Expedition Portal Classifieds :: Custom 2018 4X4 Sprinter Overland Build

Ryan and LeeWhay are an adventurous couple who love to explore by vehicle. But they didn’t know that they were “overlanders” until 2011 when Ryan attended an Overland Expo in Arizona. This event exposed him to an entire community that shared his passion for vehicle-based exploration, and he returned to LeeWhay with a renewed enthusiasm and a dream to drive around the world. She attended an overland rally in Hollister, California, the following year, where she learned a whole host of off-road driving skills and techniques. Eager to continue their pursuit of new destinations and experiences, the couple semi-retired in 2017 to make traveling a priority.

 

Even though they were previously unfamiliar with the term overlanding, Ryan and LeeWhay are no strangers to 4WD vehicles. They’ve owned and traveled in a few different rigs, including a 1997 Lexus LX450, a 1990 U1300L Unimog, and, most recently, a 2018 4X4 custom Sprinter. Originally, the Sprinter was intended to be their around-the-world vehicle, but due to international travel restrictions, they made it through North America, Iceland, Europe, and North Africa before putting the remainder of that trip on hold. They’re selling their Sprinter, and for anyone who has dreams of traveling North America and beyond, this vehicle can take you there.

 

 

From Ryan and LeeWhay

“Our Sprinter was designed and built as a four-season overlanding vehicle. It is capable of traveling to the remote destinations and cities of the world in a comfortable, self-contained manner. This vehicle uses only diesel and the sun for locomotion, cooking, hot water, and heat— no difficult to find propane gas fittings required for world travel. With the 30-gallon onboard water capacity and 50 gallons of diesel, long, remote tracks with no support services are possible.

 

 

The off-road performance modifications allowed the Sprinter to go almost everywhere we overlanded with our 80-Series Land Cruiser. Some may think this is an exaggeration; it is not. The Mercedes 4X4 option augmented with Van Compass’s stage-5 Striker suspension and 34-inch tires means it has similar ground clearance to a couple-inch lifted Land Cruiser. This, coupled with all of the Van Compass armor (engine, transmission, transfer case, rear differential, sliders, and fuel tank), allows this vehicle to go almost anywhere.

 

 

The driving and living comfort trade-off is without parallel. Large, several-ton trucks (think Unimog) have more comfortable living, but a rough driving experience. A new Land Cruiser has a similar driving experience to the Sprinter but with much less living comfort. The Scheel-Mann seats help immensely with ridding lower back pain on long driving days. Living and traveling in a vehicle that is standing height is a game changer for extended duration travel. Crawling into a rooftop tent may be okay for a long weekend, but not long-term. I am 6’ 2”. Someone who is 6’ 3” should have no problem standing inside.

 

The diesel heater combined with the fully insulated cabin makes sleeping in sub-zero temperatures in the High Atlas Mountains downright luxurious. Your new friends will be knocking on the door to have drinks in your cozy space. We’ve had six adults sitting comfortably, enjoying beverages at sunset, and for hours after.

 

Transiting across the country is easy in this vehicle. Stealth camping in Walmart parking lots or industrial parks is a breeze due to the lack of ‘overlanding jewelry’ on the exterior. The typical stuff people usually carry on the exterior (Hi-Lift jack, jerry cans, sports equipment, etc.) easily fit in the Sprinter’s massive garage beneath the bed. The patent-pending, two-axis, electrically leveling bed allows for a good night’s sleep when the only parking (or camping) spot is quite unlevel. The modified full-size foam mattress is 4 inches thick.

 

The extra horsepower and fuel efficiency derived from the aftermarket exhaust and mild tuning add to the driving experience.

 

If you’re not in love with the furniture layout, the Goose Gear S-series furniture is reconfigurable by virtue of the airline track (L-track) mounting system embedded into the floor, ceiling, and walls. All it takes is unfastening four to six bolts per furniture piece to relocate. This also allows for dual-use as an overlanding or utility vehicle to haul 4×8 sheets of plywood.

