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Old 06-01-2014, 01:12 PM   #1
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Ford Transit Van Chassis

Greetings all,

My wife and I are planning to order a Solera 24R as a step up from our well traveled Bigfoot truck camper. The 24R seems to fit our needs perfectly and I've had many diesels over the years. So, that part doesn't concern me. My question is this. I've been reading and talking to quite a few people who either operate, own and operate, or used to own and operate a Sprinter. This includes vans being used for businesses, RV owners, UPS and FedEx drivers, etc. I'm hearing a repeating theme about mechanical issues with the Sprinter chassis that causes me some concern. It seems to be centered around high parts costs, along with reoccurring brake and transmission issues. One UPS driver told me that UPS was ditching the Sprinter because the maintenance costs were significantly higher than other delivery vans they operate. I've looked through and searched the Solera forums, but didn't come up with any specific threads on this topic. If this is a repeat I apologize. Solera/Sprinter owners, what is your take on the maintenance costs of the Solera? We've done about 200k miles with our Bigfoot since I bought it in 2004. We plan to travel even more with a Solera.

I'm also curious if FR has any plans to use or is considering using the new (to North America) Ford Transit diesel van chassis that is being introducing this year? Or, is the plan at FR to stay with the Sprinter for the Solera?

Thanks in advance!

James-
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Old 06-01-2014, 03:30 PM   #2
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Had ours 2 years
Zero problems with mercedes
Factory rep stated in an earlier post that
The weight capacity for transit van wasn't high enough
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Old 06-01-2014, 05:06 PM   #3
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Maybe they just need to put a F450 powerstroke on the front. You could load it with tons of goodies with 14,500 gvw. :-)
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Old 06-01-2014, 09:43 PM   #4
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Can you be a little more specific. Are you talking about what MB charges for the scheduled maint. Or, do you mean inordinate failure rate over say Ford or Chevy.
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Old 06-02-2014, 07:24 AM   #5
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I was specifically speaking of premature repairs to the brakes and transmission. Virtually every person I've talked to who has owned/driven a Sprinter for few years has said the same thing. They all love driving it, but there are reoccurring, expensive maintenance issues. I'm not talking about routine maintenance. These issues with the brakes and transmission have apparently been around since MB introduced the Sprinter and MB has done nothing to correct them. My understanding is the Ford Transit van outsells MB Sprinter in Europe and the Transit is considered by many to be far more reliable.
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Old 06-02-2014, 10:38 AM   #6
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James,

we're up to 30K on our '11 Solera and no issues whatsoever from the chassis part. Routine maintenance is more expensive than some others but I would suggest finding an independent mechanic that understands the Sprinter (and MB). Some MB quirks are that they want you to replace the rotors when replacing brake pads (and that adds maintenance cost).

The Transit is a van that is smaller than the Sprinter. They cannot be compared correctly. The Transit (in Europe) plays in the VW Vanagon/Eurovan space and short wheelbase low end Sprinter size. Naturally being smaller it sells more than the Sprinter. Its like claiming the Chevy Silverado 1500 is outselling the F250. In Europe even VW is selling a rebadged Sprinter as they have nothing to compete with it (VW globally is a large truck manufacturer as well owning Scania and MAN).

Keeping up on the maintenance is crucial on any MB (I'm also owning an old 560SL as a daily driver). Delivery trucks rarely see correct maintenance - only the must do right now type of things get done and nothing gets checked. Don't blame them as not on the road = not making them money and maintenance on the Sprinter takes time.

Right now there is no Diesel chassis in this class besides the Sprinter. Everyone else (Ford, Dodge) is coming with little vans to the table that can't compare at all.

Reiner
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Old 06-02-2014, 02:10 PM   #7
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Transit is coming and in larger payloads at some point. I don't envision us having anything on a Transit for another 12-18 months and that is pure speculation at this point since we haven't seen the first chassis yet.
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Old 06-02-2014, 08:58 PM   #8
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If you watch the new American Pickers TV show, they will be driving the new ford product. Ford is replacing the econoline brand which is much bigger than the Transit.
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Old 06-03-2014, 08:23 AM   #9
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Comparing specs on the Sprinter vs. the Transit it appears the currently available Transit does come up short in terms of GVRW when compared to the Sprinter, but the Ford's 5 cylinder diesel puts out 350 ft/lbs of torque vs. 265 ft/lbs for the Sprinter. The Sprinter currently has a 30" longer wheelbase than Ford currently offers, too, but I could easily see Ford beefing up the suspension and stretching the wheelbase for the RV industry if the demand is there, particularly if Ford intends to replace the E-series with the Transit.
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Old 06-03-2014, 09:29 AM   #10
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MB has been making diesels for many years. Like all products, when the new emission standards took effect in 2009-2010, it changed the dynamics of the industry. The addition of DEF to the downstream exhaust, allowed the timing to be adjusted, lowering the usual "knock" heard from diesels up to that point. Thus, diesels are much quieter, cleaner, both in no more soot, and nox emissions. It did take MB a couple of program updates to get the systems to function, but from my expierence the performance and handling of the sprinter is exceptional. I only hope Ford can put as good a product out there, because competition is what really gives all of us better products to choose from.
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