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Old 02-19-2021, 10:31 PM   #1
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Default Opinions on a 2005 PW dodge Sprinter

Hello, new member here,

I'm thinking of taking a plunge into a 2005 Pleasure Way Plateau TS on a Dodge Sprinter 2500 chassis.
It comes with the 5 cylinder Turbo Diesel engine from Mercedes. Has 200K kilometers on it (120K miles).
I have heard these engines are very reliable and maintenance is easier than the more modern diesels. I don't believe there is a DPF/DEP system on these.
I'm curious as to what problems i might expect with these motor, or the chassis as a whole, at these miles or what to look for when i do my inspection. What maintenance would be needed at that mileage or in the near future.

I expect fuel economy should be good but what is the power output like on a 8000 lbs load like this. Okay for the mountains?

Thanks for your help
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Old 02-19-2021, 10:43 PM   #2
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Hello, new member here,

I'm thinking of taking a plunge into a 2005 Pleasure Way Plateau TS on a Dodge Sprinter 2500 chassis.
It comes with the 5 cylinder Turbo Diesel engine from Mercedes. Has 200K kilometers on it (120K miles).
I have heard these engines are very reliable and maintenance is easier than the more modern diesels. I don't believe there is a DPF/DEP system on these.
I'm curious as to what problems i might expect with these motor, or the chassis as a whole, at these miles or what to look for when i do my inspection. What maintenance would be needed at that mileage or in the near future.

I expect fuel economy should be good but what is the power output like on a 8000 lbs load like this. Okay for the mountains?

Thanks for your help
We've owned both a T1N from the era you are considering and an NCV3 from 2014. They are very different vehicles. You are correct that the T1N lacks modern diesel emissions which (except for the environment) is a very good thing. I would never again consider a modern diesel, but as you say, the T1N is very robust and trustworthy. They tend to have issues with the EGR valve, but it is no big deal. There is also a turbo resonator which almost always fails eventually and puts you into limp mode. Most people replace them with a "dummy" device which is available. This has most likely already been done. Again, though, no big deal.

I have no experience with high-milage Sprinters, so I won't comment on that, except to say that these are pretty tough vans.

The biggest negative is that, compared with the NCV3, the T1N is pretty crude and noisy. You will never forget that you are driving a truck. The NCV3 is far more car-like.

If you are satisfied with the comfort level, and if there are not rust issues, I would seriously consider a T1N. I would never, EVER consider another DEF-equipped diesel. Ever!
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Old 02-19-2021, 11:01 PM   #3
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thanks for your input on that. However can you enlighten me on T1N and NCV3? Not sure what that is. I've always thought the simpler the better. Especially when embarking on a high mileage road trip. I had a 5 cyl Eurovan before this and it was very reliable and easy to work on. The only disadvantage was it was slow.....i mean really slow, crawling up those mountain roads. Would like something with bit more power this time so my wife doesn't have to hang her head in shame crawling up the shoulders. Does make for good sightseeing though.
Thanks again
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Old 02-19-2021, 11:13 PM   #4
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oh never mind...i didn't see you van list at the bottom of the page. Engine models.
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Old 02-19-2021, 11:39 PM   #5
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oh never mind...i didn't see you van list at the bottom of the page. Engine models.
Not exactly engine models. T1N is the first generation Sprinter- all 5 cylinder engines.

NCV3 is second generation--6 cylinder and 4 cylinder engines, but also completely redesigned (and more refined) chassis. All but the first couple of years of NCV3 are DEF-equipped.

Third generation Sprinters (starting in MY2019) are called VS30. Never had one of those.

BTW: I found the T1N to have plenty of power.
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Old 02-20-2021, 04:18 AM   #6
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I have a 2005 PW Plateau TS (2004 Dodge Sprinter), there are several good and bad things.

The resonator has already been mentioned. If the vehicle is white, then look for rust, particularly around the base of the windshield and the seams, specifically near the roof. It's a Mercedes imported through Dodge. The Mercedes white paint is terrible. The T1N is cheaper and easier to maintain. I had to replace the resonator, immobilizer (most fail intermittently, mine did not) and the turbo hoses. I feel it has plenty of power, not the fastest on the road but I pass plenty of other vehicles It is not quiet, you can hear the diesel engine and it rides more like a truck than a van. The previous owner of mine put larger tires on it to help with sway, he said it made the ride a little stiffer.

