From VW Westfalia to Mercedes Sprinter Van Conversion, we converted a shell Mercedes Sprinter van for camping and outdoor living.

VW Westfalia to Mercedes Sprinter Van Conversion

Friends, just in time for 2019 and camping in the great outdoors here in Bend, Oregon, we’ll be taking our newly converted sprinter van on the road soon. As soon as it warms up, we can’t wait to drive 20 minutes away to our favorite camping spot to enjoy a night or two.

Mercedes Sprinter Van

VW Westfalia to Mercedes Sprinter Van Conversion

This is the first post to highlight our sprinter van conversion, but stay tuned for all the details and links to where you can purchase what we bought, for your own conversion!

VW Westfalia to Mercedes Sprinter Van Conversion - camping

Mercedes Sprinter Van – the van inside

We bought our sprinter van to convert into a simple no-frills motor home, but you can combine the high towing capacity of these vehicles with a spacious interior, and you’ve got a solid work vehicle that’s ideal for industries of all kinds. The van we bought had been used for general contracting.

VW Westfalia to Mercedes Sprinter Van Conversion - inside

Seats for 2 + Alder the Whoodle

This light commercial vehicle seats only the two of us, but we could seat a whole bunch more if we wanted to by simply adding seating. But since there are only two of us, we went with the 144-inch wheel base and the high top, which allows us to stand up no problem.

VW Westfalia to Mercedes Sprinter Van Conversion - Alder

We also got the 6-cylinder diesel, so our towing capacity is really good as well. (Hello, Alder the Whoodle!)

Our van is rear-wheel drive. In addition to the tried and tested rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, the third generation van comes with front-wheel drive. Our goal was to use in the summertime and not in the snow. It’s also a big money savings.

VW Westfalia

1987 Volkswagon Westfalia

Exactly one year ago we decided to sell our beloved Rosemary, a 1987 Volkswagon Westfalia that we owned for 12 years. Camping in a Westfalia is a philosophy!

VW Westfalia Philosophy

Rosemary was a full camper van brought us to many great place and created great family memories, like getting stuck on the beach at Pacific City, and if it weren’t for the fast thinking of an Austrialian rugby team, would have been washed out to sea. You may also recall my 10 Reasons Why We Love our VW Westy post and my River Wedding post.

VW Westfalia - beach

But it was time for us to get a more reliable vehicle, and one we could stand up in at all times. Westy’s have the charm, but they sometimes don’t have the peace of mind that you want when on a road trip.

VW Westfalia - goodbye

So we upgraded: we got a little more room, can actually stand up in 24/7, more storage, larger bed, better gas mileage, and definitely peace of mind. We bought a used one and replaced the struts. That’s it. The Mercedes sprinter is something to experience. It really is like driving a car except you are much higher up than most vehicles.

We’re able to expand our circle of travel since we don’t have to worry about breaking down as we did in the past.

VW Westfalia to Mercedes Sprinter Van Conversion - floor

We bought our sprinter exactly one year ago as a shell (above). Which means nothing was converted at all, it was stripped down to the bare bones. We had our share of cleaning up to do for sure.

Cost of Conversion

Cost of Conversion: Around 4K, most of which involved electrical. (Stay tuned for detailed posts.)

We’ve never done anything like this, so we did what others do. Got anxious. Then we got busy. We went on YouTube and Pinterest, joined a few online groups and settled upon a conversion that normal people can do.

You can really go crazy with one of these things, and God bless those who have the time and money to do so. But we’re not those people. Paul had about two weeks of slow time in the summer when you usually doesn’t speak and travel, so he devoted some of that time to converting the cargo van into a simple RV.

VW Westfalia to Mercedes Sprinter Van Conversion - coffee

We went to a nearby company that converts these babies and asked them how much they would charge to do a simple conversion. After we regained consciousness from the price, we asked what they would charge to just put two windows in for us. We would do the rest. And we got lucky. They had two brand new windows that they installed that wasn’t much more than what we could find online. Then the manager took pity on us and said he had a headliner and durable and washable floor that would fit our van perfectly. And we got them for just $200!

VW Westfalia to Mercedes Sprinter Van Conversion - Deschutes River

The amount of time we saved by putting both in was amazing. It made an already overwhelming experience less overwhelming.

More detailed conversion in Part 1 and Part 2

Stay tuned for the posts coming up where we will share about the batteries, wiring, insulation, the bed, kitchenette, and more, in Part 1 and Part 2.

Here’s to more camping and enjoying our new (to us) Sprinter Van in 2019!

Mercedes Sprinter Van Conversion

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