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Old 07-26-2020, 10:38 AM   #1
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Default Transit or Sprinter? Which to choose?

I am about to order a van for a base to build a campervan. I was ready to go with Transit, until I configured it - when I added everything I want it came to a whooping 50K. Then I decided to check a Sprinter. To my surprise Mercedes with gas engine was less expensive (cheaper somehow does not belong to Mercedes brand). And now I have real dilemma. What to do?

Mercedes Sprinter Pros: Nicer cab, surroundings near driver and passenger seats, better views by the windows, price, navigation system, prestige.
Cons: Underpowered engine, expensive service, infrequent dealer network.

Ford Transit Pros: Powerful engine, Ford dealer in (almost) every town, every mechanic knows Fords, cheap maintenance, bigger fuel tank
Cons: Dashboard not as nice as Sprinter's, costs more to buy.

My configurations:

Ford: Model Cargo Van, XL, Transit 250, High Roof, 148", 3.5L EcoBoost V6 Engine, 10-Speed Automatic Overdrive with SelectShift® Auxiliary, Transmission Oil Cooler 3.31 Limited Slip Axle $41,855
Paint Blue Jeans $200
Exterior Upgrade Package - SRW $360
Running Boards – Extended Length $655
Extended Range Fuel Tank (31 gallons) $285
Exterior Lighting – Front Fog Lamps $105
Short Arm Power Adjusting, Manual-Folding Mirrors $0
16" Steel Wheels with Full Silver Wheel Cover $0
235/65R16C 121/119 R BSW All-Season Tires $0
Interior
Dark Palazzo Gray Cloth, 4-Way Manual Swivel Driver and 4-Way Manual Swivel Passenger Seats $1,385
Floor Covering – Front Carpet $35
Push Down Manual Parking Brake $195
Cruise Control with Adjustable Speed Limiting Device (ASLD) $325
Dual Alternator $845
Audio Pack #28: AM/FM Stereo with Bluetooth and HD SiriusXM®, Audio Input Jack, and 8" Colored Multi-Function Touch Screen with Navigation $1,220
Accessories Roof Rack System - Four Bars $415

Payment
Base MSRP $41,855
Total of Options $6,025
Destination Charges $1,695
Total MSRP $49,575

Mercedes: Vehicle 2020 Sprinter Cargo Van
Starting at $34,495
Length 144" Wheelbase $2,775
Height High Roof $0
Powertrain Gas Engine $0
Class 2500 (4420 lbs. Payload) $1,225 / $36
Exterior Color Steel Blue $0 / $0
Interior Color Caluma Black Upholstery $56
Other Charges Destination and Delivery $1,495
Build Subtotal $40,046
Selected Packages & Accessories Comfort Package (Seat addition) $368
Edit Selections Comfort Package $262
Chrome Grille Package $280
C02 in combination with C03 $656
Exterior Lighting Package $1,553
Premium Plus Package $2,126
Driver Convenience Package $994
Rain sensor $102
Parking Package $594
Mounting rails for roof rack $290
Illuminated front exits $146
AGM BATTERY 12V 92 Ah 850 A $98
Omission of D-Rings $-15
Overhead storage slot, front center $101
Packages & Accessories Subtotal $7,555
Build Total $47,601

Engine options. Transit:
3.5L EcoBoost® V6 Engine 310 hp @ 5,000 rpm Torque 400 ft.-lbs.@ 2,500 rpm
3.5L PFDi V6 Engine 275 hp @ 6,500 rpm Torque 262 ft.-lbs.@ 3,750 rpm
All Transits have now 10-speed AT

Mercedes Sprinter:
I-4 188 hp @ 5,000 rpm Torque 258 lb-ft @ 2,500–3,500 rpm
Gas engine comes with a 9-speed AT

I am not sure if destination charges for Sprinter are included and I don't know how much I have to add for a LED/HID lights for the Transit. Sprinter has only 22-24 gallons fuel tank, but it is possible to buy auxiliary second tank. Transit EcoBoost engine is about $1,500 option.