On the RV side, a 2005 will have more storage than the newer models. It possibly has only one small battery. The interior height is lower and you may have to duck going in and out of the sliding door, I'm 5'5" I don't have to duck.

I didn't want to spend the money for a newer Sprinter, I'm very happy with my RV other than the paint. Some issues I have with mine are due to neglect or abuse from the original owner. I wish I had a permanent solar panel and a lithium battery, things newer models have.
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Old 02-20-2021, 04:19 AM   #7
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One more thing the radio is complete cr@p and the original speakers are 2 or 2.5" really awful.
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:08 PM   #8
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Will this engine run on non ULSD without problems?

2005 5cyl . 2.7 liter.
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Old 02-24-2021, 10:27 PM   #9
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It runs fine. My mechanic told me is if I buy the cheapest diesel all the time I will probably need to replace the fuel filter more often. He recommended the more common fuel station chains.
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Old 02-25-2021, 05:18 PM   #10
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Ovsa, Rest assured you have found the jewel in the rough!! Those engines are magnificent. They pull strong, get outrageous fuel mileage and are easy to keep up current maintenance. I have a 2006 TS, exactly what you are considering. And no, there is NO DEF to worry about. The only maintenance I've done is to change oil every 5,000 miles with full synthetic 0-20W (usually Mobil 1). I also, just because of the age , changed out the fuel filter with a brand new one. Oh, when I was out west in Oregon this past September, I blew a turbo hose, which means you lose enormous power when that happens. Had a town right in front of me with a Mercedes dealer in it, got them to do a hose change out in about an hour. We were then off and running. So, YES, go for it. It is a great RV, how much are they asking for it?? Just curious as I am selling mine now.
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Old 02-25-2021, 05:22 PM   #11
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Plenty of power from the 5 cylinder diesel. As others have said noisier than new ones but quieter than Westfailia diesel/gas 5 cylinder engines. Turbo resonator has likely has been replaced through either broke or MB recall. We added a 200 amp hour (telecom) agm that we put on its side under the left side of bench seat and 100 watt solar panel that solved the small house battery concerns. Overall the PW was a great trouble free vehicle. Need to keep an eye on MB roof seams, ours were all sealed with a clear sealant by the previous owner. We touched up one with Silka-flex when we added solar 100 watt panel. They do have a rock and sway if you hit some offset potholes going down a forest road but not much different than a VW. The newer vans have a slightly different suspension that eliminated most of the rock and sway (wagon cart front spring on T1N).
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Old 02-25-2021, 05:27 PM   #12
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Ovsa, BTW, the turbo resonator on the 5-cylinder is original equipment and is plastic. If it hasn't been changed out to the aluminum version, then do so as soon as you buy it, cause it will fail on you around 30,000 miles or so. When it breaks, you go to limp home mode of 35 mph. And that can be frustrating when you've been hauling along at 65-75 mph. The dealer will try and install another plastic one, tell them you want the metal one. If they refuse, call around til you find a parts house that has them, buy it and put that in!! You'll be in the pink again.
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Old 02-25-2021, 06:01 PM   #13
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$45000 Canadian.. its a Pleasureway Plateau TS . Looks nice but its across country so I have to buy it sight unseen. At that price I don't mind adding a bit of improvements. As long as there is no rust.
Is actually a 2004 chassis but i don't think that makes a difference.

At 125K miles i'm wondering what i should be look at replacing as preventive maintenance before a long road trip? Injectors/fuel pump,/ glow plugs/ fluids/ filters??
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Old 02-25-2021, 07:28 PM   #14
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I’d definitely replace the serpentine belt if you don’t know if it has been done. I was thinking about mine and low and behold it broke at 110,000 mile mark in the middle of no where Maine. It was the 3rd of July in the US at 3:00 pm. You guessed it NO ONE would look at it before the next week. I ended up getting the belt from Napa and thanks to Youtube U changed it myself (really wasn’t difficult) but since the belt runs everything, water pump!! power steering and ac you are truly almost dead in the water. I did move/limp vehicle off highway shoulder to pullout to do the work after phoning many places keeping a very close eye on the temperature gauge. This was only break/slow down we had with the PW in 70 K km of our ownership. The T1N’s are relatively easy to work on yourself as they are truck sized.

