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Mercedes Sprinter: Overview
Photographer and cyclist and Mac expert and software engineer Lloyd Chambers is available for consulting on general Sprinter considerations at his usual consulting rates via phone, or in person in the Palo Alto, CA area. Save yourself hours and mistakes by discussing issues up-front. More about Lloyd....
This page discusses the build options I chose for my 2017 Sprinter cargo van (to be delivered in late July 2017).
Choices would have been slightly different had I custom-ordered it, but a nationwide search turned up only one matching 4x4 HiLow HiTop van in the color I wanted (brilliant silver). But as it turns out, the options were nearly a perfect match for what I wanted.
Paint color is more than just a preference: a white or silver van is going to stay cooler in the sun than blue/black/brown. I was concerned about heat even with upfitting insulation, and I like silver, so I made that a requirement. I also think that the Sprinter looks very good in silver and silver paint is relatively uncommon, whereas there are thousands of generic white Sprinter vans running around (electricians, plumbers, etc, I saw a whole parking lot full of them on the way to Reno!). I wanted something that stood out from the working trades, and silver and black always look great.
My Sprinter came with steel wheels, but that that was OK since I’d want to go to 17" wheels with all terrain tires later anyway.
The long service life of the Sprinter makes it worthwhile to consider everything very carefully—it’s a long-term buy with upfitting, not a 3-4 year lease type of thing.
- The cargo van has options that the Crew and Passenger models do not. The Mercedes Build-Your-Own (BYO) page does not offer all options that can be added to the Cargo model.
- The cargo van is the best platform for upfitting; skip the Crew and Passenger van.
- Wait times are generally at least 6 months if you build your own (BYO), with 3-4 months just to ship itover the ocean to the USA, and reassemble it and then transport it to the dealer.
- Deals below MSRP are rare, at least in 2017 for 4x4 models. Production is constrained and dealers keep little stock, many of which are not the right mix of features. The ones configured well tend to disappear quickly.
- The 4 cylinder was discontinued in 2017, but may be resumed in 2018.
- Offroad use is not a good plan without the 4x4 option. The 4x4 requires the V6 engine.
- The 4x4 engine is underpowered for use with heavy builds and/or high altitude.
- The 4x4 is offered *without* a rear differential for HiLow range, so be sure to order 4x4 with the "ZG3 4x4 High Range w/Low Range Transfer Case".
- If you’re not in a hurry, the 2018 or 2019 models may be a complete redesign. The 2017 model is at the end of the design lifecycle.
- The 2nd battery option is a good idea, low cost and lots of extra power just in case.
- Don’t skimp on the van build in the context of an expensive build-out; it should have a very long service life.
For deciding sizes, Sprinter floorpan schematics can be found at RBComponents.com.
OWC Drive Dock for backup drives or extra storage.
USB-C about $119
USB 3.1 about $75
Thunderbolt 2 + USB about $180
Discussion of build items
The complete build list follows further below. This section discusses options I deem important to have or to consider.
D13 Roof Rails
I added roof rails upon delivery. Add roof rails before any upfitting even if there is no immediate desire for a roof rack, because adding them later means removing the headliner to install them.
AR2 Axle Ratio 3.92
This axel option comes with 4x4 HiLow, and is appropriate for that purpose.
LG0 Bi-xenon headlamps
This is the one option I really wish my Sprinter had come with (no retrofit available). However, the stock headlamps (halogen) are really good on the Sprinter, and a front LED light bar can be added to enhance night vision.
C01 Driver Comfort Package $570
The comfort seats and power outlets and additional seats are a given, for me at least.
- SB2 Comfort Passenger's Seat,
- SB1 Comfort Driver's Seat,
- FZ9 Keys - Two Additional Masters
- FJ1 I/P Hinged Lid-Center Stack Bin
- E46 12V Power Outlet- Driver Seat Base
C03 Active Safety Plus Package and C04 Active Safety Plus Package w/ Parktronic
This package rolls up many of the desirable options. I would have liked to have many of these features, but no Sprinter I could find included this package. The "JW5 Collision Lane Keeping Assist" might be a nuisance/bother, but everything else would be useful
Since many of the niftiest features are not on my Sprinter, I cannot speak to them, but I deem following worth looking at: H21 Windshield with filter band, EZ8 Parktronic System, CL4 Multifunction Steering Wheel w/trip computer, JK3 Pixel matrix display, JA7 Blind Spot Monitoring.
