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Old 07-31-2020, 09:05 PM   #1
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Anyone towing with Mercedes Benz GLS450

Newbie here...we will be towing a 2018 16ft Bambi sport with our 2017 Mercedes Benz GLS450 with a factory hitch installed.

Given the air suspensions and towing a smaller AS we will just be using a ball hitch that fits the required specs given by our user manual - there are specific measurements the manual says we cannot exceed. Our question for other members who tow with a GLS450, do you find the 7.5” space from the pinhole of the factory hitch to the middle of the ball a little small? It seems really close to our bumper.

Are there any other suggestions for set ups? We’ve looked into the weight distribution hitches but we’re unsure how this will work with the specs given in our manual and the 600lb tongue weight max for our factory hitch. We will currently be renting airstreams, as finding used smaller airstreams are really difficult right now and we will not be towing anything bigger than 22ft. Any feedback would be much appreciated!
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Old 08-04-2020, 08:33 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OohWeeLJ View Post
Newbie here...we will be towing a 2018 16ft Bambi sport with our 2017 Mercedes Benz GLS450 with a factory hitch installed.

Given the air suspensions and towing a smaller AS we will just be using a ball hitch that fits the required specs given by our user manual - there are specific measurements the manual says we cannot exceed. Our question for other members who tow with a GLS450, do you find the 7.5” space from the pinhole of the factory hitch to the middle of the ball a little small? It seems really close to our bumper.

Are there any other suggestions for set ups? We’ve looked into the weight distribution hitches but we’re unsure how this will work with the specs given in our manual and the 600lb tongue weight max for our factory hitch. We will currently be renting airstreams, as finding used smaller airstreams are really difficult right now and we will not be towing anything bigger than 22ft. Any feedback would be much appreciated!
I tow 2020 25 GT with 2016 450. Not sure what the problem is. I use WD hitch and had the hitch receiver reinforced as the 25 is about 1000 lbs. everything works fine. Send pic of the issue. You want the ball close to the car, tows better. With WD hitch you will be fine with the 600 lb max
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Old 08-04-2020, 12:52 PM   #3
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The manual is for Europe. WD and electric brakes are outlawed there. Here we use both. Get a proper WD hitch. If you have any questions contact CanAm RV. They set these up all the time. I tow a 30' classic with my 08'. I also have a reinforced hitch and am currently using a Hensley hitch.
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Old 08-06-2020, 09:32 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies! Unfortunately we’re in California and due to covid cannot get to Can am RV. side note we were supposed to have a banff and jasper vacation this summer but of course got cancelled due to covid!

Anyway, we’ve talked to some Airstream service departments and they told us with our car and the size of airstreams we will be towing, a WD hitch is not necessary.

I’ve attached our predicament though and hopefully someone can explain what we’re missing. First picture is out of the manual and you can see it says dimensions should not be exceeded—-so from the middle of the pinhole to the middle of the ball it should not exceed 7.5”.

Now the second picture is a straight shank that is 7”. The issue with this is it’s about 2” from our bumper. But is that really an issue? Again we’re newbies and we’re unsure. The other thing we’re anticipating is that it is not height adjustable and I don’t think the height of any airstream coupler is less than 16”.

The third picture is a height adjustable ball hitch but two things here is that length from the pinhole to the center of ball is more like 9.5” and it’s basically touching our bumper. If we were to go over bumps, we’re assuming this is really going to scratch up our bumpers. We’re also worried that the ball is too far as well.

Again, we’re renting temporarily so it’s also hard for us set up WD hitch without the trailer.

Thanks so much for the replies again!
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Old 08-06-2020, 10:01 PM   #5
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Merc and AS

Hi - I went through the same dilemma initially (and tow a 25 FC with a '14 GL 350 with the factory hitch, so I'm very familiar with your concerns.

