FAQs

Sprinter 4×4 and 6×6 FAQs

 

Q: Doesn’t Mercedes build a 4X4 Sprinter?
A: No, there are no 4X4 Sprinters built by Mercedes, there are aftermarket conversions available in other parts of the world which are not legal to import or drive in the US.

Q: Is Mercedes planning to offer a 4X4 Sprinter conversion in America?
A: As of 8-1-2012 the information I have from Mercedes-Benz USA headquarters is they have done market research and found there is not enough sales potential to justify building their own 4×4.

Q: How long have you been converting Sprinters?
A: I designed and built the first American 4×4 Sprinter in 2007.

Q: Which is better to convert, a 144 or a 170 inch wheelbase?
A: We convert both but it depends on what fits your application best. The 144 inch will turn sharper and is more useable on tight back roads but a 170 carries more gear and gives you more interior room.

Q: How does the 4×4 conversion drive?
A: Comfortable, easy to drive with precise handling. Yes, it handles great on 2-lane mountain roads at the speed limit and off road, but where it really shines is on the freeway at 75 MPH. I am quite comfortable passing a big rig with only one hand on the steering wheel. The wind coming off the front of the big rig does not push or pull the Sprinter. It handles like a 4×2 Sprinter but with less body roll and sway.

Q : How much does the Whitefeather Conversions 4X4 conversion cost?
A: Conversion to a 2500 SRW starts at $23,500, a 3500 DRW starts at $25,900 (plus applicable sales tax, if any).

Q: How much does the 6×6 Conversion cost?
A: Conversion to a Sprinter cab-and-chassis with 4.18 gear ratio with no body mounted on it starts at $39,000 (plus applicable sales tax if any). Price does not include any body work to the vehicle.

Q: What is a 6×6?
A: A 6×6 is a vehicle with 3 axles and at least 6 tires. With duals on the two rear axles it would have 10 tires and wheels.

Q: What is the advantage to a 6X6 over a 4X4?
A: On soft soils, sand, mud or tundra and other ecologically sensitive areas a 6X6 treads much lighter than a 4X4. A 4X4 Sprinter van weighing 7,000 lbs. with our standard A/T tires has 50 lbs. per sq. inch pressure on the ground, our 6X6 Sprinter weighing 7,000 lbs. with its 6 wide A/T tires has only 18.9 lbs. per sq. inch pressure on the ground. This allows the 6X6 to “float” where a 4×4 would sink to its axles. The 6X6 has options of driver controlled locking differentials on all 3 drive axles. The driver has the ability to shift from powering the vehicle by 1, 2 or all 3 axles as conditions require.

Q: How long does a conversion take?
A: Typically 4 to 6 weeks but time can vary depending on work load, customer options selected and parts availability.

Q: Do you have 4×4 converted Sprinters available for sale?
A: Yes, usually we do, we try to keep an inventory of new and used. Please call, email or check our inventory page for current units available.

Q: Does Whitefeather offer a-do-it-yourself conversion kit?
A: No we don’t. We are a US Department of Transportation certified upfitter (convertor) which means we must certify all conversions we build meet or exceed current applicable Federal safety standards. The Sprinter 4×4 is a much more complex conversion and takes over three times as much labor than the more common Ford and GM van conversions. When the conversion is completed we have a 120 item written inspection followed by an on and off road test drive. When the inspection and test drive are complete we can certify DOT compliance and the vehicle is ready to go.

Q: Can a 4×4 Sprinter be taken off road?
A: Absolutely, the Sprinter unibody construction with our sub frame is tough. We have them in military applications in North Africa, the Middle East and as small RVs running up and down the Baja. You can take a Whitefeather 4×4 Sprinter anywhere a 4×4 pickup will fit.

Q: Can you convert a mobility Sprinter for a driver in a wheelchair or with other special needs?
A: Absolutely, we have converted many vehicles for mobility customers.

Q: Can all the parts be collected and be ready when my vehicle arrives for conversion?
A: There are some sensors that must be moved from your 2 wheel drive suspension that must be integrated into the new 4×4 suspension that are vehicle specific. We can have most, but not all, parts ready before the vehicle arrives at our facility.

Q: Does the 4×4 conversion void my Mercedes warranty?
A: No, not on any parts we don’t alter. You have the protection of the Federal Consumer Protection Act of 1982. Whitefeather Conversions is registered with the US Department of Transportation and certifies we meet or exceed all applicable Federal Regulations when converted.

Q: Do you alter the Mercedes-Benz computer?
A: No, the computer and all of the Sprinter control systems are left stock, the converted Sprinter scans like a stock 4×2, it can still be serviced by any Sprinter service center.

Q: What else do you leave stock?
A: We do not alter the engine, transmission, radiator and cooling system, A/C system, rear axle, rear brakes, fuel tank/pump/sender, electrical system; they all retain factory warranty and dealer serviceability.

Q: What Sprinters do you convert?
A: We convert new and used, 2500 single rear wheel cargo, passenger, ambulance and RVs, 3500 dual rear wheel cargo, passenger, ambulance, RVs and cut-away cab and chassis, year model 2002 and up with 2.7 or 3.0 diesel engines and 3.73, 3.92 or 4.18 gear ratio axle.
We can convert most Sprinters with RV, ambulance or other commercial conversions, but if the prior conversion requires additional parts or labor to complete the 4×4 conversion we do add those additional expenses to the conversion price.

Q: What is your warranty and how does it work?
A: The standard warranty is 3 years, 36,000 miles parts and labor excluding abuse, neglect and incidentals– see warranty for details. If you have a warranty issue, or think you do, contact Whitefeather Conversions immediately for assistance. It is impossible to have service centers everywhere customers go so we try to work with what facilities are available where you are. The point is to get you going again, wherever you are.