I am living in NC and planning to go, when retired in couple of years, for trips around the USA, West Coast, Utah, Alaska - several months a year, with my wife.

I wander what is your opinion about the choice? Which would you buy to build an RV and why?
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Old 07-26-2020, 02:35 PM   #2
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I am asking myself this same question. I understand certain 2020 Transits have AWD and MB does not, but can be added after market. Is that of interest to you? Also are you building yourself or outsourcing?
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Old 07-26-2020, 03:14 PM   #3
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I am about two years from my retirement. I am going to convert this cargo van to a mini mobile home on weekends, with my wife. We will do ourselves whatever we can, but some jobs we will turn to the specialists and professionals.

AWD is now available with Ford and Mercedes, but in Sprinter only with diesel and we do need that option. Til now we were traveling in BMW 328 and we were able to get everywhere we wanted to go, and when we were going to the mountain trails, we were renting a Jeep. I may lift my van two inches, or buy bigger wheels/tires, but that should be sufficient for our needs.
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polonus View Post
I am about two years from my retirement. I am going to convert this cargo van to a mini mobile home on weekends, with my wife. We will do ourselves whatever we can, but some jobs we will turn to the specialists and professionals.

AWD is now available with Ford and Mercedes, but in Sprinter only with diesel and we do need that option. Til now we were traveling in BMW 328 and we were able to get everywhere we wanted to go, and when we were going to the mountain trails, we were renting a Jeep. I may lift my van two inches, or buy bigger wheels/tires, but that should be sufficient for our needs.
Welcome to the forum!

Build price on the internet may not be dealer price (after any discounts/incentives). Walk into dealerships, tell them you're comparing, and see what price they will order for you.

Good luck.
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Old 07-26-2020, 05:42 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Polonus View Post
I am going to convert this cargo van to a mini mobile home on weekends, with my wife. We will do ourselves whatever we can, but some jobs we will turn to the specialists and professionals.
reconsider a production RV


for the most part the experience they have laying out 12VDC & 120VAC electrical, plumbing, gas and cabinetry/interior systems are well-established and the vehicle will retain some kind of re-sale value ( and be insurable for the added value, w/ certs & standards for the systems )

I've seen some self-converts which were very expensive ( in the end) and still had an aspect of head scratching when viewing the result of someone's hard work

if going forward suggest you rent a couple of RV's to experience the up& downsides of different layouts


cheers, Mike
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:07 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polonus View Post
I am about two years from my retirement. I am going to convert this cargo van to a mini mobile home on weekends, with my wife. We will do ourselves whatever we can, but some jobs we will turn to the specialists and professionals.

AWD is now available with Ford and Mercedes, but in Sprinter only with diesel and we do need that option. Til now we were traveling in BMW 328 and we were able to get everywhere we wanted to go, and when we were going to the mountain trails, we were renting a Jeep. I may lift my van two inches, or buy bigger wheels/tires, but that should be sufficient for our needs.
Why are you and wife doing this, building?

Bud
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Old 07-26-2020, 06:55 PM   #7
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From my notes as we studied and built on paper and searched:

What RVs did not work for us? All trailers, truck campers, class As and class Cs. What RVs did work for us? Any class B with either all wheel drive (AWD) or 4 wheel drive (4WD).

Now we needed to choose the chassis that worked best for us. RAM was eliminated because they do not make either an AWD or a 4WD. We chose the Ford Transit over the Mercedes Sprinter because 1- the Ford is more serviceable, 2- its’ gasoline engine does not have the problematic diesel exhaust management system, 3- the fuel-cost-per-mile for gasoline is 20% less than for diesel, 4- the Ecoboost engine has higher HP and the same torque as diesel but costs several thousands less, and 5- AWD is preferable to 4WD for the roads we will travel.
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Old 07-26-2020, 07:05 PM   #8
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Why are you and wife doing this, building?

