Considerations for buying a 2007/2008/2009 Sprinter

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
This posting is mostly targeted towards the North American Market.

People consider price over everything, it seems. While price is important, getting a Sprinter that will suit your needs and meet your expectations may be equally or more important.

The array of Sprinter options is staggering. If you want Cruise Control, don't assume you'll get it. Cruise Control (Daimler calls this "Speed Control") was an option. Most 2007 units on the road do not have it. It's expensive to retro-fit and requires a dealership tool to turn it on, even if you manage to get the hardware.

In general, it's very hard to add things after a Sprinter leaves the factory floor.

Here are some examples of what you may want when you're looking for "a deal."

Steering Wheel Buttons
The owners manual for my 2007 has something like two pages detailing the instrument cluster controls for Sprinters w/o steering wheel buttons.

There are more than 10 pages detailing the features that come with steering wheel buttons.

A 3.9 rear axle ratio
The 2007 rear axle ratio default equipment was a 4.18:1 ratio. There was an optional 3.93:1 ratio available, but most 2007s were not ordered by dealerships or individuals with that ratio. The 4.18 axle does not promote fuel economy at highway speeds.

The 2008+ rear axle ratio defaulted to 3.93:1.

Further, the literature often states 4.10 instead of 4.18. This confused and angered many people.

If you're planning on hauling heavy loads - concrete, tile, heavy tools, construction supplies and debris - through cities at low speeds, the 4.18:1 ratio is probably preferable.

If you're using the Sprinter for more for highway use, the 3.93 is probably your better choice.

Here are some resources:

All the options available for a 2007 144" WB, 2500 Sprinter when you could order one.

Special Equipment Books (All the sales codes and their description)

Search the NCV3 Database area for owners manuals and read them. Look for things like "vehicles ordered with the optional," and other clues that indicate what you think may be standard is really a special-order option.

If you reduced my packages (like "Contractor package") to its individual options, I had over 100 sales codes outside of the default.... and I think my van has the minimum number of features that a typical buyer may expect to come with a new vehicle.

The way I did it: I figured out what I wanted and ordered it. What I would do if I were looking for a used "deal:" I'd look at what I'm driving now, and figure out of the base model has everything I want. If not, I'd look for the things I wouldn't enjoy doing without and I'd research what can be added after the fact (cell phone wiring prep can not be added after assembly).


-Jon

PS: NCV3 database has owners manuals. Read them and look for clues like, "ordered with the optional," and other key phrases.
 
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shanemac

Active member
Nice tips Jon...with my van i fluked out and had cruise control(i never even thought to look if it had it) which seems to be a rare option in 07...but i have the 4.18 ratio so for me my rpm's are a bit higher on highway but have the cruise so for me it kinda cancels each other out:smirk: Same deal with intermittent wipers i just assumed it would be standard and there not i don't even think they are offered for the sprinter.

The steering wheel buttons i kinda wish i had seeing there is much more detailed dash information you can rifle through.

Not having vital engine gauges took some time to get over... so keep that in mind.

I have preached it hear many times suspension seats are a must with this van the ride can be stiff made worse by war zone roads,its a option i highly recommend, your back will thank you.Can be ordered and installed after the fact but around 1500.00 bucks.

Lashing rails at least for the walls are great for not only cargo management but mounting shelving as well with the proper bolts. Lashing rails can be installed aftermarket too so its not critical there factory installed.

If you have no glass in the rear the parktronic system(rear back up aid) really does a good job but can be temperamental at times, a expensive option but a rare option...after market back up camera would likely be a wiser purchase.

Heavy duty sway bars are worth the money i can even corner with the speed demons :laughing:

For cold climates i would recommend at least a booster heater again expensive but your engine and your body core temperature will thank you.

Remote cargo lighting again in winter daylight is short and not having to mess with a dash switch 15 times a day is worth every dime.

Rear camera wiring prep i didn't have it but i would get it on my next sprinter van.

Rear interior heater in cold climates is a must.

Rear step would be nice but can be added later but likely cheaper to get on your order sheet before hand.

Rear and side door grab handles unless your 6'2":bow: can be added later if need be fairly cheaply

Heated windshield would be nice, scraping the windshield with short legs is not fun:smilewink: but i have to say seeing sprinter warms up pretty fast the window clears up nicely. If your area has a lot of frozen rain its something to consider.

Heated seats are a option but after market is cheaper and is doable i think.

Also no block heater from factory its not offered so budget for a aftermarket inline heater.

Also budget for better tires factory tires are weak at best.

