Tag Archives: Mercedes Sprinter

Steve for Sale

For sale 2005 Mercedes Sprinter 308 2.2 CDI with full camper conversion. Mercedes Sprinters are the workhorse van for most tour bus operators in Chile, Peru and Argentina because of their reliability and economy. The van is amazingly efficient, it’s a 2.2l CDI which can eke out up to 1000kms on a 75l tank of diesel when cruising highways. In Chile you’ll pay~50,000 Chilean Pesos (~$100 or £50) to fill it up.

The van also has good ground clearance ~8inches, and can cope with the majority of unmade roads you’ll find in Chile, Bolivia etc. just fine. It was bought and converted in Chile, and is perfect for two people to travel and live in in comfort (even luxury – it’s got a wine rack and wood burning stove after all!)  It was designed

and built for two people ski touring, although could easily be used as a base for a bigger group with the use of tents etc. The van would also be a great base for kyaking or surfing as it is well insulated, has lots of storage and the wood stove gets lots of wet kit dry quickly.
The kit list is as follows:
– Double burner gas hob with 6.5kg gas bottle.

– 70l of water storage- Electric water pumps providing running water for the sink and cold outdoor shower.

– Ample seating in the back can comfortably accomodate 5 people (6 at a squeeze) for great van socials!- Lots of storage inside that swallows all our climbing and ski gear.

– Skylight/roof vent.- Seating coverts into a double bed.- Sink with tap fed by electric pump and external drain.

– 100Ah liesure battery to supply power to lighting and pumps and provide start assist to the starter battery if required.- Split charging relay for liesure battery

– Solar panel and solar charge controller- LED lighting- Woodburning stove to keep you cosy and warm in the coldest of places.

– Fully equiped kitchen/dining set ( pots, pans, utensils, plates, knives, forks etc.)- Smoke and CO alarm

– 3 bottle wine/whisky/pisco rack.

– A bunch of storage boxes and tupperwares to keep everything organised and orderly.

– Radio/CD player with jack for MP3 player- Small 12v  to 220v AC 150W inverter for charging electronic devices.

– Roofrack

– 12v air compressor/tyre pump

– Second spare wheel

– 20l jerry can

-Fire extiguisher

– Smal folding shovel (the toilet or for digging the van out if you get it stuck somewhere!)

– Warning triangle

– Spare fuel filter

– Spare oil filter

– Selection of spare bulbs and fuses

– Feather duvet, pillows and bed linen

Basically the van has everything you need for your South American adventure so all you have to do is rock up, do the deal and take the keys!
The van is an ex-ambulance and has 165,000 kilometers on the clock currently. We have had a lot of work done on the mechanics to make sure the van was reliable for our trip so should run trouble free for a good few tens of thousands of miles yet. We have had the following work done:
– Clutch and dual mass flywheel replaced at 155,000km, only Mercedes Original parts used, all receipts will be provided.

– Full engine rebuild at 155,000km, only Mercedes Original parts used, all reciepts will be provided.

– New Maxxis Bravo AT tyres fitted at 162,000km

– gearbox and diff. oil changed at 155,000km

– Drive shaft centre bearing replaced at 163,000km
LEGAL DOCUMENTATIONThe revision tecnica (Chilean MOT or roadworthiness test) is valid until August 2015Vehicle insurance  is valid until 31st March 2015Permision de circulacion is valid until the end of August 2015
The bodywork is well used, but sound.
The van will be available in the first or second week of September (expect about another 20,000kms on the clock i.e. 185,000kms total) in Santiago Chile. Please get in touch for more details.
We are looking for 7.5m chilean pesos for him including all the kit listed above. We will be advertising the van for sale on Chilean car sites too as Sprinters in good working order are highly sought after vehicles in Chile, when we were trying to buy the van we found that good vans would sell in 24-48 hours. Although our preference is to sell to other travellers so Steve can continue his adventures after we have left South America!

Steve the $6m van!
Steve
Steve from the back.
Steve from the back.
Bed out inside the van, breakfast in bed anyone?!
Bed out inside the van, breakfast in bed anyone?!
Van looking nice and cosy with wine and dinner on the go!
Van looking nice and cosy with wine and dinner on the go!

 

The wodd burning stove in action. Cosy and warm despite negetive temperatures outside. He'll make you want to park in cold places!
The wood burning stove in action. Cosy and warm despite negetive temperatures outside. He’ll make you want to park in cold places!
Loads of seating for you and guests! Evene better there's storage under all the bench seats.
Loads of seating for you and guests!
The Kitchen Unit, this thing can produce some awesome dinners...
The Kitchen Unit, this thing can produce some awesome dinners…
...and what's inside? Upstairs lots of food storage, downstairs pots, pans, utensils, plates etc. Oh don't forget the wine rack!
…and what’s inside? Upstairs lots of food storage, downstairs pots, pans, utensils, plates etc. Oh don’t forget the wine rack!
The Complete Package
The Complete Package

 

Converting Steve

Now proud owners of Steve the 2005 Sprinter, it was time for some van conversion work. The awesome guys at La Chimba hostel had said we could use the parking round the back for the build and even use any tools they had in their bodega. This made the whole build possible, thanks guys!

I had spent some of the time whilst we were van searching researching where to get the necessary supplies (wood, water pumps, leisure battery and charging relays etc.). It turns out Santiago is pretty awesome for getting everything you need for a camper conversion if you know where to look. Although the internet is not used that much by a lot of businesses so some leg work is required. Most shops are very helpful, if they do not have something they often tell you somewhere that does.

