Our Motorhome: Ordering and Expansion - Questions about Questions ...

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Wow !! Was that a difficult decision .... In our article "Our dream of a van becomes reality" , we talked about how and why, after a long search, we decided on the "independent" of CS motorhomes. But which equipment and accessories should we order? How should we configure the vehicle? Read below how our van was finally equipped and produced.

The configuration of our motorhome (Mercedes-Sprinter)

OUR Sprinter has arrived at the factory premises of CS motorhomes

The configuration of the base vehicle was independent of the considerations for the actual motorhome. We informed ourselves in forums, test reports and friends, who use the Mercedes-Sprinter, once in general to this van. We were particularly interested in experiences and possible weak points with regard to the engine, the chassis and other aspects of the base vehicle. The information collected was then the basis for the order. Of course, we have also taken into account the following criteria of our entire "van" project :

  • Longevity, solidity, economy and reliability
  • Suitability for extreme tours at different times (eg Northern Europe in winter)
  • relatively high independence from media and supply (water, electricity, etc.)
  • a certain understatement from the outside (only recognizable from close up as a mobile home right away)
  • a certain off-road ability to use also unpaved roads and paths
  • highest possible resale value
  • Suitability for tours over several weeks in the smallest interior
  • Maneuverability and concomitantly small dimensions (save toll and ferry charges)
  • Suitable for our requirements as a blogger (charging options for many devices etc.)

The result was the following configuration for a Sprinter from Mercedes as the basis for our van (overview / if you are interested in explanations, simply open the fields):

