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Old 06-02-2018, 12:32 AM   #1
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Default Cost of ownership: passenger Ford Transit vs. Mercedes Benz Sprinter

Hi,

Context:

My wife is a soccer mom and spends large amounts of time - hours - on weekdays transporting the kids to various classes and events, and waiting in the car for them. We currently have a minivan, a Honda Odyssey. We plan on getting a mid roof car like Ford Transit or Sprinter and add a sink and toilet to the back, maybe some nicer bucket seats in the back.

Question:

My wife wants the Sprinter because it is fancier than the Ford Sprinter. I don't mind paying an extra 10-15K up front but I am more concerned about 1) maintenance costs and 2) cost of repairs and reliability.

Is there some consensus on whether the Sprinter is a lot more expensive to own than the Ford Transit? Will routine maintenance cost more per year, and how much more? Is the Transit more reliable than the Sprinter? Does it cost a lot more to repair the MB Sprinter?

Thank you.
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Old 06-02-2018, 12:37 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Flounce View Post
Hi,

Context:

My wife is a soccer mom and spends large amounts of time - hours - on weekdays transporting the kids to various classes and events, and waiting in the car for them. We currently have a minivan, a Honda Odyssey. We plan on getting a mid roof car like Ford Transit or Sprinter and add a sink and toilet to the back, maybe some nicer bucket seats in the back.

Question:

My wife wants the Sprinter because it is fancier than the Ford Sprinter. I don't mind paying an extra 10-15K up front but I am more concerned about 1) maintenance costs and 2) cost of repairs and reliability.

Is there some consensus on whether the Sprinter is a lot more expensive to own than the Ford Transit? Will routine maintenance cost more per year, and how much more? Is the Transit more reliable than the Sprinter? Does it cost a lot more to repair the MB Sprinter?

Thank you.
FYI it is a Ford Transit, not Ford Sprinter.

Multiple smart (industry) people have told me that without question... the cost of owning a MB Sprinter van is more for parts than a Ford Transit van.

Plus keep in mind only some MB places will service a MB Sprinter. They can be hard to find.

plus a Sprinter costs more up front.

plus many people have had problems with the Diesel Sprinters..... gas only is available for a Sprinter in 2019, supposedly....

just my 2c.

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Old 06-02-2018, 12:48 AM   #3
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Plus keep in mind only some MB places will service a MB Sprinter.
To be fair, only some Ford dealers will service Transits. Probably not quite as scarce as Sprinter dealers, though.

I agree with your conclusion, however.
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Old 06-02-2018, 03:58 AM   #4
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FYI it is a Ford Transit, not Ford Sprinter.

plus many people have had problems with the Diesel Sprinters..... gas only is available for a Sprinter in 2019, supposedly....

just my 2c.

I bought a sprinter for use similar to what you describe. It can have two passenger seat rows or one seat row and a dinette bench/bed. I use it during the week to haul kids for the wife's after school program at her day care. Bathroom, sink, microwave, and fridge in the back.
I've had a lot of problems with the diesel emissions and now that the dealer has fixed the problems finally it seems to be running well. I have since learned that if I drive locally or idle often I should drive at freeway speeds for over a half an hour to burn the "soot" off every week or so.
If you plan to drive on the freeway mostly then diesel is the preferred engine, but if city driving and idling are planned gas is the way to go.

That's my opinion.
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Old 06-02-2018, 06:13 AM   #5
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Default Are you talking about gasoline or diesel?

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Originally Posted by Flounce View Post
Hi,

Context:

My wife is a soccer mom and spends large amounts of time - hours - on weekdays transporting the kids to various classes and events, and waiting in the car for them. We currently have a minivan, a Honda Odyssey. We plan on getting a mid roof car like Ford Transit or Sprinter and add a sink and toilet to the back, maybe some nicer bucket seats in the back.

Question:

My wife wants the Sprinter because it is fancier than the Ford Sprinter. I don't mind paying an extra 10-15K up front but I am more concerned about 1) maintenance costs and 2) cost of repairs and reliability.

Is there some consensus on whether the Sprinter is a lot more expensive to own than the Ford Transit? Will routine maintenance cost more per year, and how much more? Is the Transit more reliable than the Sprinter? Does it cost a lot more to repair the MB Sprinter?

Thank you.
First thing to decide is whether your considering the gasoline or diesel Ford Transit? Yes, only the 2019 Mercedes Benz comes in both gasoline and diesel versions, confirmed.

I test drove a Ford Transit 3.2 inline FIVE cylinder.. I was not impressed, but, you might like it. I did not test drive the gasoline version.

One thing you need to know is Mercedes Benz vehicles are going to cost more... WHY? Well, they're from Germany and the parts are mostly imported. Plus, their mechanics probably charge a higher hourly rate.

You really have to test drive the two vehicles and decide which one you like better.

