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Dodge Sprinter



  • kenbob88kenbob88 Posts: 21
    Hi again; just so y'all don't think I'm a lazy so-and-so, I did go back through previous posts and found some helpful info (post #364 from KenB was very useful--thanks).
    But as I said, I would really like to hear from Sprinter owners regarding acceleration and performance.
    (My old Ram Wagon with the V-6 was actually pretty zippy, and I got used to that.)
  • kenbob88kenbob88 Posts: 21
    Wow. I have been perusing previous posts, and now I'm reconsidering buying a Sprinter. Leaks, smoking, droning noises, rattling doors, ergonomic issues, brake noise, scary in crosswinds, paint that cracks and bubbles and chips, to recount just a few of the many woes and lamentations. This vehicle seems to be an extremely high-maintenance commodity. I already have a wife; I don't need another dependent that requires constant attention and coddling.
    Am I just reading about the Sprinter's dark side because the only folks participating in this forum are owners who have experienced problems?
    Please, assuage my fears, because I want to believe!
  • You can hear the high-pitch whizzing sound.

    Turn off the radio and you'll hear the noise when accelerating up a hill or whatever.

    When I'm going up any sort of hill my Turbo kicks in.

    In fact, I'm wondering if my turbo should be kicking in as much as it does.
  • Read this:

    Sprinter drives 22 times around the world without repair

    Klaus Schade drove his newspaper courier Sprinter 900,000 km without repairs in the 10 years he owned it. Only regular maintenance was necessary, of course. That's 559,234 miles, the equivalent of driving 22 times around the world. Since the introduction in 1995 more than one million Sprinters were sold while also receiving multiple "Transporter of the Year" awards. (from MB press release)
  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    go on a drive and set the cruise control if you have one... other wise, just gently maintain the same speed without down shifting. When you start going up a hill, you will hear the turbo start winding up as the engine control computer (or your foot on the pedal) adds fuel to the combustion process. It is the excess heat and continuing expansion of the exhaust gasses that drive the turbo. As mentioned, there will be a decidedly higher pitched whine if you have any of your high-end hearing range left after years of industrial or music/noise induced hearing loss.

    Simply put though, a 2.7 litre turbo-diesel with a turbo that doesn't run will be noticeably under power, like trying to tow a Hummer with a Civic.

  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    Well, nobody passes us if we don't want them to or they are willing to break laws, burn tires, and/or waste lots of gas... :shades: at least until we hit 79 MPH (the top speed acheived, per GPS, when the Speedo reads about 82).

    We never really know just how well an engine an transmission can be matched on normal utility vehicles here in the USA. For that kind of magic you just seem to have to drive a sports car... not anymore!!! The Sprinter that is imported here is rather top-or-the-line: the biggest engine, the automatic transmission, larger tires (except on the dually 1-tonne).

    Simply put, the drive train is truly matched for power, performance, and (incredibly) efficency. 155 HP sounds low until you consider the torque specs which are nice for pulling away from the pack. What makes it all great, grand and glorious is that the transmission, the engine, the turbo, and the engine computer do a very good job of USING the power available and making plenty of it for the job at hand: accelerating, cruising, towing (within acceptable limits), stopping, etc. All matched VERY well.

    Consider that the engine is truly designed for million-mile performance, and the power band is very reasonable, and especially that the highest HP area of the power curve falls into a range that the engine can run in constantly; then you can appreciate why it works so well.

    Of course these are not for everyone. In europe they are not common for indivual/family use. Even there, this is changing. Great mileage is great mileage and when you can get this and space to haul gear INSIDE, then you are going to have an audience for your efforts. You will find this model being sold by VW as its large van in Europe as well.

    Still, this vehicle is not for everone. The step up height is HIGH, if you ever wanted running boards on a van before, you will want them on this one. It is Big, it needs a bit of careful handling in bad gusty winds, but that is normal for a van and I have driven several.

    KenB :shades:

  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    Leaks: mostly a thing of the past, minor on mine and it is a 2004 (bought new 2005)

    Droning noise: still there, a little at exact speeds/gearing like the slowest speed at which 5 gear can be engaged without shifting back down to 4th. Not bad, just odd.

    Smoking is usually an auxillary heater purge problem. Read the manual if you get one and do what it says... run each of the auxillary items at least once per month for 10 minutes: aux. heater, other heaters, front A/C, rear A/C.

    Rattling doors/seats are a slight pet peave, as I can't seem to get help from my dealer. This has been fairly common on most vans I have had the pleasure of driving. It bugs me a bit more on this van since it is more costly to buy (not by much really) and because quality is supposed to come with that. Some have reported that they have very minimal ratles in doors.

    Ergonomics are OK for me, worse for those with the cab-chassis or the factory type partition which both limit seat adjustment options.

    Brake noise can be odd, but in my experience it is more likely caused by overly sensitive anti-lock system than actual brake grinding. Some have reported short brake life, but that is coomon for some drivers anyway. this thing STOPS quick! Others have also reported needing to replace rotors with every brake change, also common on other Mercedes products. This is not the big thing it would be on a Chevy or Ford, as the rotor is NOT part of the hub.. The hub stays in place and you can switch the pads and rotors VERY quickly, and do it yourself if you are at all handy with a wrench.

    crosswinds always should be taken cautious in ANY high-profile vehicle.

