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Old 02-24-2014, 07:29 AM   #1
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2012 25' FB Flying Cloud
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2014 ml350

I was asked to start a new thread with regard to the ML350 hitch reinforcement performed by Can-Am RV Centre in London, Ontario as well as future towing feedback.

Here are the pictures of the hitch reinforcement:
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Old 02-24-2014, 07:39 AM   #2
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Looks good. The mod design makes the whole deal so much more substantial than stock.
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Old 02-24-2014, 08:15 AM   #3
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2012 25' FB Flying Cloud
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Feedback so far:

The only issue I don't like so far with the ML350 is the lack of a manual shifting mode. Using the paddles only last a few minutes until the computer overrides and upshifts. This was also a problem with the Grand Cherokee “GC” as well. I was not paying specific attention to this function on the Touareg but I believe it does have a manual mode. Perhaps someone with a newer Touareg can confirm this.

The ML350 is quieter and more compliant/smoother riding on the highway than the GC or Touareg. While it seems to provide less of a “sport” feeling as the Touareg in particular I found that pushing it hard in curves was quite controlled and confident feeling. More so than the GC.

So far mileage has been a best of 24mpg at 5 over (75-80) for most of the trip. I attribute this to break in, I hope.

Initially I liked the touch screen of the GC best but am getting used to the command knob interface on the ML350 and like having my arm resting on the center console instead of reaching for the screen.

The ML350 navigation screen does not display the current Speed Limit which the Touareg did and I am not sure about the GC.

The particular ML350 we went with had the upgraded Harman Kardon stereo and it is just incredible. For me this made the long drive so much more pleasant. I would not have normally paid extra for a stereo upgrade but having enjoyed it for 4 straight days I think it will be on my future list. Though with the whole family in the car I might not have it up as loud.
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Old 02-24-2014, 02:22 PM   #4
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My '14 SRT Grand Cherokee also has the Harman Kardon stereo upgrade, said option ordered on my SRT Grand Cherokee after a test drive of a ML350 BluTec & ML550 with the same stereo (obviously I went with the Grand Cherokee).

Great Sounding & on paper, the same system on all three platforms BUT the OEM Alpine in my 2013 Ram 2500HD is still the choice for some raunchy RocknRoll, Dance Mix, etc.

Back on topic - the mods on your hitch should take care of the "pop-top-can-opener" issue I have heard some of the Cayennes & Touraegs are experiencing on their hitches. Four bolts hold\mount the hitch horizontally on these vehicles with some stretching\pulling\something occurring on the bottom two bolts on each side after extended use with WD Hitches, I think on the Touareg Forum a few ML's had the same issue after extended use on stock hitches.... I posted pictures over on the Touareg Forum of a few I saw a the dealership....

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Old 02-24-2014, 04:20 PM   #5
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Thanks for posting the pictures, think the previous generation ML has the def tank located such that the new bar would have to be dropped in order to work on the tank. Since its just a shelf for the full sized spare now I suppose welding to the actual hitch (as opposed to bolting to a vertical plate on the forward attachment) is okay. One other thing I do like about the reinforcement is that now it serves as skid plate protection and hangs below the exhaust pipe, which serves to protect that.

Your 24 mpg figure will probably go up, particularly if you keep the RPM a bit lower. The torque comes in at such a low RPM that matching speed to the torque curve helps. Plus diesels just aren't as efficient in cold weather and the winter fuel blends don't help. Our GL typically averages 27-28 at a steady 70MPH. Have seen it over 30 if I keep it below 65 (can you say 700+ range?). Believe the MB's are moving toward HUD availability. I have that on a BMW and really love it. Speed, speed limits, next turn, music options, phone....all without taking your eyes off the road. My how spoiled we've become. Course if we own one of these tech monsters past warranty we will surely pay!
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Old 02-24-2014, 05:26 PM   #6
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I was told the support bar will unbolt at the front and drop down with the hitch. I wish I had asked to see it all while it was on the lift for a more thorough explanation.

