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Old 06-27-2017, 07:42 PM   #1
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Suggestions re: RB 2500 4x4 Low-Roof Sprinter Order

Right off, I'd like to thank all who have contributed to this forum over the years -- it was VERY helpful in my Sprinter decision making process. Now I'm about to submit a MB order through SMB-West for a RB2500 4x4 Low-Roof van (for a June 2018 production slot at SMB-West). And I'd like to solicit your suggestions/critique of the MB Sprinter order that I have arrived at. I know, this can be "asking for it" on the net but this forum has been amazingly good at being civil!

I had the most difficulty with the following options:
  • Overhead Storage Slot, Front Center (Option FF8) -- adds 12V power to covered slot above rear view mirror; apparently doesn't otherwise change usability of this area (i.e., still comes with removable plastic faceplate; no door or internal box). Typically used for CB radio installation. I haven't heard of other uses. (currently not in the order)

  • Fuel-Fired Pre-Heater/Booster (Option H12) -- A block heater used for diesel engine pre-start warm up and sometimes rear water and air heating (this also requires MB option H88, flat heater plate and then connection with the rear water & air systems). Since I do not plan to be in single digit or lower temperatures, I don't believe that I need this option for engine starting. However, I have heard that it can take a long time for engine to heat and therefore morning windshield defrosting can be an issue in any cold weather. Regarding rear water & air heating: I plan to have a D5 hypotonic air+water heater installed, so I believe that this option gives very limited benefit for rear heating. (for cost and weight considerations, currently not in the order)

  • Electrically Heated Windshield (Option F49) -- I worry about this option's long term performance & cost viability since windshield chips, cracks, & therefore replacement are probably a certainty. But I am also worried about defrosting the windshield on cold, frosty mornings without having this or the above block heater option. (currently not in the order)

  • Leather Steering Wheel (Option CL3) -- new in 2017 and haven't heard if worth it. (currently in the order)

  • Black Leatherette Seats (Option VU9) -- seems to be prettier and more durable than standard cloth seat upholstery, but can have initial shock in very hot or cold weather. (currently in order, together with seat warmers)
So, I'd be especially interested in others' thoughts regarding the above.

My current, preliminary MB order can be found here: MB Order Sheet ; and a pdf of the Excel spreadsheet I am using during my MB ordering process is here: MB Order Spreadsheet.

Lastly, I made an important discovery while working with SMB-West on this order, MB recently discontinued the option of ordering any rear windows in RB 2500 low-roof cargo vans! Therefore SMB-West will have to install slider, rear door, and all other rear windows at a significantly higher cost.

TIA!
Rick
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Old 06-28-2017, 11:32 PM   #2
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First off, Congratulations! I'll offer my thoughts on your items:

Quote:
Originally Posted by rsamco View Post
Right off, I'd like to thank all who have contributed to this forum over the years -- it was VERY helpful in my Sprinter decision making process. Now I'm about to submit a MB order through SMB-West for a RB2500 4x4 Low-Roof van (for a June 2018 production slot at SMB-West). And I'd like to solicit your suggestions/critique of the MB Sprinter order that I have arrived at. I know, this can be "asking for it" on the net but this forum has been amazingly good at being civil!

