Date registered: Sep 2002
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The no. 1 thing to know is that you will love the ML320 CDI, especially the 2008. That was the last model year without the adblue system and run flat tires.
I have one with 120,000 miles and no problems. The torque for towing is really nice, it tows up to U.S. 7,200# and is rated in Europe to 7,700#. Fuel mileage has been well beyond the EPA estimates from the window sticker.
The owner's manual states that you will void the warranty if you use more than 5% biodiesel. Hopefully you will find a place in your area that carries plain diesel. Iowa is not a good option. However, here in west-central Wisconsin non-bio diesel is readily available, as is non-oxygenated gasoline.
I quit buying diesel in MN several years ago when the mandate went to 10% biodiesel, prior to 15% biodiesel. I avoid the problem by filling up just across the border in WI and, with a range easily over 700 miles, am able to travel to and from most locations, such as a trip entering at Hudson and traveling to Greenbush via Detroit Lakes and back.
One big problem with biodiesel is in the cold, it can be a problem. By now stations will have "winter" diesel in their tanks. If you use non-biodiesel you will not have problems with cold starts, I have had 7 winters of experience - and we are farther north than you.
Enjoy the ride!