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Author Topic: Mercedes or E350 for ride and handling  (Read 882 times)
randallandchris
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« on: September 19, 2013, 12:12:54 pm »

As more big RV manufacturers are testing the downsizing market, the many sprinter based coaches, new Winnebago with gas V6 Trend, and recently announced E350 based Thor RUV, recreational utility vehicle.  I'm wondering which PC most feels like driving a large SUV, the Mercedes or Ford E350, and what add-on like steering damper, larger sway bar, or rear track bar most helped achieve that SUV driving experience.  Thanks.  -  Randall
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ragoodsp
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« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2013, 01:45:42 pm »

R and C:

Boy you have really opened yourself up to some very strong opinions I am sure!!!  I have owned as big as 38' pushers and as small as a 25' Sprinter Monaco Covina, I do not work for any RV of chassis builders and share my opinions freely in hopes that my thoughts will help you to make your own mind up.  All chassis have their positives and negatives.  There is no doubt all of the chassis will do what they are engineered to do and for the most part will do it safely as long as the owner does not overload them.  It comes down to what do you really want out of a chassis?  Are you going to tow a toad?  Are you going to want to take a long alot of "stuff"?, etc...  personnaly I am done with the large rigs for a variety of reasons and I have settled into the 30' range as being perfect for what we want to do with the coach.  Besides finding the 25' Sprinter based coach just to small for the two of us I just never warmed up the Sprinter (3.0L V-6 is a suberb engine), I did not think it handled well (no add on suspension updates) , I could not haul my Jeep Liberty (to heavy),  and the service here in NH whit  the Dodge logo was good but M-B is going to be a different story totally.  The cab was comfortable, the german technology was nice but  I never broke 15MPG no matter what I did and averaged in the high 13's.  I find the E-450 a very strong chassis that anyone can work on, parts are easy to get and relatively cheap.  the chassis may be somewhat tight if you are large, the fuel consumption is significant, and the ride is not smooth especially with out a full load on.  I can load the coach with everything, hook up my 4300 lb diesel jeep and away I go  up and over every mountain I can put in front of it,   she may make a fair amount of noise and shift a couple of times but man that V-10 just goes.  I have added all of the possible add on's to the suspension i can... shocks, steering stablizer, sway bars and the rig goes down the road very nicely now.  I have a 2014 Grand Cherokee with the Pentastar V-6 and my wife (hard driver) is consistantly getting 23 MPG around town and 25 plus MPG on the highway and the new 8 speed transmission is superb.  i understand the new Dodge RV chassis  has basically the same set up and if that is the case (other than low GVW) that is going to one super little rig for Winnebago.  In conclusion,  i have purchased coaches from several different manafaturers and they all have issues but the  PC coaches (2) have honestly had the fewest issues and I like the service that Kermit and the grew offer, they understand their product and for the most part have kept them very simple and the same over many years.  best of luck with your research.
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jampodd
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« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2013, 07:57:55 pm »

R and C
I need to agree with ragoodsp, you will find many opinions on this subject. There are older discussions discussing this very subject. But for my 2 cents, I have owned both the MB sprinter under a 2350 and my current 2552 with the Ford 450. I have added suspensions upgrades to the ford as ragoodsp did. My preference for ride and handling is the 450. Sounds like ragoodsp had about the same mileage as I did in the MB and in the 450 I get 9-10 mpg. It's still fairly new and I've been driving about 65mph on the highway most of the time. I think I could probably get slightly better if I ease up a bit but this year I was making many golf buddy trips and we needed to get to the courses  LOL . Still it will take many miles to make up the difference in gas cost vs the extra you pay for the sprinter.

Jim
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2013, 01:09:44 pm »

I have never owned nor even test driven the Sprinter, so keep that in-mind when reading my reply.

We own a PC2350 built on a 2007 E350 Ford chassis.  2007 was the last year of the lesser E350, so it handles 1000 pounds less weight and assumed a less bumpy ride because of it.  Mind you that our ride is still bumpy especially considering that our rig is lighter because it does not have a 400 pound slideout.  As mentioned by ragoodsp, the closer you load your rig to the limit of the chassis, the smoother your ride will be.