 

 

Don’t let the fact that we have driven rough roads worry you. We are both instructors at Overland Expo and have taught off-road driving. Our motto is “slow and steady” when it comes to remote tracks. If we abuse our equipment, we not only risk getting stuck in remote places, we also risk damaging our home!”

 

 

SPECS

Furniture

  • Custom designed by Goose Gear
  • Construction:
    1. Lightweight, proprietary aluminum extrusion frames
    2. Lightweight, imported laminated marine plywood
    3. Drawer guides are rated at 350 pounds
    4. Compression latches are all-metal construction
    5. Blum high-use hinges with three-way adjustment
  • Galley:
    1. Dometic Coolmatic 140S fridge
    2. Dometic sink with hinged lid
    3. Whale foot pump
    4. 5-gallon Scepter cans for freshwater and gray water storage
    5. Galley is approximately 42 inches wide and 22 inches deep
  • Bench seat with 20-gallon water storage underneath (all water system components reside within the heated inside space—no freeze-ups)
  • Single seat with pantry underneath
  • Under-bed cabinet for toilet storage and supplies (could fit Thetford Porta Potti, Wrappon, Cleanwaste portable toilet, or similar toilets)
  • Cabinets above rear wheel arches
    1. Battery, inverter, solar charges, electronics (passenger side)
    2. 4-foot-long lockable storage (driver’s side)
  • Upper cabinets, approximately 5 feet long
  • Floor system:
    1. Airline track (L-track) for configurability and secure tie-down of gear
    2. High-wear vinyl tiles
    3. Fully insulated

 

Rough Terrain Enhancements

  • Van Compass designed and installed
  • Stage 5 Striker 4×4 Sprinter lift kit with Fox shocks
    1. 2-inch lift maintains factory geometries of wheels, driveshafts, and transfer case
    2. Will accept up to 35-inch tires
    3. Heavy-duty rear springs allow for cargo capacity
    4. Front SUMO springs tame extra weight while maintaining driving comfort
    5. Fox shocks damp larger springs and additional load
  • Van Compass armor and skid plates
    1. Rock sliders protect lower rocker area
    2. Engine skid protects oil pan and front differential
    3. Belly plate protects transmission and transfer case
    4. Rear differential skid protects rear diff
    5. Fuel tank plate fully protects 25-gallon OEM fuel tank
  • Van Compass front winch bumper with an integrated 2-inch hitch receiver (allows for a winch to be fitted behind the OEM bomber cover (no winch is currently fitted. Hitch receiver is the front recovery point)
  • Rear OEM 2-inch hitch receiver (acts as rear recovery point)
  • Method Race Wheels, Trail Series 701, 17-inch w/integrated Bead Grip technology
  • BFG 34X10.5R17 A/T KO2 tires
  • Outback Extreme Magnum air compressor with exterior hook-ups
  • Van Compass sway bar disconnect (allows for better off-road suspension articulation)
  • Agile Off-Road 20-gallon auxiliary fuel tank (integrated skid plate)
  • ADF Sprinter modified spare tire bracket (keeps larger than OEM spare tucked-up under chassis)
  • Mercedes Sprinter Pedalbox (increases throttle response by removing delays in the accelerator, enhancing drivability)

 

Electrical Systems

  • Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries
    1. 360A-hr capacity
    2. Three roof-mounted solar panels (330W total – can power the electrical system indefinitely in sunny conditions)
  • Custom-designed solar charge controllers
  • Xantrex Freedom X2000, 2000-watt true sine inverter (powers induction cooktop, heats water and other 120Vac equipment)
  • RedArc BCDC1225D battery charger (uses the alternator’s power to charge lithium batteries when engine is running)
  • LumiCoin 2700K dual LED ceiling lights (x4) – warm white or red with full dimming
  • BlueSea OLED voltmeters and thermometer, USB (x10), and power ports (x4)
  • Baja Designs Squadron Pro white LED lights mounted on A-pillars
  • High current marine switch to enable self jump-starting
  • Augmented stereo system retains OEM radio but replaces speakers and amplifiers with larger units (sounds much better with an absolute stock look)

