FS: 2017 Sprinter Conversion Van

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Messages 1 - 53 of total 53 in this topic
Aki J

Trad climber
Placerville, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Sep 12, 2018 - 09:25am PT
I built out my second van this summer and I'm selling here in California. It is built for a climber by a climber... Check it out if you're interested.

Here is the CL add: https://sacramento.craigslist.org/rvs/d/2017-sprinter-custom/6695899887.html

Here is a blog post about the build out process: https://www.akiojoy.com/single-post/2018/08/03/Moth-20

Hope you enjoy!



Roots

Mountain climber
Redmond, Oregon
Sep 12, 2018 - 09:29am PT
I admire your work.
Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 12, 2018 - 09:35am PT
You had me at SW Montana...!

Great shots from the Bridgers, Hyalite, Gallatin...!

Nice looking van. I like that pop up bed idear...
hooblie

climber
from out where the anecdotes roam
Sep 12, 2018 - 09:52am PT
she's a beaut!!
your blog shows the level of workmanship
and care you took which looks to be way up there.

and hats off on kingpin.
we were crawling around down there back when you were just a twinkle.
tried our best to keep it tucked in and leave no trace. ... how'd we do?

before that canyon ever got kayaked, three of us got to survey it
by walking it's length after a long & deep, DEEP freeze.
Capt.

climber
some eastside hovel
Sep 12, 2018 - 10:03am PT
Gotta love Froze to Death.
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Sep 12, 2018 - 05:12pm PT
I wish!

I'm in Sacramento, would love it, but honestly, I don't have $75k to drop right now. Plus I think it might be fun to build it myself.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Sep 12, 2018 - 06:26pm PT
Nice display of creativity and talent, for sure, but Iíd be pretty surprised to see a home brew go for 30k-ish for the upgrades - pretty bare bones except your talent with the cabinets. Maybe post back what that thing sells for, Iím sure Iím not the only one who is curious what this stuff is worth.
briham89

Big Wall climber
santa cruz, ca
Sep 12, 2018 - 06:51pm PT
Iíd be pretty surprised to see a home brew go for 30k-ish for the upgrades - pretty bare bones

If this sells for 75k, I'm quitting my job and building Sprinter conversions....

No jab at you, I'm just surprised that is what these are going for.
Larry Nelson

Social climber
Sep 12, 2018 - 06:56pm PT
Excellent work and some good ideas. I forwarded your links to a couple friends.
(My wife would want more luxury).
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Sep 12, 2018 - 07:21pm PT
What does the ST think this van should go for? Enquiring minds want to know . . .
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Sep 12, 2018 - 07:40pm PT
I would say if youíre in the market pricing these things, Sportsmoble offers a nice baseline ala carte price guide:

https://sportsmobile.com/all-prices/

Sportmobile build quality has a bad reputation - but also keep in mind this is not a kitchen built to last 50 years of daily use either and would be a waste of money if it was - to a degree.

I think another good benchmark is the used market for commercial rigs - airstream, roadtrek, etc.

That said, Iím not seeing much more than 10-15k over the vehicle price for actual value. The question in my head is the market value for the quality level of the cabinets - and if that buyer is interested in no cooking appliances, no hot water, etc. Hard saying, but curious.
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
Sep 12, 2018 - 08:12pm PT
What does the ST think this van should go for? Enquiring minds want to know . . .

Well, a friend just bought a 2017 sprinter this summer. Totally strip down basic without windows like the one in the OP off the lot in Sacramento.

$25,000.

To get fully decked out by another company that does these things including windows installed and all solar, bed, sink, captain chairs that swivel, table all that stuff, etc...(no fridge though) was another $25,000.


thebravecowboy

climber
The Good Places
Sep 12, 2018 - 08:48pm PT
no but seriously I have a '68 apache that smells like cat pee and is full of bark, 16k
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
Sep 13, 2018 - 06:58am PT
Can i rent your Apache to carry my new free memory foam?

cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Sep 13, 2018 - 08:18am PT
Where did your friend get a 2017 diesel hi top sprinter for $25k in Sacramento this summer?

