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Old 10-02-2019, 01:34 AM   #1
Jades
 
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Default Seeking opinions from the Experts on Two Prospective Sprinters

Hi all,

Glad to have been directed to this forum.

Iíve decided to live the van life and convert a sprinter to a lovely home (with cupboards, a table, etc). Looking forward to the project.

Iíve been looking at van's for several months now. I spoke with a mechanic who has worked a lot on Sprinters, and he recommended a í04-í06. Searching through the forum, I found this posting: https://sprinter-source.com/forum/sh...EL+PARTICULATE. It was very helpful and informative. Iíve had a line of Volvo 240s and have wrenched on those, so I have some mechanical experience.

I live in the Southwest, and Iíve had my eye on a couple vans. Overall, Iím looking for the best bang for the buck with a high roof and room to live in (and stretch out).

These are the two vans I'm looking at: it seems that the first one is the 140 wheel base but is the longer one, and the 2nd is the 170 wheel base but the shorter one. I have yet to drive a Sprinter, so I don't really know how the two compare in total length and which is roomier.

https://inlandempire.craigslist.org/...985945419.html (I talked to the owner of this one, and he's willing to do $10,000)

https://lasvegas.craigslist.org/cto/...978548561.html

If itís true that the older T1N vans get better gas mileage, then maybe I should go with the í06 vs the í08. Has that been your experience? I also be living in it, so doing a fair deal of city driving. "Ptheland" mentions that the T1Ns do quite a bit better amidst the city. I know the 08 comes with the DPF which adds something that could go wrong, but it doesn't seem that they fail too often.

Would appreciate any and all thoughts.

Thanks much!

James
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Old 10-02-2019, 04:41 AM   #2
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Default Re: Seeking opinions from the Experts on Two Prospective Sprinters

There is a real big mileage difference, the '06 has 132K with clean title and the '08 has 431K and a salvage title!

There is only one length body on the 140" wheelbase. The modern 170" van did come in an extended length body.

Do your homework before you buy. The right van is awesome. The wrong van is bad news. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_Sprinter

Whatever you decide have the van looked at by a knowledgeable Sprinter mechanic.
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:00 AM   #3
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Default Re: Seeking opinions from the Experts on Two Prospective Sprinters

https://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/...972592608.html

This seller in San Diego is a mechanic named Tim that services and sells lots of sprinters.
Pre sale maintenance done and he has a 45 day warranty.
Worth a look if you are in the area.
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: Seeking opinions from the Experts on Two Prospective Sprinters

Quote:
Originally Posted by ranchworld View Post
There is a real big mileage difference, the '06 has 132K with clean title and the '08 has 431K and a salvage title!

There is only one length body on the 140" wheelbase. The modern 170" van did come in an extended length body.

Do your homework before you buy. The right van is awesome. The wrong van is bad news. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_Sprinter

Whatever you decide have the van looked at by a knowledgeable Sprinter mechanic.
Do you think that the rebuilt engine makes up for the fact that it has 431,000 miles, or when you mention the mileage difference, are you thinking there's a lot else that I should be thinking about with Sprinters with that many miles?
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Old 10-02-2019, 11:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Seeking opinions from the Experts on Two Prospective Sprinters

"rebuilt" means very different things depending on the source. A MB remain is basically factory new, and hopefully has new accessories. A rebuilt engine from the ultra budget builders is a basically a refresh and seals on a high mileage engine.

Even with a good reman engine, you still have trans, axle, seats, interior, and suspension that will wear with mileage. At 400k its likely most of those things have been replaced or repaired, but you would want records.
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Old 10-02-2019, 03:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: Seeking opinions from the Experts on Two Prospective Sprinters

The T1N is mis-listed as a 158". It's a 140". Imo the best option for all of the compromises that one makes when choosing a size, super maneuverable and lots of space. A 158" will be a bit harder to turn/drive/park but still manageable.

That T1N would be my vote, that's low mileage but not "too" low mileage, and not too bad of a price.

I've never had or driven an NCV van (the '08) and I've only read of the DPF and other emissions related items that give people headaches, so I can't comment on their reliability, but it is true that the T1N is simpler and easier to fix, most things are very DIYable.

430K is a lot of road, many other things will either have been gone through, or will need going through soon. Like MWD said, you'd want some documentation.

