
suspension (the folks thought the original items were the same as
they saw on other Sprinters).

Pleated Shades

James Cook has pleated shades (for the upper vented windows as seen
in photos, maybe the lower windows as well, but I haven't seen any
photos of this). Pleated shades may have more insulation capability.

NAFTA has those thin vinyl shade covers (to meet U.S. flammability
standards.

Anyone know if James Cook has a real shade for bathroom skylight
other than just the insect screen???

Permanent Vent

Above the upper kitchen cabinet is a small circular white vent
(outside has small dome cap) which is permanently open. I believe
this is only found on the NAFTA version (so we don't kill
ourselves).

Upper Cabinet Grab Handle

Newer NAFTAs have a Home Depot special grab bar mounted vertically on
the kitchen upper cabinet to the right of the roll-up door. Good
idea although a nicer looking grab bar would have been a better touch.

Converter/Inverter

I believe I saw some reference to the converter (120 volt to 12 volt
when plugged in) being located under the black metal panel behind the
back seat (in the area directly underneath the countertop)--or else a
figment of my imagination. I'll have to look again to see where the
access panels might be.

Then there is the converter for the A/C unit which is located in the
hot water heater bottom cabinet behind the shiny metal sidewall to
the left (where the duct runs into).

Don't think there's an inverter (12 volt to 120 volt) unless mine
isn't working.

Changes

I believe the Airstream guy in Florida does the following changes for
NAFTA edition:

1. TV Coaxial cable input/Telephone Input on outside and receptacles
inside
2. TV Antenna, amplifier, wiring, 12 volt receptacle
3. LCD TV install and TV bracket install (RCA TV/DVD Player)
4. Onan Propane Generator installation (including switch inside)
5. 120 volt receptacle to hot water heater door
6. Microwave install (I believe 120 volt receptacle already there;
original units came with Origo piece of junk microwave, now different
one is being used)
7. Addition of various stickers

I believe Westfalia does the other changes for NAFTA. So in theory,
the LCD TV/DVD player, cable hook-up/telephone hook-up, tv antenna,
propane generator, and microwave could be "real" options (and lower
the invoice price by about $3,000-4000). The guy who used to have
the Sprinterstop.com website took all that stuff out of his
Westafalia (and also added a really nice 120 volt receptacle in
matching gray next to the sofa seat for plugging in computer when
using table).
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Old 10-19-2006, 02:45 PM   #6
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Default Re: Airstream Sprinter Westfalia vs. Mercedes James Cook

James Cook Sprinter (European) has a hot water boiler in the upper
right rear corner of the fiberglass top (right of the third
stoplight). In the photos of that version, there looks like a small
vent or door which NAFTA Westfalia doesn't have. I'm guessing it
runs on propane; don't know what the capacity was.

The James Cook Sprinter has two portable propane canisters which are
stored in the compartment where the NAFTA Westfalia Suburban 3 gallon
hot water heater is. Apparently due to U.S. regs re propane tanks,
the NAFTA Westfalia needed an outside access propane tank--so we got
permanently mounted propane tank and Suburban hot water heater (would
have been better if we had a motoraid type hot water heater instead
which would run off the engine heat or off diesel).

Westfalia (not Airstream) actually does the installation of the
Manchester propane tank under the sliding door and the Suburban 3
gallon hot water heater. By the way, Westfalia had good attention to
detail on the hot water heater--notice how the rubber
weatherstripping around the hot water heater exterior frame fits the
indentation of the Sprinter body--some Class Bs don't bother with
that level of detail.
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Old 10-27-2008, 07:15 AM   #7
Altered Sprinter
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Default Re: Airstream Sprinter Westfalia vs. Mercedes James Cook

Thought it appropriate to bump the thread. As to the extensive information Zack has placed on this older posting.
Interesting as to the so called NAFTA regs! Nothings appears to have changed especially with suspensions.[Folk are still being caught out on the most important aspect of the lighter Sprinters GVM a must have for H/D suspension option upgrade.]
Richard
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Airstream Sprinter Westfalia vs. Mercedes James Cook

New to me recently (but perhaps "obvious" to more dedicated observers) is that the James Cook T1N models primarily use 15 inch wheels, with the stock tire size being 225/70 R15. Note that this is a somewhat smaller overall diameter than the US 225/75 R16.

Because of this larger wheel, the suspension on at least some US T1Ns is 30 mm taller via a spacer on the front and different leafs on the back. The rear wheel arches are also not part of the steel body as in the James Cook and Euro Sprinters, but an additional plastic piece.

Apparently, this was a Dodge marketing decision, but it does facilitate a little extra ground clearance for the US underbody LPG tank.

Note that the axle ratio seems the same in the US and Europe. I assume the speedometer/odo adjustment is somehow done via software. Also note that James Cooks do not have the speed limiter fitted to US models. The 316 versions can reach 150+ kph, just shy of 100 mph.

Ted
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Old 04-17-2012, 12:01 PM   #9
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Default Re: Airstream Sprinter Westfalia vs. Mercedes James Cook

Quote:
Originally Posted by grozier View Post
Note that the axle ratio seems the same in the US and Europe. I assume the speedometer/odo adjustment is somehow done via software. Also note that James Cooks do not have the speed limiter fitted to US models. The 316 versions can reach 150+ kph, just shy of 100 mph.

Ted
Hi Ted -

Great to hear from our Berlin bureau chief!

Are we certain that the early Westy's have a speed limiter?

At what speed does the limiter kick in and is it a "just won't go faster" experience or more of an engine cut-out design?

I have not tested my Westy thoroughly at these supra-legal speeds but I can easily travel in the '80's and think I have been in the low 90's once or twice.

Zach
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Old 04-17-2012, 01:01 PM   #10
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Default Re: Airstream Sprinter Westfalia vs. Mercedes James Cook

Zach:
My Westy No. 89 maxes out at 83 mph on the odometer, which is really 79 mph on the GPS.

Trieu
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