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Old 05-03-2011, 12:37 PM   #1
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 3
Newbie needs help in decision making

Hi All,
I am a newbie to this forum and am in the process of deciding whether to upgrade from my current van (Ford E250 extended w/penthouse) to a RB Sprinter w/penthouse, or just get another E250 van. I have a couple of questions for you all who've owned the Sprinter for awhile. Your answers (and any suggestions) will help me in my decision. Here are the questions:

1. What kinds of problems, (if any) have you had with your Sprinter mechanically?

2. How convenient have you found finding Sprinter service locations?

3. Has the van been as economical as you expected? (e.g. fuel, maintenance, repairs, etc)

One of my concerns is that finding an authorized repair/service location while on the road (esp. if in a less populated area) could be problematic. What are your thoughts? Thanks in advance for any information you can send my way.


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Old 05-03-2011, 09:23 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 79
Re: Newbie needs help in decision making

Hi Vicki,

A great resource for all things Sprinter is You'll likely find a lots of answers to your questions over there.

Note that when reading the Sprinter forum (or just about any forum) that most people will only post when they have a problem.


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Old 06-17-2011, 05:45 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Georgetown Texas USA
Posts: 16
Re: Newbie needs help in decision making

For a complete list of the Sprinter dealers in the USA, go to and click the button near the top that says locate a dealer. There are about 180 Mercedes-Benz and Freightliner Sprinter dealers and they will have it up to 200 by the end of this year.

the Sprinter Guy
Dave Graham

the "Sprinter Guy"

Mercedes-Benz of Georgetown
Georgetown Texas, 78627

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Old 10-20-2011, 10:17 AM   #4
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 2
Re: Newbie needs help in decision making

Vicky, I just got home from a 4800 mile trip in my Sprinter, so I had a good chance to check out the things you asked about.

First of all, there aren't as many Service sites as you might like, but the good news is that not much goes wrong mechanically, either. Certainly not anything catastrophic. I've had a Mercedes diesel for years and while the Sprinter warning lights are quite touchy, it is still a diesel, and as long as it has fuel and oxygen it will run - at least until you can get to a service place. BTW, I have a Freightliner. (I had the oil, tire, and engine check light come on a various times and there was no way to do anything more than check the tires and make sure it had oil, and keep on driving.) The check engine light will come on if the sensor gets wet, and goes off after you drive a while - I drove though a big puddle of water, so....

I got about 20 MPG on the trip (22 when I could only drive 55 MPH).

One of the advantages to a Sprinter over the other options is the door opening: you don't have to worry about hitting your head every time you get in as you might in a Ford or a Chevy. I just have an RB with a high roof (144" wheel base), and while it looks big because of the high roof, it handles and parks just like a regular van.

Hope this helps,
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Old 10-22-2011, 09:39 PM   #5
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Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 3
Re: Newbie needs help in decision making

Hi Vicky, I was impressed by the Sprinter vans too and spent about a year looking for one at a reasonable price. The one I bought was a 2003 with the 144 in. wheelbase with a 170,000 miles. My son picked it up in Texas and drove it back to Oregon for me. He had problems from the start, in fact the problem was with an electrical part that recognizes the key as being the correct one. It was malfunctioning and cost $700 to replace. I quickly discovered that everything for the sprinters is quite pricey and there are few dealers that work on them. When the van quit in Chico Ca. the option was take it to Roseville, (80 miles) or Medford Or. (240 miles) The freightliner dealer would not look at it nor would a mercedes dealer, both stating they didn't have the proper scanner for it. There were several small things that didn't work and were costly to replace. Another major issue for me was the lack of traction on steep dirt roads. Absolutely wouldn't go and their traction device didn't do anything. The body was great as to layout but the doors were all loose and needed to be rebuilt. When the transmission started to vibrate i gave up and sold it to a friend for a service van. He repaired the trans and likes the rig as a work van. I wound up buying a Ford diesel Which gets about twenty mpg on the Highway, dependable, and best of all, any Ford dealer will work on it. I still think the sprinter is a great body and maybe the newer ones are better or I just got a bad one. Good luck.
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Old 10-23-2011, 08:30 PM   #6
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 56
Re: Newbie needs help in decision making

I have a 2007 sprinter and love the thing. Never had a major problem that was not covered by the warranty but oil changes do run about $350 as it is synthetic oil. (7500 miles reccomended) My traction system has actually got me out of a few tough spots but it is definately not a 4WD platform. I have about 40K miles and have never needed service that could not wait until I got home. It drives like the Mercedes that it is. The front seats are not the most comfortable but adequate.
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Old 10-27-2011, 10:45 AM   #7
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Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 8
Re: Newbie needs help in decision making

Hi Vicki - I have a 2008 Sprinter 144" high-roof camper conversion. We have about 13K miles so far, and just got back from a 3500-mile road trip. Here's some more opinions for you:

1. What kinds of problems, (if any) have you had with your Sprinter mechanically?
We have had a couple of glitches so far with "limp mode" - the van loses power for no apparent reason. In our case, once it was because the air intake manifold popped off, and twice now had to pull over and turn off, then restart seemed to reset the condition. Not at the bottom of it yet, but might be a turbo actuator leaking air. Other than that, great in snow, rain, rough roads, mountains, etc., so far.

2. How convenient have you found finding Sprinter service locations?
Haven't had to explore this too much yet, but here in Boulder, CO, there are lots of places that work on Sprinters: Dodge/Chrysler dealerships, two Mercedes dealers here. It is a concern, especially for more complicated work, since what I've heard is that many Chrysler dealerships did not have adequate mechanic training for Sprinters. I'm leaning toward Mercedes dealerships for any complex work.

3. Has the van been as economical as you expected? (e.g. fuel, maintenance, repairs, etc)
So far, yes. Mileage is 18-20 mpg, which is incredible compared to the 6-8mpg from my old '77 Dodge Tradesman with 360 V8. Our 2008 has the 3.0-liter V6 turbodiesel, so it has the same kind of power from 30-60mph as our turbocharged Volvo wagon (and does great in the mountains, never less than 60mph even on steep passes), but not as good a fuel-sipper as the older 2.7-liter I5 turbodiesel on the 2002-2006 Sprinters. We haven't had any fixes required yet, so no repair costs so far either.

2008 Sprinter 144" RV conversion, solar & diesel power only:
Author: Sprinter RV Conversion Sourcebook, 2012 Sprinter RV Buyer's Guide
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Old 10-27-2011, 05:25 PM   #8
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Location: SoCal
Posts: 249
Re: Newbie needs help in decision making

I checked out your website. great job. very nice resource for conversions.
will go back and read more when I have more time (and popcorn)
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