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Old 08-04-2014, 04:42 PM   #1
Xtremjeepn OP
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Wicked From Eurovan to Sprinter Adventure Van build!

There are several great Sprinter build threads here so I figured we didn't really need another one.


That was until camping in mine this last weekend around Buena Vista and Salida Colorado. We must have run into a dozen people from ADV and most of them wanted to talk about the Sprinter. All asked if there was a thread on it here. Okay......here ya go!


My wife and I have traveled a fair amount by motorcycle in the past. We have 4 bikes used for travel, including two that have been on the road for several years now. We would fly out to those, ride them, and fly home. Working them around the world one leg at a time. I recently loaned them to a father and son from Australia so they could ride from L.A to N.Y. You can read about their trip here.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=974567

My wife and I actually got married while riding those two bikes. Wedding day photo.




I was actually starting out on a 6 month trip when I found out she was pregnant with our daughter.

I was somewhere around here.




With the news of a kiddo on the way I figured this was my excuse to buy/build a VW Van. Of course it would have been too simple to buy a running poptop camper van, so instead I built one from the ground up....sorta... You can read about that lunatic adventure here if you like.

http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=859597


After using the van for awhile with 5 of us in it. (wife, daughter, Aussie Shepard, and wolf hybrid) it was obvious that a little more room would be nice....and an excuse for yet another crazy project. At the end of that thread there is some Sprinter stuff because I didn't think we needed yet another Sprinter thread.



Okay, so now you are caught up with the back story. Let's get on to the Sprinter.


My budget was not very large to be building a second van. So I figured I'd start with an older Sprinter if I could find a deal and just see how I liked it. What I ended up finding was a 2004 3500 dually that was highly optioned, not white (but not pretty) and had DUAL SLIDERS, which is very rare.

Just to make this thread kinda efficient, I'm going to cut and paste a bunch of posts from another build thread here to just get people up to date.
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:43 PM   #2
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I'll just put the direct posts from the other thread in quotes until I get this up to date.



Quote:
First off, yes, I clearly have lost my mind and need cheaper hobbies!:coffeedrink:

I'm sitting in the Boston Airport right now waiting to get on a tiny plane to fly up to Maine to by a 2004 Sprinter. (3500 158" DUAL slider!)

If it works out....I will be spending the next several days driving it back to Denver, Co.

I didn't really need another van, or another project, but......I couldn't resist all the hype about these things so figured I would try one out! This will be my first diesel! Always wanted one, let's see if it stays that way!

I know some of you have followed my Eurovan project where I cut a giant hole in a perfectly broken van and then had to make it run: If you haven't, you can find it here. http://www.expeditionportal.com/foru...ith-a-Eurovan!

Here is a quick picture of the van!.....now you know about a much about it as I do! :snorkel:

I'm not totally sure of my route back to Denver yet. There is a bunch of snow forecast for the northern route so I might consider swinging south. I may also need some tires for this thing before I get it home based on he the pictures I have.

If anyone is along my route I'd be happy to stop and say high........or if I stop through no fault of my own I may need help :coffeedrink:

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FOR SALE 02 F650GS DAKAR
FOR SALE 2 KLR650s http://coffeemotorcycleswine.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole View Post
Okay....li didn't make it that far today. Only drove the van about 120 miles.

After the landing on he the icy runway in the small plane we went to see the Sprinter! Great fun! Tires are summers, kinda bad, but Bette than I thought so at the moment I'm rockin them!




The Sprinter is pretty much what I expected. A few dents and dings, a few things that need fixed. Etc. There were a couple of immediate issues we had to fix before I could drive off. So that set me behind a few hours.









The seller runs an RV repair business and was a very nice and helpful guy. The heater controls don't work. There is heat, but the blower doesn't run on its own! So we wired in a quickie manual switch to turn the blower on so my wussy *** could have heat over the next 2200 miles.

Then we rewired the sweet Bose home speakers on the cargo divider to the cheap *** stereo! Replaced a few fuses and filler it with gas.

Seems the oil was over filled on the last oil change since I get a "oil hi" warning occasionally! Verified on the dipstick! Also needs glass.



The storm I was racing to avoid pulled a fast one on me and headed south to cut me off! Not having slept for about 2 days now I was pretty cooked after only 120 miles of rainy dark driving. Its still pouring rain!


