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Cruise Control and Towing
08-01-2011, 12:46 PM
Post: #1
 
OK, long trip to/from WGI...stupid question time: Can (should/could) you use Cruise Control while towing? Will it reek havoc with your transmission?

My tow vehicle is an ML350 with a six-cylinder, 7 speed automatic transmission, I tow in the D6 position so that the overdrive isn't constantly shifting.

Advice? (Other than to buy a "real" man tow vehicle! The ML works just fine.)

David Felker
PCA Instructor

2009 Grand Am Conti/GTB1 Cayman S Race Car FOR SALE
2013 991S
1999 Spec Boxster #45
1999 996 PCA GTB1 SOLD
2016 GL450 4Matic
2016 Ford F350 Big Boy Truck (Traded up from the 2005 F350 I stole from Yonker)
2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Quote
08-02-2011, 10:26 AM (This post was last modified: 08-02-2011 10:29 AM by emayer.)
Post: #2
 
Glad to see you using the ML for towing.  I was hoping to steal my wife's GL for this purpose instead of buying a dedicated pickup, but while the vehicle capacity is 7200 lbs, the tongue weight max is 650.  Apparently they use an 8% figure in Europe for weight distribution.  My understanding is the next generation (2013) addresses this concern.

That all being said, I use cruise control when towing with the Avalanche.  I have not seen anything in the manuals for either car recommending against this.  You are right about using D5 or 6 to preserve the tranny.  Fuel consumption seems better while on cruise and I haven't noticed a significant increase in gear changes etc.

How's the ML towing experience been otherwise?

Eric Mayer

2013 MB G63
2012 Audi R8 GT #232
2011 GT3 RS
1988 928 S4
1988 MB 560SL
2014 MB GL 550
Quote
08-02-2011, 02:34 PM
Post: #3
 
Despite the concerns of my friends in the club, the ML 350 has towed beautifully. I was cautioned about such a short wheelbase vehicle and the resultant propensity for sway issues as well as the capability of the six-cylinder engine. However, I guess MB raised the tow capacity to 7,200 lbs. a couple of years ago and they added an anti-sway application to the stability program.

Remember though, I'm pulling an open Trailex, not the "nicer than my first apartment" enclosed trailer that you have. (Once you get the flat screen and a/c, of course.) So, the tongue weight is not an issue for me.

Down to Summit with no a/c, I averaged a little over 14 MPG and going to WGI with a/c, I averaged a little over 12 MPG. On Sunday, even with the rain, it felt rock steady at 70 MPH. It's really been a pleasure to drive.

David Felker
PCA Instructor

2009 Grand Am Conti/GTB1 Cayman S Race Car FOR SALE
2013 991S
1999 Spec Boxster #45
1999 996 PCA GTB1 SOLD
2016 GL450 4Matic
2016 Ford F350 Big Boy Truck (Traded up from the 2005 F350 I stole from Yonker)
2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Quote
08-03-2011, 01:06 AM
Post: #4
 
Excellent feedback, thanks.  I think with the continued development of uni-body SUVs, the line is blurring in respect to whether a pickup is truly necessary except for heavier loads.

I purposely went with ATC in designing "Daddy's Dog House" (as my kids named it!) to keep the overall weight down.  Of course that's not the whole story when considering a tow vehicle, but I may be attempting this with an SUV yet...

Speaking of trailers, Larry and Bob's "Command Center" for reviewing track data is cool.  Literally and figuratively! Big Grin

Eric Mayer

2013 MB G63
2012 Audi R8 GT #232
2011 GT3 RS
1988 928 S4
1988 MB 560SL
2014 MB GL 550
Quote
08-05-2011, 06:28 AM
Post: #5
 
This probably is not relevant information as I tow with a Dobge 2500 Cummins.  It has a tow mode for the transmission and I always use cruise control with no transmission shift jumping unless called for.  It even down gears on a decline to keep the speed to a 5 MPH overrun.

S C Waters
07 Cayman, DE car
Quote
08-05-2011, 06:44 AM
Post: #6
 
Yeah....as my grandmother used to say, "that's a slightly different kettle of fish."

David Felker
PCA Instructor

2009 Grand Am Conti/GTB1 Cayman S Race Car FOR SALE
2013 991S
1999 Spec Boxster #45
1999 996 PCA GTB1 SOLD
2016 GL450 4Matic
2016 Ford F350 Big Boy Truck (Traded up from the 2005 F350 I stole from Yonker)
2014 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Quote
11-13-2011, 03:28 AM (This post was last modified: 11-13-2011 03:28 AM by 997S22.)
Post: #7
 
Been towing open Trailex with GL450 or GL350 Bluetech for 2 years, about 50 events, with no issues.  I use cruise all the time with transmission in normal drive position.   The 350 Bluetech is great for towing this load, with its low end torque you almost don't notice the tow.

Bob
2012 Interseries Cayman S #17
2006 997 GT3 Cup #18
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11-13-2011, 06:34 AM
Post: #8
 
Thanks for the feedback.

The comments on the ML and GL platforms I've seen thus far here and other forums has been uniformly good.  Some go so far to say that they tow even better than some of the larger body-on-frame- brethren.

My wife finally relented her GL for a Suburban after a few recent accidents.  We would have replaced the GL with a new one, but the revised model is due out next year.  My hope is (and rumor has it) that the tongue weight limits will be increased to fully exploit the vehicle's towing capacity.  If this happens, I think a Bluetech would be an excellent choice.

See you all next season!

Eric Mayer

2013 MB G63
2012 Audi R8 GT #232
2011 GT3 RS
1988 928 S4
1988 MB 560SL
2014 MB GL 550
Quote
11-14-2011, 06:25 AM
Post: #9
 
Guys:

One topic that comes up with MBs is finding suitable towing mirrors.  One of the forums offered a solid recommendation on this product: 

https://www.makariosrv.com/products/Aero...ducts.html

Mirrors are available in a more aero design from this manufacturer also.

Eric Mayer

2013 MB G63
2012 Audi R8 GT #232
2011 GT3 RS
1988 928 S4
1988 MB 560SL
2014 MB GL 550
Quote


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