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Old 04-15-2018, 07:00 PM   #1
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Motorhome Shopping - Looking for Actual Owner Input (Sprinter & E450)

My wife and I currently own a 39' FW Toy Hauler that is pulled with our F350 long bed, going down the road this combo is over 50'. We are looking to downsize and are currently leaning towards a Class C in the 27' range.

Reasons for Downsizing:
1) We have found that we are unable to get into many of the places we would like to camp.
2) We would like the ability to just "get in and go" for short weekend trips.
3) We would like a setup that we both feel comfortable driving.
4) We originally purchased the Toy Hauler so others could join us, however, we have found that we prefer to camp on our own. J Friends are welcome just bring your own camper!

I prefer diesel and was initially very interested in the Sprinter Chassis, however, after extensive research I have several concerns. I am also considering models based on the E450 chassis. I would love to have an Isata 5 30FW but it is slightly above what I am comfortable spending.

Last year I had the opportunity to test drive a Sprinter Class C and I loved how it handled, really no more of a task than my truck. I have not had the opportunity to drive an E-series chassis yet.

Sprinter Concerns:
1) CCC / Towing - I see so many comments about people realizing how low the CCC is AFTER the purchase. That blows my mind. I have to assume this is one of the biggest reasons you see so many used ones with less than 5000 miles on them. Additionally, I see several folks towing jeeps behind their Sprinter, I would bet most of them are over the GCWR.

2) Biodiesel – the little Sprinter diesel can only accept up to B5, anything greater voids the warranty. Yes there are cases online where people run B20 or higher but there are risks.

3) Service Availability/Cost – This is where I’m really looking for actual owner input. There are plenty of forums where people with no actual experience voice their opinions of a Sprinter being more costly to maintain, etc. I have not seen any substantial evidence to prove that owning a Sprinter is more costly compared to owning an E-series over the course of several years.

What I would like is input from actual owners of the Sprinter Class C and E450 chassis motorhomes in the 25-27 foot range. I’m not interested in the beaten horse of cost comparison of mpg, etc. I have read so many articles about the Sprinter diesel being complicated to work on and in my mind simplicity and reliability are important in a motorhome.

Questions for you Expert Owners:
How does your Sprinter or E450 work for your needs?

If you considered both the Sprinter and E-series chassis what swayed your decision?

What types of mechanical problems have you had?

If you own a Sprinter have you had it weighed after packing for a trip?

What has your annual cost been to maintain your Sprinter or E-series for routine maintenance?

What has your annual cost been for unexpected servicing?

What are some things you wish you had considered before purchasing?

Would you buy your Sprinter or E-series if you were to do it again?



Thanks!
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Old 04-15-2018, 08:57 PM   #2
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We have a 2012 Lexington 283ts on the E-450 chassis, V-10. We tow a Subaru Crosstrek 4 down. It is the perfect size for me, better half, and 2 dogs.
As weighed when we got it, with it pretty much loaded with our equipment, clothes, food, ect, I still was almost 1500 lbs under weight rating.
We never considered a Sprinter...too small for our needs, and unable to carry/tow what we needed. And, never liked the small deisels. Can't possibly count the # of those small rigs, towing, that appeared to be really struggling to run at a safe speed.
E-450/V-10 is pretty much bullet proof, with proper maintaince will last longer than you'll probably own it.
Have been on 13 week, 13,000 mile nonstop trip to Ak and back to Va.
Taken 5 month long trips over the years, numerous week'ers. Currently on 6 week trip out to G. Canyon area and surronding parks/areas. Mountains, grades, heat in summer have never been a problem with the Ford. Rocky's, Canadian Rockies, Teatons, Blue Ridge mountains, Smokeys...never a problem.
As far as down time...never have had an unexpected problem or break down. Change my own oil and lube it, but just had a complete fluid change out, coolant/trans fluid-filter, brake flush, rear end change out, at 40,000 miles. Did it because of age, not mileage. $800 bucks at a Ford dealer able to handle larger trucks/RV's. Sounds expensive, but it will last me another 6 years. Peace of mind!!!
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Old 04-15-2018, 09:21 PM   #3
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We have a 2014 27 ft Forester on a E450 chassis and are thrilled with it. Easy to drive and fits in almost every campground. Weíve put almost 50K miles on it including a couple 2 month long trips.

I do my own oil changes and simple maintenance. Just did tires and upgraded the shocks.

