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Old 06-03-2016, 09:46 AM   #1
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Sprinter v. PM and so forth

We sold our 2005 SMB E350...sad parting of the ways but happy we paid it forward as the work we did on the engine should provide the new owners years of trouble free travel. We sold based on three big reasons: the 6.0 liter is LOUD, gnarly 4x4 travel just isn't our gig and the pop up penthouse drew too much attention when camped places.
So, we are aggressively planning and designing a new camper and have begun accumulating questions.....first and foremost is whether to go with the 144 or the 170 (which would only be a dually), go with 4x4 for the lift etc or stay with the 2 wheel drive?
Read many posts re: Sprinter EGR delete (went thru that with the 6.0) and assume that the Ducati/Fiat engine within the PM would have the same issues.
Interior issues are pretty straight forward - don't need a crapper, nor a shower - these seem to take up a lot of space and friends that have these features never use them and they are an expensive waste (IMHO). No need for roof AC...don't ever plan on residing at a trailer park - prefer to be out there.
So...it is my experience that the members of this forum are rarely at a loss for opining! I open myself up to thoughts, comments, observations & experiences.
Thanks in advance for your help!
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Old 06-03-2016, 10:55 PM   #2
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You can get a 2500 170" wb sprinter with single rear wheels.
Fiat van costs less and feels like it costs less....I actually like the way they look.
Sprinter is expensive and costs lots to maintain, dealers few and far between, questionable quality.
Sprinter-source.com for all the 411 on sprinter problems.....and praise.
I'd want 4x4 in the mountains of Colorado, but that is just me. We have 2wd sprinter in telluride and will likely replace with something 4x4 , but probably not another sprinter.
The 4cyl sprinter engine is a better engine/transmission combo than the 6cyl and old school 5sp offered with the 4x4 sprinter.
Closest MB p dealer is 300 miles away, so minor things can be a logistical issue.
Drive the ram promaster and decide from there how much money you'd like to save.
We have a pop top and I'd never entertain getting another one vs. high top. Fixed high roof all the way.
I'd trade my sprinter pop top for a 4x4 6.0 ford all day long.
Different strokes, grass greener, hindsight, etc.
Good luck with your search
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Old 06-03-2016, 11:04 PM   #3
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Another good option to consider is the Ford Transit. Comes in a variety of sizes, 4x4 is possible, there's a gas engine option, less expensive maintenance and lots of dealers while on the road.


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Old 06-05-2016, 05:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DudleyTania View Post
So, we are aggressively planning and designing a new camper and have begun accumulating questions.....
Interior issues are pretty straight forward - don't need a crapper, nor a shower - these seem to take up a lot of space and friends that have these features never use them and they are an expensive waste (IMHO).
I realize you have plenty of experience as a former SMB owner but I'll just throw in a vote for considering the smallest (24x33) porta-potti/shower enclosure if you're planning a new hard top Sprinter or Promaster. Coming back to basecamp from a long day hiking or mountain biking covered with sunscreen, bug spray and sweat it's just so nice to clean up with a quick warm shower! It's also handy when stuck in traffic on I-70 between the tunnel and Floyd Hill needing quick potty relief.

We pack other gear into the upper shower area when extra storage is needed for longer trips, and just lift the porta-potti out into the aisle when showering. All pretty simple and it's a great benefit of having a high roof van.

If you do go Promaster it might be simplest to stick to their gas engine unit using the well regarded Pentastar V6. If we had to replace our old T1N Sprinter the Promaster would be a likely choice since new NCV3 Sprinters are too tall for our garage. Or a Sprinter 4x4 penthouse but as Onefin notes cutting open the structural van body can result in complications.

But whichever direction you go best wishes on your new camper design and keep us updated on your progress.
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:19 AM   #5
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Have the sprinter penthouse. Better ventilation than solid tops. More stealthy with top down when stopping for a night. Less likely to get caught in the trees up here in the North Wet. Agree with PeteM keep the porta potty. If no shower then hook up a pull out faucet on the sink.

Any camper van is better than no camper van.
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Old 07-01-2016, 04:20 PM   #6
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I am about finished with my DIY build-out of a PM. I've never figured what I didn't get for the $$$ I saved over Sprinter or Transit. What I did get include wider body, straighter sides, galvanized high-quality steel body not prone to rust, amazing stability in crosswinds, FWD which translates to sweet handling and lower floor which translates to easier ingress/exit and lower overall height. What am I missing?
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Old 07-01-2016, 07:37 PM   #7
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You are getting a tried and true motor with the Pentastar. Easier availability of service. Although having a sprinter I find the crosswind stability to be excellent.

A question does the lower height mean lower ground clearance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MsNomer View Post
I am about finished with my DIY build-out of a PM. I've never figured what I didn't get for the $$$ I saved over Sprinter or Transit. What I did get include wider body, straighter sides, galvanized high-quality steel body not prone to rust, amazing stability in crosswinds, FWD which translates to sweet handling and lower floor which translates to easier ingress/exit and lower overall height. What am I missing?
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Old 07-01-2016, 09:41 PM   #8
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I don't think so. The rear axle is the lowest point. There is less room for tanks under there, but I don't hear complaints on our forum, so I guess there is enough.

True test: 80mph with 65mph crosswind on a crappy back road in Oklahoma outrunning a tornado.
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Old 07-01-2016, 11:21 PM   #9
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Beats any wind here in the North Wet

I have a few gusts in the canyons but yours has the record.
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Old 07-05-2016, 11:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MsNomer View Post
I am about finished with my DIY build-out of a PM. I've never figured what I didn't get for the $$$ I saved over Sprinter or Transit. What I did get include wider body, straighter sides, galvanized high-quality steel body not prone to rust, amazing stability in crosswinds, FWD which translates to sweet handling and lower floor which translates to easier ingress/exit and lower overall height. What am I missing?
Fit and finish, some creature and safety features, 4x4. But, that's pretty much par for the course when comparing a Mercedes to a Dodge. Doesn't take away from the Dodge at all. Just two different luxury levels for two different types of owners, IMO. It's great we have so many good choices these days.
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