That is all i can think of for now.
 

cedarsanctum

re: Member
The steering wheel buttons are nice, there's a whole lot of things to play with while driving down the road. Being able to see tire pressures while moving is great, and being able to watch the MPG change as you drive is pretty handy, though not as detailed as the video game in the Prius.

Look for, order, install the rear HD sway bars. They are not standard, but should be.

We ordered windows all around in our cargo van, but missed the dark tint option. That ended up costing about the same doing it after-market, but i don't believe the tint job can be as good because it's applied on the surface instead of in the glass.

The auxiliary hydronic heater is very nice in the cold weather. It took our dealer a while to figure that one out, they'd never heard of such a thing before down here in the banana belt. The rear heater is a bit of a joke, very noisy and very wimpy heat output. I was hoping the combination of these two would provide heat while stopped or camping, but it does not. It heats the cab, but the rear heater needs the engine running to make heat or run the fan.

The contractors package is, for me, a must have. Getting 4 sets of keys was a bonus with this package.

The expensive radio is kind of a waste of money. It comes with a 6 disc changer that plays MP3 discs, and all those cool looking phone buttons that are totally worthless, but once i installed the iPod connector i got from Chris Case, i have never played a CD in the truck again. Maybe the weather band radio will come in handy some day, but the iPhone has much better info available much easier, as long as it's within range for data.

The factory sunroof is a huge disappointment. It's very small, would be impossible to climb out of, and can't be opened when moving for all the wind noise. I would instead install 3 of the after-market ones for less than we paid for the factory ones, and have much more functional openings in the roof.

Hope this helps
Jef
 

shanemac

Active member
The rear heater is a bit of a joke, very noisy and very wimpy heat output. I was hoping the combination of these two would provide heat while stopped or camping, but it does not. It heats the cab, but the rear heater needs the engine running to make heat or run the fan.
You made some good points about the rear heat...it really only works well if the booster is running on the real cold days i find, if not the output is less if running the front heat at same time. Seeing you have a passenger version i can understand your opinion. I should have mentioned before that aftermarket rear heaters are available if someone is considering one if the van they bought does not have one.

I agree the extra keys are good to have and should be on the order sheet
 

bikergar

New member
I found mine at a dealer in Chicago and had a dealer down south go get it. It was ordered for a Northern climate and has the diesel heater booster. For where I live this is a 500 dollar novelty. I've driven highway speeds at 20 f without it running and engine temp and van temp were fine. Maybe in extreme cold this would be a good option :idunno:. It only runs when the engine is running, but for more money can be ordered to run with engine off. I believe if I lived up north this would be a desirable option.

Sound 5 radio is fine for my old ears, but steering wheel buttons would be nice. If you are looking for engine info the scan gauge works well.

If I had ordered it I would have got the left sliding door. I don't need the wall space and the door would make access to cargo that much easier.



For anyone considering dual use I can highly recommend the crew van option. It comes with a 3 passenger bench that can be removed in less than a minute, side windows, extra insulation, head liner panels, and the anchors necessary for an additional bench seat. When I can find one close to home I'll get a two place or three place bench. This will give me seating for either 7 or 8. With the bench in I still have ample cargo area behind it.

I have the deluxe seats which are a step below the suspension seats, but are very comfortable.

I have heated mirrors and dual heated rear windows. For me these are good options. My advice for people who don't require wall space and aren't afraid of people looking in to see what's inside is get all the windows you can. The right sliding door window adds a lot of visibility for those hard right hand turns.

The glass tint is very dark and makes looking into the van difficult...Thats a good thing.

I also have the dual spring option which is supposed to make the ride softer. If it does I really feel sorry for you single spring guys, because when this thing is empty it will wear you out. I would save my money on this one.:thumbdown:

I wanted the factory installed hitch so I don't have the bumper step. I use a hitch step and in conjunction with rear door handles works well for my application. The bumper step would be nice.

As other have stated, get the 4 key option. At 100 dollars its a bargan.

gary
 
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The rear heater is a bit of a joke, very noisy and very wimpy heat output. I was hoping the combination of these two would provide heat while stopped or camping, but it does not. It heats the cab, but the rear heater needs the engine running to make heat or run the fan.

Jef
What type of heater is the rear heater?

Is there a thread or a dealer website describing the different types of heat sources offered as options from the factory?
 

jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
Is there a thread or a dealer website describing the different types of heat sources offered as options from the factory?
There's a book: In the NAFTA region, it's called the "Special Equipment Book." It's stored in NCV3 Database.

