Thinking of buying a W639 Vito, advice on engine versions and Auto vs Manual?

dunkuk2

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Hello,
It's been a while since I owned a MB, had a fantastic W201 190e and then a W203 which the ownership experience made me say I'll never buy another MB!
Anyway I want to buy a van as a car replacement and part time camper and was looking at the Renault Trafic / Vauxhall Vivaro but one car yard had a 2013 Vito next to a Trafic and it seemed much better built and it was cheaper so it seems I will be moving back to MB. Also the MB community dare I say it seems a bit more helpful / practical than with the Renault / Vauxhall and even VW brands.

I'm wondering if it has the same 2.1d engine that I had problems with in the W203, I had the black death injector leak and I had to get a injector clamp thread helicoiled. At the time it seemed like a nightmare but seeing how modern engines have got more complex since then it was not that bad as I was able to fit a new injector myself and although not cheap it was nothing like the repair costs I hear about on 1.6 Trafic which seems to need the engine to come out to replace parts on it. (I know the same 1.6 was fitted to later Vitos, my gut feeling is the 1.6 is a bad idea). It would be nice to know if the black death was fixed and if so what year? I'm thinking I could replace the copper seals though and that would prevent the black death from happening?

Secondly I see there are different power outputs of the 2.1 diesel, the ones I am looking at are 130hp and 150hp and I think there is a 160hp version too, of these is there one I should avoid or are they all similar in terms of reliability?

Is it fair to say the V6 is a "luxury" engine and is not inherently better other than in terms of power / sound and smoothness, and will use a lot more fuel?

Then there's the issue of whether I should hold out and try and find an automatic, the W201 had a manual gearbox and it was not great, the W203 had a nice auto gearbox, it used to be that MB's were better with autos and on the W203 I used to average 37mpg and get I think about 50mpg on a run so I think it had a lock up torque converter, does the W639 auto also have a lock up torque converter and is the MPG the same as the manual on a run? I don't care too much about local driving MPG but I do long runs over to Europe so decent motorway MPG would be good.

There's a really nice Vito local to me that has low mileage, all the toys, has been looked after is a nice colour and is within budget (£7000), but it's a manual, auto Vitos seem much more rare so I might have to spend a month or 2 waiting to find a good one, whereas a manual is much easier to find (I could one now basically).

A few questions muddled together here but it would be nice to have some input as its easy to lose objectivity on my own.
 

M80

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2014 639 Viano- 651, 5sp Auto. 2009 S211- 646, 5sp Auto.
The 1.6 was later than the 639, in the 447. It's Renault engine, personally I wouldn't.

The Vito came in various power outputs of the 2.1 engines. They also had differing diffs. The diff differences were basically foe a Vito to be a round towner, or a longer distance (sort of) cruiser. The 111,& 113 would be better suited to stop start motoring. The 115 would be better on the motorway.

The 2.1 engine went from the more robust 646 variant, to the more technical and fussy 651 in 2010. The 651 can turn out 163bhp. Both have single turbo's. The 651 will have a DPF, the earlier 646 is less likely to have it.

The 651 gives a road tax advantage. Personally I haven't enjoyed any fuel advantage.
The 642 V6 3 litre is clearly more powerful, even smoother and more quiet, but will use around 20% more fuel.

My personal view is that the 639 isn't as well made as, most certainly the E class, and even the C class is better made. They become very attention hungry with growing mileage.

For me it's auto every time. Of my 4x 639's all were auto.

You were just unlucky with your black death experience. Some get it, some don't. A good repair needn't cost a lot. It doesn't always cause the threads to strip. As far as I see the design to clamp down a copper washer hasn't changed to improve reliability.
I also believe it to be the most common method by other manufacturers.
 
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dunkuk2

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Thanks for that info.

I had not though about difs, I once had a vehicle with an Urban dif and it was a pain on the motorway.

OK so I understand now that the engine changed in 2010 to the Euro 5 version which like most car makes seems to have made the engines more complicated and less robust. Also twin turbo I think? It does seem the 2010 onward may be slightly less likely to rust, and of course 2010 is getting quite old now so it's a balance of less robust engine vs less rust.

You have re-inforced my idea about getting an auto. I think I will hold off and try and find an auto, I would prefer it as I missed my auto (I went to an old Honda Accord auto after the W203 which was excellent, much like a 1980s MB, then a 2008 Civic which which is very reliable and well made but is a manual as they made a crappy automated manual until 2011, changing gear all the time feels like a backwards step).

It sounds like I should not worry too much about the exact age as 2009 2010 versions do have some advantages and go on condition, I think a lot of cities in Europe only need Euro 4 or less to go into so I will check that, I probably don't want to be going into cities anyway, theres are some though where the ring-road goes into the LEZ so I will do a bit of research into that and see it its an issue or not.

