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how to improve ML350 handling?

 
Old 05-03-2006, 10:11 AM
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how to improve ML350 handling?

I just tested drive a ML350 2003, handling is not as good as my C-class. Anyway to improve? Get a lower spring? new shock?

Kevin
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Old 05-03-2006, 12:26 PM
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Bilsteans are great for improving the handling, but it will give you a much firmer ride. I installed them on my former 2001 ML 320, and I was very satisfied. Some people don't mind the firmer ride and some other people really hates the firmer ride.

How much air pressure do you use on your tires..? The valving of the OEM shocks adjusts depending on the feedback it gets from the road, which means the more pressure you put to your tires, the firmer the ride will become. Need to always to be carefull not to exceed the maximum pressure stated on your tires, and you will always want to be around 5 psi below that maximum since when the tires heat up (weather, road friction/temp, etc), the pressure will go up around 1 psi per each 10 degrees temp difference.

If you can't get a firmer ride, by adjusting your tires air pressure, and your ML wobbles too much, then your shock absorbers need to be replaced.. Tire design (side walls, reinforced, etc) make a big difference on the handling and shock performance, too..

AC
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Old 05-03-2006, 03:40 PM
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a car that can't do the throttle reset.
uhh, trucks don't really behave the same as sedans.
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Old 05-03-2006, 03:49 PM
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'03-ML350 'inspiration'
Originally Posted by pointman
uhh, trucks don't really behave the same as sedans.
Right--you are, pointman!
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Old 05-03-2006, 06:07 PM
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Improving Ride

Originally Posted by kevinchung
I just tested drive a ML350 2003, handling is not as good as my C-class. Anyway to improve? Get a lower spring? new shock?

Kevin
Kevin, it sounds like you test drove a 350 with the 255-50-17 tire size. Before doing any suspension mods, drive a 500 first to gauge the handling. The 500 has 275/55/17 tires which are optional on the base 350. I found a huge improvement in handling with the 275/55. The biggest difference was in the rebound over bumps. Where the smaller tires were perturbed, the larger ones just made a "thud". Unfortunately, the 55 series tires doesn't fit safely on the rims for the 50 series tire. But drive a similarly equipped 500 first and if you feel that the handling difference isn't worth the pain, then start considering suspension changes - adjust torsion bars (lower truck some), replace springs (progressive rate type???), lower truck a bit, the bushings are already PolyU, so not much you can do there. Good luck.
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Old 05-03-2006, 07:46 PM
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how to improve ML350 handling?

Darkmann has a good point..

The torsion bars make a huge difference on fixing many wobling problems on your ML (if your shocks are in good condition still). When one tightens the torsion bars, one reduces the travel of the wobling and your ML will not lean as much during turns.. If using the torsion bars, you increase/decrease the height of your ML by more than 1", you may want to begin thinking on a 4-wheel alignment.

It makes a significant difference(I played extensively with this on both my former 2001 ML 320 and had done it too n my 2005 ML 500), but then you have to find a better setting with your shocks (by means of your tire air pressure), since tightning the torsion bars produces a larger restoring force on the shocks and changes the overall tuning/dampening/ride..

AC

Last edited by AC_ML; 05-03-2006 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 05-03-2006, 08:28 PM
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'11 C300
Originally Posted by Darkmann
Kevin, it sounds like you test drove a 350 with the 255-50-17 tire size. Before doing any suspension mods, drive a 500 first to gauge the handling. The 500 has 275/55/17 tires which are optional on the base 350. I found a huge improvement in handling with the 275/55. Unfortunately, the 55 series tires doesn't fit safely on the rims for the 50 series tire. Good luck.
I have an '03 ML320. Same stock tires that came on the '03 ML350 - 255/60-17. Tire Rack says that an optional tire on the stock rims would be 275/55-17. A little wider and a little less sidewall height. That is what I'm going with when I need to change tires. I'm not sure how much it will affect handling but it is a little more rubber on the road. Oh yeah, forgot: My wife's C280 handles much better than my ML - unless it's snowing

Last edited by OttoBon100; 05-03-2006 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 05-04-2006, 12:08 AM
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new wheels

I think I will change a new wheels and tyres if I go for this ML350.
Any suggestion for size of wheels and springs?

Kevin
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Old 05-04-2006, 08:25 AM
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Q & R
Originally Posted by kevinchung
I think I will change a new wheels and tyres if I go for this ML350.
Any suggestion for size of wheels and springs?

