I guess your van wont fit in a container.
How did you crossed the GAP?
We managed to cross from colon to Cartagena with a ferry – ferryxpress has been running (on and off) since October 2014. It’s a great option as it’s cheaper and faster. The other option would have been RORO (roll on roll off) shipping, where you hand over your car keys to the shipping company. Unfortunately the Sprinter is just a bit to tall even for a high cube container.
Now that you’ve driven so many miles using high sulfur diesel, what can you say have been the effects on the engine and fuel economy? I appreciate you taking time to address this as you have real world experience with this. We are looking to build a new expedition vehicle using the newly offered Sprinter 4×4 chassis. Thanks!
Don, thanks for the question, I’ll try to address it more thoroughly in a future post, once we’re back in the US. The engine has done great throughout the trip. We went into limp home mode once due to turbo sensor failure in Mexico (a mild case, car went back to normal after shutting off the ignition) so we took it to a dealer and they cleaned the turbo connectors – whether this was an issue related to the fuel isn’t clear. We never had this issue again.
We’ve also felt an impact from different quality fuel while driving (although this may be subjective, e.g. Peru diesel felt worse than other countries), but there doesn’t seem to have been any damage to the engine. In Mexico you can buy Mercedes-brand fuel additive, which we’ve stocked up on and used throughout the journey. Fuel economy on higher-sulfur diesel was a bit worse (probably 15-18 mpg vs. 20 in the US), but it’s hard to quantify because other factors may have played into it (altitude, windy roads, etc.). In Chile and Argentina you can get ULSD and gas mileage is back to what we had in the US.
Performance at altitude was never a problem either, I couldn’t feel a difference when the engine was warm. The engine is a little weaker when it’s cold at high altitude, but we never had any real problems.
One thing for you to take into consideration is removing the emissions-related equipment in current models. I don’t know how feasible this is, but there are a lot of stories from European travelers with clogged DPFs at high altitude. DEF may also not be available everywhere, so you may need to carry it with you.
Hope this helps! Shoot me a message if your interested in anything more specific (email@example.com).
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