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Old 10-07-2019, 07:23 PM   #1
Pennyweisz
 
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Default Buying a 14 year old diesel sprinter

I want to give thanks in advance to any person that can assist me with this question. I am new to RV'ing, love to travel but have always stayed in motels, hotels etc. But they are pricey, not always available where I want to go, and seem to be getting more dirty all the time, regardless of the price. Among other vehicles, I am considering buying a pre emissions/def sprinter class C, or possibly class B. I have looked at transits, promasters, and they all seem to have a downside. What kind of problems can I expect with a Mercedes diesel/tranny combination, specifically pre 2007. Also, maybe you can tell me what are the advantages to such a vehicle.

Thanks again:
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Old 10-07-2019, 08:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: Buying a 14 year old diesel sprinter

We have a 2007. Only draw back I know of is the torque converter shatters at 80-110K miles per the reports around here. We are only at 53K so not an issue yet... I posted a poll about it and it sounded like maybe 15% of the time for forum members. When on shore power the chassis batteries don't charge, need a trik-l-start. Since the whole thing is new to you do a lot of reading around here and you will probably get specific answers to questions.

Another note, My friend pulls a toyhauler with a 3500 chevy diesel, he burns a lot of fuel but keeps up in traffic. He was close enough to buying one like ours that he was lying in the bed and ready to pull the trigger. I texted him as our rig with 3 bikes in the trailer was going up the hill from Phoenix at about 45-50mph, not the right fit for him. Think more VW van then F550 diesel super C. If you are nice to it it will be nice to you, and you will get there in your own time...

Last thing, Wet bath vs full bathroom, we went C and would do it again. Full showers extend the trip by a week for the wife and that equals me too!
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Old 10-07-2019, 08:39 PM   #3
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Default Re: Buying a 14 year old diesel sprinter

I have owned a 2004 T1N-based RV, and I now own a 2014 DEF-equipped NCV3. My take:
The T1N drives like a truck--noisy and unrefined. The NCV3 drives almost like a car--far more pleasant. Obviously, the NCV3 has more modern safety and convenience features which are quite nice. Some (but not all) T1Ns have body rust issues.

Except for the above, the T1N is a better choice in every way. Far simpler, more reliable, and easier to repair. The basic powertrain of both are incredibly robust. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a T1N just because it was 14 years old.

The NCV3, which would otherwise be a dream-van has, in my opinion, been rendered unacceptable by the beyond-ridiculous emissions-control issues. I used to totally love my current van until I started to face the reality of the consequences of these issues. I will never purchase another DEF-equipped diesel and am actively seeking a practical exit strategy from my current one.

Lots of folks are lucky enough to have not experienced these problems (it is a statistical roll of the dice). They will tell you that these are great vans. And they are --- except....

Good luck with your search.
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Old 10-07-2019, 10:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: Buying a 14 year old diesel sprinter

We just bought a 2006 Itasca (2005 Dodge chassis) a couple months ago and we love it! We managed to find one with only 20,000 miles on it and my first order of business was to change everything - Oil & filter, fuel filter, air filter, transmission fluid and filter, rear gear oil and then I swapped all of the interior and all of the rear lights for LED's because they are brighter and use less electricity

We specifically searched for a 2006 or older because I wanted the 5 cylinder engine and because they are now old enough you can buy one for about 1/3rd of what they cost new . . . . and if you can find a low mileage one, they're a real bargain

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Old 10-07-2019, 11:06 PM   #5
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Default Re: Buying a 14 year old diesel sprinter

If I was in the market right now, I would see what used transit based units were on the market come the new year. Not knocking the sprinter particularly, but the value for your money is generally better with the gasoline powerplants in the transit, and the supply tends to be higher, so the price premium the sprinter gets isn't there either.
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Old 10-07-2019, 11:57 PM   #6
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Default Re: Buying a 14 year old diesel sprinter

In short, unless you purchase a vehicle with low miles for a 14 year old RV, with no rust, and an extensive and detailed maintenance history--you can expect many, many problems if you plan on keeping it for any amount of time. It's a roll of the dice, some get lucky. The vans are getting older and are becoming a labor of love to maintain. It's something many of us here enjoy about them, but it ain't for everyone. Best of luck.
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Buying a 14 year old diesel sprinter

Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and experiences!
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:19 PM   #8
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Default Re: Buying a 14 year old diesel sprinter

FWIW we got our 2007 Itasca Navion with 39K miles for $39K just about 2 years ago. 2 oil changes and did the trans fluid, filter, and connector. Added a few odds and ends, mostly in the coach part. Espar worked, we are the 4th owners I believe and the 3rd bought it off a RV lot, zero service records. We are in AZ so rust is not an issue, the RV conversions only have about 10% of the problematic painted steel as the full Sprinter.

Don't let the negative nellies here crush your dreams, or educated decisions. As has been said many times, thousands of owners drive and get their rig serviced without an issue (trans/TC?) and never post on these message boards. 10 out of 10 times I would buy a T1N RV with 70K or less miles as they are way harder to abuse then an old commercial T1N with 180,000+ miles and put $10-20K into a build for my #vanlife dreams.

We currently own vehicles from 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007 (RV), and 2015.
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Old 10-08-2019, 03:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: Buying a 14 year old diesel sprinter

Quote:
Originally Posted by az7000' View Post
...

Don't let the negative nellies here crush your dreams, or educated decisions. ...
Educated decisions being key.

Not to be negative (I do love my two T1N's). Soon the newest model T1N will be 14 years old. Old vehicles can give good service, but any old vehicle needs TLC. If the plan is dealership service only then a new(er) model vehicle can make more sense as MWD pointed out.

Have fun hunting for RV's though. Don't let dreams or tunnel vision take you down the wrong path.

vic
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