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Old 04-10-2014, 09:12 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Wayne&Sam View Post
I went from a '98 ML to a '05 ML to a '12 Durango. We love the Durango. It feels very much like the MLs, with a bit more room, like a GL. Tows just as well.
That's what I keep hearing. The Durango is on our list for the next vehicle.
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Old 04-10-2014, 09:26 AM   #30
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I understand the Durango/Grand Cherokee share the same or similar suspension design with the GL/ML from the earlier Mercedes ownership? Not surprising they would handle similarly, which apparently is quite well.

I was surprised and maybe a bit disappointed they don't offer the diesel in the Durango, which sets it apart from the others for towing and in fuel use.
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Old 04-10-2014, 10:48 AM   #31
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We stopped yesterday to look at a 2011 GLK350. Salesman said "no way" to towing 5800# FC25. He said GL450 at least. Not wanting to get into another marginal or questionable situation, I passed on the idea. But, it's nice to see others have made it work so well. It was a fine looking car.
Just be careful not to fall into the trap of using the tow rating as a guided to determining towability.

On another forum I just read about a guy who towed his vintage 25' Airstream with a big Blazer. The Airstream weight was well within the tow rating of the Blazer yet a passing semi blew him off the road and he ended up jack knifed in the medium.
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Old 04-10-2014, 03:21 PM   #32
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Tricked the RF controller into pairing

I managed to trick the controller into pairing. I confirmed that I have 12v at the 7-pin connector on the GL, but no turn signals, brake light or running lights signal at the 7-pin when the trailer isn't connected. I guess the GL turns them off. That is what prevented pairing. The trailer umbilical needs to be unplugged from the brake module for pairing. Part of the pairing process is to push the brake pedal and send a brake light signal to the trailer mounted unit. So, using a 12v battery charger, some 14/2 household wire stuck in the brake module 7-pin connector, I rigged up power and ground wires to the trailer controller, started the pairing and when it asked for the brake pedal, touched the wire sticking out the brake light pin to 12v on the battery charger, viola, paired!!

Now that I know how to do it without a second vehicle with a 7-pin connector, I will buy the vehicle 7-pin connector, some wire, a couple alligator clips and a switch. I'll wire it up so I can use alligator clips to provide power from the trailer batteries into the 7-pin of the trailer module, and a switch to simulate brake light signal. I figure for $20 I can have a way to re-pair the unit on the road if for whatever reason it un-pairs. I may incorporate a switch to turn on the running lights for when parked in a campsite. Might be a fun way to add some character to the evening while sitting outside.

That allowed me to drive the setup to the scales for checking my WD adjustments from the previous Tundra settings. Next post.

Stephen
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Old 04-10-2014, 03:41 PM   #33
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In yesterday's post I had said I had raised the ball height 2.5" higher, well it worked out to more like 2". I left the head angle the same as the Tundra settings. I went to the scales and got my first set of numbers.

Truck and driver only: front axle 1350 Kgs, rear axle 1350 Kgs. Gotta love the Germans designers and their desire for a 50/50 weight balance. From the door placard, 1550 Kgs max front axle, 1800 Kgs max rear angle. GVWR 3250 Kgs.

Truck, driver and trailer: front axle 1330 Kgs, rear axle 1760 Kgs, trailer 2800 Kgs. Trailer didn't have food or clothing, but a full tank of water. Not too bad for my first attempt. I noticed the trailer was nose up an inch. 18" bottom of front frame by the coupler to ground, 16" bottom of rear frame just forward of bumper to ground. Here is a picture of the rig:
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Old 04-10-2014, 04:03 PM   #34
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Armed with the above numbers, I lowered the ball height 1 hole, approx. 1", and tilted the head back 1 notch to transfer more weight to the front axle of the TV.

Off to the scales again. They are close and work even when unmanned.

Truck, driver and trailer, no food or clothing full tank of water:
Front axle 1480 Kgs, rear axle 1540 Kgs, trailer 2880 Kgs. Pretty good numbers. I still have 230 Kgs (506 lbs) of payload left for the wife and a couple of kids. The trailer is now level, 17" front and rear bottom of trailer frame to ground. I did notice the cams don't sit in the saddles of the WD bars perfectly anymore. So, I'm off to find some bigger wrenches to adjust the cam length.

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Old 04-10-2014, 05:31 PM   #35
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Your set up looks good except for the long cast iron Reese shank.

If you go to a local RV Dealer have them order an Eaz-Lift brand shank for you. The rest of your Reese hitch will bolt to it. The Eaz-Lift shank is considerably shorter and can be redrilled at a machine shop to make it shorter still. The reduction in overhang adds considerably to your stability, is easier on the hitch receiver and improves the ride. If it is easier for you we can send you one predrilled for the GL.

I hope this helps.

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Old 04-10-2014, 05:48 PM   #36
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I have an interesting story on Mercedes service for you from about 4 or 5 years ago.

