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Old 10-08-2012, 12:16 AM   #15
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2009 28' International
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We've thrown the dice

Thanks everyone for your input. After more research with Sorinter owners outside of this forum, we ordered a one-ton (required by factory to tow up to 7500 lbs) and will take delivery next month and then upfit. We will set our equalizer 4 point and do our first test tow after we put 1000 break in miles. Tge first long trip will be Los Angeles to Corpus Christi mid March. We'll keep to all posted periodically.

The final kicker for us was when a friend who is a long time advocate of Ford trucks reported major breakdown with the engine of his new F-250 with less than 30K miles. We understand that there are always exceptions, but hope that we will be fortunate enough to share in the positive, rather than negative, experiences mentioned here.

It has been particularly helpful to learn from y'all what might have caused problems should we experience them.
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:57 PM   #16
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Seems like you have a couple of questions. First of all, does your Bambi weigh under 5,000# loaded? Mercedes doesn't want you to tow over 5000# except with a one ton (3500), which is why we bought one. The engine and transmission are the same, although the standard differential is 4.1 instead of the standard 3.9 on the 2500, but the 3.9 is still available. The one ton is a also a dually, and the combination of the extra drag and the taller rear end make for worse mileage--our sales guy estimated 3-4 mpg worse, non-towing. But we were able to special order the low roof, and we're hoping that the lower profile will help--it's a full 12 inches lower than the standard hi-roof. And because we're windsurfers, we're always driving to areas with high wind, so we're hoping the lower profile (and shorter length, too) will help with crosswinds, too. But we have several windsurfing friends with 170" wheelbase and high roof models who say they have no problem in 40 knot crosswinds (San Francisco and Hood River, OR). I'll believe that when I (don't) feel it!

Your next question seems pretty straightforward, and our experience was that it was always easy to find repair help for our chevy Suburban 2500, and we expect it to be more complicated to do so for the Sprinter. So you need to look at where you travel, and we need others to chime in as to their experiences with ease of finding repair help in the boondocks for Sprinters...

Not clear from your post--are you thinking of buying an Airstream Sprinter or Chevy to tow the Bambi? I do know that Andy Thompson (the Toronto Airstream dealer and towing expert whose column we all enjoy in "Airstream Life") has towed a 34' (!!!!!) Airstream over the Eastern Canadian mountains with an Airstream based on the Sprinter 2500 platform, and found it quite comfortable. But this is NOT the long term experience that the rest of us civilians will have with a tow vehicle that we keep for a decade!
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Old 12-30-2012, 09:33 PM   #17
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Here's some more real world experience:


My trip to Newfoundland and back to Ontario this summer was 93 days out on the road, 5314 miles

The average mileage was 18.32 overall. This is city and country, loaded and unloaded, day 1 to day 93.

Keep in mind that I am very heavily loaded (14,500 lbs) and that most of the trip was on constantly changing elevations. Much of it, like in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Maine, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, of course, included serious grades.

(Keep in mind too that the Canadian gallon is larger than the US so higher miles per gallon readings here. 1 Canadian gallon = 1.2 US or 1 Cdn MPG= 0.8327 US mpg).

I may as well add some more real world stats while I'm at it:

The MPG figure equates to 31.5 cents a mile.

I stayed 51 nights in public or private campgrounds and 42 nights roadside, gypsy style.

The average cost for a park night was $36.69. The free gypsy nights brought the average daily cost for accommodation down to $20.12.

Diesel, for heating and cooking in the diesel powered trailer averaged .84 cents a day. Fuel for the generator cost $5.55 per gypsy night, including morning espresso making.

Life on the road is inexpensive, a bargain if you donít count the up front equipment cost. This trip cost $45.08 a day with out food- everything else counted: fuels, parks, road tolls, etc.

Sergei


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Old 12-31-2012, 10:21 AM   #18
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2009 28' International
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SmokelessJoe View Post
Here's some more real world experience:


My trip to Newfoundland and back to Ontario this summer was 93 days out on the road, 5314 miles

The average mileage was 18.32 overall. This is city and country, loaded and unloaded, day 1 to day 93.

Keep in mind that I am very heavily loaded (14,500 lbs) and that most of the trip was on constantly changing elevations. Much of it, like in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Maine, New Brunswick and Newfoundland, of course, included serious grades.

