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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
2001 ML 430

200K miles

When the OEM Dunlops were no longer available, I switched to Goodyear Forteras. I was still occasionally taking it on some pretty good off-road trips. I have since moved on, and I am letting my 16 y.o. daughter use the M Class.

When I went to the Forteras I felt the ride got a lot worse. I'm told they are very stiff tires. Should I try Continentals? And how long are the original shocks good for? Would new shocks make the ride any better?

My wife has a GL 450 and my brother drives a late model ML350. Both have far superior rides. Of course, these two new cars are unibodies, and the GL has a much longer wheelbase. My ML 430 is built like a truck. I was ok with that for a long time, but now I wonder if there's anything that can be done to give it a better (softer?) ride.
 

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99 ML430 - 13 328i
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1,112 Posts
you still have original shocks??? if you do omg, lol. get some bilsteins in there and you will be happy. :)
 

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2004 ML500 w/ Sport Package
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601 Posts
Hey solidjake, i see you have the Valentine V1. I just ordered one, do you like it? (sorry to be off topic)
 

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05 500
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6,598 Posts
i had the 8500 for a few months, that was good. BUT the V1, oohh man, you're gonna LOVE it.
I still think the V1 and 8500 are basically equal - at least for a seasoned user/driver. I really don't see the advantage of the V1's arrows. I never recall when I don't know where the radar is coming from. Infact, where I drive (Maryland, Eastern Shore), radar detection is practically useless - lasers are the show here and none of these detectors is fast enough to protect. I depend on others for protection.
 

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2000 ML430 SOLD, 2007 BMW 328i Coupe, 2014 BMW i3, 2019 Honda Odyssey
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2,982 Posts
I've never tried different tires, but I really do like the ride quality of the Michelin CrossTerrains. My father had Continentals on his 03 Expedition, he switched to the CrossTerrains and I thought the ride improved on his truck.

As for shocks, that was one of my first questions on this forum. It was the consensus that if you want a softer ride, get OEM shocks. They have been revalved since the original ones that were put on the truck and should provide a softer ride than Bilsteins or others.
 

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C9H9N Offensive Odor Exuder
2002 ML320, 2005 S430 4MATIC RIP, 2010 F150 Crew Cab
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11,382 Posts
The Michelin Cross Terrains are the best riding tire. I have Pirelli Scorpions on the 2002 ML320 and they're noisy. I have 183,000 on the ML430 and it has the original shocks. Rides like a dream.
 

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'99 ML 320 and '07 Nissan Murano
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38 Posts
I have General Grabbers ST on mine.
They last 65 to 80 K mi.
I am going to purchase them again, not very noisy, good handling and far less expensive than Michelin or others
 

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2001 ML320 w/ AMG Sport Package
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79 Posts
The Michelin CrossTerrains are the best of the best. Look no further.
I had these tires on my ML when I drove from California to Boston.
 

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1997 Nissan Pathfinder SE
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703 Posts
I say go for michelins too, they are really good tires...i had the LTX M/S and loved them. They were great in the snow too
 

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ml500 w163 2002
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456 Posts
I still think the V1 and 8500 are basically equal - at least for a seasoned user/driver. I really don't see the advantage of the V1's arrows. I never recall when I don't know where the radar is coming from. Infact, where I drive (Maryland, Eastern Shore), radar detection is practically useless - lasers are the show here and none of these detectors is fast enough to protect. I depend on others for protection.
i agree the arrows are useless to some degree... if you get an alert and it is KA here in Cali, chances are it is a highway patrol wherever he is you need to slow down anyway, it's not like you'll see the arrow to the back and say i'll just slow down when the cop is near me. if it's to the side, how will you know anyway where to the side it is.
 

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2002 ML 500, 1994 Ford Explorer donated to Doctors without Borders
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2,126 Posts
I've never tried the cross terrains, but I have the Michelin Latitudes now. It has been 40k miles and they are still great.

I can say that they are wonderful road tires, as I usually drive 85-90 mph on the highway. They were ok in snow this year, but I imagine that the cross terrains would be better in snow, perhaps not as good at speed. Choose your driving style/terrain.
 

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2004 CL55
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1,525 Posts
I run Dunlops SP9000. Unfortunately with my Brabus rims they are complete and absolute donuts that I can't stand. I've met a guy who had them tyres fitted with his AMG rims of the same size as mine and they look not as round. I guess my next set of tyres will be Yokohama. As for the ride quality, fit new OEM shocks and off you go.
 

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2002 ML 500, 1994 Ford Explorer donated to Doctors without Borders
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2,126 Posts
Donuts? Could it be that the rim width is a lot smaller than the width of the tire? What is the width of your rims compared to the AMG? Maybe narrower tires would make the difference. ???
 

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113 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Hey - thanks for all the great replies!

So you're saying that new oem shock will actually make the ride softer? I have always thought that new shocks would be stiffer - all things being equal.

Can anyone second my experience that the Fortera's provide a bad ride.

And the tires you are all recommending - are they known for giving a good ride?
 

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Hey solidjake, i see you have the Valentine V1. I just ordered one, do you like it? (sorry to be off topic)
I've had a V1 for years. I drive alot for work and it has saved me more times that I can remember. If you really want the top of the line, invest the $400. You won't be disappointed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Great info - esp. the above link.

Called German Star - they only carry Bilstein - stiffer ride.
Called the dealer - fronts are $264 ea. Rears are $457 ea.
That's $1,442 for the set - WOW
 
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