I will take the V6 off the list too, the MPG will suffer too much, also it will be heavier.
 

curious

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Only the Vito left! W639/1 OM646
I've a 2007 W639 109, mapped from 95 to 145hp. These OM646 engines map really well. (Might work out cheaper to buy lesser powered and get it mapped.)
The only difference from the factory is the gearing in the rear differentials which are different depending on horsepower.

The OM646 is Euro 4, the OM651 were generally Euro 5 (with a DPF). There's no real advantage with Euro 5 over Euro 4 since it'd need to be Euro 6 to avoid ULEZ.

The OM646 has a duplex cam chain (at the front of the engine), whereas the OM651 has a simplex chain (at the rear of the engine). There have been instances of the OM651 chain stretching and causing problems.

Do check the year and Vehicle Excise Duty since there are some weird rates depending on which years.
Also check the classification for VED and maximum legal speeds. In short M1 = car speeds, N1 = van speeds (10mph less on open road, dual carriageway).

Mine's a manual gearbox which isn't great. You won't get fast changes with it. (It's nothing like as good as a Ford manual box.) Once you get used to it and accept your not going to go racing with it, it's fine.
 
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dunkuk2

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Thanks for that, seems another vote for the older engine. Looking as adverts for them the ones from 2007 - 2010 do not look rusty. They are a bit cheaper too than the newer ones. My 190e had a duplex chain and I thought that was a great idea.

I looked up Berlin as an example and they need Euro4 and that is only inside the ring road. I think Euro 4 will be fine for my use. My current car is London ULEZ compliant but as I've got older I have grown to hate driving into London. It's only £12 a day even if I do want to go in.

I think I will try and get an Auto, I know I regretted getting a manual car and the stress reduction is good especially driving in places I'm not familiar with. I think the MPG might only be 25mpg around town but I'm hoping for 35 or so on a run. I'm fairly sure all the MB autos have a lock up in top gear so should be similar to a manual for MPG when cruising.

I will put up with the lower van speed limits as the tax is a little bit lower on the N1.

I will bear in mind the remap too, seems most Autos are 115 models though so should be ok. They also seem to be just under 3000kg max weight so I can use a normal MOT station, over 3t and its got to be a class 7 MOT.

The replies have been very helpful, as I can probably get a nicer pre-2010 model for the same money as a 2010 onward.
 

M80

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Having a seat in the back entitles you to drive at car speeds. The N1, M1 doesn't have relevance. But N1 does come with very cheap tax for 'very' specific dates.

If you do a VIN decode it will specify the diff fitted. 35:1, ratio 3.182 is what you would want.
All 2.1 Viano's came with that diff, and other pretty bits.

I've been told the auto will lock up in all gears??

A nice steady 60mph will return over 40mpg.

Normal MOT on all of 'em.

A far prefer the om646 for it's robustness, but it comes with higher tax, unless you get the specific aged N1, as said.

Be aware a remap will likely have insurance considerations.
I often see cars pumping smoke on acceleration, and smelling, and assume they've had a poor over fuelling remap.

I reckon 639's (and not only) come as a future project. All mine have.
 
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dunkuk2

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Thanks,

The ones that are coming up around £7000 with a mileage of about 150,000 are mostly the Dualiner 115 which seems a van with back seats, the Viano seems to be closer to £9000 unless a massive mileage eg 300,000. I'd rather not spend more than £7000.

Road tax for a van is from memory is about £340 and for the car versions its about £425.

MOT for the van class would be class 4 for less than 3000kg and class 7 for 3000+kg. I know this as had a heavy vehicle before, might be different for a VIano though as its technically a car.

It will be a camper which is a grey area these days, I have a vehicle a few years back where I changed the status with the DVLA to "Motorcaravan" and therefore got cheaper insurance and could do 60mph on single carriageways. The DVLA is now refusing to register conversions, something to do with expensive campervans being bought new as vans by the converters, which avoided new car tax, and then being converted.

I think legally the vehicle is whatever it is set up for at that instant, eg bed in the back its a camper, seats in the back its a multi purpose vehicle, seats taken out its a light goods. However the speed cameras have no way of looking in the back. I know when I was converting the last one I got it MOTd as a campervan even though it was not registered as one. Apparently insurance companies will now insure as a camper even if it doesn't say its a motorcaravan on the V5 as its impossible to change the type with the DVLA. Its a bit of a mess!

Lock up in all gears makes sense, I found a post about the gearbox "jolting" as it locks up.
60mph and 40mpg would be great.

I'm not sure how to do the VIN decode, will have a look into that.
 
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dunkuk2

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I just spoke to Adrian Flux, they confirmed some insurers will insurance a converted van as a motorcaravan even if the V5 says PLG so thats good, I did not actually get a quote to confirm though, I'd have to use a reg number off an advert to do that.
 

