My 2010 Euro5 NCV3 - The King is Dead. Long live the King.


>2,000,000m in MB vans
Just teasing - shout you when it's ready...


>2,000,000m in MB vans
I thought some forum members may be interested to learn more about the new replacement for my über dependable 2000 416 T1N, and also to read about the 2010 Model Year Euro5 NCV3. Forgive me if I piqued your interest a few weeks ago and then kept you waiting. It seemed as though some members wanted to know more about the 2010 NCV3 - I just wanted to let you know that a first hand report of the Euro5 model was imminent. I’ve not bought many new vehicles so this is quite an occasion personally. Life is pretty busy on all fronts lately, but I wanted to compose this post in such a way as to do the new arrival justice. There has been a lot to think and write about. Also getting the van ready for use post delivery took longer than I thought it would.

A brief background: I bought my 416CDI in 2000 at the T1N’s birth. Mine has easily been the best van I’ve owned to date, we’ve done ~830,000kms together (imagine how it felt to have 160bhp in a van back then – people couldn’t believe a manufacturer had given a van so much power. Before the inline five T1N you thought it was good if you had over 100bhp…). She’s still a fine looking van:

I had been wondering for a few years when would be a good time to replace it. Someone asked me: “Why bother changing if this one is so good?”. It’s a fair enough question, only recently justifiable for the first time in my own mind since the NCV3’s debut. In principle I dislike buying brand new vehicles: taking that initial depreciation hit just seems such a waste of money to me on the one hand, however I knew I would never find a pre-registered or good used model with the specification I wanted sitting around on a dealer’s forecourt somewhere – I need a bit of an oddball, not a mainstream fleet variant. I reconciled the depreciation issue to some extent in the knowledge that a) I am likely to keep it a long time, b) it’s deductible for a few years and c) like my T1Ncan it will always be worth good money in years to come because it will be well kept and usefully different (my previous T1(N)s all achieved excellent resale values). I also recognised last time around that “specific ideas” translates into “built to order” for me. It’s not always the cheapest way, but it’s not always the most expensive way either and it's usually the simplest in terms of subsequent effort to get where you want to be.

The reasons to change:

1. My 2000 416 T1N has only two single seats. Recent arrival of our first baby makes this more of an issue than before. I started thinking last year how a Sprinter with more seats would be better for us. As our family grows, we’d like to be able to camp away at weekends. Being able to take road trips and holidays in comfort in a dual-purpose vehicle could make a lot of sense. Having more cab space would be good for me when I’m working away too, as I sometimes sleep in it at short notice. Maybe I could have a vehicle that better suits all my needs, whilst recognising that in some ways it will be a compromise solution? What if I could introduce some of the desirable qualities of a classic mile munching GT with the practicalities of a working vehicle? I start thinking how I might minimise any compromises.

2. The Low Emission Zone (London). Although the date for introduction of its next phase has been put back from 2010 to 2012, the new date will soon become a problem for those in “non-compliant” vehicles (don’t you just love the Gestapo-esque phraseology…). My 2000 416 T1N isn’t “compliant” post this date so £100/day to drive into Greater London. Clearly every £100 in the Mayor’s pocket is £100 less for me to spend. (Edit: the date for introduction of the next phase has been put back, but only nominally – it’s still something to consider).

3. Someone I regard as one of life’s good guys wanted to buy my 2000 416 T1N. Actually he’s wanted it for a couple of years, at least. I don’t know about you, but whenever I’ve needed to sell a vehicle no one’s ever interested? I don’t need to sell the T1Ncan but to have someone asking is something to take seriously, so we talked and a deal was done, we’re both happy. Three other parties had expressed interest in buying it but I prefer to sell to this guy. It’s at odds with the convention not to sell vehicles to friends, but I know the vehicle is totally sound mechanically.

4. There was a impending DC ten percent price increase on both vehicles and parts as of 1st January 2010, plus the loss of Daimler-Chrysler’s £2,000 “old for new swappage” incentive on new registrations (EDIT: the same NCV3 I now have is at least £5,100 more than I paid).

No one thing in particular then, just a few thoughts and things changing in the background.

