How Much Does It Cost To Convert A Sprinter Van - 2018
This is our second DIY van conversion! Our first van we bought in 2016 and you can read more articles and learn about it by clicking here. We really wanted to sell our first van after learning what we did and didn’t like about it. Sometimes you really don’t know what you want to put into your van build until you actually live in it for a while. We went over the exact reasons why we sold our first van in this blog post.
We truly love this second van of ours and it feels a lot more like a home. It’s definitely proving to be a van we can live in full time without needing to stop by anyones houses to shower or use the bathroom. This van can go off grid for weeks at a time. You can get a full tour of our van here.
Our van is a 2018 Mercedes Sprinter 3500 XD 170”wheelbase.
We bought the van from the Salem Mercedes-Benz Dealership in Oregon. Brian sold us our first van, so when we found out that he had a 4x4 in stock we called him immediately. He told us that we called him just in time, because the van came in that day and he already had four people coming to check it out. If you don’t know already, 4x4 sprinter vans are on backorder and they are extremely difficult to find, so this was our opportunity!
Brian was so generous and put the van on hold for us until we sold our first van. The reason he had to do this was that 4x4 sprinter vans are in such high demand that the van would have sold immediately. He held it for a whole entire month for us. Talk about the best car dealer ever! We definitely recommend buying from Salem Merecedes-Benz in Oregon, it was such a delightful experience.
We bought the van brand new for $54,000.
When we bought it, the van had nothing in it and was pretty basic. The only thing that we really cared about was the 4x4! The reason for wanting 4x4 in this van versus our first van was the fact that we got stuck TWICE in our first van. This was most likely due to having crappy stock tires, but we still really wanted the peace of mind with a 4x4. We feel a lot more comfortable driving in the snow with this thing.
We also had the dealership install factory roof rails for around $600. We wanted this because we use the roof rails to mount our solar panels so it was important to get it done right away. Funny thing about this van was the only cool thing about it was 4x4. Everything else that it came with was standard. It didn’t even come with cruise control! Luckily, we can add that later down the road if we want to.
We used the money from selling our first van to pay off the remaining balance of the loan and to pay for the conversion cost of this new van. That meant we had to get another loan for this new van. We had a bit of an issue with the loan company at first.
We thought there would be no problem considering we paid off the first loan and we were opening a new loan with the same company. They weren’t fans of that and they actually told us after this, we are not allowed to get another car loan from them. We think it’s because they didn’t make money off of us because we paid the first loan off so quickly, but who knows!
Another thing to keep in mind is how much more difficult it is to get a loan if you’re self-employed.
When we got the loan for our first van, we had proof of income through the various jobs we had throughout college, but after graduating college and being self employed, it was a lot more difficult.
We just wanted to throw this bit of information in here for anyone who is self-employed and looking to get a loan for a van. They require 2 years of income and tax returns. If you don’t have that, you will need to get a co-signer.
As for the van conversion, we had about $20,000 left over after we paid off our first van loan.
Because we knew exactly how much money we had to spend on this conversion we immediately started making a budget with every single item we could think of. We also knew how much the van would generally cost from knowing our previous van conversion costs.
We had previously built a van, gone to many van gatherings, and we knew about a ton of great products we wanted to try in this build. This made it really easy for us to research each product and how much it would cost.
We then added everything we wanted into a spreadsheet to see how much it would cost. This helped us figure out how much we could actually spend on this build.
We definitely had to cut some costs in different areas. For example: we really wanted a diesel cooktop and a diesel water heater by Webasto, but that would have cost around $4000 which was a huge chunk of the money we had for the build.
So we decided to go with an electric water heater, an induction cooktop, and an Espar D2 diesel heater. This saved us over $2000! So our best advice for you is to make sure you budget everything you want and dream big! Then you can go back in and make adjustments later when you can see how much things actually cost.
We kept track of everything we bought and how much it cost us during the build so that we could share this information with you!
We did have some extra expenses in the end that we didn’t keep track of. These were things like buying extra screws, curtains, plumbing pipes, and various small things here and there.. Those are not included in the spreadsheet so the numbers on there are a little off, but you get the gist.
Our Van Conversion Cost Us Around $23,000
For the most part, this spreadsheet is pretty accurate cost-wise. We created a copy of our spreadsheet so that you can use it in your own build!
If you want to use it all you have to do is open in Google Drive > File > Create a copy.
From there you’ll be able to add in your own costs and budget for everything in your build.
If you enjoyed this post, then you’ll have to check out our Van Manual! This is an example chapter from the manual and you can find a lot more information about the products we used, our specs, dimensions, wiring diagrams, and more! Just click the link below to check it out.