When looking for a solid, dependable van to convert into a camper, a Mercedes Benz Sprinter usually fills the top spot. With an extremely reliable Mercedes Benz engine, these vans promise to take you far and wide on your adventures.
With ‘vanlife’ skyrocketing in popularity and becoming somewhat of a trending topic, it’s no surprise many companies have taken to perfecting their camper conversion craft, and are now able to create luxurious but often expensive Sprinter van transformations.
So, why are Sprinter van conversions so expensive? The high cost of a Sprinter van to camper conversion is due to the base vehicle acquisition expense, hundreds of hours of skilled labor, client customization requests, use of the highest quality finishes and the very best third party components to build out the ultimate adventure vehicle. On the high end of Sprinter van conversions you will easily see prices approaching $200K and beyond.
The goal of bespoke camper conversion companies is to bring your visions and dreams to life from the design stage all the way through to the execution of the conversion. The knowledge and expertise these conversion teams have result in premium, unique campers molded to make travel and life on the road as comfortable, functional and luxurious as possible.
Base Cost of Sprinter Van Before Conversion
When beginning the journey of converting a cargo van into a camper van, it is vital to choose a base van that is solid both mechanically and externally in terms of the body of the vehicle. When travelling in a camper, you are likely to spend considerable amounts of time in areas of varying climate, road condition and terrain.
It is therefore paramount to have a sturdy, trustworthy base beneath your feet to provide both power and support during your travels.
Deciding between a new or used Sprinter van to convert will depend heavily on the budget you have available for both the van and the conversion. It is important to do plenty of research when looking at used vans as even the prices of second-hand vehicles have soared. You will need to look into aspects such as the van’s mileage and what its former life entailed.
Like all vehicles, if a Sprinter van is not serviced and maintained regularly, issues may arise and as these vans are commonly used as workhorses for delivery companies, it’s paramount to check the service history. With used Sprinters costing a fraction of the price of a new Sprinter, it is definitely worth looking around at second hand options for your campervan.
On the other hand, however, one of the massive benefits of purchasing a brand new Mercedes Sprinter van is the fact you can choose what specifications and features you desire on the vehicle.
There is even the option of a 4×4 Sprinter for those wanting ultimate off road capability for wild adventures no matter the location. Currently, the MSRP for a 170″ extended wheelbase high roof, 6 cylinder diesel 4×4, 2500, Sprinter cargo van is $60K+. That’s a huge chunk of money and you haven’t even started the conversion yet!
There is also far greater peace of mind when purchasing a brand new vehicle as mileage will be low and it will not have had a potentially questionable former life. It is vital to remember when purchasing a brand new Mercedes Sprinter, however, that there can be relatively long delays due to the current high demand for vans and campers.
With such an array of Sprinter models available from long wheel base, high top vans, to short wheel base, low roof vans there is sure to be a Sprinter to fit the needs of everyone.
Skilled Labor Costs
Those who have completed van conversions before will know they always take considerably longer than originally planned and many obstacles usually appear along the way to heighten the intensity of the conversion. It is no surprise that campervan conversion companies have honed their craft and are now able to produce bespoke conversions suited to each individual’s needs.
By opting for a custom conversion, you can rest easy knowing every part of the camper has been finished to the highest standards possible. This can solve many of the stresses often faced when self converting a van such as installing a safe and efficient electric system.
Conversion companies usually have a team of experts in different fields from upholstery to woodworkers to camper van electricians so you are able to rest easy knowing everything has been installed correctly and as safely as possible.
For a high quality conversion able to last and thrive through endless adventures, the labor involved is extensive. The foundation to every van conversion starts with the metal; sound deadener is the ideal base to include to make the drive as quiet as possible once the conversion is complete.
In addition to this, insulation plays a vital role in the functionality of the van; without high quality insulation and vapor barrier, the van will be unable to regulate temperature and keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Furthermore, building up from the base and including features such as additional windows, skylights and an efficient, safe electrical system all take a considerable amount of time.
As these companies have teams of renowned professionals across the board, the interior and exterior of custom campers have the potential to be fascinating. With many companies also employing woodwork specialists, it is easy to see why bespoke campers can have a relatively long completion time.
When consulting bespoke campervan conversion companies, it’s important to remember the time and effort these teams go through in order to produce innovative, premium custom campers.
High End Finishes
Bespoke camper conversion companies offer a skill set able to produce the highest quality, luxury finishes possible. It’s this skill set that allows many parts of the conversion to be completed by hand by experts in the field, bringing van conversion dreams to life. Every inch inside and outside the vehicle is able to be mapped out to perfection from water catchment systems to powerful electric tilting solar set ups.
The possibilities can truly be endless when working with these companies. The smallest details are recognized when working with a custom conversion team to ensure the entire camper fits your needs. With an abundance of options in finishes available from floor materials to upholstery to kitchen facilities, the potential is truly staggering.
Many companies are even able to enhance the exterior of the vehicle dramatically with features such as ladders, roof decks and awnings. Van conversion companies are also able to offer electrical systems specific to the needs and requirements of your travels and livelihood.
