Please help! sprinter buying advice & more.


New member
Hi everyone I am new to this forum and I have found that a lot of the info on this site is very helpful!

This year for me has been very difficult as I have been looking for the perfect van to travel in around Australia. (I have been looking since November 2015...:frown: I have ended up here and am hoping to pick up a Merc sprinter 2005 fully automatic mwb low roof ex ambo van with 230,000 on the clock! It's the 5 cylinder 2.7 diesel. $12,500

I was originally going to get a Mitsubishi Delica 4x4 as it has the 4x4 option but the lack of space in the Delica turned me off.

I like the sprinter because of power, the economy and most importantly the amount of space and it will benefit my dream camper conversion layout.

HOWEVER, I am very concerned about the reliability of this model and have fears that I will have a very deep hole in my wallet with repairs constantly, I have been scared by the amount of bad reviews I have read and the reputation of the vehicle.

I would absolutely love it if anyone can give any input, advice or any stories that will educate me or ease my fear. I love the van but reliability and expensed is my #1 concern.

So, is the van an unreliable money pit?

Any comment is welcome thank-you!



New member
Oh, also is this 2wd model capable off - road. Eg: unsealed dirt roads, national park tracks (I don't want to be stuck in the city) :P


Own a DAD ODB2 Unit.
In the USA, as long as you keep up with maintenance and use the correct fluids and parts. It should be reliable. My 2002 has had issues that i have been able to do most of the work myself. Finding an odbii reader that can access the transmission and other special components is always a challenge.

I do take mine on mild off road trips and as long as you don't take it on agressive 4wd roads, or steep gravelly roads, it will go a lot of places. I've been stuck a few times, but i carry a shovel and an 8000 lb come-along to pull me out of gullies. I have a jeep for agressive off roading. The Sprinter can't go where that can (however my old 1976 VW camper bus managed a lot more than the Sprinter can deal with). I travel to old 1890s mining areas in the Colorado mountains. I wish it was 4wd.
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New member
I have always found you don't know how a vehicle will turn out until you have owned it for a while. Sprinters can be expensive, but so can almost anything else. If you have a good parts source and can work a wrench you are way ahead with most vehicles. Also accepting that some stuff just will be problematic My 525i drains the battery and so far has defied diagnosis, hooking it up to a maintenance charger if it is in the garage for more than a day and keeping a jump box in the trunk negate that problem. If you demand perfection and are going to have to rely on a dealer/mechanic that don't know Sprinters you might want to look elsewhere.

Sprinters, the VW bus of the 21st century!


2006 2500 T1N
Roll of the dice. Some people have had good luck. Others have not.

Even though the engines might run a long time, lots of other parts fail in any high mileage vehicle. Sprinters are no exception.

If you are able to do the work yourself it will be much, much cheaper. If not, be prepared to dish out cash at the dealership.

Here is my Repair Summary in 200,000 miles:
• Turbo hose and sensor
• Front and rear rotors, brakes
• Tie rod
• Alternator
• Glow plugs
• Turbo
• Heater distribution unit
• Steering rack
• Shocks
• All suspension bushings
• New tires
• Serpentine belt and ilders
• Harmonic balancer
• Injector seals (black death)
• Transmission conductor plate and o ring
• Battery
• Dash Vent Louvers
• In the next year or so I will need the TRANSMISSION rebuilt
• In the next year I will be replacing AC compressor, condenser and dryer
• The never ending surface rust

Sooooo... the engine (other than injectors and turbo) has been fine. But all the rest has added up.

JUST IN.... HOT BREAKING NEWS... just found my sprinter dumping diesel from here to the super market and back. Quick diagnosis showed it was the injector return line. Quick call to the dealer, and I will get one by the Friday. OK... wait for it... $270 + taxes. Well that is Cdn, so it will probably be $200 USD.

I do love the van - a lot. High roof is great. Easy to work on. Easy to get around town. Great gas mileage. But - like most high mileage vehicles - parts wear out.
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'06 140SHC 2500 DIY Conv
Having owned two Sprinters over last year(!), I agree with the previous comments. The first Sprinter I bought ('06 140 SHC, 106K) was cheap to buy, but ended up being very expensive - turbo, E-brake cables, EGR valve, rust... I dumped it at a loss as quickly as I could. The second (also an '06 140 SHC, 65K) cost more to buy, but I love it. The main stumbling block for me is the foreign nature of the diesel motor. I've worked on cars most of my adult life, but I don't understand this one at all. I'm not afraid to turn a wrench on it, but I'm in the dark diagnostically. I love the ground clearance and the turning radius (of the 140wb). I don't do off-roading, but I bought mine with the intention of being able to take it on logging roads and other places that can get you into trouble.

Good luck, whatever your decision ends up being.


New member
Thanks for all the comments everyone. I would be happy to pick up a T1N asap i'm just worried about the reliability and cost, I expect to own it for around 3 years.
I just hope i'm not constantly needing to fix issues all year round.

Aqua Puttana

Poly - Thread Finder
Thanks for all the comments everyone. I would be happy to pick up a T1N asap i'm just worried about the reliability and cost, I expect to own it for around 3 years.
I just hope i'm not constantly needing to fix issues all year round.
The newest T1N you will find is now 10 years old.

It would be foolish to tell someone that they will not be fixing things on a used vehicle that is 10 years old (or older). Both my 2004 and 2006 need DIY attention.

This year my 2004, now with 308,000 miles has done these boat or travel trailer towing trips from N.F., NY:

Florida and back twice. Cleveland. Lake George NY. Annapolis MD twice. Whitby Ontario Canada. Montreal Quebec. Kingston Ontario Canada. Ocean City MD. and many other lesser trips. On the last trip back from Ocean City I had a turbo hose failure which I repaired in 15 minutes on the road. Other than that problem my 2004 has performed flawlessly.

Money can be saved on an older van, but not time. If your time is valuable you should look to newer model years.

:2cents: vic
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