We considered the Sprinter based camper and liked them but didnít care for smaller bed and the higher price.

Yes Iíd buy again but hope it lasts forever. Off early tomorrow morning for 2 weeks in Florida.
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Old 04-15-2018, 09:49 PM   #4
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Appreciate the input. My list to check out for the E450 chassis is as follows:


Forester 2501TS
Winnebago Minnie Winnie/Spirit 26A
Isata 4 25FW
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Old 04-16-2018, 11:51 AM   #5
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For my money I'd skip on the Minnie Winnie. Unless you are getting one w/ their 'Premium' Package they are decidedly rental grade. You wouldn't guess as much given the price tag on them however.

Plus, I just can't get over how cheap mine felt overall. I had one that was 32'9" long. It had 2900 pounds of OCCC on it. My rig is 27' long, and it has a spare tire undermounted on the back. Its got 2800 pounds of OCCC on it. 5'9" shorter, and the Winnie only weighed 100 pounds more AND I'm carrying a spare?

Cheap cheap cheap ....
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:00 PM   #6
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We owe Prism 24 G on Sprinter, over 30000
miles for 3rd year, with Smart for two towing,
all around US with total average consumption
15.8 MPG ( from 14 lowest to 18 highest)
All maintenance I did by DIY, change oil and
filter on 10K, rotate tires on 15 K miles, fuel filter
on 30 K, 26 gallons fuel tank always search for
cleanest fuel, very rear use bio over 5% sulfur
warranty on exhaust heat sensor 100K MB extended
bottom line HAPPY CAMPER ...
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:39 PM   #7
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Me and my 17ft Lund

My little MBS Sunseeker is flawed on paper but I am not as yet, unhappy with how she rolls !! The wife who "insisted" on a bigger unit, has come around to it's charm. It forces her to "go light" and hit the camp laundry pretty regular.
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Old 04-16-2018, 01:56 PM   #8
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We have a 2015 Forester 2501TS on the E450. We have been nothing but happy with the unit. It has traveled through Alberta and Western Canada on all sorts of highways and back roads. A common trip is hauling the two horse trailer out into the mountains on a 50 mile gravel road. Even when muddy the E450 chassis and V10 have been solid. We have had no unusual maintenance. Just a front end alignment after the first 5000 miles and regular oil changes. The length allows us to go anywhere we want and is not expensive when traveling on the ferries in BC. Would recommend staying with a shorter length if your desire is to be able to pack up and go anywhere.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dino61 View Post
We have a 2015 Forester 2501TS on the E450. We have been nothing but happy with the unit. It has traveled through Alberta and Western Canada on all sorts of highways and back roads. A common trip is hauling the two horse trailer out into the mountains on a 50 mile gravel road. Even when muddy the E450 chassis and V10 have been solid. We have had no unusual maintenance. Just a front end alignment after the first 5000 miles and regular oil changes. The length allows us to go anywhere we want and is not expensive when traveling on the ferries in BC. Would recommend staying with a shorter length if your desire is to be able to pack up and go anywhere.
Thanks Dino61, the 2501TS is one that we are really excited to check out. Do you have a toad or do you mostly stay put in the boonies with the horse trailer?
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:15 PM   #10
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I'd echo the length. 27-28' on a E450 is about the sweet spot for living space and OCCC.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:17 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Prism 24G View Post
We owe Prism 24 G on Sprinter, over 30000
miles for 3rd year, with Smart for two towing,
all around US with total average consumption
15.8 MPG ( from 14 lowest to 18 highest)
All maintenance I did by DIY, change oil and
filter on 10K, rotate tires on 15 K miles, fuel filter
on 30 K, 26 gallons fuel tank always search for
cleanest fuel, very rear use bio over 5% sulfur
warranty on exhaust heat sensor 100K MB extended
bottom line HAPPY CAMPER ...
Sounds like you have a great micro setup that works for your needs. thanks for the feedback.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:33 PM   #12
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On our 2291S we have 3800 lbs CCC, without the toad you can drive it like a big van. No problems or breakdowns and diy oil change is not hard. We wanted a sprinter at one time but the increased cost couldn't be justified for the miles we do in a year. Plus, I like the wider rear end on the Ford, seems like it would be more stable and tow better. The E 450 is used hard in commercial service, so I think it will last. The only downfall is the front end, which is prone to poor handling and alignment issues.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by dinkhauler View Post
Thanks Dino61, the 2501TS is one that we are really excited to check out. Do you have a toad or do you mostly stay put in the boonies with the horse trailer?
We use the MH for all sorts of trips. We enjoy boondocking all over the place. We use it as a team bus during curling season going to bonspiels, we also go on extended 2 or three week golfing trips. We don't have a toad yet. That is in future plans when we retire.
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:56 PM   #14
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Love the ride