It’s November 2009 and I start speaking with dealers about a 2010 MY Euro5 NCV3, quickly I feel like I’m educating some of the dealer network about their upcoming model changes (too much time on Sprinter-Forum?). They’re first to get dropped off my list - I need to know that the vehicle is going to be right if I order from you. If you don’t know the answers on your own products I’m not interested, I don’t want to risk delivery of an incorrectly optioned vehicle. I decide I will definitely order through the main dealer network rather than through a broker. It will be more expensive but there are too many people going out of business at the moment, a broker is cheaper but I think riskier. I know DC will honour any orders placed through its dealer network even if the dealer goes bust.

We don’t have quick order packages in the UK, you have to tick the boxes you want and there’s lots to think about if you’re inclined. I’m surprised at the gap between the highest and lowest quotes (£9,000). Happily there were a few dealers who really wanted the business and knew what they were talking about. One bloke in particular is a total marque geek. We talk specification and his starting price is competitive. I’m surprised to learn that I’m likely to have another “416” model designation, inspite of a nine year model difference (I thought it would be “415”, but the Euro5 four pot now has 163bhp, so “416” again). A few days of chat and this is what we end up with, some of these are “Series” options (i.e. standard for the model):

2010 MY 416CDI OM651 Euro5 Extra-long High Roof Euro5 Super singles (the so called “SuSi” axle variant) in Reseda Green

BB2 Handbrake lever, folding
CL1 Height and rake adjustable steering wheel
D93 Omission partition, B-posts fully trimmed
E43 Trailer socket 13 pin
E46 Plug socket in cab
F46 Headlamp washing system
F68 Heated rear view mirrors, electrically adjustable
FF4 Shelf above roof trim
FJ1 Hinged lid stowage compartment
FR7 Provision, electrics, reversing aid (camera)
FZ8 Convenience opening/closing windows on remote fob
FZ9 Two additional master keys
H00 Hot air duct to passenger compartment
H21 Heat insulating glass with band filter on windscreen
HH2 Electrically powered hot air auxiliary heater
KB0 Main tank 100litres
L16 Fog lamps halogen
LB3 Additional flat turn signal lamps at rear of roof
LB5 Third brake light
LB9 Illuminated exits
LG1 Bi-xenon headlamps with cornering function
MS1 Speedtronic speed control
P47 Front mud flaps
P48 Rear mud flaps
S22 Armrest for driver’s seat
S25 Armrest for co-driver’s seat
SA6 Airbag, co-driver
SK0 Convenience head restraint, driver’s seat
SK1 Convenience head restraint, co-driver’s seat
VA2 Load space internally trimmed up to roof in wood
W16 Fixed window front left in sw/load compartment / sliding door
W17 Fixed window front right in sw/load compartment / sliding door
CL4 Multifunction steering wheel
G40 Automatic gearbox, includes Start Off Assist.
HH9 Air conditioning, automatic heater control
SB3 Suspension seat, comfort version, driver’s seat
SB4 Suspension seat, comfort version, co-driver’s seat
AR5 4.727 Final drive ratio (see comment “6” below)
Series ESP Trailer Stability Assist
Series Sound 5 (this will be coming out)
- Local supply only of the factory reverse camera (I know I can just fit it, make it work with the Pioneer unit I’m intending and save myself £400 over the factory camera / monitor offering).
- Local supply of a bare SuSi wheel
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>2,000,000m in MB vans
Things that bothered me at the pre-order stage:

1. Engine choice. I couldn’t have an inline five, nor did I want the thirsty Euro4 V6. So it’s back to four cylinders after seventeen years of inline fives. However…the Euro5 OM651 four pot has about ten percent more power and torque than my old OM612 inline five and promises to be more frugal too.

2. Transmission. No Sprintshift of course, the choice is a “new for Euro5” six speed Automatic or a “new for Euro5” six speed Manual. Deliberated long and hard over this. I’ve driven the Manual and felt that the six speed takes more shifting than before with its extra ratio and double overdriven fifth and sixth. Have overheard other similar sentiments, not derived from E5 163bhp application though. It will last forever, but do I want to go back to swapping cogs? The six speed Auto appeals – but how durable is it? I learn that it’s uprated to 480Nm on Euro5, the dealer has one for me to try too. Only available on the two most powerful engines, it impresses. I reason that my 163bhp OM651 won’t put the same strain through it as the 190bhp V6 would, and if anyone can get half a million miles out of one I’m the man to do it (- they said that I wouldn’t be able to get that out of a Sprintshift you know!). Traffic congestion in the UK is getting noticeably worse. I could have this van over ten years and jams are a situation that is unlikely to improve. The Auto will be nicer in tailbacks - that’s a reasonable chunk of my day. Also DC’s economy claims Manual vs. Auto are bold indeed – very little between the two. I go for the Auto, it seems to fit my goal of “über GT van” and I can still get my manual shift kicks in something better suited for the weekend.

