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Towing with an ML250

Discussion in 'General Mercedes-Benz Related Discussion' started by John Love, Sep 11, 2017.

  1. silestanix

    silestanix Senior Member

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    Just my 2p after reading this thread, usually MB do uprate things if you specify a towing pack.

    My W202 has the towing pack, which included a larger capacity radiator, larger oil cooler (same place as usual one which is a oil/coolant exchanger mounted with the oil filter housing but a tad bigger) and hence larger transmission cooler. I've removed my towbar but am glad it has those things especially in summer.

    Anyway,just my 2p
     
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  2. turbopete

    turbopete Senior Member

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    so in that case, why add the extra complication and expense of a 4x4 system? and as for the 'need' to add bigger items, ive just been talking to a friend with, of all things, a RANGE ROVER. (auto V8 diesel). now his previous range rover sport (again V8 diesel auto) was remapped and virtually LIVED with bulky stuff on a car transporter trailer (2 tonnes of waste cooking oil on the trailer, sometimes more, and big empty IBC containers, caravans etc) and he had the towbar fitted (no other changes were mentioned) and being as it was a Range Rover, about the only thing he DIDNT have problems with, were the actual mechanicals (electrics, yes, but the actual engine/gearbox etc were great) and he put about 50k miles on that. so id say if JLR can do it (and make a decent profit out of doing so) then MB should be able to also. surely we don't have to actually admit that the Range rover has a better transmission system set-up than MB can manage?
     
  3. turbopete

    turbopete Senior Member

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    again though, the point being, almost (I cant think of any but I'm sure someone will google it and find one) without exception EVERY OTHER manufacturer has got past this 1970s phenomenon! Ford don't need them (dad asked the dealer when he got his Kuga) Nissan didn't in 2001/2 when I worked at a dealer. neither did Renault. or Range Rovers, or my mates Jag when he had it. or Vauxhall, Peugeot, Citroen, VW (I know a guy who had caravans on all of those 4 regularly)

    in the time I worked in garages, I only ever saw 3 transmission failures in autos, all owned by the same guy, who had a caravan and this was his 'caravanning' car. all were MB's (all S class in fact) yet any other cars he had previous to the MBs didn't have this issue. his widow still has an auto MB (c class) which has covered more miles and been less problematic NOT because its newer (its older in real terms than any of the S class cars were) but because it doesn't tow the caravan.
     
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  4. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    Having had Range Rovers and Land Rovers i would say in general they do have bdtter treansmission systems for 4WD use than pretty much anyone else.
    It's their historical raison d'etre.
     
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  5. Mark A

    Mark A Senior Member

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    MB aren't the only ones to have this approach. I read recently that the 3.0 TDI VW Touareg also has to have a larger cooler added for towing.
     
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  6. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

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    Answers in bold in your post.
    The answer is pretty simple. It isn't because MB cannot design and build a better powertrain than JLR, it is that their sales (note- SALES) philosophy is to give away only what is needed for the car as ordered. That is a very German sales philosophy. Go and spend some time configuring, say, a Golf or Passat. Or A3/ A4. Or a 3 Series. You'll be there all day looking at different options, there are so many. Now go and do the same exercise with a Toyota or Nissan. You'll be there half an hour; there are very few available options as it's more a case of choosing which grade & which pack you want with it.. I've not looked at Land Rover products but Jaguar road cars are a bit of a halfway house between the two extremes.

    What we find is that the OEMs who have high confidence of repeat business (mainly the Germans) feel that they can afford to not give away vehicle content. They mainly sit at the premium end of their business space and they charge for their content, each item definably and specifically. The less premium, more affordable OEMs feel less confident of repeat business and so give away more content within each spec/ grade. The cost of that is of course hidden in the cost of each model grade, but it is a safe bet that charging per item is more profitable than charging for a "pack", as each item is an easier upsell point for the dealer.

    How does all of that link together? Fairly simple. A manufacturer will only put the correct amount of content into each car that they feel their customer base will support. It isn't a case of "MB designs are soooo bad because they need extra cooling". If it were, MB could (and do, in many cases- see A-klasse with Renault K9K engines and Nissan CVT transmissions) just buy in the tech that they want. No, it's that MB will sell their cars with the tech & content relevant for what that car is ordered as. Why spend another (say) $100 per car on greater mass cooling capacity if it's not needed for what the car is ordered for? And if the car needs it, it can get added- and that can be charged for at $2,500.

    See what I mean now?
     
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  7. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

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    This goes to demonstrate my point about the German automakers having confidence in their repeat business.
     
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  8. keefysher

    keefysher Senior Member

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    Pete, interesting you mention the S Klasse. As recorded on here many times, my W221 S350L had a retrofitted OEM tow bar specifically to tow a rather large caravan. The uprated cooling fan was part of that retrofit due to the fact that particular car withEuro 6 Blu Tec, staggered wheels etc was built to meet the emission requirements out of the factory. Had I wanted a towbar when it was built, something not on the wish list as we had a MotorHome at the time, it would have come out of the factory with the revised cooling fan to still meet the emissions requirements. This particular requirement is not limited to MB, but several german car manufacturers.