I've been looking, in Sacramento, and those things run closerto $40k. Maybe a gas Ford Transit could be had for that price, but not a diesel sprinter.
Happiegrrrl2

Trad climber
Sep 13, 2018 - 08:45am PT
Well, I suppose if somebody wanted to gift me with that Sprinter, I'd accept with grace.

Very nice woodwork, but I can't get past the people's need for cabinets. They just seem so wasteful of limited space to me.

Were that one being built to my design specs, I'd like the side wood panels and flooring, and I definitely like to raising bed with open storage below, accessible from bed or back. That's the best point, IMO.

But I would forego the sink, and make that countertop pull double duty as a work table. Fridge - yes. Everything else - no. Bins that can be kept in place, and easily pulled out. Same for the upper rail - open space for bins that are held in place during travel with tension cord or swaged metal cable.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Sep 13, 2018 - 10:51am PT
Yeah - that's the other thing I've found with these home built vans - everyone wants and does something different. It's kind of cool, really, the personal expression.

Thing is, IMO, at the 75k for new equipment price point, the customer is going to get exactly what they want. If it were 75k used for something that would cost 120k new, they might accept some compromises.

Seems to me this guy's only customer is going to have to really like what has been done here - and it is cool and 1-off money-can't-buy-this-just-anywhere kind of thing - however, that 75k could also get you a LOT more amenities like cooking, hot water, professional level trim and blending in the interior, etc - all brand new and made to order - elsewhere - and all you have to give up is the artsy artisan cabinets. That's what I'm curious about - the market here - for this kind of product.
Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 13, 2018 - 11:00am PT
Heíll be lucky to get $50K. Itís a buyetís market out there, especially for home made rigs.
Heís acting like he expects T (@$50/hr) & M + 20% profit.
blahblah

Gym climber
Boulder
Sep 13, 2018 - 12:39pm PT
Like much of the professionally employed climbing enthusiast world in recent years, I sit in my office and daydream about retiring and getting a camper van (which may happen pretty soon if the market stays up :)

I don't know much about them, but this site is an example of prices for new converted vans:https://www.mhsrv.com/class-b-rvs/

Looks like for about $100k you can get a new pretty loaded new one so $75k doesn't sound cheap, but if it's comparable, it doesn't sound crazy expensive either.

The Delhi Dog example of $50k for a nearly nice, nicely kitted van sounds like an unusually good deal to me (but again, I'm a van noob).
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Sep 13, 2018 - 12:54pm PT
I don't know much about them...
Sounds like it!

The vans on that site are light-years different than the OP's. Go touch and feel in person, then try to make one, to fully understand.

Hard reality: A DIY will be unable to duplicate a van on that site for less money.

It's same reality as not being able to build a car in your garage from scratch for less money than you can buy one new for. You just can't do it. It's impossible to duplicate on your own the economy of scale and the man hours of experience and design.

The custom one-up outfitters are super expensive for what you get comparably - for the same reason. They're better, they have experience and systems that add economy - but they're not Winnebago or Airstream or even Sportsmobile.

So you settle for less - for less money - and some are better at doing that than others. In fact I'd say the OP is better than most. His van is not comparable to any on that site though.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Sep 13, 2018 - 01:09pm PT
but why sell?

Brian in SLC

Social climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Sep 13, 2018 - 01:22pm PT
Why sell? To start building #3 I'd guess.

Got a pretty fair look at a couple of them this summer when some friends had their in the Tetons, and, another Sprinter pulled up. Extended conversation ensued about custom work, chairs, options...its like their own club! Hilarious.

Spending time around them even a little bit...and my imagination tends to go there...would I have a sink? Probably. Built in fridge? Probably not. Cabinets? Yeah, some (I wouldn't want to live out of bins for everything). In place bed: yep. Really like the tilt up option to get at stuff. Captain and first mate chairs that swivel around to the living quarters, oh hell yeah (pull over to a campsite, turn around, and, its cocktail hour!).

