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Old 12-09-2009, 01:09 PM   #1
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Sprinters in the mountains

I have learned alot about sportsmobiles from this forum. I am exploring whether a sprinter will meet our needs, 20% offroad, 80% highway. I live in Colorado at 8000 feet and most of the travel would be in Colorado, i.e. frequent trips to ski areas etc over passes.
How well has the Sprinter performed at altitude? Can you make it over the pass before the chain law is enacted or is "any snow-no go"? Finally, how about ground clearance on Forest Service roads? Is it adequate?
Thanks in advance for any help.
docd
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:31 PM   #2
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Re: Sprinters in the mountains

HI loads of 2WD Sprinters over here in Europe but ground clearance not as good as the 2WD Chevy I have...

Traction is always a problem with 2WD (rear) you need excellent tires and a bit of load in the rear to get extra traction...

I seem to get by here in mountainous Switzerland ok with 2WD and I even have tested off road with the Chevy and it is ok as long as you anticipate loads more than in a 4WD and don't try to climb vertical slopes etc
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Old 12-09-2009, 01:59 PM   #3
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Re: Sprinters in the mountains

Docd

I live in Lyons. I got my 2008 SMB Sprinter (RB-50 poptop) in June. I already have 13K miles on it!

Like you I had done a lot of research on SMBs/sprinter before purchasing but I have to say the most pleasant surprise is how well the Sprinter "drives" and, how much fun it is to drive.

I have done several "warm weather" trips to Utah, Crested Butte, Steamboat, Aspen, etc. and I have not experienced any problems at altitude. It will go 75 mph on the Eisenhower approaches no problem (but I tend to keep it @65)

and, it averages 20 mpg!

Like you I wanted some thing that could still manage some "offroading" so I have driven it on roads more serious then your basic forest service gravel roads (like the road to the OBJ campground) and it does fine. It has plenty of clearance (~10 in) for clearing things but I would be hesitant to try anything too steep and loose, or big steps/rocks. or pitched awkwardly. I certainly have to remind myself that it is not my Tacoma!

As far as winter driving, I am still putting it through it's paces but so far, I have been very impressed with how it handles in the snow. I have done one trip up to Copper for an overnight and it did just fine. i have driven it to work (in Boulder) from Lyons in pretty crappy conditions and it was fine. I took it out in a parking lot in about 12 inches of snow for a bunch of doughnuts and it did fine. I was considering getting snow tires but since it has done so well without (using the M&S Continental tires), I will not be getting snow tires. I can only attribute this to the fine handling characteristics and engineering of the van and, all that weight over the rear wheels. As with offroading, I would be a little concerned about anything steep or extremely icy and of course, driving experience/skills in non-normal conditions makes a difference. I did invest in a pair of Thule chains and tested them out the other day including up some steeper icier pitches and they worked great. I feel good/safer that I invested in them for when it gets really hairy.

hope that helps...
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Old 12-09-2009, 07:14 PM   #4
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Re: Sprinters in the mountains

Saabman and Monkeyboy: That's the info I needed. I believe the Sprinter is the SMB for us. Comfort on the highway and gas mileage are our priorities. Let the planning begin!!
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:20 PM   #5
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Re: Sprinters in the mountains

We have a Sprinter SMB in CO as well. We live in Glenwood Springs, and just got 18". I don't usually drive the sprinter, but wanted to take it out to really put it to the test. I was EXTREMELY surprised as to how well the van handled in the snow. The ASP and the weight of the van made it handle well. As far as passes, and forest roads, they also handle fine there. I can maintain 75 or so over the passes with ease, and I have had it high above breck near the CO trail to do some mtn biking without any problems. Its been over Kebler to the Butte mulitple times as well, no problems. If you want to take our for a test drive and see what you think, your more than welcome to. Also, we are selling ours if you wanna take a look. its posted in the classifieds section on the forum as well. Hope that helps, we love our, and WILL be getting another as soon as things settle down again. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks!
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Old 12-09-2009, 09:21 PM   #6
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Re: Sprinters in the mountains

One more thing, Where in CO are you located???
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:07 PM   #7
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Re: Sprinters in the mountains

Yeah DocD, wher are you? And, I'll offer my rig for inspection too ...but... it aint for sale. no way!
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Old 12-09-2009, 11:25 PM   #8
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Re: Sprinters in the mountains

This is a great thread! I was wondering how the Sprinter behaved in the snow and off-road (not 4WD terrain). I'm glad to hear good things as we'd like to be able to do some winter/off-road things with the Sprinter we are dreaming about.

Rick L
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Old 12-10-2009, 08:31 AM   #9
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Re: Sprinters in the mountains

Thanks again for the encouraging info. I'd love to see your SMBs. I live in Colo Springs, up the pass to Woodland Park so snow and performance at altitude are concerns. My plans are for the PH version, I am 6'4, but it would be great to see the options. I frequently get up to the Denver or Boulder areas so Kripper10 give me a PM if you are in the area and I will check out your rig and monkeyboy I will PM you next time I am up that way. DocD
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Old 12-25-2009, 05:02 AM   #10
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Re: Sprinters in the mountains

I really had concluded that I was going to have to wait and try to swing a 4wd version but you guys have convinced me that I may not need it for snowy roads and occassional off-roading. Just out of curiosity has anyone tried the 4wd Sprinter's?
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