Posted by Cody Patton


    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: https://hi-lift.com/accessories/off-road-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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    Posted by Mark Hesser

    Suspension offerings for the 4x4 Sprinter by Van Compass. 

    Van Compass Sprinter 4x4 suspension upgrades

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    Posted by Mark Hesser

    Take advantage of the empty space above the overhead console of your Ford Transit.  This bolt in overhead shelf installs easily using the original bolt locations securing the overhead console to the vehicle.  Constructed of strong, lightweight, 1/8” thick 5052 Aluminum, this shelf weighs just 15 lbs and provides an abundance of additional storage. 

    The rear lip on the shelf not only prevents goods from sliding off the back of shelf, but is also a great place to secure L-track for even more versatility. 

    2 small holes need to be drilled in the headliner for rear support tabs to be installed.  All hardware is included.  Product ships as a raw aluminum piece, install as is or paint / powder coat the color of your choice to match the interior of your vehicle for a truly custom touch.  Click below for detailed instructions on how to add this versatile shelf to your Ford Transit. 

    * We recommend storing lighter items like clothes or gear packs keeping the weight limit to 50lbs

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  • Van Compass universal van kitchen galley

    Posted by Mark Hesser


    Convert your adventure van with components that will go the distance.  Bolt in this lightweight, robust kitchen galley from Van Compass.  Available in either 57” or 44” widths, this modular galley is manufactured from US made 5052 Aluminum and bolts together in about an hour with simple hand tools.  Using a symmetric design around the Indel / Truckfridge 130 allows for the fridge to be placed on either side of the galley and opens up a plethora of floor plan configurations.  Cut the counter top yourself to fit the sink / cooktop combo desired to quickly complete a custom galley installation without the hassle of having to build an entire unit from scratch. 

    Stainless steel hardware is included along with detailed assembly instructions which can be viewed here on this webpage.  The 57” wide galley weighs in at just 100 lbs without the fridge.  Each galley also includes a “Fridge delete panel” which bolts in place on the galley for customers desiring to use a different style fridge elsewhere in the vehicle.  Finish off the top of the galley with any sort of wood / Formica / plastic material or just leave the bare aluminum top to give the galley a truly personalized, custom touch matched to your van’s interior.  

    This is a DIY galley and is up to the installer on how / where to install in the vehicle.  Van Compass strongly suggests through bolting the galley into the vehicle’s floor or securing it to properly fastened L-tracking in the vehicle.  Refrigerator, wood counter top, and sink / cooktop are not included.   See images below on finished galleys for ideas on cooktop / sink placement.  Detailed dimension drawings below can be used for reference in determining which galley will work best for you.  Van Further with VC Hardware. 

    Product dimensions: L x W x H

    44" x 20" x 34"  - $1500

    57" x 20" x 34"  - $1700





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  • Mercedes Sprinter rear differential skid plate

    Posted by Mark Hesser

     Add protection and peace of mind while exploring in the back country with the Van Compass rear differential skid plate.  Loss of gear oil due to a cracked housing or leaking cover can be catastrophic to the rear differential.  This skid plate protects the driveshaft u-joints, cast iron differential center section and lower portion of the thin sheet metal differential cover.  Constructed from 3/16" steel and powder coated for corrosion resistance to provide a strong, smooth surface to slide over obstacles on the trail. The skid system bolts on in minutes with simple hand tools.  Detailed instructions and all necessary hardware is included. Gear oil changes can still easily be performed without skid plate removal. 




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