any know about minibuses?

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guydewdney

MB Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 14, 2004
Messages
2,911
Location
Porlock, Zomerzet
Car
906 Sprinter 313cdi
a mate of mine has comissioned me to build her a motorhome from scratch - but as shes in a wheelchair shes going to need a wheelchair lift, and an auto..

so we thought an ex-nhs or similar care-in-the-community wagon thing...as they have wheelchair lifts on the back...

are autos availible? can they be converted to auto from a car 'box (e.g. is a sprinter 2 litre deiesel manual box the same as a car 2 litre manual box - thus the auto boxes will be the same...)

must obv have a flat floor to the cab (she wants to transfer from 'chair to drivers seat)

advice?
 
guydewdney said:
a mate of mine has comissioned me to build her a motorhome from scratch - but as shes in a wheelchair shes going to need a wheelchair lift, and an auto..

so we thought an ex-nhs or similar care-in-the-community wagon thing...as they have wheelchair lifts on the back...

are autos availible? can they be converted to auto from a car 'box (e.g. is a sprinter 2 litre deiesel manual box the same as a car 2 litre manual box - thus the auto boxes will be the same...)

must obv have a flat floor to the cab (she wants to transfer from 'chair to drivers seat)

advice?

I can answer a good proportion of your questions if you p.m. your e-mail address we can avoid taking up a lot of space. Most of your answers are 'yes' with provisio's.

The new shape Sprinter used to have what is known as Sprint shift, I believe that may well have changed on the very newest models. Sprint Shift is NOT a genuine automatic. (I know because I have it) Old shape Sprinters have the car type automatic box.

Take care,
John
 
guydewdney said:
a mate of mine has comissioned me to build her a motorhome from scratch - but as shes in a wheelchair shes going to need a wheelchair lift, and an auto..

so we thought an ex-nhs or similar care-in-the-community wagon thing...as they have wheelchair lifts on the back...

are autos availible? can they be converted to auto from a car 'box (e.g. is a sprinter 2 litre deiesel manual box the same as a car 2 litre manual box - thus the auto boxes will be the same...)

must obv have a flat floor to the cab (she wants to transfer from 'chair to drivers seat)

advice?

Have a look at this website for ideas.

www.trakka.com.au
 
We built a motorhome from a talbot solara about 6 years ago... I cant give you much help on the sprinter side of things, but any other general motorhome stuff i could prob help with.
 
long story short - we are going to see a S reg 312D LWB tomorrow, ex airport bus, 140K miles, air con (aftermarket on roof), air doors (side), ? auxillary heater? silver^h^h^h dirty grey ;) auto (4 speed)

anyone know anything to look for? rust?
its up for 9K - good / bad?
 
guydewdney said:
long story short - we are going to see a S reg 312D LWB tomorrow, ex airport bus, 140K miles, air con (aftermarket on roof), air doors (side), ? auxillary heater? silver^h^h^h dirty grey ;) auto (4 speed)

anyone know anything to look for? rust?
its up for 9K - good / bad?

Hi Guy,
You might know more about these vehicles than myself, but my last Sprinter was a 212, which is the same engine as the one you are going to look at. The first number always denotes the weight the vehicle can carry, and the last two denote the engine. The 212/312 was the top of the range and should have quite a few bells and whistles Traction control and ABS for a start. I cannot remember if ASSYST was standard. The seats should still be in good condition, if not then contact a Conversion Company who have dozens of new seats that are just laying about in their workshops.

This engine was the largest in the Sprinter range apart from the 14 petrol. Performance wise it will\should be very impressive. It is the old 5cylinder 2.7ltr engine which makes the Transit 2.5 Diesel seem archiac. I also had the automatic gearbox and once again cannot speak highly enough of it. Usually diesel engines and automatic gearboxes and commercial vehicles are the worst of combinations, but the thing will still 'fly' and the box is the usual Mercedes-Benz excellent quality. Hopefully when it is described as LWB, they are comparing it to the usual LWB length of vehicles like the Transit, as a LWB Sprinter is Loonngg. The vehicle in my signature is described by Mercedes-Benz as medium wheelbase, but it is the same length as the average LWB van.

I had mine from new and only received one recall. (I think!) That was after 12 months when Mercedes-Benz informed me that they had fitted 'suspect' tyres to a number of vehicles. As a safety meaure they would replace free of charge all four tyres if they were still the original tyres. Ours were, and they were indeed replaced.