Sounds like you're going to outfit this van yourself as opposed to buying a conversion, that's fine.. you have choices.

We were looking at a Winnebago Fuse ( it was on the Ford Transit 350 platform) when I found the Roadtrek RS Adventurous and liked it a lot more.

The 3.2 Five has a slightly larger displacement than the 3.0 V6 Mercedes. Completely different feel and response to the two engines.

Again, that's what choices are all about.... Good luck.
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Old 06-02-2018, 03:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Flounce View Post
...My wife is a soccer mom and spends large amounts of time - hours - on weekdays transporting the kids to various classes and events, and waiting in the car for them. We currently have a minivan, a Honda Odyssey. We plan on getting a mid roof car like Ford Transit or Sprinter and add a sink and toilet to the back, maybe some nicer bucket seats in the back.
First off as a Sprinter owner, Yes the maintenance costs will be somewhat higher. Just a fact of life with Mercedes. We have a good independent Sprinter shop (Linden Engineering) which helps keep costs under control.

But a couple other items stand out in your comments. The soccer mom local transport and waiting in the vehicle tasks should point toward a gas engine over diesel, which excels for long haul transport efficiency. For a Sprinter that means waiting for the 2019 gas engine model. Transit already has a couple good gas engine options.

The family vehicle loaded with kids should make safety a priority, and Mercedes puts more effort into occupant passive and active safety than any of the other van manufacturers. Also, if you need a crew van version with a row of factory installed passenger seating and open cargo space behind for sink/toilet/storage conversion that's only available in the Sprinter.

Finally, since it sounds like your wife will be spending a lot of time in this van, make sure she's comfortable with the driving position and ergonomics. Sprinter provides a higher driving position that requires a bit more of a step up to the drivers seat. Transit has a lower seat that many find easier to slide into, but not quite the commanding roadway view of the Sprinter. Those items are personal preference and the 'Happy Wife, Happy Life' rule probably applies.
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Old 06-02-2018, 06:04 PM   #7
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all good thoughts.

good thread

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Old 06-02-2018, 06:19 PM   #8
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Default Local transport...get the gas model

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all good thoughts.

good thread

Diesel engines love to be driven at highway speeds.... stop and go traffic is fine shorter term, but, diesel engines are known for being a long distance runner.... there's a diesel particulate filter that needs to be "regenerated"... every couple of weeks by running the engine for 30 minutes or so at 55 to 60 MPH......it keeps the system running better....

You really don't want that diesel sitting around for super long periods of time.....

There's lots of videos everywhere on this... just Google diesel particulate filter and maintenance.......

Diesel engines are great... very repsonsive and not at all like the "old diesels" you probably remember... but, they are going to be more finicky.... Longer service intervals but you'll probably pay more for service.... especially the Mercedes.....
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Old 06-06-2018, 03:56 PM   #9
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I agree w/the previous responses, I have a Sprinter Agile-the short one. It is expensive to service and the closest MB dealer/service center to us will not service it....so a much further drive for service. Also, on the road...if you have a problem, there aren't that many MB dealers/service centers around compared to Ford.
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Old 06-06-2018, 05:33 PM   #10
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Default When they're running fine... there's nothing quite like them....

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I agree w/the previous responses, I have a Sprinter Agile-the short one. It is expensive to service and the closest MB dealer/service center to us will not service it....so a much further drive for service. Also, on the road...if you have a problem, there aren't that many MB dealers/service centers around compared to Ford.
People seem to love the way they drive and perform...the 3 litre V6 Mercedes Benz turbo diesel engine is GREAT when everything is fine...

It's quite a champ.. BUT, this last post is so correct...we were on the road in between Flagstaff and LA... thankfully, we were able to drive straight back home to Los Angeles.. through the Mojave desert... but, when the check engine light came on ... called and discovered that it was either go back to Flagstaff or east to Las Vegas... there's nothing in between... should be a dealership in Barstow, CA... but there is nothing there.....

We were just at the Flagstaff Mercedes Benz dealership for a check engine light and another thing tripped off in the emissions system...got back and discovered that the entire emissions system was failing.. Mercedes Benz replaced the entire system under warranty..whew! Glad for that..it would have been over $4,000...

Warranty on the emissions is 8 years or 80,000 miles.. remember that.
We have 41,000 miles on our 2012... which is actually a 2011 Mercedes..go figure.. every manufacturer does this and uses last year's model vehicle for the conversion....

Can't complain too much... Mercedes has been very accommodating to me..we have new airbags up front, driver's side and passengers side..

The dealership network for Mercedes Benz is not as good as Ford...

I'm not saying that I plan on getting rid of my Sprinter.. but, you do have to take precautions to make sure that you're road ready as much as possible before you head out to get hinterlands.... good preventive maintenance is prudent for any vehicle.....
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