Sprinter Questions

Steph,
What did you use for the floor in your van? It looks nice and easy to clean.
Frank

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Hi Frank,
Mobius Concepts did my build-out, and I asked Chris to give me the details on the floor (which I really like!). It’s layered over 3/4 inch plywood. Here’s what Chris told me:
It’s made by Lonseal. Specifically it’s the “Loncoin II Flecks” style. They have many many styles from your dot tread flavor to wood grains and textures.
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Hi Steph,
Long time admirer and reader of your blog. I am an avid climber and ER RN as well. I had a question regarding your recent Sprinter purchase.
Do you regret not having the 4×4 model? Have you noticed any limitations by not having 4×4?
I am going to be purchasing a Sprinter within the next few months to convert into a climbing/surf van. I go to the Eastern Sierra and Yosemite often. Haven’t been to Indian Creek yet but I do wonder about the roads with such a big van.
Sincerely,
Jason

Hi Jason,
I’ve found myself with the same concerns. The Sprinter does have decent clearance, and I have BF Goodrich AT tires on it, which are beefier and have better tread than standard road tires. Still, it’s a very big (and very nice!) vehicle, and the last thing I want to do is beat it up or get it stuck somewhere (epic). We also sometimes need to run shuttles when Ian and I are traveling together, for certain base jumps where the start of the hike is not the same as the hike out of the landing area, and this is actually a pretty big issue for us which can’t be solved by 4×4, because it requires a second vehicle.
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So for all these reasons, I just got a used Yamaha TW200 motorcycle–this is a bike that’s short enough for me to ride comfortably (I’m 5’5″) but enough of a little workhorse that Ian (who’s 6’3″) can ride it with me on back and two backpacks strapped to a rack (which we just put on). I was a little concerned about having the bike on the back of the van, since on a trip we need to open the back doors to get to the storage all the time and it’s not that convenient to have a bike blocking the back doors. We got a tilt rack, hoping to make the on/off as easy as possible, but obviously it will be one more thing to do on a trip where the bike is coming. I recently saw a Sprinter with a small dirtbike mounted on front–this would be great for not blocking the back doors, but I’m not quite sure how they managed to get the mount on front.
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We just put on a class 3 trailer hitch and got the ttilt rack, which is the most standard way to go. I would definitely like to know more about front racks on Sprinters….
🙂 Steph

Hey fellow vaner,
I just saw your post about installing the goal zero panel and yeti.
I bought the same setup, curious if you used a fitting to run the two wires off the solar panel through, and what you used to coat and cover the opening. Is that just black silicone??
Thanks,
Kealan
Wish goal zero just made a kit to go with the panel for roof installation. : ) be nice.

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Hi Kealan,
I checked in with Chris Anthony at Mobius Concepts, and also with James Atkins at Goal Zero, and here’s what they told me!
Chris said:
Your van has a hole drilled and then that hole has a plastic ring placed in it to be a barrier from the sharp metal. I would not consider Black silicone to be tough enough to seal. We used pro flex black RV sealant by Geocel.
Another way to do it would be to make a larger cut and use a penetration casing like the GoPower cable entry plate. That requires more sealant to be applied to seal the case and the cable entry points.

James said:
Hi Steph!
We have used a fitting to run the cables into the interior before and caked black silicon around it. The cords are a bit thick so they are a little hard to get inside. There have been some people that have run it through the bottom of the vehicle. The roofing black tar stuff works great as well.

Hi Steph,
My daughter turned me on to your site. I think you have become her hero. I was reading your build out on your sprinter and read about your cooking situation. Did you ever consider using an induction set up for your cook top. I’ve never personally used one but have been in restaurants that used them exclusively and raved about them. It seems it would be a uniquely suited for your van. There is plenty of info on the net.
Just a thought, happy climbing
John

Hi John,
I’ve never used induction stoves, but would love to hear from anyone else who has!
🙂 Steph


  • John P. Daley II

    Steph,
    Craig at White Feather 4×4 Conversions does a custom front or rear bumper to hold Motorcycles. I am very happy that the sprinter has worked out for you and I cannot stress enough to everyone that the new 4×4 set up is not solid yet and the problems are serious. MBUSA spent more than 10,000.00 replacing parts over months, almost 90 days in the shop in the first 7 months and it never really worked well. The 2018 Model will be a whole new version with a different engine and a new body, with a new 4×4 set up. they are not investing the effort to fix the 2015-2017 models. They just throw parts at it until the warranty runs out. Many are talking about a class action. Please Let people know about http://www.sprinter-source.com so they can see first hand. I paid just shy of 60K for a raw unit and it never worked properly. MBUSA offered me a 4K settlement if I agreed not to sue. But they never fixed it. Again, I am glad your unit is working well, and many of the new models just have way to many gremlins in them, especially the 4×4.

  • jabbaugh

    Steph,
    We have an induction stovetop at our home. It is awesome. I actually prefer it to a gas stovetop. The way it works is that it heats the pan (using magnetic magic) and not a burner. It does require the pan be made of something a magnet can act on (iron or the right type of stainless steal). It is instant on and off like gas but only heats the pan. In a home it runs on 220v which makes it heat very fast. I am not sure what your sprinter outputs (standard 110v plug?) but it would be better than a standard coil burner.

    Highly recommend an induction stovetop if you need to go electric.

    That is my $0.02

  • Jason Arkin

    Hi Steph,
    Looks like I will be throwing my hat into the Sprinter game but I wanted your opinion. As someone who travels a great deal to climbing destinations with all different types of road conditions, would you have purchased a 4X4 model if it was available when you made your purchase? Have you noticed any down sides to not having 4X4? Obviously, 4X4 gives you more options but have you been making it work? Does the Sprinter ever feel like it doesn’t have enough umph?

  • Hi Jason, I am always nervous of things that are new, so I didn’t want to go for the 4×4. I’ve heard mixed reviews so far, but that’s always the case with cars. Of course having 4×4 is always best for people like us who want to get off the beaten path–at the same time, I wanted the longer van and we just decided to go down that road. Having the dirt bike solves some of the access problems, because usually the 4×4 happens at the very end of the outing when you’re trying to get a little closer to where you want to go, or do some shuttling. I haven’t noticed any power problems. So in a perfect world, I’d get to have the larger wheelbase van, it would have 4×4, it wouldn’t cost any more money, and the 4×4 would never break…..

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