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Switching to diesel

 
Old 02-19-2013, 07:36 PM
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'13 ML350 Bluetec for work, E550 for pleasure, & ML350 for my wife
Switching to diesel

After 6 years of driving GL450's, I finally decided today that an ML350 Bluetec is the right vehicle for me. I'd been pretty intrigued with all I've been reading about the little powerplant Mercedes has been offering in their SUV's for quite some time now.

I'd pretty much made the decision already, but today my salesman gave me his 2012 diesel ML to drive while my GL got it's 40k service.

I have to say:
WOW.
What incredible performance from such a little motor! Quiet! Smooth! Efficient. Price fairly reasonable. What more could I want?

Palladium Silver with Ash interior, due in the second week of April. I'm anxious already. Can't wait to hook it up to my loaded trailer & give it the real workout.
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Old 02-19-2013, 08:43 PM
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get down on your hands and knees and cop a look at the diameter of the exhaust pipe. It isn't really a little powerplant at all.

Consider: it has more torque starting at 1600 rpm (and fairly flat to 4000 rpm) than the 2013 AMG C63 black 6.2 liter V8 reaches, at 5000 rpm

So with the tach below 4000 you've got more horsepower than a v8 petrol at the same RPM.
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Old 02-20-2013, 04:32 AM
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ML350 BT soon......pleeeease. GOT IT NOW....Wooooo
Originally Posted by Stoneseller View Post
After 6 years of driving GL450's, I finally decided today that an ML350 Bluetec is the right vehicle for me. I'd been pretty intrigued with all I've been reading about the little powerplant Mercedes has been offering in their SUV's for quite some time now.

I'd pretty much made the decision already, but today my salesman gave me his 2012 diesel ML to drive while my GL got it's 40k service.

I have to say:
WOW.
What incredible performance from such a little motor! Quiet! Smooth! Efficient. Price fairly reasonable. What more could I want?

Palladium Silver with Ash interior, due in the second week of April. I'm anxious already. Can't wait to hook it up to my loaded trailer & give it the real workout.
Hope your trailer has a strong coupling...... To cope with the torque available.
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:54 AM
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'13 ML350 Bluetec for work, E550 for pleasure, & ML350 for my wife
Originally Posted by MLee View Post
Hope your trailer has a strong coupling...... To cope with the torque available.
I think I've got that covered
Attached Thumbnails Switching to diesel-trailer1.jpg  
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Old 02-20-2013, 12:56 PM
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Focusing on the torque of diesels...you say "Wow" after your spin in the ML.As great as the OM642 engine is in the ML,E,etc....my BMW "d" had the ability to literally pin you back in your seat by just brushing the accelerator.The "d" was about the same size and weight as is the C Class and featured a diesel with 265hp and 425 ft lbs of torque.

As much as I love my Bluetec I still miss the rush I got from the "d".
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Old 02-20-2013, 01:37 PM
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I towed a fairly heavy 21' boat on a dual axle trailer behind my 08 ML diesel and was amazed at how well it towed. So much power I could accelerate up the steepest grades and it always felt very controlled. I think the total weight of that rig including the trailer was at least 5,000 lbs.

Enjoy!!
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:09 PM
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'13 ML350 Bluetec for work, E550 for pleasure, & ML350 for my wife
I've been using a Tekonsha RF "wireless" brake controller on my current & past GL's. It works OK, but my comfort level is not as great as when towing with a traditional dash mounted wired controller.

What are other tow vehicle owners using for brake controllers, and have you had success in getting a MB dealer to install the controller?
Anyone found an easy fix for the annoying flashing of LED trailer lamps?

listerone: I test drove the BMW X5 35d three years ago prior to deciding on another GL. I was really not very impressed. It seem much less of a car than my past 2003 4.4 X5 gasser.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:34 PM
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I paid $630 to a MB dealer to install a Tekonsha Primus IQ in my 2012 ML350 BlueTEC in the center stack cubby just above the ashtray. I supplied the controller. Long CYA in the work order saying installation was not warranted by Mercedes. A second dealer quoted me the same price. I suspect much of the cost was routing the OEM connector into the center stack. Others have attached controllers to the bolster just beneath the dash--a simple procedure using the existing connector under the carpet-- but the shop foreman said that would interfere with an airbag. The cubby is a more natural location--falls easily to hand, as they say.

