Converting your van into a sprinter van means allotting a budget for the necessary expenses. With that in mind, how much does a sprinter van conversion cost?
Sprinter van conversion costs can range from US$40,000 to US$60,000. That amount can go lower or higher, depending on factors like the electronics installed and building materials used.
You can convert a sprinter van while on a tight budget. However, you need to know the essential factors that add or reduce the overall expenses.
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Sprinter Van Costs
Right now, you might be considering van life. Therefore, your first and perhaps most expensive investment is the vehicle.
You can buy a brand new Sprinter Van like the 2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter for about US$41,000. If you don’t have that amount of money to spend on a brand new van, you still have the option to buy a second-hand model.
Visit online classified ads like Craigslist to search for used sprinter vans at reasonable prices. Take note that vehicles, including vans, depreciate relatively quickly. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a surprise to see a model that’s 1/4th of its original costs.
For example, you can buy a second-hand 2006 Dodge Sprinter 2500 Cargo Van for US$6,500. Although the costs are lower than the original price, don’t forget to ask the owner about any issues.
Always consider extra costs when buying second-hand vehicles. Don’t assume that the van is going to be free of issues once you get it. Also, if you can, ask the owner to test the sprinter van before finalizing the transaction.
Factors Affecting Sprinter Van Costs
If you’re wondering what goes into calculating sprinter van prices, here’s a quick list to help you out:
- Gas vs. diesel: Gas is more expensive than diesel, but it can give your van faster acceleration and higher maximum speeds.
- Body design: Sprinter van makers offer different trims or styles for their offered vehicles. The simpler the design, the less expensive the price tag on the van.
- Features: Add-ons like swivel seats, exterior lighting, and sliding doors can increase sprinter van costs.
Electronics and Large Systems
At this point, you should already have a sprinter van. The next part is to make the vehicle more livable than before.
Start the conversion process by buying electronics and large systems. It might be tempting to start with the décor, but that can wait. For instance, a kitchenette is more important than a picture frame you saw in a department store.
Here’s a sample list of electronics and large systems that you can install in your sprinter van:
- Solar panels (US$220 for two 100W panels)
- Auxiliary battery (US$263)
- Kitchenette (US$400 to US$2,250 for a refrigerator, cooktop, and sink set)
- Bed or mattress (US$150)
- Vent fan (US$120 to US$200)
- Cushions (US$1,150)
- Toilet (US$140 to US$200)
- Shower (US$440 to US$1,340)
- Plumbing system (US$670)
- Water tank (US$33)
- Propane tank (US$50)
With this information, we can see that the total costs for these items are US$3636 to US$6,526. Remember, take the time to search for less expensive options if you’re not in a hurry.
For example, the solar panels and auxiliary batteries mentioned in the list are already at a reasonable price point. Moreover, you can save money in buying the kitchenette if you avoid purchasing from popular brands.
Instead, you can buy from other companies that offer similar qualities to their items. That way, you’ll have more money to spend on other essentials to complete the sprinter van conversion.
If you don’t have a sufficient amount of power tools, you can save money on the sprinter van conversion by renting these items. For example, you can rent a brushless hammer drill for US$36 a day instead of buying a brand new model for about US$9,000.
Also, you can use reclaimed or recycled materials for walls and flooring to save money. Consider going to local construction sites or junkyards. Ask the caretakers if you can buy the scraps and discarded pieces at fairly inexpensive prices.
Here’s a sample list of building materials for your van conversion project:
- Wood (US$475 to US$4,250)
- Tiles (US$50)
- Flooring (US$160 to US$200)
- Paint and caulk (US$230 to US$300)
- Insulation (US$220 to US$500)
Overall, you’re going to spend about US$1,135 to US$5,300 on conversion materials.
Additionally, here’s a list of power tools you might need for the project:
- Tape measure
- Utility knife
- Drill and compatible drill bits
- Circular saw
- Straight edge
- Forstner bits
- Hole saw kit
- Jig saw
- Square and level
- Nail gun
You can also substitute some of these items for their manual counterparts. For example, replace the circular saw with a standard handsaw.
Keep in mind that using manual tools replaces convenience with more money saved. Double-check your priorities if you’re unsure about this decision to use manual tools.
Accessories and Décor
Costs for sprinter van accessories and décor vary significantly for each person’s unique style preferences. For instance, a person with minimalist design tastes might spend less on van décor than an individual that wants to decorate the vehicle with antiques.
Take note that you can stick with the plain sprinter van look at the beginning of your van life. Add those other items once you have extra cash in your budget.
Still, don’t forget about lighting your van. Otherwise, you’re going to rough it out by using campfires every night, unless you want that scenario.
Thankfully, lighting for vans isn’t severely expensive. You can use a set of standard 60W light bulbs for less than US$20. Another option is to buy smart bulbs, but those models can make you spend more than US$50 per piece.
Estimate Price for Sprinter Van Conversion
After noting all the expenses, you should spend around US$4,791 to US$11,826 to convert your sprinter van into a mobile livable space. Also, the costs can increase if you still have to buy a sprinter van.
How Long to Complete a Sprinter Van Conversion
If you’re doing the van conversion project alone, it can take four to six weeks when dedicating every possible day to this operation. Otherwise, it can take four to six months if you’re doing it part-time.
A couple working on a sprinter van conversion project accumulated a total of 1,080 hours to finish the operation. Additionally, these people spent over US$56,000 for their van and everything else to furnish their new mobile home.
If we consider that example, a three-person team should take about 12 weeks to three months to complete the conversion (with 6 hours of work/day per person, 5 days a week).
Do Sprinter Vans Hold Their Value
Converted sprinter vans offer excellent resale value. For instance, a sprinter van with all the necessary amenities can have a resale price of about US$30,000. With this money, you can buy another sprinter van and should still have enough to convert it.
It costs about US$40,000 to US$60,000 to buy a sprinter van and convert it into a livable mobile home. Take note that different factors affect overhead costs, such as the model and make of the vehicle.
Furthermore, elements like electronics, building materials, and decorations can also add to your expenses. Make a list of the things you need to buy for the project so you’ll always have cash for emergencies.