Sprinter Makeover…

Since we left the United States we’ve driven about 20,000 miles through Mexico, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru. 

During that time we’ve had the van serviced twice. Once in Guatemala (remember here), and once in Costa Rica (remember here).

It’s time to have another full service makeover. Although the Sprinter has been an absolute tank on the entire trip, he has sustained a few casualties that need attention. Since we’re going to be here in Huanchaco for a couple more months, I decided it was time to give the Sprinter some TLC.

There is a Mercedes dealership only 20 minutes away, so we checked the Sprinter in for a 2 week makeover. Mercedes dealerships are always an oasis in these countries. Quality and service, no matter where you are in the world. That is why I probably wouldn’t drive anything but a Mercedes around the world. They have the best dealer network on the planet.

The biggest area of focus is cleaning up the rust that has accumulated over the last 4 years of the Sprinter being in close proximity to the ocean. It’s pretty bad, especially around the windshield. This damage kinda freaked me out until we got to the dealership, and they showed me two other Sprinters with identical damage. Guess it’s pretty common here in Peru, right next to the ocean. And it is apparently completely fixable.

Back in Panama I tried to fix the rust spots on the roof, (remember that episode here), but now I think it’s time for the professionals to come in. They are going to remove the roof rack and do a complete clean up from top to bottom…

They will also fix my little fender bender that happened in Costa Rica.

And they will tidy up all the other little issues. The great part about having all this work done in Peru is that it costs a FRACTION of the price it would in the US. I can’t believe how cheap it is to get all this body work done, especially at a Mercedes dealership!

What I was really hoping for is that they could retro-fit the Sprinter with one of these slide outs. How crazy cool is this thing? If you could do it to a Sprinter, it would be bad ass. Not gonna happen in Peru though.

So, the Sprinter will come back sparkling new in a couple weeks. Then Stevie and I will start to plan a little road trip back up to Ecuador. We were really hoping that we wouldn’t have to do this. When we jumped the border back in December (remember that here) they told us that we would be able to renew our vehicle permit in Trujillo or Lima. They lied. Luis and I went to Aduana in Trujillo and got fully rejected. So, if any of you overlanders are wondering if it’s possible to get more than a 3 month vehicle permit in Peru, it is NOT. We tried every way possible, including big bribes. Every time you want to renew, you have to cross a border, so plan ahead.
It’s all good though. We’ll cross in into Ecuador in the north one more time, and then have a full 3 months to drive south to Bolivia. Plenty of time.


  1. OMG!
    LOVE the video!

  2. Well,that’s quite a bit of oxidization there,I guess you DO have to clean here up a wee bit.
    And that slidout on the sprinter would be pretty awesome,although,more moving parts=more things that break.Keeping it simple in the long run makes for less maintenance in the short term.

  3. That retro-fit is SOOO cool! You should definitely look into that somewhere along the line.

  4. I don’t think we Oregonians from the Valley/Central/Eastern have any idea how big a problem rust is in other parts of the US/World. I grew up on the N. Welsh coast and our cars always rusted out before they wore out…..

  5. Shaun Galanos says:

    Are you turning it into something bigger? Could always use a bit more room…

  6. Hey Guys,
    The Sprinter has been berry good to you guys, a little T.L.C. is is in order and like you said the price is right ….K..Carry-on…. and thanks for the insight on the Grand Canyon ..Gonna be awesome..
    Mucho Amore,

  7. Brenda de Klerk says:

    I absolutely love to read all about you guys!! how absolutely amazing and complete your life must be!! to live your dream!! lotsa white light to you all…thats the 2 of you and your children ( doggie human species) You both shine on!!

  8. Wow, that slide out thing looks awesome. Your van looks cool too, is it a full camper conversion inside?

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