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Old 09-12-2013, 05:33 PM   #1
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Flat Towing the Sprinter Van

I have a 2013 Sprinter Van, 3500 series. I am setting it up for towing. I am about to have the drive line disconnect installed by Southwest Driveline Service. Would like to get feedback from any who have gone this route with a late model MB Sprinter. I understand that a dozen or so have been modified.

Gary
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Old 09-12-2013, 05:37 PM   #2
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What are you towing ?
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Old 09-12-2013, 05:49 PM   #3
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This is a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van. I am outfitting it as my shop. I have a Smithy lathe/milling machine, a Shopsmith and a full range of hand tools.

It's my version of "taking it with you."

Gary
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Old 09-12-2013, 05:56 PM   #4
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Oops. I thought you were towing something else with the Sprinter :(.
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:05 PM   #5
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The smallest Sprinter weighs in at 5600+ pounds, then you're adding all those tools too? I hope you are pulling it with a Class IV 10,000 lb. (minimum) hitch. That's quite a load!
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:38 AM   #6
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You bet! I am using a 2001 Alpine with a Cummins ISC and an Allison 3000 six speed tranny as the tow vehicle. I am already towing the same tools in a Haulmark cargo van. I have the lathe/milling machine in place and lots of hand tools. I have a 200 lb Shopsmith to go and we are tipping the scales at 7550.

We will be using a 20,000 lb tow bar and SMI "Plug and Play" brake system.

My biggest concern is that I void a chunk of my warranty as soon as I cut into that drive line and it is a complex 3 piece job.

Gary
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Old 09-16-2013, 09:46 AM   #7
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In spite of what manufacturers will tell you, they can't void their entire warranty for a failure, of any kind, unless it can be shown that the modifications contributed to the failure. That's not to say they might not get "creative" in trying to make a link, or that you might have to push the issue.

Certainly any driveshaft failures would be excluded, and I can imagine if you ever had a transmission or rear end problem they'd claim there was a causal link to your mods, but I don't see how they could go beyond that.
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Old 10-11-2013, 11:16 AM   #8
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Update on Sprinter Van

By mid October I am only partially ready to tow. I had the SMI Stay-in-Play Duo brake system and the Blue Ox 20,000 lb tow bar and baseplate installed. I had the work done by Specialties RV out of Aurora OR and I am very pleased with their work.

The driveline disconnect is the issue. It has a three piece drive line and it is taking forever to get the kit to do the job.

I am currently working daily on installing benches and power tools in the van. Sure like the way this van drives.

Gary
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Old 10-23-2013, 03:43 PM   #9
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Why can't you drop the driveshaft and tie it away from the diff. Somewhere?
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:52 PM   #10
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I'm not trying be smart, I am thinking of using a sprinter as a toad to haul my Harley trike inside and was curious if that is all you would need to do. I have a driveshaft disconnect on my h3 hummer. it was about an hours work to install.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:56 AM   #11
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Disconnect and Tie Off

This is an acceptable alternative. Mercedes service manager cautioned me to install new bolts each time I do that. These are single use bolts. Be sure and mark the orientation so you can put it back as it was when they balanced it.

The reason for the quick disconnect, however, is that when we are traveling we could be hooking the van to the coach daily.

I am still waiting for my quick disconnect kit from Superflow in Des Moines, IA. They are back-ordered from their machine shop.

Winter is coming on and I am getting nervous.

Gary
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Old 01-09-2014, 08:54 PM   #12
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Smile Sprinter Van is Complete

We finished the last task today. The drive line disconnect was done by Southwest Driveline Service in Yuma, AZ. We had to tandem drive the coach and van from Oregon here to get the work completed. No one in Portland would touch the Mercedes Sprinter.

Here is a summary of what went into this project:
2013 Mercedes Sprinter, 3500 series, 170" wheel base, but not the extra long one. It has a 9990 lb GVW. I am a tad over 9,000 lb.
SMI Stay-in-play Duo brake system.
Blue Ox base-plate and 20,000 lb tow bar, pintle style
Remco driveline disconnect (SuperFlo)

I had the brakes, lights and base-plate installed by Specialties RV in Aurora, OR
Southwest Driveline Service in Yuma AZ did the drive line disconnect.

After hooking up I rode in the van around a couple of blocks in Yuma while Judy drove. I wanted to see how the rig reacted. The pintle style connection has about 3/8 inch play and there is a noticeable jar whenever the slack swaps sides. The Sprinter was an obedient toad and had no issues with S turns. Judy thought it towed a bit hard. When I took back over and released the parking brake it towed much easier.

We towed it about 100 miles back to Quartzsite this afternoon. There are stretches of rough road along 95 in this area of Arizona. We both thought the Sprinter was a little more work to herd it along than the Haulmark trailer that it replaced, but nothing serious.

Gary
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Old 01-10-2014, 12:29 PM   #13
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Gary,
Sounds great. I presume you leave the sprinter in Park and MB is ok with that.

Chris
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Old 01-10-2014, 01:15 PM   #14
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Just wondering why you used a pintle style hitch instead of a ball? They make them up to 30,000 lbs towing capacity.
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