We have a 2013 Sunseeker 3170DS, Ford E450. This has been a fantastic unit with zero problems. Have only put 10 thousand miles on it. We pull a Jeep Wrangler behind and have been very happy with the power, stability and ride quality. It has air suspension assist in rear. Our previous was a 32í 5th wheel we pulled with a Dodge dually. The convenience and parking ease with the motor home has been so enjoyable. It easily sleeps 9 and has all the extras. Unfortunately we are going to be selling our rig, as Due to injuries my back cannot take hours behind the wheel anymore.
We live North of Oklahoma City. If you might be interested, It is for sale at $58,000. The unit has always been garaged, been waxed and detailed professionally each year. I would encourage you to drive one and see what you think. Good luck in your search.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:01 PM   #15
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We have a Lexington 283GTS on the E450 chassis. We were lucky enough to pick up an impeccably maintained used unit four years ago with only 12,000 miles. The GTS is 28' with 3 slides including opposing slides in the living room area which really opens it up. The bedroom slide gives us a walk around queen bed. It is perfect for DH, a 80 pound dog and me. We use it for Costco, casino and camping trips including being comfortable in a 2 month Florida snowbirding trip. DH has even used it to pick up lumber. It has been bulletproof and we have not had it back to the dealer. DH is a skilled tradesman and does his own maintenance and mods including replacing all of the flooring to remove carpet. We won the lottery in having the Michelin tires which were recalled so got all tires replaced and balanced completely free. We previously had a Ford F-250 4x4 diesel and 30' fifth wheel. The Lexington suits our needs so much better than the truck and trailer combo. We are very happy campers.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:04 PM   #16
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2501 toad

I tow a 2004 Honda CRV, all 4 tires on the ground behind my 2501. Tows like a dream. If interested in the 2501 it has a full queen split mattress out the back slide. Not a problem.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:13 PM   #17
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We have a 2015, 25' Forester MBS (Sprinter). Just rolled over 44k miles. Have had zero mechanical problems with the Mercedes part. As for the MH, seem to be typical of all new ones such as roof leaks, etc. All repaired under warranty.

The max tow rating is 4,200 lbs. We usually flat tow a '98 Suzuki Sidekick at 3,200 lbs. Often put heavy items in there (like bottled water) to avoid adding weight to the MH. When we are fully packed for 2 people, the Sprinter is a few hundred lbs under max. (We have weigh station 2 miles away here in rural Oregon. It's normally unmanned but left turned on).

IMPORTANT: There are many floor plans for the Sprinter. We chose the Forester MBS WS (wide slide) as it gives maximum room, a walk around queen bed, larger bathroom, etc. Nearly the entire side extends about 32". That really adds to the room inside. It "sleeps six but is perfect for two. It is also the heaviest and most expensive floor plan. But, 100% of other Sprinter owners who have stepped inside for a look commented that they wish that they had chosen that floor plan instead of theirs. I estimate about a dozen Sprinter owners said that.

For some reason I can't get the mpg that others report. I'm stuck at 13.5 free and about 11.5 towing. I do everything right, speed limit, tire pressure, etc. I assume it's the floor plan extra weight cutting my mileage.

I do my own oil changes and use a Mercedes specialty shop do the other PM such as fuel filter. They charge about 1/2 of what the dealer wants. Annual maintenance runs under $500 including oil changes.

BTW, it seems I got a better deal than most. I paid $80k in Dec 2015 for a 2015 model. All others with my floor plan seem to have paid between $92k and $98k. I sent an RFQ to about a dozen random dealers and N VA (metro DC) came in $12k less than here in OR. So for $12k, I flew there and drove it home. On that trip, I set the cruise control at the posted 80 mph across west Texas and got 9.8 mpg. Then I drove at 55 for the next tank and got 15.0, and that's with an empty MH. (For those that don't know, I-10 across west Texas is straight, flat and covers roughly 1/3 of the distance between the Earth and the Sun.)

