2008 and Newer / Sprinter Maintenance Costs

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Messages 1 - 38 of total 38 in this topic
jnaftzger

Social climber
Berkeley
Topic Author's Original Post - Aug 13, 2017 - 10:55am PT
Anybody with a 2008+(and new) Sprinter have a review of maintenance costs / exhaust reliability?
Thanks
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Aug 14, 2017 - 09:23am PT
I have almost 3k miles on a brand new 2017 sprinter 2500 4x4 high roof. Too new for maintenance. But what worries me the most is what I read early on in the decision process and directly related to what you are asking (but it obviously didn't stop me from buying):
 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fatal-flaw-mercedes-benz-sprinters-tom-robertson
 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fatal-flaw-mercedes-benz-sprinters-part-2-tom-robertson


If I had viable alternatives, I would have pursued them. But my choices were:
 Ford Econoline with 4x4 conversion from AgileOffroad or Ujoint (expensive, old - not manufactured after 2013-2014, so with high odometer readings, low fuel efficiency, fewer safety features, etc.)
 Ford Transit - low clearance, not really suitable for 4x4 conversion
 Ram Promaster - ridiculously low rear axle design. Otherwise I liked this one.
 Nissan - not sure why I didn't take this one more seriously....


So I went with the lesser evil: expensive repairs maybe on the horizon.
WBraun

climber
Aug 14, 2017 - 09:32am PT
Sprinter have a review of maintenance costs


You didn't specify diesel or gas versions ......
Nuglet

Trad climber
Orange Murica!
Aug 14, 2017 - 10:00am PT
get a high-top van from the 90s. The cost of fuel for a big gasser, 8-12mpg is a safer bet in the long run, and super easy to work on yourself.

don't get me started on 2003-5 f350 6.0TD engines and what the exhaust restrictions do to it...
labrat

Trad climber
Erik O. Auburn, CA
Aug 14, 2017 - 10:16am PT
Thanks for killing off my Sprinter lust.......
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Aug 14, 2017 - 11:10am PT
Consider a vehicle with 8mpg (Econoline V8 or V10) vs. 18mpg (new Sprinter 4x4 V6 diesel).

After a 100,000 miles in the Econoline, that's 10,000 gallons of gas.

After 100,000 miles in Sprinter, that's 5,556 gallons of diesel #2.

In California, $3/gallon is a good baseline. A little cheaper sometimes and some places, often a little more especially while in the boonies like on a camping adventure. Other states gas is cheaper, so the numbers change a bit but the conclusion is basically the same.

So the cost of extra fuel for the Econoline is $13,332 for each 100k miles. As long as you can keep repairs under that cost in a Sprinter for each 100k miles, you get the benefit of a more comfortable vehicle with more safety features.


Now if you are a real mechanic and enjoy fixing or upgrading fundamental car parts, then going with an older technology that is more self-service friendly would look more attractive. But for me as basically an automotive idiot, Sprinter still looks more attractive.
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Aug 14, 2017 - 11:29am PT
Four Brands Encompass Nearly 70% Of The Vehicles With Over 200,000 Miles: If you stick with Chevy and Ford full-size trucks and SUVs, Honda cars, and Toyota everything, your chances of having that vehicle past 200k is about two and a half times the industry average.

From http://bestride.com/news/long-term-quality-index-seven-facts-that-shatter-the-myth-of-reliability

http://dashboard-light.com/vehicles/Dodge_Sprinter.html

Sprinters are about average in reliablity. Can't give you maintenance cost but I vowed never to buy a German vehicle again due to it.

A sprinter will be a very comfortable, convenient, nice driving, efficient rig for sure.

But if you are concerned about cost I'd go with an American full size van for 2wd or a 4wd ford or chevy p/u with a camper. Pop up for speed and mpg, or hard side for space and comfort. Or a Toyota truck and pop up if you want to go smaller.

I just finished a 4,000 mile plus road trip with my sons in our truck camper. It was awesome. No problems with our 7.3 ford diesel with 200k+ on it. Boondocked almost every night except at Zion. Always have a full kitchen and bath ready. The drawbacks are you can't be in the camper when driving but that doesn't really bother me. And you'll want to drive slower.