Amazing how customizable these rigs are.

Seeing a 4wd version or two, the right tires, all that ground clearance and mobility with a short wheel base (that I thought I'd never fit in the sleeping arrangement I'd prefer) and tall enough to stand up in? Fits in a regular parking spot? Pretty nifty.

I see why they're popular. Glad. In a few years, if I'm ready to pull the trigger, there should be more and better options.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Sep 13, 2018 - 01:29pm PT
Holy Jesus - here's what your ~$75k can buy.

https://www.mhsrv.com/2018-coachmen-crossfit-22d-class-b-rv-for-sale-at-mhsrv-w-pwr-awning-used-class-b-tx-i2362865

Do you see any difference?


Why sell? There are only 2 reasons:

1) End of life - the interior smells like dog balls, the motor is shot and you're paying more per year for maintenance and registration than the thing is worth. Some climber will buy it anyway.

2) You realized you couldn't afford it and now need that considerable pile of money back - what's left of it after considerable depreciation that is.
mikeyschaefer

climber
Sport-o-land
Sep 13, 2018 - 01:47pm PT
I built out my '04 sprinter back in 2008.

Bought van for $30k with 24k miles on it.
Spent approx $10k on parts for buildout.

Pretty much all of the same as the OP's buildout except I additionally installed a 7 gallon LP tank, 2 burner stove, 1000W inverter/charger/shore power setup with 250 amp/hr battery. Took about 2 months of work. Figured the next build would probably take about 5 weeks.

I got a few requests if I'd sell it shortly after building it. I planned to live in it (which I did for 5 years) so wasn't interested in selling it. But I did think about the price a few times and thought around $50k would be appropriate. I remember pricing a sportsmobile at the same time and it would of cost me around $62k at the time for a similar setup.

I can't tell if the seller's van is diesel or gasoline? That would certainly make a difference in price.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Sep 13, 2018 - 01:58pm PT
My new 2016 Sprinter was over $60k as a bare cargo van, because of various upgrades that are probably missing on a $35k sprinter:
 4x4 and related suspension upgrade, gear ratio
various safety features like cross-wind assist (to selectively break the - 4 different wheels to keep a straight track), lane-keeping assist (which detects when you drift outside the painted lines), and alarms when you are about to switch lanes when someone is coming up in your blind spot.
 Upfitter package for easier access to electrical components and CANBUS type functions
 Edit: California sales tax is a big chunk

You can easily spend a month understanding the part number options when ordering a Sprinter. The options book is well over a hundred pages to study. Lot's of trade-offs and choices because you can't just order a la carte- you have to assemble packages with mutually exclusive sub-items.

I did get the swivel seats (compatible with the Emergency Brake being set) and tinted windows (like in a passenger van) from the factory.

The safety features are a big part of why I went new Mercedes 4x4 instead of a 2014 Econoline Van with a $20k+ 4x4 upgrade like from Agile Offroad or WhiteFeather or Quigly, etc.

If I could do it again, I'd get the second alternator from factory for faster charging of a bank of lithium batteries in winter (e.g. when buried in snow and can't count on solar charging). I would rather have that than a bulky extra gas/diesel generator. I can still retrofit that, it's just going to be a hassle and not my top priority or short-term use case.



As for the build-out: Sportsmobile build-out (above the van price) is on the order of $50k-$60k+ and they use particle board, have crooked screws with sloppy joins, etc.... I inspected a Sprinter conversion from within the last couple of years that had these issues. None of their bench beds have a crash-safe 3-point restraint system for safely transporting passengers. Cost and quality and lack of 4-5 passenger driving safety is why I'm not going with them.