3. Some trivial software issues: ESP Trailer Assist, VMax limit – dealer happy to address prior to hand over.

4. The colour choice - I know I want green but the colour I’ve had for the last nine years was discontinued only a few weeks before I ordered. I really was pretty miffed about that. Worse still: out of over twenty offered special order green shades only three were actually available to action on the dealer ordering system. One is Orchid Green, which is a standard shade so pretty pointless paying for the optional paint only to have that. One is a nearly luminous apple green which made my eyes bleed, the last is Reseda Green. My view on special order paint is that it has always been worth having, so Reseda Green it was. Not my first choice (have been British Racing Green for sixteen years) but I really like it - reminds me of a chocolate lime. The van needs an identity, this will help it attain one. It could be a crowd splitter of a colour, but that’s a given with green anyway.

5. No provision for spare wheel on super single variant. Yes, you read right: no provision, in Europe at least. I have a couple of ideas about this, but no one at DC can give me an authoritative statement on the PCD front / rear axles. I realise I have to wait until it lands before I can know for myself what will be needed.

6. Axle ratio. No amount of discussion could get me the axle ratio I wanted AR4 (4.364). I ended up having direct communication with DC UK’s top technical man at Milton Keynes, who in turn spoke with Germany about it to see what might be possible. The issue was the model series: once the weight variant exceeds 3.5t factory policy is now only to supply what DC believes to be the most appropriate ratio. The issue is complicated by the Super Single tyres i.e. the factory ratio won’t be the true ratio at the wheels. I was previously aware of this and in my own mind I was happy that I had calculated it correctly: an AR4 (4.364) axle on super single tyres gives a true ratio at the wheels of 3.997 - I believe this would suit my needs very well indeed. The only offered ratio AR5 (4.727) gives a true ratio of 4.329 on super singles. No choice exists anyway: if I want a four tonne variant they will only sell me AR5.

I quickly get over the engine, transmission and colour bits, but the axle ratio bugs me. My belief at the time is that it will rev higher than I’d like and the economy will be adversely affected. A lot of owners find 4.18 less than ideal, and (a SuSi corrected AR5) 4.329 is “worse” than that. I was able to calculate the impact of the wheel size on the final drive ratio with the manual ‘box but relating that to the additional variable of a six speed auto ‘box left me with brain fade after a few hours. I call on DC’s technical guru again. Some lengthy technical emails flow, but there are inconsistencies in DC’s data which don’t help. I’m unconvinced, they have got their ratios wrong before after all. However I’m also aware that DC could actually know what they’re talking about, it could be perfect. They knew improving the NCV3’s economy was key to winning back lost favour and most of the Euro5 publicity has focused on mpg improvements. I make my concerns about it known with the dealer and we figure out a mutually agreeable potential solution if it’s unacceptable. It’ll get reviewed post delivery once we’ve got some accurate data of our own to work with.

I pay the deposit on November 6th and secure a December build slot. Later the same day I hear that Europe’s total allocation for December production becomes complete. It gets built on the eighth of December. I learn that by that point the factory has already changed over to 2010 model year build programme. Transport from Germany takes six days to the UK, arriving December 17th so just six weeks from deposit to landing. UK delivery was to a third party fitting company (who are also part of the dealer network) for some additional work prior to hand over.

Going back to the “thinking how to minimise the compromise” part for a moment… A little over a year ago I bought an internal crew cab conversion kit, taking advantage of a hefty discount being offered following supplier’s rationalisation in an uncertain market. Six or seven seat kits were available, I went for the 2+4 option, preferring the better through cab access you get with twin single front seats. A seventh seat would’ve been nice but six is fine (it’s four more than my T1Ncan). Acquisition of this kit was an important step towards my goal of “a GT van for work and play”. In the 4.7m NCV3 cargo body the kit will leave me with ~400mm less loading length than my 4.2m T1Ncan. That’s the first compromise. It will be an issue occasionally, but less frequently than the increased cab space will be beneficial. Plus with the larger NCV3 body there’s nominal volumetric difference NCV3 (with kit) vs. T1Ncan (without). Other compromises are that the load space will no longer be accessible through the side door and the longest body means a higher kerb weight. I did look at another type of conversion kit that had superior flexibility because its bulkhead was moveable, but that just made me realise I preferred a fixed bulkhead layout. The plan was to get the pre-purchased cab kit delivered down to the third party fitters for them to do prior to Christmas, then for the van to be collected and returned to the supplying dealer during the Christmas holiday in preparation for hand over early January.

