Are you itching for some exciting RV adventures in a converted Sprinter Van but are unsure of the cost?
The latest averages to convert a Sprinter van you already own into living quarters for RV travel run between $1,500-$10,000 for a more simple setup up to the $30,000-$50,000 range for a camper with all the latest appliances and technology.
Thousands of RV enthusiasts love the freedom of driving a small camper that can blend into both city and rural landscapes for low-profile, minimalist camping. If this interests you, then stay here to learn more about the cost of a Sprinter van conversion motorhome to help you start planning your custom build!
Cost of a New Sprinter Van
Many people are unaware two brands offer Sprinter vans you can convert.
The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter is a popular choice for RV campervan conversion DIY projects, but the Freightliner Sprinter is also available in the new and used vehicle market.
All the vehicles are basically the same, as Daimler AG currently owns Freightliner and Mercedes-Benz. You may also find used Dodge Sprinters pre-2008, as Mercedes held the brand up until that time.
Here’s the cost breakdown for 2021 Sprinter brands and models:
|Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 1500 Cargo Van||$36,000|
|Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 Cargo Van||$41,000|
|Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500 Cargo Van||$50,000|
|Freightliner Sprinter 1500 Cargo Van||$36,000|
|Freightliner Sprinter 2500 Cargo Van||$38,000|
|Freightliner Sprinter 3500 Cargo Van||$45,000|
|Freightliner Sprinter 3500XD Cargo Van||$48,000|
|Freightliner Sprinter 4500 Cargo Van||$50,000|
Budgeting for your Sprinter van conversion project should include the cost of purchasing a new unit for you to customize, which can increase the overall cost to between $50,000-$90,000 on average.
Of course, if you already own a Sprinter cargo van or can purchase one used at a reasonable price, you’re already ahead of the game and can finish the project with a much lower budget.
Sprinter Van Gas vs. Diesel
Most Sprinter vans have a diesel engine, but you can get gas engines on some models.
A diesel engine will perform better over the years and can haul more weight with less stress on the engine for full-time van life.
Diesel engines require less maintenance or repairs than gas engines, which means a more reliable vehicle to get you to your next destination.
Gas engines are better for van life in northern regions where the colder weather won’t affect the fuel as it can with diesel when the temperatures drop to freezing.
Gas engines also have quicker acceleration, which is helpful in many driving situations.
Is a Sprinter Van Camper Conversion Better than a Class B or Class C Motorhome?
There are excellent reasons a Sprinter cargo van is a top choice for people who want to enjoy van life living and camping: the size and the fuel economy.
Depending on the model, you can expect to get anywhere from 16-24 MPG for the Sprinter vans. Granted, if you load up the interior with heavy furniture and appliances, the MPG will be lower, but it’s still going to be better than most traditional RVs that average 7-12 MPG.
For people who like to explore all regions of the country, a Sprinter camper van can easily maneuver through backroads and city streets. Parking is never a problem as the vans can fit into standard parking slips.
The van’s design also doesn’t scream out that it’s a recreational vehicle, making it much easier to stealth camp and allow you to save money on campsite fees or park in the heart of the action.
The Sprinter vans handle wonderfully on the road and are easy to maneuver in gas stations or other tight spots. In addition, the interior of the cargo space is taller than a standard van, making it much easier to convert to living quarters.
Buying a Class B motorhome is very expensive, often well over the $100,000 mark. However, you can purchase and convert a Sprinter cargo van into a recreational vehicle for much less if you’re on a limited budget.
Sprinter van sizing means you’ll need to design and welcome a more minimalistic living space, which many people find very freeing.
The only genuine concern I must mention about converting a Sprinter van into a camper is the issue with getting repairs, as the vehicle includes a lot of proprietary equipment and technology.
This fact means that servicing the Sprinter must be done at a Mercedes or Freightliner dealership to ensure quality and keep any warranties valid.
While you can find dealerships for service or repairs in all 50 states, there may not always be one close to you when you need assistance.