Earlier, I struggled to install the Tekonsha RF controller but could never get it to function, even with the elaborate workarounds for the ML suggested by Tekonsha. The RF version is not plug n play on the 2012 MLs. A plus for the hard-wired controller is that it is integrated into the truck's software.

Now, I confess I have yet to tow anything, but others have not reported any problems with flashing lights, etc.
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Old 02-20-2013, 06:07 PM
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'13 ML350 Bluetec for work, E550 for pleasure, & ML350 for my wife
Shrdlu,

Thanks for the info.

I think it is rather odd that MB is not really too willing to support an aftermarket controller. They build these vehicles & spec them to be more than capable of being used as a tow vehicle. In my case I was told to go to an RV shop to have a controller installed. I was not too keen on that idea.
This is why I went with the RF unit.

RE flashing lights. Well documented common problem with all German makes. Supposedly you can purchase a pigtail adapter from VW or Audi that includes a resistor to fool the car's computer & eliminate the problem.

I've had the exact same issue on both a '07 and a '10 GL.
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:12 PM
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If you are hooking up a trailer with LED lights - then use this under $15 adapter which "yes" add's a mock load to the light circuit so you will have steady connection.

Note - when you use the adapter, you will need to check your trailer lights manually because you will NOT get a light out notice thru your MB system.

The adapter is Tow Ready #20141 - this place delivered like cheap...

http://hitchshops.com/i-8411631-tow-...-vehicles.html
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:13 PM
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The GL350 is simply awesome... I have more fun with the GL350 around town than a GL450... but that's me.. all that torque is simply amazing..
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Old 02-20-2013, 07:37 PM
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I should have noted that, prior to installing a trailer brake controller, I've towed a cargo trailer with LED lights for hundreds of miles. No problem with flashing lights. I assume with the 2012s, that Mercedes at least has resolved the problem. Previously, as mentioned, an aftermarket resistor was required to fool the software into thinking that an LED (no resistance) was seemingly an incandescent bulb (resistance).
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Old 02-20-2013, 11:20 PM
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I have not encountered "flashing LED lights" on the '66 Gen either - but if someone is reading this that does have that problem on a earlier Gen, or current Gen, then the adapter works very well, and cheap !

In our case, for added brake controller, we do refer customers to a trusted local hitch/trailer specialist who we supply with WITS wiring diagram for the connector/hook-up - like Mercedes corp, as a dealer we choose not to have add to our general liability or to add to the customers expectation for their specialty application.

Keep the beat !
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:36 AM
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'13 ML350 Bluetec for work, E550 for pleasure, & ML350 for my wife
Originally Posted by fabbrisd1 View Post
If you are hooking up a trailer with LED lights - then use this under $15 adapter which "yes" add's a mock load to the light circuit so you will have steady connection.

Note - when you use the adapter, you will need to check your trailer lights manually because you will NOT get a light out notice thru your MB system.

The adapter is Tow Ready #20141 - this place delivered like cheap...

http://hitchshops.com/i-8411631-tow-...-vehicles.html
Thanks for the link. I'd not heard of that company.
I would need a 7flat x 7flat adapter for my trailer, which they don't seem to offer.

I had ordered one from etrailer.com some years back, but they were initially out of stock. Then the item was discontinued.
There had been several discussions of the problem on the etrailer help section. At least one is still there.
http://www.etrailer.com/question-2724.html

During daytime, all the lights on the trailer function normally.
In the dark, running lights all flash unless the brake is applied.
Turn signals & brake lights do light up correctly at all times, though the turn signal makes a rather confusing contrasting flash to the running lights.

I try to never tow the trailer in the dark.

