Van Opinions (Transit, Sprinter, Ram, etc.)

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2/26/2018 1:59 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/26/2018 2:00 PM

I know van topics have been brought up plenty so I apologize for another topic. Just bought a 2018 CrewMax Tundra and love it...except the average of 14mpg hahaha (yes, I knew it would be that before I bought it). I'm beginning to toy with the idea of a van for trips (both moto and cycling) and was curious as to everyones suggestion on brands...and why you might suggest it. I'm NOT wanting a standard cargo van but rather a Sprinter style van. Do I go diesel or stick with gasoline? I know it's weight dependent (on what I'm hauling) but what's some of the better MPG models I should look at...could I potentially find something in the 22+mpg range? I'd prefer a long wheelbase (not dually though) AND high roof, both I know decreasing my mpg haha. Just curious of first hand experiences and what some suggestions might be I look at.


2/26/2018 2:09 PM

I'd read this:

and this

before buying a diesel anything. Especially a Sprinter.

Wish Mercedes would put one of their sweet gas engines in a Sprinter like they did in '08.


2/26/2018 2:31 PM

Having owned two of the three, and spent plenty of time on road trips in the third I will try to present my opinion on each.

I first owned a Sprinter. It was a great huge van that I owned for around 50,000 miles. I bought it with 188,000 miles which yes is high but not necessarily for a sprinter. I had several weird issues with my sprinter and it is very hard to get parts for them and even harder to get someone to work on them. I ended up doing most of the work on mine myself. Pretty well built quality wise but they rust very quickly especially living in the midwest. They are also quite a it morre initially and hold their value better for some reason.
Average mpg 16-18 MPG almost always highway. 2008 pre-def 170ext.

I will update on the other two in a hour or two once I get home.


2/26/2018 2:41 PM

Just go with the 6 speed twin turbo gas Transit. Over 400 ft pounds torque and 325hp. Handles way better than a sprinter and costs less.


2/26/2018 2:44 PM

I have owned 2 sprinters, 1st one was a 04 that I had over 400,000 miles on it when the motor failed. I purchased a engine and currently putting it together to sell. I purchased a 12 with 146,000 on it. My son was hurt and the sprinter sat and the intakes are known to carbon up. It did. I just recently replaced them. They are not bad to work on and the payback is worth it. Mine are 170" models and the 12 has rooftop air and gets 19-21mpg. The 04 was better. I agree the sprinters hold there value better and with good reason. They are worth it. You cant beat the ride and the room.


2/26/2018 3:03 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/26/2018 3:24 PM

Nissan NV2500HD. That's what I'm holding my money for.

Its based on the Titan pickup which seem to be pretty reliable. Traditional body on frame construction. Two roof heights offered, but only one wheelbase. Longer truck style front end, makes for roomier driving compartment and more room under the hood for easier maintenance.

Other than that, the tall long wheel base Transit 350 looks pretty nice. Wish they offered it with the 5.0L V8 though.


2/26/2018 3:18 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/26/2018 3:21 PM

Ive owned two ford transits both extended. The extended holds its value very well and I was able to buy it with 75k and sell it with 105k for the same price. The transit is the best van I have driven. It turns well, tons of room, plenty of options. Great build quality. Good paint- no rust. My first one was the v6 3.7 liter and that motor was bulletproof. Never did anything but change the oil. But the 3.7 is gutless and will downshift 2 gears on Midwest hills and rev out with cruise on. Only caviat about this motor. And 14-18mpg highway.
I currently have the 3.2l powerstroke diesel and it’s amazing. So much power and the transmission shifts effortlessly. It hardly downshifts going through the mountains. 20mpg average highway with at tires. Issues I’ve had with the diesel have been def related, I have found someone to delete it but don’t want to loose my warranty yet. This winter I was having quite a few issues with it gelling up due to the fuel filter placement. A lot of winterizer will fix this haha.

My buddy has the promaster and I’ve taken it on several road trips. I look at the promaster like the transits under developed little brother. It’s just not as well thought out and the quality is not there. Weird noises and if you pull anything you will get stuck on gravel inclines. Weird ergonomics. I’m just not a fan. His has the gas motor and it’s like the 3.7 liter transit that is underpowered. And the promaster diesel has had heaps of peoblems.