    White is the most common paint, not so many problems, except for some cases of raildust (particals of iron setled onto/into clear coat). Silver has always had more problems on all cars that I have ever had/driven, but that is the past.

    This is the place, as are others to let people know what bad is happening and getting their help to get fixes... That is not to say that people just complain, their experiences are real and they certainly need help to get them resolved. Some dealers are still not equipped to help them very well, even with certification. Sometimes the certification seems to get in the way of otherwise easily solved problems (like paint).

    Depending on you, as the owner, this should be a great vehicle for a long time to come. If you have normal experience with it, you have 10K oil changes, 20-30K service intervals, a filter/trans fluid change at 80K (regular fulid changes after that, 80K). If you were getting any other comparable vehicle in the USA, you will start out with more oil changes and services to expect (up-front).

    If there is anything to believe, it is that you start out ahead in the Sprinter... then YMMV (your mileage may vary).

  • kenbob88kenbob88 Posts: 21
    Thanks for taking the time to respond to my concerns so thoroughly. I think I'm becoming seduced by the allure of the exotic Sprinter.
    That figures, because I went for the new rotary-engine Mazda in 1973. I became a loyal customer, despite the fact that the rotor seals had to be replaced after a few thousand miles. I ended up buying 4 of them over the years, until my lifestyle changed and I became a van man.

    One other issue regarding the Sprinter: fuel economy might be better than that of my other option--the Ford Econoline Wagon--but considering the fact that diesel fuel here is 30 to 40 cents higher than regular unleaded, I'm wondering how it will work out in terms of real cents per mile.

    Thanks again,
  • kenbob88kenbob88 Posts: 21
    Thanks for referring me to that info-packed site.
  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    OK, not so thorough... I forgot about real fuel economy... my reserve grand champion of concerns... (customer care being first).

    I get 20 MPG. Always. Everywhere. All-conditions. All trips. All traffic or all clear. All city or all highway... Except when I run the second A/C unit. That rear air drops the mileage 1-2 MPG.

    Our MPG is coming up slightly (almost up to 21 MPG last tank, which my wife drove most of). No, she doesn't get better MPG than me, all of her other tanks were just like mine. We are about to hit 10K miles since we picked this one up new back in September 2005 (new 2004, delivered with 624 miles on the odom.) 140" 2500HC Wagon 10 seats, Dodge badges switched for Mercedes Benz.

    Others we have talked to now get as much as 30 MPG. 25 MPG is most common, 27 is pretty common. Even on the 158" Tall versions which we have talked to... Three of them were partial conversions running extra A/C from generators to transport dogs to dog shows, friends of each other not a company or family thing. 1 was white, 1 was red, 1 was blue... all got about 25-27 MPG.

    Now, no one has been able to tell me why mine gets just 20 MPG. But, they have been able to say it will come up slightly after the first oil change (to Full Synthetic) or at about 15,000 miles. That is the first break-in milestone apparently.
  • 2000_valk2000_valk Posts: 68
    Hey Ken, Now that I think of it, It does as you said. After a year or so of driving it, and having a few bugs. It is settling down to be a nice van. The paint is being dealt with. As far as Speed goes, I dont seem to be in a hurry much anymore. It only sucks fuel or gas depending on your drive habits and what you are driving. Once you get the great economy under your belt its hard to go back. You also hit the nail on the head, I do have a high-end hearing problem. Thanks to years of rock and roll bands, But that is another story. Thanks, Tom :shades:
  • Okay, the seats finally came in.

    Here are a few preliminary photos. I still have to finish the inside of the van and I'll take more photos.

    The seats are the Freedman Featherweight BV FoldAway on the far end, and the Single Wide Handi Flip nearest the door:

    BV Foldaway

    Handi Flip

    The divider was placed a little over 8 feet from the back of the van. I had to put brackets to properly secure the divider. That took an entire day.

    The cost of the seats was $824.51 delivered, which is less than the $1300 or more that the factory seats cost. Plus I can flip these seats out of the way to get to the back, or for cargo room. I did have to buy about $25 in bolts to properly secure these.

    I don't like the feel of the edge of the fold-away seat that isn't over the mounting base. It has about 1 to 1.5" of flex when an adult sits on it. I should unbolt this seat and use a real heavy metal base instead of the bolts that they provide. That will be when I have a bit more time to look for a nice 1/2" steel plate that I can get custom made to bolt under the van.

    Carefull when mounting your divider and seats this far back. The fuel tank is right under there and if you let that drill slip away from you, you may pierce the tank. I was very carefull and my tank is still good.

    The quality of these photos are poor, and I'll have to have a second photo shoot when I'm done the interior of my van.



  • 2000_valk2000_valk Posts: 68
    Tronno, Looks great. Send us a pic of your rear shop. Tom
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    I get 20 MPG.