My vote? T1N...
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:18 PM   #7
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Default Re: Seeking opinions from the Experts on Two Prospective Sprinters

So I've spoken with both people on the phone: yeah, the T1N owner seems a bit shady, even after confirming with him that it is the 140" he has changed his ad (again) and written that it is a 158" (in his newest reiteration). I just texted him why he posted it was a 158", after confirming with me that it was the shorter 140", and homeboy got a bit defensive (texting back whether I had a life, or if just went around dreaming and low-balling people)...pretty f-in weird. On the other hand, the guy in Las Vegas owns a "high-end" touring company. He seems to keep his "fleet" in great condition (he proclaimed that he has to...and then named three or four hotels that I have never heard of but with Italian sounding, haute-couteur names that he serves). The engine is rebuilt by MB--he was quick to mention that those rebuilds go for 15k. He said he had records of everything.

For what it's worth, my impression is that Will (the owner of the 170" '08) is thorough, upfront, and honest. He said business goes up and down, it's down now, and he's downsizing his fleet. The other homeboy seems cuckoo AF. No idea why he's continually changing his post. He claims he's not desperate to sell it but his actions speak otherwise. I asked him on the phone what his lowest offer would be...said he wasn't playing games, what would I offer him? Said $10,000. Homeboy said no way, lowest he would go would be $12,000. 10 minutes later he texts me $11,500 and tells me to sleep on it. I don't respond. An hour later he texts $11,000. I don't respond. Then the next day he texts that he'll honor my $10,000 if I buy it in the next day or two but if I don't have the money or am going to offer lower, don't even come.

Not really the "relationship" you want to enter into when buying something comparatively expensive from someone.

Sounds like people here are leaning toward the T1N though. I don't really think that the "gut" is always that great, which is why I reached out here.

Can anyone confirm or disconfirm whether the T1N's get better gas mileage and are better around the city?

Midwesterner--I read through your thoroughly documented updates from your T1N. Are you now down-under? Do you feel that the T1N 140" is roomy enough to live in?

Thanks much!
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Seeking opinions from the Experts on Two Prospective Sprinters

Neither - keep shopping. If you have 10k to spend, I don't see how you couldn't do better. The T1N looks super worn on the interior for a mere 131k miles. 10k is still too much, IMO. The advice to buy a T1N for reliability is over-repeated and outdated at this point - they're all antiques at this point. I'm having trouble finding parts for a 2008 NCV3.

A commercial high mileage NCV3 from Vegas? Dicey!! Maybe you'll be next to start yet another thread about how it exploded on the way home.
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Old 10-02-2019, 05:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Seeking opinions from the Experts on Two Prospective Sprinters

Also, just called Tim. Made an appointment with him, though things in his shop seem to be up in the $15,000 range, though everything is gone through and fixed.
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Old 10-02-2019, 06:16 PM   #10
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Default Re: Seeking opinions from the Experts on Two Prospective Sprinters

I have a T1N so I cannot speak to the NCV3, but I would recommend that anyone considering buying a T1N should either be a very competent DIY mechanic or should have an extra $10K after purchase in the bank ready to spend on repairs - hopefully you will not need all of it, but it is likely you will likely need to put at least a few thousand into it.

The van drives wonderfully on mountain roads for something as large as it is and the fuel mileage is truly remarkable, but it is an electronically complicated machine and knowledgeable shops are far apart on the vast interstates. If you plan to keep your van near home and have a competent Sprinter mechanic that is one thing, but if you plan to tour the country (or the world) you should be able to do our own troubleshooting and diagnosis at a minimum.

Although I have been going through every system on my van and have been replacing parts with OEM MB/Dodge parts to ensure its reliability, I am not sure I would loan the van to a friend. Parts for the diesel engine are so expensive! - a bad tank of diesel (with water in it) could lead to a $5K repair bill if you don't realize what happened and keep driving. Likewise, a cooling system failure followed by continued driving will result in $15K in damage. I believe I know enough to stop before the expensive damage happens, but some of my friends would not. Do you think you would know when to stop or when it is ok to continue into the next town? If not, you will need to learn.

I don't want to steer you away from a Sprinter, but I suspect there are a lot of people who buy these older vans and are truly surprised by the size of the repair bills - again, don't spend every dollar you have on the van and the conversion - make sure you have a cushion for repairs, and make sure it is a large one. Hopefully you will not need it!



Edit: One final word on the NCV3, from reading the forums, it appears that van is even more complicated and emissions gremlins are a common complaint, so I did not mean to imply the T1N is less reliable than the NCV3. I have the T1N and, as I do all my own repairs, I am quite glad I have the simpler systems of the earlier van. Good luck!

Last edited by 99sport; 10-02-2019 at 06:21 PM.
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