The van basic design had been rolling around my head for a while and would provide seating, a kitchen unit with sink and stove, a double bed, lots of storage and a wood burning stove to keep us warm on cold winter nights! The van would also need a healthy amount of insulation to help keep it warm too, and I guess cool on hot days.

The design was sketched out and we went purchasing the necessary supplies. Some of the shops were quite fun, especially the solar shop run by geeky guys who ferreted around their warehouse to find the various components on my list.

Before we got into the build proper we decided to go for a little trip in the van to Cajon Del Maipo where there is some good climbing. We found that the ripio (gravel) roads can be pretty rough, which helped me decide how to construct the cabinets, they would be framed in sturdy 2″ x 2″ rather than just fitting up ply together with brackets.I also set about starting to strip the van out prior to the build during the trip. This was finished off and the inside cleaned out on our return to Santiago.

Steve stripped out and clean ready for the build.
Steve stripped out and clean ready for the build.

The insulation was two layers of insulation wool for the voids between the structural members of the van and inside the members where we could.  This was then overlaid with aluminised foam and sealed with aluminium tape to help prevent moisture getting to the metalwork behind. Whilst we aren’t keeping the van for long we thought we should do a proper job so he would last and provide a home and transport for many more adventures once we sell him in September .

Insulation wool complete
Insulation wool complete.

The van was starting to look pretty space age by the time the aluminium foam was nearly done and some people thought we may indeed be building a time machine!

Steve insulation complete and hole for the roof vent cut.
Steve insulation complete and hole for the roof vent cut.

All the insulation and first fix wiring was now done and the time machine was ready from ply lining. I had kept the lining that had been removed and took the dimensions from these to a wood store that I had found stocked 3mm ply. Two of the guys there were from Venezuela and really cool, Johnny and Francisco, they were both learning English and Francisco’s was pretty good.

 

Tommy, Johnny and Franky
Tommy, Johnny and Franky

We got the wood required for the lining and left, only to return the next day cos I’d forgotten the sides of the original lining didn’t quite meet the roof! Still the old lining was really useful for templating round the curvy bits i.e. wheel arches etc.

Foil insulation appied and roof vent fitted.
Foil insulation applied and Barbara repairing some taped seams torn when fitting ply lining.
The ply lining and lights were finished late one night!
The ply lining and lights were finished late one night!

With the lining complete the van was looking pretty good now.

Time had come for the framing for the units. However the frustrations started here as the 2x2s were all warped and vans are not square as such with plenty of curves to deal with. In addition the tenon saw I had bought, complete with mitre box, didn’t want to cut square, the corner brackets I got to join it all together were not that square and the screw holes were asymmetrical. This was an engineers nightmare! However this was what we had to work with and the results were not too bad – just don’t get a set square out! Hopefully some of the non squareness could be hidden with the ply facing material, either that or it would really look terrible. To my surprise the ply went on really well with a bit of fettling although it was also all warped and warping more by the second! It could be held flat on the timber frames but the doors, well not so much, but hopefully it would all settle down…

Wardrobe and kitchen units   taking shape.
Wardrobe and kitchen units taking shape.

During the build Barbara was serving her apprenticeship as a junior camper van builder and going off to the Ferreteria (hardware store) to get long weights, sky hooks etc. and holding various pieces of wood in place while they were fixed. Barbara’s skills developed pretty well and it was time for the apprentice’s project, the wine rack! There was space in the kitchen cupboard unit allocated so Barbara set to work designing, sawing, gluing and screwing, there was some design development as we went along and the wine bottles were used to ensure a proper fit for 2 x 75cl and 1 x 1.5l bottles.

Wine Rack, every good campervan should  have one!
Wine Rack, every good campervan should have one!

The end result was looking pretty good, Barbara was justifiably looking very pleased. Time to call it a day and have a nice glass of wine and some dinner. Selecting the nice big 1.5l bottle of wine, we found out it didn’t want to come out of the rack – Barbara had managed to actually build it in to the rack and no amount of frantic pulling would get it out.  Time to deploy the hacksaw!

Tom Releases the bottle!
Tom Releases the bottle!

Having mostly completed the units and installed the bed slats, we decided to go for a trip to Cajon del Maipo where we had been a week earlier for a mountain film festival. This time I planned on burning all the scrap wood I had generated from the build in a very big fire to mark the end of the main construction work, just the gas, water and wood burner to be fitted.

Two and a half weeks and a fair bit of fustration time for a fire!
Two and a half weeks and a fair bit of fustration time for a fire!

A further weeks work saw the sink, woodburner and cooker fitted, and the delivery of the cushions for the benches which also make up the bed. These were finally picked up after a Chilean week…. read 2 weeks! We were anxious to see what they had turned out like as the measurements were taken before the units were finished and Barbara had had to convey the design of the cushions with pretty limited Spanish. Actually they turned out exactly as per design and they fitted perfectly! Amazing! Time for another trip to the mountains to test things out and do some climbing, this time heading out to Farrellones, one of the winter ski resorts.

Van looking nice and cosy with wine and dinner on the go!
Van looking nice and cosy with wine and dinner on the go!

Steve was looking pretty sweet now and was really cosy and comfortable to live in. I just had the water and some electrics to sort, but these could be don whilst on the road.