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Old 05-23-2014, 08:52 AM   #15
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Same here; but drive them all, pick the one you like, go forth and recreate.
Taking your advice I'm going to look at an ML350 Bluetec....
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Old 05-23-2014, 10:32 AM   #16
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ML 350 Diesel

The ML 350 diesel should be a great TV for a "weekend warrior" plus a good daily driver as well. Should be able to tow a 23 foot AS without trouble. Keep your eye on the payload however! I don't know what the payload specs are for the ML but just be familiar with that particular constraint and you should be a happy camper indeed!

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Old 05-23-2014, 10:37 AM   #17
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Oh, one other thing...

Make sure to check the "beefiness" of the factory provided hitch for the ML. I seem to recall that Rich Luhr (editor of Airstream Life) had some issues with the factory provided hitch on his ML. I believe that it was his assessment that Mercedes did not provide the strongest of hitches with it's ML's probably figuring most people would be towing something relatively light. There are probably many ways to beef up the standard MB hitch short of a full replacement so cost should not be a factor, just make sure you get this right before you start towing so you are not at risk for a "failure in the field."

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Old 05-23-2014, 11:43 AM   #18
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I think I'm going to be OK on the payload. We will be traveling light.

On the hitch, it seems the 2012+ hitches may be OK from the factory but earlier ones are not. Have to continue my research. Based on price and availability, I'm probably looking at a 2011 or earlier.
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Old 05-24-2014, 08:29 PM   #19
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I believe the faulty GL/ML hitch was replaced in 2010. The new hitch has a different design, and the receiver to tube welding goes all around the tube.

Also, Mercedes will replace the 3.0 liter V6 Diesel this August with a 2.1 liter V4 Diesel, so time to buy a new V6 is running out (the engine will still be offered in GL). The 3.0 liter V6 diesel is amazing and produces 455 ft-lb of torque at 1600 RPM - more than any SUV or 1/2 ton pickup currently in production.
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Old 05-24-2014, 09:27 PM   #20
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I second the advice to look at the Tundra.

2 weeks ago I was driving a Honda Pilot as my daily driver. We had owned Suburbans in the past, and were considering a new Suburban/Tahoe or a Jeep Grand Cherokee for a new daily drive vehicle, an eventual tow vehicle.

Now when we had those 2 Suburbans in the past, I always felt they were a bit heavy feeling and difficult to drive at 35 MPH around town. It was like they wanted to shift and drive 43 MPH (ticket territory) and it was work to drive them 35. But they were super reliable and roomy, and great on the highway.

We test drove the Cherokee about a month ago, and liked it fine. But did feel the seats were a bit "entry level" feeling. Like the seats in a college kid's car.

We had never really considered a truck. We were expecting to look at the Jeep again, and also the Tahoe, but decided to stop by the Toyota dealer on our way there. I loved how the back seats of the Tundra fold up against the rear of the cab, offering a lot of interior floor space for daily errands. I was surprised how easy the pedal was underfoot, and how easy it is to drive around town at 35 MPH. It jumps on the highway with some instant power when merging. And rated 10,000 towing with the V8 5.4L.

The rear window rolls down. And with running boards I get in and out no problem (I am a woman 5 feet 4 inches.).

It is a nice vehicle, and I think it deserves a look if you are considering a truck or SUV for towing. Oh, and about 10-15K less than the Tahoe!
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Old 05-27-2014, 08:18 AM   #21
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I believe the faulty GL/ML hitch was replaced in 2010. The new hitch has a different design, and the receiver to tube welding goes all around the tube.
So when I go to look at the cars what specifically can I look for? A full weld bead where the north/south receiver meets the east/west support?

Also, any idea on whether a non-factory hitch is superior to the Mercedes hitch? Some of the vehicles I've looked at on the internet come without hitches so I'd either have to add an OEM hitch or aftermarket. Maybe an aftermarket is better?
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Old 05-27-2014, 09:38 AM   #22
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So when I go to look at the cars what specifically can I look for? A full weld bead where the north/south receiver meets the east/west support?