Bud
Two reasons. First - if we build ourselves, we will have exactly what we want and nothing we don't want. Second - spending time together. We are married for 40 years, but we always had different hobbies. I am car nut, professional trucker, I have mini collection of classic cars, she is a nurse, love to sew, patchwork but also work with wood. She made a beautiful fireplace in our home:

https://www1.picturepush.com/photo/a...-133655101.jpg

Working on a campervan would combine our interests and, I believe, deepen our love. For years I've been an independent Owner/Operator, never had time for a vacation but for lat 7 years I work as a company driver and we were together on two grat trips from NC to TX, AZ and back and to MT, NV and back - with our car. This year plan to visit West Coast National Parks was killed by coronavirus, but we can go there in couple of years, this time in an our campervan, not in a small car.

We want fixed bed, with "garage" under it, no propane, full electric system with huge solar panel, 600-1000 W, big LiFePo4 batteries with stored energy for few cloudy days, relatively big shower, small kitchenette and small desk with two chars, body flares, so we can sleep "across", etc.

If I find camper like that, I'll buy it, but those I can find now always have something I don't like - or to much, or to little of what I want.
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Old 07-26-2020, 08:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polonus View Post
Two reasons. First - if we build ourselves, we will have exactly what we want and nothing we don't want. Second - spending time together. We are married for 40 years, but we always had different hobbies. I am car nut, professional trucker, I have mini collection of classic cars, she is a nurse, love to sew, patchwork but also work with wood. She made a beautiful fireplace in our home:

https://www1.picturepush.com/photo/a...-133655101.jpg

Working on a campervan would combine our interests and, I believe, deepen our love. For years I've been an independent Owner/Operator, never had time for a vacation but for lat 7 years I work as a company driver and we were together on two grat trips from NC to TX, AZ and back and to MT, NV and back - with our car. This year plan to visit West Coast National Parks was killed by coronavirus, but we can go there in couple of years, this time in an our campervan, not in a small car.

We want fixed bed, with "garage" under it, no propane, full electric system with huge solar panel, 600-1000 W, big LiFePo4 batteries with stored energy for few cloudy days, relatively big shower, small kitchenette and small desk with two chars, body flares, so we can sleep "across", etc.

If I find camper like that, I'll buy it, but those I can find now always have something I don't like - or to much, or to little of what I want.
Nice project, nice team, I would choose the Ford, perhaps you can find ideas at Sportsmobile. https://sportsmobile.com/transit-standard-plans/
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Old 07-26-2020, 08:45 PM   #10
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The ford transit drivers seat does not rotate unless you purchase a rotating base. Not sure about the Sprinter.
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Old 07-26-2020, 08:47 PM   #11
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Nice project, nice team, I would choose the Ford, perhaps you can find ideas at Sportsmobile. https://sportsmobile.com/transit-standard-plans/
I am familiar with their site. I even thought about letting them built our van. However we think we can do better job. Time will proof us wrong, but nobody will take our experience, fun, pain, frustration and victory in the end.
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Old 07-26-2020, 08:56 PM   #12
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The ford transit drivers seat does not rotate unless you purchase a rotating base. Not sure about the Sprinter.
Quote from the official Ford website:

Dark Palazzo Gray Cloth, 4-Way Manual Swivel Driver and 4-Way Manual Swivel Passenger Seats
$1,385 S4
Add
Included on Passenger Van XLT.
Available on Cargo Van.