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Only the Vito left! W639/1 OM646
Here are the current van VED rates. As M80 stated there are some very specific dates.
(Mine's a 2007 Euro 4 so currently £320 despite being in between the cheaper rates for Euro 4 & 5)

1714494453859.png
 

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I wouldn't buy a Vivaro.
I purchased one after selling my first Vito and they are so underpowered its a joke.
I have since sold and bought a Brabus Vito.
 
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dunkuk2

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Interesting about the lower tax rates for specific years, I'm not too fussed as long as its not one of the high tax "car" Vitos eg over £400.

Thanks for the VIN decoder.

Also thanks about the Vivaro info, I've decided they are a bit bulky too (wide and tall) as well as having a small engine. The Vito when I measured it was only about 3cm different in width and height inside (although the Vito does slope down towards the rear) and the load length was actually longer in the Vito even though its a bit smaller on the outside. The Vito is only 1.9m high whereas the Vivaro is almost exactly 2m. This means I can get a solar panel on the Vito and still go through 2m barriers.

It seems the Autos are quite hard to find in good condition within my budget, its hard to know whether to wait or just go far a manual. I want to get on with converting it before the summer comes, saying that this is the 1st week of searching as I spend weeks looking at Transits and Trafics. I need more patience..
 

M80

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2014 639 Viano- 651, 5sp Auto. 2009 S211- 646, 5sp Auto.
Many Traveliners and Vianos were a taxi in a previous life, with clocked mileage.
It can take careful interrogation to suss that.
 
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dunkuk2

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Yes I think you are right, there are tons of well specced worn out looking vans, some are honest with the mileage, eg 300,000 even 400,000 but there are others that seem suspect.

There are lots of autos with the V6 engine, a lot of them are black or dark paint (taxi coloured) which is bad for a camper that will go to sunny places.

Working out the fuel costs for 10k miles a year:
29mpg £2145 (best guess V6)
35mpg £1778 (best guess 2.1)
Difference = £367

Not a massive difference.

However 90% seem to be taxis and have a high spec, I would be ripping out everything behind the drivers seat, eg rear air con, dvd players, seats on rails, I would be paying for a well spec'd van in worse condition and removing half the stuff out of it, which makes resale tricky and seems a bit wrong really.The V6 has other disadvantages though the tax, insurance, I think the V6 Dualiner might be over 3000kg so class 7 MOT which I want to avoid.

Conclusions so far.

2.1 engined vans cheaper than V6 as lower spec models and not registered as a car, better mpg.
Early 2.1 115 engine has bearing issues, weak oil pump, duplex chain.
Later 2.1 engine has bigger bearings, rear facing engine, chain at back, hard to get at, single chain but ancillaries are gear driven so less load on the chain. Tensioners go which can appear to be a "stretched" chain. Have DPFs etc. Harder to work on.
Post 2010 seem to be less rusty.
Automatic 2.1s are rare
V6 Models tend to be Taxis, a lot are dark colours not suitable for a campervan.
More basic vans are cheaper and therefore a good condition one is in my budget.
I could remap a 111 to be a 115, but I need to check the dif / put up with high revs at speed.
Finding one that is the perfect spec will take a while.

Revenue weight of a Dualiner 116 Auto 2013 is 3050kg so class 7 MOT.
Revnue weight of a basic white van 116 Manual 2012 is 2800kg class 4 MOT.

Option paralysis is creeping in! This was not an issue with the Trafic, it had one engine, and only a manual gearbox. Maybe I need to go back to basics..
 
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M80

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2014 639 Viano- 651, 5sp Auto. 2009 S211- 646, 5sp Auto.
My Viano is max gross weight 3,050Kg, normal MoT.
Kerb weight 2191Kg.
It is an extra long.

You might be confused even more when thinking about compact, long and ex long possibilities.
 
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dunkuk2

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Yes, the thing is the Vianos are more expensive than the Vitos, I will double check the prices though. I think I'd be paying more for all the nice bits in the back only to take them all out and sell them or thrown them away.
 
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dunkuk2

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51aa18538dc04e1780e280c26289d177.jpg

This one for example is perfect but has a manual gearbox, 2013 113, 99,000miles £7000, 2800kg revenue weight. Its the mid length one which is what I want.
 
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dunkuk2

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5ec6828a512d48e39acd708d443a35b0.jpg

Similar age Viano, 2014, 136,000 miles so more miles £11,000
 
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dunkuk2

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Tax is a bit more on the Viano too at £415, it can do car speeds though and its an auto gearbox, but its £11,000 vs £7,000. That's quite a difference just to get an auto gearbox and be able to drive a bit faster. The alternative is a £7000 Viano but they are a bit worn out looking.
 
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dunkuk2

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d607c1b2f40f443ab911787ef0a688e3.jpg 8485e9559da44881a2b267f4853afbd4.jpg

This is a £7000 Viano, its nice but its a 2006 so 7 years older. My gut feeling is a newer one with a manual would be a more sensible choice.
 


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