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Author Topic: Sprinter vs Ford (was: Re: Selling your 2350 with dinette? Want to buy used.)  (Read 4770 times)
ron.dittmer
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« on: March 26, 2012, 04:27:52 pm »

For the recond on this forum, our 2007 E350-V10 PC-2350 has gotten this fuel economy, averaged from the gas station near home, back to that same gas station, keeping accurate record of gallons purchased along the way.

Trip "A"  (during break-in period...if there is a break-in period)
- towing 2200 pound car 100% of the time.  This means that all locally driven miles are done with the car.  The PC stayed parked at camp sites.
- 5039 mile journey from Chicago, to San Francisco, to Las Vegas, and a lot of places in between.  Highway, mountain and canyon driving combined.
- top speed is consistently 5 mph over posted speed limits when towing, but never exceeding 70mph.
Averaged over the 5039 miles driven = 9.5 mpg


Trip "B"
- towing 4300 pound 4x4 100% of the time.  This means that all locally driven miles are done with the 4x4.  The PC stayed parked at camp sites.
- 3826 mile journey from Chicago, to Jasper Alberta and a lot of places in between.  Highway & mountain driving combined.
- top speed is consistently 5 mph over posted speed limits when towing, but never exceeding 70mph.
Averaged over the 3826 miles driven = 9.2 mpg


Trip "C"
- Not towing anything so all driving was done with the motor home.
- shorter trip of about 800 miles, 700 highway, 100 local.
- loaded up with 5 adults for a wedding.
- typical cruising speed was 65mph on the open road interstate driving.
Averaged over the 800 miles driven = 10.2 mpg

These figures are as accurate as I could get with no fluff of any kind.  I favored worse economy when averaging 10ths of gallons, so if anything my true fuel economy would be better, not worse.

I think I will start a new thread on MPG, sseking everyones "Accurate" figures.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 04:55:00 pm by ron.dittmer » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 09:48:26 pm »

UPDATE:

I spoke with Stuart earlier re: the 2350 on the Sprinter chassis.

The following is from my notes.  I believe it is accurate.  Hopefully Stuart will let us know if I misunderstood anything he said.

1) CCC w/o slide is ~2,000 pounds
2) CCC with slide is ~1,700 pounds
3) Slide adds ~300 pounds
4) Stuart prefers the slide -- more room, better resale value.
5) Only one slide failure in 10 years.
6) The Sprinter upcharge is still $12,000.
7) The MB Sprinter must be serviced at MB dealers.
8) The Freightliner Sprinter must go to Freightliner.
9) 2009 was the last year for the diesel E-350/450 and it did not have an intercooler so it was less powerful.
10) Ford diesel was a $10,000 upcharge.
11) Stuart bought 50 2008 Sprinter chassis from Monaco for 1/2 price.
12) 2010 was first model year for PC 2350/2400 on the Sprinter.
13) Since the original 50 Sprinters were sold, 10 have been traded in, mostly for 'lack of power'.
14) It is possible to get the tub base shower in the 2350.
15) Sofa/bed w/air mattress has been discontinued.  Split electric sofa/bed is used in Ford-based rigs, older style electric sofa in the  Sprinter-based units.  Both sofas have cushions with memory foam.
16) Stuart clearly prefers the Ford chassis over the Sprinter.

WRT mileage, he said that the Born Free rigs are heavier and less aerodynamic which explains their lower mileage (the 9.65 mpg @ 55 mph that Born Free publishes in their brochures).

Stuart said the PC E-350-based rigs get 10-12 mpg, the E-450 rigs 8-10 mpg, and the Sprinter-based 2350/2400 16 to 18 mpg.  He pointed out that it would take 300K to 400K miles of driving to get back the additional $12,000 upcharge with lower fuel costs.  That sounded a bit high so I did some quick math using his numbers (low end for both):

100,000 miles at 10 mpg = 10,000 gallons x $4/gallon = $40,000 for gasoline.

100,000 miles at 16 mpg = 6,250 gallons x $4.40/gallon = $27,500 for diesel.

Better than 300-400,000 miles, but still a long payback time -- several years for most people.  Of course, if/when fuel prices go up, the payback time will be less.

Also, as I mentioned above, there are many differences between the two chassis aside from their mileage ratings.

