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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks,

I have a 2009 ML320 that did not come with factory air suspension.

I would like to add air suspension mostly for balancing the ride when towing.

I've done a good amount of research and have found nothing promising. I've called both Arnott and Performance Air Suspension and they have nothing for the W164.

Does anyone know of decent options for adding aftermarket air suspension to a post-facelift W164?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks.

I'm not actually looking to retrofit an Airmatic system.

I'm just looking for a more straight-forward solution to provide some height control, especially when towing.

Anything come to mind?
 

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That's not what you said in your opening post.

I would like to add air suspension mostly for balancing the ride when towing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I think you may have misunderstood my original post, so I'll help clear it up...

I'd like to retrofit an air suspension system (generic term), but I am not actually looking to retrofit an Airmatic system (specific, Mercedes).

Hope that helps.

Does anything come to mind, anyone?
 

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Totally understand where your at as there is no helper spring kit available. (or is there?) read on:
I tow with my non-airmatic 2008 ML320cdi. Here is what I did to correct the coil spring squat

1- Upgrade factory spring to the heaviest OEM spring available. Part# A-164-324-04-04
2- Added additional upper spring shims from part# A-164-320-00-56
3- AirLift 1000 kit. Part #60825 (W164 and W166 ML's are about identical to the 2011 and up Jeep Grand Cherokee).

Works great, heres a picture
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is excellent.

Questions for you:
  • Is this for the rear only?
  • If you did the front, too, same part numbers?
    • Would you happen to have the part numbers for the front even if you didn't airbag the front?
  • What compressor and controller did you use?
  • How do you control the airbags?
  • Did you replace your shocks/struts at the same time?
    • I ask on this because I think my ML feels ... bouncy?
  • Is the camber of the tire(s) corrected?
    • I noticed when I did my brake job a few months ago that my front tires eres each equally worn on the inside tread, meaning that it is sitting too squat forcing a higher camber angle...
Many thanks for this, Vin-barrett.
 

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This is excellent.

Questions for you:
  • Is this for the rear only?
  • If you did the front, too, same part numbers?
    • Would you happen to have the part numbers for the front even if you didn't airbag the front?
  • What compressor and controller did you use?
  • How do you control the airbags?
  • Did you replace your shocks/struts at the same time?
    • I ask on this because I think my ML feels ... bouncy?
  • Is the camber of the tire(s) corrected?
    • I noticed when I did my brake job a few months ago that my front tires eres each equally worn on the inside tread, meaning that it is sitting too squat forcing a higher camber angle...
Many thanks for this, Vin-barrett.
  • Is this for the rear only? - Yes, these airlift kits are for rear only. They are for towing purposes, not an active air-suspension
  • If you did the front, too, same part numbers? - Again , these are just for the back springs, will not work on a macpherson type strut like the front end has.
    • Would you happen to have the part numbers for the front even if you didn't airbag the front?
  • What compressor and controller did you use? - I use the shrader valve and fill manually but AirLift does offer an onboard compressor and controller with air gauge if you want that.
  • How do you control the airbags? Again, i fill and check manually like a tire but see their website for the optional controller and onboard compressor.
  • Did you replace your shocks/struts at the same time? - I did yes both front and rear but only because I was due for them (yes bouncy). Separate issue from these helper air-bags
    • I ask on this because I think my ML feels ... bouncy?
  • Is the camber of the tire(s) corrected? - This did not have an effect on camber.Correction is not necessary. Inside tread-wear on the front is not necessarily due to neg camber, too much toe out can also make similar inside tire wear. Many many steering racks have been removed from W164's by now due to the previous work of re-sealing the steering control head.Very common repair on this vehicle and a toe adjustment generally follows the procedure. Your truck needs to get on a alignment rack for whichever reason is causing that wear. Preferably after you've done all your repairs/modifications for towing and probably a new set of tires.
    • I noticed when I did my brake job a few months ago that my front tires eres each equally worn on the inside tread, meaning that it is sitting too squat forcing a higher camber angle.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, seriously, thanks for the insights, detail, and thinking.

Clearly, the first thing for me to do is to get an alignment. Everything follows after that.
I bought this truck used 18 months ago, and the lot said they replaced the rack. I'll have that job checked, too.

Do you happen to have the part numbers for the struts/shocks replacements?

Interesting tangent - since I don't have the HK subwoofer or a spare tire, it'd be interesting to mount a small DC air compressor on-board, in a void space, that I could use for manual fills.

For pressure monitoring, I'm installing an Avin head unit to replace my COMAND unit (today, actually, hopefully).
It's Android, so it's got some Bluetooth channels to use. I could possibly set up TPMS sensors on the airbags and check the pressure from the dashboard. I don't imagine wanting to change pressure except for when towing, so well-thought-out manual is fine.

I appreciate the info - this is gold for what I want to do.

;-)
 

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Thanks, seriously, thanks for the insights, detail, and thinking.

Clearly, the first thing for me to do is to get an alignment. Everything follows after that.
I bought this truck used 18 months ago, and the lot said they replaced the rack. I'll have that job checked, too.

Do you happen to have the part numbers for the struts/shocks replacements?

Interesting tangent - since I don't have the HK subwoofer or a spare tire, it'd be interesting to mount a small DC air compressor on-board, in a void space, that I could use for manual fills.

For pressure monitoring, I'm installing an Avin head unit to replace my COMAND unit (today, actually, hopefully).
It's Android, so it's got some Bluetooth channels to use. I could possibly set up TPMS sensors on the airbags and check the pressure from the dashboard. I don't imagine wanting to change pressure except for when towing, so well-thought-out manual is fine.

I appreciate the info - this is gold for what I want to do.

;-)
No prob

"Do you happen to have the part numbers for the struts/shocks replacements?"
I used aftermarket Bilstein B4's. but can give you Benz #'s if you want those
Bilstein part# 24166652 Front - Benz part # is A-164-320-01-30
Bilstein part# 24144834 Rear - Benz part# is A-164-320-25-31

If your front upper shock mounts are original, I would replace them- A-164-320-00-26

Also- If I were to mount a compressor.....
Peek your head under the rear bumper. In between the two mufflers there is a black plastic box. Knock on it. Sound empty? It is. That's where the factory compressor would go if so equipped.
I mounted my shrader valve there and the tee to the two airlines is inside .
 
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