Another one of those 144 High Roof 4x4 builds...

fireball05

Newly arrived 2021 144HR 4x4 passenger
Thanks for the info and follow up. That's a fairly long list of issues for a brand new van.

Our van is finally done and we are planning our family trips - fingers crossed that the adjustment from a series of Toyotas to something we spent twice as much on isn't too painful....
 

anandd

Active member
@fireball05 I spent >15 years working at a European car performance/service shop, so I knew what I was getting into as far as what the issues could be (although, we never did MB, and the switch to dealers I'm unfamiliar with is probably the worst part of it).

If Toyota had a Sprinter competitor, that would be my choice, even if it was more expensive honestly... Overall the vans are pretty good, definitely not Toyota quality (maybe longevity is a more appropriate word), but, again, from working in the industry for years, I understand that isn't what they are designed for.

Our Tundra was initially supposed to be around for 2-2.5 years, and we sold it after 17 months (not that there were *any* problems with it); I would be genuinely surprised if our time with this Sprinter is equal to or longer than that

Honestly, plan those trips, and enjoy every minute of them. If something arises, worry about it then!
 

jason09

Active member
Next up, fixing what sloppy MB quality control missed in the rear doors. Used the heavy bodied 3M sealer as per the video by John from Owl Vans. It isn't pretty, but hopefully does the job. Don't forget to order the gun as well if you're getting it!
uXqhnML.jpg


Each door had 4-5 supports that were not adhered/attached at all, so for good measure I went over every single joint with an extra layer, and then looked through the rest of the interior for any other spots they missed.
Dbkph7T.jpg

Hey! Thanks for sharing. After 9 months and changes in outside temps, have you seen any waving or warping of your body panels from the application of sealer on the MB braces? Curious if SikaFlex was an option for this application. I have some of SikaFlex around, but not the 3M sealer nor the 3M gun!
 

anandd

Active member
Hey! Thanks for sharing. After 9 months and changes in outside temps, have you seen any waving or warping of your body panels from the application of sealer on the MB braces? Curious if SikaFlex was an option for this application. I have some of SikaFlex around, but not the 3M sealer nor the 3M gun!

Just realized that I haven't updated this thread since September :oops::oops: There have been some changes and a load more miles (and smiles)!

The van has around 37k miles on it now and has experienced everything from -15ºF to 105ºF (probably warmer if you include the sun beating on it, the interior was up to 108ºF the other day with ambient temps in the high 80s). I've got a warped lower panel on the drivers side, but not sure when/how that happened (I noticed it in October I think). With that being said, I didn't apply any of the body sealer there (nor did I have any issues with the supports in that area).

Overall, no complaints with doing it myself with the 3M material; I'm not sure if SikaFlex would work/hold the same honestly
 

anandd

Active member
Can you share some interior pictures? Would love to see how your build is coming along.

Perfect reason to post some updates after MONTHS of not posting anything.... If you just want the photos, scroll down a bit!

Reading over my last few posts in the thread: New fuel filter fixed the stumble, we're approaching 40k, so almost time for another one and I'll plan on cleaning the EGR at that time as well.

We spent a few weeks skiing out west in February (UT, Tahoe, and then CO) and have definitely both found our rhythm in the van and absolutely loving it for travel (already planning next years out-west ski route). Our coldest night was actually on the way out in Iowa, where outside temps were around -10ºF and super windy. That is the only night I've questioned my choice to go with a 2kW heater instead of a 4kW as it was only able to maintain temps around 52ºF with the roof vent open. Subsequent nights, including those around 0ºF, the heater had no problem keeping us comfortable and in the 60s. Our usual "comfy" sleep temp setting is around 63ºF. After that the van barely moved for 2 months as we started travelling (by air) for work(for a new vehicle tour for customers). We were able to drive to a couple work locations and the van came in more than handy. At one location with a less than stellar room selection and "no other rooms available", we happily walked outside every evening and slept in the van in the parking lot. It also turned into a hot chocolate station for all of us working the event, and an ice cream dispensary at another event. It has been my daily driver for over a year now, and really isn't all that bad (I do miss drive thrus!), however, will be getting moved to "travel only" duties this winter when a new daily driver arrives.
yRovZEo.jpg


Onward to the updates!

