View Full Version : Factory AC vs Aftermarket, Steering Wheel Controls, Stereo

12-16-2011, 01:27 AM
We are very close to closing the deal on our first Sprinter. We will use a 144 high top for everyday travel for our family of 5 / handicap conversion for our 6 year old son. My other 2 children are toddlers, so time for research is sparse...and this is such a big decision!

We were set on the factory heat and air, when the dealer offered us a really appealing deal for one on his lot with an aftermarket AC/Heat unit by Carrier installed in the rear above the cargo area. So...for 4k less, would you take it? We haven't had much luck in researching what is more reliable. Also...how likely are you to be able to fit through drive thru's with or w/o factory AC on top? I've never paid attention to clearance before.

Another distinguishing feature between the two is the steering wheel with buttons and an aftermarket Pioneer AVIC x930BT. Can you get an adapted to use the buttons to answer calls? It seems like several people like the MB stereo. We will be adding after market rear backup, bluetooth, nav, and parking sensors if they aren't on the vehicle. What are your thoughts?

So to summarize:

Any issues or preference with either AC/Heat configuration?
Adapters for steering wheel controls?
Stereo preference?

12-16-2011, 03:46 AM
We were set on the factory heat and air, when the dealer offered us a really appealing deal for one on his lot with an aftermarket AC/Heat unit by Carrier installed in the rear above the cargo area

Is this aftermarket unit a roof mount RV type that is self contained (it doesn't have a belt driven compressor on the motor)? That seems like a strange item for a lot unit to have as it would need batteries and a larger inverter to run. If that is the case, that setup is better for camping than as a daily driver.

12-16-2011, 11:34 AM
It's interior. Sorry about that! I was very unclear. When you open the rear doors it is just above that cargo area there, behind the seats. I think it's similar to what you'd find in a bus, but it's not too huge. It's similar to this one, except the vents face forward, rather than down. http://www.odysseyauto.com/vehicles/vans/white-sprinter/white-sprinter-int.jpg I'd guess that in the rear door opening it comes down about 8-10 inches. A certified upfitter added it for the dealer on a custom job that fell through, from the best I can tell. The carfax shows a delivery inspection 100 miles ago. It has 200 miles. I just want to be sure it will perform well enough and be reliable. My little one in the wheelchair tends to overheat.
Thanks for any help or advice you can give!

12-16-2011, 04:25 PM
Carrier does have a 'remote/engine driven compressor' AC unit/division... but you should confirm it it not an RV style one, as this is not ideal for daily driver use.

12-19-2011, 07:23 PM
MiriamNC - I recently bought a 144 high top with roof mounted factory A/C & Heater. I have twin 4 year olds and do lots of gear related sports here in Colorado. This van works great for all family and sports duty. The factory HVAC seems to work well both heating in cold temps and cooling as needed. The factory steering wheel buttons control some items which may be useful and I do use them frequently - tire pressure, coolant temp, etc however would not be a deal breaker for me.
My biggest concern for the interior mounted unit (assuming is as reliable) would be noise and head clearance. Walking around inside the van is a big plus and I did not realize quite how much I would be doing this! Our family gets in and out of the van through the side door - buckle the kids in and then go through the center to the two front seats.
Regarding drive through clearance - most seem pretty high these days but I just try to stay aware and find open top options if necessary. Good luck with the purchase.:thumbup: