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These are just my observations, for discussion. I'm not trying to start a "mine is better than yours" thread or a "Oh yeah, but I know a guy whose neighbors cousins pet turtles hairdresser lives next to a guy who used to work for a shipping company and he overheard at a party that .... "

SO .. I was competing in an observed trials event this past weekend in north Georgia and there were three Sprinters in the parking lot. One was a really sweet first generation with the inline 5 cylinder and pre diesel emissions crap. I'd sell a kidney for a low mileage one of those, but I've got better odds of finding a unicorn riding a rainbow.

The other two Sprinters were 170" WB. One was a configured toy hauler/rv setup purchased that way, not DIY. Pretty impressive. The other was a new cargo van with the 2.1 L 4 cylinder twin turbo and 7 speed transmission. I wonder if that new motor is having the same high maintenance costs as the V6 diesel?

I've been lurking for about 18 months as I plan to get a commercial van in the next year, and when I first started looking at Promasters and comparing, the Sprinters were a lot more money but had more options and packages available. Now that the diesel option on a PM has gone up a couple of times in price, as have most of the other options, the price is getting closer.

I need a second row seat. When I look at a PM, I see that I have to add a floor, line the walls, then make a headliner, then find some seats to bolt in and then cut out a couple of holes for rear passenger windows. At Sprinter I can get a "Crew package" option which is just that. Three person bench seat , lined upper and lower walls, windows, carpet, headliner, ceiling lights, etc.

It seems that the Promaster has been climbing in price while the Sprinter is staying steady, and with the announcement that they are moving Sprinter production to North America for the North American market, price is expected to drop a little or remain steady for a long time. Currently Sprinters are made in Germany, partially disassembled into two major components, then mated back together in the US to avoid the Chicken Tax. (If you haven't read about the Chicken Tax, look it up and see how we are all getting screwed.) There is a huge cost associated with this splitting and joining of the vehicle in two different countries, and building them here would save a lot of money.

I've priced out a PM 3500 diesel with the options I want and the MSRP is about $46K, with the expectation that if I shop around I should be able to get it for $37K plus tax. I've come across a few Sprinter Crew vans , long wheelbase and high roof, with the 4cyl diesel, 7 speed, similarly equipped (heated seats, upgraded stereo, back up camera, etc.) that are already finished inside, have rear auxiliary heat, rear passenger floor ducts, etc. for about $35-$39K street price.

I have to admit that it certainly looks tempting. The people who have the 2.1L 4 cyl and 7 speed are raving about them. 23-25mpg, plenty of power for towing, quiet, smooth.

I'd love to see Promaster come out with a "crew van" option or a Passenger van option. My gut instinct is that they offer the Window van, but not the "passenger" van, so that they don't have to certify the vehicle for occupant safety and protection. Aa a commercial truck, it doesn't need to meet passenger safety standards, which would add a lot to the development and production costs.

I think I am still leaning towards the PM for the extra width and lower floor height, since my primary use is a daily driver/toy hauler. I haul bikes at least once or twice a week. And I like the idea of being able to finish the inside the way I want.

Still, I was surprised that the PM is no longer much cheaper than a comparable sprinter.

When it comes right down to it, I may give up some of the extra length of the 159" extended PM 3500 and get a 2500 159" WB PM and then use the difference in price to put towards the DIY crew package.

All I know at this point is that I don't know what I want!
 

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Sometimes thinking is the enemy of doing. On the other hand it makes no sense that the promaster has gone up in price as the Peso and the Euro have lost against the dollar. Shouldn't the diesel option have gotten cheaper for FCA and the Gasser more expensive? Shouldn't the rest of the van have gotten cheaper for them too? I love my van, would not give up the width, diesel, fuel milage, or fun to drive aspect for a Sprinter but IT SHOULD BE CHEAPER! LOTS CHEAPER!
 

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The 4-cylinder Sprinter is indeed tempting (except for narrow width), but then I read all the negative comments about maintenance and repair issues and the high associated M-B costs. Plus I see some negative comments about corrosion too. It would be good to know these are no longer valid concerns, but I'm not sure either way. Just don't know enough.
 

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The German built vehicles are all 3(VW, MB, and BMW) finely crafted, well engineered machines. That is their problem! As they wear, their ability to continue to perform is stopped by the very engineering that makes them run so well. And they all 3 love their branded parts, put on with their branded tools, but their own branded technicians. Seems to me the German 3 will have to address their service issues, at some point. Having owned a BMW, I can vouch for the fact that they are ridiculously expensive to maintain. And if you don't maintain them, they quit. Even with the rocky start I had with my ProMaster, I absolutely love this truck. It's a pleasure to drive, 10k in 4 months, and draws comments and question just about every day.
 

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...cut....

I'd love to see Promaster come out with a "crew van" option or a Passenger van option. My gut instinct is that they offer the Window van, but not the "passenger" van, so that they don't have to certify the vehicle for occupant safety and protection. Aa a commercial truck, it doesn't need to meet passenger safety standards, which would add a lot to the development and production costs.

I think I am still leaning towards the PM for the extra width and lower floor height, since my primary use is a daily driver/toy hauler. I haul bikes at least once or twice a week. And I like the idea of being able to finish the inside the way I want.

....cut....
I like the PM for same reasons -- extra width, lower floor, and lower cost. All valid reasons.

