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Oliver EL 2 with a Mercedes GL 450


Pat Maundrell
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We just pick up our 2019 Elite 2 and Towed it home with our 2015 Mercedes GL 450, equipped with 4 Wheel Air Suspension. Note, this vehicle is limited to 600 LBS of Tongue Weight.

I was apprehensive about Towing with this combination, primarily because I didn't have any experience with the Andersen Hitch characteristics and its ability to transfer enough Tongue Weight to the TV's Front Axles. Andersen has told me that their Hitch can transfer up tp 30% to the Front Axle of the TV. In preparation  for the "Tow," I measured and marked, 34 inches up from the ground to a Mark, above each wheel on the fender, while the vehicle was unloaded! The plan was to then take new measurements once the Trailer was hooked up and compare the two measurements to determine what affect the Tongue Weight had. BTW, the empty TW was 480LBS, plus the 60 LBS of Hitch Weight, which is what Oliver told me to expect. Naturally, I expected the Rear End of the TV to be lower with the added weight! However, believe it or not there was hardly any Difference, maybe 1/8 - 1/4 across all 4 wheels! Apparently, the Andersen Hitch and the Air Suspension did their job exceptionally well. 

Additionally, I set the "Ball Height" at the recommended 23.5 Inches, but this produced a slight "Nose Up" attitude of the trailer. I'll try to lower the Hitch's Head, one bolt hole and take another look. Finally, I calculated my fuel mileage at 13.5 MPG,  while driving at  70 MPH on the interstate for 150 miles.  At this point, I have to conclude that the combination of the GL 450 and the Oliver is going to be a good one!

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Pat - 

That's good news and it appears as though things are working out well for you.  In addition, I think that you had good weather for your delivery too.  That always helps.  Please keep in mind that your stopping distances are now much greater when towing the Ollie.  Pictures are always appreciated too.

Bill

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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  • 1 month later...

First Road Trip comments.

Overall our GL 450 and Oliver proved to be a very nice combination! I was somewhat worried about the TW (Limited to 600lbs) but actual TW measurements using a TW Scale show 580 lbs loaded. The combination worked exceptionally well, smooth and straight as could be. Unfortunately we were in a hurry and found ourselves cruising at 70-75 MPH, which is to fast, IMHO. We were getting 13 Plus MPG and found more than enough power through the mountains of KY/Tenn. 

We need experience the normal problems Hitching Up, but after several attempts we settled into a workable procedure that seems to work. Our Anderson Hitch has the newest Updated Parts, i.e. Bat Wing/Ball etc. The first Test Drive ( 1 mile) did produce a Light Feel in the Front Axle of the GL 450, so I tighten the Chain Adjusters exactly 1/2 turn tighter. To my surprise this produced a very satisfactory feel/ride. I noticed the previous owner did not have any Lube on the Chain Adjuster Threads (dry) which made them very hard to turn. I put light grease on the threads which made them easy to turn, even when fully loaded. I was surprised that only a 1/2 Turn made a Night & Day difference in the Weight Transfer to the Front Axle of the TV, I wouldn't have expected this!

I was very skeptical about the Anderson Hitch when we were first introduced to it, but after using it for a while I guess it is OK. However, if another option was available I probably would take it. This is because of the difficulty Hitch it up! Other WD Hitches are easier to Hook Up in my opinion.

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12 hours ago, Pat Maundrell said:

I noticed the previous owner did not have any Lube on the Chain Adjuster Threads (dry) which made them very hard to turn. I put light grease on the threads which made them easy to turn, even when fully loaded.

Pat - 

I believe that it is recommended by Andersen to leave those "Chain Adjuster Threads" (the assembly right near the red bushings) dry.  I've always assumed that this was because they didn't want these to change tension during normal operation.

With regards to other WD hitches - I've used an Equalizer WD hitch on previous RV's I've owned and from that experience I believe that the Andersen is at least as easy to use AND does a better job - particularly with "bounce".

Bill

2017 Ford F150 Lariat 3.5EB FX4 Max Towing 2016 Oliver Elite II - Hull #117 "Twist"

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I apply a small amount of synthetic grease to the base of each nut where it rubs against the washer, it reduces the amount of force needed. I haven’t tried greasing the threads, but if you remove some of the tension with the jack before adjusting the nuts, they turn very easily. Once those urethane bushings are compressed, I don’t see how they could possibly “slip”.

I do apply a witness mark with a black Sharpie to each nut, to the outside flat, so if I do have to loosen them to hitch up, I can get them back to where they were without having to measure or count how many threads are showing. 

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, Safari snorkel.

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I considered any possible "negative consequences" of applying some Lube to the treads and I even thought about adding Torrington Bearings to replace the Flat Washer between the Nut and the Bushing to reduce friction, but the Lube did the job!

IMHO, the most important consideration should be, is the Hitch adjusted correctly, i.e. correct amount of weight transferred to the Front Axle of the TV! I guess it is possible to over adjust the Hitch because it is easier to turn the nuts, but the same situation applies when you use the Trailer Front Jack to rise the trailer to make adjusting the Nuts easier.

I accidentally stumble on how sensitive the Adjustments actually are. As I mentioned before, during a 1 mile Test-Road Trip the Front End of our GL 450 felt LIGHT, I pulled over and turned both Adjusting Nuts 1/2 turn tighter. To my complete amazement this made the GL 450's Front End and the complete vehicle feel firm. You could actually feel the Trailer's Weight being spread out across both axles of the TV. Note, my wife felt this also during the trip!

I will call Andersen Hitch to get their comments.