Stopped to put new wiper blades on it, replace a few fuses, buy new remote key fob batteries and wipe up the interior a bit.

Has heated seats but they don't seem to work? Fuse is good! Any ideas?

I'll need some interior trim bits to clean up the interior. AC/heat vent trim pieces, center speaker grill!

Over all the Sprinter pulls strong, no more CEL, shifts good!

Here is where I am, some Mexican restaurant called......ah hell.....who cares!

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06 KTM 950 Adventure(The Fainting Goat)
FOR SALE 02 F650GS DAKAR
FOR SALE 2 KLR650s http://coffeemotorcycleswine.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole View Post
Stopped for gas in Kansas somewhere. Thought I would post a quick update for you guys.



First off, driving an empty cargo van from Maine to Colorado isn't as fun as you might think :bike_rider:

At least alone, dead of winter and not set up to do anything but drive.

The cargo divider is a love/hate thing right now! The climate controls don't work in the van! Just before leaving we wired one of the switches to manually control the blower motor. The heat works but its On/off. Fortunately Mercedes (lets just call it what it is and not the Dodge marketing nameplate, all Dodge did was change the emblems!) has two fresh air vents in he the top of the dash that can be opened and cloaked manually. So this combined with the switch is how I regulate the temp in here. No way would this system keep it warm inside without the cargo divider! But....at 6'2" I can't put the seat in a totally comfortable position with the divider in the way!

I suppose it was inevitable that I was going to have to do a parking lot repair along the way. (That had to be done, not the optional ones I've down like wiring up the stereo that was unhooked)



The tail pipe let loose at the muffler. It was the rear support so get he muffler was hanging almost to the ground! Figured this out at 8:30pm on New Years eve! Only place open was Walmart! I picked up some stainless wire and a $5 multi tool! Back on the road in 10min. (Has to barrow a very big knife from a guy in he the parking lot to get my two little knives out of this package!)

Ghetto fix!





There was a LONG line of questionable looking people buying ammunition at 9pm last night at Walmart! I had just finished fixing the van when the clean sound of gunshots rang out at the other side of the parking lot (Kansas City BTW). Not fireworks! The very distinctive slightly muffled sound of gunshots! I bailed immediately! Fortunately I had some space left in the van to quickly toss in the dropped off piece of tailpipe!:coffeedrink:





Log story short, about 12:00am I was still out and away and unable to find a hotel room! Figured that since it was 40* out I would try crashing in the back of the van for a few hours and head out! BAD IDEA!

About 30 minutes later I was woken up by artillery fire! I apparently parked close enough to a MAJOR fireworks display that every explosion shook the van, rattled the windows and sent a huge shockwave through your body!! I swore they were setting them off right outside the door! I put up with it till they stopped and went back to sleep!

This is when the temp dropped to 14*! I brought a sleeping bag more for emergency use than a place to stay. I woke up FREEZING!

Climbed back into the cab and headed out! It was clear I was till too tired to drive so I pulled into a truckstop! Put the sleeping bag on the dash and leaned forward to sleep! Worked....but kinda painful! Too cold in he the back, not enough space in the front!

Grabbed some coffee and am back on the road!
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06 KTM 950 Adventure(The Fainting Goat)
FOR SALE 02 F650GS DAKAR
FOR SALE 2 KLR650s http://coffeemotorcycleswine.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole View Post
Oh, and I came out of a truck stop to find this funny stuff yesterday !

A don't normally give nick names to vehicles but my friend pointed out that it's the "Iron Man" colors. So it instantly became the "Iron Van":victory:

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06 KTM 950 Adventure(The Fainting Goat)
FOR SALE 02 F650GS DAKAR
FOR SALE 2 KLR650s http://coffeemotorcycleswine.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:48 PM   #6
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So here was the starting point.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole View Post
Alright, been home for a day or two. Had some wine, some margaritas! Even got a chance to wash off the Sprinter and do a little work on it! Even took a couple of boring driveway pictures with a real camera!