Depending on how much power you require, conversion companies are able to calculate the best battery and solar set up for you without any stress of installing the system yourself which can be complicated. With several different batteries available from lithium ion phosphate to AGM and deep cycle lead acid batteries, it can be hard to know what to choose for your electrical system.
The specialist teams within a campervan conversion company have the skills, expertise and knowledge to explain the best option for your requirements. For those wanting to remain off grid for long periods of time and still have access to charging laptops and phones, using heated hair equipment or kitchen gadgets, a reliable electrical system is vital.
With new technologies emerging constantly, you are guaranteed to get the best set up for your camper by working with the experts in the van conversion field.
Most companies will have you complete a highly detailed questionnaire that will help customize and build you the vehicle of your dreams. To get an idea of the many ways you can customize – take a look at this page on outsidevan.com and also this page on mytourig.com (featured image top of article). You’ll see the dozens of ways you can modify a build. Everything from type of seating, sleep setup, bathroom configuration, style of cabinets and so much more!
Supply and Demand
Due to the increase in demand of campers and panel vans, prices have risen expeditiously, making it difficult to find quality vans able to fit your needs. With an influx of people now desiring ‘staycations’ and some even choosing to live in vans permanently due to high real estate prices, it can make finding a camper van feel impossible.
Even though finding a camper specific to your needs may be more difficult for the foreseeable future, it is still possible to find a great van either pre-converted or ready to convert. It is also important to remember many features of modern campers are not essential, but are included for more of a luxurious, high end finish.
Those wanting a camper van for shorter trips may not necessarily need the same functions as those looking to move full time into a camper. This is crucial to consider when looking at everything from the size of the vehicle to the solar system to whether or not a full toilet/shower room is needed in the build. It can be tricky to navigate between what you ‘need’ in a camper van and what you ‘want’ in a camper.
There are many options available for features such as toilets that vary dramatically from expensive composting systems to the simple cassette design. The same can be said for features such as indoor shower rooms within the camper. This option, although very useful, can rack up costs and time due to the installation of a hot water system and creating a room completely sealed and waterproof.
For some, this system is a must to include in a campervan conversion, but others may want to explore easier and quicker options such as usb rechargeable showers you can hang from the outside of the van – this is a far cheaper option but you do lose some comfort and luxury.
With many high end camper van conversion companies now available, it is worth taking a look at their portfolios to see what camper conversion magic they are able to create. With demand constantly growing for campers, it is wise to get in touch with custom conversion companies as soon as possible to avoid any disappointment.
Do Sprinter camper vans hold their value?
If a Mercedes Sprinter camper van is looked after and respected both when driven and used, there is no reason why they should depreciate massively in value. With campervan demand and prices continuing to increase, it’s hard to imagine losing money on a camper in the current climate.
With the Mercedes Benz Sprinter van being a name famous for its dependability, it’s no surprise these vans are a popular choice for those choosing a van to convert into a camper. As with any vehicle, it is important to remember to carry out regular vehicle checks, especially when travelling around and potentially driving for long periods of time.
If regular maintenance is carried out on the camper van and the interior is kept clean and functional, a Mercedes Sprinter campervan will successfully retain its value. With such an abundance of features available to add to campervans with today’s modern technology, every addition is guaranteed to add to the vehicle’s overall value.
How many miles will a Sprinter van last?
As previously stated, as long as regular servicing and maintenance is completed on a Mercedes Sprinter van, they should comfortably reach 200,000+ miles. With an engine famously recognized for surpassing the 300,000 mile mark, it’s difficult to see why a Sprinter wouldn’t just keep going.
With many Mercedes Sprinter vans dating back to the early 2000’s still on the road and thriving, it’s clear the Mercedes diesel engine is one that’s built to last. Looking back even further, there still remains some of the TN/T1 and T2 pre Sprinter models on the road dating back to the late 1970’s.
This is resounding proof of the sheer high quality of the Mercedes engines and signifies successfully, if a Sprinter is treated well, it will have a long, adventurous life.
What year Mercedes Sprinter is the best?
The debate of the best year Mercedes Sprinter van has many sides. Looking back to the 2004 and 2006 year Sprinters, these vans are constantly recognized for their simplicity and solid Mercedes diesel engines. Consider the newer Sprinter models however, and you’re now looking at better emission standards, increased hp and torque.
Moving inside some of the newer Sprinters, you can now expect an attractive cab complete with dual passenger seats, cruise control, air con and a whole host of high tech electrical features to make your driving experience as comfortable as possible. It really depends on your requirements for a van when looking at the range of Mercedes Sprinters available.
Many chose older Sprinters as they have a lower price tag and are happy to sacrifice some comfort and modern technologies to get a cheaper but still reliable van. For those with a higher budget, newer Mercedes Sprinters have such an abundance of modern qualities available, you truly do get the full package of comfort and luxury paired with mechanical reliability.
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David is an accomplished mountain endurance athlete who has completed over 25 ultra marathon races (follow on Strava). He is most proud of his finish at The Drift 100 – a high elevation, 100 mile winter foot race that zigzags along the Continental Divide in Wyoming. In the future he hopes to compete in the ITI 350 and ultimately the full 1,000 mile Iditarod Trail Invitational that follows the same path as the historic dog sled race.