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Old 06-15-2020, 12:11 AM   #1
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Default Hello from AZ - Sprinter?

Been watching for a while, but the first post.

We have been lifetime tent campers, but now in our mid to late 60's looking more seriously at Class B's. Since we live in Phoenix, AZ and drive all our other vehicles for 200,000+ miles (Toyota's, Honda's and now a Subaru with only 65,000 miles which we like a lot so far) are interested in which chassis's tend to last the longest and want a 12V AC unit so we can run it in around home or driving to cooler places. I've heard MB's are great when they are new, but can be a problem around 60,000+ miles which doesn't sit well with us since this will also serve as our second vehicle and get some miles outside of vacationing. I'm 6'2 so it doesn't look like a Ram will work for legroom which leaves us mostly with Sprinters or Transit's I think.

Thanks in advance for the welcome and any suggestions you might have!
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Old 06-15-2020, 12:23 AM   #2
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Hi and Welcome

many B's have van ac which holds up ok in the heat- a good build will have good insulation and I usually have the rear windows covered with reflectix panels when rolling
( it's on a chev van, dash ac)

and living here when starting a trip we usually want an early start to get up north elevation to cooler temps


many have a cabinet behind the seat- I'm 6'1" and prefer to sit upright- and I've been ok in my chev, sprinter winnebago build and a citroen/travato in ireland


most helpful were dealer videos on youtube, watching the features explained etc- of good value was that many of the sales guys in the videos were "large" and we watched how well they moved around the cabin
( in mine the ceiling height is an issue- I can;t wear thick soles and a hat at the same time -I wear sneakers- some roadtreks have a drop center floor, but I tripped on the transitions when viewing)



my van weighs 9000# wet
I don;t use as a "2nd car" as many ads imply
daily town use would chew up the brakes
We do use on dirt roads like apache trail and up on the rim, but 90% of the use is highway whether interstate or 2 lane highway...cruising
It takes longer to get to speed, longer to slow, potholes bum me out

I have a gas chev because it can be fixed anywhere, by anyone, with parts from napa- I have a chev P/U so same manuals, tools, common lay out

#1 advantage is not having to leave the "tent" to pee at 5am, you are gonna sleep and sleep well.


keep in mind in AZ there is no sales tax on a used vehicle from a private party- saves 9% right there



Mike
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Old 06-15-2020, 01:01 AM   #3
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Thanks, Mike! Now that we've moved to more central Phoenix form Anthem, we won't likely need to drive it much as a second car, but would still like the option if needed. It probably won't happen much. We like Prescott, Sedona, Flagstaff, the Woods Canyon area as well as the White Mountains, but want to also spend more time in Southern AZ in the winter.

Being able to get an engine worked on anywhere in our neck of the woods is definitely a plus! Our Toyota 4Runner currently has 275,00+ miles on it and has never stranded me anywhere so that's what I'm used to and in no hurry to get anything less reliable.

Usually like to buy new and take really good care of what we get, but from what I'm reading here from you and others is really making me think of buying used.

Yes, one of the big attractions to a Class B for us, especially me is no late-night walks to the bathroom!

Thanks for the welcome and your thoughts!
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Old 06-15-2020, 02:06 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by gonehikinginAZ View Post
Yes, one of the big attractions to a Class B for us, especially me is no late-night walks to the bathroom!

Welcome to the forum!


on your quote above.
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Old 06-15-2020, 04:14 AM   #5
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Usually like to buy new

the depreciation is nuts on these


my van msrp was over 100,000 seller had it at 42,000 at 8 years old/70,000 miles



I paid much much less


and no tax ( for a private party sale!)


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Old 06-15-2020, 02:00 PM   #6
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Welcome from the White Mountains!

I'll second the idea of buying used. Aside from dodging some pretty steep initial depreciation, you may also avoid new RV bugs.

As to which chassis... tough call. I doubt any of them will have the kind of trouble-free longevity you have come to expect from Toyota and Honda. Our daily drivers at the moment are a 2006 Honda CR-V @ 201K and a 2011 Honda Pilot @ 182K. The only unscheduled repair on either vehicle was a stuck thermostat on the CR-V last fall. We're still on the original brake pads. I'm expecting 250-300K out of both.

The Class B van choices are all very distinct- diesel vs. gas, FWD, RWD, AWD, or 4WD, unibody vs. body-on-frame, wide vs. narrow. Each has pros and cons.