With a 19 or 16 Bambi I'd use your shortest aluminum hitch for ease of use. (I bought an Andersen Rapid Hitch from Andersenhitches.com) as it's Ball is VERY close to the vehicle and as close to the Merc. spec "inches away from pin" as you'll get, and also easy to adjust for the perfect level towing. (You can park your trailer and level it by measuring height from bottom of front frame to ground, then bottom of rear frame to ground, raising and lowering until equal. You should also measure top of the inside of the ball hitch to ground, and then measure the top of the ball on your vehicle to ground, remembering the ball should be a bit higher before connected by an inch or two-adjust your ball hitch accordingly). Just don't open your power hatch all the way when connected! I had the dealer install a Prodigy trailer brake controller as well (for $1000 Cdn). If you're nervous about the higher hitch weight of longer Airstream trailers, just remove the spare tire from its cradle under the battery box.

However, on my last trip I used a conventional Weight Distribution Hitch with the iron bars. The ball is much farther away from the pin and much heavier, but the bars when connected distribute the weight towards the front axle so really negate this. My reasoning was the former owner of my Flying Cloud used an even smaller Merc (an ML size or GLE today) diesel to tow it with the same equalizer hitch. It worked just fine on my last trip. My hitch weight is about 830 pounds by the way and I never plan to carry more than 1 full propane tank or much water. Lastly the wife just replaced her truck with a new Silverado 1500 with the 6.2 and max tow so I no longer have to worry about the weight of a future generator or leaving the spare behind (although in 25 years of trailering I NEVER had a flat). Great tow combo - enjoy!!
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:33 AM   #6
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Thanks Cloud camper!

This is super helpful and reassuring. It looks like the 180 hitch (pic attached) we have, has identical dimensions so good to know this will work. Assuming you use the furthest pinhole which is 9 3/4” from pin hole to ball as using the shorter pinhole wont work as it interferes with our bumper.

We were concerned the rise is super close to our bumper and while towing could damage the bumper. Any problems with that?

Thanks again. Great to have a friendly forum to discuss!
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:47 AM   #7
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I am towing a 2019 Flying cloud 19CBB with a 2020 GLC450. Definitely consider the WD Hitch. Blue Ox Swaypro works well. And don't forget the brake controller. If you have the factory hitch, the wiring for the controller is hidden under the dash or forward footwell carpet. Benz will find it. I use the RF Prodigy, it's a wireless controller. Works well, however most users rather have a hard wired box attached under the dashboard.

My GLC tows well, although you know a trailer is attached. Great ride on the freeway between 55-62 mph. Not so great above 65. Stability is ok, its the mileage. MPG is hovering around 13-15. If you have the 3.0 the torque and HP is equivalent to the GLC 450.

The Blue Ox hitch shaft is 9.5 inches long. Others suggest decreasing the length to the diagram you posted. Blue Ox suggest not doing that because it will void their warranty and liability. The WD balances the load out across the axles, leveling the trailer, tow vehicle, and of course preventing trailer sway. It does enhance the driving experience significantly.

My tongue weight is avg 580-610 on the weight, depending how I load the trailer. I don't travel with fresh water since that tank is upfront of my trailer and it adds quite a bit to the total tongue weight. Also two 30lb propane tanks up front, but I am always 1.5 tanks full so that lowers my tongue too.

MB a pleasure to drive for short trips locally. If you elect to go further than several hours I suggest a more suitable vehicle. Yeah, a truck. Rather beat that up than the luxury vehicle. Don't get me wrong, MB is perfect for smaller trailers and it does the job equally with other more popular TV's.

Check out etrailers.com for accessories like WD and brake controllers.
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:25 AM   #8
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Old 08-07-2020, 09:31 AM   #9
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You should definitely not use the fixed height straight shank. given the top of ball height is 16 inches that puts the coupler 2 or more inches low relative to the 18inch desired height.

You will want to start with 2 to 3 inches of rise on the shank to end with the trailer and vehicle level. Three inches will put you over the illustration but if you use a weight distribution hitch the counteracting pitch torque corrects for the strain the illustration addresses. A WD hitch will also improve ride quality and stability. Although you don't need a WD hitch I know you will find it helpful.

A stronger receiver mount than the stock set-up would be better, but with the 16' you can get by for now. If you upgrade you should fix the receiver issue.

