Great shop! They tracked down a mouse-stripped wire that was causing the computer to think the parking brake was on. The dealership was certain the problem was the control board. I've also had Konis and a heavy-duty anti-sway bar installed there. Definitely my first source.
Highest rating, even though I've never done business with him. John directed me elsewhere to have my window installed, saying that "others can do it for you just as well and cheaper than what I'd have to charge". That's my kind of businessman.
Had asked Seek some time ago to pull my earlier review of Upscale Automotive/The Sprinter Store for reasons involving subsequent thoughts as well as post-work discoveries.
In striving to present the Sprinter-Forum community with a more balanced review, here is my re-submission coming about 10 weeks after Upscale’s work on my ‘06 T1N short shorty, “Lizzie“…
Had first learned of The Sprinter Store/Upscale Automotive through this forum & by researching their website. Had driven to the shop to discuss my vision for my Lizzie. Though making a cold call with no appointment, their service manager, Foster, was accommodating in granting me the nickel tour & showing me some wares they are offering. Clean shop. Seeing they have a full fabrication shop to boot this says a lot. After discussing my desires for my Sprinter with owner John Bendit/”scubanw3” here on the forum, we went for phase 1 of the work. Was so pleased afterwards that I authorized phase 2 of the conversion.
The Koni struts & shocks along with the beefier rear sway bar make Lizzie ride & handle like a new short shorty. The bad RSN (rumble strip noise) is reduced with the installation of the transmission brace. The aluminum turbo rez eliminator has removed the ever-present concern about the plastic turbo resonator failing. Initial full diagnostics set was performed, new pulleys & belt (preventive maintenance), 2 rear spare tire mounts, a pop top roof fan/vent, driver's & passenger's seat swivels, side & rear door grab handles, a priority start battery cut-off, freshly-painted 16" wheels to replace the original 15"ers, lots more. John even tweaked my fuel door that was misaligned & added the missing rubber spacers... at no charge.
Twice during the process of my project John spent adequate time with me to insure we were both on the same page so far as my vision for Lizzie. When considering certain aspects of my project he was upfront about navigating me in the direction of another quality business in the area, Van Specialties, that could do the finish work not only better than he & his staff could but also for less money. This speaks much of itself & is very much appreciated. John would also occasionally point out where money for my desires could be much spent better towards other aspects of the conversion.
Considering the quality parts of upgrades they are offering along with their general 12 month/12,000 mile warranty on installed parts & labor, the Koni struts & shocks coming with a 300,000 mile warranty, other offered upgrades that carry up to a 3 year warranty, their loaner cars offered @ a mere $1 a day & so very much more, Upscale Automotive/The Sprinter Store are providing quality upgrade parts & generally competent service that probably won't disappoint. Are they cheap? No... far from it. Are they reasonably priced? Yes & No. Will I go back there again? No, not if I can help it. While John is an honest businessman, charging what he has along with problems that have been & are creeping up subsequently post-work are leaving me increasingly wary. Though I'm honestly thankful for all of he & his staff's work, will strive to have my future services performed elsewhere.
It’s clear to me how strong of a following that Upscale has developed over the years, a reputation they have most certainly earned through much fine, honest work for so many satisfied customers. Have read this many places in this forum before going there in the first place… but something(s?) have happened to dent this recently. My personal opinion is that Upscale’s business has suffered greatly in recent years due to the downturn in our economy & hence have put additional & significant pressures on the company. Am strongly believing this to be at least partially affecting their business practices as of late too. In sharing a couple of many personal examples, you be the judge…
When first picking up Lizzie from Upscale the end of January I’d been puzzled by a strange vibration/rattling towards the rear of the vehicle that was not present before & is most pronounced during idle & lowest rpms. Finally last week a friend helped me to track it down to the sway bar they installed being directly jammed up against the tailpipe! This along with half a dozen more accessories I ended up paying up to 60% more than I would have had I known about websites like sprinteraccessories.com, all down the line: both swivel seat adapters (was charged $249 & $265 for the driver’s side & passenger side swivels respectively, while their website continues to list both for $230 each on sale as they were when I first took Lizzie there in early December last year... plus another $150 to install them. Both swivels can be purchased @ sprinteraccessories.com for $179 each), both rear tire carriers, the dash tray organizer, the heavy-duty floor mats, both entry door handles & lots more can most be purchased for far less elsewhere. Am having real trouble with all this when combined with John’s email assurance to me when I finally had had enough after 8 weeks & had pulled the plug: “I have once again deeply discounted the amount of time I have into this portion of the work and limited the mark up on the parts in order to save you money. This is also something that I did for you when billing out the first part of your project. Stretching your budget is something I have been doing for you all along.“ Would sure hate to have seen what I’d have been charged if he hadn’t been saving me money, man.
