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Old 01-05-2018, 10:49 AM   #1
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Question 8 specific ?s: new Sprinter 170 build.

Hi all - very glad to be on this forum. Seems like a bunch of nice, knowledgeable people. Been reading a lot.

My wife, tween-ish daughter and I are strongly considering buying a new MB Sprinter 2500 (3500?) high roof- 4 x 4 -170 - with the esbar D/B for a Sportsmaster. Would wait for the 2019 models coming soon….. likely. Hoping for gas 4 x 4 to avoid any bio diesel issues, Plus refill anywhere.

We prefer to boondock. We think 4 x 4 (with low range) would be best, as we like places off the beaten path.
We know RVs but not vans, specifically.

I will soon go tour Sportsmobile… I’m sure that will answer / raise lots of questions.

We’d likely go for:
extra thermal and extra sound insulation in walls.

one swivel captains chair for our daughter, so 3 seats up front.

fixed bed in the back, storage below.
.. likely with a flip up single bunk bed for above it. (other options are possible. TBD.)

a Espar D/B5 for hot water and air heating.

dual roof solar panels.

Permanent cassette toilet & small inside shower that both are (probably) hidden inside a small fold down cabinet.

no propane. No need for us. We’d continue to mostly cook outside with small propane bottles. Small butane stove for inside cooking (with doors open) in bad weather.

no added roof AC. (adds too much height, plus is very rarely used by us)

For people using this cargo van:

one) I know it is subjective, but did you opt for the $2,000 MB “Driving Assistance Package”?

two) what MB options are you glad you got? (or unhappy with)

three) did anyone have Sportsmobile put a fold up bunk bed in the back (for our almost tween daughter) above the usual bigger bed?

four) for double glazed awning style windows - do people prefer Hehr or CR Lawrence?

five) on the MB are the light alloy wheels worth the $1,000? Does the van handle or drive significantly better with light alloy wheels vs steel?

six) what fabric breathes better - Tunja or Leatherette?

seven) I’m confident we’d like the 170 for the added interior space + storage….. am willing to be longer than the 144.
Almost never need to parallel park on our travels. Can park further from Target for supply runs, and walk extra, to stay away from other cars.
Anyone have strong feelings as to why the 144 is better than the 170? for 3 people.

eight) should we go for the MB hitch factory install, so we could maybe occasionally put a bike rack there? (we are hikers far more than bikers)

nine) any general layout thoughts for us 3?

thanks!

John in Los Angeles
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Old 01-05-2018, 03:16 PM   #2
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sorry - the thread title is misleading. the questions dont relate to the new Sprinter that is coming.

I tried to fix the title but it didnt stick.



thanks

John
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Old 01-05-2018, 06:55 PM   #3
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Sportsmaster? What is that?
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:03 PM   #4
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Sportsmaster? What is that?
Oops. Silly me. Brain fart.

Fixed.

Thanks.
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:06 PM   #5
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I'm still waiting after more than a year for my Sportsmobile West build to begin. I will address just a few of your questions.

1) Yes. ISTM that most people report much better handling.

5) Alloy wheels save some weight, but most people feel steel is better if you plan to go offload. The impact and vibration can cause metal fatigue and result in a cracked wheel, something you don't want to happen if you are in the backcountry.

7) I agree with the 170" WB if you have 3 people. There are a number of threads in which people have tried to come up with a way to put 3-4 people in the 144", but I don't know of anyone who's found a satisfactory solution. Since the low roof is available only with no rear seats and no rear glass, a penthouse bed becomes less attractive and most people are going with the higher roof. (The ultra high roof isn't available on a 4x4.) The 24' version of that WB is only available in 2WD, so for 4x4 you want the 22' 9" EB, not the 24' LB.

If you want the spare and a storage box on the back, then you likely need an Aluminess rear bumper. This would mean getting the receiver that goes with it rather than OEM receiver.

BTW, a company called Rixen takes the Espar D5 and adds some improvement parts. It's called the Rixen D5 and that's what SMB installs.
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
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Sportsmaster? What is that?
I figured that and Esbar were Spell Check showing its ignorance. I hate the feature. It makes more words wrong than it fixes.
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:57 PM   #7
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Thanks so much Tom H for the great info.