    I second all your posts about the Sprinter. I have the 2006 Forest River conversion MB Sprinter. We picked it up in Colorado Springs with the temp near Zero. We drove home to San Diego via Phoenix. We averaged 21.79 MPG for 1400 miles of up and down mountain roads. It never felt under powered. Going down steep grades the transmission is great. Just tap it up and down to get the gearing you like. I will post more when we drive cross country this Spring. I don't think you will find a van you like better. And none will get the MPG of the Sprinter.
  • kenbob88kenbob88 Posts: 21
    Perhaps the reason that your MPG differs from others' accounts is that you are the only one telling the truth???
    I know that some folks tend to fudge a bit.
    (The mileage I tell my father-in-law is a little bit higher than what I really get.)

    P.S.--Excuse me, but you don't have the 4.11 axle ratio, do you? I once bought a new Jeep Cherokee 4WD and discovered that two different gear ratios had been installed in the front and rear, so factories do make these kinds of mistakes.
  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    I don't think I am the only honest person... The biggest user of Sprinter that I personally know has about 20 +/- and they get MPG from where I have experienced up to nearly 30 MPG on their fleet. They are all used to deliver medical supplies. So, unless some of their employees are adding fuel to the company van for free, they should have accurate numbers since the receipts for fuel, the mileage, and the service records are kept track of.

    But, I have been very honest bout mileage here and elsewhere. Certainly not pessimistic about it either. I simply seem to get 20 MPG. I have checked the RPMs at Highway speed, top gear (locked), against what was published elsewhere, and it shows that I have the basic gearing (not 4.11) in the axle. (about 3.75 or 3.78 if my memory serves, I don't have the specs on this PC).

    I believe that my dad drove a Chevy 4wd that had a (slightly) higher ratio in the front ON PURPOSE! It supposedly caused a bias toward the front end pulling you in most conditions. To make things seem even stranger, it wore front end components quicker than it should, until some factory trained genius (really mean it this time) had them add shims to make it slightly higher in the front end.

    Looked funny, drove GREAT in the mud in the oil fields of Western Oklahoma.

    KenB :shades:
  • kenbakerkenbaker Posts: 239
    2004 Dodge MWB 2500 HC Wagon, re-badged to Mercedes just for fun (16" steel wheels with the mercedes center caps)

    My wife took the family Sprinter to the dealer for my first oil change, paid for by the dealer due to previous service run-a-rounds during the first 2 months I had it.

    Guess they only have ONE Sprinter tech... ON VACATION for 2 weeks to Hawaii!!! They can't even check out: 1) rattles (rear doors, sliding door), 2) rusty pin dots on the rear door (probably "raildust"), 3) failed lumbar inflators (both sides), or anything at all?

    If it was drive train related I might understand (if they gave me a loaner while I was down waiting for them to get back from Hawaii). These things are not "Sprinter" related, they are simple, non-mechanical, and routine.

    One lumbar pumper won't pump, I can feel the inlet valve rolling around in it. The other one seems to pump, but doesn't pump up the bladder. I am not a fan of the Lumbar supports, but I don't want to let it go either.

    KenB :(
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    I'm also a skeptic on mileage claims. I don't trust electronic readouts and usually they are fudging to make the car look better than it is. I know my Passat TDI is about 2 mpg over actual mileage. I keep all my vehicles in a spreadsheet. Old habit. I was quite pleased with the mileage we got going through the Rockies and home on Interstates 10 & 8. I tried to maintain 65-70 MPH on the Interstate. I was passed a lot which gives a bit of a crosswind. I would say that is what I like least about the Sprinter.
  • 2000_valk2000_valk Posts: 68
    I picked my 04 up on dec 31 04. Just for curiosity I kept a log of every fill up, price per gallon and mileage.I may have missed a couple at most. Now, it is just habit. I also mark it with an A for air on if Its hot that week. Or cold with a C. When It gets cold the turbo heat is turned on. Some of those times I run the van to keep warm or to keep cool when I sit and work in it. I hit the freeway in the morning, Do my service calls, and home on the freeway. alot of times I am almost maxxed out being pushed by speeders. I have gotten 17 plus (reeally cold, turbo heat on most of the time) being the worst, And 24 plus the best. I have not had it on a trip, But can only imagine the mileage would be great. Just filled it an hour ago and it was 21.87. In all I look back on my older ford and gm days and think of the 9-12 mpg. The 3K oil changes. A friend bought my 99 gmc with 180.000 on it. Just about breakin for a diesel. The body is great but a tired engine. List upon request, Tom :)
  • nescosmonescosmo Posts: 453
    :) gagrice I am new to the forum you know me from the other forum. I bought a 3500 sprinter on 11-9-05 and it is the most wander full van that I ever bought. the oil have 4ooo miles and you still can see the golden color of the oil. the van is a dream for me after ford E150, I will never buy a ford again I had problems from the fist day I bought it. the last month that I had it cost me $400.00 in gas. at 20 to 30 miles to a gallon on the sprinter I am a reach man.
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