I had the most difficulty with the following options:
  • Overhead Storage Slot, Front Center (Option FF8) -- adds 12V power to covered slot above rear view mirror; apparently doesn't otherwise change usability of this area (i.e., still comes with removable plastic faceplate; no door or internal box). Typically used for CB radio installation. I haven't heard of other uses. (currently not in the order) Fitz comment: I don't have this, thus I don't miss it, but you'll never have a better time to run power to this area for future use. Would I be using it if I had it now? No. But who knows what needs/wants will come up in the coming years, so why not?
  • Fuel-Fired Pre-Heater/Booster (Option H12) -- A block heater used for diesel engine pre-start warm up and sometimes rear water and air heating (this also requires MB option H88, flat heater plate and then connection with the rear water & air systems). Since I do not plan to be in single digit or lower temperatures, I don't believe that I need this option for engine starting. However, I have heard that it can take a long time for engine to heat and therefore morning windshield defrosting can be an issue in any cold weather. Regarding rear water & air heating: I plan to have a D5 hypotonic air+water heater installed, so I believe that this option gives very limited benefit for rear heating. (for cost and weight considerations, currently not in the order) Fitz comment: If you lived in snow country and/or planned to spend a lot of time in freezing and below conditions, then yes. I don't have it and the van starts just fine in the winter. Do I have to wait a bit for it to warm up when it is really cold outside - yes, but it has only delayed me once and it wasn't a big deal. See my comment below regarding the electrically heated windshield.
  • Electrically Heated Windshield (Option F49) -- I worry about this option's long term performance & cost viability since windshield chips, cracks, & therefore replacement are probably a certainty. But I am also worried about defrosting the windshield on cold, frosty mornings without having this or the above block heater option. (currently not in the order) Fitz comment: Have it, was cautiously hopeful I would like it, turns out I love it! Works great. I may change my mind when it comes time to replace the windshield, but that was taken into consideration when setting the insurance deductible.
  • Leather Steering Wheel (Option CL3) -- new in 2017 and haven't heard if worth it. (currently in the order) Fitz comment: Personal preference, I have stock and it works and feels great.
  • Black Leatherette Seats (Option VU9) -- seems to be prettier and more durable than standard cloth seat upholstery, but can have initial shock in very hot or cold weather. (currently in order, together with seat warmers) Fitz comment: Personal preference. As to the seat warmers, probably my wife's favorite feature on the van.
So, I'd be especially interested in others' thoughts regarding the above.

My current, preliminary MB order can be found here: MB Order Sheet ; and a pdf of the Excel spreadsheet I am using during my MB ordering process is here: MB Order Spreadsheet.

Lastly, I made an important discovery while working with SMB-West on this order, MB recently discontinued the option of ordering any rear windows in RB 2500 low-roof cargo vans! Therefore SMB-West will have to install slider, rear door, and all other rear windows at a significantly higher cost.

TIA!
Rick
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Old 06-29-2017, 09:03 AM   #3
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I'd go for the overhead console personally.

Can you get cloth seats with seat warmers? I'm guessing Fitz did.
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:28 AM   #4
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Thanks, Fritz & Scott! Yes, seat warmers also available for cloth seats. Do you both have cloth seats? I'm less concerned about esthetics and more about durability & comfort. So, any specific info in those regards would be appreciated!
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Old 06-29-2017, 06:32 PM   #5
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I don't have a Sprinter but I do prefer cloth seats in an adventuremobile. Heated cloth would be the ticket for me.

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Old 06-29-2017, 06:57 PM   #6
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I have cloth seats with the warmers - very nice. Mine is a 2016 and there were two two fabrics available, both black. Mine is the upgraded fabric, I am forgetting the name of it right now.
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Old 06-29-2017, 10:48 PM   #7
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Fitz, I was told that the Black Leatherette Seats option has "cloth inserts" where you sit, with a fake leather (i.e., "leatherette") surround on the sides. Sounds like what you might have. Thanks!
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2018 RB 2500 4x4 low-roof Sprinter on order
June '18 SMB-West production slot for
RB 150S w/ PH
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Old 06-29-2017, 11:05 PM   #8
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No "leatherette" to these seats. I'm sitting on the very comfortable all fabric passengers seat right now heading south for the weekend, glancing over I see my wife has the heated seat (3 power settings) on as she drives. She particularly likes the fact that the heated portion extends up to the lower back area.
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Old 06-30-2017, 09:51 AM   #9
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We have the black leatherette seats and have already talked about a cloth cover for them -- although thats more because of the tan dog than hot weather shock factor. On those few hot days that we forget to put up the sun screen a towel or something can take the edge off. Anyway, I considered that a coin flip but if I were forced to pick I'd have got cloth.

In the cold we already know we'll love the heated seats. (FYI - on really hot days a fun game is to see if you can sneakily turn your partners seat on. So they have amusement value as well. Absolutely get them).
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Old 06-30-2017, 10:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsamco View Post
Right off, I'd like to thank all who have contributed to this forum over the years -- it was VERY helpful in my Sprinter decision making process. Now I'm about to submit a MB order through SMB-West for a RB2500 4x4 Low-Roof van (for a June 2018 production slot at SMB-West). And I'd like to solicit your suggestions/critique of the MB Sprinter order that I have arrived at. I know, this can be "asking for it" on the net but this forum has been amazingly good at being civil!

