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Old 09-05-2016, 08:19 PM   #1
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Whitefeather 4x4 Sprinter vs Mercedes Factory 4x4?

In terms of off-road capability, would a factory-built Sprinter 4x4 or a Whitefeather 4x4 Sprinter conversion be a better option? Does one have greater clearance?

Based entirely on what I've read online, it sounds like like the factory-built Sprinter 4x4 is strong in snow but relatively weak off-road when compared to an E-series conversion or a 4x4 truck camper. I don't have a good idea of how the Whitefeather option compares to the factory-built 4x4.

This is my first post on this forum or any other overlanding forum, so hi! If it matters to anyone answering the question above, I don't plan on buying or converting any van until early 2018, so I'm just starting my search for the perfect vehicle. I prefer the off-road capability of Ford E-series vans (and they seem way cheaper), but I know I'll be spending 50%+ of my time on highways, so it seems like a Sprinter might be the wisest option.

Thanks!
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Old 09-06-2016, 11:13 AM   #2
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There is the Ford cutaway conversion but it's not diesel
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:32 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb View Post
There is the Ford cutaway conversion but it's not diesel
The Ford cutaway is at the top of my list, but I assume its fuel efficiency is in the 10-12 mpg range, while a built-out 144" sprinter with penthouse is around 18-20 mpg. Fuel efficiency, on-road comfort, and diesel (no need for propane) were the biggest reasons I thought the Sprinter might be a good option. But I'm not sold on the Sprinter's capabilities and I haven't been able to figure out if the 2wd conversions or the factory-built 4wd have superior off-road performance.
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Old 09-10-2016, 12:13 AM   #4
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I have the same question. There are a few used 2wd sprinters out there that I have a good build started that I could take over but that would mean doing the 4x4 conversion.
Or start new with the Mercedes factory 4x4.
Anyone know basic conversion cost on these?
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Old 09-10-2016, 12:27 AM   #5
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Whitefeather is about $25k I think.
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Old 09-10-2016, 12:46 AM   #6
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There are a few notes here and there about the Whitefeather conversions--I think they were on ExPo, but a bit of judicious googling will turn them up. Might be worth a look.

From what I have seen, the Whitefeather conversion has greater clearance.

The factory 4x4 has a fixed power distribution of something like 65% rear/35% front, which might not be ideal for serious offroading.

Much as I would love to drive a five cylinder Sprinter, I have yet to see a 4x4 option that ticks all the boxes for me.
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Old 09-10-2016, 11:24 AM   #7
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Another option to consider is the Ford Transit with a Quigley (or QuadVan) 4x4 conversion. The size of the wheel wells limit how big you can go with tires but the Quigley conversion uses a tried and true transfer case.
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Old 09-10-2016, 02:58 PM   #8
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A relevant thread: http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...s-Sprinter-4x4
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Old 10-17-2016, 11:38 AM   #9
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I have done some communicating with Whitefeather. They can modify a 2WD Sprinter into 4WD. Their lift is slightly higher than the stock 4x4 Sprinter. Also, they can put a differential lock on the front axle. SMB is not allowed to do this. No lock can be put on the rear axle of the stock 2WD or the stock 4WD. They also widen the axle and claim better MPG on their conversion.

Here is what they told me:

Thank you for your request for information.
The Sprinter, like all motor vehicles is a tool. Which tool is right for you depends on what you want the tool to do and how long you want the tool to last. The factory AWD/4x4 Sprinter is by their own advertising and videos is for limited traction conditions on road, mostly snow and ice. I also understand from owners it goes back to 4x2 at 50 MPH and gets lousy mileage. There is a large market for on highway traction.
Our 4x4 which we have been building since 2007 is comfortable at 80 MPH on highway but has been inspected, tested and approved by the U.S Army Proving Grounds Aberdeen on the off road tank track. The Sprinter rear axle has an electronic traction control, the ring gear is welded to the carrier so it can not be changed. We do offer a selection of front axle traction options, ARB, OX Lock, and the TruTrack ( our most popular option ). The factory AWD can not be turned into an ambulance in North America, it does not meet stability stds. Ours does. On winding roads ours is comfortable at approx. 15 to 20% higher cornering speeds.
In our 4x4 conversion we widen the Sprinter rear axle by 5 inches, and our front axle is 4 inches wider than the stock Sprinter plus we install better front and rear shock absorbers and front sway bar to control body sway on corners and high wind. You have to be able to drive when the wind blows.
The factory AWD Sprinter is lifted 4.5 inches but Mercedes does not widen the axles or improve sway bars or shock absorbers so theirs is just less stable.
We start with Goodyear Adventure A/T Kevlar tires but offer many other tire choices to make the tool fit your needs. We also have our own line of aluminum front and rear bumpers, nerf bars /side steps etc. to make your tool right for you.
Please let me know if you need more information.
Craig
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Old 10-17-2016, 12:07 PM   #10
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TomH,

Great information. Thank you for sharing.

-Eric
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