Some folks from Texas who never RV'd before bought a 19' Airstream to tow behind their GL diesel. They had the previous generation lighter receiver and unfortunately the Airstream dealer set them up with an Equalizer brand hitch which is brutal on receivers. In three trips they broke 3 hitches and Mercedes said they must be doing something wrong and they were not going to warranty any more hitches.

The customer went back to the dealer and asked what he should buy instead to tow with and again unfortunatley the dealer recomended a 3/4 ton deisel 4x4 Dodge pickup. The headed out on a trip to the north west with the Airstream and hated the ride and handling and climbing in an out of the Dodge. I guess when all you have driven is MB's for years it is a tough switch.

In a campground in Colorado they saw one of our clients towing an 30' with a 300 Chrysler and had to find out how they did it. They flew back to Texas, picked up their GL and drove up to see us to have the hitch reinforced. We also supplied them with an Eaz-Lift WD and showed them how to adjust it. They went back to Colorado, picked up the Airstream, stored the Dodge and continued on their trip.

When they returned to Texas they wrote a letter to MB's saying that they were a little disapointed that they had to drive to Canada to get a proper hitch on their $70,000 SUV. He said it was not a threatening letter, just wanted to get it off his chest. MB called him and asked for the a copy of their bill of sale for the Dodge the keys and ownership and sent him a check for the full price of the Dodge and picked it up in Colorado. I thought that was pretty good of Mercedes, I doubt many other manufactures would go to that degree to look after a customer.

Anyway I thought you might find that interesting.

Andrew T
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Old 04-10-2014, 06:21 PM   #37
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Andrew T

Any experience with the new GLK 250 Blu Tec?

Am wondering about it's capabilities for a late model mid-size Airstream, say 25/27?
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:08 PM   #38
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Andrew

I've planned a trip east this July and I was planning on stopping at your shop to have your staff reinforce the hitch and tune the setup.

Right now with the current shank, I can open and close the rear tailgate. After a shorter shank, no more of that. Small price to pay for better stability, better ride and longer life, equipment and people.

I have a couple local camping trips planned before the long drive east. I'm hoping it will be fine until I can get to your shop on 18 July 2014?

Stephen
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Old 04-10-2014, 07:12 PM   #39
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The GLK is yet another car that is higher rated in Europe. MB's German site rates it at 5291lbs, in the US and Canada it is rated at 3500lbs.

The German site lists the weight in kg, 2400 to be exact. Not bad for a four cylinder engine.

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Old 04-10-2014, 07:56 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
Andrew T

Any experience with the new GLK 250 Blu Tec?

Am wondering about it's capabilities for a late model mid-size Airstream, say 25/27?

Here is a link to an article by Andy T and the GLK 250 Bluetec.

RV Lifestyle - Vol. 42 No. 3 go to page 6 where the article starts.


Hope the link works.
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Old 04-11-2014, 12:09 AM   #41
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After buying a 1 1/2' wrench, ($61), I was able to shorten the cam length and get the saddles sitting perfectly on the cams. Took a couple adjustments. Jack trailer up, remove WD bars, adjust cams, re-install WD bars, lower trailer, check position, repeat. I ended up shortening the cams by about 3 threads. Such a small amount, but after another trip to the scales, it resulted in transferring 20 Kgs from the trailer back onto the TV. The TV front axle didn't change.

I carried on for a longer highway test drive. I really like the way this combination handles. Hardly any porpoising, very subtle sort of floating, way less noticeable than the Tundra. So smooth, quiet, comfortable. It was difficult to tell there was 3180 Kgs of trailer attached to the GL. The power for accelerating from a stop is very impressive. Got a few looks from folks I outpaced at the lights getting up to 100 Kms/hr.

I strongly recommend anyone looking for an alternative to a truck or the truck based SUVs for towing an Airstream to consider the ML/GL sized diesel SUVs. VW, Jeep and others I'm sure, seem to have one in that size as well. Great daily driver, good fuel economy, comfortable and capable tow vehicle.

Thanks to those with ML/GLs that have posted their experiences here. It really helped in making the decision to switch vehicles.

Stephen
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Old 04-11-2014, 05:24 AM   #42
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Stephen, congrats on getting the setup nailed down (wish we could get Sports Package with US order but that's another story). My hitch reinforcement is scheduled for June at Can Am (thanks for Andy's help) and perhaps he can suggest how to move more weight forward on the GL since my scale numbers don't look quite as good. At least I have plenty of margin and it rides like a dream. Then we're off to the UP, Banff, Glacier, (perhaps even an obligatory Teton picture since that was impetus for starting the GL journey in the first place) before enjoying a month of the glorious PNW.

As reported by others, 15 MPG towing and approaching 30 solo is what we average. 20K on the GL thus far and a air conditioner seal the only warranty item to date.
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