View Full Version : should I buy this sprinter

02-24-2015, 06:40 AM
:thinking:Hi there. This is my first time on the forum as a member, although I have been following the for months. I'm looking to buy a sprinter passenger van to replace a 15 passenger Ford with a v10. I've been looking at a 2004 van with about 196, 000 miles. From all of my research I think I've landed on a T1N. This particular van seems to be in good shape and I had an inspection performed by a sprinter shop in Las Vegas that came back clear of any major issues. They did say that the turbo is starting to leak a bit of oil, and recommended that I do a compression check to make sure that its not damaging the engine in any way. The owner of the van has the computer diagnostic tools for the van and said he could do a compression test for me and save me the extra $150.00. He got back to me today and gave me the results. They are as follows.

Cylinder RPM 1 - 219
Cylinder RPM 2 - 0
Cylinder RPM 3 - 226
Cylinder RPM 4 - 226
Cylinder RPM 5 - 223

First off, these numbers seemed a bit low for a diesel, but I'm not sure exactly what the parameters are for these engines. These results were with the engine at operating temperature.
Secondly, the fact that there is no data for cylinder no. 2 terrifies me. I realize that it probably is a glitch in the system, since an engine completely missing a cylinder would have come out in the initial mechanic inspection.
My question is are those numbers too low for that engine with those miles? Should I run for the hills and keep looking? I really want this van, but I live 5000 miles away in alaska, and don't want to buy a problem. I would really appreciate any input you guys have. Its also an option to take it back and get a compression test done by the mechanic. I don't have any idea how accurate the computer test is and if it can be trusted. Thanks for reading. Hope this makes sense.

02-26-2015, 03:51 AM
Maybe someone can help me. I'm new to this but I'm wondering why I'm not getting any response. Am I doing something wrong?

02-26-2015, 04:00 AM
I would certainly like to know why 1 cyl is showing 0. I too would suspect error, as even a broken ring/stuck valve will show some pressure. I would like to know what the "turbo leaking a. BIt" means"

I also think the numbers are low. How did they do the test, and is a sensor method acceptable and accurate? I'm guessing they didn't do a real test.

Good luck.


02-26-2015, 04:09 AM
Thanks for the reply Icarus.
He did the test with a computer scanning system that he has. So, thats my question too. Can these computer things even be trusted. I'm wondering if its worth getting a shop to do a real compression test or just walk away.
I'm not sure what it means about the turbo "leaking a bit". The shop that did the inspection just told me that it was starting to leak a bit of oil. I can try to find out tomorrow.

02-26-2015, 04:27 AM
200k is not a lot of miles for a l5. I also would not be very willing to trust the seller to provide completly honest info. Find out if he has a service history, which is probably the most important thing you can have. The distance makes it difficult, as your inspection agency needs to be good as well.

What is the price?


02-26-2015, 04:36 AM
He is asking $13, 500. He just replaced the brakes at the recommendation of the mechanics. He seems to be an upright guy, but I realize that's subjective. He really seems to love this van and is only selling because he needs the money for another purchase. What do you think of the price?

02-26-2015, 05:31 AM
All turbos leak a bit. Those rpm numbers are not to be trusted. If it runs good, compression least of issues that I would be concerned about. The price seems pretty high unless it has very low miles.

02-26-2015, 05:36 AM
The mechanic that did the inspection said that it ran well. Other than the oil on the turbo, and the brakes, and the power steering hoses it got a good report. What would you expect to pay for one with those miles?

02-26-2015, 05:52 AM
If body perfect with no rust I'd say $10k.

02-26-2015, 05:58 AM
Wow. I wish I could find one for that price. This is a passenger van. Ive looked at hundreds of them over the last few months and this one seems to be fairly low miles and fairly decent price for that year. It seems like the 2004 to 2005s are a bit more pricey being that they are more rare and in higher demand for some folks. But I'm not an expert, just a motivated buyer. I also don't want to pay too much as I have to fly down and drive it home at a cost of no less than 2k. There are just none for sale up here in alaska.

02-26-2015, 05:59 AM
It apparently is in great condition with no rust.

02-26-2015, 06:42 AM
Passenger vans do sell for a little more than cargo

02-26-2015, 06:53 AM
Most Alaskan's insist on buying a diesel with an Espar coolant pre-heater, otherwise startups in sub 0 temps are unreliable, Ask if it has a pre-heater, unless you live on the warmer S. coast
And search your area for a mechanic who has the knowledge and tools to diagnose and work on a Sprinter, few in remote places do have the specific scanner

02-26-2015, 06:57 AM
He said it does have an espar heater. Thats good news for me. The one thing I need to check on is if it has a rear heater. Could one be added if it doesn't. I know it has rear ac which isnt quite as important up here, at least most of the time.

02-28-2015, 02:28 PM
Hi there,
Here you will find previous mention of the 'trend' compression testing: Post #30 onwards...


It is normal for one cylinder to read '0'


02-28-2015, 05:48 PM
Thanks for the link Steve. That is an amazing thread. I hope I never have to be a part of a discussion like that, makes my head hurt. But very informative.

I think by all of the responses, and my futher research on the subject, that you are very right. These numbers are not really relevant, except to to indicate a possible compression problem that would require a mechanical (real) compression test. But once again, this is the problem that we have with computers these days. If the computer says so it must be right. I think I feel good about this van considering all this, and it's history.

Thanks again for all the input. You guys are great. Really a big help for all of us that don't have a clue what we are doing, but want to learn.

03-01-2015, 12:29 PM
He is asking $13, 500. He just replaced the brakes at the recommendation of the mechanics. He seems to be an upright guy, but I realize that's subjective. He really seems to love this van and is only selling because he needs the money for another purchase. What do you think of the price?

If body perfect with no rust I'd say $10k.

Do the LWB passenger version really cost that much more? I just bought my 2004 last month from a private seller. One owner Freightliner 2500HC Cargo Florida vehicle with 236,000 miles for $3,500. I had not been shopping for one, It just sort of fell into my lap through a friend of my son's who new I was looking for a new work truck. Seller was a marine diesel mechanic and had full service records, no rust, and new tires. It was really clean, and the price was right, so I snapped it up cash. I have had it on the road as a daily driver for work for the last month, with no Issues. I love this thing

03-01-2015, 05:00 PM
I guess you're probably right, but I'm kind of over a barrel. Like I said before, there just aren't any for sale up here in alaska. And anything that I find down south that comes close to a good deal, is gone before I can do anything. It just takes some time for me to get a pre purchase inspection done and all the proper research, so I suppose that I'm stuck with what I can get. And thankfully, I have found a seller that I will work with me and help make this work. So that's worth something to me too. It does seem that the long and tall models do go for more. He also has replaced injectors, harmonic balancer, belts, turbo resonator, hoses, brakes, etc. Most of the things that I would have to do in the near future anyway. And it comes with a laptop and the Dad program. Obviously, I would love to find one for 8-10k, just haven't found one. The other thing that makes it difficult, is that NADA, and kbb have no data for these vans in the consumer market. They consider them commercial. Which leaves a hole in the market, which allows for the prices to be what I consider, "out of control". It also leaves anyone trying to get a loan for one unable to do so. Funny how our society is, if you don't fit into there little box, life is just more difficult. I live so far out of the box, that I'm used to it.

But, thanks for the input. If you're aware of a screaming deal on a good van, let me know. I'm going to have to go 4-5k miles to get whatever I get anyway. Barring a phenomenal deal popping up soon, I'm going with this one. Almost seems a miracle that this one is working out as it is.