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Old 12-15-2016, 11:39 PM   #1
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Departure Angle for 24' Sprinter 4x4 (LB)

I'm struggling to choose between the EB (22' 9") and LB (24'). Only 15" difference, but I'm concerned about the departure angle on the LB. I can't find definitive information but one source shows the 4x4 EB has a departure angle of 15 degrees and the LB 11 degrees, so that's quite a difference. But the real test is practical experience. Is there anyone out there with the 4x4 LB, and if so any observations on the risk of grounding the rear? I'm looking at my van for extended travel including Mexico, on rough roads, but not real off road use. Clearly the EB would be less likely to scrape the rear, but I also need a lot of storage for bikes, etc, so the LB would give me space for that.
Thanks for any insight from practical experience.
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Old 12-16-2016, 06:47 AM   #2
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No insight on a Sprinter, but similar questions/experience with a Ford van. The extra space is irreplaceable, but if you go with the LB, make sure to at least get a trailer hitch installed. At a minimum, it provides a good, solid surface if you start dragging your tail, rather than van body parts.


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Old 12-16-2016, 10:13 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler View Post
No insight on a Sprinter, but similar questions/experience with a Ford van. The extra space is irreplaceable, but if you go with the LB, make sure to at least get a trailer hitch installed. At a minimum, it provides a good, solid surface it you start dragging your tail, rather than van body parts.


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Very true. Trailer hitches are cheap. Van body repair is not. Ask me how I know.
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Old 12-16-2016, 10:51 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilH View Post
I'm struggling to choose between the EB (22' 9") and LB (24'). Only 15" difference, but I'm concerned about the departure angle on the LB. I can't find definitive information but one source shows the 4x4 EB has a departure angle of 15 degrees and the LB 11 degrees, so that's quite a difference. But the real test is practical experience. Is there anyone out there with the 4x4 LB, and if so any observations on the risk of grounding the rear? I'm looking at my van for extended travel including Mexico, on rough roads, but not real off road use. Clearly the EB would be less likely to scrape the rear, but I also need a lot of storage for bikes, etc, so the LB would give me space for that.
Thanks for any insight from practical experience.
In looking at the 170 WB vans, I feel like the breakover angle is going to be more of a concern than the departure angle. That's an increase of 26" in wheelbase.

We need a lot of storage for the same reasons (bikes, climbing gear, recovery gear, etc). After looking at a 170 WB van, I just wouldn't feel confident with it, even on BLM land and forest roads. We elected to just use a hitch mounted bike rack, and for extended trips with a lot of miles, we'll put them on the roof. Between various boxes and storage options on the rear of the van, and with creative use of the rack space (even with roof AC and a larger Maxxfan), we'll have enough space for our gear, even with a single solar panel mounted sideways upfront.

I can see going with a 170 WB van if all you were doing were dirt roads, and the occasional well-traveled forest road. But, heading into Mexico or accessing places that require a high-clearance vehicle, I wouldn't want to be in a 170 WB Sprinter.

The longer Fords have a ton of ground clearance. So, that extra length only comes into play with crawling situations or really rough offroad trails.
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Old 12-16-2016, 11:16 AM   #5
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x2 on breakover angle. I think at that wheelbase, the extra length is almost negligible.

Crew cab pickups are all 170+" wheelbases, but they also start with an extra foot+ of gound clearance.

That said.... it will make a difference with hitch accessories. If you're towing, the extra length can do things like mash the trailer's spare tire into a sidewalk. For hitch accessories it's easily worked around with high-mount racks, or extra-height adapters.
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Old 12-16-2016, 04:53 PM   #6
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Another vote for the hitch.

My eb ford van is kind of low in back, I drag the hitch all the time on trails and haven't done any damage worth caring about. I hit the same two spots repeatedly, but I doubt I'm missing more than 1/8 of an inch of material, since mostly dirt isn't that hard.

If I didn't have the hitch there I would have lifted the back by now. As it is, there's no reason to do so.

Edit: My van has about 6-8" of lift in front and 3-4" in back.
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:08 AM   #7
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Many thanks for the responses. Based on these I've finally decided on the LB. An RB 144" WB is not practical for my needs, and as both the EB and LB have the longer 170" WB, it seems I'm stuck with at least that limitation. So I might as well get the most from it. I will have a tow hitch, and I've even seen you can get special attachments designed to hit ground first (like a roller) to help absorb the impact. I'm also thinking of some sort of air suspension which would allow me to increase height by a couple of inches when necessary - to be able to get 'unstuck' or just in a tight situation - like getting on/off a ferry ramp for instance. Anyway, it's clearly a trade-off, but I don't need real off road capability, just rough roads and situations like the ferry ramp, etc.
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Old 02-11-2017, 04:51 PM   #8
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I too am wrestling with this decision so thanks for this thread. I think I am coming to the other decision though, the EB. It's a hard choice but departure angle counts for something. The angles in this graphic are only approximate, but it looks like even a moderate driveway might be a problem in the LB. Plus the middle size Sprinter will be 15" easier to park in town, and to me it just looks better, that bit of extra body seems to make the difference between a van and a bus. I will envy that extra space though.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/...ter_DepAng.jpg
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Old 02-12-2017, 12:07 AM   #9
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Tire diameter is also going make a difference in the angle (clearance too). I was in Fresno day before yesterday and Brian said they are testing 35" tires on a Sprinter 4x4. That's far larger than I have ever heard of.
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Old 02-28-2017, 07:55 AM   #10
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Something you may want to look into if you're planning to travel to Mexico with the Sprinter. The diesel fuel that is available in Mexico is not recommended for the newer Sprinters due to the sulfur content. The emission system apparently can't handle it well. From what I have read I wouldn't take a newer Sprinter to Mexico. I'm not an expert on it but I'd look into before you make a purchase.
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