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Choosing the right model of van for your conversion isn’t always straightforward. Some vans are far easier and cheaper to convert than others, making them increasingly popular within the van life community. When researching the best van models, the same type keeps cropping up again and again – Sprinter vans.
Sprinter vans are made by Mercedes-Benz, and the cost of conversion can vary dramatically depending on the initial cost of the vehicle as well as the standard to which you finish the job.
Basic Sprinter van conversions can cost as little as a couple of hundred of dollars, or over ten thousand dollars – it all depends on your own needs and preferences.
However, van conversions do require some basic features to make them functional, including a bed, insulation, and window coverings. The price of these basics will depend on your own budget and where you decide to shop, but the cost of a Sprinter van conversion usually ranges from $600 to upwards of $10,000.
Also, you may need to factor in the price of the Sprinter van itself- if you don’t have one already, that is. If you were to buy a brand new top of the range Sprinter directly from a Mercedes-Benz dealership, you can expect to pay upwards of $40,000.
But most people who decide to convert a Sprinter van tend to do so to a secondhand model. Good, used Sprinter vans can be found online or at auctions for as little as $4,000.
So, before diving straight into your Sprinter van conversion project, we would recommend evaluating your budget and planning for the inevitable costs. In this article, we’ll address the following questions:
- How much do the basics cost?
- Should I buy a new or used Sprinter van?
- Should I convert it myself or pay a professional?
- What are conversion companies?
Upfront Vehicle Cost
Arguably the most costly element of the entire conversion procedure will likely be acquiring a brand-new Sprinter vehicle. If this is the route you plan to go down, You should expect to spend thousands of dollars more for a brand new van than you would for a used one.
Sprinter vans are typically priced between $35,000 and $45,000, but they can cost much more if you require additional features.
Sprinter vans are now available in three different models: 1500, 2500, and 3500. The standard model 1500 costs around $35,000, The cost of the 2500 model is approximately $41,000. Lastly, the 3500 version has a price range of $37,000 to $50,000, depending on what extras you opt for and where you make the purchase.
It’s no secret that Mercedes-Benz is a high-end manufacturer, meaning that their vehicles are certainly on the expensive side. In fact, a Sprinter is one of the most expensive van conversion options available, and if you’re on a tight budget it may be best to look for other mid-range models.
But the steep price tag of Sprinter vans does mean that you’ll benefit from a lot of internal van space as well as overall good quality components.
If a brand new Sprinter van seems a little out of reach right now, how about opting for a used model instead? These are far cheaper than brand new models straight from the manufacturer and this is the most popular option with people looking to convert them to a camper.
You can get your hands on a pre owned Sprinter van for less than $4,000 if you’re lucky. However, it’s important to remember that used vehicles are nowhere near as reliable as brand new vehicles. So, as long as you’re prepared to handle any emergency repairs and surprise costs, then a used Sprinter van is probably an option you should consider.
If you’re not sold on the idea of buying a very used and possibly unreliable Sprinter van, you could always consider buying a mid-range Sprinter with low mileage. If you know where to look, you can find Sprinter vans with mileage lower than 40,000 for $25,000 to $30,000 dollars.
However, this price can vary depending on the exact number of miles, any damage, and what year it was made.
It’s important to remember that a brand new Sprinter isn’t suitable for everyone, and they certainly come with their downsides. For example, new vehicles tend to be very expensive, and the value of vehicles depreciates very quickly, so it may not always be a smart investment.
By opting for a second hand Sprinter van, you can use any left over money to contribute towards the costs of insulating the vehicle, or furnituring it.
Getting The Most Bang For Your Buck
One of the most difficult aspects of purchasing a vehicle is finding the best deal. Pretty much everyone leaves the car dealership believing they grabbed the best possible price. Auto firms, on the other hand, frequently give sudden cost reductions to fool you into thinking you’re saving as much as possible.
Consequently, this results in a large number of consumers overspending on their Sprinter van, or any vehicle for that matter. Going cheaper than the listing price is often the simplest approach to getting your hands on a decent deal.
Try lowering the price to $35,000 if they want you to pay $39,000, for example. You might not get it for what you ask for, but the seller might be willing to meet you halfway at roughly $37,000. But, you never know unless you try.