If you are doing DIY, wood is a cheap solution but not the best from my perspective. It is bulky and takes away from your storage space. Maybe not a big deal for 2 people in a big van, but I'm building a 4-5 person camper and adventure van. I'm going 80/20 aluminum for strength, clean lines, and less space consumed by the framing. Maybe for framing around the refrigerator it makes sense because of the insulation (especially compared to aluminum 80/20 framing). IF you are buying a single unit refrigerator, that doesn't matter. But I'm looking at building the insulation box myself to maximize the space I have available, and going with a boat-style compressor/evaporator unit (so I don't pump the heat of the refrigerator into the van during hot summer days and I don't have to worry about blocking the vents on a pre-built refrigerator).

I'm going to have about $10k invested just for a rear bench that folds flat to a bed or with front and back up to form an area like a baby crib, can be easily slid forward/backward, and has crash-tested 3-point seat belts. There is not such a product commercially available in USA, and I had to buy the French product through a UK vendor that added the sliders, and then $1400+ to Fedex for shipping.


Bottom line: the devil is in the details when it comes to camper conversions, and you have to invest the time to know which things you care about and which you don't. If you don't care about the details, just screw the "camper van" and get a cargo van and throw a bed in the back, use a camp stove outside, and have a few jugs for water (and a 3-5 gallon bucket with a wag bag for bathroom emergencies). Making a platform bed out of wood might cost a few hundred dollars if you do the work, or a few thousand if you pay someone else. For just two people, you don't need a platform bed and a counter for weekend trips, but it would make a live-in camper much nicer.

JLP

Social climber
The internet
Sep 13, 2018 - 02:41pm PT
I'm going to have about $10k invested ... I had to buy the French product through a UK vendor that added the sliders, and then $1400+ to Fedex for shipping.
Good grief - hope you have a good job to pay for all this. I see a lot of guys with crappy jobs going into serious debt for these rigs.

I would say you're still a noob early in the process and have not yet fully realized the astronomical costs of time and money in having everything just-so to fulfill some imaginary and contrived use case only someone with no experience would ever think of.

But - boys and their toys - if you got the money, keep chasing the dream.

Best value, in an apples-apples comparison of features, hands down, at any price point, a used commercial RV wins by a large margin. Period. You can't beat the economy of scale and market competition these things come out of nor the vast depreciation hit they take in the first couple years.

The vast majority of DIY don't see this and/or don't want to pay the money for features they don't see a use for - yet - so they go into DIY mode to install less. Only later do they generally realize they actually paid a LOT more for what little they got. Then with experience also realize all those features disregarded before are starting to look pretty mandatory for the RV life (duh..that's why they put them in there) - so finally THEN they go out and buy a commercial RV.
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Sep 13, 2018 - 03:40pm PT
If you're not paying rent and it's your main rig, it might be a good investment?

I think this is at least a $40k base model, but I'm also not sure that the rest of the build warrants an additional $30k for a dirtbag DIYer. Sure, if you buy it from a manufacturer, you could spend $100k (but dirtbags don't do that!)


Still, I think it's a really nice rig, done well, and wish Aki luck in his van building small business!
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Sep 13, 2018 - 03:53pm PT
Sure, if you buy it from a manufacturer, you could spend $100k (but dirtbags don't do that!)

You need to get on RV trader for a reality check.

Here's your 40k base model Sprinter and 10k in dirtbag ghetto DIY upgrades:

https://www.rvtrader.com/listing/2010-Fleetwood-QUEST-24L-5003959706
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Sep 13, 2018 - 04:10pm PT
The smaller they are, the more expensive they are!!

Some of us want smaller, semi-stealth vans instead of RVs. I went to an RV show, thinking I was going to "want" stuff there, and left thinking "meh".

But yea, if that's the sort of thing you want, for $50k, that's a nice rig.

Happiegrrrl2

Trad climber
Sep 13, 2018 - 04:15pm PT

Why sell? There are only 2 reasons:

There are certainly not "only" 2 reasons.

