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FS: 2011 Mercedes Sprinter Conversion in Seattle



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Brent D · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 137

Hello MPers, I thought some of you may be interested in this one. We have a 2011 Mercedes Sprinter 2500 Camper Conversion (144" wheelbase) with ~115,000 miles. The van was purchased and converted earlier this year, but is now having some mechanical issues so we've decided to part with it as we just don't have the money to put into it at the moment. We wish we did; this is a great home for anyone constantly on the road, and a lot of love and hard work went into this build.


If you've dreamed of living the dirtbag life but not sure if you could fully commit to sleeping in your car, then this is your answer.


The conversion was done by me, and has performed amazingly over the past 4 months in town and traveling across the country. Van runs entirely off solar and alternator power. Features include the following:


- 4 warm-light LED overhead lights

- FloJet Water pump and working faucet / undermount sink (with 5 gallon fresh and greywater tanks)

- butcher block counter top

- Whynter 45q DC fridge in pull-out drawer

- 2 x 190ah AGM batteries (they don't vent when charging, compared to sealed lead acid batteries which vent explosive gases)

- 1 USB charger, 2 DC chargers

- 3 overhead cabinets with soft-close hinges

- 1 floor to ceiling cabinet with room for inflatable stand up paddleboard, clothes, and other materials

- floating laminate floor

- Fantastic brand ceiling vent/fan

- Compact AC Inverter for charging AC electronics (laptops, camera batteries, etc).

- Renogy Rover 40A MPPT Solar Charge Controller

- 2 x Renogy 100W Solar Panels

- BlueSea ACR (for charging the house batteries off the alternator while driving)

- Aftermarket Stereo with ipod/bluetooth inputs and backup camera

- 6 inch foam mattress which converts from couch to almost-queen size bed (72" long by 60" wide)

- locking drawers under the bed for your valuables (yes, they will hold heaps and heaps of climbing gear)

- light-blocking curtains between the cab and the cargo area

- reflectix window covers that keep the van much much cooler than without

- Insulated with a combination of thinsulate and foam board. Much better than the denim or fiberglass insulation, which molds or is hazardous to your health.


Recent service items include the following


- EGR Valve Replaced

- New Front Brake Pads and Wear Sensors

- Transmission Service (Fluid and Filter)

- AC Recharge (AC is running cold and has been for the last 10k miles!)

- New Starter Motor

- New TPMS Valve on front passenger side tire

- Engine Oil and Filter with Mercedes Benz approved oil

- O2 sensor in exhaust system replaced

- New #4 Spark Plug

- Records of all the maintenance we performed


So that's all the good stuff, what about the bad?


- Needs a good amount of work on the exhaust system to bring it up to speed. Van still runs but will intermittently lose ability to rev over 3000 RPM until you shut it off and turn it back on. MB dealer quoted $7500 for an exhaust system overhaul but said they could get it down to $6500. Obviously an independent shop could do it cheaper. Obviously YOU could do it even cheaper if you are mechanically inclined. Can provide a scanned version of their suggestions for repair.

- There are your usual dents and dings you would expect from a fleet vehicle.

- Some panel rust (but extremely clean underneath the body)

- Some cupping on the front right tire (needs alignment and tire rotation)

- Some condensation in the passenger side light when it rains a lot

- Passenger side rear wheel fender is cracked and currently duct taped together.  


Clean title. No accidents or other issues reported on carfax or by the dealer.


Asking price is $23,500, let me know if you have any questions


Brent D · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 137

fuzzy muzzle · · Seattle · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 0

Dude, that thing's got crabs!

Brent D · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 137

For any interested parties: the only STD this van has is a sometimes troublesome diesel. 

N Nelsen · · Thornton, NH · Joined Jun 2010 · Points: 140

I literally just re-registered my tacoma, deciding I would wait a while for a van. I wish I had seen this two weeks ago!

Brent D · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 137
N Nelsen wrote:

I literally just re-registered my tacoma, deciding I would wait a while for a van. I wish I had seen this two weeks ago!

I heard the n+1 rule applies to adventure vehicles as well! 

caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 75

What is so wrong with the exhaust system that requires that much work? I'm very surprised at a Sprinter with only 115k on it would need that much work. 

Brent D · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 137
caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 75
bdosch wrote:

Yup! So was I.  Apparently it is not uncommon. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fatal-flaw-mercedes-benz-sprinters-tom-robertson

Holy fuck. I would not have bought a sprinter if I had read that article.

caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 75

You should just do an DEF/EGR delete and mod. You just take out the whole DEF system and have the engine retuned. Diesel tuning shops do it. Would cost $1800 max. You get about 30% boost in HP and torque too.

