When I start gathering information for a project I sometimes can’t stop myself.
One bit of information leads to another and I often find I have more information I ever dreamed was available. Call it the retired professor syndrome, perhaps, but in any case here are the results of my extensive research which began as a need to mount my GoPro camera securely inside my 2012 Unity IB from Leisure Travel Vans.
As my search progressed I found fascinating solutions for mounting an array of electronic devices including cell phones, GPS monitors, tablets, TPMS monitors, MP3 players, and even modest-sized notebook computers, for a variety of locations. There are numerous types of mounts available through various websites, some of which I have included in the descriptions.
- Suction Cup Mounts: mount to a door window or the windshield with a suction cup
- Cup Holder Mounts: mount in any cup holder – either side of the windshield in a Sprinter
- Clip Mounts: clip into vents or other joints in the dash
- Pedestal Mounts: screw to any flat surface and secure devices with a variety of attachments
- Windshield Mounts: use a bracket that slides onto the button on the windshield where the rear view mirror attaches, or uses a bracket that mounts directly to the rear view mirror
Suction Cup Mounts
Suction cup mounts mount to the windshield or to a door window. They generally stay on well though, through my experience, they are probably the least secure of the mounts i’ll discuss here. The most common type vary widely in price: from $5 to $40.
Most brands have 360 degree adjustability to adjust the head for the optimal viewing angle. Cell phones, GPS monitors, and TPMS monitors often come with this type of mount.
GoPro has a universal suction cup mount that attaches to any smooth surface such as paint or glass. I have seen these mounted externally on the top of cars, windshields, or even attached to headlights.
RamMounts, with a wide variety of high quality custom mounting systems, offer a suction cup mount and components to attachment most kinds of electronic devices. Using either their ball or double ball mount gives almost unlimited adjustability.
Custom installations usually offer better functional performance and aesthetics than universal mounts, so I began searching for mounts made specifically for Sprinters. I wanted to position my GoPro high in the middle of the windshield for optimal view down the road where it would be inside and safe (I could just imagine a suction cup failing while driving down the road). Since camera control is by a remote device, location isn’t an issue. This quest led to good bit of web surfing for systems and options.
Cup Holder Mounts
Recently I was in my Sprinter dealer’s customer service waiting area and I spent some time browsing through the accessories on display in their parts department. One interesting item I found was the Macally mCup Adjustable Automobile Cup Holder Mount (macally.com and search for “cup holder”). This device sits in cup holders and, in the Sprinter, would fit in the cup holders on either side of the Sprinter’s dash. The mCup fits most cell phones, GPS devices, and similar sized gadgets. The head of the mount slides to snuggly fit the sides of the device it’s holding. It is priced between $15 to $20 on Amazon.com, and appears quite sturdy.
I came across two sources for mounts that clip securely to seams in the Sprinter dashboard and allow for mounting a variety of devices in locations that may be convenient for viewing by the driver or passenger. ProClip (proclipusa.com) has mounting devices for three locations in Sprinters.
The Left Mount mounts at the top of the vent on the left of the instrument cluster. The Center Mount mounts on the vent on the side of the center console. A Heavy Duty version of the Center Mount with an extra strength mounting platform for heavier devices is also available. The Angled Mount attaches to the side of the center console with the mounting plate angled towards the driver. However, it does not fit on Sprinters with a glove box above the radio.
ProClip systems start at $30. All four mounts were the same price, at the time of my search. Beyond the clip, you will need to select from an extensive collection of custom brackets designed for specific devices. For phones, mounting plates with swivels are about $35 and, for an adjustable holder: $40. One model has a charging holder with a cigarette lighter adapter – $60; another has a charging holder with tilt swivel and straight power cord for fixed, hard-wired installations for $90.
PanaVise (panavise.com) makes a Custom Dash Mount that clips to both the left and right vents in a Sprinter console or to the cubby beneath the radio on some Sprinters. The mounting plate has numerous AMPS-compatible mounting holes for various devices that have screw mounts. Although their website is somewhat less than user friendly, they offer a full range of mounting accessories to fit devices with these hole patterns. If you like the mount, it shouldn’t be difficult to use double-sided tape or Velcro to mount other devices. This mount is priced at $29.95 from SummitRacing.com.
ProClip (proclipusa.com) has pedestal mounts that screw into any flat surface and includes various types of adjustments to allow for optimal holding and viewing for devices including cell phones and GPS monitors. As with ProClip’s clip system, you need to explore their website to find brackets for your specific device. Because of the screw mounts, pedestal systems would be a permanent installation. Mounts start in the $50 range and complete systems can easily range between $100 and $200. These appear to be well built and designed for rugged use.
RamMount has an extensive system of mounts that allow for mounting almost anything, anywhere. For mounting my GoPro I was attracted to their Mirror Base Bracket system that slides onto the button in the center of the windshield (where the rear view mirror mounts). This positions the camera high in the center of the windshield, solidly mounted and away from the elements.
RamMount’s website lists three sources from which to buy. I compared all three and the best by far is Express Mounts in Las Vegas, Nevada (expressmounts.com) – the lowest prices for both product and shipping, with free shipping on orders over $25.
Getting the system right turned out to be more of a challenge than I anticipated. Order one was for a Mirror Base Bracket listed for a Dodge Sprinter on the website but it didn’t fit the windshield button when it arrived. Order two was for a Mirror Mount Base suggested by tech support at Express Mounts, a device that uses a u-bolt to attach the RamMount ball to the shaft of the rear view mirror. When it arrived I removed the rear view mirror from the button on the windshield and installed the Mirror Mount Base, an extension, and RamMount’s custom GoPro mount. It all looked quite robust but when I installed the assembly on the button it held for only a few seconds before the combined weight (over a pound) broke the button loose from the windshield.
While getting adhesive at an auto supply I noticed an assortment of replacement windshield buttons with adhesive for about the price of the adhesive alone. A thought hit me: buy the assortment, install the button for a Ford, and order a RamMount Mirror Base Bracket for a Ford. Order 3 from Express Mounts got the required bracket and authorization to return the stray bits. The button adhesive had set by the time the bracket arrived two days later and when I assembled everything it all fit perfectly. Eureka, I had the mount I wanted! (see final photo).
You now have a good start toward finding the custom mounting system for any electronic gadget you can imagine in just the right place for convenient access in your Sprinter. Enjoy!