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1999 ML430
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27 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I finally managed to start on my wheel arch rust removel but got stopped when trying to remove the side skirts that are sitting over the side sills.

I removed the plugs at the bottom and I have removed the mud flap and the front cap of the left skirt. When looking behind it seems as the skirts are clipsed in! (How stupid is that? With a fixing at the bottom you would have hung them at the sides! Buggers!) Anyway, I would love to have some advice on the removal before I start just ripping them off (and probably damage them).

I would appreciate a quick answer as weather is highly temperamental and I must have the job done until Sunday! :eek:

Your help is much appreciated! :bowdown:
 

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2003 ML 320: Engine:112942 31 305548, Transmission: 722662 03 807606, FrontAxelAL431020714752162233
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128 Posts
I am responding not to give you an answer but to perform a bump so others will see this request at the top and perhaps answer if they can. I too would like to know how that part comes off, I want to check for and control any rust that might be lurking in there.
 

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Premium Member
1999 ML430
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1,744 Posts
I think he is referring to the long panels that run from the front wheel well back to the rear. I've always thought of them as rocker panels. If I am not mistaken the sunroof drains are located in these sills. I've often wondered how difficult they would be to remove and re-attach.
 

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1999 ML430
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27 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
@springerfever: Correct, that are the panels that I meant, sorry for the confusion.

Guess I have to do the pilot then! :( Will let you know what I found out!
 

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1999 ML430
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27 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
How to

Alright! Done it AND nothing broken! :)

The way to do it:
- Remove front mud flaps. In the upper section are two metal clamps which are a bit odd to get off thanks to age and rust. Two screws under it, one towards the front, one behind it towards the back.
- In order to remove the front caps of the sill you need to bend away the inner wheel arch panels in order to reach the clip that is holding the cap from the front. There is a second clip under the cap. When both removed whobble the cap towards the front until it has come off. (Pic Front Cap)
- Remove all clips from the bottom of the skirt. (Clip: Middle section needs to be removed in order to get the second part out).
- The skirt is mounted via clips. Grab behind the skirt at the bottom, don't pull just yet!!! First find the nearest point of the first clip. You can work either front to back or back to front. (Pic side skirt whole length and Whole length 2 and Detail Body)
- Grab as far behind the skirt as you can and then pull it towards you. The skirt goes off fairly ok.
- Any clips stuck in the hole of the body can be easily removed by pulling on one side. When a bit out push it gently to the oposite side.

Hope that make sense! Sorry, dodgy foreigner writing! :eek: Please feel free to bombard me with corrections! :surrender:
 

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Premium Member
1999 ML430
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1,744 Posts
Thanks for the directions and pictures !

I don't see any rust in your pictures, so that's a good sign for us all !

Every vehicle seems to have areas that are prone to rust . So much is dependant on where you live....coastal salt-air enviroments and the snow belt, where salt is used on roads to melt ice, are the WORST. The BEST are the desert southwest enviroments where it is dry, hot and low humidity.

Seems like every few years I have to reattach the mudflaps on my ML. Next time I tackle that task, I will probably go ahead and remove the panels like you did to check for rust, clean thoroughly, and do a little spot painting.
 

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03 ml350
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116 Posts
Found rust holes under the rocker panels on mine. Had to patch em up. Car lived all its life in Montreal, QC, but I find this unacceptable for a benz. Definately not enough draining holes or substandard steel/paint.Those were the worst spots.
Other are: bottom edges of front fender(in front, next to the turn signal and rear bottom towards the rocker panel)
bottoms of the doors on the inside
rear wheel arches (plastic doubler has to be removed for a proper fix)
bottom of tailgate handle
top of tailgate
 

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1999 ML430
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27 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
No prob. Just 5min on top of the work for the sake of all! This forum has helped me a lot! Just fair to try and give a bit back!

The sills only had some rust sposts, but clearly from an impact from the outside (Stones, dirt, etc).
The wheel arches were much worse! The tyres are too far out (although being standard)so when any sand, mud, stones is thrown up it goes straight against the painted surface! It is like sandblasting, just slower!
I have removed the rust, put rust converter on it and then a layer of under body seal. Tomorrow I respray the inner wheel arches and put everything back together.
Just spotted that the bottom of the right sill looks bad! Some wanne be mec has tried to lift the car there at one point! Going to get a can of waxoil tomorrow and spray the whole area, including the inside. That will stop any rust progress for sure!

Here in UK the worst enemy of your car is your ignorant neighbour or mechanic and on top of that the tonnes of salt that get sprayed during winter! The slightest chance of ice and streets get soaked in salt! Rediculous! But still no winter tyres mandatory! lol
 

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03 ml350
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116 Posts
forgot another bad spot: under the truck towards the sills, towards the front wheels. u'll have to remove the plastic shields. a ton of rust there too.
PS: My PO also put the jack directly onto the sill (rear right)
 
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