The fact that MB Sprinters must go to MB dealers and Freightliner to Freightliner bothers me.  I'm guessing there are more MB dealers but it would be nice to be able to use both.  Perhaps Stuart meant while they are under warranty, because I know I've read that Sprinter-based RV owners have gone to either, regardless of which badge is on the grill.

In any case, it looks like the 2350 on the Sprinter will work for us, I just need to decide whether we should wait and try to find one used or buy new.  I'm thinking I'll hold off a while longer and see what's available used.

Sherman

« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 09:56:14 pm by sajohnson » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2012, 10:15:57 pm »

Sherman:

I am glad that you got alot of valuable info from Stuart today, he knows his RV business inside and out and you should believe and listen to what he says.  You can NOT get your M-B Spinter serviced at a Freighliner dealer and vice versa I know I tried at both dealers with my Dodge Sprinter and they both said no.  I can not get my Jeep with the 3.0L M-B with Mercedes logos all over it servcied or repaired at a M-B dealer either in or out of warranty peroid.  It appears that you have your mind set on the Sprinter so give Stuart a call and place your order.  I very much look forward to hearing how you like your new rig post delivery.......thanks
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2012, 11:23:39 pm »

Sherman:

I am glad that you got alot of valuable info from Stuart today, he knows his RV business inside and out and you should believe and listen to what he says.  You can NOT get your M-B Spinter serviced at a Freighliner dealer and vice versa I know I tried at both dealers with my Dodge Sprinter and they both said no.  I can not get my Jeep with the 3.0L M-B with Mercedes logos all over it servcied or repaired at a M-B dealer either in or out of warranty peroid.  It appears that you have your mind set on the Sprinter so give Stuart a call and place your order.  I very much look forward to hearing how you like your new rig post delivery.......thanks

You'll know my mind is made up when I sign the papers.  ;-)

Yes, for my wife and I, I think the Sprinter chassis makes more sense.  Needless to say, that's different from making a blanket judgement that one chassis is 'better' than another.  Both Ford and Mercedes make good vehicles for a wide variety of uses.

I would still consider an RV on the E-350 chassis if it was comparable to the coach on the Sprinter chassis and if the price difference were great enough.

I'm going to see what I can find used.  If nothing turns up in a reasonable amount of time, _then_ I'll give Stuart a call and place my order.

Question -- was your Dodge Sprinter under warranty when the MB and Freightliner dealers turned you away?

I'm reading conflicting info and experiences regarding getting the Sprinter chassis serviced.  Maybe tomorrow I'll call MB, Dodge, and Freightliner and see what they say. 

I have heard of some corporate policies that restrict where service can be done, but they had to do with Dodge dealers not being allowed to work on Sprinters that were made after Daimler/Chrysler split.  I wonder if some of the owner experiences can be explained by independent dealers having different policies?

For example, here's a Chrysler dealer I just found with a quick Google search that services Sprinters from all three brands:
http://www.greenwaydodge.com/sprinter-service.htm

I did also see a statement that, "Some dealers prefer not to service motorhomes...".  That may apply to all chassis:
http://www.roadtrek.com/service_locator.aspx

From what I can see, service is available, and it may not matter which badge is on the front grill, but it can be hit and miss.  It does seem fair to say that finding service for a Ford would be easier.

FYI:  Here are links to Sprinter service facilities in the USA:
http://www.mbsprinterusa.com/find-dealer/
http://www.freightlinersprinterusa.com/find-dealer/

Sherman


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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 09:04:03 am »

Sherman

We were in the same situation as you were 10 years ago.  We were just retired and had never been camping.  We were not sure what type of unit would meet our needs.  We researched for a few years prior but still had alot of questions.  One suggestion we have for you is that you could rent an RV for a weekend and get a first hand experience as to your dislikes and likes about the interior layout.  If you do rent, make sure you get one with a corner bed, or a couch verus a dinette, one with a slide versus one without a slide etc....  To save the cost of fuel when you are renting, camp at a location close to the rental agency.  You may not have you pick of manufacturers but you at will get a good idea as to what you like and dislike about the living arrangements.

Somethimes there are very good bargains out there for renting.