The state of the current market will often determine vehicle value; modern cars often attract more attention thanks to massive incentives and discounts, whereas second hand vehicles are more difficult to sell. Sometimes, thanks to the shortage of incentives on newer vehicles, second hand vans attract more attention.
Try to enjoy the benefits of these aspects, and be sure to keep an eye out for last minute deals at the end of each year. Bear in mind that perhaps the simplest approach to comprehend the cost of a used Sprinter van is to take a look at the mileage.
The very first consideration ought to be the mileage, along with the year it was made and any documented collisions. When you begin the buying process, try to check the internal dimensions, engine capacity, fuel efficiency, as well as any other vital specifications.
When it comes to getting the greatest bargain, paying in cash might sometimes be advantageous. However, larger dealerships are less likely to incentivize cash payments.
Are Converted Vans Expensive?
If you want to reap all the rewards of #vanlife but you don’t feel up to the challenge of converting the vehicle yourself, you could always opt for buying a pre-converted van. These are usually just vans that have been bought and converted by the previous owner.
You can get your hands on a converted Sprinter van that has been completed to a high standard and comes with all the amenities you need for as little as $20,000. However, pre-converted vans can sometimes be really expensive, especially if the van is particularly modern or has fairly low mileage.
Sprinter Van Conversion – Cost Breakdown
If you’ve decided to take the plunge and convert your own Sprinter van, you’re ultimately going to save more money. But this will come at the cost of hard work and a lot of time. You’ll also need to make sure that you have all the necessary equipment and tools to hand, and converting a van requires some pretty strong power tools.
With so many different expenses involved in converting a Sprinter van, it can be difficult to understand what’s truly involved in the process.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the most common expenses you’re likely to encounter when converting a Sprinter van:
Perhaps the most important aspect of converting any vehicle into a camper is to insulate it. A properly insulated van means that you’ll stay cozy and warm during the winter months, while keeping you cool during the summer months.
We recommend using sheep’s wool insulation, as this is the most effective method and it doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals. You can find many companies online that will fit sheep’s wool insulation into your van for you, or you could just buy it from them and then fit it yourself.
Alternatively, you could always opt for foam and aluminium insulation. This is a great affordable option for those who want to convert their van on as small a budget as possible.
While foam insulation isn’t always as effective as sheep’s wool insulation, it is still routinely used in the conversion of campers and RVs, proving that it’s capable of doing the job. You can get a whole roll of the stuff on Amazon for less than $100.
This foam insulation from Siless is one of the most popular on the market right now, and is perfect for a budget Sprinter van conversion.
One cost that is often overlooked is ventilation. Vents are absolutely necessary in any van conversion, particularly the Sprinter models as they don’t have pre-fitted vents in the back of the vehicle. So, to supply fresh air to the interior of the van and to expel any cooking fumes, installing ventilation is a priority.
The most cost effective way to do this is by purchasing your desired vents and installing them yourself. RVELOVENT is one of the most prominent suppliers of RV and van vents. Their models are affordable and come with full instructions to help you fit them yourself with ease.
This vent even comes with a handy remote control so you can adjust the speed and settings with the touch of a button. You can fully ventilate a Sprinter van for as little as $200, but the exact cost will depend on how many fans you want and what size you decide to buy.
There’s no one set price for van conversion cabinets. The amount you pay will all depend on what finished result you’re aiming for. If you buy brand-new cabinets, you can expect to pay upwards of $250 to kit out the entire vehicle with the necessary storage solutions.
However, many people use this as an opportunity to get thrifty by salvaging old cupboards and repurposing old wooden furniture to make their own van cabinets. You can get your hands on old salvaged cabinets for as little as $20, as long as you look in the right places.
If you’re planning on living the van lifestyle, you’re going to need a few luxuries. Whether that be a phone charger, a hairdryer, or even a toaster – you’re going to need an electricity source. If you think you’re going to be spending time in your van quite often, then you may need to spend up to as much as $3,000 to fully kit-out your Sprinter van with solar panels.
But if you think you’re capable of using your electricity supply sparingly, then you may only need 1 or 2 small panels, which can be bought for as little as $500.
Renogy is a company that specializes in van and RV solar technology. This kit comes with everything you need to get started, and is an impressive 400W. This is a great option for those converting a Sprinter van on a budget, making it possible to supply your van with electricity for less than $700!