Perhaps the guy enjoys the building out, and wants to give it another go, for but one possibility.
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Sep 13, 2018 - 04:19pm PT
Yeah yeah, of course - the short bus:

https://www.rvtrader.com/listing/2008-Roadtrek-SS-AGILE-5003341454

https://www.rvtrader.com/listing/2010-Roadtrek-SS-Simplicity-5003639934

Experience teaches you there is no such thing as a van you can comfortably sleep in that's "stealth" - windows (+curtains) and a vent make it obvious. Just go all the way or don't even bother.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
Sep 13, 2018 - 04:28pm PT
so, what kind of anti-theft measures do these have?


seems like these would be full targets with '#vanlife' being almost mainstream. I mean, now you know that all the person's possessions are in there... bikes, laptop, rack, s3xtoys, lycra, plain wrap beer, Ö I mean, now you have to have place to store your stuff while using some stuff, just you don't get ripped?


I guess you could get a guard dog. heh
FRUMY

Trad climber
Bishop,CA
Sep 13, 2018 - 04:49pm PT
That's the way it is when you travel!

Bark, bark.

It's amazing how fast folks move away from your rig when the pups let it rip.

90lbs. lead by spit & teeth usually gets the point across. Even when they can't see the mutts.
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
Sep 13, 2018 - 07:51pm PT
Where did your friend get a 2017 diesel hi top sprinter for $25k in Sacramento this summer?

For some reason I can't post on ST from home these days. It says my account has been deactivated but here at work I can. And of course no one seems to answer the emails I send for help...

Anyway to answer the above.
Cleo, yes it is a diesel, and he said Sacramento when he was over visiting earlier in the week. He is currently traveling so I'll drop him a line and get the info to you when I get it. He also mentioned the professional work done on the "conversion" was done in Sacramento too. I may be off by a few thousand bucks but for sure the sprinter (new) was under 30 g's.

The Delhi Dog example of $50k for a nearly nice, nicely kitted van sounds like an unusually good deal to me (but again, I'm a van noob).
I saw some photos of it and it sure looked sweet. But even that much is beyond my teacher salary. I suppose the more "add-on" you attach the more it costs so it would be easy for the price to climb to a ridiculous number. Having never had a new car myself I just struggle with the cost of these (heck ANY new) vehicles these days.

I may not be a dirtbag anymore but I continue to think like one I guess...
Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
Sep 13, 2018 - 08:02pm PT

stage for the BG band!
mucci

Trad climber
The pitch of Bagalaar above you
Sep 13, 2018 - 08:39pm PT




Please tell us what the millenial trustfunder pays you.



WyoRockMan

climber
Grizzlyville, WY
Sep 13, 2018 - 08:42pm PT
I may be off by a few thousand bucks but for sure the sprinter (new) was under 30 g's.

Definitely off a few thousand bucks. A Dodge or Ford maybe.

A base chassis is more than $30k. $45k is about as cheap as you could find a new bare bones Mercedes Sprinter.
ionlyski

Trad climber
Polebridge, Montana
Sep 13, 2018 - 09:24pm PT
I paid $48,000 in 2008 for my brand new Dodge (Mercedes Built) 3500, 170" wheel base cargo van. They were expensive then.

Arne

I'm experienced at negotiating and was convinced at the time I was getting a substantial discount; there were only two of these units shipped to U.S. that year, with the exact configuration mine was.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
Sep 13, 2018 - 09:24pm PT
Probably itís a labor of love for the DIYers, especially when you get into the $75K+ range! Thatís a far cry from the 2x4 frame bed in an econoline. Iím just a weekend guy these days so I have no need for a swank camper but if I did Iíd get an airstream trailer. Seems more comfy, better value and I wouldnít be driving with a stove and a toilet around town.

Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
Sep 13, 2018 - 09:27pm PT
Definitely off a few thousand bucks. A Dodge or Ford maybe.

Well, I suppose he could be lying to me, but I don't know why he'd do that.
Mercedes Sprinter. White, 2017 completely stripped down base model (the shorter ones).
I thought it was pretty "cheap" too considering what I'd heard and read, but he seemed pretty happy with the deal.

Sorry if it doesn't match what you've seen.
As I mentioned I'll pass on the info of where he bought it when I get it.