Costs to Convert a Sprinter Cargo Van into a Camper Van
Next up are the most common additions to transform a Sprinter cargo van into a camping van for weekend trips or full-time living.
The costs are averages and can help you formulate a plan and budget to accomplish your goals.
Sprinter Van Conversion Walls, Floor, and Ceiling Cost
Before you start adding your bed, furniture, appliances, and other amenities into your campervan, you must cover the interior floor, ceiling, and walls.
Most people who DIY a Sprinter van conversion use plywood of different thicknesses for the interior surfaces.
Once the plywood base is in, you have the option to paint it and leave it alone or add some pizazz with a tin ceiling, shiplap walls, or a tile backsplash in the kitchen area.
Expect to pay $475 – $950 for the plywood and screws. You should add $500-$1,000 to the budget for new tin panels or shiplap slats.
Sprinter Van Conversion Insulation Cost
Before you enclose the walls, floors, and ceiling of your Sprinter, you’ll want to add in a layer of insulation for both noise control and to maintain interior temperatures.
Some people like to use Havelock Wool, which is a fiber insulation mat made of sheep’s wool.
The material offers superior temperature control and is moisture and mold resistant, as well as buffers noise. The material is also much easier to fit into the recesses between the metal trusses and get a tight fit.
Havelock Wool costs are pretty affordable at about $140 for 100 square feet of coverage, with the average Sprinter van needing $280-$500 worth of product.
Foam board insulation is the other popular choice to insulate a Sprinter for RVing. Panels average in price at $25 per 4’x8′ sheet, with a van needing about $350 worth of product.
Sprinter Van Conversion Wiring and Plumbing Costs
Wiring and plumbing are optional when planning a Sprinter conversion into a camper, but having lights and some running water at a sink is very convenient.
For basic wiring to operate a few lights or have an outlet or two, it will cost around $200 for materials.
For a complete wiring job that includes lights, more outlets, a ventilation fan, and wiring for electrical appliances, you can expect the price of materials to jump up to $500.
The same goes for plumbing lines. A short stretch of PEX piping and some fittings to run from a holding tank to the water pump to the faucet may only cost $20, but the longer the water pipe runs, the more costly it becomes.
Sprinter Van Conversion Cabinets and Furniture Cost
Cabinets and framing material for the bed and seating can be nearly free if you can find salvage material but for new cabinets, wood, screws, and brackets, expect to spend $1,000-$1,500.
Don’t forget you’ll need a mattress for your bed so you can rest comfortably after full days of exploration. A quality mattress will cost you $350-$600, depending on size and brand.
Sprinter Van Conversion Kitchen Cost Breakdown
Here are some of the components you can choose to add to your Sprinter campervan kitchen with the average cost of each:
|Portable Undersink Fresh/Waste Water Tanks||$40|
|15-gallon propane tank||$50|
Sprinter Van Conversion Bathroom Cost
If you choose to fit a bathroom into your Sprinter campervan conversion, you’ll need to purchase a toilet at the bare minimum.
If you have room, you could also choose a portable toilet and wash station combo for $290.
Having a self-contained plumbing system in your campervan bathroom will eliminate the need to buy and run plumbing lines to the area, but consider how difficult it will be to fill and empty the tanks while on the road.
Setting up a shower inside the bathroom may be another challenge. If you want hot water, you’ll need to have a freshwater holding tank and install either a small electric hot water tank for around $200 or an on-demand water heater that can cost $200-$800 and hope you have enough power or propane to run it.
Other people choose to go simple and hook up a $20 portable gravity-fed shower they can use inside the bathroom (if you have a drain and grey water holding tank) or outside when weather permits.
Sprinter Van Conversion House Battery Cost
If you want to have electricity on your Sprinter campervan conversion, you’ll need a house battery (one or more) and a converter to power lights and 12-volt appliances.
The cost of a single high-quality deep-cycle battery runs around $175, and an RV converter will cost anywhere from $225-$600, depending on size. Depending on how long you boondock in your campervan will determine how many house batteries you’ll require to support your power demands.