Toilet facilities aren’t standard in all converted vans, therefore they’re not a must. If you prioritize comfort and solitude, though, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 for just a regular bucket toilet to $150 for a high-quality composting toilet.
You could even consider making your own flushing mechanism by using tubes and pipes, but adding this could set you back up to $400 more.
Good refrigeration is essential in any Sprinter van conversion. It’ll mean that you can take fresh food on the road and it’ll last. The best option is to choose a solar-powered refrigerator, as this will help to conserve your electricity supply.
These can cost anywhere from $300 to $1500. This one from Techomey is great for those on a budget, without compromising on size.
Given the limitations of internal space, fitting a shower in a Sprinter van can sometimes be difficult. You can, however, combine the toilet and shower room into one in order to save both time and money. You can choose to either make your own or even use battery powered showers.
A proper kitchen area is important if you would like your Sprinter van to be comfortable and safe. You get to pick from a variety of stoves; simply select the style and budget that you require. The cost varies from $150 to upwards of $500.
Walls, Panelling, and Floors
Lastly, some panelling to hide the insulation and provide realistic walls, ceilings, and flooring will be necessary. You can choose from a range of material varieties, such as plywood, oak, and pine.
Plywood is probably the most cost effective option for those on a small budget, with the entire van modification costing as little as $300. Premium woods, such as maple, can set you back upwards of $600 to kit-out a whole Sprinter van.
DIY Vs Professional Sprinter Van Conversion
It’s really no surprise that hiring a professional to transform your Sprinter van is going to be more expensive than taking on the challenge yourself. This is because you’ll have to pay for supplies as well as the added labour costs.
It takes several weeks on average, but you should always get a price estimate before signing anything.
Companies that offer van conversion services can charge anything from $7,000 to upwards of $100,000. The exact figure will vary depending on how many luxury features and fittings you want and the quality of materials you want the professional to use.
The rate will vary depending on the specific person or people you employ to do the job. You’ll have to be prepared to spend more if they’re very experienced or well-reviewed. The number of adjustments you want will influence how much the job will cost.
A few are straightforward, while others have it all from high-end worktops to raised beds and bathtubs.
DIY Sprinter Conversion Pros
- You won’t have to spend money on labour, and you won’t be worried about hiring extra workers to upgrade the vehicle. You may be able to locate equipment and other resources at a lower cost.
- There’s no need to contact the firm to inquire about how something operates or even what went awry. You’ll be prepared to disassemble it and solve problems on your own.
- Several of these converting companies take many weeks or even months to complete, forcing you to put it on hold till it’s done with no certainty of finishing time. If you set it all up independently, you should be able to finish it in as little as one week if you have the whole time to spare.
DIY Sprinter Conversion Cons
- You can’t really fault anyone apart from yourself if you happen to damage something on your Sprinter van. This makes it particularly difficult for those who have little experience with power tools, as they will be heavily involved in the conversion process.
- Some businesses will cancel your van ‘s warranty if you undertake any alterations that affect the van’s structure. Modified vehicles are also more expensive to insure, according to a few insurance providers.
Professional Sprinter Van Conversion Pros
- It is the responsibility of the contractor to repair anything that goes wrong. You’ll get good service without the hassle of attempting it alone.
- They will fix whatever is missing or broken for you. Try to check to see if the business you’re selecting offers a warranty.
- You don’t have to worry about dedicating time and hard work to the project. As long as you have the funds to cover the cost of a professional, you can Relax at home while someone else transforms your Sprinter van into a fresh new vehicle with no effort on your part.
Professional Sprinter Van Conversion Cons
- Professional van conversions are far more expensive than DIY conversions. Depending on who you employ, it can cost as little as a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.
- If you choose to employ a professional, you have to be prepared to work around their timeframe. Some firms are notoriously slow. Be sure to thoroughly research and check reviews before you sign any contracts or hand over money.
Transforming a vehicle can cost a modest bit of cash or a great deal of money. No two people are the same, and their budgets aren’t either. Therefore, you’ll need to sit down and calculate how much you’re prepared to invest in a Sprinter van turned camper van.
The easiest method to set a spending plan is to determine what your priorities are. If showers are important to you, be sure to budget for it. Not too fussed on refrigeration? Tailor it to fit you and keep any spare money aside for emergency repairs or breakdowns. You never know when you might need it!