If considering an E350, plan on spending a few thousand more on more capable stabilizer bars and such.  But I suppose a Sprinter would also benefit from the same upgrades.

Regarding fuel economy, that is quite subjective pending what you carry aboard, what you tow if anything, driving habits, whether you use cruise control, the types of roads travelled, generator usage, and how fuel economy is being calculated.  My trip average is closely documented (each fuel purchase) for most accurate data.

All trips were heading out west
Trip towing 2100 pound car over 5000 miles - 9.5 mpg
Trip towing 3600 pound car over 4000 miles - 9.2 mpg
Trip towing nothing over 5500 miles - 10.6 mpg

A couple tank fulls got over 13 mpg, I recall one rough slow 15mph switch back mountain tank full got 8 mpg, but my averages were from home near Chicago, back to home.

There are other considerations, E350 versus Sprinter, some previously mentioned.

This I copied from my standard reply on this subject matter on another forum.

Advantages Of The Sprinter With Diesel Engine
- Offers a 35% improvement in fuel economy over the Ford-V10, when both are loaded and driven identically.
- More ergonomic driver compartment with more leg room.
- Comfort continues with a car-like feel & quiet ride.
- A grander view out the windshield
- Made by Mercedes which people are attracted to.

Advantages Of The Ford E350 with V10 Engine
- Given identical motor homes both brand and model, the Ford is around $13,000 MSRP cheaper
- The Ford V10 engine has 50% more horse power and torque
- The Ford E350 chassis handles 1430 pounds more weight.
- The E350 is able to tow a heavier load.
- The E350 rear axle is significantly wider which translates to better stability.
- In most places traveled, gasoline costs less than diesel fuel
- The Sprinter diesel has limited mechanical service shops around North America
- The Sprinter diesel is typically outfitted with a propane generator. Propane is a critical fuel for RV operations, and generally needs to be rationed when dry camping.
- This Next Point Is Debatable But Still Worth Noting....The V6 Sprinter diesel engine is not allowed to idle for extended periods. This limitation is detrimental when you need a/c but there are generator restrictions or you are dangerously low on propane, or you have a mechanical failure with the generator or roof a/c. The Ford V10 can safely idle for hours on end, heating, cooling, and battery charging, all valuable if you have a baby, pets, or health/respiratory issues.

« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 10:25:54 am by ron.dittmer » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2013, 08:38:22 am »

Not much more to say about our preference for E450 over MB (never owned a sprinter but had sedans from 1970 until retirement). Test drove Views during the purchase process.

We spend much of our time in places that are long distance from a MB dealer. Knowing that there is a mechanic who works on Ford engines in just about every small community gives us comfort. Knowing that we can get an oil change for less than $50 in most cities is comforting too.

My bride did not like the sway of the Navion View we test drove when she wend around a curve.

Greg and Kathy Matthews
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ragoodsp
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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2013, 02:56:52 pm »

Another two cents....
I purchased my Monaco Covina (Sprinter) when Monaco was going belly up and I therefore did not pay the significant premium for the M-B chassis.  During that same time (crash of the RV industry) Kermit at PC  purchased a significant number of Sprinters and passed his saving on to the purchaser.   I would never pay the $20,000 up charge when you factor in the cost of diesel, and the significant cost to maintain a 3.0L diesel ($135 for a DIY oil change).  There just are not enough postives regarding the Sprinter to sway me at all.  If you were going to cross the country a couple of times a year or going on the road for two years perhaps the Sprinter would make some sense.  It is not my intention to insult any Sprinter owners for again everyone is different and what might not work for me obviously works for others.  best of luck.
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ron.dittmer
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« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2013, 04:15:29 pm »

I can't knock the Sprinter.  Though I personally wouldn't go for one, I understand the attraction.

I find it interesting in what's upcoming from Ford called Transit.  It supposedly will be much more fuel efficient than the E350, comparable to the Sprinter but of coarse with Ford pricing.  I also wonder if PC-USA will be offering it.

Here is a 2014 Ford Transit Cut-Away.
More Pictures/Data HERE apparently for a box truck application.

« Last Edit: September 23, 2013, 04:20:11 pm by ron.dittmer » Logged

Ron Dittmer (wife Irene) 2007 Model 2350 Without A Slideout
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