Mercedes Sprinter with 3665 mm wheelbase
The resulting length of 5.91 meters is on the one hand perfectly fine for us and in the interior for two people also sufficient. In addition, one must take into account that many tolls (for example, on the Öresund Bridge) and the prices of many ferry companies from 6 meters vehicle length are significantly higher.
Color: graphite gray metallic 7759
The uni varnishes of the Sprinter should be qualitatively and especially in terms of corrosion properties significantly worse. Besides, we definitely did not want a white van ... 🙂
Engine: 2.2 liter 163 hp CDI / Euro VI
A difficult decision, as we have long and intensely belugelt with the 6-cylinder diesel. However, many reviews and the alleged resilience of the "workhorse" 4-cylinder with 163 hp was the decisive factor to take exactly this engine. Furthermore, we had to be careful because of the total weight (as the useful four-wheel drive also brings a lot of weight) and since the 6-cylinder beats already with a few kilograms more to book.
Total permissible weight 3880 kg
With 3.8 tons of total possible weight, we have our sprinter produced to then but for the approval by TÜV certificate back to 3.5 tons "load", as it would otherwise be extremely complex and complicated if we find that we on Duration with 3.5 tons total weight do not get along. So we are flexible and equipped for the future, and can at any time relatively easily "load up" again to 3.8 tons, if we realize that the 3.5 tons gross vehicle weight is not sufficient. In general, however, there are many advantages if we are only traveling with a 3.5 tonne truck (toll, driver's license, restrictions on trucks, etc.).
Four-wheel drive switchable
See our planned tours .... We do not regret the decision, because on a soggy meadow, we were once glad that we have this option. Since we have no permanent four-wheel drive, but can connect this, the disadvantages such as noise or diesel consumption also limited.
Steering wheel adjustable
For us a standard and thus clear from the outset
trailer socket
First we do not need it, but as an option very good. Later, a hitch or the junction box would be retrofitted only with much effort and much more expensive, since then a complete wiring harness must be placed. In the production of the vehicle, however, this hardly matters.
Radio Audio 15
This is fine once. In Norway, however, we lack a DAB reception option (should be ordered in the future with the same). Currently we are bothered by the fact that the radio switches itself off after a few minutes on the pitch. But we can and will be reprogrammed for the first review at Mercedes.
Track Package (Blind Spot / Lane Keeping / High Beam Assistant)
The meaningfulness we have long debated, but after 11000 kilometers, we are very happy to have it, especially if you are not used to driving in vehicles of this size and you often in Norway on the road (narrow roads, lots of darkness, etc.).
Windscreen heated
The choice of this option was a matter of course for us, because we know about the challenges when traveling in the north of Scandinavia in winter.
Hinged lid for storage compartment
Obviously only a small thing, but we are very happy to have chosen this option. So we can throw memory cards and 1000 other small things at any time in the large storage compartment on the dashboard without it looks messy in the vehicle. In the overall impression, these details somehow make the difference between the Sprinter as a delivery vehicle or just as a "living" mobile ...
Rear view camera
In a vehicle of this dimension, often the only orientation to the rear and thus indispensable for us. There would be the cheap option to retrofit this camera from an accessory provider (for example, WAECO), but we did not want to compromise here and prefer the original Mercedes version. From today's perspective, this decision was also right.
alarm system
For a vehicle of this class more than useful - if not necessary. But we will also invest in other security options such as top locks for the rear doors, which we have unfortunately failed in our configuration.
5-speed automatic
We are used to driving with automatic transmission and especially for a relaxed driving in Norway as well as the start on the mountain (with 3.5 tons) it is very pleasant to be able to rely on the quite well responding automatic of Mercedes. Therefore, this option was immediately clear to us.
Thermal insulation cab
For us also a matter of course, especially since we want to use the vehicle in the winter and are.
Driver and passenger seats heated
We just love the comforting warmth that you can enjoy in this way. Especially after some time outdoors, it is always pleasant and beneficial to activate the seat heaters.
Air conditioning tempmatics
Since we simply do not want to give up some comfort on the many kilometers planned, it was clear to us that the automatic climate control had to be ordered. In the motorhome in summer as in winter or the way the destination - there it should also be pleasant and with a certain comfort.
Bi-xenon headlights
Anyone who has been traveling in the north of Scandinavia during the winter knows why we did not compromise on the headlamps. Hours of darkness in the dark during the night require a certain minimum of equipment here. For the future, and depending on how we handle the weight on a permanent basis, we are still considering the installation of additional headlamps or a LED bar on the roof.
Cruise control
In Germany almost superfluous - but for example in the flowing traffic at night through Denmark quite helpful, relaxing and useful. Also, it often helps in Norway not to drive too fast on routes with permanent speed monitoring 🙂
Spare wheel and spare wheel holder incl. Hydraulic jack
For our planned tours, which are quite far away from civilization and in rough terrain should / will take place, which is quite well invested. We still hope we never need it ...
Comfort head restraints for driver and front passenger
As already noted, the path is often the destination. There is a minimum of comfort for us. With these headrests comes a little more "car feeling" in the van on.
Grab handle for entry B-pillar sliding door
We wanted to leave out first ("We are still young and athletic ...") and have on the advice of the seller but the handle then ordered. Thank God ! One has hardly any idea how high the car with four-wheel drive and additional ground clearance is ... Should you absolutely order.
Light and rain sensor
Again, it was about the comfort on long distances and the consideration of the weather conditions in Scandinavia. What we have forgotten in this context: Since we often travel in Scandinavia, it would have made sense to have the dipped beam as daytime running lights, since it is in most countries anyway duty to drive with it. Let's correct at the next review.
Headlight washers
Again, we have deliberately opted for this trim level, as we have quite experienced, under what extreme conditions you sometimes travel in the north of Europe. We see it as an investment in safety and a relaxed journey.
Fog lights with cornering light
In conjunction with our all-wheel drive only this option was possible for the fog lights, as our vehicle is a few inches higher than the usual Sprinter. The fog lights make sense, because we do not want to be on the road in midsummer or in sunshine. Also this point goes for us on the account "security".
Electric closing aid sliding door
At first we have classified as unnecessary. Only the friendly note from the seller: "... that the neighbors on the pitch will thank us for sure" has prompted us to choose this option. In any case, he was right and we would always order this equipment again.