Fuelly.com is a good source for real world mpg but won't give figures for campers. My rig is big and heavy. 4x4. Diesel. Crew cab. Long bed. 9.5 foot hard side camper. I get 13.5 mpg at 59 mph or 12 mpg at 70 mph. I get 19 or 17 mpg at 59/70 without the camper. With a pop up camperI 'd guess I'd get 16/14. 4wd weight and height probably costs 1-2 mpg.

2nd in line for a campsite at Zion.
Credit: the Fet
SomebodyAnybody

Big Wall climber
Torrance
Aug 14, 2017 - 12:04pm PT
Who the fuk gets 8mpg in an econoline? Crunch numbers if you want, but get realistic. Got buddies with 4x4 sportsmobiles that get 12 with the gas V10, and 16 with the 6.0 diesel.
Happiegrrrl2

Trad climber
Aug 14, 2017 - 12:12pm PT
My 1990 Ford E-150 with a 5.8 litre engine averages about 15mpg on cross country runs. That includes a sort of stop-alot mentality as I tend to stay off the interstates, and often find little towns I want to explore.

I ONCE got 6MPG(stuck in Flagstaff for a week rolling just around town, and when I went to top off the gas before leaving, was utterly shocked. I still wonder of somebody didn't siphon gas from the tank). But that was the only time It was ever that low. I have also gotten up to 18mpg, and once(again, just once) I got 22mpg.

The only problem with a 1990 Econoline is that if you ever come here asking for advice, you will become an inductee to the Secret Multimeter Society and get read the riot act for having a POS van and not buying something new.
rottingjohnny

Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Aug 14, 2017 - 12:21pm PT
I drive a 2010 Ford diesel super duty company truck.. Chicks dig the hell out of me...But... The exhaust urea system washes out the #2 and #6 cylinders killing compression around 100,000 miles... A new diesel motor is 20 grand.. My company decided that 20 grand is better spent on a new Ford gas powered truck...I laugh when i see people driving brand new diesel Ford super duties...But chicks dig them..I parked at a construction road block the other day next to a parked CHP...I left the engine idling and pretty soon the chippy walks up next to my truck... I roll the window down and he tells me my truck is spewing black smoke into his patrol car winning me a fix it ticket...
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Aug 14, 2017 - 12:22pm PT
How dare you, Happy?

DMT
mikeyschaefer

climber
Sport-o-land
Aug 14, 2017 - 12:50pm PT
I'd check out the sprinter-source.com

There are probably some threads on there talking about average maintenance costs.

I've owned my 2004 sprinter for almost 8 years now. I've generally had good luck with it. The stealership has definitely gotten me a few times but at this point I can only blame myself for taking it there. One of the hardest things about owning a sprinter is finding a qualified mechanic to work on them. It is pretty similar to finding a unicorn.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Aug 14, 2017 - 01:09pm PT
Happie, yer pre-computer van was running WAAY rich in Flagstaff, not mention fouling the plugs.

RJ, for reelz? What a dickwad!

I was jonesing for a diesel until I read all the bad press about the urea system and them having to go into re-gen mode just before you get home from a short errand.
Ojai Alex

Trad climber
Alex Bury
Aug 14, 2017 - 01:19pm PT
Credit: Ojai Alex

My 2010 144, currently at 135k miles. In September I'll have lived in it for 2 years.
$10k+ in upgrades (solar, heating system, fridge, composting toilet, etc.).
rockermike

Trad climber
Berkeley
Aug 14, 2017 - 07:06pm PT
My 2001 2wd econoline with 4.6 v8 gets 16-17 ish on highway going 60 mph. 175000 miles and only one $500 plus repair to date in 16 years of ownership.
WBraun

climber
Aug 14, 2017 - 07:11pm PT
I knew a climber who lived in his Honda civic all year round for many years.

You modern climbers are pussies .....
Ojai Alex

Trad climber
Alex Bury
Aug 14, 2017 - 08:40pm PT
True. But I'm still glad I'm not shitting in a bucket.
SomebodyAnybody

Big Wall climber
Torrance
Aug 15, 2017 - 07:41am PT
^^^
You have a toilet in a 144?
eKat

climber
Aug 15, 2017 - 07:42am PT

True. But I'm still glad I'm not shitting in a bucket.

Therein lies the heart of the matter. . . terlits ROCK!
Ojai Alex

Trad climber
Alex Bury
Aug 15, 2017 - 08:21am PT
You have a toilet in a 144?