Mercedes:

What’s included in the Swivel Seat Package?
Driver's seat frame, low
Swivel base for driver's seat
Swivel base for front passenger seat
Passenger seat frame, low
IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Additional Equipment Required. You may select one of the following: Electric parking brake, Handbrake lever, folding. Handbrake lever, folding ($53), will be your default selection.
By selecting this option, Comfort Package ($262) will be added to your build.
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Old 07-26-2020, 09:05 PM   #13
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We want fixed bed, with "garage" under it, no propane, full electric system with huge solar panel, 600-1000 W, big LiFePo4 batteries with stored energy for few cloudy days,
with roof mounted solar comes the requirement to park in the sun, not a shady spot. it will also degrade MPG. the panel will be at optimal angle a couple of hours a day

propane is dandy for my 2 burner top, furnace, hot water heater and 3 way fridge ( when parked)

( I have a factory built B- ignore me where neccessary!)



Mike
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Old 07-26-2020, 09:07 PM   #14
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The 2020 Fords have swivel seats for the driver, as well as a revised dash with much better leg clearance for entry to the rear compared to the earlier versions. Also, more safety equipment , and a new ten speed transmission with stop/start technology for better acceleration and fuel economy. Also, AWD is available on all models. Also, the nigh roof has 3 to 4 more inches of headroom than any other van, plus wider inside than the Sprinter. It is narrower than the Promaster, which is the best for crosswise sleeping.
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Old 07-26-2020, 10:22 PM   #15
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Transit drives better as well. Nicer overall ride.
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Old 07-27-2020, 01:50 AM   #16
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Consider driving position too. Sprinter, particularly with 4wd, has a tall commanding view of the road and great visibility over other vehicles that's nice when driving crowded National Parks. But that requires more of a climb up into the driving cab (though probably not a big deal for a career truck driver).

Transit was designed for easy in/out access by busy delivery drivers and has a lower more car-like seating position that many prefer. But overall it just comes down to a tradeoff of personal preferences.

And I strongly agree with the suggestion of renting a couple units for actual trip testing. Really helps identify those little items you will want to get right in your final design.
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Old 07-27-2020, 02:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Polonus View Post
Two reasons. First - if we build ourselves, we will have exactly what we want and nothing we don't want. Second - spending time together. We are married for 40 years, but we always had different hobbies. I am car nut, professional trucker, I have mini collection of classic cars, she is a nurse, love to sew, patchwork but also work with wood. She made a beautiful fireplace in our home:

https://www1.picturepush.com/photo/a...-133655101.jpg

Working on a campervan would combine our interests and, I believe, deepen our love. For years I've been an independent Owner/Operator, never had time for a vacation but for lat 7 years I work as a company driver and we were together on two grat trips from NC to TX, AZ and back and to MT, NV and back - with our car. This year plan to visit West Coast National Parks was killed by coronavirus, but we can go there in couple of years, this time in an our campervan, not in a small car.

We want fixed bed, with "garage" under it, no propane, full electric system with huge solar panel, 600-1000 W, big LiFePo4 batteries with stored energy for few cloudy days, relatively big shower, small kitchenette and small desk with two chars, body flares, so we can sleep "across", etc.

If I find camper like that, I'll buy it, but those I can find now always have something I don't like - or to much, or to little of what I want.

Thank you, wonderful description. I'll bet the two of you create some kind B heaven.

Bud
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Old 07-27-2020, 02:52 PM   #18
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Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.
--Mae West


So, I guess I'm going with the Transit next time.
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Old 07-27-2020, 03:29 PM   #19
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To me it would be an easy choice. The ECOboost power and the fact it is turbo removes any altitude loss for the most part, tilts the scale very much for my taste. Our Chevy from 207 with a four speed trans and the lower hp and torque non VVT engine has much better performance at all but the very highest elevations when compared to Sprinters, and the ECOboost would be even better based on the reviews and specs, and do it at lower rpms.


No diesel emissions stuff to deal with would seal it for sure. A bit of lost fuel economy would be minor issue and mostly likely recovered in lower purchase and maintenance costs.
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Old 07-27-2020, 04:21 PM   #20
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Transit. 2 biggest reasons:

More powerful engine.

More interior volume.
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