Cheers
i-b-goB

Social climber
Nutty
Sep 13, 2018 - 09:35pm PT



https://www.caranddriver.com/photo-gallery/well-gladly-live-down-by-a-river-in-one-of-these-mercedes-benz-vans-gallery#1

JLP

Social climber
The internet
Sep 14, 2018 - 05:50am PT
In 2009, after the 2008 crash and after MB took the brand back for the 2010 model year, there was a glut of Sprinters on dealer lots and deep factory incentives to get rid of them. A few guys I recall managed to get one for just under 30k for a 144 high top, but that was doing really well. Havenít heard much under high 30ís since. 25 seems unlikely, ever.
Bad Climber

Trad climber
The Lawless Border Regions
Sep 14, 2018 - 07:02am PT
I get JLP's point, but I think this is a pretty nice rig. It's basically new with only 9.5k miles on it and includes warranty, although I didn't read the fine print. I love the detailing. Someone with the right scratch will scoop this up.

BAd
Ney Grant

Trad climber
Pollock Pines
Sep 14, 2018 - 09:23am PT
Hey Aki,

Nice build - I like it. Great job on the drawer pulls!

Ney
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Sep 14, 2018 - 12:15pm PT
I get JLP's point too, but I just don't like the options available in a class B RV. I don't want a toilet and shower. I want a small, semi-steathly van. I want mountain bike storage under the bed. I don't want a bed that turns into a table and bench seats. I don't like the cheap plastic and particle board cabinets.

Perhaps there is a class B small van with those characteristics, but I've not seen one. I suppose I could buy one and customize it, but that seems like extra work and will end up being the same in cost.
Happiegrrrl2

Trad climber
Sep 14, 2018 - 02:41pm PT
^Agreed.

Reilly

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Sep 14, 2018 - 03:24pm PT
No toilet? What, yer gonna wag bag it in the middle of the night
when itís pouring rain in the Yukon? Ewwww!
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Sep 14, 2018 - 04:37pm PT
No toilet?
Exactly. I didn't like the idea of hauling around poo until one day I realized it's cleaner, easier and smells better than using the pit toilets around the places I frequent. It's also really nice waking up in the morning when it's sub freezing out and others are camping nearby - and taking a private dump in front of a heater set to full blast.

vvvv Cleanwaste Go works well in a van, and the more expensive Restop bags hide the stench better in the heat than Cleanwaste's or WagBags, depends how long you plan to put up with it.
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Sep 14, 2018 - 04:42pm PT
Think rafting toilet. Pee outside, have a removable toilet or, yes, wag bag system like the cleanwaste go.
stevep

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Sep 14, 2018 - 05:00pm PT
Things have changed since the dirtbag days...how is it I see so many of these around? Have housing prices gotten so high that folks with decent jobs are living in these instead of houses? Otherwise I don't quite understand how there's so many folks that can afford $60000+ rigs?
cleo

Social climber
wherever you go, there you are
Sep 14, 2018 - 05:25pm PT
I guess, some of us are still "camping". Living OUT OF the van instead of living IN the van? Campers poo in pit toilets, so...

Delhi Dog

climber
Good Question...
Oct 31, 2018 - 09:11am PT
Where did your friend get a 2017 diesel hi top sprinter for $25k in Sacramento this summer?


Heard back from my friend and as mentioned I'd share that info.
He bought the vehicle here http://sportsmobile.com/

Here's a pretty cool youtube of the factory
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3X9UjNx9g0

As I mentioned, tricked out the way he wanted it cost him just short of 60,000. I said $25,000 for the vehicle and $25,000 for the custom work. I was a bit low but the $25,000 for the base sprinter was accurate.
He did have to wait for about 1 year I think once he made the deal.

If it doesn't jive with you all...well, sorry.

Hope that helps.

cheers,
dd
JLP

Social climber
The internet
Oct 31, 2018 - 09:24am PT
Free van when you buy $60k in particle board - best deal ever.
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