I have been looking at used Sprinters on ebay, some with over 200,000 miles. Is this just asking for trouble? Normally I would not consider such a vehicle but it would be ideal for my home repair/ handyman work. Any thoughts on this?
The few guys I know that have them are commercial duty, high mileage and like them. But they are more expensive and expensive to repair if the mileage is up there, and I think you’d be much better served by an easier to repair and buy Chevrolet Express/GMC Savana work van. There are a gazillion out there for a reason.
My mechanic does a lot of fleet work, and he told me about a month ago, the number 1 problem he sees with Sprinters is transmission failure. The reason? Apparently the owners manual states that the fluid doesn’t need to be changed. When he advises customers to change the transmission fluid, they look at him like he’s just trying to take their money. Then a year or two later they come back to have the transmission replaced. Anecdotal evidence, sure. But you might want to ask for records of transmission fluid changes. Hope this helps.
The Ford E-series would be cheaper. Most ambulances are this van. I’ve only seen one Sprinter ambulance. That should say something.
YES, ABSOLUTELY trouble!!!The company I work for has around 15 Dodge & Freightliner Sprinters, used for long distance on-highway driving (easy on a vehicle), probably representing over 2 1/4 million miles of Sprinter experience. We frequently got 325,000-400,000 miles out of heavy duty diesel vans of US makes without replacing major components, so we are not so hard on trucks, and we expected the same experience on these re-badged (Mercedes) trucks. Instead we have had a lot of major transmission problems (including on a truck brand new off the lot, and others at very low mileage). We have also had lots of body problems (bad rust that pops out everywhere, door shut problems, lock problems, leaks) and lots of engine problems (a number of harmonic balancers that fell off, turbos, injectors at lower miles than expected). Repairs are usually exceptionally expensive, sometimes ineffective, it is hard to find anybody willing to work on the things, they are hard to work on, breakdowns often involve very long distance tows, and even the mechanics at authorized dealers have bad things to say off the record. Compared to our fleet experience with other makes, we have found the Sprinters much more costly to run, much less reliable, much more costly to fix, and many of our drivers consider their 200,000 mile 4 year old Sprinters to be rolling pieces of junk. When another sprinter limps home on less cylinders again or dies and is towed off for repairs we sometimes have an office pool on the repair cost, with most of the guesses seeming to cluster in the $4,000 to $9,000 range.
did your crankshaft pulley ever fall off? Just about everyone I’ve talked to who drives one for work has mentioned that happening. Happened to my office’s Sprinter too.
Have you considered a Transit Connect by Ford? You can get a really nice new one for under $30k
Oh Yes: absolutely. Harmonic balancer and crankshaft pulley are different names for the same thing on these trucks. They fell off a lot of our trucks at around 90,000-100,000 miles. Don’t know if it was on most of the trucks, but certainly it was a large number of them. When it came off it tended to damage a variety of other things in the process. I knew the cost on only a couple cases and it was upwards of about $2,500. Those that caused more damage to the crankshaft or radiator or whatever were considerably more expensive. Plus usually several hundred dollars for the tow to the nearest dealer. Plus around $450 or so for a rental van until the sprinter was fixed. Plus wasted trips back to recover the trucks once they were fixed, and the breakdowns were sometimes a 6 or 8 hour round trip away from our nearest office, so figure another $700 in lost revenue.