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Old 09-29-2014, 06:50 AM   #1
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Smile Is ML430 suitable to tow 23' FC

Just bought our first trailer, a Flying Cloud 23', and planning to tow with my ML430 using equalizer hitch. Anybody have experience or info on this combination? Most towing on the west coast.
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Old 09-29-2014, 08:12 AM   #2
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Welcome to the Forums!

There are many threads in the forums about using Mercedes M and GL class SUVs as tow vehicles. A search may help, but there are also a lot of threads on Mercedes Interstates, so you will probably have to play with the search terms, and look specifically in the tow vehicle forum to narrow your results. In short, if your vehicles' towing capacity and tongue weight capacity can accommodate the trailer you have, then there should be no fear. There are also the folks who believe that the GL/ML hitch needs to be reinforced, but it is debatable whether such reinforcement isn't more psychological protection than anything. You might also check on one of the Mercedes forums (Benzworld.org or MBworld.org) to see if you can get a broader report on experiences with Mercedes as tow vehicles.

good luck!
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Old 09-29-2014, 01:46 PM   #3
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It might work. We met a man from Pennsylvania while we were at the mother ship a couple of weeks ago. He had a white Mercedes diesel SUV and a 28' International. He had purchased the trailer in Oregon. His 6 cylinder diesel engine had similar horsepower and torque numbers as mu V8 gas engine. He had taken the Mercedes SUV to CanAm in Canada to get the hitch receiver reinforced. He said it towed great.
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Old 09-30-2014, 09:15 AM   #4
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Thanks for info, I checked with my mechanic that has serviced the car over the years and he said "Only for a while" it really needs bigger radiator, trany cooler and beafed suspension. So I'm looking for a Infinity QX56. Can't wait to hit the road.
John
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Old 09-30-2014, 10:15 AM   #5
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I'm surprised to hear all of that. There are plenty of people towing with the 320 CDI and 350 Bluetecs, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee diesel. To my knowledge, they all have the same suspension, and would guess the same tranny cooler. As far as I know, the only modifications that go into an ML or GL when the tow hitch is installed is the hitch itself and the electronics to support it. No change in radiators, etc., are involved.

Then again, you will find opinions that cover the whole spectrum when it comes to tow vehicles. You will find someone citing the use of a Jetta TDI to pull a trailer such as yours (I have actually seen this in a post), and those that insist that an F250 is the only viable option. Ultimately it boils down to what you are comfortable with, and what can be safely justified with manufacturer's ratings and recommendations.

good luck.
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Old 09-30-2014, 06:58 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revery View Post
Thanks for info, I checked with my mechanic that has serviced the car over the years and he said "Only for a while" it really needs bigger radiator, trany cooler and beafed suspension. So I'm looking for a Infinity QX56. Can't wait to hit the road.
John

I've heard of 2 people who were towing with an Infiniti QX56 (now QX8) and were disappointed. Both people ended up trading for a Ram 2500 diesel.
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Old 10-03-2014, 06:43 AM   #7
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Thank you all for your comments. Since I do not want to push the envelop on a vehicles tow capacity and the last thing I want to do have any problems towing up and down the California grades or dealing with the high desert wind gusts I decided the ML430 might be a bit weak. Yesterday we bought a QX56 so we'll see how that does. M.Hony I'll let you know how it goes. Heading to New Mexico next week for first trip. Bye Bye
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Old 10-03-2014, 07:37 PM   #8
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Yep.
You'll have a Ram 3/4 ton next...
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:06 PM   #9
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To be honest, you probably would have been better off with the Benz compared to the qx56. The Benz even at a smaller physical size and even with slightly lower manufacturer tow rating is a much more solid vehicle, better brakes and more precise steering .... and German horses are bigger than Japanese horses . Regardless, it sounds like it's a done deal, good luck with your choice.
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Old 10-03-2014, 08:25 PM   #10
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Sounds like your ML430 was either a V6 or small V8.
Your QX56 has a 5.6L V8 and enough payload for a 23 plus extra space for extras your Airstream can't carry. It will probably do fine.

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Old 10-03-2014, 08:29 PM   #11
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The Mercedes V6 diesel has more horsepower and torque than the V8 Nissan-
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Old 10-03-2014, 09:04 PM   #12
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OP didn't mention the model year or if it was a diesel so I'm assuming he had the gas version and that is why he went with the Infinity. It wasn't until the later model years a TDI version came out from what I've read. If I had a TDI and I'd only trust Can-Am to reinforce the hitch and give advice for other changes plus Andy doesn't like Equalizer.

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Old 10-03-2014, 09:18 PM   #13
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Since it's ML 430, it must be 2000 or 2001 model. 268 HP and 288 ft-lb of torque. OP did not mention QX's model. If it's a newer model, it's HP/torque figures are both > 400. First generation ML was also a truck based vehicle, so not much better handling than truck based QX. And QX has a longer wheelbase. A newer model ML would be a different story. 455 ft-lb of torque and it's unibody. Anyway, QX is a comfortable and very capable vehicle. Rated 8500#. The fast lane truck did a 0 -60 with QX and it best many 1/2 ton pickups


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Old 10-05-2014, 08:53 AM   #14
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Thanks you guys, I love this forum. Our ML is '99 gas v8, and my biggest concern was handling and long term reliability, it has 114,000 miles. Space was also a concern, we plan to tour with a couple dogs and 3 adults. The QX we found is a '09 with 50k and factory tow pkg, and rated at 9000# capacity and with longer wider wheel base and more room I felt more comfortable with the overall set-up. We have had other MLs and currently also have a QX4 for our daughter. Had tranny problems with prior ML320 at 150K hence the concern. QX4 at 140K has been trouble free car for our college student driver. Looking for a comfortable tow and a little more space as a bonus swung the decision. We'll see how it works out. Due to dogs and every day duty the PU was ruled out. It's momma's everyday driver. Car and trailer are being fitted tomorrow at the Airstream dealer and we're off to New Mexico on Wednesday, so I'll let you know how the decision turns out.
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