Includes for C04:
- CL4 Multifunction Steering Wheel w/trip computer
- EZ8 Parktronic System (PTS)
- JA5 Light and Rain Sensor JP2
- Driving Assistance Package Elements include: JA7 Blind Spot Monitoring, JA6 Prevention Assist, JW5 Collision Lane Keeping Assist, LA1 High Beam Assist
- JK3 Pixel matrix display
- F68 Heated and electrically adjustable mirrors
- H21 Windshield with filter band
- LD0 Overhead control panel with 2 reading light
- Y10 First aid kit
- Y45 Emergency Flash Light
H15 Heated Co-Driver Seat $260 and H16 Heated Driver Seat $260
Heated seats are mandatory for me—cool or cold mornings, or stiff muscles after a ride, etc. One Sprinter I found had a 32,000 BTU heating system—but not heated seats—don’t assume anything.
D03 Roof - High $2,500
This is a big ticket item, but worth it—I want to be able to walk from front to rear. At 5 feet 10 inches tall, I can stand up with about 4 inches of clearance even with hiking boots on. The extra height makes the van feel much more comfortable, as well as providing a larger air volume which takes longer to heat and cool, but also takes longer to get hot (or cold).
A van in which I cannot stand up straight is a non-starter. I was shown a Sportsmobile Sprinter build; it was not a HiRoof, and I could not stand up in it. Along with too many cabinets, it felt terribly cramped. Its popup tent feature seems useful, but who wants to popup and down the tent several times a day? Or just to pop it down to drive at all? Moreover that rooftop tent will not be much fun in sub-freezing temperatures, even without wind. I deem it unattractive for my high-mountain weather scenarios, including wind and rain and cold.
D93 Deletion of Cargo Partition (Standard)
The cargo partition separate driver and passenger from the rear of the van. This balkanizes the space in an unacceptable way, forcing one to exit the van and re-enter from the side or rear—not good for a camper van. Some sprinters come with this partition installed, raising the price by $470 plus the labor to remove it.
EN7 Audio 15 (Standard)
If really good audio is desired, it is better done aftermarket. This audio option is decent for casual usage.
FR8 Rear View Camera $677
I consider this essential even with rear windows; if backing up on a dirt road, it’s far too easy to back into a tree or rock that cannot be seen. Ditto for city use. The camera mounts on top at rear.
F68 Exterior Mirror - Power/Heated $264
Useful but not essential.
H20 Heat-Insulating Glass (Standard)
Anything that reduces heat intrusion (or exit on cold days) is worthwhile.
L63 Ceiling lights in load compartment $275
Don’t pay for these if upfitting, since upfitting will replace them.
MS1 Cruise Control $374
A car without cruise control is a disaster for journeys—essential feature
T16 Sliding Door- Right Side (Standard)
I wanted double door, but there is no such option, sliding door only.
V43 Cargo Van Wood Floor (Standard)
A good upfitter will replace the flooring (soundproofing, insulation, etc), but it comes this way standard.
V94 Cable duct on side wall and V95 Cable duct on rear portal
Presumably these are useful for running cables but I don't know—and they are no cost.
X04 Multi-function Wheel/Display Package $345
Includes: JK3 I/P Cluster Pixel Matrix, CL4 Multifunction Steering Wheel
The JK3 provides a much higher quality display—mandatory in my view. The CL4 is a good idea for longer drives.
X22 Trailer Hitch Package $370
Includes: Q24 Trailer Hitch, E40 Trailer Hitch - Wire Harness w/7 Pin Connector
A trailer hitch is good for a trailer or other add-ons, such as carrying a dirt bike or extra ice chest, etc. Given the modest cost, I would deem this option almost a must-have, even without immediate plans for using it.
Includes: E36 Cutoff Relay for Auxiliary Battery, E28 Auxiliary Battery 100 Amp
I would order this option, for more grunt under cold conditions and longer running time on the primary battery system. With the cutoff relay, it offers a great deal more power for built-in electrical items.
X30 Low & High Range 4x4 Package $7,495
Includes: ZG3 4x4 High Range w/Low Range Transfer Case, T75 Door mounted assist handles, driver & passenger
Pricy, but essential for off-roading. The 4x4 package requires the V6 engine which explains part of the cost increase.
The “ZG3 4x4 High Range w/Low Range Transfer Case” option is not a given—it is possible to come across foolishly ordered with only 4x4 drive, but not the ZG3 HiLow range option—avoid that if the vehicle will be heavy or used on steep grades or do any towing.
The ZG3 HiLow option has no locking differential, just a 1.4 reduction gear, regrettable.
Build as delivered
The build as delivered by Mercedes-Benz of Reno is shown below. It has most of what I wanted, a few things I did not (e.g., the interior lighting gets replaced when upfiting). While one can order customize van, at the time I ordered lead times were 9 months out—Sprinters are in high demand and sell at MSRP generally.