Other preventive maintenance items are tires and brakes. You don’t want to be running these heavy vehicles on old tires or the wrong load rated tires. They are relatively straight forward to work on, not a lot of complicated electronics since they are pre-def. injectors and fuel pumps are really not preventative maintenance items. Oil change if you don’t know when last one was done; we always used synthetic in ours, they do take almost 12 litres of oil for a change. Walmart was the most cost effective place to get our oil changes done.

Your price seems fair in this market where the B’s are going for top dollar right now. If you are flying across the country to pick up I’d probably plan to do serpentine and tires locally before driving back across country. Please make sure that the vehicle you are buying is real as unfortunately there are a number of scams out there right now. Good luck.
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Old 02-25-2021, 07:35 PM   #15
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Greetings All!

We have a 2006 Winnebago View based on the 2005 Sprinter chassis which we bought in 2017 with 76K miles on the clock. It is our second used RV and the third diesel vehicle we have owned. I cannot speak to the Pleasure Way coach but can confirm the Mercedes 2.7L inline 5cyl turbo diesel is a workhorse. Before buying ours I did a lot of research and this motor is rated as one of the top five passenger car/van diesel motors ever produced. There are plenty of these early Sprinters on the road with over a million miles and still going strong.

That said, like any vehicle they need to be well maintained. Buying a 12 year old vehicle we didn't consider any that had more than two previous owners or that didn't have a complete sheaf of maintenance records. I also ran a CARFAX report to see the history of the vehicle.... it won't show everything but will indicate how many owners, where it was previously registered, and if there has ever been an insurance claim on it.

We prefer to buy from private parties since dealers usually don't have records or are remiss to disclose anything unsavory in the vehicle's history (if they even know it). In addition, when we looked at a couple of used View/Navions on dealer lots, the sales people didn't know much about the vehicle and being a previous RV owner I asked a lot of questions they couldn't answer.

When we bought ours, I fenced 20% of the budget for repairs, etc after purchase. That way there would not be any unexpected expenses. I was unable to have it inspected prior to purchase but took it to our closest M-B dealer right afterwards and had the 80K service (including the transmission) a bit early. They told us the brakes had 10-15K left but since we paid the labor to pull the wheels for the inspection we opted to for a full brake job (pads, rotors, fluid) which was not cheap but since we had planned for it we didn't flinch.

Since that time we have driven another 20K miles from FL to CO/NM, CA, SD, TX, OH, DC and others with no breakdowns. On our last major trip we did have an anti-lock brake system (ABS) controller failure... The van was still driveable but would not go above 2nd gear so we "limped" the last 10 miles into our planned stop. The local M-B dealer was very accommodating and replaced the controller for us after getting one shipped in overnight from their depot. If I had been near home when it happened I would have had the ABS controller rebuilt (it was an electronic problem) but Oh Well.

We just hit 100K miles after our last trip so we are resetting the clock with a complete motor front-end overhaul later this month or early in March.... (new hoses, new serpentine belt/pulleys, new alternator, new water pump, new A/C pulley, oil/filter change, fuel filter change, air filter, cab air filter, transmission/differential service, etc). I've found a world-class Sprinter tech in SC (actually there two there) and will be making a pilgrimage up for the work. It's not too far from here though I'll probably take two days just to make it a pleasurable drive up/back. His labor rates are about $50/hr less than the dealer and he only charges time/material so the labor savings will pay for the trip and then some. I am bringing all the parts/fluids so the job will be significantly less than it would be at the dealer. I'm guessing it will be two full days of work. In the end we will have reset the clock for the next 100k miles.

