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Old 07-30-2015, 09:18 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2015
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Sprinter Factory or Aftermarket Radio? New 2016 SMB Texas Bu

Just starting the process of building a new (2016) Mercedes Benz Sprinter 4x4, 170" wheelbase EXT with SMB Texas. Should I stick with the factory radio and camera or go with aftermarket?

Main reason I would go aftermarket is to get XM/Sirius radio, HD radio, Apple CarPlay capability.

Plan on getting Active Safety Package Plus with Parktronic. Would I lose any functionality in this package, or with built in Sprinter controls going aftermarket?

Anyone with experience with SMB Texas and their aftermarket audio supplier (Custom Sounds?) doing this sort of thing?


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Old 08-02-2015, 05:22 PM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 79
Re: Sprinter Factory or Aftermarket Radio? New 2016 SMB Texa

We have a 2014 sprinter and the factory audio 15 and Becker map pilot nav. It is awful.
I have a small XM unit and all the wires and stuff that go along with it. It is annoying. The speakers suck, the navigation is difficult to use, no easy way to add a sub or amp, can't hear it without cranking the volume to distortion levels.
Not much there to like.
It is the worst car stereo I have had in 15 years, and enough to get me to consider my first aftermarket Stereo in 20 years!
I have lived with it for one year, and will live with it for one more before I throw in the towel and get a decent stereo installed.
I'd order the van with the radio delete, and then you can have a decent aftermarket system installed and be able to bypass the can/bus system.
Not sure what implications that has on the active safety package? You'd best be served by asking Dave the sprinter guy at MB georgetown (where you SHOULD be ordering your van for delivery to SMB Texas). No reason to order the van through SMB, just get it delivered there. These vans have complicated options and the vast majority of salespeople have no clue what the options are, and the compatibility issues, etc.
Get heated seats.
The tires suck, so just plan on getting real tires installed at purchase and don't waste the money on the continental vanco MandS tires, just sell the take off tires and install something decent.

A fair amount of information on the sprinter-source forum, on both the stereo and the issues and problems (so far) with the 4x4 vans.

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Old 08-05-2015, 07:55 AM   #3
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Re: Sprinter Factory or Aftermarket Radio? New 2016 SMB Texa

Thanks for the feedback on the factory stereo and GPS receiver. Sounds like I need to go aftermarket. I like the Pioneer AVIC-8100NEX. Has everything I want in it (with the optional XM radio tuner, about $70).

Did get a chance to talk to Matt at Custom Sounds in Austin. One thing I learned from him is that it's better to NOT delete the radio. This is because, even with the harness from Benz, the up and down arrow hard switches won't work if you delete the radio (unless doing this on the screen and nonfunctioning hardware buttons don't bother you).

Thanks again.
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Old 08-07-2015, 09:55 AM   #4
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Re: Sprinter Factory or Aftermarket Radio? New 2016 SMB Texa

Matt in Austin does a great job. We did an XM Radio and a Globalstar satellite phone cradle (a first for him!). I believe the Audio 20 was refreshed for the 2014 model year, but it has still been underwhelming.

The display is nice and big, Bluetooth syncs well with my phone and the iPod integration over USB is easy. But I agree the audio quality is terrible and a no option for satellite radio is annoying. The best place Matt could install the separate XM receiver is on the vertical chunk of dashboard right above the ignition. That made it an easy run to the AUX in port, but keeps the XM display partially blocked by the steering wheel while driving.
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Old 02-21-2018, 03:36 PM   #5
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MB Sprinter audio "system" and more

I'd agree with the previous comment that the Sprinter audio "system" is a piece of crap. The Nav system--why bother? Phone/BlueTooth--nah, too much road noise to hear or be heard. Backup camera--well, I guess it's got some use.

I'm not a fan of Satellite radio, but have used my iPhone plugged into the USB port connected to the speaker system (mediocre, and I'm no audiophile). That worked until lately--and my iPhone music no longer works through this system. I did troubleshoot, trying different cable, and it worked for a while then not. Same with using my iPad. Thought it was an Apple issue, but evidently not.

Tried finding a solution via the MB manuals, useless. Online led me back to SMB.

Now what? I've rigged my iPad, Bose speaker so I have music, but aftermarket? That's insane!

Re: feedback on other non-audio sucked, and the "alignment" had my tires, and a set of replacements with alignment done at Boerne MB, totally worn within a few thousand miles. Maybe 4 at most. Had an alignment and new set of front tires done by non-MB and it was better, but steering issue made me wonder about something else. A trusted diesel mechanic/friend discovered my tie rods were shot, which caused the 3rd round of worn-out front tires. They replaced tie rods, 2 front tires (Kuhmo) and I've been good, better steering and no unusual tire wear -- about 10k miles so far.

Don't get me started on the "check engine" light, or the cruise control.

I could go on and on...

Hey, SMB, when people say they go to cold weather areas, don't give them such crappy plastic plumbing. I've spent over $1,000 on replacement pumps and leaky pipes.

I'll stop now.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:14 AM   #6
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@dnilan, glad you showed up with lots of positive comments!

2015 Transit MR T350 ecoBoost, Vanilla
98 Silver E350 V10 4x4 home build (sold)
Rusty the rusty '95 SMB (sold)
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...My name is Eric and I have a van problem...
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