 

 

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Pat,

simlar experience following pickup, first few miles, E1. After a few miles, the Tacoma was wandering a bit. Front end was " light". I was saying bad things about my decision to tow with my Tacoma. Decided to adjust the hitch, assumed to do one turn at a time would be a start, but found that 3/4 turn was all that was needed. Chains usually had about 1/2" deflection. Had other issues with hitch on way back, but as you said, could feel the distributed weight  

Still trying to get used to the Andersen nuances, and the Tacoma as a tow vehicle for 4,000 lbs. even with headwind, was consistent around 14 mpg. 

Looking at my next tv, as there are now 160,000 miles on the Tacoma. Used no oil in the 2000 mile return trip. My daughter has an MB GL450. I'll add that to my short list of new vehicles - tundra, sequoia, land cruiser. 

John

      

2014 Toyota Tacoma 4x4

2021 Elite I #758       

      image.png.d972b5fc86270818b1e0f030bfaa433a.pngMap of Provinces I Visited

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On 4/11/2021 at 12:37 PM, Pat Maundrell said:

I considered any possible "negative consequences" of applying some Lube to the treads and I even thought about adding Torrington Bearings to replace the Flat Washer between the Nut and the Bushing to reduce friction, but the Lube did the job!

IMHO, the most important consideration should be, is the Hitch adjusted correctly, i.e. correct amount of weight transferred to the Front Axle of the TV! I guess it is possible to over adjust the Hitch because it is easier to turn the nuts, but the same situation applies when you use the Trailer Front Jack to rise the trailer to make adjusting the Nuts easier.

I accidentally stumble on how sensitive the Adjustments actually are. As I mentioned before, during a 1 mile Test-Road Trip the Front End of our GL 450 felt LIGHT, I pulled over and turned both Adjusting Nuts 1/2 turn tighter. To my complete amazement this made the GL 450's Front End and the complete vehicle feel firm. You could actually feel the Trailer's Weight being spread out across both axles of the TV. Note, my wife felt this also during the trip!

I will call Andersen Hitch to get their comments.

 

 

I called Andersen today and told them the above story and ask them for their recommendations/comments. They told me "there is no problem applying small amounts of Lube to the Treads! They did however add that it may make the area a little dirty."

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  • 8 months later...

I'm curious what your cargo carrying capability is on your Mercedes ML450. I just bought an Elite II, had it delivered to Oregon, and plan to tow it with a 2021 Mercedes GLE AMG 63S. When I ordered the Mercedes, the maximum towing weight was listed as 7,000 lbs and maximum tongue weigh of 700 lbs. I never was able to find the maximum cargo carrying capability on any Mercedes documents. The dealer assured me it would work with trailer with a maximum weight of 6,000. When I picked up the vehicle (it took nine months), the actual maximum cargo carrying capability is 937 lbs. With the tongue plus hitch weight of 540 lbs, two adults, and two dogs, I will exceed the 937 lb limit without accounting for the increase in tongue weight due to loading the trailer, and I can't carry anything in the Mercedes.

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Xuxu, I am astonished that Mercedes does not publish the cargo capacity. I looked just now and it still says TBA. As you have discovered, it is pretty important …. I bet that you are pretty mad at that salesman. What do you plan to do at this point?

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, Safari snorkel.

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8 hours ago, Xuxu said:

When I picked up the vehicle (it took nine months), the actual maximum cargo carrying capability is 937 lbs. With the tongue plus hitch weight of 540 lbs, two adults, and two dogs, I will exceed the 937 lb limit without accounting for the increase in tongue weight due to loading the trailer, and I can't carry anything in the Mercedes.

Is the 937 lbs. limit what is printed on the sticker on the Mercedes driver’s door jamb?  (The sticker will look something like this shown in the photo.  This is from my F-250, a cargo limit of 3,334 lbs and my towing capacity is 12,500 lbs, so the loaded Elite II plus all our camping gear, bicycles, people, etc in the truck is not a problem).  If your actual cargo/payload limit is only 937 lbs. then that is definitely not adequate for towing an Elite II.      The limit of 937 lbs. seems really low even if you aren’t towing.  You would get close to that with just 4 adults and a bit of luggage in the Mercedes.   

image.thumb.jpeg.b532c70b963adfba1ab7612b16da6c0a.jpeg

2019 Oliver Legacy Elite II - Hull #461

Tow Vehicles:

Primary - 2019 Ford F-250

Backup - 2019 Nissan Armada 

 

ALARCODEINKSKYMONMNYNCOHOKPATNTXUTVAWVxlg.jpg.bc136094bef415679018eafd8d4046ad.jpg

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John, I guess I’m even more amazed that Mercedes would offer a vehicle that they claim will tow 7700 lbs, yet less than a 1000 lbs of cargo capacity. The salesman retired the day I took possession; however, I doubt he knew how low it was.

For the immediate future, I will take short overnight trips and not put any cargo in the vehicle. Longer term, I will drag out my 2009 Dodge half-ton pick-up when I make week-long trips in the summer.

Perhaps the Dodge is a better towing choice than the Mercedes, especially if the Mercedes broke down in some rural area where I couldn’t get it serviced or parts. It sure is fun to drive though.

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3 hours ago, Xuxu said:

Yes, the 937 lbs is on the sticker just inside the front door. Obviously, this is not enough capacity to tow much of anything.

That number is not the actual payload of the vehicle because it factors in reduced load capacity of the tires when under-inflated up to 25% below the specified value,  or the point at which the TPMS system will alarm. In other words, 937 lbs has been determined to be the maximum safe additional load with the tire inflation 25% less than the value specified on the label. 

There have been a number of different weight specs published for this vehicle but none I've found result in a payload rating that low. I'd suggest finding the GVWR number listed on the vehicle information label and having your vehicle weighed to determine its actual curb weight. The difference between these two numbers will give you a better idea if the GLE can be an adequate choice for towing. I suspect you'll find the actual payload is around 1300 lbs.

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