Maintainance
If this vehicle was being used as a bus then hopefully it should have been regularly serviced, plus being an automatic there is no clutch wear problems :)

Problems.
Rust wise we have not found any. We were plagued by broken rear hinges (5 sets). Four were replaced under warranty, and the fifth set were installed at Peterborough, but when my dealer heard about the incident they refunded my money as a 'goodwill' gesture. Mercedes-Benz eventually modified the hinges to all Sprinters so that should not be an issue.

The van you are going to look at sounds like it has had a third party conversion which is quite normal and should not be nothing to worry about. Unfortunately you have good and bad everywhere and hopefully the conversion was carried out in a professional manner.

Points to look for.
The windows.
These are either fitted when the van was manufactured. This is ALWAYS my choice as the holes are sprayed before the windows are installed, plus the windows look much better. Check all round the edges of the windows for either rust or mould. Check they slide smoothly.

Air conditioning
Certainly not the best place to install it, okay on vans that are just that I suppose, but it is there so we must accept it. If you can get up to the roof, check for rust around the installation. Where is the drainage for the compressor? Check this out and make sure it is clear and no rust signs.

Has the vehicle got a headlining? If so check for leaks around the installation. The air doors have also been fitted by the conversion company, so they need checking for corrosion.

Good luck and if you can think of any further questions please do not hesitate to ask. There are a couple of pictures on the members gallery of my 'Stretched Limo'

Bye for now,
John

Just remembered that we have spoken before and you appeared to know everything. Sorry about this post, but it might help others less knowledgeable.
 
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no john - that was very useful...

The air doors 'work' but stick at the moment - its been sitting in the sales yard for three months...

I THINK it has traction - but the lights that light up on ign on are a bit unfamilliar. i cant remember what they are off the top of my head.

i THINK it has an aux heater - as on the fuel cap it says 'turn off heater before filling'... which implies an aux heater??

Theres a small aftermarket control on the dash with some sort of timer.

theres an aftermarket control above the drivers head with temp and fan speed..

the gear indicator sticks - you push it into 2 and it says its in 3, push into 1 and sometimes it says its still in 3... - feels a bit clunky / ratchety

drivers seat is smeggy... :)
 
guydewdney said:
no john - that was very useful...

The air doors 'work' but stick at the moment - its been sitting in the sales yard for three months...

I THINK it has traction - but the lights that light up on ign on are a bit unfamilliar. i cant remember what they are off the top of my head.

i THINK it has an aux heater - as on the fuel cap it says 'turn off heater before filling'... which implies an aux heater??

Theres a small aftermarket control on the dash with some sort of timer.

theres an aftermarket control above the drivers head with temp and fan speed..

the gear indicator sticks - you push it into 2 and it says its in 3, push into 1 and sometimes it says its still in 3... - feels a bit clunky / ratchety

drivers seat is smeggy... :)

Hi Guy,
I am glad that it was of use. The 312 definitely had the traction control and ABS. From your description the poor thing does not sound like it is in 'top' condition and the transmission is perhaps a concern?

If you want I could get 'the boss' to get our manual and I could then describe the different warning lights.

I will also check the auxillary heater controls for a bus this would no doubt have been a handy option.

Did it have an auxillary battery. That is a very big MUST HAVE when you have an automatic. My own vehicle is wired such that all the options run off the spare battery and the main battery is there for the engine. It takes priority when being charged, plus there are electrical 'gizzmos' that ensure the engine can be started?

Please do not hesitate to contact me.

Good luck,

John
 
If you would - yes that would be nice - you owe her a cup of tea :)

I know the obvious ones - its just the three lettered ones that had me stumped... (yes, it has ABS)

No idea where to look for a secondary battery... but we would be putting in half a dozen lesiure bateries to run pc / dvd / telly / fridge / sat nav / sky / leccy bed raiser (long story) + a generator, solar panels and possibly a wind generator...

Theres a good possibility it would be stationary for a week or so - so lots of power is good, esp when she cant just jump out of the vehicle.. :rolleyes:
 
guydewdney said:
If you would - yes that would be nice - you owe her a cup of tea :)

I know the obvious ones - its just the three lettered ones that had me stumped... (yes, it has ABS)

No idea where to look for a secondary battery... but we would be putting in half a dozen lesiure bateries to run pc / dvd / telly / fridge / sat nav / sky / leccy bed raiser (long story) + a generator, solar panels and possibly a wind generator...

