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Transit vs Sprinter

38753 Views 21 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  PeterR
I have been reading and looking into the new Ford Transit for a long time. I really appreciate this forum because of all the information I have learned.
When the actual real life Transit came out, I was disappointed in the looks. From the side it looks like a "Pug Nosed" something.

My wife likes the looks of the Sprinter. I would rather have a Ford (we have a 2002 E350 extended window van right now).

I know there are some Sprinter owners in this Forum... why should I not buy a new Sprinter (Dodge?? van with Mercedes Trim??)??
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New ones are all Mercedes.

Sprinter does not have a dealer in every other town. Because they are so complicated, sometimes even a dealer can not fix them. They rust. Diesel is more expensive to operate than gas unless you put on lots of miles/year. Only B5 fuel capable. Some states have higher bio. V6 5 speed transmission is poor. You must shift manually for economy. Twin turbo 4 has better transmission but engine is small for a large van. Parts are very expensive. Think $8,000 for a transmission and $15,000 for an engine. Doors rattle.

Want to buy my fully converted 08 144" diesel for $48,000? For details go to and search with "orton". Multiple posts about each phase of the conversion. Bought new, 55,000 miles, no accidents, Graphite Gray color, no rust on CA. vehicle. No DEF injection on 08's. Tuneable. Excellent condition. Owned, built and cared for by old engineer!
The ultimate endorsement. If Sprinter had the same poor resale as most other vehicles there would already be a used one in my garage.
$40,000 Sprinter + $20,000 conversion parts + at least 1000 hours labor @ $20.00/hr. = $80,000.

You were lucky they hold their resale value.
Having read many of your Sprinter posts, I'd rather buy yours than a Roadtrek for the same price.

As for expanding on your post above,...there may only be a MB dealer in every other town,...but not all MB dealers will deal with a Sprinter. For service, the best place to own a Sprinter is along the Eastern Seaboard,...I live in the Southwest. Thus, to sell your Sprinter, perhaps you should consider listing it in Craigslist Virginia or South Carolina.

What attracted me to the Sprinter was (1) the current resale,..which in my opinion could nose-dive in the next two years as less and less B5 is available. For example:

"To spur biodiesel output, Illinoiseliminated its 6.25 percent sales tax on fuel with at least 10 percentbiodiesel."

The Midwest wants B20, their farmers can sell more bio.

Mercedes is talking about their "new Sprinter" to be built at the new plant in South Carolina. My guess is that this "new Sprinter" will use B20 fuel. But doesn't do me much good in 2015. B5 is going the way of the 8Track. And yes, can still buy 8Tracks,...but probably just at Truck stops.

Another thing that attracted me to the Sprinter was the 4x4,...but I became puzzled that every time Mercedes said 4x4, they'd add that it isn't a real 4x4. What it is, is complex German engineering to mimic a 4x4,...which is OK,...except that all that engineering is an unknown. Their standard electronic stability and crosswind assist also bothered me, me, dependable does not mean more electronics.

I didn't care for the MB badge,...puts out too much elitist attention where I would drive, parking on BLM or forest lands for a hike. Besides, many people I associate with have a negative image of the 1%ers who drive MB's. But it can be gotten with a Freightliner badge.

Other things,...I've heard numerous times about DEF problems. And did not like the forced 83 mph Speed Limiter (even though I seldom use such speed),...yet nevertheless, such a limitation can be a hazard on many roads in the SW USA. Nor the location of the shifter, as it's sort of below the knee, and makes going aft challenging.

I do like the exterior frontend better than the Transit,...but with all effort I'll be putting into it, to have a cold weather camper, for me, the Transit is a superior, and stronger built product, with Ford assistance in nearly every small town in North America. .
1. Thanks for the conversion comment. Sold it in November 2014. Conversion worked great for my use. Made a few minor mistakes and I can improve on the second conversion.

2. A lot less service locations for a Sprinter than a Transit. Service costs are very significant with a Sprinter. Parts are also very expensive. I have a story to tell about how I was treated by Mercedes. Not pretty. My local SR Sprinter dealer's service manager was the best service manager I have ever dealt with. Nothing but nice things to say about him and how he did his job. Mercedes was the problem, not the local dealer's service. I will miss dealing with him.

3. I did experience excellent resale value with my Sprinter. Besides the B5 issue affecting resale value, I expect the new competition from other brands will also affect the resale value. I was going to overlap the Sprinter ownership with the Transit ownership so I kept a completed travel vehicle available. Decided to sell the Sprinter because I expected the resale value to decrease. Do not know if it has.

4. I expect a gas option with the "new" Sprinter and a more competative price due to the elimination of the build it, take it apart and then reassemble it in America. IMO they have a lot of work ahead of them to be competitive with the Transit. Others will disagree but having owned both I am very satified with the Transit. Both vehicles have positives and negatives. I am very positive I made the correct choice.

5. You have to research the Sprinter 4 x 4. Apparently it is not a "real" 4 x 4 in some people's opinion. I do not know much about 4 x 4's so take my opinion for what it is worth. (nothing)

6. Mercedes engineering can be marginal IMO. Many odd engineering choices.

7. To me being a "city camper" one of the major advantages is the availability of a Ford Transit dealer in every other town. Easy to park my stealth van at a dealer without attracting any attention. Just another ugly Transit parked with its brothers and sisters.

8. Seems the Sprinter has had a lot of DEF system problems. Would not affect me because at this point I would not own any brand diesel with a DEF system. Just my opinion.

9. I would not care to drive any brand van at 83 mph so that would never affect my use.

10. Access to the rear is much better in a Sprinter than the Transit. You have to learn a little dance to get in and out of the Transit seat to or from the back. OK once you are trained. The Transit is much easier to enter and exit in/out the driver's door for me. Do not know why but it is.

11. I also think the front end of the Sprinter is better looking than the pig nosed Transit. The rest of the van is about the same.

12. The interior of the Transit is much easier to turn into a conversion due to tapped wall holes and flat surfaces. Sprinter does not have a flat surface. Do not like the D-ring locations in the Transit. Would much prefer them in the floor like the Sprinter.

I think you may be baiting me for my comments but it should be fun to see some of the other poster's comment. Just for the entertainment value!

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