Where I think Sprinters have both PM and Transit beat (other than AWD option), is the available longer lengths up to 24-feet (over 3-feet longer than longest PM). While inside difference is less than 3-feet, the extra length offers design flexibility when planning a camper conversion. It would be my choice if looking at Sprinters. I know many guys prefer to convert smaller vans, but many of the major manufacturers like Winnebago and Airstream build mostly on the longest Sprinter body length. That tells me size is a priority with buyers; so could we go bigger?

I've seen pictures of a stretched ProMaster sibling converted to a toy hauler that was impressive. If available from factory I think it would have a lot of RV acceptance. A 24- to 25-foot van is probably way too long for business use, but may have applications as an RV.
 

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FWIW, after 4 Sprinter based motorhomes, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2013, we're here.

Any questions?
Actually, I have one. How is your cargo carrying capacity?

I recall numerous owners of B+ motorhomes based on ProMasters report that they didn't have adequate cargo carrying capacity due to the limited 9,350 pound GVWR.

Make that two questions: How has your fuel economy been on the Interstates, and at what speed?

I'm going to RV Show this weekend and plan to check out all small motorhomes they have at show. I'm hoping for more Class Bs than last year.
 

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Actually, I have one. How is your cargo carrying capacity?

I recall numerous owners of B+ motorhomes based on ProMasters report that they didn't have adequate cargo carrying capacity due to the limited 9,350 pound GVWR.

Make that two questions: How has your fuel economy been on the Interstates, and at what speed?

I'm going to RV Show this weekend and plan to check out all small motorhomes they have at show. I'm hoping for more Class Bs than last year.
Wow! You actually have something? My impression was you didn't have anything due to your perfectionist expectations of life in general. I know I will take heat for this confrontational attitude, but I get tired of you always finding fault with a man made product nothings perfect enjoy the RV show.
 

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GapRunr, I also haul bikes (and will be in your area sometime in April ...)

If you want a middle-row seat that stays in place with bikes behind it, I'm thinking a 159 non-extended should be long enough. Normal street bikes are around 7 ft long and this will give you 5 feet more to play with - probably 4-ish for the passenger seat and an extra foot behind which is good for wheel chocks, etc. Two bikes will go in side by side no problem but obviously with the passenger seat there, any other stuff will have to be filled in around the bikes - or above the bikes if you are little creative with shelving. I know some people have built their own partition between the passenger area and the cargo area when doing something of this sort.

You can order a PM with a window in the sliding door, then it's just a matter of putting a window in the other side if you want it to match.

The low floor is the PM's killer feature - particularly if you have the rear suspension lowered a smidge (and folks have figured out how to do this very easily and practically for free, there's a thread about removing the extra leaf). It makes loading and unloading bikes a snap. None of the rear drive vans will come close to a PM with the rear suspension lowered a bit. If your normal loading is not near maximum rating, this is the way to go.

The Sprinter 4-cyl 7-speed drivetrain was just out when I bought my PM, but I was nervous about maintenance, and I remain unconvinced about corrosion protection on those vans! That alone is why I didn't even seriously consider them.

I crunched the fuel cost gasoline versus diesel compared to the extra cost, and opted for the gasoline engine. The diesel should be better to drive in the mountains, though.
 

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Wow! You actually have something? My impression was you didn't have anything due to your perfectionist expectations of life in general. I know I will take heat for this confrontational attitude, but I get tired of you always finding fault with a man made product nothings perfect enjoy the RV show.
Sorry you feel that way. They were honest questions regarding a product I plan to look at again at the RV show. Your input as an owner would have been helpful, but I get where you are coming from.

One thing I won't apologize for is having a non-compromising attitude when buying stuff, or having high expectations. Good is not good enough. If others are happy with average stuff more power to them. I strive for great value. Perfection is not necessary, but quality has to reflect cost. I will not compromise and knowingly buy inferior products at inflated costs.

I'll admit to having decades of engineering and business experience, so yeah, my expectations are probably a little higher than the average buyer's. On the other hand I don't see why you feel that's a problem. Regardless, have a nice day.
 

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For a motorbike toy hauler, The 159 high roof (non-extended) will fit two motorcycles and have a middle seat.

Check this forum for diagrams of interior space.

For camping, if your middle seat folds down, and you still have the motorbikes inside, you need to move the middle seat forward (if it is on tracks); and you essentially have no more floor space.

I can live with that compromise. The 159 extended would be toooo long for me.
 

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What are you driving Chance???????
An older E-350 extended Ford -- just a little over 20-feet long counting spare tire on rear door. I converted it for travel and light camping.

It's still running strong but needs a lot of work to keep it viable for what I use it for. It only needs normal maintenance and minor repairs but has come up all at once. To keep it much longer I'd have to invest more than I think it's worth. It's old, and obsolete (particularly in size). Space in newer vans like PM or Sprinter at around 500 cubic feet makes my 300 cubic feet feel very small. For me the bigger the better.
 

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I was able to attend RV show in Texas today and saw a ProMaster parked alongside Sprinter, which reminded me of this thread. This picture at close to roof height shows the difference in height, and also how much wider the ProMaster is compared to Sprinter. The difference is very noticeable from inside the vans also. Just wished they had been facing same direction.
 
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