Sue
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 10:45:44 am »

Sherman:

I realize you have a lot to think about and it is obvious that you do process everything a lot.  Everyone on this forum are great people and we all very much appreciate the quality of a PC coach, the problem is not every RV manafacturer does such a good job constructing their particular coach on a chassis.  Dealers get burned all the time in that the company (Ford, GM, M-B, etc..) sets hours to complete a particuar job for warranty work as we all know.  Working on and RV can take double the time since "add on's" may have to be moved, manafacturers have tapped into OEM equipment incorrectly, etc and dealers eat a ton of labor cost.  For that reason many dealers refuse to work on motor homes period and they have the right to refuse even warranty work.  Not every Dodge dealer (very few actaully) is certified to work on Sprinters just like not every M-B dealer will work on Sprinters either.  I have found that the PC on the E series chassis is more likely to be worked on because of the height of PC's allows them into garages more easily and the E series is very common, when you get over 11 feet you will eliminate many dealership because of their overhead doors are just not high enough.
It is no secret that the Chrysler/M-B seperation was not a nice one and their are not warm feelings between the two company's now.  While parts for the 3.0L can still be gotten by a Dodge/Jeep delaer I can tell you the parts some time come very slowly and the price for those parts is thru the roof, I pay $34.00 for and oil filter at my Jeep dealer for my 3.0L M-B that has and M-B logo on it and I get the same filter at the M-B dealership for nearly half the price.  My dealer claims parts are getting slower and slower and if you are looking at a couple year old Sprinter it is most likley going to have the Dodge Ram hood logo on it and you will have to get it servcied at a Dodge certified dealer and some of those dealers may infact be giving up their certified satatus since there are no more Dodge/Ram Sprinters and the fleet out there will get old fast.  While as I stated, we all love RV's on this forum I can tell you that many M-B dealers including my very large local  dealer does not want RV's sitting in their lot waiting for service, totally different customers!  Over my 30 years of RV'ing I can tell you I have had sat in more Cummin's Truck Repair Center then I would like to admit.  One, they hate RV's for the reasons I have stated above,  two, you are on vacation in a very expensive RV and you are competing with the guy who has to make it to LA in three days with a load of Maine potatoes, you tell me who is going to get the attention of the servcie manager first? Third, truck repair techs are very different comapred to car techs, do not expect your Sprinter to be vacumed and washed afer and oil change but YOU will have to get it washed and vacumed aftre they are thru!

If for what ever reason you do not want to go the Ford route now I would personnaly wait seveal years and you are going to see  new chassis's come on the market for RV applications from both Ford and Ram that will offer better MPG, more flexible floorplans, etc. 

In closing, while PC makes a super coach I am not sure PC or the majority of the other manafacturers out there will ever see a coach staying together in consideration of the  condition of our roads today to make it over 100,000 miles therefore your pay off math justifing the up charge for the Sprinter is really not valid.

If you listen to know one on this forum you should listen to Stuart who knows his business and has stated his opinions very clearly.   Thanks

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« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 10:59:17 am »

Also, the 2010 air mattress sofa/bed has a large drawer under it that we find very useful.  We too have the large drawer under our sofa in our 2011 Model 3100. We only have occasional guests but they think the air mattress is good.  Sure wouldn't want to do without the drawer (pic).  Its great for storing the computer, printer, and longer items without having to accessing the storage under the drivers side twin bed. It holds a lot of stuff.
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« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2012, 12:56:12 pm »

If for what ever reason you do not want to go the Ford route now I would personnaly wait seveal years and you are going to see  new chassis's come on the market for RV applications from both Ford and Ram that will offer better MPG, more flexible floorplans, etc.
I am curious to see if Ford's new T-series cut-away similar to the E350 in Load capability, will be adopted by PC-USA.  That chassis is claimed to yield more power & torque and better fuel economy than the Sprinter.  I would hope at a lower purchase price too.

I heard the front wheel drive van will come out next year for 2013, but the American version of the front or rear wheel drive 6-wheel cut-away I think is this.....who knows?  If this is the chassis, interesting the frame rail is "L" shaped, not "C" shaped like the E350.  Even my little Ford Ranger has "C" frame rails.  Maybe this has "Z" frame rails.