    Yes, I could have gone non OEM aftermarket tow bar. Which mechanically would have done the job, but no tow bar sellers / fitters would guarantee the fitment. No tow bar fitter, nor several indies would touch the electronic interface on the car. Although I got the parts gratis due to supply issues, I would still have paid for the fan. A simple test, fan £800, invalidated warranty gearbox replacement £12k, no brainer.

    My new tug, the GLE350 came with the factory fitted tow bar and was specifically ordered to tow a caravan. MB, unlike some makers fit the full electrical interface required to power the 12 of 13 pins on the electrics. Ford, BMW, VW, Kia, Hyundai, Vauxhall do NOT produce cars out of the factory with the necessary electrics, unless you specifically chase the dealer to ensure the order states they are required.

    Whilst you can deride MB on the fan, you can equally deride the others for not putting the electrics on.

    More importantly, prospective buyers of cars with a requirement for a towbar can read of the issues here.

    Did you know that JLR had to recall Disco 4, RR, & RRSport to replace the rear cross members where tow bars had been fitted. In these cases the removable tow bars were replaced with fixed ball tow bars. Those fixed balls are not suitable used with AlKo stabilisers and lead to caravans dropping off the back. Toyota Land Cruisers also don't come out of the factory with AlKo suitable tow balls.

    This towing lark, particlarly with caravans has moved on from the days of bung a ball on and off you go. Drop plates as on land rovers of days past , 2 inch or 50mm balls are all not currently suitable for towing current caravans with AlKo stabilisers. There is a height of tow ball standard that older typically well regarded tow cars such as X-Trails do not meet that standard. A raft of regs have come in in recent years that have changed the face of towing.
     
  9. silestanix

    silestanix Senior Member

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    Was more than an observation and contribution than anything else mate lol
     
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  10. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

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    Now I have just looked through the full EPC. All MLs require an additional transmission fluid cooler when the towing hitch option is fitted. The base platform for the ML though, the E class 211 & 212, do not (they have no separate transmission fluid cooler available). Interesting.
     
  11. oigle

    oigle Senior Member

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    Probably because the ML's have a much higher towing capacity than the E class. As I have said previously, the standard system on the ML is NOT good enough for towing.

    Ian.
     
  12. Craiglxviii

    Craiglxviii Senior Member

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    That was my conclusion too.
     
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  13. prm

    prm Senior Member

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    I have an ML350 bluetec with which I've been towing a caravan for 3 years now, I had a retro fitted tow bar (£230),and it's been absolutely fine. I would suggest that you go for a 350 over the 250 though cos car and van is a lot of weight for a 4 pot engine
     
  14. M80

    M80 Senior Member

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    It follows from that, that if the actual ML GTW in practice is no more than the permissible GTW of the 211 or 212 then the ML transmission cooling system is adequate.
    That is, the caravan that is being towed isn't as heavy as the ML is capable of towing then the system isn't being loaded as much as it might. Also the gearing of the ML should reduce loading under acceleration.

    Of course if towing in higher ambient temperatures, like the Aus summer, or hauling up the Alps any system might be put under strain. Maybe altitude would have an adverse affect too with the, air density being less.
     
  15. oigle

    oigle Senior Member

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    The GTW (I presume you mean Gross Towing Weight) of the ML is 3.5 tonnes which is a lot more than the 211 or 212. On top of that, the ML is already driving its own weight - 2.2 tonnes which is a fair bit more than those vehicles. I found that, even towing 1.6 tonnes with a loaded ML on holidays, was causing overheating problems with the transmission in any sort of heavy duty work - long hills, hot conditions etc. Oil was blackening quickly and smelling burnt. Water (coolant) temps rose to 95° and held there with the fan cutting in, so that side was under control. I cannot come to any other conclusion. The addition of an extra tranny cooler fixed those issues immediately. OK, I am talking Oz temps but you guys do get heat waves with temps over 30 at times and you do take them to the continent. Spain can be as bad as Oz in summer and there are some BIG mountains there too.

    Ian.
     
  16. M80

    M80 Senior Member

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    GTW means gross train weight Oigle.
    As you say the max GTW for the Gr Cherokee will be similar to yours at 5,866Kg, 3,135Kg of which is the empty kerb weight of the car itself. Max braked trailer is 3,360Kg, where as I would expect the max trailer weight of a 211 to be close to 1,500Kg+. The 203 was 1,500Kg max.

    So, assuming the ML is similar to the Gr Cherokee, the ML is hauling 1,600Kg as approx half its max allowable capacity and is approx the total max capacity of the 211.
    The 2.1 litre 211 will be revving at approx 2K, about the same as the ML (assumed) and the Gr Cherokee. The large 3 litre 211 will be revving at approx 1.6K so the gearing of the ML is more suited to towing anyway.

    I would agree that a larger transmission cooler is preferable, but maybe not so critical until towing heavier lumps, in higher temps or longer, higher inclines.
     

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