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Anyone tow with Mercedes Metris Van?


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Hi All

Anyine tow with Mercedes Metris 8 passenger van?

Specs:
2.0 L, 4-cylinder turbocharged gas engine with direct injection 208 hp/258 lb-ft of torque

RWD

7 speed automatic transmission 

Max tow 5000 lbs

Max payload 1860 lbs

Max GCWR 11,684 lbs

I’ve removed the two rows of seats that are quite heavy as well. Plan to haul the outdoor items in van (and the two beagles of course). If safe a generator and fuel but kind of hate the idea of hauling fuel inside the vehicle. 

I hope to order soon and have zero RV equipment (or experience lol) currently so thinking out options. 
 

Think I’ll Boondock because I like a bit more space between the neighbors and low cost I plan to travel 6 months /year possibly full time. Batteries + Solar panel = weight? 
 

I like my creature comforts so I    can navy shower but not doing giant wipes lol— I’ll want water so more weight there.

thanks in advance for your advise/input —- lots of experience on this forum!

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 I am assuming you are talking about the Elite? It is right at your maximum towing weight. It doesn’t really leave you any safety reserves for high altitude, hot weather or headwinds. You would always be constantly stressing the heck out of the drivetrain. I personally would say, find a more suitable vehicle with a better tow rating and ESPECIALLY more ground clearance. You will never be able to boondock off paved roads with this:

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If you are talking about the Elite II, then no, it will never work. One of the big Benz SUVs would be a suitable choice for either trailer.

John Davies

Spokane WA

 

Edited by John E Davies

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks John. you’re so right— clearance an important  consideration. Darn... actually kind of love this van and hoped it would work. I’m on a Metris forum and folks do lift the van but I know you can end up doing a bunch of stupid tweaking just to end up in a different vehicle soon anyway. What clearance would be realistic for boondocking? I have no desire to go crazy trying to off-road but like not being limited from a few gravel rougher roads for short distance . I figured Elite 2 was no go and Elite with options could be pushing it.  I’m curious what the Elite unloaded weight ends up with a solar lithium package and what it runs if you do most of the  upgrades overall. Also, due to lack of experience, I’m not sure what I’ll be loaded. I know water probably  around 240? I’m not a cook so kitchen stuff will be minimal. I think my heavier stuff will be outdoor - screen tent, have a dbl camp chair, etc. but still it’s just me and the dogs.  
generator plus fuel— what do folks run there? 
 

I could be very naive about the total weight but I feel like my “stuff” will consist of work laptop, monitor, iPad, outdoor and dog gear,  energy source, water. Where am I there??? 500? ?? Again, no clue! Tools?

Thanks!
 

Edited by Mch
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Your payload is actually pretty adequate, for the small Ollie and one person, especially with the two rear seats removed.

Try this.... drive your van to some places off -pavement that you think you might want to visit with your future trailer. I am pretty sure the van simply won’t get there, much less with a trailer on the back. Your city van has a pretty long wheelbase and with such low clearance it will drag something important. Research Breakover Angle

Have you looked underneath? What is the low point? I had a 2007 RAV4 which is just a rebodied Corolla sedan. It had 6” clearance. Toyota unwisely ran the exhaust system in a sharp loop under the rear suspension, instead of over it.... that trucklet was hopeless on even the most gentle of uneven terrain. Their new Adventure model got a 1/2 inch “lift” by fitting taller tires plus lots of plastic cladding. I haven’t looked to see if they moved the exhaust.... where I am getting is, a car based TV is simply the wrong choice for where you want to “adventure”... You should get a truck. Otherwise you will damage stuff, get stuck, have to deal with the heartbreak of getting towed and paying to fix what you broke. A pickup or tall SUV means lots less stress to the TV and WAY less stress to you. Which is the most important factor.

Your Metris is remarkably similar to the Ford Flex. Neither has nearly enough clearance in the middle, even though the Flex has 2 more inches.... if you scrape a simple concrete parking barrier with the front air dam, imagine how that will work when things get tougher...

John Davies

Spokane WA

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A1E13DD4-A0A3-400F-B4FF-780F3FD946DF.jpeg

Edited by John E Davies

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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I don't think this is a factor, when towing with a Benz, but feel I must mention it:  We had a B+ class motor home based on a MB 3500 Sprinter chassis.  With 6-cyl diesel it had plenty of power and handled well, aside from being susceptible to sway when driving in heavy wind.  However, in four years time, we had two wheel speed sensor failures.  The added height/weight/sway of the coach was probably a big factor leading to these failures, but it was spec'd by MB for RV use, so perhaps it was an engineering flaw in the 2016 model chassis.

