Our 52nd year!
We often send questionnaires to Sprinter owners to see how they like their vans after owning them for awhile. All of the responses are very favorable. Here's a few examples.
Questionnaire and responses . . .
Questionnaire and responses . . .
Thank you again for being who you all are. —Richard Melenby
P.S. You don't need to change my name for privacy.
We received the following post card from Mr. Melenby some months later.
We completed and are enclosing the Sportsmobile Report Card. You may also be interested in the following.
Our customization. Traveling with two big dogs, CJ and Chase. Needed secure places for their crates and big refigerator/freezer for their food (and ours, too).
Like best. Our Sportsmobile Sprinter is like the magical tent that Harry Potter, Ron, and Hermione have. It is small on the outside and larger on the inside. It is small enough — easy to drive, maneuverable, parks in a regular space — and big enough to have everything we want inside. We like the high driving position and the lots of foot room. We like that other travelers are interested in our camper. They think we are smart and so do we.
Like least. Road noise, indadequate cup holders for driving.
Influenced us to buy from Sportsmobile. You were interested to customize for what we wanted, not what you had that you could convince us to take. Your staff was knowledgeable and offered good suggestions with patience. They did not promise things that could not be done.
Things we have not used yet. Air Conditioner. Temperature pager. We love the ventilation using the Fantastic ceiling fan. That has been adequate for the camping we have done. Our dogs are amazingly happy lying around watching our the door with no attempt to escape.
Things we don't like or use. Wiring for the seat heaters is crossed. No idea how, but the switch on the passenger's seat controls the driver's heater and vice-versa. The pillows you made are lovely, but for us they are in the way and stay home. Table — we don't find it useful for inside. We use it only outside for cooking. When we eat inside, we hold our plates in our laps. Passenger's feet are cold and that makes her cranky. The guys that put in the snaps for the bathroom curtain and the towel rod need to coordinate with each other better. We can't use one of the snaps becasue it is too close to the towel bar.
Response to problems. We had the following problems. Despite trying a Porta Potti for height, Nell (new knee) could not use it. You built a box to raise it and added a handle in the shower. That works wonderfully well. Faulty GFCI. I think we helped you figure out that you had a box of defective switches.
In summary, we love your company and we love our Sportsmobile.
John & Nell Whatson
We also receive lots of letters and e-mails from happy Sportsmobile owners. And an occasional one from an owner with a problem. According to the feedback we later receive, our response is quick and to the owner's satisfaction.
"I thought the Sprinter would be more delicate than the Ram Quad Cab we used to travel in, but I was wrong. The Sprinter has turned out to be just as sturdy, if not more."
I'm no good with penmanship as you see on the survey, so I will write a letter. We have spent many nights in the Sprinter and traveled under many conditions. Hot weather, cold, on and off road, truck stops, camp spots, parking lots and places where there are no spots. We have pushed the envelope. Remember, we were already camping quite a bit in a pickup truck with a tiny six-foot Palomino pop-up, so this Sprinter did not get an easy break-in. It had to hit the bricks running as they say, seeing all our old stomping grounds that we used to see in a very stout Ram truck.
The Sprinter: I thought the Sprinter would be more delicate than the Ram Quad Cab we used to travel in, but I was wrong. The Sprinter has turned out to be just as sturdy, if not more. It accelerates fast, has high mileage, and bounds over rough terrain without roll and floats over sand. The Sprinter AC makes the entire van cold even in 100 degree weather. I know — we ran through the central valley in the summer to Sacramento and it was 111 degrees in Bakersfield. One word of advice — keep the diesel at 2200 rpm (66mph in 5th gear) in extreme conditions like climbing grades in ultra hot weather, and DOWNSHIFT climbing steep grades. We run with the big truckers on grades. This is also the secret to very high mileage. The temp can run up if you push too hard up the hills in extremely hot weather. The engine does not overheat, but keeping the temp in the lower ranges will make the motor last longer according to the German guys at our Mercedes Dodge dealer who now cares for the van. (Did you know the motor holds TEN quarts of oil?!) No wonder they change the oil so seldom.
"We have had no problems with parking and maneuvering in large downtown traffic. We take the van into downtown San Diego all the time. I can squeeze by taxicabs to make sharp right turns on busy one-way streets with no problem."