One other thing you will encounter if you read any of the Sprinter forums (and I would encourage doing so) will be some complaints about the NAG1 transmission failing prematurely but people are remiss to reveal their driving habits or if they tow anything... all of which put stress on the transmission. We have not had a problem with our transmission so far but I drive it like a manual... the 2.7L turbo-diesel motor's torque curve is pretty flat between 2000 and 2400 RPM so that's where I try to keep it downshifting when necessary. I only use cruise control on flat terrain and never in hills/mountains. The motor pulls well going uphill and I can keep 60 mph in 4th and 45 mph in 3rd which is plenty adequate in the hills mountains. On flat roads with no winds we average about 18-19 mpg at 60-65 mph.

The only other relatively major maintenance issue we have tackled is the suspension. There are loads of opinions out there regarding suspension upgrades to enhance handling/stability. It's incredible how much money people are willing to spend to try to make an RV handle like a sports car (and I've owned both!).... After consult with one of the Sprinter gurus in NC we decided to replace our ageing struts/shocks and as well as the air assist spring bladders (not sure if the PW has them but we did in both Winnebagos)... he advised against changing out the OEM anti-sway bar for a number of reasons. We installed Koni struts/shocks and replaced the leaking air assist spring bladders. Total cost about $1500. Now the camper runs down the road steady as a rock!

Finally, FWIW the German design standard for part life expectancy is 200,000 Km (125,000 Mi) so the vehicle you are considering is nearing that limit for things like transmission (perhaps), alternator, wheel bearings, water pump, etc. Absent detailed records showing these items had been inspected/replaced, I'd be skeptical about this vehicle... It may not show anything during a test drive but crump a few hundred or thousand miles later.

I apologize if sounding pessimistic but forewarned is forearmed. Hope these thoughts help.

Paul and Christine
06 Winnebago View 23H
NW Florida
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Old 02-25-2021, 08:10 PM   #16
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The T1N interior isn't as tall as the newer versions, my SO is 5'8", he doesn't have an issue and my brother didn't think it was bad, he's 6', but he had to duck under the air conditioner.

I replaced the glow plugs because one was failing and it wouldn't pass smog check but it ran fine. My resonator didn't fail but my mechanic suggested replacing it when the turbo hose split, it still ran with the split hose, however it was in limp home mode. The immobilizer was an issue for me, it disrupted a trip and had to be ordered, it took several days. Most things on my vehicle has been usual maintenance, oil changes, brakes, battery or age related parts. There is a good forum about Sprinters online, lots of mechanical information.
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Old 02-25-2021, 08:57 PM   #17
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I agree with ks@yvr, especially on the serpentine belt. It unraveled on I75 near our home so it resulted in an easy fix with a AAA tow/flat platform. Sam's Auto in New Port Richey is a great shop with experience in the Mercedes Benz Sprinter work. So they are one of my go to folks if issues arise. If you are ever near Tampa, that shop is 35 miles NW of Tampa. Also, at your home, research and find a mobile RV repair guy. I lucked out here and found one who corrected some electrical weird stuff going on.
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Old 02-26-2021, 07:59 PM   #18
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Ovsa, Rest assured you have found the jewel in the rough!! Those engines are magnificent. They pull strong, get outrageous fuel mileage and are easy to keep up current maintenance. ....
YMMV, literally. My 2006's engine exploded in May 2019 with about 76,000 miles on it. Blew a hole in the number one cylinder for reasons unknown - we had done meticulous upkeep and maintenance throughout its life. Cost me $14K for a new engine which itself has not been problem-free. We might have written it off but we had sunk a lot of DIY time and upfitting into it to make it off-grid-capable, and we couldn't walk away from all that.
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Old 02-26-2021, 08:42 PM   #19
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Great, helpful write up! Thanks a bunch.
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Old 02-26-2021, 08:54 PM   #20
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I guess like with any older vehicle purchase, its 50% experience and 50% crap shoot.
You think that buying a newer vehicle will save you the headaches of repairs but reading through some of the nightmares people are having the the newer MBs , that wouldn't be the case.
At least with the older ones i would say the repairs are more manageable, to be expected and, a good chance a previous owner has already taken care of some of them.
I drove a great many road trips my 96 Eurovan with my heart in my throat worrying that I might break down somewhere remote, but in the end it never happened. She just kept on running.
I'll tackle any repairs in the comfort of my garage, but being stuck on the side of the road is something i'd like to avoid.

Thanks for all the feedback
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