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Old 11-26-2012, 03:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Brake Controllers

I'll be taking the ML in to have a brake controller installed for towing a trailer with electric brakes. Anyone else put one in yet and if so what brand? Is there anything I need to know about the electronics for this vehicle, sway/stability control etc?
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Old 11-26-2012, 06:30 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It was my understanding that this vehicle is designed to detect sway etc. by its advanced electronics and counter by alternating braking to/from the opposing side similar to the lane-following function.

Sure you read your owner's manual as this was also a concern of mine and it is addressed in there.

Expect others will also chime in.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Trailer brake controller installation

Quote:
Originally Posted by SDGT3 View Post
I'll be taking the ML in to have a brake controller installed for towing a trailer with electric brakes. Anyone else put one in yet and if so what brand? Is there anything I need to know about the electronics for this vehicle, sway/stability control etc?
"Search" is a wonderful thing:

http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w166...ntrollers.html

Trailer brake contol module - MBWorld.org Forums

Towing issues (sorry, long) - MBWorld.org Forums
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2012 ML350 BE - Arctic White/Black Premium Leather/Satin Ash
Packages: Premium 02, Lighting, Sport Interior, Dynamic Handling, Panorama Sunroof; Options: hitch; MBTex dash, black h/l, sport seats, pass thru
2008 M3 Coupe- Alpine White/CF roof/Fox Red (2015 M4 on pre-order)
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:00 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thanks GregW.

I did a similar setup on the EXPY with the Tekonsha many years ago.

Best,
Attached Thumbnails
Brake Controllers-controller.jpg   Brake Controllers-controller1.jpg  
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:42 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I installed a Primus IQ 90160 myself. The mounting bracket I attached under the dash near my right knee. There are 3 or 4 factory screws that attach the under dash panels together. I just used one of those screws, and self tapped another to mount the bracket, then ran the brake controller wires between the under dash air vent to the factory green MB plug. I also soldered the spade plugs and pushed them into the female green plug I ordered from MB dealer, so they properly matched the factory plug's polarity. Everything looks factory. See my attachments. 2012 may be a little different though?
As for sway, I still use a WD sway control hitch, as even though the ML has sway control, it activates AFTER sway occurs, which may be too late.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf ML Electric brake controller.pdf (146.8 KB, 86 views)
File Type: pdf ML Trailer install Complete.pdf (901.1 KB, 183 views)

Last edited by dgiturbo; 11-27-2012 at 04:45 PM.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Last edited by SDGT3; 11-27-2012 at 07:30 PM. Reason: duplicate
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I could not open those pics in the module thread, but it sounds like the factory installed tow package has the the wiring harness under the dash near the driver foot panel?
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Old 11-27-2012, 09:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2013ML350W4 View Post
It was my understanding that this vehicle is designed to detect sway etc. by its advanced electronics and counter by alternating braking to/from the opposing side similar to the lane-following function.

Sure you read your owner's manual as this was also a concern of mine and it is addressed in there.

Expect others will also chime in.
Yes, that is what M-B says about their advanced electronic controls which compensate for a shorter wheelbase than one would expect to be stable when towing. But has almost nothing to do with trailer brake controllers (TBC). Last March I was seriously considering a W166 and had to teach the salesman about trailer brakes and how his M-B magic technology was nice but did not address the issue nor the legal requirement.

In some states a TBC is required for trailers as light as 1200 pounds. Required by most states by 3,000 pounds.

I have towed a 1,000 pound trailer about 4,000 miles with my ML, and a 4,000 pound trailer about 1,000 miles. Strange the symmetry there. Can't say I have ever known the fancy anti-sway algorithms to kick in.

Have a Tekonsha P3 TBC. Haven't found a satisfactory place to mount it. My legs run very close to the panels under the steering wheel. So far I have taped it to the dash to the left of the driver's instruments near the HVAC vent. While this is a very good TBC I don't think its function is as smooth or transparent as the built-in unit found on my former Ford F-250 which I used to tow about 20,000 miles.

Have considered cutting the lower dash panel to mount my TBC mostly inside the dash but am not yet ready to make such a major mod. Concerned about the cost of replacing that panel to undo the installation.
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:39 AM   #9 (permalink)
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An ABSOLUTELY great and helpful thread!

Attached pic is what I used to haul coast-to-coast. Added the nose cose to reduce buffeting, as well as air foil deflector to top of the truck to assist as well due to the large surface area of the 28' Featherlite STX.

Also had the WD hitch setup; certainly a must on open highways esp. where there are multiple trailer semis & RVs getting it done.

Lastly, added a boost gauge after supercharger install, as well as temp gauges for aftercooler and transmission return.

Doubt I'll be hauling anything that size in the near term.

Best,
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Brake Controllers-expy-trailer.jpg  
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2013ML350W4 View Post
Also had the WD hitch setup; certainly a must on open highways esp. where there are multiple trailer semis & RVs getting it done.
Weight Distributing or Load Distributing, the two terms seem to be used interchangeably. What it is is a spring between ball mount and trailer tongue which is preloaded to arch the hitch at the ball. This lifts the rear and lowers the front of your tow vehicle.

Another point often skipped is that LD hitches add some measure of anti-sway properties to your rig. When the trailer deviates from squarely behind the tow vehicle the vertical chains on the LD bars deviate from vertical. Vertical is square to the LD bar and the shortest path to the trailer tongue. When a longer path is necessary the LD bars load with more spring force which contributes a bit to trying to center the trailer. I have a friction anti-sway device which I haven't bothered to use in years. The F-250 didn't need it, and the ML doesn't seem to need it with any of the trailers I have towed.

I agree that with any kind of load a LD hitch is desirable to necessary. I used one when towing the 4,000 pound trailer. Hmm, when I named the picture I said 4500 pounds, which is probably correct. If you look closely in front of the American flag on trailer tongue you can see the chain where LD bars are attached.

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