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Old 08-08-2012, 09:56 PM   #1
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Has anyone had SMB convert a Sprinter Passenger Van?

I'm interested in doing a partial conversion from a stock passenger 170 WB sprinter. I would leave the 1st row 3 seat bench (we have kids in car seats) and remove the other seat rows. A modular approach that would allow for a removable platform bed in the rear, porta potty, with a permanent sink and refrigerator. I would also set up house battery and inverter. I would appreciate any feedback, experiences, floor plans etc. I think this is very reasonable but I maybe missing something. Thanks for reading.
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Old 08-09-2012, 09:28 AM   #2
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Re: Has anyone had SMB convert a Sprinter Passenger Van?

All you need is $$$ and a hard head
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:33 PM   #3
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Re: Has anyone had SMB convert a Sprinter Passenger Van?

Quote:
Originally Posted by twogone
All you need is $$$ and a hard head :a4:
Thanks
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Old 08-09-2012, 04:10 PM   #4
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Has anyone had SMB convert a Sprinter Passenger Van?

In the Fords And Chevys you need a hard head. The Sprinter has plenty of room up top!
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Old 08-09-2012, 07:58 PM   #5
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Re: Has anyone had SMB convert a Sprinter Passenger Van?

Quote:
Originally Posted by canoe4me
In the Fords And Chevys you need a hard head. The Sprinter has plenty of room up top!
Ain't that the truth!

Ecopco, don't mind Marc (twogone). He was dropped on his hard head too many times as a youngster.

You're in the right place for your first questions to be answered, just keep reading here!

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Old 08-10-2012, 02:54 PM   #6
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Re: Has anyone had SMB convert a Sprinter Passenger Van?

ecopco,

Have you called the SMB folks and asked? Since I have been monitoring my build closely I would say that they would likely have to remove the factory seat in back you're keeping, install the new floor and then reinstall the seats. Other than that it would just be another custom build.

The shame is that you would be paying for a lot of nice stuff that would likely get ripped out for them to route plumbing and electrical. If you want interior curtains then they do it a certain way that means that everyhting around the windows gets removed, I would think. You didn't say much about any additonal cabinets but implied there might be some (house porta potti, sink, refer). Would there be upper cabinets to go along with them for storage convenience?

To me it sounds like you will be paying SMB to remove and replace a lot of stuff that you just spent extra for in the first place, unless you get a screamin deal on a used one.

Is there a way to just buy the seats you want and have them install them in a cargo van?

Good luck.

Chumley
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:12 PM   #7
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Has anyone had SMB convert a Sprinter Passenger Van?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chumley

To me it sounds like you will be paying SMB to remove and replace a lot of stuff that you just spent extra for in the first place, unless you get a screamin deal on a used one.

Good luck.

Chumley
Chum,

Thanks for your response. I'm working on a partial buildout design. I want the trim and conveniences of a passenger along with the option of spending an occasional night. My reason for adding refer, sink, microwave, and toilet has to do with maybe registering it as an RV? I did talk to SMB Texas a while back and they do partial conversions. I'm just not sure I want to saddle myself with a full conversion and van debt right now. My plan is to make it a family van for now and maybe a full conversion later. I have looked over the buyers guide on Dave Graham's website and it's dizzying at best! Dave has been a big help so I hope I can get the van from him. Thanks for the heads up on the factory dark tint as well.

Brian
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Old 09-14-2012, 12:35 PM   #8
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Re: Has anyone had SMB convert a Sprinter Passenger Van?

I was considering something very similar and was wondering if starting with the crew van would be do-able. I think the crew van is bare bones from the bench set back but has all the passenger van amenities up front. MB web site states that their bench seats are equippped with child seat restraints but I haven't seen what SMB's seating options can offer. I fiddled around with floor plan options in the 170WB van equipped with second row seats and there's still a lot of room behind for what you have in mind. Now I'm leaning towards the 144 WB but I'll certainly have to make some concessions somewhere (probably have less bed space and plan for mostly tent sleeping except during stealth operations). Please post an update when you make your decision.

Cheers!
Mike
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Old 09-14-2012, 04:04 PM   #9
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Re: Has anyone had SMB convert a Sprinter Passenger Van?

Hi, We had full conversion including the pop top of a 2012Sprinter 144 cargo done last spring at SMB West. We are very happy with it and the Sprinter handling. My comments concerning a passenger van conversions are issues for verification before you commence with that option which does have the plus of all the windows already in place:

Suspension: the cargo van came with stiffer suspension and tires anticipating heavy loads (i.e the conversion equipment weight). If you are getting a passenger van it may or maynot have this heavy duty suspension and tires depending on anticipated passenger load and ride performance.

Heat and vent. Passenger vans have ventilation systems to distribute conditioned air to all parts of the passenger area. This system of ducts and equipment may inhibit locations of added fixtures or increase cost to accommodate systems.

Windows: Not familiar with a factory passenger version, but it is likely the operable passenger windows do not have screens. This may be a critical issue for camping.

Insulation: I suspect the passenger van, like the cargo version has limited insulation in the walls and ceiling. To improve air conditioning and heating performance when camping you may need to remove all those ceiling and wall panels to put insulation and equipment wiring in. Passenger van panels may have been glued versus mechanically fastened on to reduce squeaks so that could make it difficult to remove and reinstall.

These are just things to consider. The Sprinter is a great platform to travel and camp IMO
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:16 PM   #10
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Re: Has anyone had SMB convert a Sprinter Passenger Van?

I don't think SMB would do any custom work. They have an assembly line and things like removable modules would really put a stall in the system.
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