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Old 11-08-2016, 10:58 AM   #11
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I've got a Whitefeather 4x4 Conversion.

It's been pure hell. After almost 1 year, I finally have most of the issues solved at an additional cost of $5,000 that's after spending almost $30k for the conversion.The biggest being the system was not compatible with the Mercedes ABS/Traction Control Stability Control. Multiple trips to different Mercedes Dealers and independent shops were not able to solve these problems.

Craig at Whitefeather would tell me that my conversion is the only on he has had problems with and say that it's my Sprinter and not his conversion, but if you take a look at other forums, you'll see that other customers have had issues too.

When you have Whitefeather do a conversion, be prepared to spend a lot of time and money to get it to operate and handle correctly. And be prepared for little or no customer support from Craig.

Tom
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Old 11-08-2016, 11:22 AM   #12
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What was ultimately found to have been the problem?
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Old 11-08-2016, 11:36 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tneuer View Post
I've got a Whitefeather 4x4 Conversion.

It's been pure hell. After almost 1 year, I finally have most of the issues solved at an additional cost of $5,000 that's after spending almost $30k for the conversion.The biggest being the system was not compatible with the Mercedes ABS/Traction Control Stability Control. Multiple trips to different Mercedes Dealers and independent shops were not able to solve these problems.

Craig at Whitefeather would tell me that my conversion is the only on he has had problems with and say that it's my Sprinter and not his conversion, but if you take a look at other forums, you'll see that other customers have had issues too.

When you have Whitefeather do a conversion, be prepared to spend a lot of time and money to get it to operate and handle correctly. And be prepared for little or no customer support from Craig.

Tom
Thanks for that! You just put to rest a big dilemma I was facing!
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Old 11-08-2016, 12:20 PM   #14
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All of these newer vans have some sort of traction control. You mess with any component on there and you risk some hard times. Sometimes the only way around that is to reprogram the ECU, but that is also dicey and you could send the van into limp mode or have incorrect handling. You can't simply swap axles any more. There are speed sensors on every wheel and basically the ECU will start braking a wheel if it thinks it's slipping, that's the traction control portion. Then you have roll stability and I think the MB's have wind assist too. So you start messing with things that were set up by engineers in a factory who have a ton of liability with their products.

Some of this comes from folks on this board and other stuff from my talking to a 4x4 converter about wanting to put a Full Float Axle on my 2013 van. You simply can't just swap out. There's lots of "junk" on those axles to help you not off road properly.
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Old 11-08-2016, 12:24 PM   #15
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There were multiple issues that I had to solve.
Here are just a few of the problems.

Ball joint on drag link at pitman arm was hitting tie rod.

Upper panhard support bracket would hit sway bar bracket on axle on extreme compression. Still had another 1" before bump stops would hit.

Right now I'm dealing with rear suspension spacer block movement. Even after re torquing u bolts they still move around, part of this problem is because when Craig set up the rear pinion angle proper shims were not used, just a piece of
1/8" bar stock wedged between the spacer block and the axle plate on the front edge of the support plate on the axle.

Although I was told by Craig that they do not tamper with the electronic stability controls, the initial set up on the front end was not done properly and the trouble lights came on before I even made it home from his shop.
The parts and labor were replaced at my expense. Sooner or later it will happen again to one or more of his conversions and I don't really care to share the info with him until he reimburses me. Ok, maybe I'm a little pissed at him, but who wouldn't be?
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Old 11-08-2016, 01:39 PM   #16
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It would be helpful to hear from factory 4x4 owners regarding the handling of their Sprinters off road. Whitefeather has some impressive photos of Sprinters on challenging terrain but there is no information regarding how the vehicles have been outfitted. (Seems like they are probably upgraded builds from 2x4 to 4x4. ) Is there another thread that might be helpful?
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Old 11-08-2016, 09:06 PM   #17
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It would be helpful to hear from factory 4x4 owners regarding the handling of their Sprinters off road. Whitefeather has some impressive photos of Sprinters on challenging terrain but there is no information regarding how the vehicles have been outfitted. (Seems like they are probably upgraded builds from 2x4 to 4x4. ) Is there another thread that might be helpful?
As a factory Sprinter 4x4 owner, I will chime in. As I've said elsewhere here, the Sprinter isn't a rock crawler and I will never expect it to be as capable off road as any of the five 4x4's I have owned previously, but it does pretty well for itself. I was the lone Sprinter that joined the big Fords for the off-road ride at the recent Valley of Fire meet up. We didn't need to be pushed or pulled anywhere along the way and I would appreciate honest feedback on what was observed from anyone that was there.

Regarding the Whitefeather conversion, I looked and quickly decided it wasn't for me. As was stated above, the systems in these Sprinters are many and complicated, trying to modify them to the extent that Whitefeather does isn't something I was willing to take on. Enough said on that topic.

Not trying to hijack the thread, but I do have a suggestion for someone experienced enough to take it on. Why not organize a Meet and Greet where we get a group of "classic" SMB's and some of the "new" Sprinters together and see what a Sprinter can do? I was very comfortable at The Valley of Fire because there were six experienced drivers with proven vans there to help if I needed it. Why not do something similar in the future on known ground with experienced people? One thing I do know based on my recent experience, it will be fun and friendships will be made!
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Old 11-09-2016, 11:25 PM   #18
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There is an extensive thread over on the Sprinter Source forum about just how far the Sprinter factory 4x4 can be pushed offroad (or rough road).

Has anyone honestly really romped on a 4x4? - Sprinter-Forum

Suffice to say some owners have managed to get their units through some tough situations. But certainly it's not a jeep (or Tacoma 4x4).

With regards to highway stability it's worth noting that MB USA spent months fine tuning the Adaptive ESP (Electronic Stability Program) system for the higher 4x4 ground clearance and geometry. During that time MB certified upfitters were not allowed to convert units to full GVWR until MB had finished tuning and testing the revised ESP algorithms. It seems highly unlikely that Whitefeather has anything close to the resources to properly modify, reprogram, and test the MB factory stability system.
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Old 11-10-2016, 08:56 AM   #19
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When I had my Sprinter converted at Whitefeather 4x4 in Oct. 2015 they had absolutely no resources to deal with the ESP program or any electronic related issues. My Sprinter was having serious handling issues even when I was there to pick it up in Feb. 2016 and to re calibrate the steering wheel position sensor, it was taken to the local tire shop to have that done.
I talked to another customer and even though after repairs were made to his conversion, it left Whitefeather with the ABS/ESP, Traction Control lights were still on.
I think it will just a matter of time before a serious incident happens and Whitefeather is sent a cease and desist order from MB USA.
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Old 11-10-2016, 10:03 AM   #20
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MB ESP systems are quite complex and VERY sensitive. I lifted our G500 40mm (that's 1.57" for you metric-challenged folks) and it completely changed the behavior of the system and the vehicle handling. If you're going a bit too fast around a corner, it will nearly throw you through the windshield nanny-braking for you. I'm not talking about 25mph too fast either. It can shut down your shenanigans when you're driving the speed limit. It absolutely drives me nuts...good thing it is my wife's car because I hate driving it.

I've contacted several MB performance shops and none of them have a programming solution, only work arounds or tricks to get the system to shut off. Not many shops in world have the capability of coming up with a real solution to make things work like intended. And even if they did, the liability is huge. just sayin'...
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