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Discussion Starter #1
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 [email protected] 2,500 rpm
3.5L PFDi V6 Engine 275 hp @ 6,500 rpm Torque 262 [email protected] 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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I stopped after your pros and cons. After the Mercedes cons, the question is answered, I think.
 

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Many here have had Sprinters before, and the servicing and limited repair facilities are a deal breaker for most Transit drivers. I've not driven the Mercedes with the tiny gas engine, but it sounds pretty anemic.

When traveling, it is reassuring to have plenty of Ford dealers for service all over the US.
 

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I honestly almost bought a Sprinter (new). It's purpose would be traveling long distance. The diesel engine could not be idled for long periods without causing problems. Warranty work was few and far between. First you had to find a Mercedes dealer. Then you had to verify they are Sprinter certified. Not many are.

Get bad diesel fuel and you are looking at a $5k repair and it may not be covered. Same with Ford.

There is a Ford dealer in nearly every american town. I could get a gas engine and idle all night with Ford if I wanted too.
 

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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 [email protected] 2,500 rpm
3.5L PFDi V6 Engine 275 hp @ 6,500 rpm Torque 262 [email protected] 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?
Apples and oranges, I think.
You spec a 144" Sprinter. If you need the length of an extended transit, why are you looking at short sprinters?
 

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My limited experience, nearly all negative, with mercedes vehicles and repair/maintenance costs made it easy to not even consider a sprinter regardless of cost. The additional factor of a 10:1 dealer network, made it wven easier.

And now you come along and further confirm my decision based on the amemic output of the sprinter gas engine. Have you actually driven both vehicles?

Im no ford fanboy. If toyota made something like a sprinter/transit I’d buy one. But as the lesser of two evils I think the ford wins.

Your spec has a lot of upgrades. If $ are driving the decision, I’d dump the nav system im a minute. I spec’ed the cheapest radio in my 2019 EL-HR and wound up with the backup camera in the rearview mirror ny accident. Since then I’ve seen the backup camera displayed on the “upgraded” nav/radio screen. I now think ford should offer the camera display in the mirror as an upgrade. What I’m saying is perhaps dump the nav shstem, get the camera display where it should be (according to me) and add the system of your choice for a savings of $ and increase in performance.
 

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The primary reason to buy a Transit is the service availability in every other town. Judging by my time spent on both the Sprinter site and this site it is apparent that the Transit is also much more reliable. I have about 35,000 miles on the Transit with no failures. In the first 20,000 miles with the Sprinter I had two major issues.

Secondly IMO the Transit drives much more like a car and not like a dump truck. I have owned both a Sprinter and a Transit for 5 years each. I have no regrets making the change from a 2008 Sprinter to a 2015 Transit.

Both have advantages and disadvantages.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You are on a Transit forum. I think you can guess your answer. :)
I asked the same question on Sprinter forum too. 😉

Apples and oranges, I think.
You spec a 144" Sprinter. If you need the length of an extended transit, why are you looking at short sprinters?
Short Sprinter is about the same size what "midsize" Transit. Actually in Europe they have shorter version of Sprinter, but they are not exporting it to the USA.

. Have you actually driven both vehicles?

Im no ford fanboy. If toyota made something like a sprinter/transit I’d buy one. But as the lesser of two evils I think the ford wins.

Your spec has a lot of upgrades. If $ are driving the decision, I’d dump the nav system im a minute.
But that nice dashboard in MB is its strong selling point to me. I'll be looking at it for many hours on my long trips. If I dump it for base radio, what will I have left? Mercedes Star on the hood? I have that on my personal car.

Secondly IMO the Transit drives much more like a car and not like a dump truck. I have owned both a Sprinter and a Transit for 5 years each. I have no regrets making the change from a 2008 Sprinter to a 2015 Transit.

Both have advantages and disadvantages.
I'll drive Sprinter on Wednesday, but I am surprised that Ford rides better. Many people say it - it must be the truth. :confused:
 

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You should buy the van that comes closest to meeting your specific overall needs. That said, it is curious why you would compare prices for the Transit Ecoboost to the base Sprinter gas engine, when the base Transit engine beats it in HP/torque. How much does the Sprinter auxiliary fuel tank cost? Probably more than $285, so factor that cost into your comparison. Does the Sprinter have dual alternators standard? If you need that feature, then add it to the Sprinter cost basis. Don't forget that Ford has more aggressive discounts and rebates than Mercedes.