After discovering that my driver’s side headlamp assembly had dripping condensation inside, I had them order & install a new one on faith that charges would be reasonable. Not a good decision. $465 later (charged $370 for the assembly to & $95 have it installed) I now have mis-matching headlamp assemblies (the inside corners being shaped quite differently). After mentioning this to them twice in person as well as in a subsequent email to Foster, nothing has ever been responded to in this regard. Was later able to find a complete & true matching-shape headlight assembly online for under $168 & the raw assembly for less than $90 new. Also, both of my headlights were aimed way too low with all 4 settings afterwards. Was subsequently told by Foster that Dave, the tech there performing this service, said that there is no way to adjust them except for the mechanical dial on the dash. Had later read here in the forum about the twin mechanical adjustors on the back of each assembly & it was a snap from there to get them both reasonably adjusted. Have also learned about how to deal with Sprinter headlamp condensation through searching this forum, an apparent easy & inexpensive fix. Would love to have tried it myself had I known about it before but my old headlamp assembly was not returned to me.
During the process of Upscale's work for me I made several gestures of good faith, including tossing John & his wife a set of my limited-edition, fine art prints from my own award-winning paintings of the past as well as tossing him $100 cash to get he & his crew pizza several times. After I pulled the plug after 8 weeks of increasing frustrations, my art prints were returned to me & were waiting for me in my Sprinter. The $100 cash sure wasn’t returned, though.
There are lots of additional examples, guys & gals, increasingly frustrating when I allow them to be, but those will suffice to begin to paint the picture.
If you want mechanical help/work for your Sprinter & you also have plenty of money then you should be okay @ Upscale. Do yourself a couple of favors, though, seriously: (1) Get your cost estimate in writing upfront before turning over your keys or agreeing to the work. Your final bill must end up being within 10% of the written estimate here in Oregon, to my understanding. (2) If you are wanting custom conversion work then take John Bendit’s own advice: “I believe Van Specialties would be able to take care of your needs. They actually do better quality work and are more cost effective than we are on the insulation, paneling and deck. They also have extensive experience with battery systems, solar and Espar units. I am sure they will keep your project under budget.“ And indeed they did, giving me more parts & service than Upscale was going to for well over $2,000 less ($6,200+ @ Upscale compared to $3,822 @ Van Specialties in Lake Oswego)… & they are far from inexpensive themselves.
Am truly thankful to John Bendit. He’s taught me valuable lessons in all this, & while he did do nice little things for me along the way like having a chipped ignition key cut for me for $50 when he could have got over twice that for it, what I was charged for the vast majority of items & services is pretty outrageous, in my estimation. So thank you for these great, albeit expensive, lessons, John. No need to teach me twice. Nothing being harbored in me towards Upscale Automotive/The Sprinter Store either, as even though my personal situation was covering me at the time it was my own decision to take Lizzie there, my own decision to trust them without reasonably questioning costs &, especially bad on my part: my own decision to not insist on a full estimate before allowing any work to begin. So, for another example, if you want to pay $1886 for an Espar D2 cab heater with muffler & high altitude sensor & another $900 to install it (that’s right: almost $2,800) then you got the right shop in Upscale for this.
Another perspective to all this is that I recently spent more $ just @ Upscale Automotive/The Sprinter Store than with all of my previous vehicles purchased during the past 3 decades easily. No regrets, actually, though knowing what is known now I sure would do things much differently, given the chance.
After last leaving my review on a rather dour note, am sharing several final thoughts, especially in light of recent happenings. Upon recently asking John himself about my parts that had come off my Sprinter (specifically wanted back: my stock sway bar & my old headlamp assembly) he indicates that he still has both of them & that I'm welcome to them. He is also offering to return the C-note for the "pizza fund" for he & his staff as well as make a charge adjustment on my purchase of one of the swivels seat mechanisms, gestures which are genuinely appreciated & respected.
Will re-echo what was stated earlier in this review: if you want mechanical help/work for your Sprinter & you have the bucks then you'll most likely be okay @ Upscale Automotive/The Sprinter Store. Just get your estimate lined out first, people, & ensure that all parts, work & cost estimates are all understood ahead of time. And also as previously shared, am continuing to take most of the blame for my unhappiness myself for my own decisions made along the way of Lizzie's initial phases of conversion. The parts John rounded up for me for my conversion are all of exceptional quality, from the solar panel to the 4 stage charger/controller to the two 8D auxiliary batteries & much more... top-shelf stuff.