The electric "panel" was re-done last fall, I reorganized everything on the panel and made "walls" for the garage. This way I can pop off a wall panel and easily access everything. Here's a photo of the electrical panel "in progress"; each of the Orion DC-DC chargers have a trio of 40mm fans blowing "up" over the heatsinks that are turned on any time they are charging. They definitely still get warm, but there are a few more fans that were added and this allows them to continuously charge >25A/each, so I'm assuming their individual temps are pretty decent.
j02mW7Z.jpg


To create a bit more lateral room in the compartment, I reoriented the batteries to their sides, and put a layer of 0.30" 3M Minicell under them to give a bit of padding and insulation. The other 5 sides of the batteries are wrapped in 3M Thinsulate SM600L. As a just "in case", there are also 12v heating pads applied to each battery that are temperature controlled to come on at 36ºF. With that being said, all winter long I think the interior temp only got down into the 30s once or twice; primarily because we keep the van more or less "ready to go" at all times, which means there's water in the tank, so the diesel heater ran nightly to keep it warm (instead of relying on heating pads). Ignore the leftover bits of Thinsulate on the exposed screws, that was handled right after this photo was taken
MPSrOBN.jpg


Speaking of water, we have running water! I ordered a "over the wheel well" 20gal tank from NW Conversions, and spent some time figuring out how to make use of the wheel well cut out, since we have DECKED drawers, and thus no wheel hump. I don't think I actually took any photos of it; but essentially the tank sits on a cut-to-shape piece of 3/4" ply with 0.30" 3M Minicell between the wood and the tank. This wood is secured to a "subframe" of 80/20 that raises the tank about 2.5" off of the top of the drawers. This subframe is attached to the main 80/20 frame on the passenger side, and then the tank is stabilized in place by additional pieces of 80/20 (both sides, front, rear, and top), with a bit of 0.25" 3M Minicell as padding. The fill for the tank is a Marine deck fill that comes "through" the sleeping platform (you lift the passenger side mattress to fill the tank), the vent goes up the passenger side D pillar and is capped with a filtered marine breather. Why was the tank lifted 2.5"? To give enough clearance for a ClearSource Ultra 3 stage water filter and the SHURflo pump to live where a wheel well is supposed to. I also drilled the top of the tank for a KUS reed switch/electric tank level sensor. This tank level sensor ties into the Victron Cerbo GX. Output for water is just to the sink, and no hot water. In similar fashion, the water tank is also wrapped on the sides and top in 3M Thinsulate SM600L; this actually continues and wraps the entire inside of the water compartment except for the space where the fan is (to draw air from the "garage" into the compartment). The tank has a 12v thermostatically controlled heating pad applied to it as an extra level (and two 12v boot heaters at the pump and filters), and there is also a 100W PTC heater/fan on a separate thermostat as a last level of redundancy at the front of the compartment to heat everything if absolutely necessary. Gray water is handled by a 5 (or 7) gal Aquatainer located under the sink. I added 3/4" quick disconnects on the sink drain so it is easy to pop out and dump. Gray tank venting is handled in the interior through a charcoal filter in the vent line.

In building out the sink "cabinet"/counter, I incorporated the microwave directly below the sink, which is super convenient. Adjacent to that the Wrappon toilet is now on 500lb drawer slides and slides out from the garage area into the galley. The "kitchen" side has evolved to use a trio of boxes from Ikea that just happened to be the proper depth/width for 3 boxes to fit AND their "feet" drop off the back side of the shelf to lock them into place. The fridge/freezer went from being on appliance rollers to a platform with 500lb drawer slides (I used 200lb slides but they rattled like crazy). I also applied 2 1m LED strips from Diode Dynamics on the kitchen side (one facing down the front, the other facing "in" to illuminate the boxes; as well as a 0.5m strip under the sink cabinet to light up the shoe storage area and another 1m strip at the cab headliner. These have become our new favorite lights in the van as they illuminate spaces we didn't know "needed" to be lit previously.
xgbBscz.jpg

