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39 minutes ago, Scribe with a Stylus said:

Wyofilm, you mentioned trying to tow an Oliver Legacy Elite II (OLE II) with a 2500 Sprinter prior to "loading it up". How did you do?  My wife and I have a 2013 2WD Sprinter and like it a lot. We have been debating buying a 3500 with tow hitch to get the extra margin for towing a OLE II.

The company that makes the air suspension system for the Sprinter in Europe now has an American subsidiary that can "upfitter" install it in the North America. Unfortunately, it is not a standard option for the Sprinter. It is supposed to make towing much better. The other option that makes the Sprinter a more comfortable tow vehicle is to add the "suspension seat" option to the comfort seat. The US factory has these but the sales ordering software does not acknowledge their existence. 

Your impressions would be very valuable to our decision making as to whether we could safely order an OLE II in the future or should order a different lighter travel trailer. We would like a good "margin of safety".

We were told by another Sprinter owner that he had gotten the new 6 cylinder with the 7 speed transmission and that this made a world of difference in towing. He tows a cargo trailer of around 5,000 pounds. He said that he no longer has to do a lot of manual shifting. He has a ScanGauge and said that he can track the engine loads and RPM with it and that the 7 speed transmission does a much better job then the older transmission did. This is comparable in weight to the OLE II but is a significantly different shape and possibly towing characteristics.

Thank you,

Scribe With a Stylus

I tow my LEII on occasion with a 2013 SWB 3500 that has the suspension seat option.  While generally great, there are times when towing that I have to lock out the suspension function because it can get annoying on undulating road surfaces. Seasick comes to mind.

I looked into the VB air suspension but this would eliminated my ability to carry the spare tire and reduce the tow capacity to 5000#. Both of these negatives were show-stoppers for me. With 600 or so pounds on the hitch ball, the 3500 ride is much improved making the high cost of the VB upgrade hard to justify.

The older 5-speed transmission models definitely needs more gears and I've though about trading just for this reason.  Towing in the mountains  is a slow go to keep within the power band. I also tried the ScanGauge method but eventually found it to be a distraction, relying on the tachometer and my senses instead.

I like how the vans tows and love the extra room inside where it's protected. Fuel mileage for mine averages 20 mpg not towing and 16+-  with the 6000# trailer. The height of a 2 WD high roof is the same as the LEII. Loaded weights and lengths are really close. Not sure all this has anything to do with the stability but cross-wind from passing truck and busses is virtually unnoticeable.

All in all, compared to my Land Cruiser,  the Sprinter is not as comfortable on the long hauls, or as versatile when we plan to go exploring, but it certainly is capable.

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  • 1 month later...

bhncb, I apologize for taking so long to respond and thank you.

Your feedback is very helpful.

bhncb Said -

I tow my LEII on occasion with a 2013 SWB 3500 that has the suspension seat option. While generally great, there are times when towing that I have to lock out the suspension function because it can get annoying on undulating road surfaces. Seasick comes to mind.

Scribe’s Response -

That is good information about the suspension seats. I will look out for that. My wife and daughter both get car sick on occasion. I have read posts by several people that say that the seats helped them tremendously on long distance drives. I will definitely use the off switch for those occasions.

bhncb Said -

I looked into the VB air suspension but this would eliminated my ability to carry the spare tire and reduce the tow capacity to 5000#. Both of these negatives were show-stoppers for me. With 600 or so pounds on the hitch ball, the 3500 ride is much improved making the high cost of the VB upgrade hard to justify.

Scribe’s Response -

Thank you. I will look into this and see if it still applies. The LE ii would be about 5400# for me (adding 10% for luggage and water). This would leave me about 2100#for margin in towing. I cannot afford a reduction in tow capacity to 5000 pounds as it would keep me from putting fresh water and luggage in the LE ii. I am old enough that I would not want to risk a flat tire without a spare. Your comment on the hitch weight was enlightening for your information about the ride.

bhncb Said -

The older 5-speed transmission models definitely needs more gears and I've though about trading just for this reason. Towing in the mountains is a slow go to keep within the power band. I also tried the ScanGauge method but eventually found it to be a distraction, relying on the tachometer and my senses instead.

Scribe’s Response -

We will definitely get the 6 cylinder with the 7 speed transmission. While I have the ScanGauge, my current Sprinter does not have the tow package and even if I had one installed would be limited to 5,000 pounds which would force us to the smaller Legacy I. This is not large enough for us for several month stays in the south during the winter. We would like to play “snowbirds”.

bhncb Said -

I like how the vans tows and love the extra room inside where it's protected. Fuel mileage for mine averages 20 mpg not towing and 16+- with the 6000# trailer. The height of a 2 WD high roof is the same as the LEII. Loaded weights and lengths are really close. Not sure all this has anything to do with the stability but cross-wind from passing truck and busses is virtually unnoticeable.

Scribe’s Response -

It is good to hear that the LE ii does not have any significant issues with towing with the Sprinter 3500. The comment about the roof heights means that the Sprinter “breaks wind” for the OLE ii and that must be what gets you such good mileage towing. I found a replacement 40 gallon fuel tank for the Sprinter that should make long distance driving and selecting good refueling stations easier (The replacement fuel tank is way too expensive for my tastes but probably necessary. It is more or less plug and fuel with the fuel gauge and the spare outlet for the Espar heater) My wife particularly liked your comment about passing trucks. I-81 in Virginia is saturated with tractor trailer trucks.

bhncb Said -

All in all, compared to my Land Cruiser, the Sprinter is not as comfortable on the long hauls, or as versatile when we plan to go exploring, but it certainly is capable.

Scribe’s Response -

We would be using it for camping while long distance traveling and at the destination so we would not be going off asphalt and concrete roads. We are retired and could not afford a Land Cruiser as a second around town vehicle. We would be using our Sprinter for our only around town vehicle. I have to stop, rest and walk after each hour of driving so the suspension seats would help. The extra room in the back will allow me to put in a “bed” so that I can rest when not driving with the OLE ii’s beds.

Overall, you gave me the perfect feedback on my questions with your notes on where upgrades may not work as expected and where they do work as expected. Your comment about Your Land Cruiser made us think that we will have to contemplate the the tradeoffs of the 4x4 version of the 3500 for its extra ground clearance and gravel road capabilities. We hope not to have to travel on those but one never knows.

Thank you again.

Walk in His Peace, and Six Feet Away : - )

Scribe With a Stylus

 

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