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« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2012, 01:11:58 pm »

Thanks for the image Ron D.!  The Ford and the forthcoming Fiat based Dodge Ram should really give  the Sprinter a run for the money.  I donot care what anyone says I think the Sprinters are over priced, noisey, not maintenance free and over their weight limit when they hit the road.  On that note I am done passing judgement..to each his own.   Thanks
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« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2012, 02:33:38 pm »

I'm strictly an oversized Lego leveller kind of guy, but I have also seen that Sprinters do not lend themselves readily to being fitted with hydraulic levellers, both from a weight and a structural concern.  Some sites raise the question of installing them, could you find them, might invalidate your warranty.  This is another difference from comparing Sprinters (true class B van conversions) and Phoenix Cruisers on Ford chassis (class C without a cabover bed).  The new Ford chassis does seem to have promise for a lighter, more economical platform.

Jerry
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« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2012, 03:31:58 pm »

Sherman

We were in the same situation as you were 10 years ago.  We were just retired and had never been camping.  We were not sure what type of unit would meet our needs.  We researched for a few years prior but still had alot of questions.  One suggestion we have for you is that you could rent an RV for a weekend and get a first hand experience as to your dislikes and likes about the interior layout.  If you do rent, make sure you get one with a corner bed, or a couch verus a dinette, one with a slide versus one without a slide etc....  To save the cost of fuel when you are renting, camp at a location close to the rental agency.  You may not have you pick of manufacturers but you at will get a good idea as to what you like and dislike about the living arrangements.

Somethimes there are very good bargains out there for renting.

Sue

Thanks Sue, that's a great suggestion.

In fact, my wife and I were very anxious to rent a RV for a trip we took to visit family back in November of 2010, immediately after I retired.  There may be good bargains out there, but I was unable find any at that time.  We were primarily interested in the Sprinter-based rigs, and wanted to rent something similar to what we might eventually purchase.  That proved to be impossible.  I found a grand total of one (1) Sprinter-based RV for rent in the entire US, by an individual in CA.  Even if we lived next door to her I doubt we would have rented it because of the cost.  I can't recall the specific numbers off the top of my head, but it was in the neighborhood of $2,000 per week plus a mileage charge (on top of fuel and other expenses of course).  The rigs that were the typical rentals were a bit less expensive to rent but they were RVs we would never consider purchasing -- cheaply constructed and way too long for our needs.  I've driven just about everything shy of a semi or a dump truck (the largest straight trucks, 66 passenger Blue Bird buses, etc) but driving something that size across the country on state and local roads isn't my idea of a good time.  ;-)  We simply don't need a larger RV (no kids or grandkids) and I figure the shorter the better (as long as it works for us).  If we were to rent a larger, mediocre RV we might decide we don't like RVing at all when really it was just the particular rig.

Had we been able to rent a Sprinter-based RV for a reasonable amount of money we would have jumped at the chance, but it wasn't meant to be -- at least not at that time.  As the Sprinter-based rigs become more popular I imagine that will change.  Well, at least they'll be more readily available -- I doubt the cost will come down.  They'll likely continue be more expensive to rent than the typical RV.  

I came away with the feeling that it might make more sense to just buy a used RV.  Seriously -- the cost of renting was so high (thousands of dollars on top of the ordinary/routine expenses) that if a person got a decent deal on a used rig, put a few thousand miles on it over a year or two and sold it they might be better off, or break even.

I haven't given up on the rental idea though.  It's possible that my wife and I will find someone locally who has a Sprinter-based rig that they'd like to rent for a more reasonable amount.  One guy I correspond with has a 2006 WGO View that he figures costs him $1/mile to operate.  That's probably high because he figures depreciation based on $75K purchase price and a 150K useful life.  IOW, he assumes that at 150K it'll be worth $0.  I told him I'll take it off his hands at that point (he has over 100K miles on it now and is currently on the road with his wife)!  Anyway, let's say the total cost is $1/mile -- that includes everything: fuel, depreciation, insurance, repairs, maint., etc.  If a rig like that were rented the customer would obviously be paying for the fuel, which is approx. $0.25/mile, so charging $1/mile would more than cover any expenses.  I think $1/mile plus a nominal daily fee would be reasonable (and of course extra charges for excess wear and tear, cleaning, etc).  

