Well,I finally found myself handing over the princely sum of £300 in return for ownership of a lovely Mercedes 308D Sprinter on a ‘P’ plate, (’96-’97), in white!
MOT and Tax had just run out and the owners, one of whom I work with, needed her moving more than they needed the money, so I was given a price I couldn’t refuse, thankfully! The timing’s perfect for me as well due to the poor old transit having done too many miles for her well-being! She’s still got MOT till September, but is gonna need an enthusiastic DIY-er to get another one on her!
I don’t have the money to have my camper there just for leisure, she has to be my ‘everyday’ transport as well. That means it’s got to be ready to go every day, wherever that may end up being, work, shopping or 1000mile roadtrip!
We also get ‘up-north’ a few times a year, either visiting family or going to folk festivals and we have at least one ‘blowout roadtrip’ a year, the last two years these have been in Ireland for three week tours involving driving on mountain roads all day for hours and hours and camping in the outback campsites at night.
The Transit has served brilliantly for the four and a half years we’ve had her and I realy haven’t got a single bad word to say of her. But things have to move on, and I’m not as flexible as I was so I wanted something bigger to stretch out in rather than week sat on my bum in the cold and damp fixing her, so ‘THE HUNT’ began!
I couldn’t bring myself to go the Tranny’ Hicube route, no matter what you do to them they just look like a ‘builder’s van’, and you can’t get one without a bunch of bananas under the bonnet! I just don’t like Vauxhals at all, don’t like french parts prices so pugs and citreons were out, German build quality is pretty well all that beats the low repair costs of a Tranny’ so it was ending up looking like it had to be a Sprinter as the VW range last too well to ever come down to my price range!
I also didn’t want to be cutting holes in the roof of anything so it had to have enough height inside for my six and a bit foot frame, again the Sprinter was the natural choice as there’s well over the six foot height inside. The other thing on the wish-list, more for the sake of my dearly beloved’s wish realy, was a washroom/toilet!, again the 308 delivers the space to accomodate that as well, and damd me if a week after I’d started looking for one this one was brought to my notice and negotiations entered into.
So now I have a 308D Sprinter, MWB, with 260,000miles on the clock! I think the milage was the thing putting off other buyers in the main, but having read somewhere on a forum here, of one with 415,000 and another with 900,000 still going strong I thought sod it and bought it after a short test-drive showed it to be tight as you like.
Once home with her I set about getting her in for the MOT, nowt much, just sort a few lights out and she was in. A failsheet showed the back brakes needed sorting out so off we went home again via my favourate autoparts supplier to fix it. Ended up renewing the handbrake cables, handbrake shoes and the drum/disks to get it back a day later for a retest and issue of MOT certificate. I’ve got a couple of photo’s of the brakes to go on here once I can get it to upload them, I’ll keep trying.
So now she sits with a pair of Sprinter drivers seats in the front, the bulkhead removed and a shiny new MOT awaiting next week when I start moving the Reimo intierior from the Tranny’ into her, lock stock and barrels.
I’m even putting off the expense of buying windows for now by putting a couple of the Tranny’s side windows in for now while I save up the dosh for some nice fitted tints in the future.
It works out pretty well for the transplant side of things, the Sprinter’s the same dimentions wide inside as the Transit and also has room for some high level lockers above the Reimo units, accross the back and above the nearside rock and roll seating. The Reimo fittings are going in from the back doors forwards leaving enough space at the front to build a washroom behind the driver’s seat housing a cassette toilet and just about large enough to have a shower in if you don’t wiggle about too much! The passenger seat is going on a swivel and I’m concidering a small unit between the front seats to hold all that stuff you wish you hadn’t put in the back when you decide on the motorway that you need it!
So there we go, that’s the story so far, photo’s will follow soon, and if anyone’s interested in making a sensible offer on a ‘H’ reg Transit with a Reimo rear-hinged elevating roof, (worth around £1500), and six months to get around to the front crossmember before the MOT runs out then let me know. she’ll be an empty van, but the front seats are on swivels, there’s a double bunk in the roof and I’ll even leave the vents and utility bits on the outside, but there will be a couple of windows blanked off. If nobody wants her I’ll put her on Ebay, they’re still fetching good money as workhorse vehicles and there’s loads of life in her yet, with the jobs done there’s a good few years worth!
I’d like to see her go to someone who’d do her up as a camper again, or at least provide the parts to go towards another camper being made, ie the roof. So if you’re interested let me know and make an offer. The Sprinter’s not for sale at any price though!
I almost forgot, I got the insurance from the Tranny transfered over to the Sprinter without it costing a penny!, and the bulkhead was plyboard instead of steel so it came out easily enough!!
All the best