Mercedes Sprinter 4x4 CrewCab Expedition Build in Canada

#1
We are excited to announce the beginning of a unique Expedition Truck build.

When we started looking for the "perfect truck", my wife and I agreed that our vehicle must check the following boxes:

1. Fuel efficient
2. Can seat at least 4 adults
3. Can do highway speeds all day long
4. Has a global dealer support network
5. Great load and towning capacity
6. And most importantly, it needs to be big enough for a lightweight composite camper box

After months of searching we came to the conclusion that nothing is easily available in North America that meets the criteria. At the end we looked in Germany for options and founds countless trucks.

We opted for a 2001 4x4 Mercedes Sprinter Crew cab chassis. The Sprinter has never been sold in this configuration in NA. The truck was a former government vehicle and has always been serviced at the dealer ship. Part of the purchasing requirement was a to buy a truck that just passed the very strict German safety inspection. This will hopefully safe us from any technical hassle getting it road legal for Canada. In other words, at least we know that everything is in working order and that there are no oil leaks or rust.

If everything goes according to plan, we should pick it up in Vancouver by the end of December.

Around the same time the container with the parts for the composite camper should arrive in Vancouver. Our factory is currently preparing everything including window and door openings.

Till then, I'm in search for a big enough shop space to do the assembly. Durring this process I will take photo and video documentation of the assembly.

Putting the box together should not take more than roughly 1-2 weeks. The interior will be build within a couple of months. The goal is to have the Sprinter on display (together with a couple other of our customers trucks) at the 2017 Overland Expo in Arizona.

For now, I will share some pictures of the camper drawings and the truck it self. There is more to come...

I will post updates as time and progress allows. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have.

Andreas

IMG_6829.JPG Sprinter Box 02 JPEG.jpg Sprinter Box Jpeg.jpg IMG_5482.jpg
 
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Haf-E

Expedition Leader
#2
Darn you Canadians and your 15 year import rule! That is the chassis I would get if it were possible to have it in the USA. Congrats! Looking forward to the build!
 
#3
Darn you Canadians and your 15 year import rule! That is the chassis I would get if it were possible to have it in the USA. Congrats! Looking forward to the build!
Thank you!
No matter where we looked we always ended up going back to this Sprinter...We looked into the Ford f series, Fuso's, Unimogs and some other oddballs. It's really not easy. I think Mercedes could make a killing selling them in North America!
 

Haf-E

Expedition Leader
#4
So that is a single rear wheel "2500" series? Which engine? tranny? Does it have diff locks? center diff? Which company did the 4x4 conversion - I think there were two companies back in 2001 doing them for Mercedes?
 
#5
So that is a single rear wheel "2500" series? Which engine? tranny? Does it have diff locks? center diff? Which company did the 4x4 conversion - I think there were two companies back in 2001 doing them for Mercedes?
It's a 311 CDI with the OM611 . Has a diff lock at the rear, manual transmission with low range. I have the build sheet in front of me but can't tell you who did the 4x4. All I know, that this was the first year they offered the sprinters with 4x4. Only a couple have been build in our configuration. Most are the box van type.
 
#6
Congrats, exciting Project.

I was also concidering a Sprinter doka strongly, ended up With a Vario, partly by coincidence/availability.
Good that you got the version With low range. I have tried a sprinter 4x4 with manual transmission and no low range, the clutch was not happy in some situations.

Good Luck!
 
#7
The Vario was on my list too. But I could only find ones with lots of rust. Pricing was the same. Aside from that, my wife didn't like the look :)
 
#9
This is exactly the road we want to take but with an overcab bed. Vario is also an option but my wife would need to up her driving licence to 7.5. We are a family of 4 (Kids 6 and 4) and we want space for long term travelling, DoKa so the kids can see when we are moving and not stuck in the back. We are in Germany so Vario 4x4 is easier but would like to see what can be done with a sprinter DoKa base. We also need the cabin 4 season and secure so interested in your build. Following with interest.

Al.

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#10
Consider doing away with the departure angle on the body. You'll be dragging the rear bumper before the body. If you intend to install a rear receiver hitch, the body departure angle will force you to have to extend the receiver out to attach any type of rear mounted bike rack.

Have you considered a fitting a pre-built Cargo Body on the back?
Morgan Cargo Body
UniCell

The Greene's Unicell Build and Fit-out.
It's First Life where it traveled through 40 countries on six continents!
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#11
Our departure angle is not only for more clearance, it's also for looks. We find a box with angle can be a bit longer and still lock balanced and blend in with the truck a bit better.

Thanks for the info on the other truck builders. But we own our own truck body company and looking forward working our own lightweight materials that are designed for this usage.
Cheers
 
#12
This is exactly the road we want to take but with an overcab bed. Vario is also an option but my wife would need to up her driving licence to 7.5. We are a family of 4 (Kids 6 and 4) and we want space for long term travelling, DoKa so the kids can see when we are moving and not stuck in the back. We are in Germany so Vario 4x4 is easier but would like to see what can be done with a sprinter DoKa base. We also need the cabin 4 season and secure so interested in your build. Following with interest.

Al.




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Hi Al,

The selection you have in Germany is amazing! We where also looking into former fire trucks, something like the MB1019 crew cabs. Pricing is very attractive and around the 10.000 euro mark. Those trucks have an amazing payload capacity and don't have any fancy electronic system. Only downside is the top speed. I'm aware that there are many people using them for travelling around the world, but if most of your travels are in developed countries you want something to take on the highway all day long.
Our Sprinter will be a "bad road" capable RV that will mainly drive on highways to get to the place we like to explore. If we wanted a "true" off road camper, we would have bought a Unimog.
 
#13
Hi Al,

The selection you have in Germany is amazing! We where also looking into former fire trucks, something like the MB1019 crew cabs. Pricing is very attractive and around the 10.000 euro mark. Those trucks have an amazing payload capacity and don't have any fancy electronic system. Only downside is the top speed. I'm aware that there are many people using them for travelling around the world, but if most of your travels are in developed countries you want something to take on the highway all day long.
Our Sprinter will be a "bad road" capable RV that will mainly drive on highways to get to the place we like to explore. If we wanted a "true" off road camper, we would have bought a Unimog.
I would love a Unimog but DoKa's are hard to find and not sure if I would want to drive them for long on the road.

Our goal is off road capable but would like to get right away some times. We plan to do no more than 100km per day max, so we can compromise a little on on road manners but we also need some level of fuel economy.

I still think a Vario is the way to go, and really think we need 7500kg to live for extended periods (6 months plus) but I am eager to see what could be done under 3500kg as this will make shipping and road tax much more economic..

I love the fact the Sprinter has single rear wheels without conversion. What type of suspension and tyres do you intend to run?

If I can assist with anything from Germany, just let me know.

Al.

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#14
Thanks for your offer! I'm originally from Germany and will be visiting in a week :)
No idea about the tire sizes yet. Will probably drive those ones to the ground first. The suspension should be fine, as the truck has a almost 2 ton load capacity according to the fahrzeugbrief.
I think the Varios are cool. Good luck!