My bit of warning is: These breakdowns were a huge inconvenience, as they occurred during road trips.  In theory, you are not totally disabled; without the speed sensors working properly you have no anti-lock brake function, but brakes do still work, and the electronic cruise control is disabled.  However, Mercedes feels it must protect you from harm, so you only have a limited drive time before the engine computer puts the vehicle into limp mode and forces you to "visit a workshop now!"

Here it gets interesting.  Scenerio #1: May 16, 2019.  We're driving a MB Sprinter motor home and breakdown in the middle of nowhere (I-80, somewhere east of Winnemucca, NV).  The throttle begins acting erratically so we pull into a rest area just as the computer switches the engine to "safe mode" (think Windows Blue Screen of Death!).  We call MB roadside assistance.  Long story short - two days camped at the rest area (first tow truck couldn't find us, then couldn't haul us), they send another tow vehicle; a three hour drive to the nearest MB "workshop" in Reno (three of us in the cab of a 1 1/2 ton tow truck, me sitting on the console jump seat), three nights on the street in Reno (we arrived 15 min before service closed).  5 days of our momentous trip to Arizona stalled due to a right rear wheel speed sensor failure.

Scenerio #2 was better, since we knew what to expect:  It's May, 2020 - a year since the occurrence of Scenerio #1.  We were only 75 miles into our trip, so we returned home and arranged for repair (again, nearest MB service is 2 1/2 hrs away).  This time we took a chance and drove to the shop without limping in.  Though we might never have another wheel sensor fail, interrupted trips aren't in our retirement plan.  On the drive home we decided it was time to sell the motor home (thanks to Covid-19 it's a seller's market!).  These are adventures we won't forget, but some good did come from our mishaps - they led us to purchasing an Oliver 😁

Bottom line is, with all else being good, and you can tow an Oliver Elite with the Metris, if breakdowns require warranty service (some components are warrantied for 5 and even 10 years), MB certified shops are not as windspread as Dodge, GM, Ford, or Toyota, et al.  If not under warranty, service may be easier to obtain, as Dodge shops that work on Promaster vans can make Sprinter repairs, though they might not be warranty certified.  The MB Metris might have more options than the larger Sprinter chassis. 

Just be aware that towing with a MB, whether it be the Metris, a larger Sprinter van, or an SUV, you will need to tolerate few-and-far-between MB service locations.  Not so, towing with most non-European vehicles.  For sure, when on the road, identify the locations of MB service along your route.

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Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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Susan makes a great case for buying a different brand. Where do you live, where will you tow? I hope not in Wyoming or the Dakotas.....

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John Davies

Spokane WA

Edited by John E Davies
  • Like 1

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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Well... damn

excellent points across the board 

I do believe under the van does not have low parts but I will take a closer look for sure. I want to do a lot out West— hit National Parks etc. possibly an eventual drive to Alaska which now seems quite out of the question for Metris I’m sure. wow... a breakdown in the wrong location could be very complicated. 
 

I think I’ll start with Metris for some local o camping I plan to do before a long trip and upgrade once I have a  clue what I’ll want. 
 

I’m assuming there’s already a thread for recommended used TVs out there.  Many thanks for the insight!

 

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Sounds like you already have the van? If so then this is likely moot. But fwiw we've had  good luck thus far with our 2004 Ford E250 based conversion van. We had one issue early on which put a kink into the  first  few days  of a trip but  a very nearby Ford service place dealt  with it fairly quickly. Now at 120K and counting, I expect  to be dealing with some bigger  maintenance issues  somewhere  between soon  and 200K (the range I've been told is typical for seeing engine and/or  transmission problems requiring fairly affordable and easy to obtain replacements, and also things like  ball joints etc which again are not hard to get done with this ubiquitous van platform). The newer Transit looks interesting particularly now that they have factory-done AWD (versus the super expensive  aftermarket 4WD that can be added to my van, which also kills  fuel mileage and sucks some of the  payload capacity), but they don't seem to have  quite the same towing capacity despite a fairly  good payload capacity. For an Elite 1 they seem  like they'd certainly suffice  though. I don't know what ground clearance  is for the Transit but fwiw it's pretty decent on our RWD E250, which has gotten me/us out some fairly rough rutted and rocky mountain  roads, albeit slowly and bumpily (especially for  anyone who  happens to be in the back seat!).

Edited by Jim_Oker

Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II December 2020 delivery

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Yes purchased the van this summer. Van camping as we speak to get my feet wet and work with the beagles. Happy to hear you’ve had good experience. 

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Mch - keep in mind, the folks who buy Mercs live in urban areas, so naturally that is where the small number of dealers are located. But the big four manufacturers (Ford. Chevy, Ram and Toyota) sell a whole lot of trucks in the rural market - to farmers, ranchers and commercial operations like mines or electric companies - so just about any small county seat  will have a big dealer, if not, it will be located one or two towns away. Not two states away 😉 Plus any independent local shop can work on a pickup....