Q: Is my Whitefeather Conversions warranty good outside the USA?
A: Yes, it is helpful if staff repairing your vehicle communicate in English, but we have worked around that when required. Email through a translator program works pretty well.

Q: Is my Whitefeather Conversions warranty good on ambulances, fire trucks and military vehicles?
A: Yes, the same exclusions and conditions apply as to all of our other customers.

Q: How much does my Sprinter get lifted?
A: Normally 4.5 inches or about 115 mm. The stock 4×2 Sprinter has little ground clearance and will drag if taken off road damaging underbody components or the vehicle’s body. A 4.5 inch lift gives the Sprinter about 1/3 more ground clearance under its belly. The new 4×4 front axle must have enough room to move to allow it to take the impacts, not transmit them to the body of the vehicle or occupants.

Q: What front axle do you install and why?
A: A new Dana 60 Super mono-beam. The Dana 60 is dependable and tough, most of our conversions are for use in North America so we build with components readily available where it is to be used, keeps service easy long into the future.

Q: How much front axle travel do you build in?
A: That depends on customer application, but usually between 3.5 and 4.5 inches up and 5 inches down for a total axle travel of around 9 inches.

Q: What type of front suspension do you use?
A, Comfortable riding 18 inch tall coil springs with Bilstein gas pressure mono-tube shock absorbers and oversized front chrome-moly sway bar with polyurethane mounts.

Q: What type of rear suspension do you use?
A: We retain the stock rear single or two leaf springs, install lift blocks between the spring and axle to level the vehicle, upgrade the rear sway bar to chrome-moly with polyurethane mounts to match the front and upgrade the shock absorbers to adjustable Rancho gas pressure shock absorbers.

Q: Do you upgrade to off road tires?
A: Yes, the Dana’s front axle has about 36% more stopping power brakes than a stock Sprinter and requires a 17 inch wheel so we include 17 inch Michelin or BFG load range E tires with the conversion on steel or forged aluminum wheels.

Q: Can I have different tires installed?
A: Sprinters are sensitive to tire sidewall construction, their stability sensors like sturdy sidewalls which Michelin and BFG tires have.

Q: Can I have oversized tires installed as part of the conversion?
A: The Sprinter wheel wells won’t allow much of a tire size increase plus the sliding side cargo door will hit the right rear door if the tires are much wider or installed on the wrong backspace wheel. Our standard LT 245 tire keeps the speedometer correct and the ABS function correct.

Q: Which is better, steel or forged aluminum wheels?
A: Forged aluminum is always my first choice. The forged aluminum wheels we install are straighter than a welded steel wheel so your tires run cooler, you get better tire life and more miles between tire balancing plus aluminum wheels dissipate brake heat much faster than steel so your Sprinter stops faster and has longer brake pad life.

Q: What are my choices in wheel finishes?
A: Standard finishes are machine finish or polish for aluminum wheels, grey power coat for steel wheels, but we offer custom powder coat colors at additional cost on both aluminum and steel wheels.

Q: Does the ABS, ESP, air bag and all the other safety equipment still work after the conversion?
A: Yes, it is a federal violation to disable any safety equipment at any time for an on highway vehicle.

Q: Are the parts installed all new?
A: Yes, always new and top quality.

Q: What options are available to complete my Sprinter 4×4?
A: We offer a line of aluminum front and rear bumpers, winches, lights, onboard air compressors, roof racks, roof access ladders, side impact protection nerf bars, front door steps, auxiliary rear axle air suspension and softer multi-leaf rear springs. Please visit our options page. All options must be carefully selected so they do not interfere with the vehicle’s stability control system. Please check our vendor page to see some of our suppliers and link to their web sites. I have worked with some of these vendors for over 25 years; I know the owners of some of these companies and can personally vouch for the quality of their products.

Q: What does the conversion to 4×4 do to fuel mileage?
A: Typically you should expect to see a reduction in fuel mileage of about ½ to 1 MPG.

Q: Is the conversion full time or part time 4×4?
A: Part time with locking front hub locks. When you don’t need to be in 4×4 you are not turning and putting wear on any additional components.

Q: Does the conversion to 4×4 reduce my GVW?
A: No, but it does reduce load carrying capacity by about 400 lbs.

Q: Does the 4×4 conversion reduce my towing rating?
A: No, it remains the same.

Q: Do I have to notify the DMV my vehicle has been converted?
A: That is a state by state issue, it is best to contact your local DMV.

Q: Do I have to inform my insurance company my vehicle has been converted?
A: To have the increased value covered in case of theft or damage, send the insurance company a copy of the conversion invoice marked “paid”.

Q: What happens to the parts that come off my Sprinter in the conversion?
A: They are your property to take when the conversion is done. There is no credit for the parts if you choose to leave them.

Q: How do I get my Sprinter to you for conversion?
A: Most customers bring the vehicle themselves so we can meet with them and discuss your exact conversion needs, but it can be shipped to us. Enterprise car rental is in Red Bluff, so is Amtrack Thruway, bus service, and we offer service to the Redding airport.

Q: How do I get my Sprinter when the conversion is done?
A: I really like the customer to come to Red Bluff to receive the converted vehicle. We will go over the conversion with you, like how to shift the transfer case, then take you on a road course test drive to get you comfortable and confident that the conversion handles better than it did stock. I have driven the same road course with well over 1,000 drivers in their new 4x4s.

Q: What does Whitefeather convert other than Sprinters?
A: We also convert Ford, GMC, Chevrolet and Dodge cargo and passenger vans, motor homes built on those van chassis, front engine class C and A motor homes built on Mercedes, Ford, GM and Workhorse chassis up to 37 foot long, and a variety of front engine powered passenger cars and pickups. If you have a vintage pickup or other vehicle you want converted, let us know and we will see what we can offer.