Hopefully in about 2 months I won't have to worry about it anymore.
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Old 02-22-2013, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Shrdlu View Post
I paid $630 to a MB dealer to install a Tekonsha Primus IQ in my 2012 ML350 BlueTEC in the center stack cubby just above the ashtray. I supplied the controller. Long CYA in the work order saying installation was not warranted by Mercedes. A second dealer quoted me the same price. I suspect much of the cost was routing the OEM connector into the center stack. Others have attached controllers to the bolster just beneath the dash--a simple procedure using the existing connector under the carpet-- but the shop foreman said that would interfere with an airbag. The cubby is a more natural location--falls easily to hand, as they say.
I am new to towing and just ordered a 2013 MB ML-BT. Planning to tow a 6000lb Lance trailer. Could someone please advise what are the benefits of installing the Tekonsha (or any other) break controller rather than using built in control systems of ML?

Thanks in advance.

Alex
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:10 AM
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'13 ML350 Bluetec for work, E550 for pleasure, & ML350 for my wife
Originally Posted by AVB View Post
I am new to towing and just ordered a 2013 MB ML-BT. Planning to tow a 6000lb Lance trailer. Could someone please advise what are the benefits of installing the Tekonsha (or any other) break controller rather than using built in control systems of ML?

Thanks in advance.

Alex
The ML control system only operates the trailer lights.
Your trailer would have to have a surge braking system if you don't install a controller. I don't know if surge brakes are reliable and safe, no experience with them. I think they are somewhat popular on horse trailers.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:29 AM
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You don't say whether your trailer has electric brakes, surge brakes or no brakes. At 6,000 lbs, most states require brakes on the trailer wheels.

Electric trailer brakes require a trailer brake controller, which applies the trailer brakes in tandem with the ML's service brake. Mercedes does not offer such a controller as a factory option, so you would have to install an aftermarket controller, like I did. There are tutorials on these controllers at etrailer.com.

Surge brakes operate hydraulically, using the trailer's own momentum to apply the brakes. These are mostly found in boat trailers, where the hubs get submerged. You do not need a controller for this type of brake. Just hook up and go.

No brakes. Most people recommend trailer brakes on anything over 2,000 lbs. In your case, because the trailer will outweigh your ML, I would recommend electric trailer brakes. Then, a controller will enable you to fine-tune the braking proportion between the tower and towee.

Last edited by Shrdlu; 02-22-2013 at 09:39 AM.
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Old 02-22-2013, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Shrdlu View Post
You don't say whether your trailer has electric brakes, surge brakes or no brakes. At 6,000 lbs, most states require brakes on the trailer wheels.

Electric trailer brakes require a trailer brake controller, which applies the trailer brakes in tandem with the ML's service brake. Mercedes does not offer such a controller as a factory option, so you would have to install an aftermarket controller, like I did. There are tutorials on these controllers at etrailer.com.

Surge brakes operate hydraulically, using the trailer's own momentum to apply the brakes. These are mostly found in boat trailers, where the hubs get submerged. You do not need a controller for this type of brake. Just hook up and go.

No brakes. Most people recommend trailer brakes on anything over 2,000 lbs. In your case, because the trailer will outweigh your ML, I would recommend electric trailer brakes. Then, a controller will enable you to fine-tune the braking proportion between the tower and towee.
+1. My boat trailer had hydraulic brakes and you could really feel them kick in once the vehicle would start to slow down but I wouldn't tow a heavy trailer without either hydraulic or electric brakes/controller as noted above.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Stoneseller View Post
I think it is rather odd that MB is not really too willing to support an aftermarket controller. They build these vehicles & spec them to be more than capable of being used as a tow vehicle. In my case I was told to go to an RV shop to have a controller installed. I was not too keen on that idea.
This is why I went with the RF unit.
I think the core of the problem is that while the ML/GL is American built it is still designed by Germans for Germans. Am told they are still upset in Germany at being forced to include radio and cup holders.

European regulations for towing are different than ours. An automatic TBC mounted in the vehicle is forbidden.

