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98 ML320& 05 ML350SE
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thought this might be useful to others considering "nerf bars" for their ML's but wonder if the ones on eBay are any good!**

Since my wife really needs the side "nerf bars" to climb in and out of the ML, I decided to try the aftermarket bars this time on the new ML350SE.

I installed the OEM factory bars on our 98ML3230 a few years back, and recall paying huge $$ for them years ago - close to Cdn$900!! The OEM bars were powder coated steel and the brackets were only painted steel - both of which are now nicely rusted from the constant blast of road grit during winter.

Well I spotted aftermarket bars on eBay for $160 + $45 shipping for a total of US$205 = Cdn$250 and with taxes it all came in under Cdn$300. A pretty big difference.

The bars came VERY WELL PACKED, each component plastic wrapped and the ends of the bars in bubble wrap. In fact the entire shipping box came wrapped in a heavy plastic wrap and plastic strapped. The hardware was top quality heavy cad plated metric bolts, washers, lock washers and the SS bars came with the inset plastic pads installed. Basically all ready to bolt onto the OEM mounting holes. What really impressed me was the heavy powder coated brackets - much better than the OEM painted parts.

Spent 3 hours from start to finish to install - WITHOUT having to jack up the ML! The ground clearance is so good on the ML that it was easy to do just lying on the garage floor. The trick is to mount all the hardware/brackets WITHOUT tightening all the bolts until you bolt the bars to the brackets. Much easier to line up the bracket bolts this way.

**I am not affiliated with any aftermarket parts suppliers and I bought these bars from an eBay seller**


Here's a few photos of the eBay nerf bars:

Powder Coated Brackets


SS aftermarket nerf bars installed


BEFORE


AFTER
 

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'99 ML320
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Very nice!!! I was thinking of buying those myself but I was afraid to. Now I can buy them and be confident. Thanks.
 

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2001 ML320
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sure those are stainless steel?

They look like the OEM ones I have which are chromed steel. The chrome eventually rusts out which is why dealers only sell the stainless steel nerf bars now...
 

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98 ML320& 05 ML350SE
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
RE: sure those are stainless steel?

kenyee - 1/26/2005 11:39 AM

They look like the OEM ones I have which are chromed steel. The chrome eventually rusts out which is why dealers only sell the stainless steel nerf bars now...
Yep most definitely polished SS - can tell by the weld joints for the mounting points in the ends. I did not clean them off yet when I took the photos, so there is a little oil/grease film on the tubes still.
 

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CURRENT: 2011 SL550 FORMER: C300, ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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I just installed these exact bars on my ML Monday night! I would recommend them as well. For about $200 delivered, I can buy three or four sets of these if they do happen to rust, although they do appear to truly be stainless steel (and besides that, I live in Alabama where road salt is not an issue). I did notice that the attachment hardware does not seem to be galvanized or otherwise corrosive resistant, so that could be a concern. Also, my brackets did have a few places where there was some bare metal, but they are very thick, so I wouldn’t worry about rust except for appearance reasons (and they aren’t very visible anyhow).

- RODNEY
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
rudeney - 1/26/2005 12:52 PM

I just installed these exact bars on my ML Monday night! I would recommend them as well. For about $200 delivered, I can buy three or four sets of these if they do happen to rust, although they do appear to truly be stainless steel (and besides that, I live in Alabama where road salt is not an issue). I did notice that the attachment hardware does not seem to be galvanized or otherwise corrosive resistant, so that could be a concern. Also, my brackets did have a few places where there was some bare metal, but they are very thick, so I wouldn’t worry about rust except for appearance reasons (and they aren’t very visible anyhow).

- RODNEY
Precisely - for the price, these are tough to beat. The OEM bars I iinstalled on our 98ML 6 years ago were supposedly powder coated, but both the brackets and bars are sand blasted with road grit and rusting as expected.


The aftermarket bars are SS, and all the hardware I received is heavy galvanized metric so should be OK -the brackets are very heavily powder coated metal as thick as the OEM parts

Here's both ML's side by side - the bars and brackets are virtually identical


But I think the new SS bars look pretty good on the 353 Plat Blue truck!
(and no - my driveway is not that steep!)
 

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2001 ML320
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new ones stick out less?

than the OEM ones (gap from body to bar seems smaller from that pic).

Good to know I have an alternative in case I get sick of the rust on mine though :)
 

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98 ML320& 05 ML350SE
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
RE: new ones stick out less?

kenyee - 1/26/2005 6:26 PM

than the OEM ones (gap from body to bar seems smaller from that pic).

Good to know I have an alternative in case I get sick of the rust on mine though :)
Actually, they stick out the same distance from the body - just the angle of the photo as I did not shoot dead centre so it's a little distorted.

I would not hesitate to recommend these bars - I bought mine from a eBay seller "truckparts411" - he's got all sorts of bars to fit many different models and 3705 rating @99.9% positive.
 

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Wow... looks great! But o they fit 2001 320s? also, where can i get a hold of the seller? Im in toronto, so can i arrange for a pick up?

THanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
patrickc - 1/28/2005 3:49 PM

Wow... looks great! But o they fit 2001 320s? also, where can i get a hold of the seller? Im in toronto, so can i arrange for a pick up?

THanks!
They should fit the 2001 just fine. I see absolutely no difference between the OEM and this aftermarket - in fact, in many ways the AM items are even better made. Just check the eBay auction seller I listed above. They were great, really fast shipping and good communications.

