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When considering purchasing either a Mercedes-Benz V-Class or Sprinter, there are several components that you need to consider in order to ensure that you get the car you want with the interior you need. To help we have broken down what you need to consider when making your purchase:
1. Secondary Chassis Plate Number – Ensure the vehicle has a secondary chassis plate which is clearly defined highlighting who has modified the vehicle and the ‘E’ serial number of their approval. Typically the serial number can be found next to the original chassis plate which is commonly found under the bonnet or inside one of the front doors.
2. Weight – The vehicle cannot be overweight. It is not possible to upgrade the interior of any vehicle without adding weight and each vehicle has a maximum gross weight set by its manufacturer. If this limit is exceeded, your insurance, as well as your warranty, will be considered null and void, as it is never considered safe to operate an overweight vehicle. Therefore to comply, you must deduct 75kg from the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) for each seating position within the vehicle to work out the net vehicle weight without passengers. To help we have created a couple of examples:
– A converted V-Class with a GVW of 3100 Kgs should weigh no more than 2650 Kgs with 6 seating positions (6 times 75kg is 450kg).
– A 3500Kg Sprinter with 8 seats should weigh no more than 2900Kg without passengers (8 times 75kg is 600kg).
3. Driver’s Partition – If the vehicle you are interested in has a Driver’s Partition, the maximum size of the TV is restricted by Mercedes-Benz’s requirement to pass an ISO load Partition Test. This is designed to protect the Driver and Co-Driver in the event of an accident. As such the TV aperture cannot exceed a screen size larger than 22”, otherwise the vehicle will not pass this test.
3.1 Driver’s Space – it is imperative the Driver has the ability to fully adjust their seat to optimise their driving position as well as for comfort.
4. Seats – If a seat or seats have been upgraded you will want to see proof that they have passed a “Pull Test” in the vehicle to European M1 Passenger Car Status. This ensures that the seat, seatbelt, and seat base fixings are strong enough to be able to withstand a crash.
5. Headrests – there is a legal requirement for a headrest to have a minimum height of 800mm from the base of the seat to the centre of the headrest. Anything below the minimum requirement is instantly considered illegal.
6. Electrical Upgrades – If a vehicle has electrical modifications the entire vehicle should be re-submitted for EMC Test. This ensures that the installation will not affect the correct operation of the vehicle’s systems, especially those concerning its safety features, such as; ABS, traction control, acceleration, brakes, etc.
7. Crumple Zones – When upgrading a vehicle, it is important to ensure that no equipment is placed between the inner and outer “skin” of the vehicle. Manufacturers spend a considerable amount of time and effort testing the vehicles, ensuring that vehicles are safe from in the event of an impact and space clearly given with this in mind. Installing additional equipment in these areas disrupts the integrity of the vehicle’s ability to protect the occupants in an accident. This practice is absolutely prohibited!
8. Approvals – If the converter you are considering claims they are ‘Approved’ check with the manufacturer.
9. Warranty– If a potential converter claims that the manufacturer’s warranty remains unaffected by their conversion, we would advise that you check with the manufacturer first.
10. Registering your vehicle – There are three ways for a modified vehicle to be registered in the UK:
1. Complete the conversion after the vehicle has been registered which avoids the legalities of Electrical Test, Crash Test, and any other form of safety inspection.
2., IVA (Individual Vehicle Approval) which does not conduct any physical testing of the various modifications to the vehicle. It is a visual inspection. This should not be confused with Type Approval.
3. European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval which is the route all major manufacturers take. It ensures that every modification to the vehicle is comprehensively regulated and tested to ensure the safety of the Driver and Passengers.
Here at Bortram, we take all vehicles through option 3 only, as this is the best and most comprehensive solution, furthermore, this is also the common route taken by the manufacturer.