rtMrfbs.jpg


After that came an upgrade that I intended to do at the start but ran out of time, audio! To clean up the factory audio signal I used a Kicker KEYLOC, this has a built in processor that can bring the signal back to a true flat setting; that feeds into a Kicker KEY200.4 amp , which has a built in DSP and external microphone to tune the system for the space and speaker output. I've had good results with Hertz products on previous builds, and they fit the space requirements so I went with Cento series C165 woofers for the doors and Dieci series DT 24.3 tweeters for the dash. As referenced in a few other threads on here the tweeters literally "snap" into place in the dash, but a bit of angle will make them sound better. The door speakers were simple and easy to install. As with everything else, I applied some 80mil CLD and 3M Thinsulate SM600L on/in the doors to quiet them up. For bass I went with a JL Audio MicroSub+ 8" (ACP108LG-W3v3). This fits perfectly on the forward side of the Kitchen cabinet and provides a surprising amount of bass for an 8". I was a little worried about going with a ported enclosure, but this thing definitely has my vote.
1NOpvhr.jpg

3CfCxR7.jpg


Additional changes to the van included an Owl Ski Locker for our winter trip (the Owl Medium box is back on now though), hanging bags for clothes storage (only one side is up in the pics, as we were using the other side's bag for other travel), 3M Low-E on the ceiling and side walls, the addition of another pair of Diode Dynamics SS5s and deletion of the ditch lights (interfered with the Owl hood struts), solar on the hood to keep the van battery topped off (in addition to the 4A charge from the Victron Multiplus), ARB Twin air compressor, a SwitchPros SP-9100 to control all the lighting, and I'm sure a few other things I'm forgetting. Oh! we switched to a Garmin Tread XL instead of the previous iPad for mapping due to its ability to handle height restrictions as well. Speaking of solar, I still have 350W of solar panels to be installed (since last spring), that I've never gotten around to. Honestly, I can't say we've ever felt the need to have them on there. Additionally still on the shelves to be installed: side scene lights, rock lights, and Diode Dynamics SS3 Max SAE fog lights.

If you've stuck around this long you probably want to see more interior photos:

Excuse the messy bed surfaces, missing hanging bag, and generally disheveled interior. One thing we still need to figure out is a transition between the ceiling panels and wall panels (maybe a 2" rubber/vinyl strip), and something to cover up the Thinsulate on the sliding door (where a window would go if you had one). In the garage space you'll see 3 fans; there is a 140mm fan on the water side to draw ambient air from the interior in (ideally in cold weather), and then a pair of 200mm fans on the electrical side. These are situated to draw in air from the front (galley) end of the garage, and draw out hot air from the back (rear doors) end of the cabinet, which is also where the Multiplus is located (as it generates some heat while charging or inverting). This has worked really well to keep it more aligned with the ambient interior temperature. There are also a number of Ruuvi temp sensors throughout the van (ambient interior, electrical cabinet, batteries, water tank, and an external temp mounted to the Owl B2). All of those are integrated with the CerboGX to allow for monitoring and alarm capability from anywhere. The blanket you see at the rear of the sleeping area we started using on that -10ºF night to further insulate the rear windows a bit and it worked fantastically, thus we just left it up all the time. It is a Rumpl Down blanket, held up with a couple of magnets and then tucked under our mattresses. It does a great job of keeping the cold air from the rear doors/windows separated from our sleeping space, and ironically also prevents any pillows from falling out when we open the back doors.
QUhRJTH.jpg

E7QX3Df.jpg

J7zI9Uv.jpg


Phew... that was a lot to type.
 

ReGULT51

Active member
Looking good.

- good experience with the Wrappon toilet?
- what kind of sleeping pads are you using and how’s the comfort over the plywood base?
 

anandd

Active member
Looking good.

- good experience with the Wrappon toilet?
- what kind of sleeping pads are you using and how’s the comfort over the plywood base?

The Wrappon has been phenomenal. We used it previously in our Tundra build and can't really imagine going to anything else.