The Mercedes guy says the narrow van is like a locomotive with a cow catcher, and is very strong in the front quarter. The narrow profile of the van actually helps it off-road because it tracks more like a motorcycle. I can ride up on obstacles on one side without dragging the rear over rocks because the narrow axle width keeps the other tires out of trouble and also keeps stuff from getting up between the wheels. I just need to watch my sideways lean, but even the Ram truck could feel tipsy with the camper on the back. Also, the Ram truck would go about 260 miles max on 25 gallons of gas. The Sprinter goes 300 miles on less than half of a tank of diesel (13 gallons).
We have had no problems with parking and maneuvering in large downtown traffic. We take the van into downtown San Diego all the time. I can squeeze by taxicabs to make sharp right turns on busy one-way streets with no problem.
Overall the Sprinter gets an A++ grade.
The Sportsmobile: The Sportsmobile cabinets are superior because the construction is stiff and lightweight. The Sportsmobile method of plumbing vents in the side instead of the roof is much better. The knobs on the shades should be smaller so they fit in the window wells. The LPG setup is superior to any other van conversion. The electric is superior to any other van or many regular Class C motorhomes. My rich nephew drives a Trek, and he was asking how he could get the same refrigerator and set up as us! (Trek is a $200,000 rig.) We can run on the one battery for many days without traveling because of the gas fridge/freezer and the large LPG tank. It's one of the best features on the rig. We have hot water and ice cubes without limit anywhere without any hookups. I think it's the custom design and engineering you get with a Sportsmobile that you don't get with other motorhomes — makes the Sportsmobile the best value by far, and unique to the industry. (It's why I bought one.) I am a satisfied customer.
Overall the motorhome gets an A+ grade.
Don & Betty Miner
"As in New Mexico, the Arizona desert was green and in full flora. Can't remember seeing this area so beautiful. Reached Willcox and we headed south on Hwy 186 and 181 into the Chiricahua National Monument and Park. Visited the Faraway Ranch and then out to Massai Point (6,780 feet) for a view to die for. Never saw so many balancing rocks in my life."
We topped off the Sprinter's tank, said goodbye to El Paso and headed West to home. We hit Highway 10 and were soon in New Mexico. New Mexico this time of year was various shades of green and some flora. Today's destination was the Chiricahua National Monument, located approximately 50 miles south of Willcox, AZ. As in New Mexico, the Arizona desert was green and in full flora. Can't remember seeing this area so beautiful. Reached Willcox and we headed south on Hwy 186 and 181 into the Chiricahua National Monument and Park. Visited the Faraway Ranch and then out to Massai Point (6,780 feet) for a view to die for. Never saw so many balancing rocks in my life. This is truly a gem and should be on everyone's tour list.
After taking in the terrain and a nice lunch (thanks Heidi), we headed back down Bonita Canyon Drive, exited the park and were on our way to the copper mining town of Bisbee, AZ. The roads were flanked by vast growing areas of alfalfa and corn. Never expected to see so much agriculture in this area of Arizona. The only town of significance is the border town of Douglas. Douglas's claim to fame is that it is the last area in which a foreign army invaded the USA. It is my understanding the Mexican army was driven back into Mexico. Looking today one may not conclude that they were all driven back across the border.
Arriving at Bisbee we immediately headed for the Queen Mine RV Park. We wanted to be close to town and the Queen Mine Tours office. That's exactly where the RV park is located — besides it is the only park in town. Great price at $21.00 for the night and half that with our Passport America Card. That's full hook-up (30 amp) including cable TV. Setting up camp went quickly and on with the AC.
Time to defrost that New York steak for tonight's meal. Tomorrow we tour the mine and later the historic area of this wonderful old West mining town. We will spend an extra night here before heading out to Superstition Mountain near Mesa, AZ.
"Time to defrost that New York steak for tonight's meal. Tomorrow we tour the mine and later the historic area of this wonderful old West mining town. We will spend an extra night here before heading out to Superstition Mountain near Mesa, AZ."
High on the south side of town at the Queen RV Park, in between the now closed open pit mine and the shaft Queen Mine, we settled in for a two night/day Bisbee stay. The site is convenient in that it is only 100 yards to the Queen Mine tour and just across the street from downtown.
Bisbee is a quaint little town with very active saloon businesses in and near the Brewery Gulch. People come out from all over the town to partake in the evening saloon hopping ritual. Of course this is probably better than the historical favored activity of the brothels that operated for such a long time on this famous street.