Knowing that the vehicle was in the country was a difficult temptation to resist. Unexpectedly some business came up which left me within a short drive of the third party fitting workshop, so just before Christmas I took a detour home and saw it in the metal for the first time. First impressions were how much road presence it has compared to a T1Ncan with its ELWB body, followed by the visual impact of the colour and an all round “new vehicle good vibe” – happy days! On this screen the colour looks much flatter than it really is. First hand it’s kind of a cross between a kiwi fruit and a lime, with a grey tone to it. Pre-delivery I was a bit apprehensive about the shade but I’m really happy with the way its turned out. I spent the day checking it over and doing a couple of little jobs whilst easy access existed pre cab kit installation.

Importantly I clarified the position with the front and rear hub PCDs and determined a sensible spare wheel solution for a SuSi – it isn’t possible for one wheel to fit either axle, which contradicts an early DC press release. Previously there was certainly some misinformation on the topic focusing on an intermediate sized spare. Whilst you could fit one size tyre front and rear (the data plate confirms this is possible) the differing PCDs preclude a one wheel approach. For me I decide that the best practice over the factory slime solution will be to carry two spare wheels. If you think about it this is still one less wheel overall than a dually and it has the added potential to resolve two puncture events on one trip (however unlikely that may seem). I already had spares of the common front wheel type, and the dealer was generous about the supply of an additional wide rear wheel. I quite like the solution. This is the first correct assessment of the situation in black and white that I know of, including in my own enquiries with DC. Couple of interesting SuSi images I took whilst the wheels were being repainted:

Christmas and New Year came and went, it got valeted again and was made ready for hand over. My father gave me a lift over to collect it on January 4th. I spend a few weeks driving it around. It feels good, like a pair of stiff new boots that need breaking in.

I love the way it feels!

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>2,000,000m in MB vans
There were some other key jobs to deal with before putting the vehicle to use. In no particular order:

1. Fitted some deadlocks to the doors. I like the idea of being able to double lock the doors – the standard arrangement is only adequate and can be easily defeated. I went for additional locks with high quality seven lever Multilock cylinders. Although I liked the Armaplates on my T1Ncan, there is still a really easy way to break in and open the door. I won’t say what that method is, but deadlocks address the issue. I suppose it’s a mild inconvenience to have to manually unlock and lock the deadlocks when you have a plip but it’s only really necessary to manual deadlock a couple of times a day.

2. The diesel to air auxiliary heater I wanted isn’t offered from the factory. I’ve always had positive experiences with Webasto kit, so I’ve gone for another Airtop 2000 fitted under the rear seats on the opposite side to the side door. I’m not that enthusiastic about the “water type” version Eberspacher heaters, they just don’t seem as durable as plain “diesel to air”. Have adapted the standard Webasto loom to work with the comfort timer which I’ve installed on the wall in the back, within arm’s reach for when I’m sleeping in the back or conveniently placed for passenger use. PM me for an easy to understand wiring diagram – Webasto ones are not especially reader friendly… For reference note that the additional outlet on an NCV3 fuel sender is plugged from the factory - a 4mm drill bit appears to be all that is needed to open up the line. I would dissuade you from trying to use the additional outlet to feed your auxiliary heater. Crucially I discovered that the standard sender does not have a fuel pick up underneath the spare outlet on top – somewhat annoying and contrary to its outward appearance. I tried juryrigging a pick up into the swirl pot below, it probably holds around a litre of diesel. The heater consumes 0.25 of a litre an hour on maximum and typically only runs for thirty minutes to an hour per event so I reasoned that this would suffice until I priced up the different sender for use with auxiliary heat. The tank drops down easily enough, I recommend you only partially drop it then disconnect the fuel lines and electrical connection to the front of the tank rather than at the sender before lowering it to the floor. There are quick disconnects in the fuel lines both at the sender and about a metre up the lines at the back of the transmission. The filler neck has a retaining bolt at the top and is one piece so cannot be separated like a T1Ncan. I drove the van up onto some blocks to give myself some extra working height – this proved invaluable when it came to extricating the filler neck, which is non-detachable. Whilst the installation of the heater itself was straightforward I couldn’t get a stable fuel feed established. I didn’t get to the bottom of it but there is something about using the factory sender like this that allows air into the line – in spite of correctly crimped airtight connections rather than hose clips. After a lot of head scratching and experimenting I came to the conclusion that the heater fuel pump could not lift the diesel out of the tank because my temporary stand pipe and plug drilling were 4mm diameter – larger than the supplied heater fuel line which is 2mm. A quick call to Webasto technical support confirmed the importance of the bore size. In the end I removed the tank and sender again and installed a dedicated standpipe on the top of the tank near the breather outlet, first making sure the fuel tank sender pick up and gauge float didn’t touch. The tank height is ~230mm there, so I cut the standpipe at 200mm. Ensuring the 2mm bore throughout the delivery line proved essential – the pump drew fuel almost immediately and I had combustion in the heater chamber on the second cycle. A factory sender is available with the correct standpipe aux heat outlet, although I didn’t price it as I the generic standpipe to hand.