So we ordered the Mercedes-Sprinter on 05.03.2017 at CS motorhomes and at the end of May "our" vehicle arrived there. Now it's time to expand ....

The Mercedes Sprinter becomes our "Independent" of CS motorhomes

Our Sprinter comes to the workshops of CS motorhomes and the expansion begins

Before we go straight to the chosen equipment and combinations in the interior, we would like to give you some impressions of the first finishing works on the following pictures. In any case, we were extremely impressed with the love of detail and the precision with which the vehicles are upgraded. CS motorhomes is more to be understood as a manufactory, which nevertheless responds strongly to individual customer wishes within the framework of its own model range and standards.

Oh God - our body is sawn up for the additional windows and media openings ...
Okay - that should be our motorhome ... Since you need a lot of imagination 🙂

Before we continue to document the interior design, we want to share the details of our vehicle "Independent" (model of CS motorhomes) in the overview below (total overview / if you are interested in opening the individual points):

Equipment package Independent
We opt for this model of CS-motorhomes, as it contains in contrast to the almost identical "Ronda" some features as standard, which make sense to us. In addition, the model name is program and so brings the "Independent" with something that seems important to us or at least makes sense. For example, the 140 watt solar system is standard equipment and we do not want to miss it after just two tours. Everything about the models and differences you should refer to the homepage of the manufacturer (link at the end of the article)
Additional Hartal Multi 90 lifting and sliding hatch above the bed
We just want to have some more daylight in the vehicle and the placement over the head of the bed is perfect. When else can you watch the starry sky in the north or even the northern lights falling asleep. In addition, we have such a great observation post: Just put off, put to bed and observe the environment or even photograph from this perspective .... Great !!
Gas cooker with 2.8 Kg gas bottle instead of diesel cooker
The "Independent" has designed both the heating and cooking facilities on a diesel basis as standard. This fits in with us in general and works convincingly in the area of ​​heating. However, the calorific value of gas is higher, which is noticeable during cooking. Since we do not want to wait for half an hour for boiling water from the diesel ceramic hob, we at least have our hob converted to gas.
Folding table solid wood (maple)
The table is one of the highlights in the vehicle: Extremely flexible to move and fold from the surface in three parts, so you always have the area that you really need. If necessary, you can also quickly unhook the table from its rail inside the vehicle and fix it in another rail on the kitchen unit outside. That leaves nothing to be desired - perfectly thought out 🙂
Bench 501/85 cm wide (2-seater)
There are many options and we have opted for this variant, so that not always an even larger bench in the narrow passage sticks out, but if necessary we still have four full seats while driving. In addition, this bench can also be moved, fold and thus offers even more storage space underneath. Again, everything seems perfectly solved and thoughtful.
Sine wave inverter 1500 watts with priority circuit
We constantly have a lot of devices to load and operate on free parking spaces (including for this blog). That's why we opted for one of the larger and more powerful versions to have enough power reserves at all times for the 230 Volt power supply. The priority circuit has the advantage that it is automatically detected when we use a 230 volt shore power connection on a parking space and the inverter then shuts off as long as possible.
Lithium battery 2x100 Ah including charge booster
As standard, most motorhomes still use the classic gel batteries for the on-board supply. Only a few upgrades currently offer the option to use the technologically superior lithium batteries. Especially in conjunction with our solar system, but this offers due to the charging and discharging. We are glad to have decided because we are even more independent because of this combination.
Electric entry level Omnistep
In the beginning, we seemed to be superfluous ... In the meantime, we must acknowledge that we can not do without it due to our special ground clearance and the vehicle height that accompanies it. Without this extra step, each entry would have to be compared to a climb 🙂
Gas socket outside
For the right camping feeling: In this way, we have the opportunity, without further effort and stress outside of the vehicle at any time a (further) gas stove or grill to operate, which is infected only at this connection.
Bicycle carrier for two bicycles
Since the professional assembly of a solid support on the rear door is not quite as easy to accomplish (risk of rust at the transition to the body) we have ordered this same with and installed at CS. From our point of view, the system has already worked well and we are happy to have our bikes with us.
Mosquito net for the sliding door
Actually self-explanatory and in our view a "must have". If on a summer's evening at the sea the sliding door should get up a little longer, then you know about the benefits of this mosquito repellent. The version processed by CS also appears very practical and well thought-out (with magnetic closure).
AT tires BF Goodrich 245/75 R 16
To be honest, at first it was really only optical and thus superfluous considerations. In the meantime, however, we have also come to appreciate the practical benefits of these all-season tires with M S rating. The running noise is for the rough profile quite in the frame and on the other driving characteristics, we can only report good things. In addition, we do not have to deal with additional winter tires. The first test in the snow will be in the near future for our AT tires ... 🙂
C-rails for roof rack mounting
These we have ordered only as a precaution, since we assume that we will soon secure something on the roof. From the point of view of resale, it also made sense for us not to dispense with this equipment.
SOG toilet ventilation
Nobody likes thick air, especially not in a camper. That's why we chose this modern ventilation system. At the same time, the use of toilet additives is completely unnecessary with such an electric ventilation system - and this not only protects the wallet, but also the environment.
USB sockets on the bed and at the table
USB sockets we can not have enough. There is always something to load and before you waste unnecessary energy through chargers, we have directly from the electrical system supplied power sockets at the head of the bed and set at the dining table, at any time all devices - even at the same time - to load.
220 volt socket on the kitchen block to the outside
We can only use this socket when the sliding door is open, for example if we sit in front of the vehicle and need power for notebooks or other equipment. A great idea - gladly used 🙂
Additional socket 12 volt in the seating area
This feature is also due to our special requirements for the Nordland blog, since many devices can easily be operated with 12 volts and thus we can bypass the inverter and protect it. So we do not have to first convert the 12 volts from the electrical system with some losses in 230 volts, then to transform them again with the power supplies of the devices down to 12 volts. An application that certainly not every user / owner needs.