Who knows, I might find someone willing to do that -- particularly if they do not have the time or money to travel and their RV is just sitting in storage.

Sherman
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« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2012, 04:17:05 pm »

Jerry: 
You are right on the leveling jacks and Sprinters.  On my 2010 Monaco Covina, Sprinter based,  Monaco attempted and did a great job of making the center of gravity so low with how they hung the coach on the chassis there was honestly no way I could personnaly get under the coach and I am not and overly large guy so having the room to put jacks on was out of the question plus the weight of and average sysyem would have put the Covina way over weight.   The issue I had was that the stock suspension was so weak for the coaches weight that there was alot of movement merely when you walked around in the coach.  I like being able to put my jacks down and know I will not be twisting the E-450 frame all that much.   Thanks
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« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2012, 04:19:43 pm »

Thanks for the image Ron D.!  The Ford and the forthcoming Fiat based Dodge Ram should really give  the Sprinter a run for the money.  I donot care what anyone says I think the Sprinters are over priced, noisey, not maintenance free and over their weight limit when they hit the road.  On that note I am done passing judgement..to each his own.   Thanks

Just curious -- in all of my reading and research I've never heard anyone state or even suggest that the Sprinter (or any other vehicle) is 'maintenance free'.  Where did you hear that?  Who is making that claim?

WRT CCC, Ford wins that one hands down -- even the E-350 has almost 1,500 pounds more CCC than the Sprinter.  I'd rather have more CCC than I need than not enough, but there is such a thing as too much capacity as well.  I have read posts here and elsewhere from people who complain about a rough ride -- particularly when one of the lighter coaches is built on the E-450 chassis.

Stuart told me that the Sprinter-based 2350 has between 1,700 and 2,000 pounds CCC (with or w/o slide).  1,700 pounds may not be adequate for some folks, but it is enough for my wife and I.  

I have frequently read that many Sprinter-based rigs are often over-weight.  I don't doubt that -- many mfrs make coaches that are heavier than PC's, and therefore their RVs have a lower CCC.  I seem to recall reading about some that are under 1,000 pounds!  5 good size people on board and you're at the limit -- before any water, luggage, food, and other gear.  I'm surprised they can get away with selling a rig with such a low CCC.  Maybe a class B, but not a class C that's designed for longer trips and more passengers.

Luckily, that's not an issue with PC -- so, more points in the PC column!    
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« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2012, 04:27:19 pm »

I'm strictly an oversized Lego leveller kind of guy, but I have also seen that Sprinters do not lend themselves readily to being fitted with hydraulic levellers, both from a weight and a structural concern.  Some sites raise the question of installing them, could you find them, might invalidate your warranty.  This is another difference from comparing Sprinters (true class B van conversions) and Phoenix Cruisers on Ford chassis (class C without a cabover bed).  The new Ford chassis does seem to have promise for a lighter, more economical platform.

Jerry

I've heard the same thing, yet I've never read one report of damage or a voided warranty due to hydraulic levelers.

Human nature being what it is, I assume we would hear about it if people were having problems.

Also, I doubt HWH, the RV mfrs, or M-B would want the headaches that would result if the Sprinter couldn't handle the levelers for some reason.

Again though, I have no personal experience -- my knowledge is limited to what I've read on RV-related groups and forums.

Sherman
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« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2012, 06:37:09 pm »

Also, the 2010 air mattress sofa/bed has a large drawer under it that we find very useful.  We too have the large drawer under our sofa in our 2011 Model 3100. We only have occasional guests but they think the air mattress is good.  Sure wouldn't want to do without the drawer (pic).  Its great for storing the computer, printer, and longer items without having to accessing the storage under the drivers side twin bed. It holds a lot of stuff.

That's something I forgot to ask Stuart about -- the available storage under the various sofa/beds.

Is the sofa/bed w/air mattress the only one that has storage?  I know this was touched on somewhere above, but I can't recall if the others have any storage under them.

From everything I've read, the air mattress is almost universally disliked (this seems to be backed up by the fact that Stuart said PC is no longer using the sofa/bed w/air mattress) so I wouldn't try to find a rig with one just to get the storage, but it would be a shame to have to give up the additional space.

Thanks!

Sherman
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