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Old 06-11-2008, 04:53 PM   #1
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Mercedes Diesel

i have a Mercedes Diesel, 320 CDI. I am thinking about buying a 28ft Airstream International. The weight rating is o.k, I'm just wondering about the wheelbase. Is this o.k, or do I really need something like a Suburban?

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Old 06-11-2008, 05:43 PM   #2
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I've owned several Benz S series, including a S350 diesel. I would not try to pull an Airstream with one. For one thing, Unibody construction doesn't lend itself to the sort of robust weight distributing hitches neede for this sort of towing. Consult with a Benz dealer before getting too far into this!

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Old 06-11-2008, 05:58 PM   #3
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You can have a hitch put on your Mercedes car at Canada’s largest Airstream dealer. Check them out here.

Can-Am RV Centre (London, Ontario) – Canada’s RV dealer for Airstream, Crossroads, DoubleTree, Forest River, Keystone, R-Vision, Nu-Wa, and SunnyBrook.

There are a lot of Rah Rah American diehards on this forum who believe you need a Big Truck to pull an Airstream and poo poo the notion that Can Am customers can safely pull one with a passenger car.

Can Am however has HUNDREDS of customers that do it all the time.


(I pull with a Mercedes but it IS a truck)
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:03 PM   #4
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Sorry, I should have included "GL". This is Mercedes Suburban.
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:26 PM   #5
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"Rah Rah American diehards."
You really don't want to get us started with observations about Canadians.
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:35 PM   #6
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I pull a 20' with an ML500 which is about a foot shorter than a GL. The GL is not unibody, it retains the frame of my '05 ML. The ML has a 111" wheel base. The GL has a 121" wheelbase.

The rule of thumb I've heard is a 110" wheelbase is good for a 20' trailer. Every 4" of wheelbase over that gives you another 1' of trailer. Going by this, a GL should be Ok with a 25' trailer.
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:59 PM   #7
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EEk! I'm looking at a 28. I love my Gl. Is there anything I could do to make it safer to pull a 28ft?

Thanks for all the info Canadian or Amercan
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Old 06-11-2008, 07:22 PM   #8
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Well lets take a deep breath. Our 28 weighs approx 5800 lbs empty. Not much more than a 25. If you love your benz I would consult Andrew in Ontario and find out what past history they have on your vehicle. It is amazing what they can do and worth looking into.
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Old 06-11-2008, 07:24 PM   #9
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I would like to throw my 2 cents in. Alot of towing capacity depends on conditions. Flat ground or mountains. I dont know much about Mercedes.
so, I would reccomend talking to a service dept mechanic. Not the salesman or person behind the counter, an acctual person who sees these vehicles from the inside out or from the underneith. They will be able to advise. I am also a bit intrested in if a hitch company makes one to tow your airstream, or how much weight it can actually tow. You can always get a vehicle to tow , the question is will you get life out of it or will it leave you stranded. As far as the comments from our friends to the north... hahahaah wanna hookum up? I will bet on my Superduty.
Good luck on this issue with Mecedes I am also intrested in what comes of it so please let me know if you do it and how the experience is.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:10 PM   #10
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We bought our Hensley hitch in part because of wanting towing safety and comfort using a shorter wheelbase vehicle. Check out the Hensley or Pro-Pride hitches if they are in your budget. You can find LOTS of information about them on this forum.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:32 PM   #11
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Hi Mary

My sister tows her 34' Airstream with her GL Diesel, the performance is fantastic, it will play with a 28'. We also have several other customers towing with ML and Jeep Diesels.

We do strengthen the Mercedes hitch by lengthing the centre bar forward to the rear suspension base. Other than that it works great right out of the box.

Fuel mileage runs 17 MPG towing and with 390 ft lbs. of torque with the 7 speed transmission there are no power issues. I think engines like this are the future of towing.

Handling is very stable due to independent rear suspension, a very solid body structure and precise steering. In an emergency maneuver it will out perform most trucks and SUV's.

Andrew Thomson
London, Ontario

"One test is worth a thousand expert opinions."
Tex Johnston, Boeing 707 test pilot
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:35 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by AirsDream View Post
I've owned several Benz S series, including a S350 diesel. I would not try to pull an Airstream with one. For one thing, Unibody construction doesn't lend itself to the sort of robust weight distributing hitches neede for this sort of towing. Consult with a Benz dealer before getting too far into this!
Unibody is considerably stronger than body-on-frame. The best towing vehicles of the 1960's and 1970's were full-size Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler and Imperial automobiles, ALL of which were unibody. The Imperials were so overbuilt they were banned from demolition derby competition. These cars also constituted the majority of fleet purchases for police forces nationwide. The Benz is not a disposable economy car, cheaply-made, which is where confusion apparently resides in re unibody construction.

Yes, attaching a hitch to one is different, but only by little. Can Am can set you up.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:37 PM   #13
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Many years ago I had a Mercedes 450 SEL. I always did my own service and recall how rigid the body was. I lifted the one corner with a car jack and almost had the wheel of the ground. Amazingly the car doors could still be opened and closed as if it were down equally on all 4's. Unibody or full frame the Mercedes structures are very rigid.
Airstreams..... The best towing trailers on the planet!
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Old 06-12-2008, 01:10 AM   #14
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hi mary and welcome to the forums...

you've provided VERY few details and they are needed for useful answers...

-what generation g wagon? the new model is VERY different from the last version graymarketed, stateside...

-what year a/s? the term international has been used for years in various models....

-do u have ANY trailer towing/rv experience?

-how much travel and where and how fast do ya expect to drive?

-who, what, and HOW MUCH stuff do u plan to carry while rving?

-are u gonna LIVE AND TRAVEL AND INSURE THIS RIG in the usa or upnorth?

imo it is just manure to suggest "maneuvers" are a measure of safety while towing....

stopping ability and the capacity to remain IN YOUR LANE matter...

so does not getting pushed around by the trailer when bad stuff happens.

there are countless threads here about the 'canadian' modification of under-capcity, under-sized vehicles for towing...

but be clear virtually NO DEALER, HITCH MANUFACTER, or VEHICLE MAKER in the usa will do or support this type of work anymore...

because of liability issues...

also be very wary of 'high mileage' claims while towing, because physics suggests something else...

and to get 'better than average' mpg u will need to travel SLOWLY (50-55 mph) which is part of the 'canadian magic package'...

so how much do you wanna risk just to try mating a too large trailer with an underrated tow vehicle?

sure there are 'ways' to make this happen...

but the best approach might be to find the trailer u really want and then purchase an ADEQUATE vehicle for towing...

trucks DO work nicely for towing, but there ARE also longer wb suvs and beefier suvs or vans that can do the job...

some of these suggestions DO include nationalist views and political subplots, that is a byproduct of human nature...

i tow mostly in the lower 48 and pull a big trailer,

i also am unwilling to accept the EXTRA liability, place others on the roadways in jeopardy,

or risk personal assets just to try towing with a marginal vehicle.

having towed nearly 60,000 miles in the last 3 years, many things can and do happen (flat tires, weather, road hazards)

i prefer to feel relaxed while towing, enjoy the experience,

and NOT get pushed around by a trailer that is too much for the tow vehicle...

i also don't wanna rely on "maneuvers" when the manure hits the fan...

you will have to decide what matters most 4 you...



all of the true things that i am about to tell you are shameless lies. l.b.j.

we are here on earth to fart around. don't let anybody tell you any different. k.v.
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