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Old 06-12-2016, 07:34 AM   #1
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Natchitoches , Louisiana
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 150
Road trip thoughts

I posted a trip report on the "on the road" forum about my recent excursion to California and back, if you are interested, but I thought I would make a few comments on this forum about the Interstate itself. We are new owners, having purchased ours last December, but we've taken a few trips, central Texas, and Big Bend NP, also Oklahoma and Arkansas. We've also taken it to gulf state park in south Alabama. On this last trip we drove long hours under pretty harsh conditions. The Sprinter impressed me a lot. I had zero issues at altitude in Colorado, on passes or long stretches. That little 6 cylinder turbo keeps surprising me, especially considering all the weight of the van. Was pleased with fuel consumption as well. The van attracts lots of attention, my wife gave tours more than once, and at Yosemite we actually had a "tour line" as one young family waited patiently as my wife conducted a little tour to another couple! Brakes are adequate, it was ok with the crosswinds, and the two of us could actually carry on a conversation at 75+ miles per hour. The temp gauge hit 200 only once, passing through Las Vegas when the outside temp was 110. I have owned several Mercedes automobiles, currently drive a late model E63 (AMG 577 HP) so I was ready to make allowances for performance of a 10,000 pound van with that little 6. Like I said I was surprised. Hitting the highway from on ramps was actually fun, and safe, and easy. Now don't get me wrong, the "Airstream" part of this combo is the source of some criticism from me, those rattles from the privacy blinds and mysterious squeaks drive me nuts, drawers flying open on curves, etc drive me nuts, but that is all stuff that can be fixed or adjusted over time. Now I'm thinking a little bit about one of these in four-wheel drive maybe? Or at least with a nice aftermarket grill guard and some fancy doo-dads to spice it up?Click image for larger version

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Old 06-12-2016, 11:23 AM   #2
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2016 Interstate Grand Tour Ext
Bellevue , Washington
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Thanks for sharing your sentiments. Ours is only a couple of weeks old. But like you, I am constantly impressed by some of its capabilities. Last night I was driving it home and thought how comfortable the seats are, the headlights work well, and the ride excellent up front. Yes, the darn drawers opened twice . But as you say, I rather have that problem than something else.

The engine performs well if it is in the right gear. Ours had decided to shift into high gear too soon and would make driving uphill hard. A few spirited driving runs seems to have partially convinced the transmission to hold the gears better now .
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Old 06-12-2016, 02:00 PM   #3
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Natchitoches , Louisiana
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I used the manual mode in the mountains, mostly to maintain some engine braking when the grades were steep. But it was effective when I needed a little bit of extra acceleration running up to highway speed.
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Old 06-12-2016, 09:04 PM   #4
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The way the AI drives is its single best feature. I have a sports car background so I am probably more critical about the handling capabilities of vehicles than most people. I have been pleasantly surprised at how capable the Sprinter chassis is. Especially after the installation of the Sumo springs.

When we decided to tow a car, I sent my ECU to Renntech to raise the horsepower and torque. That modification has worked remarkably well. On our recent western trip, we spent a lot of time on two lane roads in NM, TX, AZ and CO. Many of these roads have decent speed limits (especially in Texas) but we found ourselves occasionally held up by slower traffic. Fortunately, there are many long stretches of straightaway's with passing zones. Many times we passed slower cars even though we were towing our Fiat Abarth. Probably surprised most of them!!

The last leg of our trip was from Nashville, TN to our home just north of Charlotte. After being gone over a month, we were all ready to be home again so I set the cruise at 77 mph on the Interstate where the speed limit was 70. In spite of towing the car and traveling up and down through the mountains, we still averaged 15.3 on this leg. I'll take that any day!!

The single worst feature...the noisy AC. I helped out a new owner of a 2000 model class A who was having problems getting his cable to work. While inside the unit, I immediately noticed his relatively quiet ducted AC. Too bad there isn't room to duct the AC in our units. Fortunately, we spent a lot of time on this recent trip in the mountains where AC wasn't needed. This issue does not encourage us to use the vehicle during the hot months.
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Old 06-13-2016, 07:39 AM   #5
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Generally we have been pleased with the Sprinter - and ours is now 10 years old!! There was hell to pay in terms of stress before we did the Koni shocks and the sway bar upgrades, but I'm happy with the ride now. It threw one code during the past 1.5 years of our ownership, but then it disappeared before we had a chance to run it down, and it has not recurred. There are some bare-bones cargo van features on the T1N that annoy me - most notably the lack of alarming on the doors (if the van is in gear, it won't tell you if a door is ajar or even fully open), but generally when I climb behind the wheel, I feel confident that I'm going to get where I'm going without incident. In a 10-year-old vehicle.
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Old 06-13-2016, 11:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by InterBlog View Post
Generally we have been pleased with the Sprinter - and ours is now 10 years old!! There was hell to pay in terms of stress before we did the Koni shocks and the sway bar upgrades, but I'm happy with the ride now. It threw one code during the past 1.5 years of our ownership, but then it disappeared before we had a chance to run it down, and it has not recurred. There are some bare-bones cargo van features on the T1N that annoy me - most notably the lack of alarming on the doors (if the van is in gear, it won't tell you if a door is ajar or even fully open), but generally when I climb behind the wheel, I feel confident that I'm going to get where I'm going without incident. In a 10-year-old vehicle.

You'll have to buy a newer one to get the door open warnings. Don't know if it is standard on the NCV3 Sprinters, but my 2013 has them. It has alerted me many times when we didn't get the side slider door closed fully. 😎


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2013 Lounge EXT on 2012 Sprinter
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Old 06-13-2016, 02:57 PM   #7
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Auburn , Georgia
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We just returned from a twelve day trip and a lot of it was in the mountains. West Virginia doesn't have a road that isn't up, down, or curves. I shifted gears and it worked well on all except long straight down hill (7-8-9-10 % grades). In 3rd gear it continued to gain speed and I would have to brake the 11,000 lb run away "Silver Streak" It handled great in the curves with no sway but the two large bottom drawers did come open a few times only to close on the next lefthand.
I have no complainants with performance and ride but I don't normally have passengers in the rear. I only added four items to the fix it list this trip.
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Old 06-13-2016, 03:02 PM   #8
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