The latest one is here.

-Jon
 

cedarsanctum

re: Member
What type of heater is the rear heater?

Is there a thread or a dealer website describing the different types of heat sources offered as options from the factory?
The rear heater is a typical heater core with engine coolant routed through it, and a small fan to move the air past it. It resides in a box under the left side, with a long box above the floor that routes the air. The fan will not work without the ign. switch in the run position or the engine running.

It is also plumbed into the auxiliary diesel fired heater, which is just in front of the heater core box underneath, right under the drivers seat. This heater can be fired up without the engine running and run for 2 hours to heat up the engine and cab, but does very little to heat the rear. I haven't taken any time to try re-wiring or re-routing any of this, instead i'm installing a Wallas diesel fired stove/heater.

Jef
 
Jon, thanks for the link to the SEB, and I apologize for not reading it in the first post (lol). It answered my questions about factory heaters (and about 100 other ?'s). Although I thought there was a factory option for an Espar D2 (type) airtronic diesel heater that mounted under the passenger seat, maybe this was only offered on T1n sprinters?
Iam amazed that these factory options will not heat up the space, Jef, Portland? , its not THAT cold in Portland! Is it? :)

I have just been lurking, doing research for a potential DIY conversion. :bounce:
 
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To add to the thread, the reliability issues I keep hearing about are scaring me away from the NCV3, and it doesnt sound like the warranty is worth much based on reviews of service facilites provided by Dodge, and Freightliner, not to mention the fact that service is in limbo with Mercedes taking it back over.
I cant imagine my local ◦Acura ◦Jaguar ◦Land Rover◦MercedesBenz◦Porsche ◦Volvo dealer welcoming Sprinter drivers with open arms.
Do you think this is based on the fact that more people own NCV3's in N. America vs T1N or there are really realiability issues with this chassis/motor?
I feel like I would be better off with an older (cheaper van) and working through the maintenence issues on my own and leave the headaches at the MB dealer. At the same time I hate the thought of buying a van that some snot nose kid has driven around town like the guy in the video below all while carrying a load, and texting. :)
 
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jdcaples

Not Suitable w/220v Gen
I ordered my Sprinter. Since mile 34 I've only two had minor complaints: 1) all the factory, interior and non-headlamp lights burned out in the first two months and 2) the paint is weak, falls off too easily, scratches too easily and is too thin for the real world. Other than that, it's been - and continues to be - rock solid reliable. I think the burned out bulbs were just a manufacturing (Daimler supplier) issue, resolved with all the replacements I've installed.

The stuff you read on Sprinter-source about NCV3 reliabiliy - EGR system fouling, transmission problems, rear-end problems - these problems are not universal. Most people are driving their NCV3s and not posting about how wonderful it is.... so, personally, I make a conscious effort to avoid borrowing trouble from the future.

As for dealerships welcoming you with open arms:

What MB USA, LLC does with the NAFTA NCV3s and the T1Ns won't be known until they're ready to execute their plan; we just have marketing and press release info to work with for now. Google News will reveal what Dodge and MB have said about Sprinters.

What we do know:
  • MBUSA, LLC Daimler Vans, LLC will be the brand manager for US Sprinters sold and serviced by Freightliner and MB USA, LLC Dealerships.
  • Some, not all but SOME MB USA, LLC licensed dealerships will sell and service Sprinters. Some, but not all Freightliner dealerships will sell and service Sprinters.
  • Sprinter sales and service go hand-in-hand. As a dealership, you don't get one w/o the other.
  • MB and Freightliner Dealerships also get to "opt out," of the Sprinter program; so it's not like you can break down, open a phone book and head for the nearest dealership and expect them to move mountains for your Sprinter, regardless of generation.

We're in the NCV3 Write-Ups area, so this thread should focus on NCV3 Sprinters and not degrade to arguing merits between proponents of either generation.

Let's keep this thread focused on why the reader considering an NCV3 and clarifying the NCV3-specific data points which are important to the researcher.

As for service, I can say that I've opted to own my NCV3's maintenance. I'm done sharing the maint responsibilities with people I don't know.

I don't plan to visit a dealership service area again unless it's for recall work or something more complicated than replacing fuel, oil and air filters, bigger than replacing sensors or other "fits in your hand" component. I'll go to an independent mechanic - that I can talk to - for work that requires more muscle, tools or confidence than I have on my own. I may make the 5000 mile (round-trip) journey to and from Pennsylvania to learn from Andy Bittenbinder next Spring, but that's a ways away.


-Jon
 
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