My expectation is that the Transit is less expensive when you account for options and discounts. So choose the van that you like the best.
 

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I'm a tightwad. When it came time to replace my 2003 Sprinter, I bought a Transit. Mainly because of lower cost of ownership over time, but also because I didn't want diesel (Sprinter now offers gas). Second hand info about Ford truck reliability from my brother's company suggests that they are no better, and possibly worse, than Mercedes trucks. But, the parts are cheaper and more readily available. And if it's too complicated for me to do myself, there are more shops with knowledge of Transits than Sprinters (dealer is always the last resort, after warranty expires).
 

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One thing is for sure: building out a sprinter is much more plug and play. There are multiple companies that offer full, bolt-on kits for anything you can imagine. There aren’t as many options for a transit. If you plan to DIY but don’t want to build your own wall panels and bed mounts, you can buy all that stuff for a sprinter but not for a transit.

I’m trying to start a van build right now and 3/5 companies I’ve contacted said they could do my build on a transit but it’s no problem on a sprinter.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I researched for a couple months before choosing a Transit. It all came down to me wanting something less than three years old, and the newer Sprinters just have too high of a cost-per-mile. The gas engine Sprinter wasn't even on my list... it was diesel Sprinter or EcoBoost. The ProMaster wasn't a contender because of front wheel drive. Everyone has their wants and needs. People still buy the new Mercedes in droves despite the CPM, but that wasn't something I was prepared to deal with.

@grampswrx makes a good point. The aftermarket for van conversions is based on Sprinters, with ProMasters next in line. Market makes what the market wants. If that's important to you and fabrication isn't your thing, you should add that to the top of your Sprinter "pros" list.
 

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For price comparison remove the Ecoboost. The Ford non turbo gas engine has more power than the inadequate Sprinter gas engine. A conversion will add up to 2000 lbs. Do not think I would buy a very small gas engine for that application. Believe the small Sprinter gas engine would be fine for delivering flowers in a city.

My Ecoboost is appreciated when passing, on hills and entering a freeway.

On Sprinter forum you commented about a insulated floor. This is what I did on both the sold Sprinter and the current Transit:


There is also more information comparing the Sprinter and Transit on the site.

Included in the site is a list of the options I selected in 2015 for a conversion. Choices worked very well for the conversion.
 

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I had a 2012 Blu-tec Sprinter. It was one of the happiest days of my life when a drunk driver totaled it.
I was in the shop at least once every 3 months, usually for engine issues. Often had two since a common engine fault process limits you to 10 starts before it bricks you van forcing a tow. Many dealers do not want to and some will not service a Sprinter.
Much more fun driving a Transit, much less worry in remote areas. The only issue is the relatively short wheelbase forcing the longer Transit to have too much overhang for more challenging remote dirt roads.

I'll never buy another Mercedes product.
Ron
 

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For true cost of ownership, you need to calculate not only cost of purchase, but also re-sale value. Is there a significant difference in what you will get when you sell the van?
 

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If you look at the 3 brand options out there, each has some key pro features:

Promaster
  • wider and straighter walls, so a much roomier interior especially above waist height
  • 159 inch wheel base for a smoother ride in back than the vans with 140ish inch wheel base
  • Low floor entry height can be useful
  • Strongest "standard" electrical system although now surpassed with Ford optional dual alternator
Sprinter
  • If I were buying one of these for a conversion, it would definitely be the 170 because the 144 is too short IMHO.
  • If it were wider or at least didn't slope inward so much that might be different.
  • Back and rear door entry height is similar, so less chance of hitting your head compared to the others. (personal experience)
  • Surprisingly strong body "package", in spite of the relatively thin sheet metal
  • Strongest potential auxiliary electrical system using specialized after market dual alternators
Transit
  • Strongest drive train in terms of HP and torque, so particularly good for hills compared to the others
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • For better or worse, the most items that can be selected as "options" vs "packages"
  • Easiest van to add roof rails and solar panels
  • Slightly wider interior than the sprinter
  • optional dual 250 amp alternator package is a decent amount of power for a conversion.
(Allows use of an RV type air conditioner instead of the factory rear a/c placement at the floor)
 
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