3. Got some extra paint thickness on the wheels, and lost the factory’s mediocre rattle can look. Went for a two pack high gloss gunmetal shade, a VW/Audi colour infact (so shoot me). I thought there was a good chance I could convert some of the dually plastic front trims to work on my SuSi rears by using spring collets with non radiused fasteners in place of the radiused wheel bolts (à la the dually). The SuSi wheels share the NCV3 dually’s PCD, so the trims are perfectly sized. They’re secured with jam plates on three of the six wheel fixings, trapping the plates between the collets and the bolts. I compared a T1Ncan dually spring collet with one of my SuSi wheel bolt holes and found they shared the same diameter and radius, so then it was just a question of sourcing some suitable non radiused bolts to work with the collets. Don’t know why DC didn’t think of it - works perfectly and pleasingly deals with the exposed hub end:

4. Applied underbody wax - there’s nowhere near enough of it from the factory and I really need to maximise the vehicle’s lifespan. I took the front wheel arch liners and a load of internal trim off, then sprayed creeping wax into all the wheel arches and vulnerable areas followed by a thick coat of chassis wax. I used Dinitrol for this. The UK’s Ministry of Defence use it on their Land Rovers, which seemed a good enough endorsement for me. Highly satisfying, mentally and visually.

5. Heat resistant anti corrosion wax to the under bonnet mechanicals and alloy surfaces.

6. Had the cab glass tinted, legal on the doors / privacy on the fixed windows. It’s cheaper as a retro fit than factory, plus I knew from experience the factory glass tint option only has a “so-so” depth to it (I did go for the factory heat insulating glass though).

7. Interior upholstery - an important element in the GT concept. I found an old school type locally whose work impressed. Grey would have been the safe choice, but I thought brown could be more admirable. The hides came from the supplier to Aston Martin and Bentley. He also made and leather bound the edging of the Wilton carpet. A true craftsman, it was (literally) a plain choice just to keep the leather one colour and let his workmanship do the talking:

8. Whilst the interior trim was off I added reticulated foil and rubber air bubble type insulation to the cab body sections (I’ve used wool type insulation before, it wasn’t a long term success).

9. Lost the Sound 5 and fitted decent double din navigation. Integrated the factory reverse camera without upsetting the CANbus. Managed to get the multifunction steering wheel to play nicely with the head unit too. The best ICE brands are much of a muchness these days. Pioneer have treated me more than fairly in the past, their copper-bottomed after sales support is second to none so that was an easy decision. My phone bluetooths straight through and I can use the Pioneer touch screen as my interface for dialling / contacts / SMS / hands free etc. Usefully the Pioneer F10BT can synchronise multiple strings for up to one thousand phone contacts. I’ve recycled the DAB tuner out of my T1Ncan and piped it through an IPbus link into the new head unit - a vehicle is a wonderful environment for DAB listening. It also has a separate TMC receiver and can play DVDs from disc or off an SD card to any of the three screens or utilise dual zone functionality and simultaneously have video to rear / navigation up front. The mapping covers everywhere in Europe from Finland to Malta. The head unit also puts out an infrared signal for the two wireless headphones. Additionally there is an iPod link cable and USB input in the glove box. I may get a digital TV tuner, but it’s not a priority – I put one in my T1Ncan and hardly ever used it. Personally I think you’ve got to question why anyone would go for Comand? From a features point of view it’s primitive compared to branded kit.