I like my Chevy Express 3500 Roadtrek. The 6.0L V8 has lots of power for mountain driving and a high tow rating. As Mike says, parts and service are widely available and reasonably priced. Fuel economy with the newer 6-speed transmission is better than expected at 17-18 mpg highway. Biggest downsides of the Chevy-based campers: (1) less room inside due to the body-on-frame design, curved sides, and aerodynamic fiberglass raised top, and (2) low ground clearance due to holding tanks and rocker panel storage pods. For the first, it's tight but workable for us, since we're not big or tall people. The bed at least is roomy. As to the second, there are mods people have done to gain a few inches. For now I just stick to highways and graded roads.

I don't have personal experience with any of the others. Operating costs seem likely to be higher for the Sprinter and there's uncertainty related to diesel emissions. I'm just not a Pentastar fan (personal bias). Can't make up my mind about the Transit. But each one has its fans.
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Old 06-15-2020, 04:30 PM   #7
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Can't make up my mind about the Transit. But each one has its fans.

used the rental pass version
under powered
really bad driver seat ( stock)



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Old 06-17-2020, 07:51 PM   #8
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Check out the Coachmen Beyond or Galleria. Both have the option of a 12 VDC A/C as well as Lithium battery and are extremely well built. People say that the Ford Transit (Beyond) with Eco-boost is superbly powered.

I have the Galleria and am 6'4" 270lbs. Plenty of room to drive, sleep and can pretty much walk around inside without having to duck.

NIRVC in Phoenix and Las Vegas stocks them.
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Old 06-21-2020, 05:42 PM   #9
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The Sprinter cab AC does a pretty good job on its own keeping the interior cool while driving. The MB diesel platform is pretty bulletproof - rugged and good for hundreds of thousands of miles - that is why Fedex and Amazon buys almost all of the Sprinters coming out of the new factory.
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Old 06-21-2020, 06:01 PM   #10
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The Sprinter cab AC does a pretty good job on its own keeping the interior cool while driving.
That is my experience as well.

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The MB diesel platform is pretty bulletproof - rugged and good for hundreds of thousands of miles -
The basic powertrain is very bulletproof. The problem is that the BlueTec emissions system and its associated sensors are ridiculously unreliable and often leave you stranded due to various "limp home modes", or worse, the infamous "n-starts remaining" condition, which usually needs a dealer to address. Sprinter dealers are few and far between, and wait times are often measured in weeks.

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that is why Fedex and Amazon buys almost all of the Sprinters coming out of the new factory.
No, it isn't. They also buy huge numbers of Transits and Promasters.

https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a3...-mercedes-fca/

The emissions debacle is a manageable issue for fleets, since the same failures happen over and over and they can equip themselves to efficiently repair them. When you are half-way to nowhere in an RV on your precious 2-week vacation, it is an entirely different matter.
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Old 06-21-2020, 06:35 PM   #11
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Both of the Sprinters we had, had cab AC issues. The evaporator would freeze up even with the fan on medium high. (2009 and 2013) Multiple trips to the dealer on both + $400. of my money didn't fix either one. Didn't help that the closest dealer was 45 miles away.
Sprinters and diesels today, in general, don't do well with short trips because of the regen cycle, DEF system on them. Highway drives of 25+ miles help with this considerably.

Like was said above, the delivery services buy high numbers of all the vans, not just Sprinters so that argument is out the door.
One above mentioned the Transit seats. Well for 2020 Ford completely redesigned the cab of their offering. Same dimensions but more RV friendly for sure. Swivel both sides, all the latest safety features are standard + AWD is available.

The OP needs to check out the 2020+ chassis Coachmen Beyond and it's 12v coach AC with a large lithium battery setup. Money aside, that would be my choice if buying new now.
And the Ford EcoBoost engine is easily a 300k motor if cared for properly...
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Old 06-21-2020, 06:44 PM   #12
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Default Sprinter?

We use our sprinter for traveling from upstate NY to Concord Ma to visit grandkids. We love it and stay in it while there. We aren’t campers but this is a great traveling van🛣
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Old 06-21-2020, 07:02 PM   #13
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Default Thanks to all for your responses!!!

This has been very helpful! I was leaning toward a Transit even though the choices are more limited right now; it seems like possibly the best choice for the more recent model. Special thanks also to the Chevy owners for their experiences on the older models and Sprinter owners for their honest experiences!!!

Keep the info and suggestions coming!

