Sprinter vans

Dan Robinson

Anyone looked at the Dodge Sprinter vans?

http://autos.yahoo.com/dodge_truck_sprinter_van/

I considered buying one of these back before I bought my Ford Freestyle. As vehicle interiors go, the Sprinters are a chaser's dream - a very high roof with enough space to do pretty much anything you want.

The huge drawback, and the main reason I passed on getting a Sprinter, was the obvious high rollover risk and crosswind resistance. They are also a little on the pricey side, $30k for the more basic versions.

I read a recent article that the new Sprinters have a lower center of gravity, a lower-riding frame and a more advanced stability control that will reduce the rollover threat. I don't know how much can be done with such a tall profile, though. Anyone have/drive one and can comment on the stability?
 
CoD purchased two of them and custom outfitted them for the 2006 chase season. Worked AWSOME!!! except for some engine recall work that bit us in the butt during the first two chases.

Here's some pictures of the van in action.

http://weather.cod.edu/chasing/chasing.2006.html

Specific pictures:
http://weather.cod.edu/chasing/images/2006/trip1/paul/resized/0001.jpg
http://weather.cod.edu/chasing/images/2006/trip2/Kelli/renumber/0001.jpg
http://weather.cod.edu/chasing/images/2006/trip4/matt/fixed/0025.jpg

Look at Slide Shows (Paul Trip 1)

-Tyler
 
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Yep.... have to say thumbs up for passenger comfort.... plenty of room. As far as driving, I drove a mini- COD chase trip to southern IL this fall and it seemd much more stable than what you would think. No swaying issues with a pretty good driving rain and moderate crosswinds.
So minus the turbo-resinator issues we had that Tyler mentioned, I was very pleased.
Feel free to PM with any specific questions.
Laura
 
I've been looking at the Sprinters for a couple of years now to replace my old Dodge, and have talked to a bunch of owners--without a single negative report. There are different roof heights available as well as three different lenghts. I would think the slanted sides would help with lessening wind resistance.
 
suburban

Hi.
I havnt done a whole lot of extensive research on the sprinter vans, but i know at one time my dad wanted one (he believes in moving bilboards) and we went and looked at them. They had their pluses and minuses, i didnt perticularly like the styling, i thought it looked to "boxy." We ended up purchasing a 1999 chevy suburban and now that i've seen the little details about it, i would never turn back. I dont know about the newer suburbans, but details on the 1999 just blow me away. Well, for instance, if you're running alot of equipment, it has the ability to run a dual battery system on it so you dont run down your maid battery, all you have to do is slap a tray in on the drivers side and you're ready to go. The desil motors needed the 2 batteries, so if you had the gas version, the battery spot on the drivers side is empty. Also right on the fuse box, you have 2 30 amp fused stud posts, which i havnt seen on alot of other vehicles. The vortec motor in that car makes GREAT power and surprisingly doesnt do bad on gas milage (for a LARGE SUV). I get about 16-20 mpg, mostly in the city. In my opinion the interior is also really comfortable, fitting 4 people in captains chairs. I guess if you're running tours or are with more than 4 people, a sprinter might be the way to go, but i really love my suburban and i thought i'd share my thoughts with y'all.

-Shawn

EDIT: forgot to mention, i didnt pay anywhere near 30K for it, paid $5,600 because it had a little "hail damage." Has 110,00 miles on it now and is running like a champ!
 
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I've been driving on the COD trips for a few years now, and comparing the stability of the 15 passenger Ford vans to that of the Dodge Sprinters I didn't notice any differences. There are a few things to consider before you get a Sprinter. First as Tyler pointed out there were some problems with the turbo resonators, on the early trips. I'm not sure if Dodge as come out with a fix for this yet or not. Second you can only get a diesel engine for it so you'll have to keep that in mind when you need to gas up. Third, you'll defiantly feel like you driving a semi, especially if you get the really long version, which is longer then 15 passenger vans. Also the steering wheel is upright similar to semi's and other large trucks.

They are great vehicles if you plan on taking a number of people out with you as there is a *lot* of space in them. I'm 6 feet tall and can stand up in them without hitting my head. If you're getting one just for yourself, I'd say look for something else.

If anyone has any specific questions feel free to ask.

-adam
 
a chaser friend of mine BAught a Sprinter for the 2006 season just two weeks before he left for the plains.
The van is a sweet ride, and vewry roomie.he has modified the back for camping as well as Computers.
Excelent setup
 
One thing I forgot to mention is that the governors on the engines are set at an realitivly low 70 mph. Which was actually 67 mph per gps readings.
 
I drove a Sprinter for a couple of years, as a courier with Fedex, I can say I loved it, as long as it stayed on the road. It gets 28 mpg and the I5 is a great engine, however the ASR (accellerated skid reduction) is a pain in the sand, it will get itself stuck in a hurry. So bottom line, it drives great, keep it on the road. I drive an E250 Econoline now, I laugh at sand as I cruise through it!
It is very roomy and I didnt really notice any wind issues with blowing it around or anything. My governor was set at 67,
which was perfect on the highways I drove on, I just kept it to the floor.
 
I'm guessing from the COD picks that the Sprinter might use a fibreglass roof, thus the need for the killer-counterplanes used on several of the antennas, although I'm not sure if those other antennas are mag-mounted or stuck on somehow. Something to keep in mind for those who use radios in their rides... especially mag-mounts.
 
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Well - from second-hand reports from someone who drives them daily I would like to say that I have heard that Sprinter vans are the armpits of the motor manufacturing industry. They drive terribly, things just "stop working" on an almost weekly basis, the heating and A/C systems crap out, and they provide one of the nastiest rides out there.

Unrecommended, I'm afraid!

KL
 
I threw on some mag mount antennas for some of my gear on the COD vans last year. They're metal and loud with the 3.9" Seminole TX hail last year! Awesome video. At regualr playback speed you can actually see the hail balls coming in from a distance and busting out the windwhield. Based on our location we were thinking the hail was coming out the top of the updraft like a popcorn popper. Typically there was no way we should have been in the hail field based on our location and the storm.
Anyhow... they're metal.
Laura
 
No, they are big long, tall metal boxes. Karen, I drove them on a daily basis, too. Our mechanic might agree with you, he worked on them, I just drove them. I found the seat comfortable enough, I drive 250+ miles a day. I like my E250 MUCH better though!
Mike
 
I threw on some mag mount antennas for some of my gear on the COD vans last year. They're metal and loud with the 3.9" Seminole TX hail last year! Awesome video. At regualr playback speed you can actually see the hail balls coming in from a distance and busting out the windwhield. Based on our location we were thinking the hail was coming out the top of the updraft like a popcorn popper. Typically there was no way we should have been in the hail field based on our location and the storm.
Anyhow... they're metal.
Laura

Thanks for confirming that Laura; but now I'm extra curious why those COD vans have those rediculous (and possibly dangerous) homemade groundplanes on them for those antennas? Somebody's going to poke their skull with one of them at some point....
 
You'd have to be 11 feet tall to poke your scull. I'm 6'2" and can't reach them without jumping

And Tyler can't jump so he's safe. ;)
I am not that techno savy enough to answer your question but let me ask the wizard that set the system up. He's a magician with all that electrical equip. It's way over my head.... and I can jump! :p
Laura
 
You'd have to be 11 feet tall to poke your scull. I'm 6'2" and can't reach them without jumping

I was thinking more about somebody standing inside the van but poking their head out the side door; sooner or later it will happen. Anyways, didn't want to threadjack this at all... was just curious. The size of the van looks quite suitable for this kind of work.
 
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