Brent D · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 137

To be fair his price for the egr was a bit inflated. I replaced mine myself and it was $300 for the part and about 10 minutes of labor. However, apparently the egr needs to be reprogrammed to the system so that's another $150 of labor at mb. 


Also, it's not guaranteed that the van will have these issues. This guy makes it sound like it's a sure thing but I know of quite a few people who have 200+ on theirs and haven't had an issue. Definitely a common problem, but not guaranteed. 


I like your idea of the def/egr delete. If I bought another sprinter I would probably go that direction. Does it mess with any emissions testing for inspection purposes? 

Brent D · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 137

In risk of hijacking my own thread... I have some advice to offer any sprinter owners from many many hours on forums trying to diagnose these issues: 


- there is a huge debate as to whether one should always keep the def topped off or wait until the "add def" message comes on. You can do the research and make your own decision. I think in the future I would wait until the message comes up. 

- Don't idle. Idling is supposedly the #1 cause of issues with these vans 

- Put the pedal to the floor fairly frequently. This will crank the engine temp and help to clean out the diesel particulate filter. 

- use only the sprinter approved motor oil. I used the Mobil 1, advanced emissions standards or something. 

- use a cetane booster on your diesel. A lot of the fuel you can get varies in quality, and using a cetane booster can ensure that everything is running cleaner. 

caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 75
bdosch wrote:

To be fair his price for the egr was a bit inflated. I replaced mine myself and it was $300 for the part and about 10 minutes of labor. However, apparently the egr needs to be reprogrammed to the system so that's another $150 of labor at mb. 


Also, it's not guaranteed that the van will have these issues. This guy makes it sound like it's a sure thing but I know of quite a few people who have 200+ on theirs and haven't had an issue. Definitely a common problem, but not guaranteed. 


I like your idea of the def/egr delete. If I bought another sprinter I would probably go that direction. Does it mess with any emissions testing for inspection purposes? 

Yes, it does mess with emissions testing. Don't do it if you live in a state that does emissions testing because you won't pass. It's supposed to be "off-road only".  In the state where I register my van (Maine), you can do these mods and the state doesn't check. 

I own and live in a 2016 sprinter and I am paranoid about stuff going wrong. 

caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 75
bdosch wrote:

In risk of hijacking my own thread... I have some advice to offer any sprinter owners from many many hours on forums trying to diagnose these issues: 


- there is a huge debate as to whether one should always keep the def topped off or wait until the "add def" message comes on. You can do the research and make your own decision. I think in the future I would wait until the message comes up. 

- Don't idle. Idling is supposedly the #1 cause of issues with these vans 

- Put the pedal to the floor fairly frequently. This will crank the engine temp and help to clean out the diesel particulate filter. 

- use only the sprinter approved motor oil. I used the Mobil 1, advanced emissions standards or something. 

- use a cetane booster on your diesel. A lot of the fuel you can get varies in quality, and using a cetane booster can ensure that everything is running cleaner. 

Unfortunately, idling is something that happens A TON to fleet vehicles. I do floor it frequently. Another thing that these vans don't like is any biodiesel greater than B5. I accidentally put B20 in my van once and IMMEDIATELY had an issue that MB nicely fixed. Never again. Always check what the pump says.

After you replaced the EGR, what else needs fixing? You should check out https://sprinter-source.com/forum/  You might be able to DIY a bunch of stuff that is wrong.

Brent D · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2016 · Points: 137
caesar.salad wrote:

Unfortunately, idling is something that happens A TON to fleet vehicles. I do floor it frequently. Another thing that these vans don't like is any biodiesel greater than B5. I accidentally put B20 in my van once and IMMEDIATELY had an issue that MB nicely fixed. Never again. Always check what the pump says.

After you replaced the EGR, what else needs fixing? You should check out https://sprinter-source.com/forum/  You might be able to DIY a bunch of stuff that is wrong.

What *doesn't* need fixing would be a better question. Dpf needs to be replaced, both nox sensors (at 300 per sensor), adblue nozzles, and SCR. So basically every big ticket item in the exhaust system. 

However, with that said I posted a few days ago about it on sprinter source and heard from an independent mechanic who said "I doubt all that stuff needs to be done and if it does it won't cost what the dealer quoted you." However, we already have an offer pending so we are fine with parting ways to another buyer who will treat it well. Just interesting to note. 

caesar.salad · · earth · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 75

Yeah, often times those parts just need cleaning rather than replacement. I had a dealer try to charge me $227 to replace the cabin air filter last time I got the oil changed. That is a $20 part at autozone and 30 seconds of time under the hood. Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck dealers. Glad you got an offer. And I'm glad I stumbled on this thread and found out more about my sprinter.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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