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Mars Hotel 07-17-2021 08:53 PM

Ford vs. Sprinter
Need some input from the experienced. We are looking to buy a used Class B with a rear bath. Limited already by that to a few manufacturers and models. We know Sprinter diesel has better gas mileage and lasts for over 200K but has very high priced maintenance. The Ford gets slightly less mileage, is less expensive to maintain but has maybe half the engine life. Thoughts please on what direction we may consider taking. Thanks.

Massparanoia 07-17-2021 09:01 PM

Durability is subjective as it really depends on the owner. I sold commercial trucks for Chrysler back when the sprinter was sold through Dodge dealers, and yes the sprinter is expensive to maintain. Especially now when you’re paying Mercedes Benz labor rates, not dodge.

kenandterry 07-17-2021 09:04 PM

Not sure where you would get verified mileage maximums for either vehicle platform. Diesels vs gas. I would bet either can be troublesome without ongoing regular maintenance.

I’ve never owned a diesel powered anything, but I have had gas powered engines in my cars and motorcycles that exceeded 200,000 MILES without major interruption or major expense.

Maybe I wasn’t comparing a Mercedes versus the Ford E450 with the Triton V10 engine, but not sure where you’d find specifics that it wouldn’t stand the test of time.

rarebear.nm 07-17-2021 09:34 PM

We went through the same process a year or two ago.

I've always liked diesel engines in RVs for a variety of reasons. In the smaller Class C world that pretty much was the Sprinter. However in our area finding anyone that will/can service the Sprinter is very hard. Also in much of the west a breakdown in a Sprinter can mean a tow of a few hundred miles. The Sprinter has a much smaller OCCC rating. So depending on how much stuff you carry this can be a real issue. It was to us. I've had three three cars that were very experience for almost any service. Never again. Thus IMO Ford with the V10 in a E450 chassis was the only option.

Because of our feature requirements the only two RVs that fit our requirements were the Coach House 272xl and the Phoenix Cruiser. Almost identical floor plans.

For some people the Sprinter makes a lots of sense fro us it became a non-starter.

Capt Steve 07-17-2021 09:39 PM

Say what?
What in the world makes you think a decently maintained V-10 is only good for 100K miles? What makes you think MB is automatically good for 200K miles?
IMHO: Your sources of information are a bit lacking in the real world credibility... to say the least.

As to which chassis makes the most sense it always comes down to how you are actually going to use it. If you are going to tow/load heavy get the V-10. If mileage is a serious issue go with the MB but know that the actual costs of operation are not limited to the price of gas/diesel.

A V-10 should get you around 9 mpg +/- and an MB will deliver around 15/16. do the math and your decision will get easier, not to mention better informed.
The V-10 is the most bullet proof gasser ever made. Simple and cheap to maintain with service and parts available darn near anywhere.
The MB is a fine chassis but has its limits when it comes to torque/towing capability. Maintenance is tougher to find and far more expensive when compared head to head with the V-10.

It all comes down to how you are going to use the rig the most... buy the one that is the least compromise for that use, suck it up and pay what it costs to do so.

Just sayin...


CamJam1 07-17-2021 09:42 PM

As he's talking about Class B, I assume OP was referring to the Ford Transit chassis rather than the E-450.

RetiredbutWorking 07-17-2021 10:03 PM

Nothing against the MB Sprinter chassis, I'm sure it is a fine machine. That being said, when you are travelling across rural North America, which service center do you think will be easier to find, Ford or MB?

604eholston 07-18-2021 06:05 AM


Originally Posted by RetiredbutWorking (Post 5835970)
Nothing against the MB Sprinter chassis, I'm sure it is a fine machine. That being said, when you are travelling across rural North America, which service center do you think will be easier to find, Ford or MB?

It is indeed true that Mercedes Sprinter servicenters are scarce, there are more frequent Freightliner service dealers who are fully qualified to service these vehicles as are many independent shops.

Mars Hotel 07-18-2021 08:29 AM

Great Input for Us
Most of the info we gathered before your input was from reading other posts on blogs we subscribe to. Yes, always difficult to get real gas mileage as too many factors and individual driving habits effect them. Estimated life of gas vs. diesel was also just numbers from people.

It appears to be realistic the cost of a MB repair, maintenance and availability when needed is much more difficult than a simple Ford engine. I gathered from all the answers that a gas Ford Transit Class B would be a smarter choice than the Sprinter. We sold our Ford conversion van recently and never had major issues on road even on 10K trip a couple years ago.

Thanks for the responses. Now we will shut up and listen.

MarkSaxton 07-25-2021 05:14 PM

FWIW - our Sprinter Class B weighs about 10k fully loaded and has a roof rack and a cargo box on the roof. At about 30k miles the trip computer reports 13.3 mpg overall.

No breakdowns so far, scheduled maintenance is pricey (the 25k maintenance was about 700).

BillJinOR 07-25-2021 05:41 PM

How many miles do you intend to drive per year in an RV ? Most, never reach the engines potential diesel or gas before the chassis/ house is shot. The Ford transit has gotten great reviews. Re the Sprinter … My daughter who was CS for a newer Mercedes dealer that had lifts and clearance to service them and said they were “a problem”. That means she had to deal with unhappy customers! The sprinter has maint cost and issues with bio diesel above 5% which at least in the west is difficult to avoid. I’m not sure MB has totally fixed that problem
I’ve been looking at possible downsizing in a few years as we are no longer “full time” and the Ford Transit is my top pick. I spent a lot of time chatting with owners when we camp hosted. I wouldn’t throw out a good deal on the perfect floor plan , but I would think long and hard as you are.

rarebear.nm 07-25-2021 08:36 PM

Last time I looked the Transit and Sprinter have almost the same weight limits. That was a one reason for our decision to go with the E450 chassis. Service centers and costs were the major reasons against the Sprinter.

Mars Hotel 07-26-2021 07:09 AM

Looks Like a No Brainer Decision — Thanks All
After reading all the replies from the group of experienced people who answered my question it appears Ford is the overwhelming choice over the MB Sprinter. While it limits the number of makes and models of the Class B we are looking for, once we have it the payback will be well worth it. Who needs to worry about fixing an engine issue in the middle of a trip when the nearest MB repair place is several hundred miles away… Again, we thank you……..

KanzKran 07-26-2021 08:40 AM

One consideration I haven't seen mentioned is the generator, if it will have one. The Sprinter is a diesel, but the Class B's I looked into on the Sprinter chassis all had propane powered generators. Generators gobble propane pretty quickly, while gasoline generators pull from the van's tank. So if you intend to use the generator a lot, it's something to consider.

I don't have a generator at all, and didn't want one, so that wasn't a concern of course. But it would have been a concern if I was considering a unit with a generator that I intended to actually use.

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