In total, we reach a weight of 3150 kilograms including a filled fuel tank, 20 liters of fresh water in the tank and an assumed driver's weight of 75 kilograms - which is at least not enough for Sirko .... 🙂

Now, however, it continues with the expansion:

Now our Independent has already mounted its right tires and interior work can begin after all body work has been completed.
The wiring harnesses are retracted and one does not believe how many meters of cable are laid in such a motorhome.
The blanket is pulled in and with a lot of imagination first contours can be recognized.

Slowly it is clear at this time that we have consciously decided for bright colors in the interior. Our combination does not necessarily seem to be widespread, according to the feedback from Mr Oltmanns (CS motorhomes). However, after we had thought about it in advance and compared some demonstration vehicles and samples, we are still completely convinced of our decision. In any case, we would choose the following combination again :

  • Wood decor: maple with beech strips set down
  • Upholstery: anthracite 187
  • Ceiling Covering: Gray (Light)
  • Floor: chopsticks beech
  • Side cover: gray (light - analogous to the ceiling)
  • Worktop: maple
Meanwhile, our van is recognizable as a motorhome and left in the picture you can already see the walls of the bathroom (shower, toilet and sink)
The shell buildings from the bathroom as well as from the kitchen are already ...
A last view from the outside on the now almost finished expansion. We arrange our appointment for the transfer ....

At the end of July the time has finally come: We are going to Henstedt-Ulzburg to take over our "Independent". From there, we continue immediately on the first maiden voyage - a road trip through Norway. Along the west coast and on our way back through the Dovrefjell, we put our box car through 4,500 kilometers through its paces - and love it a little more every day ... 🙂

Below are some pictures of the finished vehicle ...