Yes the only extra I went for at closing was the 6/75 extension.

Plan on having it through till the end. Hope it goes like the 200+ we have on the 4Runner we handed down to our daughter. Brakes, tires, 1 battery and routine maintenance.

HUD would be nice but waiting for Google to just let them all drive autonomously. Wonder if it would back the trailer in??

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Originally Posted by jmcarter View Post
Thanks for posting the pictures, think the previous generation ML has the def tank located such that the new bar would have to be dropped in order to work on the tank. Since its just a shelf for the full sized spare now I suppose welding to the actual hitch (as opposed to bolting to a vertical plate on the forward attachment) is okay. One other thing I do like about the reinforcement is that now it serves as skid plate protection and hangs below the exhaust pipe, which serves to protect that.

Your 24 mpg figure will probably go up, particularly if you keep the RPM a bit lower. The torque comes in at such a low RPM that matching speed to the torque curve helps. Plus diesels just aren't as efficient in cold weather and the winter fuel blends don't help. Our GL typically averages 27-28 at a steady 70MPH. Have seen it over 30 if I keep it below 65 (can you say 700+ range?). Believe the MB's are moving toward HUD availability. I have that on a BMW and really love it. Speed, speed limits, next turn, music options, phone....all without taking your eyes off the road. My how spoiled we've become. Course if we own one of these tech monsters past warranty we will surely pay!
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:15 PM   #7
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Ml350

Hello 2012fb

We drive an 2008 ML320 cdi would love to see this thread for all ML TV's. We tow a 2007 27fb classic which we purchased last year. No previous towing experience. Set up at CanAm RV. Had questions about how many of you have felt the wash from transports as they pass. Sometimes pretty obvious sometimes not so bad. We use a Hensley hitch. We do have paddles which come in handy.

Cheers
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Old 03-09-2014, 11:59 PM   #8
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We leave for Phoenix on the 21st and it was 70 today in Denver so I got busy setting up the trailer. Torqued the lugs. Checked the air. Installed the new friction brake. Rotated the electric jack head 90 degrees to clear the rear door when opening with the shorter shank. Checked the level with the new shank/dual cam head and 3 links free put it just right. The cams were still in the correct position so no work there.

Headed up I-70, same loop as the 2014 GC and no temp issues at all. The temp hand never moved. The 7 speed drops to 4th pulling a 7% grade sitting at about 3,000rpm with the cruise set at 65.

From a stand still the ML will get to 65 in short order and under load will stay in each higher gear (5-7) longer than the GC. Which I prefer as I was constantly asking the GC to down shift instead of lugging. Again, I believe this to be a programing issue.

Much to my relief going down hill the ML will hold gear as long as you don't put your foot on the peddle. Putting your foot on the peddle will display an upshift indicator and if you take it back off it will go out and stay in 4th. The GC would not hold gear downhill.

Overall the ML had a bit better "tow mode" behavior than the GC.

The round trip mileage was 14.8 nearly identical to the GC which I expected.

The ML did not sound as loud as the GC when working hard. You can barely hear it at all.

The ride quality seemed to be about the same, but the ML had a bit less rear sway than the GC. This is coming from a 2012 Sierra HD Denali Duramax/Alison which had practically none so I am sensitive.

The big difference in both is not feeling the concrete expansion joints much and no bucking as with the Denali.

The ML was poised, quiet, extremely comfortable and while I could not pass doing 70 on the 7% grade it was nice just to sit back and relax. I admit this will take a bit of getting used to as I have always been a more power kind of guy hence the long line of previous Powerstrokes and the latest Duramax.

All things considered I don't know why we did not go this route back in 2012. My wife just loves driving it when not towing as compared to her near refusal to drive the truck. So we are both happy!!

Now that the initial setup and test has been completed I am really looking forward to our Phoenix trip.
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:36 PM   #9
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It looks like your tires are lower profile than stock? I've got a list of recommendations from Andy for tire options for our own vehicle.
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