10. Got some wax on the paint. As much carnauba wax as it will take.

11. Fitted some proper lights in the load space. Surprising how long it takes to properly route and protect the cabling. Had the idea to use the vehicle’s illumination circuit as the trigger for the load space lighting relay so that the load space lights can only be used when the vehicle lights are on: that way they can never be accidentally left on. Finding a stable illumination feed not on the low CAN was a minor challenge in itself. The only places I could find to extend the vehicle illumination circuit were the side marker lights or the fuse board in the passenger footwell. DC’s policy of altering wire colours on the same run just for the fun of it didn’t help…

12. Fitted some Load-Lok in the cargo space. I had scavenged a load of it from a client’s truck trailer before it was scrapped. Discovered it has the same fixing points spacing as the factory railing option – joy of joys! Before installation I painted the area underneath the tracking grey so it will match up nicely once the Line-X has been done. Also ran some aluminium planks along the floor to protect it from skids / pallets, and increased the height of the nosing along the rear edge to match, all fixed with some funky countersunk / ribbed rivets.

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>2,000,000m in MB vans
To bring the post right up to date here are some post delivery notes and observations:

OM651 DE 22 LA Euro5
It’s a much quieter drive than my T1Ncan, which appears to mainly be down to superior interior sound deadening as it’s not much quieter standing next to it outside. The engine’s pleasingly smooth (Lanchester counter balancers). I discovered that it has Touch Start, which feels weird: it doesn’t crank like anything I’m used to, there’s an odd disconnected electrical sensation on the key. Feels comparable in power to my old I5 OM612, but doesn’t have the same pleasing aural character.

TSG480 six speed automatic gearbox and fuel economy
The gearbox is beautifully smooth. I’m thoroughly impressed and pleased with my choice. Essentially it’s the DC passenger car unit with a significantly increased torque rating (“T” for Transporter, “480” for Nm) for the NCV3 application. I read through the Euro5 Operating Manual and note an interesting economy comparison Auto vs. Manual - it suggests very little difference between the two, infact the new Auto is claimed to have superior economy than the Manual in some cycles.

My uncommon final drive ratio and SuSi tyres mean I can’t offer you a valid comparison with that data. My own experience though: watching the mpg value on the dash for the first two hundred miles my heart sank - I saw sub 20mpg, even as low as seventeen in the sub zero New Year (imperial remember…). I wondered if I may have made a poor transmission choice, but at the same time I couldn’t understand what was going on. It didn’t make logical sense - this is the most fuel efficient engine in DC’s Euro5 arsenal after all? I pondered further. Could the dash figure really be so inaccurate? Or worse still was it correct? Then I noticed the “Remaining Range” feature appeared inconsistent – forty road miles made a difference of less than ten on the range value. I began to suspect the ECU’s virginal state could be the cause of the initial poor fuel economy impressions. Maybe I just needed to do more miles and give it time to gather data? At around three hundred miles the dash mpg value climbed and I saw over 25mpg. With this new van I wanted at least the same economy as the T1Ncan (~25/8mpg). The NCV3 is bigger and heavier of course, so to retain similar fuel economy in vehicle that was also more versatile would be a result. Pre-delivery I felt it could be possible with the OM651. Currently my highest figure - whilst still running in - is 28.8mpg imperial. I’ll post further when I know more, although I am pleased so far. So: don’t be alarmed if your Highline Dash mpg figure seems initially low!

Remember the AR5 issue? I’ve been pondering further about it: I know the kerb weight / final drive ratio / power / rpm at speeds of my T1Ncan and am repeatedly comparing all I know old / new. I observed that the V6 Auto demonstrator I drove easily turned its confirmed AR2, however it was a much lighter MWB body. I calculated that standard AR3 (4.182) on a SuSi gives a true ratio at the wheels of 3.831. AR4 (4,364) on a SuSi gives a true ratio at the wheels of 3.997. I’m still thinking this one through, considering whether to change the AR5 diff. It could get messy as the axle is not typical. I need to run it for a bit under different conditions, the wrong decision would be a complete nuisance.