(you) If you want the spare and a storage box on the back, then you likely need an Aluminess rear bumper. This would mean getting the receiver that goes with it rather than OEM receiver.

I'm actually not keen to have the spare + storage box on the back.... makes the 170 model longer, and less stealthy...

I would, however, like a 20 gallon fresh water tank. No propane tho.

Do you or anyone happen to know if we can have 20 gal fresh + spare under the van? on a 170 4 x 4.



thanks.

John


Quote:
Originally Posted by TomH View Post
I'm still waiting after more than a year for my Sportsmobile West build to begin. I will address just a few of your questions.

1) Yes. ISTM that most people report much better handling.

5) Alloy wheels save some weight, but most people feel steel is better if you plan to go offload. The impact and vibration can cause metal fatigue and result in a cracked wheel, something you don't want to happen if you are in the backcountry.

7) I agree with the 170" WB if you have 3 people. There are a number of threads in which people have tried to come up with a way to put 3-4 people in the 144", but I don't know of anyone who's found a satisfactory solution. Since the low roof is available only with no rear seats and no rear glass, a penthouse bed becomes less attractive and most people are going with the higher roof. (The ultra high roof isn't available on a 4x4.) The 24' version of that WB is only available in 2WD, so for 4x4 you want the 22' 9" EB, not the 24' LB.

If you want the spare and a storage box on the back, then you likely need an Aluminess rear bumper. This would mean getting the receiver that goes with it rather than OEM receiver.

BTW, a company called Rixen takes the Espar D5 and adds some improvement parts. It's called the Rixen D5 and that's what SMB installs.
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Old 01-05-2018, 08:42 PM   #8
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SMB doesn't like to put fresh water tanks beneath the vehicle due to freezing issues (think what happens to a soda can in the freezer). IDK if they'd agree to it with a heater attached or not or if it's something they give on at all. (Then you have increased electrical demands.) You can have aftermarket aux tanks installed to the outside of the fuel tank, just under the step at the sliding passenger door, or at the undercarriage spare tire location. You could have them put in a very small interior tank and have someone else install the undercarriage tank later.

MB licenses SMB as a "master upfitter" but is far more strict than Ford in what they allow SMB to do to the vehicle. For that reason, many people go to other outfitters after they get the SMB to have more work done. Two of the most employed are Van Compass and Agile Offload. I need both to do extra work on my build after I get it (suspension upgrades, aux tanks, bigger wheels/tires, compost toilet install, etc.) There is a fair chance you'll already need extra modifications after you get your rig and you might think about an aux water tank install along with that.
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Old 01-05-2018, 09:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomH View Post
SMB doesn't like to put fresh water tanks beneath the vehicle due to freezing issues (think what happens to a soda can in the freezer). IDK if they'd agree to it with a heater attached or not or if it's something they give on at all. (Then you have increased electrical demands.) You can have aftermarket aux tanks installed to the outside of the fuel tank, just under the step at the sliding passenger door, or at the undercarriage spare tire location. You could have them put in a very small interior tank and have someone else install the undercarriage tank later.

MB licenses SMB as a "master upfitter" but is far more strict than Ford in what they allow SMB to do to the vehicle. For that reason, many people go to other outfitters after they get the SMB to have more work done. Two of the most employed are Van Compass and Agile Offload. I need both to do extra work on my build after I get it (suspension upgrades, aux tanks, bigger wheels/tires, compost toilet install, etc.) There is a fair chance you'll already need extra modifications after you get your rig and you might think about an aux water tank install along with that.
aha. I see. Thanks!

I'll ask them when I see them soon, but i bet you know Tom... SMB offer a 10 gal or 20 gal fresh tank... so those are inside the van?

thx

Much to learn here.
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Old 01-05-2018, 09:40 PM   #10
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My 144” has a 17 gallon fresh water tank. I believe Tom said it, SMB always installs the fresh water tank inside the van. Mine is a 150S model with the water tank under the rear seat.

I was at SMB Fresno earlier today - new Sprinters everywhere! Most were high roofs, really glad we got our low roof with the penthouse when we did.

Keep reading and keep asking questions-your perfect build is waiting!

Fitz
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