You’ll also require a standard fuse box with breakers and a shore power cord that will add another $300 or so to the total.
If you aren’t confident in your electrical skills, you’ll need to hire an electrician and pay labor charges.
Sprinter Van Conversion Ventilation Cost
Sprinter vans often have no windows in the rear that you can open for ventilation, making the camper feel stuffy.
Opening the side or back doors isn’t always feasible for airing out the van, so most people install a roof vent fan.
Fan-Tastic Vent Fans have a great reputation for quality and performance, and these sell for $145-$250, plus an extra $10 for caulk to seal out water.
Sprinter Van Conversion Solar Cost
Solar panels are a common element to power campervan lights and outlets when parking off-grid.
The system will include the panels, charge controller, wiring harnesses, brackets, and other installation accessories.
Depending on how much wattage you’ll require to cover your power needs, expect a solar power system to cost anywhere from $450 to $3,500.
Sprinter Van Conversion Paint, Decor, and Accessories Cost
Expect to pay $200-$300 for enough sandpaper, caulk, primer, and paint to finish off the van’s interior.
No campervan is complete without some personal touches. You can pull decor from your home for free or buy a few items to spruce up the space.
I suggest leaving the decor plain and picking up items on your travels to make the space feel authentic and provide continual memories of your trips.
Since wall space is limited and knick-knacks will require some Museum Putty to stay in place, you’ll only need a few pieces of decor or throw pillows that may add up to $50-$150.
How Much Does a Professional Sprinter Van Conversion Cost?
If you don’t want to tackle a DIY Sprinter van conversion project, you can hire a professional, but it comes at a stiff price.
For a basic van conversion without plumbing or fancy amenities, you can expect it to cost around $10,000-$15,000.
For a comfortable camping van with plumbing, electricity (with simple solar), and a full kitchen, the price will average between $25,000-$45,000.
For a professional Sprinter van conversion that uses top-of-the-line appliances, technology, wood for cabinetry, holding tanks, and an advanced solar power system for off-grid camping, you can easily spend $50,000-$100,000.
The benefit of hiring van conversion experts is that they can help you design a custom layout that suits your needs perfectly. In addition, they have the skills to put the build together faster versus a person with no experience who’ll fumble through much of the process.
The Benefits of a DIY Sprinter Van Conversion
Tackling a DIY Sprinter van conversion project can not only save you tons of money but allows you to learn new skills, understand where all your wiring and plumbing lines are hiding, and control the design.
In addition, building your camping van yourself lets you work on your time and budget. You can slowly create the Sprinter camping van of your dreams as money or supplies become available, making it a pay-as-you-go project.
When taking on a DIY van conversion for camping, the only concern is installing the electrical, solar, and plumbing lines correctly. If you do it wrong and cover up the work with walls and furniture, fixing any issues will be difficult and expensive.
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Ways to Save on a DIY Sprinter Van Conversion
Here are the top 7 tips to save money and time during your van conversion:
- 1. Start with a used Sprinter cargo van instead of new
- 2. Scour junkyards, thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, and online marketplaces for used RV or residential cabinets, lighting, appliances, and plumbing fixtures
- 3. Ask family and friends for any old plywood or framing wood you can recycle for your project
- 4. Sew your curtains, pillows, or couch or mattress covers. If you can’t sew, see if you can barter some work with someone who can
- 5. Recycle foam from old couch cushions instead of buying expensive new foam by the foot
- 6. Use a rechargeable battery-operated string of fairy lights to illuminate hard-to-wire areas
- 7. Buy a complete solar panel kit instead of piecemeal to save time and confusion on installation
Converting a Sprinter cargo van into a traveling home doesn’t need to break the bank, but if you can invest a bit more, it can be much more comfortable, luxurious, and efficient.
If you want to test out what a Sprinter van conversion would cost, use the guide above to estimate the total based on what features you’ll want to install and whether or not you’ll be hiring out or DIYing most of the work.
Once you get a taste of the fun, freedom, and adventure of the RV life, you’ll find that all the work converting a Sprinter into a campervan was worth the effort!
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