What sprinter to get?

kate&korra

New member
Hi! I am looking for a sprinter to get to start full-time van life. I have a few people helping me find the right van, and advising me, but I thought I will write here and hopefully get more insights.
I would like to get a 4x4 or RWD at least, and I was recommended to look at the older models (1998-2005).
Does anyone have more insights?
Best,
Kate :)
 
D

Deleted member 50714

Guest
2006 is considered by many to be the best year because 2007 began using diesel particulate filter.
 

Ed463

Active member
Hi! I am looking for a sprinter to get to start full-time van life. I have a few people helping me find the right van, and advising me, but I thought I will write here and hopefully get more insights.
I would like to get a 4x4 or RWD at least, and I was recommended to look at the older models (1998-2005).
Does anyone have more insights?
Best,
Kate :)
The pre 2006 Sprinter's (T1N) are very basic compared to the next model (906 2006 to 2018).
That can be regarded as a positive, which I expect is the thinking behind the advice.
Downside. They're old, they can feel old (agriculture) but most importantly in northern Europe they rust. Rust that will take away your will to live once you start poking around!
But find a good one and it's an excellent investment (if anything with an engine and wheels can ever be) close to zero depreciation.
Post 2006 to around 2014 you're still at the mercy of rust.
But more economical, more refined and way safer.
Buy carefully and there are bargains out there.
Buy an abused dog and it'll be a money pit.
Depending on your budget I'd try to go for one of the last 906 models 2017/18
You'll pay a huge premium for a 4x4 and most have had a very hard life.
So a 2wd with some decent all terrain tyres and maybe a slight suspension lift (not easy or cheap on a Sprinter unfortunately) may be better
 

mean_in_green

>2,000,000m in MB vans
Finding a good non-rusted Sprinter from that era '98-'05 is going to require a lot of patience, even the models that came afterwards from '07 onwards will now mostly be rotten sheds on wheels. If in any doubt search Soup's Sprinter restoration on YouTube. If you go for an early Sprinter you will very likely have to do everything he is doing to make it good again (spoiler alert: lots of time, lots of motivation, big enough premises, some / maybe a lot of money).

The later model known as 906 - or NCV3 on here - from '07 onwards is easier to live with and many found it more comfortable than the predecessor. The last of those are now about four years old. Better cab, bigger load space and they are reliable if there's been proper maintenance.

Have you seen Greg Virgoe's recent YouTube post commenting on the both the difficulty and recent rising cost for vans in general?
 
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borabora

Well-known member
I have owned my 2016 (NCV3) Sprinter for a bit more than 2 years. Costs and issues were about 2x of what I anticipated based on pretty careful research before buying the van. I hope that I have exterminated all the most likely bugs but I know that every day is a roll of the dice and I may face a $5k repair bill. I wanted a high roof van with good range and good mileage for long distance travel. For now I am committed and will keep the van for its purpose.

However, in retrospect the very good mileage of my Sprinter (about 25 mpg) is completely negated by the high maintenance and repair costs. If I did this over I would buy a high-roof, gas-powered Ford Transit and spend about $1k to have an extra full tank added for better range! A Ford can be repaired at thousands of locations and any yokel can do basic maintenance, like oil changes, without charging you $800 (the MB price for a Service A -- aka oil change).
 

mean_in_green

>2,000,000m in MB vans
The question was posed in the Europe forum - petrol vans are virtually non-existent here.
 

3Play

Well-known member
Being in Europe, you may find a better one in Germany where the inspections are very picky, so it would have to have been maintained well.
You have different models than we have in the US, so I can't comment beyond that...
I looked into buying one there a few years ago with the idea that a few people were buying it together and would leave it there, so we could road trip in Europe. We came to the conclusion it would be better to buy in Germany, then register and domicile it in Spain...
There were a couple of resellers in Germany that would find a vehicle for you and arrange the purchase. This was 4 years ago, don't know if they are still around.
 

Ed463

Active member
The question was posed in the Europe forum - petrol vans are virtually non-existent here.
And from what I've seen Transits have a horrific reputation in the UK. Good measure of that (in our part of the world) couriers avoid them like the plague:)
 

borabora

Well-known member
The question was posed in the Europe forum - petrol vans are virtually non-existent here.
I believe there were gasoline engine Transits released for every model year in Europe. I don't know about individual country sales.

My point isn't that Transits are better but that there are scenarios where they are likely cheaper to own. There are other scenarios where Sprinters are probably cheaper to own.
 

hippy

hardware modifier
Yarp the old ones will be rotten as. 2007 the dpf did arrive but you could delete it if you wanted to and have an empty box if it caused a problem. Also yeah the price has shot up because "vanlife", 3 or 4 builders an carpenters I know can't get a van for work because of this.

I'd go 2007 onwards, if you go too new you then have to deal with adblue and a Def system.

New transits alright I just hired one from enterprise to do london and back as my van is to old and not allowed in (emissions zone bs). It whizzed down there no problem, drove lovely and had all the gizmos.

Perhaps drive a few vans and get bum on seat to see if you actually like it or not.
Not that the original seat will stay if your like some of us!

Good luck
 

2021_3500_LowRoof

Well-known member
Think of your bail out plan going into it. How long will you be doing this sort of travel, how many miles, terrain, fuel availability and repair locations. Given Europe has way more garages to work on Sprinters than the US seems to. I bought a new van and will keep it just until the warranty runs out on it and hopefully trade or sell. We’ve seen on here that some used vans require 5-12k worth of repairs to make them dependable and safe. Hopefully it’s on the bottom side of that if no major engine repairs are necessary. Just be aware and hire a good sprinter mechanic to check it over first.
 

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