Yep. When most people build out a 144, there really isn't much room for a crapper (as you apparently know)...but I forewent the standard bed setup, which takes up about half of most people's builds. By having a convertible sleeping setup I can have a full size kitchen and toilet. I'm still finishing the woodwork but the toilet will be hidden within a cabinet that flips open.
Ojai Alex

Trad climber
Alex Bury
Aug 15, 2017 - 08:28am PT
The toilet was actually the very first thing I installed. My step sister told me I was doing a good job "taking care of my shit".
eKat

climber
Aug 15, 2017 - 08:37am PT
I'm with you. . . I held out for a tiny rig that had a terlit and a shower = wetbath. Couldn't have done it any other way!

:-)
SomebodyAnybody

Big Wall climber
Torrance
Aug 15, 2017 - 08:47am PT
Just trying to picture how that works in a 144. Can you sleep crosswise in there? Or the bed is a bench type that extends into kitchen area, or folds down from a sidewall?
Ojai Alex

Trad climber
Alex Bury
Aug 15, 2017 - 10:34am PT
Removing the bed allows for a huge amount of room. Being able to walk upright from the back door to the cockpit dramatically improves the quality of my 24/7 van-life, since so much time is spent in the van.

It's a bit hard to picture I know, I'll post pics when I'm done. But the space provided by having a convertible bed can make a 144 more roomy than many 170 builds. Options include a drop down frame off the ceiling, foldout bed against the wall, etc.

It's literally the last thing I'm going to build in, since it needs to conform to the rest of the structure. One option I really like, that my friend Coles mother showed me, is a convertible bean bag chair. The chair is actually filled with foam, and flips out into a bed. Looks rad! And how cool would it be to have a bean bag chair in the van the rest of the time!

Hopefully I get one or two Werner points at least, for sleeping on a Metolius crashpad for the last two years, while I incrementally saved $$ to build out the van.
the goat

climber
north central WA
Aug 15, 2017 - 11:10am PT
My 2012 sprinter was purchased new and now has 81K on it. No major repairs, I change the oil and filter which is quite easy. Fuel filter is a pain in the ass and expensive, especially if you break a "t" connector on the fuel return line. Required major work to access and replace (remove some turbo parts, loosen fuel rails) the broken line. I can't believe this part, high pressure hose machine pressed onto a cheap, flimsy plastic tee. And $120.00 per copy.

My biggest mistake was taking it to a dealer for "scheduled maintenance." Until then I had changed oil 3 times and fuel filter once. So when I brought to a dealership north of Seattle, they informed me I needed to inspect the filter and change transmission fluid at 50,000 miles, (I was at 60) and not doing so "was very bad." Of course as soon as I start driving it after service, I start having issues- hard shifting, slipping, coming our of gear (its an automatic) and having to come to complete stop before engaging the tranny again. Coming down steep grades, i.e. Washington Pass, the transmission would kick out of gear entirely. Because I'm 170-260 miles from the dealership depending on the time of year, I didn't get back to them right away. I suspected they either used the wrong AT fluid or didn't add enough, but of course Mercedes requires a special tool to measure AT fluid- dipsticks are so old school and unreliable.....pffft! Took it to another dealership and bingo, Lynnwood's crackerjack maintenance department had left it 2 quarts low hence all the issues. Seattle dealership said to "document it, they might owe you a new tranmission."

So if you're like me and live a long way from reliable service or like to do basic maintenance yourself, Sprinters can be problematic. They're sure great to drive and you can't beat the mileage. I can easily round trip over the NC highway on one tank and have some left over, all while hauling 1-1.5 tons of freight. And being able to stand up in it is priceless.
Sprinter with essential Methow Valley (or anywhere else deer run w...
Sprinter with essential Methow Valley (or anywhere else deer run wild) conversion.
Credit: the goat
Loose Rocks

Trad climber
Santa Rosa, CA
Aug 15, 2017 - 12:27pm PT
2016 3L V6. I've had it for about 18 months.

It's been in the shop once. When I first got it it had the 4x4 "drone" issue. This was really bad at ~60 MPH. They fixed it under warranty.

It's had one oil change (filter = $10, oil = $130) and I've had to add DEF twice (2 x $16). Labor was "free" as in me.