It irks me considerably that DC wouldn’t work with me on the final drive ratio. I understand their reasoning, namely that in Europe over 3.5t will be shipped from the factory with a 90km/h speed limiter and AR5 suits this purpose. However they will also be aware that dealers will remove their limiters – indeed they need a live link on an authorised line to Germany and the coding string to do it. I could get bent out of shape about it, but I choose not to. It’s resolvable if I really feel it needs attention, and so far it’s the only potential fly in the ointment. Early impressions are that my pre-order belief in AR4 were correct but I need to do more miles before I can say sure (I have seen nearly 29mpg imperial “as is” after all…).

HH2 Electrically powered hot air auxiliary heater
New option on Euro5, I thought this was going to be independently controllable heating along the lines of REST, but infact it’s auxiliary to the standard HVAC system. It’s automated, not manually controllable. There’s nothing visible in the cab to confirm the option exists on the vehicle, you have to order it and check your build data to know. With this option you get high HVAC heat output from a cold engine start, so DC have taken a step to address the issue of poor heat output from cold on engines that are more thermally efficient than their predecessors. It could be better: I’d recommend you spend your money on other auxiliary heat options.

Tyre sizes
If it was felt that the second axle was more than amply tyred with its Super Singles the first axle seems barely equipped by comparison. Stock tyre sizes are: front 205/75 R16, rear 285/65 R16. The OEM fronts look like they might be more at home on a dragster - they’re oddly skinny. I wonder why the factory fits these? I thought I would have a play around and fitted a standard 235/65 R16 on one front corner instead (this size is 0.63mm smaller than the skinny 205/75 R16). I took it for a test drive, half expecting it to throw a code but also thought there was a chance it would be fine as the sizes are so close. Did a seventy miles road test at speeds up to eighty mph – all ok. I don’t know why you would want to do it but according to the literature you can run a SuSi on 235/65 R16s all round if you really want to. Outcome of these observations is that I’ve changed the fronts for the bigger boots and it hasn’t thrown its toys out of the pram. I don’t care much for the OEM dragster front tyres. On a side note I’ve also wondered how much of the impressively comfortable ride is attributable to those bloated looking SuSis with their full fat sidewalls?

Wide angle mirrors
The wide angles are now heated as well as the main mirrors. Actually I think I remember reading that before. They’re not as good as the T1Ncan’s wide angles.

In cab storage
Improved even further with the FF4 over cab storage shelf. If you order this be aware that the internal face of the roof above it isn’t lined, it’s supplied in body colour (i.e. you see the underside of the roof panel where the aerial mounts). Depends on your layout as to whether it would be an issue, as mine is visible cab space I neatened it up a bit by insulating it with some silver foil / rubber layered type material. I separately bought the front factory roof lining section for the roof space above the rear seats and double insulated above that prior to installation. I’m going to add another home made storage bin above the rear seats too.

Load space wood lining
Ok, it’s just some CNC’d ply but the quality of the current lining kit is far superior to the T1Ncan. I like that the individual panel sizes are reduced and that there are more rivets. It’s another small detail where the difference between the two models is noticeable.

Seat bases
Seems as though suspension seats come with low seat bases. I didn’t specify low bases, but you could unecessarily pay for them if you intend to have suspension seats?

Cornering function lighting
Bit of a surprise, works very well - am really impressed how useful this is once you get out of an urban environment.

So friends that’s pretty much it to date: my interpretation of an “über GT NCV3” capable of comfortably traversing continents / that I can use for work and play / that is also family friendly is virtually complete, hopefully with all objectives achieved. I’m hugely sad to be saying goodbye to my faithful T1Ncan, but will still be seeing it from time to time. The new one will be going back into the workshop for a few hours more: I still want to Line-X the cargo load space and maybe the roof exterior in the style of one jdcaples (I’m convinced that the cause of rusty T1Ncan roof seams is moisture ingress between the internal panel seams). I may also convert the passenger seat to rotate, a couple of other bits too.

As you read this I’m probably putting more miles on it or pondering / working on some other modifications, much like yourself maybe? Ultimately that's why most of us log on here, right?

Keep the faith Brothers!
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Altered Sprinter

Happy Little Vegemite
Awesome Simon Wilton pure 100% wool, leather by A Martin:drool: the list goes on and on:hugs:
Now that will get a few pondering :rolleyes:
Absolutely Fabulous.