We toured the Queen Mine and took the Van Tour of the ins and outs of old town and surrounding settlements. Both tours are extremely worth while and at a reasonable price. The downtown Trolley Bus is probably not worth taking and recommend the Queen Mine Van tour instead.
A visit to Bisbee would not be complete without visiting Dot's Diner and adjacent Shady Dell RV Park. Dot's Diner is just that, but with excellent diner type food. We had barbeque chicken sandwiches, one with fries and the other with onion rings. Their barbeque sauce is fantastic and the onion rings are to die for. If visiting you need to be reminded that they are closed on Tuesday and Wednesday. The adjacent Shady Dell contains rentable trailers from the thirties and forties. All with a swamp cooler mounted on top.
Leaving Bisbee we headed north along Highway 90, descending to the lower levels of Arizona's upper desert. We already missed the cooler temperatures of Bisbee, now far behind. A little north of Huachuca City lies the Kartchner Caverns State Park. Paying our day use and cavern tour fees, we climbed aboard the cars that would take us to the cavern entrance. The escorted tour lasts about 1 1/2 hours and is well worth the time. We had previously been on numerous visits to Carlsbad Caverns, but Kartchner is different. It is quite a bit smaller and not nearly as deep underground as Carlsbad. Kartchner is only by small group guided tours and totally pristine. Their "no touch, what you take in is what you take out" policy really works.
—Walter, Heidi and JRT
"We had a large motorhome and towed a car, but couldn't go to places we wanted to go. These might be considered backwoods or boondocking areas. We found an alternative in a Sportsmobile van conversion that was built to our specifications."
We had a large motorhome and towed a car, but couldn't go to places we wanted to go. These might be considered backwoods or boondocking areas. We found an alternative in a Sportsmobile van conversion that was built to our specifications. It contains all the amenities we were used to in our larger motorhome, such as a seven cubic-foot refrigerator/freezer, toilet and enclosed shower, TV, furnace, AC and an inverter to run the microwave and solar panels to keep the two house batteries charged.
Our rig is on a Sprinter chassis, with a Mercedes Benz diesel engine, and we get over 22 miles to the gallon. It is our only vehicle, and parking is no problem. We spend fewer nights in campgrounds with hookups, and now we know we don't need all the stuff we used to carry in the storage areas. It is such an easy way to travel with no tow.
—Ray and Leatrice Thurston
"The quality, fit and finish are professional grade. Best of all the people you deal with at Sportsmobile are exceptional."
We just returned from a campout and I thought it was time to give you a report on our experience and thoughts about our Sprinter.
My last mileage check showed we got 21.9 MPG. This was city and freeway driving on level terrain and at sea level. (Not bad.)
The Sprinter drives well and handled OK except it is subject to wind deflection from truck traffic as with all vans.
The Sportsmobile Sprinter has a few challenges for users, such as bumping your head inside the van. A little padding at the sliding door entrance and from the interior to the driving compartment will help.
Our Sprinter is everything we expected. The quality, fit and finish are professional grade. Best of all the people you deal with at Sportsmobile are exceptional.
—George and Jeanne Herling
Note: as George suggested we now include the "head bumper" trim pads.
"The good news is the van worked flawlessly, and please pass on our thanks to the boys for all their hard work."
We made it home Sunday night after leaving Austin. We had a great time driving home. I felt like we were getting shot at after being evacuated our first night and then enduring two hailstorms Friday afternoon in West Texas. The first one, we were in town when it hit and we were able to get to an abandoned service station with an overhang to avoid the baseball-size hail. The second won, we were out in the open when golf-ball-sized hail hit. We were able to dart down a farmer's lane and park on the fringes of an out building with two other cars. We missed three-fourths of the hail but did sustain some hail damage to the front and passenger side. It could have been much worse. The good news is the van worked flawlessly, and please pass on our thanks to the boys for all their hard work.
Thanks again for your company's professionalism and great customer service attitude.
—Tom and Mary Ansoa
"We love the large storage under the platform bed. It has plenty of cabinet space for everything we need, plus some. The details and smaller items that were included made it a joy to be a first-time RVer."
Well, it has been about 3-plus weeks since we received our Sportsmobile Sprinter. Our insurance rate was quite low as it was classified as an RV. We chose a rather close place called Silver falls state park for our first trip. It has a nice campground with good facilities and beautiful surroundings. It seems we draw attention where ever we go, and several people stopped to admire it. We spent two nights camping there, and it was everything we expected. We love the large storage under the platform bed. It has plenty of cabinet space for everything we need, plus some. The details and smaller items that were included made it a joy to be a first-time RVer. We got 21 mpg on the trip out. Very happy.