Also, any idea on whether a non-factory hitch is superior to the Mercedes hitch? Some of the vehicles I've looked at on the internet come without hitches so I'd either have to add an OEM hitch or aftermarket. Maybe an aftermarket is better?
I am attaching 2 photos. One is the faulty hitch, the other is the hitch that replaced it. The newer hitch is still rated at 600#.

I don't believe there is an after market option for GL/ML. There is ExecuHitch, but I don't think it supports WDH.
Attached Images
  
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Old 06-18-2014, 05:56 AM   #23
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Just to follow up on this saga, I went to test drive an ML350 Bluetec the other day. Loved it. Was about to sign the papers when I figured I should check the actual payload capacity on the vehicle rather than going by the published Mercedes specs.

Guess what -- 948 lbs on the door sticker!

I will be traveling light but probably not that light. Per Airstream, hitch weight on the 23D with LP but otherwise unloaded is 720 lbs. If I move to a 25 I'm looking at over 800 and close to 900 lbs.

Back to thinking about a truck...
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Old 06-18-2014, 06:25 AM   #24
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I tow with a 2013 f 150 5.0 crew cab 3.55 gear I am towing a 24 double I love it there are no tow problems with it and even the mileage isn't bad 12.8 on the low end.
It shifts a bit in long hills but so far no lack of power.
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Old 06-18-2014, 07:28 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by SCOTTinNJ View Post
Just to follow up on this saga, I went to test drive an ML350 Bluetec the other day. Loved it. Was about to sign the papers when I figured I should check the actual payload capacity on the vehicle rather than going by the published Mercedes specs.

Guess what -- 948 lbs on the door sticker!

I will be traveling light but probably not that light. Per Airstream, hitch weight on the 23D with LP but otherwise unloaded is 720 lbs. If I move to a 25 I'm looking at over 800 and close to 900 lbs.

Back to thinking about a truck...

ScottinNJ. If you are serious about getting a MB SUV to pull your rig I would encourage you to contact Rich Luhr of Airstream Life as he owns one (not sure which model) and pulls a 30 footer with it. Also, you should speak with Andy Thomson of CanAm RV in London Ontario, he is quite the towing expert. You can get the contact information for both of these individuals by "Googling" them and/or their respective companies.
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:41 AM   #26
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ScottinNJ. If you are serious about getting a MB SUV to pull your rig I would encourage you to contact Rich Luhr of Airstream Life as he owns one (not sure which model) and pulls a 30 footer with it. Also, you should speak with Andy Thomson of CanAm RV in London Ontario, he is quite the towing expert. You can get the contact information for both of these individuals by "Googling" them and/or their respective companies.
Thanks. I have spoken with the folks at Can Am. Seems they would have me tow with my 2013 Honda Odyssey over the ML350. Truth told, it has a much greater payload capacity than the ML350. It's over 1200 lbs if I recall correctly. Handles great as well.

I'm just not willing to double the 3,500 tow rating...
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Old 06-18-2014, 09:07 AM   #27
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short bed crew cab trucks are the way to go!
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Old 06-18-2014, 09:09 AM   #28
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ScottinNJ. If you are serious about getting a MB SUV to pull your rig I would encourage you to contact Rich Luhr of Airstream Life as he owns one (not sure which model) and pulls a 30 footer with it. Also, you should speak with Andy Thomson of CanAm RV in London Ontario, he is quite the towing expert. You can get the contact information for both of these individuals by "Googling" them and/or their respective companies.
If I am not mistaken, Rich Luhr tows with a Benz GL, which has at least 200# more of payload when compared to Benz ML -- its also heavier and has a longer wheelbase.

I don't think anyone can magically increase a vehicle's payload. If you think the manufacturer specs like payload do NOT matter (as some forum members think), then I guess you have a larger selection of TV's to choose from.
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