I would consider a light and easy to set up and use hitch like the 600 lb EAZ-lift or similar. The Blue Ox or Equalizers and others are more hitch than I think you want. I am tempted to recommend Andersen as its design is ideal for your situation but it has compatibility issues with the 2018 coupler that more experienced folks generally are willing to address.

After you have a shank for the WD hitch fitted, if it is still that close to the bumper I'd consider a piece of relatively dense foam rubber. You want something pliable so movement is in the foam and not have the foam slip relative to the bumper as you end up with scuffs that way too.
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Old 08-07-2020, 02:30 PM   #10
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Thanks! We are using the curt echo mobile brake controller. I’m assuming the 7 pin harness that comes with the factory hitch is 12v. Do you know?
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Old 08-07-2020, 03:43 PM   #11
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The Curt Echo is a nice product and is completely compatible with the Trailer and your 7 pin harness. It should just plug and play if all goes well.

Note to Tiny: Not trashing the Blue Ox, I use one and am very happy with it as it provides the right amount of control for my situation, but it's heavy and as you noted it extends out a bit more than ideal for this set-up.
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Old 08-08-2020, 06:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BayouBiker View Post
Note to Tiny: Not trashing the Blue Ox, I use one and am very happy with it as it provides the right amount of control for my situation, but it's heavy and as you noted it extends out a bit more than ideal for this set-up.
Thank you for the suggestion. I am researching alternative, more suitable WD hitches for the GLC450. Focusing on weight, simplicity, but capable of performing as advertised via the reviews I discover from this forum and other sites.
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Old 08-08-2020, 09:00 AM   #13
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If you have the new EZ coupler, you should look at the Andersen. I heard (maybe wrong) some later model 2019's had the new coupler.
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Old 08-11-2020, 08:46 AM   #14
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If you have the new EZ coupler, you should look at the Andersen. I heard (maybe wrong) some later model 2019's had the new coupler.
Since I am taking the trailer in today for warranty I will confirm the type coupler. Thanks.
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Old 08-11-2020, 08:57 AM   #15
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The new coupler has a wrap around lift lever that is molded to the coupler contour. The Marvel/Atwood style has a "key" shaped metal lift tab.
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Old 08-12-2020, 08:40 AM   #16
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Old School.

Atwood Coupler
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Old 08-12-2020, 09:28 AM   #17
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Yeah so making modifications to ensure the Atwood coupler doesn't cause problems may be more than you're willing to deal with. Perhaps you have a couple others in mind?
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Old 08-13-2020, 09:30 AM   #18
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Yeah so making modifications to ensure the Atwood coupler doesn't cause problems may be more than you're willing to deal with. Perhaps you have a couple others in mind?
That's correct. I have the old style, former Marvel, former Atwood, 88XXX series. The Andersen site specifically states the WDH will not work. So I am reading etrailer.com recommendations for available options. Not a big priority at the moment since I have the RAM 1500 doing most of the TV duties. But it would be nice to have a back up for the GLE.

I'll keep my eyes open and continue researching. I rather have something specifically tailored for the GLE instead of the generic pickup truck community products. Safety is paramount, as is the capability of the TV. Do not want to stress the physical attributes of the vehicle with a WDH that is either cumbersome to operate or adds unnecessary weight. The limited payload capacity of the GLE, specifically the Tongue Weight, is a concern.

With the Blue Ox, I am satisfied with the performance and stability of the car when it is attached. But dropping the trailer onto the hitch and looking at the squat is concerning until I hook up the WD bars. And I do have the Prodigy RF controller, but like all other wireless stuff, one wonders if the signal is getting out there without interference. So I'll also look for a hard wired gizmo suitable for the Benz.

Once again, thank you.
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Old 08-13-2020, 11:30 AM   #19
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The Reese Straight line is a nice effective and not too heavy product. It would perform very well but they do "pop" while turning and backing, some find that annoying. The recurve is very good but its nonlinear sway damping doesn't play as nice as you'd like with the software sway control which is tuned assuming fixed resistance passive damping.
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Old 08-14-2020, 05:21 PM   #20
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My 30 footer tows great behind my old ML. Click image for larger version

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