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Old 02-27-2010, 08:19 PM   #1
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2008 170wb- 2500 vs. 3500 Dually

My wife and I have decided to purchase a 2008 Sprinter with the tentative plan of having Sportsmobile North due a conversion into a slightly altered version of the "Lopes 55", having living quarters in front and a garage/toy box in the rear. Our intention is to have a vehicle which we can use for everyday driving and hauling "stuff" as well as something which would allow us to take our 35 pound dog and three cats with us if, god-forbid we ever needed to hit the road for any number of reasons. I have been reading this site as well as Sportsmobile's forum for a few days and have several questions that I would ask for input on. Any and all opinions and comments are welcome and I thank you all in advance.

1) I have the option to purchase new either a 2008 170 wb in the 2500 or in the 3500 dually. If the price is the same, does anyone have an opinion as to which might be best for a main use of everyday driving, which as of now is more likely than extended camping? The 2500 apparently has "extra leaf springs and a front stabilization package" according to the salesman.

2) Does anyone have an opinion as to what a good starting point for price negotiation may be? I see that edmunds.com gives a price well below the dealers' for a 2008 which is new and has no miles or use. Are there others out there who have purchased recently. I hope it isn't a break in forum etiquette to talk prices. If so, please accept my apologies.

3) Since I have ZERO mechanical ability, is owning such a vehicle really too big of a step for me. We did own a Vanagon Westfalia a decade ago and loved it until it developed a cylinder head problem while we were in Mexico which stranded us there and I guess I am afraid that RV'ing is only for those with a mechanical bent that I lack. I have read so many postings here that I feel I am overwhelmed by all the info and even stupider than when I first came here.

4) Can you all give me reasons why my plans are BAD. I think if I hear the reasons against my plans or why they won't work it will help me decide if this is an impractical idea and we should just do what all our family members say we should do-buy a nice Chrysler Town & Country like everyone else.

5) Can anyone direct me to a similar thread so that I can further educate myself?

Thanks.
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:31 PM   #2
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Re: 2008 170wb- 2500 vs. 3500 Dually

The dually looks cooler. I know, helpful, right?

The big question I get from your info is "garage vs. storage area". I think you need to define what you're going to use it for most of the time and consider around that.

Buying a nice Chrysler T&C based on what your family says is BAD. Other than that, have patience. There is more to consider than sunroof or no in building this rig... there are so many great options, so many good directions to go with that you should take your time. These aren't the last 2500 and 3500 that are going to be there (probably even in the 2008 model) despite what the salesperson no doubt wants you to think. Unless you're verifiability getting a screaming deal- step back and take your time.
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:43 PM   #3
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Re: 2008 170wb- 2500 vs. 3500 Dually

Welcome!

In regards to getting a 2500 or a 3500 dually: The dually will carry more payload, however, I have heard folks complain about a stiff ride when these vans are not loaded enough. Several mainstream van conversion companies have started using the 3500's because their conversions are quite heavy. SMB conversions are not light, however, I've yet to hear of one that overloaded a 2500 van. I plan on going for the 2500 Sprinter when I get one; the 3500 looks like overkill to me. The factory suspension upgrades seem like a good idea , although John at the Sprinter Store suggested his aftermarket suspension kit to me. Might want to contact him as he is very helpful about all things Sprinter:

http://www.upscaleauto.com/sprinter_store.htm

Prices on the 2008 van are rather variable. I suggest doing a nationwide internet search. AFAIK, Victorville Motors in SoCal has a number of 2008 vans in stock. SMB West also has five 2008 2500's that are available for conversion. You can find more discussion of Sprinter pricing and an amazing amount of info on Sprinters at: http://www.sprinter-source.com

Don't worry about not being mechanically inclined. This forum and the Sprinter-Source are a wealth of knowledge. I've learned a TON just by reading the forums and taking notes! The Sprinter is a more complex vehicle than the Westy and it also is a diesel which leads me to some finer points on diesel ownership:

Fuel-Keep your Sprinter happy by buying fresh,clean diesel fuel preferably at a truck stop. Diesel fuel does not store well and so truck stops are your best bet b/c the diesel gets sold quickly. Of course, there may not be a truck stop always around, so it's prudent to pick a gas station that has fairly high traffic. Be wary of a station out in the middle of nowhere that sells diesel. Don't fill up with diesel when the fuel truck is filling the stations tanks with diesel fuel. When the station diesel tanks get filled, it stirs up water and other crud that you don't want in your rigs tank.

Fuel filter-This must be changed at the proper interval (see owner's manual) It is not a difficult DIY job and there are some great instructions on this fine Sprinter blog: http://www.ourexcellentadventures.com
A dealer can do this or find a qualified independent mechanic. I tend to steer clear of dealer's so I would be inclined to do most jobs like this myself unless I have a good mechanic nearby.

Oil Change-Should be done at the regular interval which is said to be 10,000k miles. Low ash oil must be used to keep the emissions system happy. This info is in the owners manual.

Turbo hose-Sprinter specific 2007+ model years- The turbo hoses are prone to cracking which makes the van slow way down and go into limp home mode. The fix for this is easy and permanent (scroll down the pagea bit): http://www.riordanco.com/our_products_catalog.htm

Don't be discouraged by all the Sprinter issues that you may encounter on the forums. Remember, people rarely post when their Sprinter is humming right along! If you carefully maintain your Sprinter, you'll really help ensure that your rig runs well.

Since you are going to be buying a Dodge Sprinter, be sure to check out the Sprinter-Source regarding warranty issues. There seems to be confusion as to whether Mercedes will honor the extended Dodge Sprinter Warranty. As you may know, Chrysler and Mercedes got a rather nasty divorce and as of January 1st 2010, Mercedes is selling the Sprinter through a select number of Mercedes and Freightliner dealers.

Your idea is not a bad one. I recommend doing a TON of research, talk to SMB, check out the forums mentioned above, take notes and have fun! It has taken me about six months of forum reading to really get into the nuts and bolts of the Sprinter.

HTH

Rick
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Old 02-27-2010, 09:56 PM   #4
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Re: 2008 170wb- 2500 vs. 3500 Dually

I felt just like you do. People told me I was crazy but I will be driving and paying, not them. You will be living with your decision, not them.

I also have zero mechanical ability and I am a woman. So, I bought new as you are doing. I love my SMB and will never look back.

Do not be afraid to Bite the Bullet so as to speak. Just take your time as Jage says and ask questions as you are doing.

Of course, I too, did not answer any of your questions. :-)

Angel
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