2/26/2018 4:13 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/26/2018 4:22 PM

I debated the Transit and Sprinter for well over a year and ultimately settled on a Sprinter 170 2x4. The Transit's are nice and drive well but I just preferred the look of the Sprinter over the Transit, although I've seen some badass looking Transits. I ended up getting a Sprinter Crew model, which has the bench seat behind the driver and passenger along with side windows.

I'm currently in the midst of upfitting my Sprinter and so far it's been a joy to work on. They are very well built vehicles. The one downside to the Transit is the lack of available upfitting companies, in particular those that manufacture parts and accessories. RB Components and Adventure Wagon probably make some of the best upfitting parts and neither make anything specifically for the Transit (although RB makes a lot of great universal stuff).


2/26/2018 4:34 PM

Motocross Kid wrote:

I debated the Transit and Sprinter for well over a year and ultimately settled on a Sprinter 170 2x4. The Transit's are nice ...more

Is your sprinter crew model loud? I really wish transit would offer a crew model or Mercedes would offer a gas engine as I’ve had bad experience with def. we drove a cargo transit and my wife hated how loud it was without insulation.


2/26/2018 4:52 PM

My use is for a camper van rather than moto van. And I've only driven the one I went with... that said, my choice was ford. Rationale was that it was a LOT cheaper than MB. Not just purchase price, but ongoing maintenance. Plus there are ford dealers everywhere, and having the same engine (ecoboost 3.5 turbo) as the F-150 makes for good parts availability. The Ram is tempting, and the square sides make for good use of cargo space. I was concerned with dodge/fiat quality, or lack thereof, and reports that it's not the most comfortable to drive.

I can say that my low roof, 130 wheelbase Ford is pleasant to drive. It's quieter with the interior built out. The 3.5 liter turbo does not lack for power IMO.


2/26/2018 4:52 PM

I ended up going with the Mercedes, just because it's such a proven platform and they're rock solid reliable. You're going to find horror stories on every vehicle, just like you'll find them for every single bike here, there will always be issues. I can say I was a little put off when I went to test drive a Ford, and they couldn't let me due to a drive shaft coupler recall though. . .

I ended up driving both of them, which I highly suggest, and I decided that I liked the Mercedes better personally. Both seemed like great vehicles, but I just liked the feel and build of the Mercedes that much better. Mine is a 144 high roof, and I bought it used with 200 miles on it so I got a killer deal, but I would definitely recommend going with the high roof like you were leaning towards.

As far as price goes, you're going to end up paying more for a Ford with a diesel then you would for the Mercedes with a diesel, and if you compare the gas to diesel you are only saving about $5000 realistically when all is said and done on comparable vans. If the 5k is worth it to you then get the Ford, but for me personally it just didn't bridge the gap of how much more I liked the Mercedes.


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2/26/2018 4:57 PM
Edited Date/Time: 2/26/2018 5:20 PM

Pirate421 wrote:

Is your sprinter crew model loud? I really wish transit would offer a crew model or Mercedes would offer a gas engine as I’ve ...more

My Sprinter is about as quiet as a normal car (minus the occasional van creak) but that's because I have sound deadening material throughout the van. The Crew model does not come with any sort of insulation or sound deadening but you can get the factory "rear insulation" add-on, which came with my van. I think it's only $150). It's just 1/8" thick x 3" wide strips of rubber adhered to the lower rear walls and ceiling. It actually works pretty well (compared to vans without) but not as effective as fully covering the walls and floor with a butyl rubber sound deadening material.

I used a material called "Mojomat' which is the same thing as the more popular Dynamat. It's a butyl rubber backed aluminum sheet that you place wherever there are flat metal surfaces. This is what helps eliminate the tin can sound that you experience in most cargo vans. I placed a layer of Thinsulate insulation over the top of the Mojomat and then over the top of the Thinsulate is a layer of Reflectix with breather slits cut into it. It took about 3-4 days to finish the insulation at a cost of about $1500 when it's all said and done. Thinsulate is really expensive and there are cheaper alternatives.

The walls will ultimately be lined with tweed covered plywood that is common in most upfit vans.



2/26/2018 6:01 PM

I own a Nissan NV turbo diesel van. Great for hauling bikes


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