-fixed the drivers heated seat.
-took out the lower part of the cargo barrier. Boy...that took way more power tools than you would think?:coffeedrink:
-got both sliders to work....broke a few parts in the process....oh well
-tried desperately to change the oil but can't for the life of me get the oil filter cap off. Myself and one other very fit neighbor tried for an hour with several implements of destruction and can't get it to turn!:Wow1:....will get bigger, meaner tools and revisit that in a few days.:coffeedrink:









I should probably wash my Eurovan next :coffeedrink:



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06 KTM 950 Adventure(The Fainting Goat)
FOR SALE 02 F650GS DAKAR
FOR SALE 2 KLR650s http://coffeemotorcycleswine.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole View Post
I've been making a list of things to get done on the Sprinter. Trying to keep it reasonable. (I'll save the giant holes in the roof for later:coffeedrink:)

I'm still exploring the basic design options. But ultimately want to build something like this. Sporty, and versatile! I have to keep in mind that I sold my parts hauler to buy the Sprinter. So the Sprinter still needs to be able to haul some cargo around for other projects. So some modularity will be needed.




I have a list of things that need "fixed" and cleaned up on the van first. Mostly little stuff but it will take a little while to sort them out. Some will just happen naturally as I build the van.

I've also realized I have some stuff "left over" of compatible from the Eurovan. I have been exploring a bunch of seat options for the back for my daughter to ride on. Actually bought a 3 person Sprinter rear seat that was supposed to have been a "short" version that allows you to walk past it. When I got it home(in the Eurovan due to snow and bald tires still on the Sprinter) I found out it was a full width seat and you can't walk past it in the van. No worries. Paid $150 (he was asking $1,500 originally:Wow1:) and sold it a few days later for $200:coffeedrink: Now I'm thinking I might use the fridge jump seat base I got from the Eurovan to make a platform for the Recaro child seat to sit on. I'm not seeing any reason it needs to sit on an actual seat, just needs to be the same level of secure.

Which would leave the Sprinter as a "3 seater" and give me room for a dog bed on each side of her seat. (2 dogs):smiley_drive:

Then there is the flooring. Some of you may remember the wood laminate flooring I did in my Eurovan. I bought 3 boxes of the stuff so that I could do the floor and the two upper bed roof panels to match. Then I decided after doing the floor that the stuff was going to add too much weight to the upper panels. Which left me with 2 boxes left over. It took just shy of one box to do the floor of the Eurovan. I don't think I have enough left over to do the entire Sprinter, but I should be able to do at least the front half and already have it.





Which leave me to the back half, "cargo" floor. The van already has marine grade plywood flooring in it. Its just a bit scuffed up and ugly. It also shortens the overall height of the van inside. So adding a thick layer of rubber or something on top of it takes up headroom. The stock van has 6'2" of headroom, minus about 3/4" for the marine grade flooring. I'm 6'2" tall so I still have to "barely" duck inside.

So this morning I got up, made my wife her fancy coffee in her Chemex coffee maker. This led me to an experiment I figured was worth trying with the Sprinter. I took the left over coffee and grounds out to the Sprinter and poured it on the floor and mopped it in. I figure with as much coffee as I've spilled in the Eurovan over the last year we may as well just stain the floor of the Sprinter with coffee right up front:coffeedrink:

It may take a couple of days of treatment but if I can get the wood to take on a nice coffee tone in the back it should blend well with the wood look vinyl up front and make for a solid cargo floor. Good, free, reuse project of materials I already have laying around!...we will see how it turns out. :coffeedrink:

If anyone wants to come over and spill coffee in my van you are welcome to :coffeedrink:

First round of coffee on the floor! (and yes, I need to paint the inside of that rear door that was obviously replaced, thinking of doing a duplicolor bedliner on them. cheap, easy)

:coffeedrink:

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06 KTM 950 Adventure(The Fainting Goat)
FOR SALE 02 F650GS DAKAR
FOR SALE 2 KLR650s http://coffeemotorcycleswine.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cole View Post
Well, I made some progress on the Ironvan today!


A whole bunch of boxes showed up. New dash pieces with new vents for both driver and passenger side, oil change, and a whole pile of new 16" wheels off a newer Sprinter! Also bought $30 worth of exhaust pieces to repair the missing tailpipe from the trip home!



16" wheels off a NCV3 Sprinter. These should allow me to mount 235/85/16s instead of the tiny 195/70/15s

I'm going to paint these black!