 

Living/Camping Comforts

  • Scheel-Mann Seats, Traveler R, heated
    1. Adjustable lumbar support
    2. Passenger swivels and heat available from lithium batteries (engine off)
  • Espar D2 Airtronic diesel heater
  • MaxxFan MaxxAir Deluxe 7500K remote-controlled rooftop fan (can bring air into or out of the living space, hood keeps rain from entering)
  • CR Laurance window with security panel
    1. Awning type opening window allows for airflow in the rain
    2. Integrated bug screen
  • Eclipse Sunshade for windshield (keeps interior much cooler and maintains privacy and blocks most light from exiting)
  • Leveling bed and table platform (patent pending)
    1. Electric leveling control of bed platform to always sleep level even when the camping spot is not
    2. Table slides out from leveling platform, so it’s also leveled with the bed
    3. Table is counter-height for more food prep surface
  • RB Components raised headliner shelf above driving seats
  • RB Components fabric stuff bags mounted on wall
  • Big Kahuna heated shower
  • Duxtop induction cooktop, 1800 watts
  • Dragonfly awning for sun and rain protection
  • Van Compass rear hitch step
  • Prime Design rear door ladder
  • Rooftop high-gain WiFi antenna with USB powered router (brings WiFi signal from hundreds of feet away into the living space for all of your devices)
  • Rooftop high-gain mobile phone antenna (use with your hot-spot to get reliable service in marginal (or no) service areas)
  • Two fire extinguishers mounted in cab and kitchen areas

 

Additional Accessories/Details

  • Front Runner Slimline II roof rack
    1. Custom sized to use entire roof
    2. Holds solar panels, awning attachment, and acts as a limb guard for the fan hood and antennas 
  • Ram Mount and 67 Designs smartphone mounts for driver and passenger
  • Ultra Gauge ODB2 reader – keep track of coolant and transmission temperatures, fuel mileage, and clear any errant codes
  • Hushmat 40 sound deadening in cabin
  • iCarSoft ODB2 interface reader – can perform a lot of the Mercedes-only diagnostics and code reading/resetting
  • 51k miles
  • Engine oil, front and rear differential oil, transfer case oil, brake fluid, diesel fuel filter, and brake pads and rotors were changed recently (all synthetic fluids were used)

 

Not Ideal

  • A small dent (half dollar sized) on driver’s side rear quarter panel
  • Some clear coat scratching on sides due to bushes/branches
  • Cracked windshield near bottom edge
  • Tires have 30 percent tread left

 

Additional Press Coverage & Vehicle Photos

https://www.offgridmountainlife.com/VANLIFE/?fbclid=IwAR0QaV9ldnXcR-OrwKSDupw1PurA71dod2ivKRypcDYciD1Bm3gh6WqaHLw

http://www.overlandwithus.com

https://www.instagram.com/overlandwithus/

https://gearjunkie.com/overland-expo-east-2018-gear

https://expeditionportal.com/expo-east-2018-cool-trucks-and-new-gear/

 

 

Ryan and LeeWhay’s Custom 2018 4X4 Sprinter is listed for $120,000. You can contact them for questions or with an offer via their website or through their Instagram account.


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Matthew Swartz is originally from Connecticut and currently lives in Denver, Colorado where he passionately pursues rock climbing, trail running, and skiing. Matt’s love of travel has inspired him to through-hike the JMT and part of the PCT, bike across the United States, and explore the West coast of South America from Ecuador to Patagonia. Matt and his partner Amanda have also travelled across much of the Western US in their 1964 Clark Cortez RV, which they lived in, on the road for the better part of three years. Matt has worked for the USFS as an Interpretive Ranger and Wildland Firefighter and Matt's photography and writing has been published in Rova Magazine, the Leatherman blog, 'Hit The Road' by Gestalten Publishing, and Forbes.