We love the personalized service that wee received and the fact that Sportsmobile was very open to ideas and suggestions. The experience showed in the execution where little clearances and minor changes made to the plan made it even better than envisioned. Our design maximized it for our needs.
The vehicle itself is also very nice. I love the fact that I can park it anywhere and go anywhere. Has very tight turning radius. Only thing I have tbe careful is the fact that it is tall. Otherwise, no problem. We got 22.2 mpg on our trip to the beach today and that was 240 miles total at 41 mph over mountainous road. We seemed to be getting better mileage as engine is breaking in, as our trip up back from Los Angeles was about 21 mpg. My daily commute gets me about 20 mpg for 14 miles. I am driving 55-65 mph most of the time, so I am at peak efficiency. Plenty of power from the 3.0 liter V6 diesel.
We should get a long life from this Sportsmobile, and if we ever need another one, we will be back (probably when we retire and want a full-time vehicle).
Andrey & Eunah Wong
"Everywhere we go people ask us about our Sportsmobile and want a tour. They are all fascinated with the beauty, compactness, craftsmanship, economy and comfort of the Sportsmobile."
Cathy and I want to say thank you for creating our Sportsmobile Sprinter EB. We received it from you 9 months ago and already have over 19,000 miles on it and have spent over 60 wonderfully comfortable nights in it. The diesel engine gets 20-22 miles per gallon. We have traveled throughout the northern portion of the United States, from Maine to Vancouver, BC, and south to Texas. We have been in wind chills of -55 degrees and heat of over 100 degrees, and our Sprinter has performed wonderfully, keeping us warm and cool when needed. I was initially concerned about the rear wheel drive slipping in snow, but we drove on steep mountain snowy roads with no problem. I never had to put on chains.
The rear Dinette L cushion seat area, when dropped down into a queen-sized bed is very comfortable with a foam mattress pad from Bed Bath & Beyond. Making our bed at night and putting it away in the morning only takes a few minutes.
Everywhere we go people ask us about our Sportsmobile and want a tour. They are all fascinated with the beauty, compactness, craftsmanship, economy and comfort of the Sportsmobile.
Last week we drove our Sportsmobile throguh Sturgis, SD, during the annual Harley Davidson motorcycle rally along with 200,000 motorcycles. Several of the cyclists asked about our Sportsmobile, and many gave us the "thumbs-up" as they drove by. No, we don't have motorcycles. We just thought it would be fun to do, but we won't do it again! This week we are camping with five other Sportsmobile owners from the Chicago area, and are looking forward to great conversation about our vehicles.
We do have a question about getting additional material for our rear window curtains. The consistent use of the closure snaps is causing the material to rip. Where can we buy replacement material? (Sportsmobile note: Unfortunately "hard" snaps were used in place of the "soft" easy-to-pull snaps. Our goof.)
Thanks for everything, and please free free to use our names and comments as you see fit.
Erik & Cathy Bayer
"We had so much fun discovering all the cool features of our new toy."
The first letter we received from John and Linda Scales
Did I mention that in the days leading up to our trip to Fresno to pick up our new Sprinter that I was feeling like a kid on the day before Christmas? Well Santa delivered the best present of all time on Friday. Can't find the words to describe how thrilled we are!
We took enough camping stuff with us so that we could camp for a couple of nights before we had to be back home. We had so much fun discovering all the cool features of our new toy. I have attached a picture of our first campsite — a Fresno County park called Choinumni. We are busy planning our first real trip which will take us all the way to Canada, that starts in about three weeks.
Thank you for all the help you have provided. It has been such a pleasure dealing with you.
John & Linda Scales
"Sprinter is performing like a dream."
The second letter we received from John and Linda Scales
Sprinter is performing like a dream. Getting great gas mileage. Not a problem to report. We are having a wonderful time.
We are in Banff National Park in Canada. Some excitement here in the form of a big brown bear in our campground at Lake Louise. My reaction was "Quick, get me the camera." Whoa dude.
I have attached another photo. We went for a bike ride near Jackson, Wyoming, parked next to another Sportsmobile Sprinter. Owner just got the Sprinter in March, and this was also their first real trip. Tetons in the background.
John & Linda Scales