In my prior dissatisfaction my poll vote here had been dropped to "fair". Have now boosted it back to middle ground in light of recent events. John & his staff will stand behind their work, his crew a good one. The 16" wheels have stayed on as has the fresh paint John sprayed them all with after preparing them properly first, the Koni struts & shocks all remain great & adjusted exactly as I wanted them, the Roadmaster sway bar (substantially beefier than the Hellwig after-market unit) remains installed nice & tightly, albeit the hickup with it being jammed up on the tailpipe that had caused the annoying rattle/vibrations. The Priority Start device is professionally installed, the new turbo hoses, resonator eliminator, pulleys, tensioner & serpentine belt, the AFE reusable air filter (better than a K&N), the installed Reflectix insulation in roof, walls & under the floor, the transmission brace, both rear spare tire mounts... these & more continue to function fine.
Regrets are idle, negative activity & I am having none. Would still do things differently knowing all what I know now, experience being the best teacher. It's All Good.
Driving from Denver to Rochester, NY we lost power drastically... I Googled the problem and a failed turbo resonator eliminator seemed to be reported the most times as the likely cause.
Then one Forum reported that it was a common failure and that there was a company called The Sprinter Store that sold a permanent fix as the Mercedes part was made of plastic and their replacement was made of aluminum. I purchase this as well as their billet ADAP-06 hose pipe adaptor. More info on their web sit... well worth the look.
So after I had all this stuff professionally installed...the problem of lack of power returned as we headed towards Albany. I called John from The Sprinter Store whom I spoke to several times and he finally diagnosed one of about 13 possible causes.... a faulty connection of the lower sensor on the air-cleaner filter box. I took photos of this sensor and emailed it to John and he could tell that this sensor was not connected properly due to the internal rubber seal... which we removed and put the female connection back together with Guerrilla tape and off we were on our holiday. Problem solved!
PS this problem started after I had the Sprinter serviced at a Dodge dealer and the guy who replaced the air filter had a terrible time replacing this sensor connection....
What a wonderful resource John proved to be..... you do not get that kind of attention from many companies these day. Can you imagine the cost to get such an obscure problem diagnosed by a Mercedes or Dodge dealer! THANKS John
I have recently changed over to The Sprinter Store / Upscale Auto for the service work on my van. I had previously done business with the large Freightliner company in Portland. The previous company made a few mistakes, left off some parts after a service, and didn't offer to install them when I showed up to get them back, just handed me the pasts, I consider this bad customer service, so they lose my business. I have had the sprinter store do two services since, one end up being a warranty replacement of a EGR valve (they installed) they replaced it for free and acted super profs about it. This is all in late 2015 early 2016 SO far I like how I'm being treated and when I compare costs with the other team, they have been less across the board.
This is just my Opinion, I will continue to take my business to Sprinter Store for the time being.
Mixed opinion on the sprinter store. We had just gotten a used 2012 sprinter and since we were in the PDX area took it to the store for an oil change and general checkup. All that seemed reasonable. Purchased a couple of items as well that I think I could have gotten cheaper elsewhere had I done the research ahead of time such as a screen door.
However they were unable to fix the SRS problem I had with a seat belt in spite of charging me to redo the wiring for it which did not fix the problem (SRS light still on). They also told me I had two bad glow plugs and a bad tie rod in the front suspension. It was interesting to me that they did not offer to fix any of these problems just pointed them out to me. I was glad to know about the problems however.
Having now taken my sprinter to a dealer to fix the SRS (bad seat belt which they replaced) and the glow plugs (only one of them was bad, dealer happily pointed this out) I wonder how good are the guys at upscale. I also had the tie rod looked at by the dealer and and a tire shop (when getting snow tires put on for the winter) and neither of them thought there was any problem.
They also suggested that I add a lubricant such as Lucas to the fuel something else that seems to be very controversial on the threads.
Anyway Foster was very nice and accommodating I am just not 100% sure they are on top of their game. Not sure if I would go there or not if I was in the Portland area again.
I was travelling cross country in my 2010 Coach House RV and needed to have some service completed. (Tune-up). Elliot and his team ran a full diagnostic and determined what needed to be done. I also took the opportunity to have a leaf upgrade with new Koni's all the way around. I also had a muffler issue that the shop down the street could not accommodate and Elliot was able to have that fixed also while they were completing their work. I can't say enough positive comments about the service we received, work was completed when they said it would be. The team of mechanics that they have are the best in the country at servicing Sprinters. I would not hesitate at all in recommending them. Work was reasonable for amount of work completed.
I just had my 2004 TN1 worked on . Oil cooler replaced, leaking oil. Coolant light was on, low coolant on the way home. Didn't burp the system enough I guess. Fuel filter was changed. Leaking fuel at home. I tightened the hose clamp. Power steering fluid changed. Overfilled, overflowed all over pump. I removed 40 milliliters to be at proper level. Egr hose had been removed to work on oil cooler, not replaced properly. I pointed all this out to them via photos and email the next day. Said they would refund me some money. Never called me in a weeks time. I email them again. They said they would take care of it. Days went by. I emailed again and got a refund for the power steering flush. Just the facts.