2017 M2CA4X $37995 744 Brilliant Silver Metallic $990
VY2 Tunja Black Upholstery SUBTOTAL $52,755 DESTINATION & DELIVERY $995 TOTAL $53,750
***** STANDARD ACCESSORIES *****
BB9 Electronic Stability Program (ESP9i) CL1 Adjustable Steering Wheel C42 Stabilizer Bar, Rear Axle C45 Stabilizer Bar - Reinforced Front ED8 Parametric Special Module (PSM) Preparation EE8 Battery 100 AMP/12V EK1 Body Builder Connector Under Driver Seat EL8 Radio Speakers, 5 Front ES0 Battery Positive Contact E07 Hill Start Assist E30 Starter Battery Disconnect FF5 Shelf Above Windshield FG8 Cupholder Centerstack FI1 Remote Key Fob - 315 MHZ F61 Rear View Mirror F66 Glove Box Lockable G40 Transmission - 5 Speed Auto HH2 Heater- Aux. Electric HotAir HH9 Air Conditioning - Front IG3 Sprinter Sales Designation JA8 Crosswind Assist J11 Tachometer in Miles J58 center console (429) J65 Outside Temperature Gauge KB7 24.5 gallon fuel tank KL1 Aux.Fuel Sending Unit KL5 Fuel Filter w/Water Separator K60 Exhaust Straight to Rear LB5 3rd LED Break Lamp Hi-Mounted LG6 Daytime driving lights LX7 North and South America L94 No Parking Lamps MG5 Engine-3.0 Turbo Diesel BlueTEC MH7 Emissions EPA 16/CARB M46 Alternator 14 V/220 A P47 Front Mud Flaps P48 Rear Mudflaps RF1 Continental Tires RH8 Tires LT245/75 R16 RM0 Tires All Season RM9 Specially Requested Tires RS3 Wheel Steel 6.5 X 16 RY2 Tire Pressure Monitor Lamp R65 Spare Tire Carrier below Frame R87 Spare Wheel - Steel SA5 Air Bag- Driver SA6 Air Bag- Passenger SH7 Airbag, Driver/Passenger Thorax SH9 Airbag, Driver/Passenger Window S22 Armrest for Driver Seat S25 Armrest for Passenger Seat T09 Sliding Door Ext Track V85 Ashtrays - Front WD5 Control code W54 Rear Doors 270 Degree Opening XC8 VIN# Visible from Outside XI6 Steering Code XL8 GVWR 8,550 lbs XM0 Facelift XQ1 VIN Encoded vehicle data with check digit XY7 Model Year 2017 XZ1 Model Generation 1 X42 Literature English Y43 Hydraulic Jack ZB6 Vehicle dismantle/re-assembly ZU8 Country Code - USA ZZ4 MB North America Execution Z44 Vehicle Registration NAFTA Z90 Deletion, Underfloor Preservation
***** OPTIONAL ACCESSORIES *****AR2 Axle Ratio 3.92 C01 Driver Comfort Package $570 SB2 Comfort Passenger's Seat SB1 Comfort Driver's Seat FZ9 Keys - Two Additional Masters FJ1 I/P Hinged Lid-Center Stack Bin E46 12V Power Outlet- Driver Seat Base D03 Roof - High $2,500 D93 Deletion of Cargo Partition (Standard) EN7 Audio 15 (Standard) FR8 Rear View Camera $677 F68 Exterior Mirror - Power/Heated $264 H15 Heated Co-Driver Seat $260 H16 Heated Driver Seat $260 H20 Heat-Insulating Glass (Standard) L63 Ceiling lights in load compartment $275 MS1 Cruise Control $374 T16 Sliding Door- Right Side (Standard) V43 Cargo Van Wood Floor (Standard) V94 Cable duct on side wall V95 Cable duct on rear portal X04 X04 Multi-function Wheel/Display Package $345 JK3 I/P Cluster Pixel Matrix CL4 Multifunction Steering Wheel X22 X22 Trailer Hitch Package $370 Q24 Trailer Hitch E40 Trailer Hitch - Wire Harness w/7 Pin Connector X27 X27 Additional Battery Package $380 E36 Cutoff Relay for Auxiliary Battery E28 Auxiliary Battery 100 Amp X30 X30 Low & High Range 4x4 Package $7,495 ........Door-mounted assist handles, drive ZG3 4x4 High Range w/Low Range Transfer Case T75 Door mounted assist handles, driver & passenger