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Old 05-06-2013, 01:04 AM   #1
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Default Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram Promaster Compared

Compare the Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit and Ram Promaster vans in configurations most likely to be chosen by Class B upfitters. mlts22 started a similar topic - I was too busy today to reply but would really like to explore this.

What specs should be included in the comparison?

I used preliminary info from this article http://www.trucktrend.com/features/cons ... index.html but want to expand on it.

Updated comparison of the Mercedes Sprinter, Ram Promaster and Ford Transit vans


I started a spreadsheet and will keep updating it.

List of comparables:
Max Cargo Volume
Max Cargo Length
Max Cargo Height
Exterior Length
Exterior Height
Exterior Width
GVWR
GVW / Curb Weight
Wheelbase
6' transit
Starting MSRP
Power to weight ratio
Alternator

Note: I've compiled these specs from various internet sources. They might not be 100% accurate as I have noticed variances in the reported specifications.
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File Type: jpg compare the vans new_format.JPG (98.5 KB, 9055 views)
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Old 05-06-2013, 02:19 AM   #2
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Default Re: Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram Promaster Compared

Width between the wheels is kind of meaningless for a B consideration since it is evident you are comparing single wheels with dual wheels and that brings in a host of other considerations not related to the American penchant for laying down 4 x 8 sheets of plywood which probably killed the midsize pickup truck industry. Cargo volume is also kind of misleading with the differing roof heights which ultimately have little bearing on B design. The most important stat in those given so far is the cargo length as it will determine design and layout capabilities more than the others. Another useful dimension would be the interior width but it ultimately won't be as critical as the cargo length.

I'd like to see the earlier stats for the 2002-2006 chassis Sprinters included as a reference point as that model set a lot of design standards for the Euro van B designs of which the newer Sprinters haven't significantly changed except with the extended bodies a little bit.

Overall length of the van is a big consideration as well. Overall height would be important but only if the height pushes the overall height over 9'-10" with air-conditioner on top because then it might not get through most standard 10 ft. garage doors. The Sprinters are at about 9'-8" right now.

Ultimately I think the cab step up floor is going to be the Achilles heel of the Ram ProMaster. Winnebago already botched the front design, IMO, because of it. It is going to cause all kinds of vexing problems in B design.
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Old 05-07-2013, 12:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram Promaster Compared

First post in this topic has been updated. I can't find GVWR and Curb Weight for the 2014 Transit. If you've seen that info published let me know the link. I'll see what I can find on the older Sprinters and also look into formatting the data for easy side by side comparisons.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:05 PM   #4
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Default Re: Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram Promaster Compared

I would prefer the medium roof Ford Transit with a 6' interior height and a more sleek, more garageable vehicle.
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Old 05-16-2013, 03:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram Promaster Compared

MSRP can't hurt. I'm guessing one reason why the Ducato is so popular among European upfitters compared to the Sprinter is the price of the base chassis.
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram Promaster Compared

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
First post in this topic has been updated. I can't find GVWR and Curb Weight for the 2014 Transit. If you've seen that info published let me know the link. I'll see what I can find on the older Sprinters and also look into formatting the data for easy side by side comparisons.
http://www.ford.com/commercial-trucks/t ... e=Feature5

Click the "Capabilities" button, then GVWR. It's not model specific info, just a general range of GVWR from 8,600lbs. to 10,360lbs. - but you can guess which models have the lower or higher capacity. No mention of curb weights.
There are also power numbers available. The V6 Eco-Boost seems to be the engine of choice. I think power to weight ratios will be another factor when choosing a van conversion. Especially for anyone planning on driving through any mountainous terrain anywhere. An underpowered conversion van, loaded to the GVWR by the converter, may not be as attractive an option, for those seeking something to handle hilly terrain.
Alternator capacity may also be a factor for those wanting to replenish a 2 or more coach battery bank while driving.
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram Promaster Compared

A lot of vans offer another alternator (220-300 amps) as an option. For upfitters, that is a must have, because it would be able to charge the batteries, as well as possibly give a usable power source on the road without having to fire up a generator.
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Old 05-17-2013, 11:21 PM   #8
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Default Re: Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram Promaster Compared

I have thought about a second alternator for the 2014 Sprinter, but I am now leaning towards using a Sterling Power ProAlt C Alternator to Battery Charger. Model AB12210 is a 210 amp model perfect for the 220 amp alternator. The link shows a current install on a Sprinter. Four stage charging of the house bank at a higher voltage than what the alternator provides and a remote to show volts and amps from the alternator and what is going to the starter battery and the house batteries. I would guess around 2 1/2 hours to charge a 400 amp Lithium battery bank at a voltage of 14.4. I think of it as an intelligent isolator replacement. Defender has the best prices which is mentioned in the thread.

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25621
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram Promaster Compared

That Sterling Power ProAlt C Alternator to Battery Charger is very interesting. Thanks for posting it. If you or anyone has or gets one I think it is worth staring a new topic. It would minimize engine run time for anyone considering using the van engine as a generator.

The first post in this topic has been updated again. I changed the layout to make it easier to compare the specs of the vans.
Width between the wheels is gone, 6' interior height Ford Transit, Starting MSRP, Power to weight ratio and alternator size have been added to the criteria. I have to fill in the blanks Thanks for the suggestions

I think it is much easier to read now.

Edit: I deleted my post about the Ram Promaster max cargo height. Truck Trend shows 85.5 inches but a Chrysler Fleet doc shows "Vertical Interior Height" 76 inches. I'll update the chart in the first post soon.
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Old 05-28-2013, 07:57 PM   #10
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Default Re: Mercedes Sprinter, Ford Transit, Ram Promaster Compared

I've been reading up on what European upfitters use. The Ford Transit has better specs in a number of areas (not the least being a good diesel coupled with an automatic transmission), but the mainstay overseas are Ducatos (ProMasters). Supposedly Hymer (one of the biggest upfitters overseas) has been making noise about wanting to open shop here. The only problem they will have is modifying their layouts to support air conditioners and generators, which are a must for US rigs.

IMHO, the Chevy Express vans with the added high-top days are numbered. They are good vans, but so was the Ram Van of the '90s.

I wonder what RT, PW, and other "B" makers will use to replace the Express chassis. On one hand, the Transit has very good specs. On the other hand, it wouldn't be hard to buy CAD diagrams and such from a European company so they could easily move to upfitting the Dodge offering, since the pain of R&D and tuning a layout would have been already done for them.
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