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Old 08-12-2015, 08:54 PM   #1
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2wd Sprinter in Snow?

We have been looking far and wide for a Sprinter or E350 Sportsmobile--we currently have a pain in the neck pop up and want something that lets us bug out for a night much more easily.

We have found a low mileage, great condition 2008 Sprinter (PH but low top) with 2wd. We live in Colorado and do plan to use it some in the winter to take my son to ski races. Anyone driven a 2wd in the snow and have any feedback? Are studded tires a solution or is the RWD a deal breaker?

We'll also want to use it some to go up rough roads, but nothing that would count as 4 wheeling by any means.

Thanks in advance for your expertise!
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Old 08-15-2015, 04:12 PM   #2
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Re: 2wd Sprinter in Snow?

I've seen several Sprinter simply lose traction going up Mount Hood, when even FWD cars were making it just fine. One of them had snow tires, and still had to chain up.

FWIW - the Transit vans are also very Traction limited. I had to pull two out of the ditch last weekend! (soft gravel shoulders in central Oregon). I think the combo of lightweight vans with relatively forward weight bias (compared to an E350) is simply no bueno for traction.

Maybe a hitch rack with sand bags might help...

Also, Colorado snow is usually a lot drier than pac NW snow, which means usually traction is a lot better.
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Old 08-15-2015, 07:27 PM   #3
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Re: 2wd Sprinter in Snow?

Studded snows are definitely worth it. Ski resorts and shuttle services use them all over Colorado.
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Old 08-16-2015, 02:42 PM   #4
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Re: 2wd Sprinter in Snow?

2WD Sprinter is as worse as it can get when it comes to snow or low traction surface.
Having driven all kinds and years of Sprinters in the winter and now my E250 2WD is like having 4WD in the Ford compared to the Sprinter.
Even the current MY Sprinter will loose traction very early on snow. The traction control is worthless. Heck, I was more than once at the point putting the sprinter in first gear, foot off the clutch as slow as possible, step out of the van and pushing the idling van while in first gear on a flat parking lot covered with less then 1" snow. And yes, all Sprinters were equipped with proper snow tires.
I expected the same from my empty '98 E250 cargo van when I drove it through the first winter last year, but nada, I even drove up hills where RWD and FWD passenger cars on snow tires had problems.
My E250 sits on 235/85-16 General ATē on is equipped with the factory LSD rear.
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Old 08-16-2015, 06:16 PM   #5
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Re: 2wd Sprinter in Snow?

My experience with Sprinters in the snow is that they suck. Take warm clothes because you aren't going anywhere. I've never driven one with proper snow tires, studs or chains though.

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Old 08-18-2015, 05:42 PM   #6
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Re: 2wd Sprinter in Snow?

My experience is that 2WD vans in general suck in snow. Our current Ford has limited slip and with REAL snow tires it's not too bad, but I still use chains in ski area parking lots after a fresh dump. I've tried cable chains but they break in a couple of miles. The Quick Fit diamond pattern ones work pretty well.

I would find out how hard it is to put chains on a Sprinter - it appears to have pretty tight wheel wells.
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Old 08-19-2015, 05:35 PM   #7
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Re: 2wd Sprinter in Snow?

Thanks all. This is sobering information and we may just rethink our plans for snow use in the near term, as we have found a good price on a low mileage Sprinter SMB. The winter use is more of a "nice to have," but the summer stuff is what we really care about.
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:24 PM   #8
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Re: 2wd Sprinter in Snow?

Although our Sprinter SMB is mostly for 3 season use I do have a coworker who uses his 170" WB 2wd extensively throughout the winter for backcountry skiing expeditions. He bought new snow tires last season to improve traction. I can ask him what type if you're interested.

And one of the Sprinter Forum members with a 144" WB conversion lives in the mountains up Coal Creek canyon. He's got a pretty impressive video of climbing his steep mountain driveway in 8 inches of fresh snow. I believe he did get studded snow tires.

https://youtu.be/Jq1VcutSfbw

So winter use is possible with a 2wd Sprinter...
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:17 AM   #9
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Re: 2wd Sprinter in Snow?

Pretty impressive! That guy is pretty popular on Expo isn't he? The garage and Sprinter look familiar.

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Old 08-21-2015, 12:33 PM   #10
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Re: 2wd Sprinter in Snow?

That is Ed (Geek) on the Adventure Rider forum. He has a build thread on ADV as well.
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