FS: 2017 Sprinter Conversion Van


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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.

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


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.

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.

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.


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.

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!

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:


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.


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.

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



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.

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

Trad climber
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

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

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

stage for the BG band!

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

Please tell us what the millenial trustfunder pays you.


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.

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.


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.

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

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.

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