Here it is finally ... The big moment - we take our first van in the rooms of CS-motorhomes in Henstedt-Ulzburg
Unser Van / Kastenwagen"Independent" auf Basis des Mercedes Sprinter von innen
On the first tour through Norway - we love him incredibly and we are happy that we have evidently done everything right.
An indescribably great feeling of adventure and freedom - we can now go wherever and whenever we want ...
Meanwhile, he is provided as a "service vehicle" with magnetic signs of our logo

From today's point of view, we have done many things right and would only decide differently in detail (car radio, daytime running lights). In any case, we are looking forward to many kilometers, endless road trips and lots of adventures with our van, from which you can read again soon ....

Further information, a configuration and the price list can be found on the homepage of CS motorhomes.

If you are interested in what we have equipped our van for the first ride, click here:

Continue reading

All images from the production courtesy of CS motorhomes from the documentation for the manufacture of our vehicle

This report reflects our opinion, experiences and beliefs, which have not been affected in any way by additions or benefits of CS motorhomes.

Sprinter is a registered trademark of Daimler Benz AG.

Conny and Sirko

"Yes, we love this country ..." - that's the beginning of the Norwegian national anthem, and yes, we too - Conny Sirko - love this country, its inhabitants, the magnificent scenery, the peace and tranquility that we enjoy there and throughout Scandinavia Find. We've been touring the North more than 20 times - at different times, in many regions and in all variations. The idea for this homepage came to us last year, because then we have the opportunity to write the permanent wanderlust to the north of the soul and hopefully inspire you for it. So: heading north!

27 comments

  • Hello you two.
    First of all a mega applause for your work and travel information.
    The hammer!

    I have a question about your van, how is it isolated? In the pictures, this is not visible and I wonder how well the stands in the north.
    I myself have expanded a T4 Syncro and with Armaflex Isolated. So far top values ​​in the cold regions.

    • Hei Pit,

      Thank you for your extremely nice comment and the ingenious feedback. Tusen takk 🙂
      In fact, there is not much information and we can only tell you that we do not have special or special extra insulation, but use the standard equipment of CS motorhomes. It is based on an isolation of 20 mm X-Trem isolator, with which we have coped well so far. The lowest temperatures were -24 degrees in Norway and everything went well. However, we - like all vans - always have to deal with condensation in the vehicle. But there's no way to do anything except ventilate and heat ...

      We wish you always terrific tours and always good trip.

      Best regards,
      Conny and Sirko

  • Hello Conny and Sirko,
    Great homepage 👍,
    Have fun with the CS.
    I have a used Rondo.
    Without all-wheel conversion. But I am considering if I let him rebuild. I have already equipped it with a Goldschmidt air suspension. The company Iglhaut is with me around the corner. I now have three offers. I do not know exactly what I should decide ????? 1st variant: The complete conversion to permanent four-wheel drive with vehicle height increase and reduction gearbox and off-road tires and spare wheel at the rear and underrun protection and speedometer adjustment, snorkel and and and so the full program costs about 40,000, - € open at the top ... 😅
    2nd variant: everything as described above but only without four-wheel drive but with Iglhaut Hinterachssperre, that's what it takes because of the big off-road tires. Since then we are at only barely 20,000, - € optically a igloo all-wheel, but a mogelkist 😁
    3rd variant: only the rear axle of Iglhaut, 100% lock, speedometer alignment and you 265er Offroad AT Bfgoodrich tires, TÜV Since we are just under 10,000, - €
    With the lock the huge tires you can get out of a wet meadow in any case. Optionally, another winch and you can sometimes wind yourself out 😂
    Of course I have to make the decision myself ...
    Question to you Nord-Land specialists: how often do you have the Mercedes Werksallrad the only switchable is already needed in your travels?
    Would variant 3 be enough?
    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Greetings from the Spessart Christian Scherg 😀

    • Hei Christian,

      Thank you for your nice as well as detailed comment and thus at the same time for the interesting thoughts that you share here with our readers. In fact, all thoughts are well understood and in the run-up to such a decision also legitimate. First of all, a big "Sorry" for our delayed response. But we are currently traveling in the north and right now there is a lot to do as we had to finish our new wall calendar "Norway 2020". But now we can and would like to share our thoughts with you.