New member
Euro5 NCV3

Hello Mean in Green,

happy to hear you like your new baby too.:smirk:

Ordered my euro5 Sprinter 3 days before it was officially available and I don't regret it either.
The sales rep didn't even know what I was talking about at first. He had to call headquarters to find out there
was a new engine available.

Two most important things I like about it is the lack of noise and the suspension seats.
So if other people are having second thoughts about it, don't, just get one.

Ciao Zornik


Resident Oil Nerd.
Beautiful looking rig. I am very jealous after looking at the rear axle/ super single tire combo. Very nice indeed. Should also say the old girl looked darn fine for her age!!


>2,000,000m in MB vans
Who did the entirior?
Thanks Mauro. He has done a wonderful job on the upholstery - a local bloke I found and nearly discounted from the off because he initially didn't return my calls. When he did I reconsidered and took a drive over to speak further. He turned out to have a calm and meticulous approach to his business and in the end I left with no doubt that he would take care of it correctly.

He doesn't have a mobile phone or email. He does have an ancient tape recorder answering machine that he sometimes looks at...

I quickly forgave the communication issue on seeing what went on there and left with high expectation. The finished job exceeds expectation.
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New member
:rad::rad::rad::rad::rad:She is gorges:cheers: very very nice!!! now did U say U have 6-speed AUTO? ? ? are we here in NA are left over again? ? ? i would love the 6 speed auto!!! that's the only reason here i comment so much about manual transmission because U can have lower rpm's on the highway... but 6-speed auto will do the job too!!! the question is are we going to get 6-speed auto transmission here in USA?by 2011 sprinter model along maybe with power side door and some other very cool stuff that U guys have in EUROPE!!!:drool::drool::drool:

Altered Sprinter

Happy Little Vegemite
:rad::rad::rad::rad::rad:She is gorges:cheers: very very nice!!! now did U say U have 6-speed AUTO? ? ? are we here in NA are left over again? ? ? i would love the 6 speed auto!!! that's the only reason here i comment so much about manual transmission because U can have lower rpm's on the highway... but 6-speed auto will do the job too!!! the question is are we going to get 6-speed auto transmission here in USA?by 2011 sprinter model along maybe with power side door and some other very cool stuff that U guys have in EUROPE!!!:drool::drool::drool:
G40 TSG 480 Automatic six ratios speeds,includes Start take off assist.


New member

Great vehicle and an even better write-up, Thank You. :bow: :thumbup:



>2,000,000m in MB vans
2011 sprinter model along maybe with power side door
It is six speed auto yes, actually the dealer tried to tempt me with the electric side door. I doubt their long term durability though.
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Hi Mean in Green :smilewink:
Is this super style partition with the four rear seats it is an available option from Mercedes Benz ? :thinking:
i never seen before this special kind of partition with seat integrated ; it looks like a boeing aircraft inside "1st class" and i like that :drool:
Another good Sprinter from you Simon and i like the brown leather too:thumbup:
thanks for pictures :popcorn: but i was not able to translate entire your write :laughing:
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Farm Bus

New member
That is one serious piece of equipment - absolutely gorgeous! :drool:

That's the kind of rig I dream of.

Only one thing: I think the photo of the cabin is reversed as the steering wheel shows on the right. Maybe fix that? This seems to be a chronic problem with the UK members here. Must be a photo compatibility issue . . .

Of course, great for mail delivery here . . .

Anyway, congratulations on setting a new standard!!!!



>2,000,000m in MB vans
Should also say the old girl looked darn fine for her age!!
My T1Ncan has been the best van I've owned to date, I guess you're likely to get attached to a van you've done over half a million miles in? It has aged very well indeed. Apart from a replacement "facelift" bonnet every panel is original, it's never been pranged. When the new owner drives it away in a few days time he will be only the fifth person in getting on for ten years to be entrusted with the keys (three of the other drivers account for less than a thousand miles).

It's a very special vehicle.


New member
Mean in green
They are both...:drool::drool::drool::drool::drool::drool: The older gal has definitely still got it, the newer gal absolutely awesome!
The write up is magnificent:rad::rad::rad::rad:
Bittersweet though shows what we could have but don't stateside.
Bravo dude Bravo!



New member
Is this super style partition with the four rear seats it is an available option from Mercedes Benz ? :thinking:
Yes, Crafter has this option too, you have choise 3 or 4 seat bench even with armrests.


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