General Notes

  • Please refer to your owner’s manual for bottle jack location and function
  • This blog post demonstrates the functionality of the OEM bottle jack on a 2015 NCV3 4x4 Sprinter with the Van Compass 2” Striker Lift kit and 35” tires.


The point of this blog post is to show how to safely use the OEM bottle jack equipped with the NCV3 / VS30 Sprinter van platforms.  We often get a lot of inquiries and questions from our customers regarding what kind of jack they should buy to lift their vehicle up should they need to perform a tire change while out exploring off the grid.  Hi-lift?  Air Jack?  Floor jack?  Scissor Jack?  The simple answer we tell them is none of those are necessary as the factory bottle jack is actually a quality jack that is more than capable of safely lifting the vehicle.    

We are not going to show you how the jack works.  For that, refer to your owner’s manual or to the image instructions printed on the bottle jack itself.  This is simply meant to be a guide on the bottle jack’s use and what we at Van Compass do to change a flat on our vehicles outfitted for backcountry travel.   

The Mercedes sprinter actually has built in jacking points on the chassis designed to take the load from the bottle jack so it can be lifted safely.  The rear jacking saddles can be seen in the image below.

Front jacking saddles are similarly shaped and are located just forward of the front mounting bolt of the suspension sub-frame.

However, once a van is fitted with larger tires and a lift kit, those jacking points are often too high for the factory bottle jack to reach.  Furthermore, if it does reach, the jack tends to be at it’s upper limit of safe use which makes it a bit more unstable.  So here’s what you can do to safely lift your Sprinter with the OEM bottle jack should you need to change a tire out on the trail.

The rear is very simple and straight forward.  Position the bottle jack under the axle, outboard of the lower shock mount and directly under the leaf spring perch.  This is the perfect position to safely raise one side of the vehicle to perform a tire change.  Directly under the leaf spring perch is exactly where the weight of the chassis is carried on the rear axle. 

Lifting the front of the van can be a bit more of a challenge, but is still very doable with the factory bottle jack.  There are actually a couple of good locations to lift the vehicle from.  If you have a Van Compass skidplate system you can position it under the skidplate, directly between the countersunk center mounting holes.  However we do suggest using a piece of wood between the skidplate and bottle jack as to not deform the skidplate slightly. 

Van Compass Skid Plate

Another front lifting option is the large vertical mounting bolt for the lower spring plate.  We tend to use this method more as it lifts one side at a time as opposed to the entire front of the vehicle at once.  Center the jack under the large bolt denoted below.

This mounting bolt is loaded directly into the strongest part of the suspension subframe where the lower control arm attaches.  Again, use this point to lift the vehicle just to the point of getting the front tire off the ground.

Now for more stability and height when on un-even terrain or soft soil, a very simple upgrade to make the OEM bottle jack work even better is to purchase a Hi-Lift jack base:

With just a slight modification, the jack will fit great in the hi-lift base and provide for a much more stable platform in the dirt. 

Hopefully this helps people venture of the grid with a bit more confidence.  Save the money you were going to spend on a new jack and use it to go buy some diesel.  Get out there and have fun exploring with your Sprinter van, we’ll see you out there. 

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