      In the end, of course, it always depends on what you're up to. From our point of view and experience after 60,000 kilometers and the trips to Iceland as well as Norway, we can advise to the last variant. Especially on the current tour, which was very rainy this time, we had quite extreme situations on remote parking lots. Muddy slopes, rutted meadows and much more ... In any case, we have come with our all-wheel well and he has done in the factory variant good service. Even more important to us was always the quality of the tires, which we could almost always rely on. Even through the snowdrifts in winter, they have served well. Therefore, we would choose our combination for our purpose, so Northern Europe in all seasons and also like to get away from the paved roads, so again and again. And in Iceland, we have seen again and experienced that the really really hard as well as extreme passages with a Rondo or Independet anyway can not be realized with a clear conscience. That's something for the pickup group ...

      We sincerely hope that we could help you a bit with our thoughts in the decision-making process. We are very glad to be able to exchange further and intensively. In any case, we would always invest the saved budget in the next good and long trip - because the experiences are priceless and unforgettable 😉 🙂

      Greetings, currently from Finland,

      Conny and Sirko

  • ... sorry, one more question: why did not you decide for the reduction gear? VG Kai

    • Hello Kai,

      good question and yet hard to answer: Let's just say - at some point was the end of the surcharge list, the fears regarding the total weight of the vehicle increased and we just saw no real need for it. After 50,000 kilometers in the north and in all seasons, we can also say that it was probably okay, because at least until today we have not missed it or needed it.
      Best regards,
      Conny and Sirko

  • Hello Conny and Sirko,
    great homepage with great tips - thank you very much.
    At the end of next week we are going to Norway for the first time and are looking forward to it!
    On the way back it goes right past CS motorhomes - the Independent is in the absolute closer selection (actually there is nothing comparable 🙂). Great that you have such good experiences with the product and share with us!
    We wish you much fun on the way and send the best regards from the Baden!
    Sabine and Kai

    • Hello you two,

      Thank you for the nice feedback and the nice comment. Wir freuen uns, dass ihr unsere Begeisterung für unseren „Independent“ nachvollziehen könnt und das Gute daran ist – wir würden uns heute nicht anders entscheiden. Lediglich bei der Ausstattung bzw. dem Zubehör würden wir einige Dinge mit der heutigen Erfahrung anders bestellen. Aber das wird wohl immer so sein… Ein guter Bekannter hat sich damals aus Kostengründen für eine ähnliche Variante von Hymer entschieden, inzwischen aber im direkten Vergleich unserer Fahrzeuge nach knapp zwei Jahren eingeräumt, dass er das nächste Mal doch lieber einen „Independent“ holen wird, da die Unterschiede in der Verarbeitung nunmehr doch offensichtlich und teilweise gravierend sind… Also insofern könnt ihr sehr wahrscheinlich nicht viel falsch machen. Wie auch immer, wir wünschen euch einen erfolgreichen und entspannten Prozess der Auswahl und Anschaffung sowie jederzeit tolle Reisen und gute Fahrt. Vielleicht sieht man sich ja einmal im Norden von Europa.
      Bis dahin liebe Grüße,
      Conny and Sirko

  • Hi Ihr Beiden, tolle Seite, tolles Auto, tolles Team! Wir stecken uns auch gerade mit dem Kastenwagenvirus an und sind über den CS Independent auf Eure Seite gekommen. Nur, a) die Kosten sind schon enorm (für uns), müssen gut überlegt sein, und b) haben wir zwei Kids, sind allerdings zu Platzkompromissen bereit, da wir kein größeres Reisemobil, gar Wohnmobil wollen. Beim Grand Canyon S gibt es ein Dachklappzelt für die Kids. Der CS hat eine Klappbank. Or? Habt ihr dazu vielleicht ein Bild? Finde online nichts. Reicht die Größe für Campingerprobte Kids? Danke Euch.