Having a ubiquitous brand makes your travels way less stressful. Nobody likes a breakdown and halt to his vacation, but a more common vehicle makes the in-warranty repairs tolerable, and once the warranty is gone, it makes your out of pocket costs an order of magnitude less. I wonder how much a rebuilt transmission for your van would cost? Lordy....Forty five years ago I knew a pilot with a big Merc 300D sedan. His battery failed and he had the dealer put a new one in, for $200. I can't comment on current MB prices but I cannot see them being exactly affordable.

John Davies

Spokane WA

"Mouse":  2017 Legacy Elite II NARV (Not An RV) Two Beds, Hull Number 218, See my HOW TO threads: https://olivertraveltrailers.com/topic/john-e-davies-how-to-threads-and-tech-articles-links/

Tow Vehicle: 2013 Land Cruiser 200, 33" LT tires, airbags.

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I’m with you on location issues when I get out West for sure. I will say when I first purchased the van I had an alternator issue and I’m past warranty but they replaced for $0 as it was electrical issue that shouldn’t have come up. However, I currently live 30 minutes from two dealers so easy peasy with a fancy loaner car to boot. My shortest trips in preparation of the bigger will probably be in the Metris. I know this won’t work out  well when going to the multiple remote locations I’ll want to go long term. I’ll very likely make a change before a big West trip. I should also be in a better position financially in a year or so as I am hopefully sitting for my last actuary exam in May and should be credentialed soon after.  I hate to buy brand new due to immediate huge hit on depreciation. (Ironically I’ll buy Ollie new but we all know why)  If you were to get a used version of mainstream maker to haul Elite, and not break the bank— what would it be? I’m happy to fork over the $ to start with something that isn’t a fuss and it doesn’t need to be “pretty”. Vehicles are such a money suck I only care about utility and reliability. I admittedly really don’t like trying to sort through vehicle issues since I know only enough to realize I don’t know anything lol.

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Like Susan, we had a MB Sprinter based RV.  Never had any issues with it, but the wheel sensor issue was quite well known and carrying a spare set of rear sensors was good insurance.  They aren't hard to change on the side of the road if needed. I don't think having an RV coach on the chassis had any bearing on wheel sensor longevity - it's just a weak spot in the design.  But so is the emissions system on the 3.0 diesel - many of which have now been recalled due to some "cheating" by Bosch and the various German chassis manufacturers. 

Also like Susan, we sold our MBS RV recently when we bought our Ollie.  We are planning a long journey from Georgia to Alaska and I really didn't trust the MB chassis (or the Forest River coach).  As mentioned, MB or Freightliner dealers are few and far between in certain areas. 

I know folks love their Fords, Chevy/GMC and Ram trucks, but it's hard to beat the reliability of a Tacoma or Tundra. The Tacoma still outsells the Ranger and Colorado, even though it is a dated design and not as feature-laden.

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5 hours ago, Mch said:

I’m with you on location issues when I get out West for sure. I will say when I first purchased the van I had an alternator issue and I’m past warranty but they replaced for $0 as it was electrical issue that shouldn’t have come up. However, I currently live 30 minutes from two dealers so easy peasy with a fancy loaner car to boot. My shortest trips in preparation of the bigger will probably be in the Metris. I know this won’t work out  well when going to the multiple remote locations I’ll want to go long term. I’ll very likely make a change before a big West trip. I should also be in a better position financially in a year or so as I am hopefully sitting for my last actuary exam in May and should be credentialed soon after.  I hate to buy brand new due to immediate huge hit on depreciation. (Ironically I’ll buy Ollie new but we all know why)  If you were to get a used version of mainstream maker to haul Elite, and not break the bank— what would it be? I’m happy to fork over the $ to start with something that isn’t a fuss and it doesn’t need to be “pretty”. Vehicles are such a money suck I only care about utility and reliability. I admittedly really don’t like trying to sort through vehicle issues since I know only enough to realize I don’t know anything lol.

We will be towing our Ollie with a 2013 F350 SuperDuty, diesel, supercab, 4-wd XLT.  I know the 6.7l engine doesn't get the best reviews, but we have had zero issues with it.  With low mileage (less than 60K) it is still worth nearly as much as when purchased (we did get a great deal, end of year and it doesn't have all the fancy options many want).  We purchased it to tow a 30' 5th-wheel and for towing an equipment trailer.  Though we certainly don't need a 1-ton tow vehicle for our Elite II, we plan to keep the F350.  It is well outfitted for towing with built in brake controller, heavy duty alternator, and hill-hold (saves brakes when descending steep grades).   More importantly, it doesn't have as many of the electronic engine controls found on newer vehicles.  

Here is one comparable to ours.  We paid $40,000 new 😁

  • Thanks 1

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin Hull# 699 - delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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