Daily Sprinter Life…The Van Is Home!

Remember a couple weeks ago when we took the Sprinter to the dealership to have some work done… yeah, that was a great idea…  (remember here)

I probably should have know better. A friend of mine here in Huanchaco pretty much summed up getting ANYTHING done in Peru…

“Sure, you take something to get fixed, but the problem is when they fix one thing, they break another, then you take it to get fixed and they break another thing… and that is how Peru is… you see”

Yeah, I suppose that is pretty much true. First a routine oil change turned into a major system wide battery failure. Guess the mechanic couldn’t resist the Sprinter Life alpine system and just had to hear the bass. Then he forgot to turn it off, of course not realizing that this wasn’t a regular stock system.

See, our battery van looks like this…

All those black hoses are NOT stock. They run to two separate batteries located under the vehicle. The entire system is charged by a solar panel, which of course doesn’t work when the van is parked INSIDE a dealership. Result… system wide failure. Since nobody actually admitted what happened, it took a day just to trouble shoot the problem. Then it was determined we needed to drop the house batteries and recharge them.

Then the Peru golden rule kicked in, againfix one thing, break another. In taking the batteries down they somehow managed to strip and rip the bolt from the frame of the van. After ruling out welding due to the location of the propane we decided to try some peruvian puddy.

At this point the project had now consumed about a week of my time.

Finally we got everything finished. I paid the bill and drove off. About a block later the van stopped. I guess the guy who changed the oil decided to disconnect the radiator hose.     ?????????     Wow.

I think our friend Matt Meistrell said it best in our recent post about going to the dentist here in Peru… (remember here)… when he said…

“I hope u wake up with all your organs :) “

Yeah, thanks Matt. Well said.

Anyway, we finally got out of there alive and the van is back home, safe and sound. On the up-side, they did amazing body work. All the rust is gone and the van looks brand new.

Thanks for the wonderful time Mecedes Dealership Peru. I won’t forget you.




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  1. Ådam Thomas says:

    living vicariously through you two. Thanks for all the pics & updates!

  2. Couldn’t you have emptied the propane tank and then welded? Just saying, not sure i would trust Peruvian putty to South America roads

  3. Andria Davis says:

    Oh yeah! We know all about van repairs in odd places. I’m glad Leland and I aren’t the only ones who’ve experienced the craziness!

  4. It’s not just Peru. I’m sure you’ve noticed that anywhere in Latin America, people just won’t say “no”. They will ALWAYS say they can do job, whether they can do it or not. The result? Flip a coin. All part of the fun, I suppose.

    • Yeah, my general rule is never leave the vehicle while they work on it. But this time they were doing body work that was gonna take a week, and that is where things went wrong. Another hose popped of today. I’m gonna have to take it back in tomorrow to have a bracket remounted. Joy.

  5. Jason said it best up there. Next time you need service there is a good Swiss expat mechanic living in La Paz. He speaks excellent English and is experienced with fixing up “overland” rigs.

    • good to know bro. We’ve heard about him. Maybe through you guys. not sure. When are you heading back to the USA? Do you have a “last day” yet?

      • The Beast gets new owners on 3/14 and we touch down on American soil 3/28. I cannot believe it’s here. I’ve already landed a job (temporary ranch work) and start work on 4/9!!!

        • damn bro, we’ll miss your posts and we’ll miss knowing you are down here. Good luck with everything. Keep us posted on your next adventure bud.

  6. Why do the mechanics wear hard hats? carry a roll of duct tape.

  7. Lorraine Chittock says:

    Aww, going to mechanics (and I went to my share) was some of the highlights of my travels! Always an adventure after that initial uh-oh..! I see Mango is hanging out with the vehicle. Guarding it, right?

  8. Dave Adair says:

    I’m feeling your pain, for sure. I just cross my fingers and hope when something needs work on my van(s). Keep throwing money at it – eventually it will get fixed!

  9. Steve Cox says:

    South America, North America or here in Las Vegas. I don’t think a geographic location really even factors in. I hate not being able to fix something myself. I think we all get that churning feeling in our gut when we wait for the finish product or bill from a Auto shop. I just assume I am going to get ripped off or have something break do to the repair of something else……. I feel you, Bro…..

  10. Hey Tree,
    Gee, I like their uniforms and bright yellow hard hats! Glad to hear that ordeal is over with.
    I recently noticed a high pitch whine while driving my Sprinter. Have you had any experience with that?


  11. Anonymous says:

    @Rich – no such thing as an empty flammable tank, unless you refill it with water or an inert gas (retired paint guy).
    “Fix one thing, break another”, well, at least they fixed the one thing !! *grins*


  12. Anonymous says:

    MANGO???!!!XXXX I will refrain due to the fact the internet sarcasm is rarely taken well.

    ‘I’m pretty sure you got your hand stuck trying to use that wrenchy thingy and the guy in the smurf suit is applying a generous serving of butter to remove the said hand from the axel nut cavity. What did I tell you about that tool box? Under the supervision of Stevie only. Be careful out there.


  13. Hola vivo en Las Palmeras ahora y he visto tu carro aca! Cuidate!

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