Thanks again!!!!
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Old 06-21-2020, 07:21 PM   #14
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We use our sprinter for traveling from upstate NY to Concord Ma to visit grandkids. We love it and stay in it while there. We aren’t campers but this is a great traveling van🛣
I agree. I should make clear that we love our Sprinter in many ways. The new ones would be our first choice if it weren't for the reliability issues. Indeed, the gas Sprinter is still on our list. But, we would never buy another diesel-powered vehicle of any make.
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Old 06-21-2020, 08:01 PM   #15
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Gone hiking; we are in Prescott valley and have owned about 8 class b s an tho we use a little bigger lazy daze now we love the bs and prefer the ford to all.
The thing I would like to tell you here is you are in the center of the country for people getting b's and flipping them some are great honest people but there are enough people in phoenix selling units that were uncle georges, aunt ethels and were just selling it for grandpa to drive you nuts and you really need to pay close attention. just my two cents worth not meaning to offend. Check thoroughly please. An im not knocking used ; in az its the only way just be careful.
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Old 06-22-2020, 02:58 AM   #16
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Witrock, thanks for the heads up about buying used. Besides making sure the seller has a good clean title is there something else we should be looking for. We had friends who purchased a motorhome a long time ago from someone who appeared trustworthy who was going to send them the title - you probably have a good idea how that turned out - it was a stolen vehicle and they lost both their money and the motorhome.
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Old 06-22-2020, 03:03 AM   #17
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avanti, I was thinking the same thing about the gas-powered Sprinter, but I understand Advanced RV has decided they are likely too underpowdered to be practical. If they won't work in the flat midwest I wouldn't want to make the climb from Phoenix to Flagstaff in one. If you've heard something different I'd be real interested in hearing about it! Thanks for the input!
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Old 06-22-2020, 03:12 AM   #18
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avanti, I was thinking the same thing about the gas-powered Sprinter, but I understand Advanced RV has decided they are likely too underpowdered to be practical. If they won't work in the flat midwest I wouldn't want to make the climb from Phoenix to Flagstaff in one. If you've heard something different I'd be real interested in hearing about it! Thanks for the input!
As of last I heard, it wasn't available on the 3500 Sprinter anyway
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Old 06-22-2020, 04:15 AM   #19
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I think a lot of the consternation concerning the Sprinter diesel emissions system is overblown. The truth is that the culprit is the low quality of diesel fuel in North America compared to Europe where Sprinter vans are ubiquitous. I have owned 2 diesel vehicles (both VWs) with advanced emissions systems similar to the Sprinter's, one was at 70,000 mi when I sold it and the other was at almost 90,000 mi when I sold it and I never had a single emissions issue with either vehicle, absolutely nothing.

All I did to avoid emissions system problems was use a quality diesel fuel additive (I chose Opti-Lube XPD) when filling up, 4-5 oz per 10 gallons of fuel. A good additive fills in what is missing from the crappy diesel the is sold in most of the USA. It adds conditioners that help to protect your high pressure fuel delivery system and to keep your particulate filter cleaner for longer. It also improved my fuel economy a bit. The only caveat is that it is best to start using a diesel additive when the vehicle is new, before any damage is done, but it can help at any mileage. Also, frequent air and fuel filter changes as well as oil changes are extremely helpful. I changed oil in my diesel vehicles every 8000 miles, using only high quality fully synthetic oil, and the air and fuel filters ever 16,000 miles. I do my own maintenance, which makes it a lot less costly.

That said, I am a fan of the Transit as well. The 3.5 Ecoboost is a great engine, but it is very thirsty in heavy applications. I will definitely go with the Sprinter or Transit when I'm ready to do my build, haven't decided yet. In any case, I wouldn't let emissions system fears stop you from choosing a Sprinter. You just have to be hyper vigilant with your maintenance and it will be fine.
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Old 06-22-2020, 12:14 PM   #20
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That is my experience as well.

The basic powertrain is very bulletproof. The problem is that the BlueTec emissions system and its associated sensors are ridiculously unreliable and often leave you stranded due to various "limp home modes", or worse, the infamous "n-starts remaining" condition, which usually needs a dealer to address. Sprinter dealers are few and far between, and wait times are often measured in weeks.
This!! ^^^^^
A major frailty. If ANYthing fails or requires maintenance on a Sprinter, you're required to have the service done at an authorized MB Sprinter facility. Note that not every MB dealership is an authorized Sprinter repair facility. Trying to find one when that DEF failure light comes on is a major challenge (speaking from experience here).
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