(Keep in mind too that the Canadian gallon is larger than the US so higher miles per gallon readings here. 1 Canadian gallon = 1.2 US or 1 Cdn MPG= 0.8327 US mpg).

I may as well add some more real world stats while I'm at it:

The MPG figure equates to 31.5 cents a mile.

I stayed 51 nights in public or private campgrounds and 42 nights roadside, gypsy style.

The average cost for a park night was $36.69. The free gypsy nights brought the average daily cost for accommodation down to $20.12.

Diesel, for heating and cooking in the diesel powered trailer averaged .84 cents a day. Fuel for the generator cost $5.55 per gypsy night, including morning espresso making.

Life on the road is inexpensive, a bargain if you donít count the up front equipment cost. This trip cost $45.08 a day with out food- everything else counted: fuels, parks, road tolls, etc.

Sergei


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Thanks, Sergei.

Are you towing with a 3500 or a 2500? We're you towing all the time, or sometimes parked the Argosy and went off with the Sprinter separately?

Looks like the mpg based on US gallon would be about 20% lower, around 16.5 mpg.

What was the most difficult grade, and what speed were you able to hold? In what gear?
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Old 08-02-2014, 11:57 PM   #19
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Sprinter One-Ton Towing Update

As promised, we're getting back after replacing our 3/4 ton 2000 Suburban with a 2013 Sprinter 3500. Currently 23,000 miles--about 50% towing mileage. Towing a 2010 28' international Ocean Breeze with extra batteries (4 total, all forward).

We find the Sprinter so far to be an excellent tow vehicle. With the same Equalizr 4 pt we used with the Suburban, my wife feels that the Sprinter actually feels more solid on the road than the Suburban. It has ample torque to pull our approx 7000 lb loaded coach up the steepest hills (7%), but we find it "happier" to go uphill in third if we're able to hit the bottom of the incline at speed, or 2nd at a lower speed with flashers if we drop to 45 or below for an extended pull. There is no transmission temp gauge (which sucks), but we carefully watch the heat gauge to make sure it doesn't go over225, which is what Mercedes and Freightline say is OK. So far, this has not been an issue. On the steepest grades, we definitely go slower so as to use the lower gears and take some load of the turbo (although it's obviously still firing.) Unlike the Suburban, the temperature drops to normal in a very short period--sometimes even as we approach the crest. Engine braking downhaul is excellent, as are the brakes--at our latest inspection at 22,500 miles, the Portland Freightliner service department tells us that we still have somewhere between 90 and 95% of our brakes left.

Mileage while towing in our (rare) short wheel base and shortest height Sprinter 3500 varies from Suburban-like 10mpg up the steepest hills and 14.5 mpg in no wind at 55 mph on more level terrain. Vehicle actually seems 'happiest' on gently rolling hills on back road highways with no traffic where you can "hyper-mileage" drive by accelerating downhill to 55 or 60 and easing off the accelerator progressively from about 20% up the incline until just after the crest. We were also able to obtain 14+ mpg here--the Sprinter is extremely sensitive to air resistance of any kind, whether caused by vehicle speed or winds from any direction except directly from behind. MPG decreases dramatically with speed--in Texas, the speed limit for towed vehicles is 80 mph, and although the towing combination feels extremely stable at this speed, the mpg will drop about .5-.75 mpg for every 5 mph over 55.

My theory is that the vehicle's stabilization program, even in a light crosswind, is constantly firing each of the four brakes gently to maintain balance, and this adds to the natural drag of the vehicle, its duallies, and the higher ratio differential, in the presence of even light breezes. The mileage drops severely in stronger crosswinds (and of course in headwinds.)

It's too soon to tell whether we'll encounter and transmission or turbo problems down the line. We intend to do a transmission flush (quite expensive, I've been advised) at 30,000 miles instead of the recommended 40,000, and at that time, we may get some feedback as to whether the transmission wear seems normal or excessive.

Non towing mileage has been fair--about 19.5 at moderate highway speeds (55-65), although we've seen much worse at higher speeds and/or windy conditions. Our best tanks of fuel have been as high as 21 and one 22 mpg load, but these are rare and only under ideal conditions (55-60, no significant uphills, zero breeze or a tailwind.) But way better than our 2000 Suburban, and the storage for our windsurfing equipment inside bears no comparison!

Hope this is helpful.
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