BTW - the customs clearing costs into Canada are the killer for these. I send my stuff to a mail box drop close to Vancouver and drive down and pick everything up, clear customs myself. Very easy. But out of Toronto, that is a long way to Detroit, so you might have to get them to send it directly, so be prepared for customs clearing fees ($50+ from my experience)
 

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hey jangr320,
i did a search on ebay for the seller that you mentioned but i couldnt find anything... would you have his email or tel number handy? Am very interested to get the steps!

THanks!!
 

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Jangr320
Thanks for sharing your experience with us, but who sold them to you?
On Ebay there are zillion sellers offering ML parts. Which one is the guy who sold you these bars?
 

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These aftermarket bars do not seem to have the MB name on them, probably not a big deal to most.

Has anyone tried refinishing their rusted OEM brackets? I am considering doing this with a product called Rust Bullet. The bars for the most part are okay, mothers mag polish removes the few spots of rust I get. However, the brackets are a mess.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Here's where I got the $160 SS Nerf Bars from eBay!

celm77 - 1/29/2005 1:45 PM

Jangr320
Thanks for sharing your experience with us, but who sold them to you?
On Ebay there are zillion sellers offering ML parts. Which one is the guy who sold you these bars?
Here ya go: http://stores.ebay.com/truckparts411

email: [email protected]

this was my winning auction: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7940280216&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMERFB%3AIID

The seller does not have any MB bars listed now on eBay, but just contact them - I'm sure they can get them since he carries so many bars for so many makes/models. I'd buy these again in a heartbeat - they are better than the OEM pieces (very heavy powder coated brackets and SS bars made of "304 Marine Grade 3" dia 16 Gauge .065" Thickness Stainless Steel tube"

This was a pretty big and heavy box - but extremely well packaged to protect the contents - each component is plastic wrapped and the ends of the bars are bubble wrapped and well padded with lots of cardboard. Definitely a professional operation, not low volume.

There are some other sellers for the ML320 Nerf Bars but they are higher priced than what I paid, and the shipping costs are a lot higher - I have no idea of the quality either.

JG - you're right, no MB logo cause that is copyright infringement and they don't need to go there! The pads are just as sturdy as the OEM ones however, so no need to be concerned. As for refinishing the brackets, I think the only way to eliminate the rust problem is to remove them, get them sand/bead blasted and cad plated or heavy power coated. That would be the best solution. A cheap and dirty solution would be to just slap on a thick coat of Tremclad or some other rust paint and maybe coat them with undercoating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
More on sale now - Great $160 SS Nerf Bars from eBay! Photos!

Just noticed that the seller has more on sale right now on eBay 7 sets @ $160+45 shipping

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&tc=photo&item=7951421193&category=33650
 

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I had these same nerf bars and I liked them, but after a couple of months it shows signs of corrosion just a little. Bottom line is, you can't just take it to the car wash once a week like I had been. You might need to get a special cleaner for this material. I have the 2004 ML350 truck now and I want the new Running boards that you find on the newwer 2005 truck. They are painted the same color as your truck and they run across the length of the vehicle. I found with the silver nerf bars you could only stop on the indented black rubber step section. With the new running boards you can step anywhere. Cheapest i found on the net was $800 bucks but i think it looks a WHOLE lot nicer. Its almost like added a side body kit to your car. And you can only purchase the version that lights up as a courtesy to see where you step.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
darkeyedangelz - 2/15/2005 4:54 PM

I had these same nerf bars and I liked them, but after a couple of months it shows signs of corrosion just a little. .....
Are you sure yours were Stainless Steel??? The ones I bought are 16 Gauge .065" thick 304 Marine Grade 3" 100% Stainless Steel Tubing. There are lots of chrome plated bars being sold and I can see those corroding.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&tc=photo&item=7955198461&category=33650

Seller has 4019 rating at 99.9% positive - that's not bad.
 

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For the rust, you need to put a coat of polish or wax on the bars about every 6 months. Mothers metal polish will take most of the rust off the bars, and then put on a nice coat of wax, that'll help keep the rust off the bars. The bars you purchased from Ebay are just like mine.

Good Luck,
 

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I've never seen an ML that color!

What color blue is that? Very nice. I Like it a lot. DO other MB models have that color? Haven't seen it on any. Very cool and unique.

Great price on the Nerfs too! I decided to get the MB OEM ones but paid $650 for them. I decided that it would be much easier for my daughter to step in to the vehicle with the tighter fit. Her foot would slip into the gap and it's just easier for her to exit the ML as well. Not knocking the Nerfs--especially at that price! Just don't care for the aesthetics of the gap. Congrats on the new mod. Now what's next?

 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
RE: I've never seen an ML that color!

LOCHS 2 - 2/16/2005 6:42 PM

What color blue is that? Very nice. I Like it a lot. DO other MB models have that color? Haven't seen it on any. Very cool and unique.

Great price on the Nerfs too! I decided to get the MB OEM ones but paid $650 for them. I decided that it would be much easier for my daughter to step in to the vehicle with the tighter fit. Her foot would slip into the gap and it's just easier for her to exit the ML as well. Not knocking the Nerfs--especially at that price! Just don't care for the aesthetics of the gap. Congrats on the new mod. Now what's next?
Thanks LOCHS 2 - the color is 353 Plat Blue - my wife liked that more than Pewter, so we went with her choice.

I have the OEM bars on our 98ML320 and the AM ones on the 2005 ML350 and they are actually identical in shape, size, placement, gap from body, etc. I bet they are even interchangeable. The body brackets look pretty much identical from what I recall, and even the installation process was the same - leaving all the hardware loose to install the bars before cinching it all up.

hmmm... more mods... we'll see!
 
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