The sleeping pads are Hest Foamy's; they could be put together to be the size of a Queen (they also make a Dually model that is 2 pads permanently put together). We thought the Exped Megamat was the most comfortable sleeping pads previously, these blow the Exped out of the water. Legitimately as comfortable (if not more) than our home mattress. The reason for the two pads is that apparently I move too much in my sleep and disturb my better half. So she wanted two separate mattresses, and now she sleeps wonderfully. The space between is perfect for our portable iPad holder (movies in bed) and acts as our "night stand" for our phones, movie snacks, etc.
 

ReGULT51

Active member
I have the Wrappon as well, but not used much. So far works great. Very nice not having to deal with waste water dumping.

I was leaning toward Exped's Megamat so it's great to hear your feedback on that. I'm looking to accommodate a bed platform in my build but hadn't decided between using thicker seat cushions or going with thinner cushions + sleeping pad. I'm going to check out Hest. Thanks!

The Wrappon has been phenomenal. We used it previously in our Tundra build and can't really imagine going to anything else.

The sleeping pads are Hest Foamy's; they could be put together to be the size of a Queen (they also make a Dually model that is 2 pads permanently put together). We thought the Exped Megamat was the most comfortable sleeping pads previously, these blow the Exped out of the water. Legitimately as comfortable (if not more) than our home mattress. The reason for the two pads is that apparently I move too much in my sleep and disturb my better half. So she wanted two separate mattresses, and now she sleeps wonderfully. The space between is perfect for our portable iPad holder (movies in bed) and acts as our "night stand" for our phones, movie snacks, etc.
 

anandd

Active member
I was leaning toward Exped's Megamat so it's great to hear your feedback on that. I'm looking to accommodate a bed platform in my build but hadn't decided between using thicker seat cushions or going with thinner cushions + sleeping pad. I'm going to check out Hest. Thanks!

Great thing with the Hest pads is that most REIs stock them now, so you can go and test (or return after purchase if you don't like it).

The huge benefit to the Exped is that it deflates and rolls up. The HEST pads roll up as well, but no where near as small as the Exped; with the bonus of having more squish to them and not needing to be inflated.
 

Chile1

New member
i've been following your build thread and wanted to now the following:

a) why you did not go with either CATuned or Owl Pismo bumper - i'm looking at either/or for my build?
b) how do you like the VC rocker guards?
c) why did you chose to omit the front mud guards?
 

anandd

Active member
i've been following your build thread and wanted to now the following:

a) why you did not go with either CATuned or Owl Pismo bumper - i'm looking at either/or for my build?
b) how do you like the VC rocker guards?
c) why did you chose to omit the front mud guards?
Hey!

a) I'm really not a fan of the looks of either bumper, nor did I want the extra weight. This isn't a hardcore trail rig (very very few Sprinters should be/are). Primarily I wanted the recovery points, and the winch is an added bonus for potential situations where things get more dicey than expected.

b) No complaints whatsoever about the rocker guards; I've never had to (luckily) use a hi-lift to jack & stack from any of their points, but honestly, that was the selling feature for me; how well they work as a step was a bonus. The knock-off grip tape I applied to the passenger side step @ the sliding door is still remarkably holding up well after almost 2 years, with lots of abuse from ski boots

c) I'm not a huge fan of mud guards/mud flaps, and they seem to get in the way on all of our previous off road builds, so they were quick to go. And partially because it gave me a bit more clearance without having to bash the pinch weld back as far. Since then I've also pulled the rears off to ensure there is enough space in the event that I need to put chains on.
 

Chile1

New member
Can you provide a few pictures with your hood open to see how the Bravo snorkel looks inside the engine compartment. I'm trying to see how your installers made the oval cut which isn't easy to do. Also to see if i would need to relocate the light harness for my LP9 Bumper Lights.
 

anandd

Active member
Can you provide a few pictures with your hood open to see how the Bravo snorkel looks inside the engine compartment. I'm trying to see how your installers made the oval cut which isn't easy to do. Also to see if i would need to relocate the light harness for my LP9 Bumper Lights.

Just saw this, sorry for the late reply... I'll grab some underhood photos as soon as this rain lets up a bit this week
 

Top Bottom