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Old 04-11-2014, 09:59 AM   #43
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Thanks. I'm very happy with the results. At first I was tempted to take the whole thing to a trailer shop and have them adjust the hitch. I figured they wouldn't spend the time to drive to the scales and test the setup. So, I figured with my experience with large mechanical things, (22 years keeping a large steam propulsion plant running in the Navy) I would give it a shot.

I was on the fence about the brake controller, but after realizing that the GL would probably spend a couple hours at the dealership, at $140/hr, opening a portion if the dash to run wires and drilling holes in the brand new car, it was worth the extra expense to get the RF controller. The only other expense was buying 3 wrenches at around $55-61 each to adjust the hitch, and of course my time.

I learned a lot about the hitch setup which benefits me greatly. Understanding how the various adjustments affect the balance and posture of both TV and TT.

Time well spent.

Stephen
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Old 04-12-2014, 12:06 AM   #44
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So, I figured with my experience with large mechanical things, (22 years keeping a large steam propulsion plant running in the Navy) I would give it a shot. Stephen
Thanks for the encouragement with your Airstream/Mercedes setup. Really nice.

In the late 70's we brought some helo's aboard the HMCS Provider for an exercise out of your naval station near Victoria. Any chance you were there?
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Old 04-12-2014, 03:39 AM   #45
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No, I didn't join the navy until 1990. I released from the navy at the tail end of 2012 while still young enough for a second career. I choose Mr. Mom. The better half is still in the military, so me being home with the kids helps while she is off working hard in Hawaii right now.

The ship I spent quite a bit of time on, keeping it's large steam plant running, was towed back to Hawaii after a large fire in her engine room stranded her at sea at the end of February. My wife is part if the team investigating the incident.
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Old 04-13-2014, 07:28 AM   #46
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I am sorry I did not get back to this earlier.

We have several customers with GLK's now. We have used them with the gas engine for several years but the new diesel is quite a bit more popular. All have been very pleased with the performance and fuel economy. The base price is a very good deal but if you load it up with option packages you start getting into the price of the .3.0 Litre diesels. It is a wallop of torque for a little motor but it is well proven in europe where it it is used extensively in commercial vehicles.

Hi Druker: Your 27' Safari is a very stable trailer and I am sure it feels pretty good on the GL but you really should consider putting some weight distribution and a sway control on there. A Eaz-Lift 600 pound would be pretty easy on the receiver and you can easily upgrade the bars if you get it reinforced sometime.

If you are towing without a reinforced receiver try and avoid dips that is what really puts strain on the hitch. If you get into a situation where you can't avoid a severe one removing the torsion bars before you get into it takes the strain off the receiver.

This picture is what I mean about dips, you can see how far the torsion bar bends here and look at the car, the front suspension right down on the stops and the back tires are almost off the road.
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Old 04-13-2014, 07:48 PM   #47
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"I was on the fence about the brake controller, but after realizing that the GL would probably spend a couple hours at the dealership, at $140/hr, opening a portion if the dash to run wires and drilling holes in the brand new car".

Just in case anyone else runs into this. ML's and GL's with the tow package have the brake control prewired under the dash it is pretty straight forward to install one.
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Old 04-13-2014, 09:12 PM   #48
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I was aware of the pre-wiring. The little green plug in the driver's foot well. My issue was I wanted the install super neat and tidy, putting the controller in front of the cup holders under the center console in that little cubby. It would require popping some panels off and routing wires down past the driver's leg to get to the green plug.

Hence, the RF route.
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:16 AM   #49
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Now I understand
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:28 AM   #50
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I was aware of the pre-wiring. The little green plug in the driver's foot well. My issue was I wanted the install super neat and tidy, putting the controller in front of the cup holders under the center console in that little cubby. It would require popping some panels off and routing wires down past the driver's leg to get to the green plug.

Hence, the RF route.
I have done almost that. Here is a photo. Take a look at this link in the Benz Forum for details:

Electric break controller installation - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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Old 04-14-2014, 08:45 PM   #51
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Rostam
I had actually looked at your install on the MB forum. I had a standard brake controller ready to go and I was talking with the service department at MB about popping off a panel or two and routing the wire. They hadn't done one before, and had to check into the pigtail ends from MB. It made me think that I would be paying for them to learn, and that would add up fast. I'm pretty happy with the RF so far. I have the bits to make a plug-in for the trailer module so I can re-pair on the road if it un-pairs. I'm going to incorporate a switch to turn the running lights on for fun in the campsite. Hopefully not to bother anyone, just to add some character.
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Old 04-15-2014, 12:42 AM   #52
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Rostam
I had actually looked at your install on the MB forum. I had a standard brake controller ready to go and I was talking with the service department at MB about popping off a panel or two and routing the wire. They hadn't done one before, and had to check into the pigtail ends from MB. It made me think that I would be paying for them to learn, and that would add up fast. I'm pretty happy with the RF so far. I have the bits to make a plug-in for the trailer module so I can re-pair on the road if it un-pairs. I'm going to incorporate a switch to turn the running lights on for fun in the campsite. Hopefully not to bother anyone, just to add some character.
Happy that everything worked out great
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Old 05-17-2014, 11:25 PM   #53
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Mercedes GL/ML as a tow vehicle

I was hoping for some advice on what I can safely tow with my 2012 GL 450. I have yet to buy the airstream and hoping to get a 25FB.

The GL It is rated at 7500 lbs in towing and a 600lb hitch weight. The airstream states a Hitch Weight (w/LP & w/o options, water & cargo) (lbs.)833Unit Base Weight (lbs.)5,612Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (lbs.)7,300

The hitch weight seems to be the limiting factor. Now, my understanding is a weight distribution attachement only transfers weight to the front axle for stabiltiy reasons and the hitch weight is unchanged. The other aspect that confuses me on the airstream is the hitch weight reported appears to be unloaded. I would think the hitch weight can vary a lot on an RV depending on what and where you load the trailer. Can't I can just load my trailer in the rear and lower the hitch weight thus keeping the trailer under the 7,300 and lowerinig my hitch weight to 600 lbs?