You may miss being able to hop in your truck and go from the campsite and end up pulling a toad. Even so, it will be a lot shorter overall than your present set up. Be aware, many cars cannot be "flat" towed (all 4 wheels on the ground). I did not know this and got lucky with the Sidekick. Motorhome magazine has an annual ""Dingy Guide" that lists towing and weights for toads. You can access it online for free. Good luck!

Good luck!
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:20 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Dino61 View Post
We use the MH for all sorts of trips. We enjoy boondocking all over the place. We use it as a team bus during curling season going to bonspiels, we also go on extended 2 or three week golfing trips. We don't have a toad yet. That is in future plans when we retire.
I'm glad to hear this length is so versatile that's what we were hoping to achieve. And we won't have a toad right away so it sounds like we will be able to get by just fine without it in most cases.
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:51 PM   #19
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On my 2nd Sprinter

2011 SOLERA, 50k miles in 5 yrs included trip to AK; couple issues with DEF sys plugging up, newer models improved system.. also don't wait till light comes on for DEF fill.. keeps from getting sensors corroded). Had fuel injector failure.. cost 1k at Mercedes to replace all injectors at 50k miles. I get serviced at Mercedes.. $498 oil and fuel filter change.. get fuel filter changed every other oil change of 10k miles. no other real expense expenses; other than engine I do coach maintenance/repairs.. minimal Traded just due to Solera had the corner bed and went to Sunseeker 2400WBS, full slide.. Love it.. no issues to date 10k miles.. planning super trip of 5 months that will include AK hwy again. Solera had bad sway in windy conditions.. Sunseeker 2017 has a bit more wider frame and anti sway Helig Bar; mush improved handling over the Solera. Tow a standard Honda Fit.. super easy to connect/disconnect. Best I could do 60-65mph Interstate travel is 13.5mpg w/o toad, more like 12mpg towing. We're happy with the Sprinter/Honda set up.. Honday fit has plenty room for a 2300lb unit and great travel buddy. We run a lot without towing car in the Solera.. <25' fairly easy to find parking and get around but some places would not let vehicle size around for touring.. now would not run on a trip without toad.. great team. Best to you
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Old 04-16-2018, 03:55 PM   #20
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We bought our 2016 MBS Diesel in early Fall 2015 after looking at Class Cs for 2 years!
We had a better than new completely restored 1991 VW Vanagon pop top!! Several trips with our pet up and down the West Coast! We have done tent camping, previous VW camper decades ago, and an Apache Pop Up we pulled all over the USA with our two daughters and sometime their German grandparents as well! We had never owned a motor home of any size but my wife Gerda knew what she wanted and me too (thank God)! We now are approaching 40K miles on our Sprinter! Two major cross country trips (West to East Coast and back and zig zag north to south) and lots of trips up and down the West Coast! We average 21 mpgs on the highway on our diesel at 65 mph on the average! It sleeps 6 adults (with 2 queens and an under the table double! All the options were included! The full slide is amazing! We always take out solid extended warranties for peace of mind and they always pay for themselves! We have extended warranties on the house and MB Sprinter. We also purchased from a local reputable dealer! The only thing we do do is haul a frog and that can be bothersome because many RV parks are not located within walking distance of site seeing and we have a pet! When we are going to be somewhere a few days we rent an economy car (cheaper than carrying the annual expense of a frog anyway unless you also
use it as your daily driver or you live in your RV)! Because we bought locally our dealer has eaten a couple of warranty repair costs because Forest River sucks when it comes to their warranty repairs! Ours was the step and a faulty antenna -
replaced! We keep up with all maintenance on the House and Sprinter! We store it at our local secure military base but have to keep up with rat and mouse prevention! Just before Christmas we had the main wiring harness chewed and a second wiring harness linked to the battery chewed! $3,000 and $1,000 cost respectively! Because it's obvious we don't let it sit for weeks and months, Progressive paid $2750 on the main (our deductible was $250) and Mercedes covered the entire $1,000 on the second harness! We now mouse proof the RV top to bottom for $200 a year! Plus I now use a fantastic pepperment oil in kKups/cotton in critical places (learned it from another owner) and it works! We have an HOA so can't store it at home! The short of it is we love it, but we are not fulltimers! Again, the dealer is every bit as important as the RV itself! Dan & Gerda
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