Theres a good possibility it would be stationary for a week or so - so lots of power is good, esp when she cant just jump out of the vehicle.. :rolleyes:

The boss is just having her lunch and I will ask nicely after that. The place of choice for the 2nd battery is underneath the passenger seat.

That is not as bad as it sounds because when the seat is slid forward on its runners you can get access to it.

My own vehicle is very battery hungry as I have quite a few electrical gadgets so I understand what you are saying. The old flotation unit demanded a full 12 volts to operate which was quite a problem unless the engine was running.

John
 
there is no passenger seat... its open like a bus - being a bus an' all ;)

seating arragement is:-

XXD
XXL
XXL
XSS
XSS
SSS

where x is empty, D drivers, L is luggage rack, S is seat..
 
guydewdney said:
there is no passenger seat... its open like a bus - being a bus an' all ;)
..

Now I am getting the picture.

The LWB Mercedes-Benz Bus has the following layouts.

2 1X D
XX 3 4
7 X 6 5
10X9 8
13X1211
1615X14

or

XXX D
3 X 2 1
6 X 5 4
9 X 8 7
12X 1110
1514X 13

I have numbered the seats and the primary access is between seats 2 and 7. Or opposite the driver.

Just noticed the medium wheelbase has a similar layout to your spec.

XXX D
3 X 2 1
6 X 5 4
9 X 8 7
1211X10

As I stated earlier body conversion people tend to remove Mercedes-Benz seats and tend to put in a more basic seat. The convertors then tend to sell off the seats at a very attractive price.

Unfortunately I think the switch diagrams are different on the 'new' Sprinter. Although my driver thinks they are similar. I always bow to 'She that must be obeyed' so I have attached them.

The auxillary heater does indeed have a timer and no doubt that is the timer you have mentioned.

On the diagram there are options that only apply to the 'new' type Sprinter.
 
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theres def no asr.
no cruise / lim
it was ebv or edc i saw i think..

the seat layout is as per you latter:-
XXX D
3 X 2 1
6 X 5 4
9 X 8 7
12X 1110
1514X 13

i took along a load of tech specs of the under floor lifts, not really having checked them out - from an american company.. it turns out the casette mechanism is just over 2M long - wider than the van! :eek:

know any wheel chair lifts that can operate though a 31.5" gap? thats the gap for the air doors, with 0.25" clearance.. ive tried the usual (ratcliffe.co.uk etc) but a) cant find tech specs, and b) the ones i do find are much bigger than this - like 42"

bloody disabled eqpt is made / designed by monkeys with no thought to style (this girls shower seat looks like a 1950's russian mental asylum cast off...)
 
Hi Guy,
My lift is very much a one off design especially made to accept a stretcher and it is fitted under the very rear of my vehicle.

If you p.m. or e-mail me the exact measurements I can contact my coach building friend. He builds these conversions for a living and a wheelchair casette lift is a very common item. It just gets slightly more complicated when things get customised :)

I think cruise control was an option, but the Anti Skid Control feature was standard on the biggest engined Sprinter. I can clearly remember 'the boss' moving off some very slippery wet muddy grass. There was a 'funny' noise as the back wheel started to spin and we just drove off under complete control. I cannot explain why your 312 has not got it!

I will have to try and remember the EBV or EDC or perhaps 'Flash' the 'White van man' can help. :)

Sorry for the delay,
John
 
Hi Guy,
EBV is something like Electronic Brake Distribution and the other abbreviation stands for Electronic Diesel Control.

So it could be that they renamed EBV to ASR.

Regards,
John
 
well - we have gone for it - and being adapted for disabled use, you can get the vat back... so that makes it 7700 not 9K... :bannana:

found a lift - brand new aluminium side door lift called a uni lite - for 150 quid (retail is 4000) - so cheap cos it doesnt comply to eu / bs standards (long story about chains and trapped fingers)

found a caravan as a donor - c/w shower, water heater, blown warm air, gas, cooker, grille, stereo, sink, bog all for 800 quid.

Just need somewhere to put it now. :eek:

anyone near me got space (secure -ish) for a lwb sprinter and a caravan?
 
guydewdney said:
well - we have gone for it - and being adapted for disabled use, you can get the vat back... so that makes it 7700 not 9K.

Hi Guy,
Good luck with the conversion, I wish I had got that money for my old Sprinter.

The lift sounds an excellent buy.

Regards,
John
 
Transmission: Manual

doh... legs not working makes for poor gear changes (a bit crunchy asnd a bit jerky off the line.... )



thanks anyway.
 

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