Also, do I need to get a weight distribution attachment? Some people say that it is not good to use this with air suspension.

I see people on this thread pull a 30 airstream and find that amazing.

Any help or advice you can give me would be great.

Thanks.
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Old 05-18-2014, 02:16 AM   #54
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There is a hitch modification done by CanAm in London Ontario (Andrew T) that made it possible for my first month of production (October 2006) 2007 ML 320 CDI able to tow our empty 2013 25FB International Serenity home through the mountains to the East edge of Phoenix from the dealership in Los Angeles. They also modified the Hensley stinger by making it shorter and puting a slight down bend in it to preload the Hensley spring arms. The weight ratings of the car were within limits on this trip except that the trailer was close to 5,400 pounds.

In the mountains, I used the paddle shifters to keep the engine rpms at the max torque point and only dropped back to 5th on the steepest grade running the California towing speed limit of 55 mph.

Along with the Hensley hitch, I used the Tekonsha Prodigy RF brake controller. I needed the RF unit as the first two months production of the diesel ML had all the trailer brake wiring terminated in the right rear of the car, so all the interior would have to be top torn up to get the wires to the driver's foot well.

After we loaded the 25FB for camping and crossed the scales with both of us in the car, the ML front axle rating was exceeded and the GVW rating of the car was exceeded. The trailer weight was at 6,990 pounds of it's 7,300 pound GVW limit. Our car was rated to tow 5,000 pounds at that time and a pen or pencil with eraser changed that limit to over 7,000 pound on the later year models with no apparent mechanical changes.

We elected to acquire a more robust tow vehicle so no specifications in the tow vehicle would ever be exceeded regardless of the Airstream trailer. However, a recent 34' Classic tri-axle we looked at would have pushed the combined vehicle towing weight limits of this truck if the the trailer was loaded to full GVW. There are no weight issues with our Classic model 30.
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Old 05-18-2014, 11:01 AM   #55
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I have a 2011 GL350 that i tow my Safari 30 with. My Safari gvwr is 8440 but i tow at just a tick over 7000 lbs and the GL does great. I bought my Airstream new back in 06 and the GL is my third tow vehicle so i have some reference to others on the same trailer.

On the GL i use a ProPride hitch, prodigy brake controller and i forget which draw bars i have. The trailer says it has a 840 lb tonque weight but i have relocated some heavy stuff off the tonque to aft the axles so i am not sure what i am at. I do know i am within the front and rear max axle loads of the GL. Even with 5 kids in the car.
I get 14 towing compared to 9 or 10 with Suburbans plus i can get 28 vehicle alone.


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Old 12-11-2014, 02:49 PM   #56
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First season with the GL

As the year comes to a close, I thought I would reflect on our experiences with the GL as a TV. We did 4 small weekend trips which helped to get used to the GL 350 BlueTec diesel compared to the 5.7 L gas Tundra. It seemed to behave very well on the shorter drives. The big test would be our summer trip.

This trip turned into a 10,000 mile cross country journey that I thoroughly enjoyed. The trip east from Victoria was all interstate to get us to Jackson Center for some work on the trailer. We maintained 65 mph and returned a respectable 16 US mpg. average. Smooth, quiet, only slowed marginally on steeper hills. I'm still using a Reese dual cam hitch, so still felt the push/pull of the trucks passing. Nothing too serious. I've read quite a few folks SERIOUSLY like the ProPride. I may give myself one for Xmas.

After a few days in Ohio, our trip north allowed a stop at Can-Am for the "Standard hitch reinforcement" by Andy's team. After the reinforcement and substantial shank shortening, I had to rebalance the hitch to get optimal weight transfer again. Glad I brought wrenches with me.

Grabbed my niece and nephew, so now 2 adults and 4 kids in the GL, and enough supplies in the trailer for a 4 week trip back west via Route 66, after a loop through south eastern Ontario, we were off. A stop at a CAT scale fully loaded, including a full fresh water tank, confirmed I was within the limits on axle and vehicle ratings. Here are the CAT scale numbers: FA 3250#(3400 Limit), RA 3850#(3960 limit), GVW 7100#(7150 limit), TT 6900#(7600 limit). Admittedly, a bit close on a couple numbers, but we were traveling with 6, instead of the usual 4.

Our trip west was 50/50 interstate/back rounds. With more stopping and starting, and lower speeds, on the back roads we still managed 15 US mpg average for our trip home. The time on the interstate raised our average a bit. The only time we may have asked the GL to do more than we should have, was in August in New Mexico and Arizona. A long climb up a hill in 110 deg weather with the AC on. The engine temp started climbing pretty quickly. Slowing down to about 40 mph allowed it to settle at about 20 deg F below redline. I considered opening the windows and going full heat inside the vehicle, but slowing from 60 ish mph to 40 mph in the truck lane didn't inconvienence us at all.

To summarize, the GL 350 BlueTec performed beyond my expectations. All 6 of us enjoyed a quiet smooth ride with minimal buffeting from trucks, good fuel economy, and a very easy to maneuver vehicle in the downtown areas when we unhitched and explored. The real bonus is the non-towing fuel economy. While the trailer was at Jackson Center, I drove 750 highway miles on 26.3 US gals of gas. 28.5 mpg. (Before needing to refuel, one tank).

Hopefully those thinking along the lines of the mid-sized SUVs (ML, GL, VW, Porche diesels) for a potential TV, will use this and others experiences to help make their decision as well informed as possible.
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