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Old 02-21-2016, 07:22 AM   #1
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Sprinter 4x4--what can it handle? Service?

Years ago I looked at SMBs, but could not quite afford new and could never find a used one I like. Fast forward, I can now afford more. For a while, I focused on the Tigers, but they are very pricy and don't quite meet my needs. I am visiting in San Diego and could possible make a run to Fesno. I like the Sprinters at first blush (not available during my earlier investigations). How capable is the 4x4? I won't be doing the Rubicon trail, but certainly want it to handle any forest road. Any trouble getting it serviced due to weight or other factors? Any general words of wisdom would also be appreciated.
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Old 02-21-2016, 12:14 PM   #2
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We recently went through the same thought process. At the end of the day we decided the 4x4 Sprinter would do the job we need and now we are waiting for Austin to put it all together.

There simply isn't a lot of information out there that will answer your question regarding off road capability. Will the Sprinter go places the Fords on this forum fear to go? Not a chance. In fact, I fully expect that the future will see one or more of the big guys on the forum pulling my 4x4 Sprinter out of some "situation" we will find ourselves in. If/when that's the case, I can't think of anyone I would rather have around to help and who I will want to share a beer with afterwards.

There are a couple of forum members out there now putting their new 4x4 Sprinters to the test and I assume we will be seeing their reports soon enough. Anxiously standing by....

Here are links to a couple of articles regarding capability I found helpful. As I said, there isn't a lot of information out there yet.
First drive: 2015 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 [Review] | LeftLaneNews
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 - includes video

My build is (hopefully) going to start sometime next month. In the meantime I started a thread to document it as best I can and will update the decisions made during this period once I have a build date commitment.

Good luck!
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Old 02-21-2016, 12:16 PM   #3
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Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 4x4 - includes video

Looks like the second link I (tried) to attach above didn't copy. Her it is again.
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Old 02-21-2016, 12:32 PM   #4
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This was handled by some senior members awhile back when Econolines were (for sure) ending their run and folks were starting to freak knowing they wouldn't be abel to buy new ones for SMB's...Tapatio summed it up and showed pictures (for those visual learners such as my self)...I will look for the thread, but to sum it up, the toughest 4x4 roads you see 4x4 Econolines tackle will be a problem for the 4x4 Sprinter simply b/c of the top-heavy (ness) of the vehicle and it's tendency to want to roll b/c of that...wheel travel and something else were brought up too...with that said, I don't know how you plan to use the SMB...if you are taking the crazier roads, I would buy a low mile'13-'14 Econoline and have it converted...4x4 from (we chose Quadvan) one of the converters Quadvan, SMB,AGILE, U-Joint... and then send it over to SMB (North was our choice....North or Nothin')...if you just plan on some flatter dirt roads etc., Sprinter 4x4 would be great. I'll try to look for that thread and get back to you! I will 'search' the 4x4 Sprinter...GOOD LUCK!!
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Old 02-21-2016, 12:56 PM   #5
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FOUND IT!!!!! that 'search' function is the best...THANKS DAVEB for (originally) cluing/cue'ing me in on it.....here is the thread:

4X4 Sprinter review
stanw909

I found it by typing 4x4 sprinter performance in the 'search' box...let us know!!
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Old 02-21-2016, 02:32 PM   #6
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Thanks for the info! I would say that I would want it to tackle a tough forest road, but no more.
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Old 02-21-2016, 08:52 PM   #7
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Last year at Expo West my wife and I were ready to put deposit down for Smb Sprinter 4x4 but having traveled with Econolines many times, we changed our mind and did not try to reinvent the wheel.

Fast forward we knew that the right choice was made for the type of driving/travel that we do.


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Old 02-21-2016, 09:53 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tienckb View Post
Last year at Expo West my wife and I were ready to put deposit down for Smb Sprinter 4x4 but having traveled with Econolines many times, we changed our mind and did not try to reinvent the wheel.

Fast forward we knew that the right choice was made for the type of driving/travel that we do.


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What kind of driving do you do?
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Old 02-21-2016, 10:50 PM   #9
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I have a few hundred miles of 4x4 roads now under my belt. Having had a 2008 4x4 SMB, and just coming from a Earthroamer. I am quite familiar with putting large vehicles in tough places.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the Sprinter out on 100 + miles of high desert 4x4 roads in Northern NM. We were in DEEP mud for at least 50 miles of the excursion. Some of it axle deep. The Sprinter performed flawlessly, didn't even have to put it in low. There wasn't another truck, van, or jeep in sight the entire trip.

When I got back to the pavement, I stopped to check out the amount of mud left on the van. A guy with a lifted RAM stopped and asked where I had just come from, when I told him, he shook his head and said he didn't think anything could get through that much mud.

I don't have pics, because quite honestly I was afraid to stop and not get started again. So far so good with the 4x4 Sprinter. As Spring and Summer come around, I'll be able to take the van on some of our regular routes, and get a better idea of the Sprinters capabilities compared to the Ford. I am guessing 90-95% of what the Ford would do, the Sprinter will do, if you are willing to try.

I did add the Method wheels and larger BF Goodrich AT KO2's.
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Old 02-21-2016, 11:38 PM   #10
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As Spring and Summer come around, I'll be able to take the van on some of our regular routes, and get a better idea of the Sprinters capabilities compared to the Ford. I am guessing 90-95% of what the Ford would do, the Sprinter will do, if you are willing to try.
Really?? Consider me subscribed. I think the atlas transfer case, dynatrac60 front axle, locking hubs, lockers, etc that many of us have as part of the SMB conversion as overkill but not until you need it.

Would you take a Sprinter into the Maze or over Imogene Pass? Clearance and breaking something is what scares me. And they appear to be quite a bit more top heavy to me but not having ever been in one I have no idea.
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