I wish this was more but work and van building is getting in my way. Build is now almost done so I'm hoping to see more miles now.

jnaftzger

Social climber
Berkeley
Topic Author's Reply - Aug 29, 2017 - 08:44pm PT
Thanks for the input. Will try to get a new one.
Ojai Alex

Trad climber
Alex Bury
Oct 3, 2017 - 07:45am PT
Credit: Ojai Alex

Sprinters are great. Especially if you have a sh#t ton of money to fix them when they f*#k up. But if you are like me, don't have sh#t, and actually work for your money...well the pic says it all.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Oct 3, 2017 - 08:38am PT
^^^^ You fixed that with a table saw?
rwedgee

Ice climber
CA
Oct 3, 2017 - 08:44am PT
These work great

http://www.greendieselengineering.com/SelectProd.action?prodId=11&manufacturer=Green+Diesel+Engineering&category=Sprinter&name=Sprinter+3.0L+CRD+Eco+Tune&model=+

Also don't go past 5k miles on oil changes or it builds up sludge and kills the engine. Change the tranny & converter fluid every 30k, do the pan & filter at 60k it's cheap insurance
Ojai Alex

Trad climber
Alex Bury
Oct 3, 2017 - 10:49pm PT
Table saw was the next option...
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Oct 4, 2017 - 07:15am PT
This thread is starting to kill my Sprinter envy. I think I'll stick to my Tundra.

BAd
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
Oct 4, 2017 - 07:44am PT
I'm curious why those Nissan cargo vans are not more popular with the van life set? I"m not on the market but they look appealing to me and might be less expensive and more reliable??
WBraun

climber
Oct 4, 2017 - 07:59am PT
I'm curious why those Nissan cargo vans are not more popular

What I see way too much especially in the climbing community is the "herd mentality".

Everyone looks the same, dresses the same, they know very little about the actual mechanics of their vehicles, etc ....
the Fet

climber
Tu-Tok-A-Nu-La
Oct 4, 2017 - 09:40am PT
Nissan cargo vans are not more popular with the van life set?

Cause their fugly?

Not enough data for true long term quality to be sorted out yet.

http://www.dashboard-light.com/reports/Nissan.html

But according to wiki it uses the same (modified) platform as the Titan pickup.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nissan_NV_(North_America);

The Titan pickup is rated well above average, so I'd guess the NV is good too.

P.S. scrolling thru the Nissan models is interesting. A lot of the trucks and high end cars are really good. But their cheaper cars are terrible. The versa scores a 0! Chronic reliability issues.

My wife was interested in a Fiat 500 or Mini Cooper a couple years ago, I said I don't trust them. They also score 0. Glad I talked her out of them.

donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Oct 4, 2017 - 09:44am PT
Nutagain....I have a built out 25 year old sportsmobile econoline. I get 14 mpg, not 8.

The common name in these parts for sprinters owned by young climbing couples is trustifarivan.
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
Oct 5, 2017 - 12:12pm PT
Listen to what The Goat is saying.
I would not change the fluid in any Automatic Transmission before 100,000 miles unless it was in commercial use in stop and go traffic. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the customers that would come into my shop after having their trans. fluid changed & the dealer or shop didn't fill the unit properly. Transmission fluid does not get contaminated they way engine oil does.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Oct 5, 2017 - 01:56pm PT
Jim, is that 2wd or 4wd? And if diesel, does it need to comply with current emissions requirements?

I was fairly close on committing to an econoline and getting 4wd conversion from AgileOffroad... in the end I went with a new Sprinter for these reasons:
1) headroom - was more important to wifey than me, but it was a factor... could have done a pop-up conversion with Sportsmobile or (I like better) Colorado Camper Vans, but neither has valid current crash-safety testing with their designs, though Sportsmobile claims they are. Theirs is to an old outdated certification.
2) age/mileage on vehicle... but if cars have followed the same trend as kitchen appliances, a 15 yr old one might be more reliable than a 2 yr old one!
3) "one neck to wring" for vendor support- at least for initial years
4) Safety features like cross-wind assist, collision avoidance, anti-lock brakes, traction control, etc.

If I was a bachelor, I might have gone with Econoline and a fancier 4wd conversion and given up some of the safety and creature comforts.

If your main concern is to fit a bed sideways and you are over 6' tall, Promaster or a Nissan might be better. Merc Sprinter sideways bed would require pop-out windows or diagonal sleeping for me. We haven't 100% sorted that part of design yet, but it will most likely involve some amount of me being diagonal.
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