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Old 08-10-2016, 06:46 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by VtSoundman View Post
Good questions - these help to suss out flaws in my the logic.

Here is mine:
It really comes down to parts & service availability. I did some quick informal searches on places that can service a Sprinter in places we like to travel - and they were far fewer than Ford. There is no comparison - it was orders of magnitude different. I found out that not all the Merc dealers will work on a Sprinter.

(As a side note, the Freightliner dealers I called will only work on Freightliner badged Sprinters. Same with Dodge).

I also did an informal survey of Sprinter Maintenance items - Sprinter was 3-4x the price.

Resale hasn't been too much of a factor in my logic yet - I see traditional vehicles as sunk costs and will try to purchase used vehicles only (let someone else pay depreciation, etc). If the vehicle is the right purchase, we will run it into the ground. Sportsmobile branded adventure vans carry a premium, but DIY (regardless of quality) don't share the same premium.

I understand the wty value - and damn glad I bought an extended wty for my Jeep (front axle imploded when the locker mechanism failed; have had all front end wear components replaced 3x on their dime; a few major oil leaks;cooling issues). Thankfully it happened when I was close to a dealer, but then again Jeep dealers are far more common than Sprinter qual'd Merc service centers. Without a decent network, it diminishes its value.

Does that make sense? What do you think of my logic?
I don't think your logic is flawed. I'm just here, as you say, to poke holes in your logic

I'm a german car guy, so most of my experiences with cars are from Porsche/Audi. Most of those cars went to over 200K miles. Our current daily is a Cayenne Turbo with 140K on the clock, and it's only left me stranded once due to a coolant T rupturing. None of the other cars (air-cooled 911's to modded twin turbo S4) ever left me stranded. It was a part I knew could fail on the Cayenne and had plans to replace that coolant T preventatively, but alas, I procrastinated too long. We take that Cayenne everywhere, including deep into 4x4 roads with street tires. Having the car break down and leave me stranded is something I never worry about. In my experience, an attentive owner will be aware of an issue that could leave you stranded before it happens. We have a deposit on a Sprinter, and while we do live near two Sprinter repair facilities, our proximity to one while on the road was not a deciding factor for me.

The reality is that if your van fails to start while under warranty, you're getting towed somewhere, renting a car, and staying in a hotel. MB has free road side service and will pay to tow to the nearest MB dealer for repairs.

In my experience, being an informed owner (with anything, but especially german cars), sticking to the factory scheduled service, and maybe doing a bit of preventative maintenance is all you really need to ensure a pain-free ownership experience. Sure, parts will be a bit more, labor a bit more, but you're getting a bit more, too. Both in service from MB and in the car. I can't go back to halogen headlights. There are a ton of safety features that you don't get on the Ford, on top of the fact Sprinters are usually built a bit better when you really get in there with your hands.

For me, we won't be doing any rock crawling or "wheeling'" per se. Going slow over rough terrain isn't something I enjoy. We climb, ski, etc - so forest roads or light 4x4 roads get us to 95% of the places we want to go. I specifically wanted something with good on-road manners knowing that we'd never use the full potential of an E350. We even considered a unimog with a camper, but they just didn't have the speed on the road.

Plus, I prefer factory 4x4 rather than a retrofit. No warranty issues, everyone knows how to work on it, etc. We have a good EDL system on the Cayenne and it gets you about 75% of a true diff lock, IMO. Our Touareg had a center and rear diff lock, and you'd have to be in some really bad sh!t for it to make a difference over an EDL system. So, the low-range and EDL on the Sprinter will work just fine for us and the high Colorado country. Look at the options page of the Sprinter compared to the Transit - so much stuff you can do as factory, including cab insulation and a 2nd alternator. At that point, your van becomes a generator.

I think if you do need that really beefy 4x4 system of a Ford retrofit, then that's really your only option. For me, the quirks and quality of the Sprinter really enhance the ownership experience, but I recognize that holds different value for everyone.

If I removed the MB and Ford badges, the things that would have sold me on the Sprinter are the factory 4x4 with EDL, HID headlights and washers, all the driver aids (blind spot, lane assist, crosswind, etc), the small options (2-stage door, heated windshield, factory block pre-heater, etc), and the fact that I think they look the business when done right. I also think it's likely cheaper when you go option to option compared to a Transit (factoring cost of 4x4 conversion).

Transit is a great van, and I'm definitely not knocking it. I don't think there is nearly the difference between a Transit and Sprinter as there is between MB and Ford cars.
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Old 08-13-2017, 08:39 AM   #22
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Well, a week or so ago we bought a Sprinter. 2015 4x4 144 low roof passenger with 1500 miles. It has a build already in it geared towards office/video production use. Got it from an MB dealer for a song complete with CPO extension...pictures to follow. We're super happy...

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Old 08-13-2017, 08:51 AM   #23
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Bring on the pics!

....and congrats.
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Old 08-13-2017, 09:16 AM   #24
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Ditto on the pictures, decisions and build details!

We met VtSoundman and family, including the new Sprinter, yesterday and after spending a couple of hours with them I can assure you this will be an interesting build to follow with logical and well-thought-out build details to come. I know I plan on learning from it!
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Old 08-14-2017, 10:59 AM   #25
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Ditto on the pictures, decisions and build details!

We met VtSoundman and family, including the new Sprinter, yesterday and after spending a couple of hours with them I can assure you this will be an interesting build to follow with logical and well-thought-out build details to come. I know I plan on learning from it!
Fitz - it was great to meet you and see the van! Much appreciated the time. It has given us some really good ideas on our build. It helped to cement some of our ideas and concepts.
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