Kevin
Tire brand/design has a significant impact on handling too. Before changing tire sizes, you may want to research reviews and performance tests on other tires in the OEM size. When I switched out of the factory Generals to the Goodyear Forteras, everything was better. Ride comfort, noise, vibration, cornering. When these wear out I may jump to 255 55 18s for updated look and of course the lower aspect ratio would improve steering response.
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:53 AM
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wheels and tyres size

Originally Posted by cyeung65
Tire brand/design has a significant impact on handling too. Before changing tire sizes, you may want to research reviews and performance tests on other tires in the OEM size. When I switched out of the factory Generals to the Goodyear Forteras, everything was better. Ride comfort, noise, vibration, cornering. When these wear out I may jump to 255 55 18s for updated look and of course the lower aspect ratio would improve steering response.
How about 19 or 20 inches? I think 22 will be too big...
What do you think?

Kevin
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Old 05-04-2006, 04:23 PM
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Q & R
Originally Posted by kevinchung
How about 19 or 20 inches? I think 22 will be too big...
What do you think?

Kevin
The tirerack.com shows 285 45 19 for the ML. Any tire that meets the 29 inch diameter, + or - 1/2 inch, will work. There is a post a few lines down for 22 inchers on an ML.

Something to consider as you get larger diameter wheels, they get heavier, and there is a point of diminishing returns to handling. More unsprung weight at the ends of the suspension will slow down the reaction time of the springs making them harder to transition from one position to another. Using the lightest wheel/tire combination is a racers trick.

Additional thought - I have found 18 inch wheels that weigh less than or about the same as the factory 16s and 17s. Tires in that weight range too. When you get larger than 18s, the lighter wheels are buku $$$$. There is also a smaller selection of tires and as I mentioned earlier, tire design has as much to do with handling and response as tire size.

Last edited by cyeung65; 05-04-2006 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:39 PM
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Originally Posted by OttoBon100
I have an '03 ML320. Same stock tires that came on the '03 ML350 - 255/60-17. Tire Rack says that an optional tire on the stock rims would be 275/55-17. A little wider and a little less sidewall height. That is what I'm going with when I need to change tires. I'm not sure how much it will affect handling but it is a little more rubber on the road. Oh yeah, forgot: My wife's C280 handles much better than my ML - unless it's snowing
I researched this extensively and my understanding is that the 275/55-17 tires will not fit the OEM ML320 17x8 rims. You'll have to change to the 17x8.5 rims (the ML500 and 350SE). Technically, the tires will mount on the 17x8 OK but will practically roll off the beads as you drive off - not good. Talk to TireRack to have their take on this.

BTW, if you have flares, the look with the 17 inchers isn't that great. With flares, I'd say 17x8.5 is a must, for starters. 18x9 up to 19x11 would be ultimate for my taste. Without flares, the 17x8.5 will look sweet on the 320.

Last edited by Darkmann; 05-05-2006 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 05-05-2006, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by AC_ML
Darkmann has a good point..

The torsion bars make a huge difference on fixing many wobling problems on your ML (if your shocks are in good condition still). When one tightens the torsion bars, one reduces the travel of the wobling and your ML will not lean as much during turns.. If using the torsion bars, you increase/decrease the height of your ML by more than 1", you may want to begin thinking on a 4-wheel alignment.

It makes a significant difference(I played extensively with this on both my former 2001 ML 320 and had done it too n my 2005 ML 500), but then you have to find a better setting with your shocks (by means of your tire air pressure), since tightning the torsion bars produces a larger restoring force on the shocks and changes the overall tuning/dampening/ride..

AC

AC, I'll have to ping you on this because I'm currently looking at a set of ML55 18" rims. I was thinking of lowering a couple of inches via the torsion bar. As I get ready to purchase, I'll have to talk to you.
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Old 05-06-2006, 12:05 AM
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how to improve ML350 handling?

Sure anytime.. My 18" Michellin's Pilot are reinforced and they are each at least 4-5 lbs heavier than other 18" tires of the same size... Make sure you don't get reinforced tires unless you really need them...

AC

Originally Posted by Darkmann
AC, I'll have to ping you on this because I'm currently looking at a set of ML55 18" rims. I was thinking of lowering a couple of inches via the torsion bar. As I get ready to purchase, I'll have to talk to you.
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Old 05-06-2006, 08:39 AM
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'11 C300
Originally Posted by OttoBon100
I have an '03 ML320. Same stock tires that came on the '03 ML350 - 255/60-17. Tire Rack says that an optional tire on the stock rims would be 275/55-17.
Hey Darkmann. I haven't talked on the phone with them but when you enter my vehicle that is what it says. I definitely will based on what you're saying when I decide to get tires. I only have 16k on my car right now and the tires (Dunlop SP Sport 5000's) still look new.

Last edited by OttoBon100; 05-06-2006 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 05-06-2006, 09:44 AM
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I saw one 22inches wheels, very nice.

Kevin
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Old 05-06-2006, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by kevinchung
I saw one 22inches wheels, very nice.

Kevin
Yeah they are really nice, Kahn design offer the same wheels I have on my Ml Rsc monoblock but in 22" instead of 20"
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