I had the most difficulty with the following options:
  • Overhead Storage Slot, Front Center (Option FF8) -- adds 12V power to covered slot above rear view mirror; apparently doesn't otherwise change usability of this area (i.e., still comes with removable plastic faceplate; no door or internal box). Typically used for CB radio installation. I haven't heard of other uses. (currently not in the order)

  • Fuel-Fired Pre-Heater/Booster (Option H12) -- A block heater used for diesel engine pre-start warm up and sometimes rear water and air heating (this also requires MB option H88, flat heater plate and then connection with the rear water & air systems). Since I do not plan to be in single digit or lower temperatures, I don't believe that I need this option for engine starting. However, I have heard that it can take a long time for engine to heat and therefore morning windshield defrosting can be an issue in any cold weather. Regarding rear water & air heating: I plan to have a D5 hypotonic air+water heater installed, so I believe that this option gives very limited benefit for rear heating. (for cost and weight considerations, currently not in the order)

  • Electrically Heated Windshield (Option F49) -- I worry about this option's long term performance & cost viability since windshield chips, cracks, & therefore replacement are probably a certainty. But I am also worried about defrosting the windshield on cold, frosty mornings without having this or the above block heater option. (currently not in the order)

  • Leather Steering Wheel (Option CL3) -- new in 2017 and haven't heard if worth it. (currently in the order)

  • Black Leatherette Seats (Option VU9) -- seems to be prettier and more durable than standard cloth seat upholstery, but can have initial shock in very hot or cold weather. (currently in order, together with seat warmers)
So, I'd be especially interested in others' thoughts regarding the above.

My current, preliminary MB order can be found here: MB Order Sheet ; and a pdf of the Excel spreadsheet I am using during my MB ordering process is here: MB Order Spreadsheet.

Lastly, I made an important discovery while working with SMB-West on this order, MB recently discontinued the option of ordering any rear windows in RB 2500 low-roof cargo vans! Therefore SMB-West will have to install slider, rear door, and all other rear windows at a significantly higher cost.

TIA!
Rick
I ordered the overhead storage slot. We plan on doing the aux fuel tank from Agile Offroad, and it will need a gauge and transfer switch. We plan on using that location for this, and any other ancillary switchgear we run up front.

We did the aux heater and also did the remote. We're in Colorado, though, and will spend significant amounts of time in winter conditions. The remote will be nice as it allows us to turn the pre-heater on from the comforts of where ever we're at. No so much to add interior heat, but to ensure the engine is as warm as possible. Plus, many of our starts will be high-alpine, with only downhill driving to go. It could take a long time to heat up without this option.

We did the heated windshield. It's not much more expensive than standard glass if you have to replace it.

We did the leatherette. Cloth bolsters always seem to wear out faster than leather/leatherette. I also think they look a little better. But, leather vs cloth is purely a subjective discussion. All our cars are leather, and I personally am not a fan of cloth. YMMV

Also did the leather steering wheel. But, we like leather and I think it adds a nice bit of class to the interior. We did most of the options that were available, but found that we'd actually use them, too. We're doing the D5 heating option, and with the coolant line extension option, you can attach a flat plate heater between the engine and D5 setup. Meaning - you can heat the back of the van without running the D5. If you're on sandy, dusty, or grimy roads, it's nice to keep the D5 off so it's not sucking up road debris. You could, in theory, heat the engine block this way (using the rear D5), but after careful consideration, elected to keep the factory block heater option, as well.

The reason's we chose to do so is 1) convenience, 2) redundancy, and 3) allows heating of D5 glycol circuit off the engine.

The convenience comes by way of not needing to turn on the coach battery setup to run the D5 and heat the engine block. We can turn the engine block heater on from the driver seat, and shut it off from there, as well.

Redundancy by way of not relying on one heater to heat the van and heat the engine block. We're often in remote areas for backcountry skiing, and if our coach D5 fails, we'd like to know we can adequately heat the block to get us home.

And the engine heating of the glycol loop means we don't have to run our D5 while driving down sloppy, sandy roads. We're doing all windows, and will have seating in the rear. So, we need to have adequate heating in the rear to keep our friends toasty, but we don't want to be rebuilding the D5 annually because it's sucking up dust and dirt.
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