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FOR SALE 02 F650GS DAKAR
FOR SALE 2 KLR650s http://coffeemotorcycleswine.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:51 PM   #9
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The vents were broken on both sides. So I bought new vent pieces for both driver and passenger sides. I hate it when stuff doesn't work and want to get the van back up to its true glory first!

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Old 08-04-2014, 04:51 PM   #10
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Here you can see both sets of new vent panels installed. But I had to remove the totally non-functional heater controls. I'm going to try one of the $100 lifetime warranty rebuild places to see if I can start to get the climate controls to work again.

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FOR SALE 02 F650GS DAKAR
FOR SALE 2 KLR650s http://coffeemotorcycleswine.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:52 PM   #11
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Welded up a new tailpipe from the muffler back!

Nothing fancy but needed to get it solid so that I can go do an emissions test and get my registration, etc.

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Old 08-04-2014, 04:52 PM   #12
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My stealthy little exhaust.

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Old 08-04-2014, 04:53 PM   #13
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Got a few moments of play time with the Sprinter today.

Quick check of my left over wood vinyl to see how it may look in the Sprinter.



Eh.....it will look fine, whatever, I already own it so it may as well go to good use.:costumed-smiley-007



This is a much more important topic. I need to ad a rear seat in the van for my daughter. She really is the whole reason for my growing collection of vans in the first place.:coffeedrink: (the cars and motorcycles are for me:coffeedrink:)

The theoretical ideal situation is to find a stock Sprinter 2 person bench seat with built in seat belts. Unfortunately these often sell for more than $500-1000:Wow1:.... And that's before I buy $90 of factory brackets that need to be installed. Which from my research don't "exactly" install as stock fitment. You still basically end up putting nuts/washers under the floor to secure the stock bracket. The bracket then allows for quick release operation of the stock (heavy ***) seat! With dual sliders I would have to center the 2 person seat and only have the width of the step on each side to squeeze by the seat into the back of the van.

This brings me to my next thought. I'm open to thoughts on this. I have a Eurovan "cooler" seat base. This is a true OEM seat base that holds the mini-fridge in its base with pockets on both side of the base. I've already cut off the seat back mount off this one since I was going to make a "foot stool" in the Eurovan out of it. I could weld on a steel top plate to this seat base and incorporate the attachment points for the Recaro Child seat. It would mount to the floor just like the stock seats would.

We really don't need seating for more than 3. So this would give us more room for the 2 big dogs, room to get I tot front seats, etc. I would add a table base and seat swivels on the front seats. This way we could all face each other around a table camping. Probably make the table out of a skim board or skate board deck.


This is just a mock up below. I'd also paint the metal parts of the seat base the color of the van to match the front seat bases. It's hard to see the difference between the plastic pockets and the metal frame in these pictures since they are the same color.

The disadvantages I see to not mounting an automotive seat here first is that it loses some height and cushion of the seat. It also might appear to be less secure, even though it will probably be more secure in reality.

Adding a adult seat would also eat up more space. My daughter will be in a child seat for years!! So that isn't a huge concern.

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FOR SALE 02 F650GS DAKAR
FOR SALE 2 KLR650s http://coffeemotorcycleswine.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:54 PM   #14
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Well, since I didn't want to spend $1,800 on Alcoa wheels, the only aftermarket wheel option for a dually Sprinter, I opted for the $7.50 option:coffeedrink:

Conveniently shipped in wheel painting boxes:coffeedrink:


These are a used set of 16" wheels from a newer Sprinter.


..
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FOR SALE 02 F650GS DAKAR
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Old 08-04-2014, 04:54 PM   #15
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..
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I'm not a fan of rebadging a vehicle to something it's not! Especially when it's done by manufactures/importers to seamingly try to trick/market a vehicle.

I have no desire to add back all the Mercedes logos as I'm also a fan of debaged vehicles in general Just think they look so much cleaner than the over badged crap that comes from the factories. Just drive down the road an look at the back of cars. They almost ALL have the same chrome raised letters for make and model! Then some even add engine size and drive sytem to the back too!

Anyway, I will probably add the Mercedes grill since its black and seems to fit the design better than the bulky after thought of a Dodge chrome piece. Other than that, all the misplaced badges came off today!



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