UK publication on use of American trailer brakes says:
Alternatively, American caravans/trailers with electric brakes can have an electrical device mounted in the towing vehicle which senses deceleration in the towing vehicle and transmits a signal to the caravan/trailer braking system to operate the brakes. European requirements demand that this type of device must be mounted on the caravan/trailer.
So perhaps we should be thankful Mercedes-Benz provided a pigtail for us to connect the TBC. But sadly I've not yet found a place to mount it that I like. People forget there is a manual trailer brake lever on the TBC and I want to keep that where I can reach it. Remember you are supposed to use it to calibrate the gain of the system so that the trailer brakes are not applied too hard to lock, nor too lightly to do any good.
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Old 03-19-2013, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by AVB View Post
I am new to towing and just ordered a 2013 MB ML-BT. Planning to tow a 6000lb Lance trailer. Could someone please advise what are the benefits of installing the Tekonsha (or any other) break controller rather than using built in control systems of ML?
About a year ago I was giving serious consideration toward trading my 2008 F-250 SuperDuty Powerstroke Crew Cab Lariat 4WD for a new W-166. Had to teach my M-B salesman that a trailer brake controller was not the electronic towing stability program he had been taught in training.

Ultimately I decided the W-166 was not worth the difference the dealer wanted for my truck on trade.

About 3 months later the Ford dealer had a 2009 ML320 Bluetec on the lot with most of the proper accessories (would rather have had HID headlights than Rear Seat Entertainment or sideboards). And an agreeable trade was reached.

As a tow vehicle the F-250 is greatly more capable than the ML. Plus the TBC is built-in and cleanly installed in the dash. It is truly integrated with the vehicle and ABS to a level no aftermarket unit can achieve. Ford makes not secret that Tekonsha made the TBC for them. Bought the top end wired Tekonsha unit for my ML and while it works well I think the trailer brakes harder under light braking than it did on the F-250. In both cases the gain is set to just barely lock the trailer wheels on full manual application at 25 MPH, just as one is supposed to.

Independent rear suspension is great for sports car-like handling but its not so great for towing. When the wheel squats it adds negative camber. This is great for cornering to lean on the inside tread when the tire is trying to roll off the rim under heavy corning forces. But when the rear squats with trailer load then it starts wearing the inside tread of the tires. If buying new ML to tow I'd insist on the Airmatic option.

Has been almost 9 months now with the ML and I think I made the correct choice to right-size from the F-250.
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:37 AM
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Originally Posted by N4HHE View Post
I think the core of the problem is that while the ML/GL is American built it is still designed by Germans for Germans. Am told they are still upset in Germany at being forced to include radio and cup holders.
joke, right?
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Old 03-20-2013, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by 27T View Post
joke, right?
Jokes are only funny when they have an element of truth.

Review the history of cup holders in vehicles available to North America. You will find vehicles of German origin were the last to include cup holders, and even when they do they do so sparingly. Its not The German Way to drink beverages while driving.

Lack of an integrated TBC is a glaring deficiency in a vehicle of this class. No retrofit TBC is as good as the integrated TBC's available in inexpensive Ford, Chevy, and Dodge pickup trucks. But some bureaucrat in Europe has decided trailer brake management for bumper pull trailers must be performed on the trailer itself and specifically outlawed advances in trailer brake controls.

Am thankful M-B provided a pigtail for an American TBC in my 2009 in a proper place under the dash. Is my understanding prior years were in the rear near the hatch and SAM. And earlier models had nothing at all.
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Old 03-20-2013, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by N4HHE View Post
Jokes are only funny when they have an element of truth.

Review the history of cup holders in vehicles available to North America. You will find vehicles of German origin were the last to include cup holders, and even when they do they do so sparingly. Its not The German Way to drink beverages while driving.
You said "am told they are still upset in Germany at being forced to include radio and cup holders." Who told you that?

Last edited by 27T; 03-20-2013 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by N4HHE View Post

Lack of an integrated TBC is a glaring deficiency in a vehicle of this class. No retrofit TBC is as good as the integrated TBC's available in inexpensive Ford, Chevy, and Dodge pickup trucks.
Exactly my thought
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Old 03-20-2013, 06:04 PM
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I traded in a GMC 3500 HD Duramax diesel for a 2012 BT. The integrated TBC on the pickup was a $50 option. A MB dealer charged me $600+ to install an aftermarket TBC . . . which I supplied. The aftermarket controller had more features than the GM one . . . but still.

Last edited by Shrdlu; 03-20-2013 at 06:34 PM.
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