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Old 09-16-2020, 05:33 PM   #1
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Sprinter 2500 vs 3500?

This winter I intend to buy a MB Sprinter conversion, probably new. I've never owned a van or RV, so this is new stuff to me and I have a lot of info to digest before buying. I do have a big boat though, and a lot of the subsystems are the same.

The EB 3500 has more room, but how is it in parking lots and generally driving in traffic? Any comments about the two different sizes from a user perspective would be appreciated. I won't be taking it off-road but I'll still get 4WD for winter driving.
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Old 09-16-2020, 05:50 PM   #2
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I don't think you'll notice much difference. Test drive both, and see what works for you. The new VS30 vans have had their share of recalls, but they have a lot of fancy new tech built in that makes driving them simpler and safer. You'll get the hang of it, either way, either length.
You're going to drive in snow/slush and road salt? You'd probably do less damage (corrosion) off roading with a 4WD model.
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Old 09-16-2020, 09:53 PM   #3
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We had the same concerns regarding the longer Sprinter 3500 (170 EXT). We had no intention of buying one because we figured it would be too long. Then, last week an opportunity to buy a used Airstream Interstate of that length, in beautiful condition, fell into our laps and we did so. We've had it out for several drives, have taken it to the grocery store, and such like. It handles surprisingly well for being such a beast. The turning radius is shorter than we expected, and while yeah, it's a little bit long for a single space, we've found there's usually a spot to park it without too much drama. It also helps immensely that the van is no wider than any other standard vehicle. That said, we'd still have preferred a shorter vehicle, such as the shorter Sprinter, or the extended new Ford Transit, but finding this one as a used RV gives us a lot of headroom to make improvements. We also figured that since this is our very first Class B motor home / conversion, there's probably a whole lot we don't really know yet about "van life," so we might as well start with something we can play around with and then trade in later without taking too much of a beating once we figure out by experience what we really wanted.
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Old 09-17-2020, 05:06 AM   #4
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Don't worry about the length of the 3500. This was my first RV also and the driving is wonderful. Never had a problem driving or parking anywhere we went. You will always find a parking spot. GPS recently sent us down a deserted road that was more like a path instead of a road. The 3500 performed perfectly through the twisty-turny sand road. We drove it on Daytona beach also.
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Old 09-17-2020, 05:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken 3d View Post
The EB 3500 has more room, but how is it in parking lots and generally driving in traffic?
In the middle of a parking lot, just take two spaces, pull-through style. Around the perimeter, if there's lots of room far from other vehicles, like in a mall, parallel park it, taking up multiple spaces.

Or back it in, with the rear overhanging the curb, especially if there aren't a lot of spaces. Fits quite well in a standard space, and is how I usually park it.

As to traffic, it's just a van. Like Amazon's vans. Top-heavy and weighing a lot, but it's still a van. And it's not quite as wide as the Ford Transit 3500 or the Dodge ProMaster, either.

(hint: no ID or clearance lights up top, which is a DOT requirement for vehicles over 80" wide. Both Transit 3500 and ProMaster have them, while the Sprinter does not and is 79.5" wide.)
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:33 AM   #6
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Maybe time to update GPS

Quote:
Originally Posted by cowboy70 View Post
GPS recently sent us down a deserted road that was more like a path instead of a road. The 3500 performed perfectly through the twisty-turny sand road. We drove it on Daytona beach also.
I agree with the others, driving the 3500 is no big deal at all, especially given the car-sized width.
BTW, if your GPS is the Rand McNally that Winnebago puts in you might want to try updating your maps at https://www.randmcnally.com/support/s/dock-software
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Old 09-17-2020, 07:07 AM   #7
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One cautionary note: Before backing your camper van over a curb to hang the rear out over the grass, please do check the clearance underneath. I've seen a van or two that had stuff hanging low enough back there such that backing up over the curb without verifying clearance could hit a water tank with the curbing. It's probably fine, but know your rear undercarriage clearance before backing up over that curb.
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Old 09-17-2020, 07:35 AM   #8
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One cautionary note: Before backing your camper van over a curb to hang the rear out over the grass, please do check the clearance underneath.
Good point. I always check mine by backing up until the curb is at the bottom of the view on the screen from the camera, which puts the trailer hitch almost at the curb. That hitch, by the way, has skid bars under it, but I digress.

My van has one mud flap with a hole burned in it. Since the exhaust is behind it, it would seem that the first owner got it hooked on a curb of some sort and pulled ahead enough to flex it enough to contact the exhaust pipe.

Fortunately for me, there is no generator under there, or I would imagine it would have been damaged. Nothing under there but a spare tire which is pretty high up, and the exhaust pipe, which would be the first thing to hit any obstacle. But if I back up far enough, those mud flaps can get hooked on whatever is under there.
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Old 09-21-2020, 07:48 PM   #9
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Thanks for the comments and insights.
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