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So a couple of months ago I picked up an 04 ml350 for $500 from one of the used car dealers I work with. Soccer mom decided it was time for a new ride and traded it in. New power steering pump, resevoir and lines along with full tune up and she was up and running. The interior was an absolute mess so gutted it and cleaned out all the nasty. Original plan was to clean it, fix it and flip it. Had to put some miles on it in order to smog it since I had fixed the misfire and instantly fell in love with it. I had been looking for an old jeep to build and decided to be different and use the benz instead. Everyone here in southern california seems to have a jeep. First order was to install a yakima full length basket up top to hold all my gear. The usual off-roading necessities were outfitted, hi lift jack, shovel, pick and axe. Also installed rotopax dual water and gas cans on each side. 42 inch light bar in front and dual 4 inch light pods out back to light the way.
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Next up, needed some bigger tires. Running my own tire and auto shop has perks, like having a good used set of 285/75/17 bfg mud terrains sitting around. Removed the inner fender liners front and rear, turned my torsion bars up and tossed the tires under. Gained about 5-6 inches ground clearance over stock and pretty happy where it sits. No rubbing under normal conditions. However, I will be changing out the front and rear shocks/struts with bilsteins soon and also adding the 2 inch spacer in the rear to level the car out.

The front bumper was also badly smashed that was quickly removed. I decided I wanted to be able to install a winch at some point and after much research realized it would have to be done from scratch. Taking lots of measurements from my friends jk jeep and his winch bumper I concluded that I could fabricate mounts and use something similar. As luck would have it I sourced a jk winch bumper for $200 and fabricated it. Personally I think it fits really well. Ill do a write up for anyone interested here shortly.

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W163 W202 W203 W246 MB100D
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nice, very cheap for $500 but obviously need some work done! but the last pix looks awesome. well done!
imagine getting mb dealership to do the essential repairs you did.
 

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Next up, needed some bigger tires. Running my own tire and auto shop has perks, like having a good used set of 285/75/17 bfg mud terrains sitting around. Removed the inner fender liners front and rear, turned my torsion bars up and tossed the tires under. Gained about 5-6 inches ground clearance over stock and pretty happy where it sits. No rubbing under normal conditions. However, I will be changing out the front and rear shocks/struts with bilsteins soon and also adding the 2 inch spacer in the rear to level the car out.

The front bumper was also badly smashed that was quickly removed. I decided I wanted to be able to install a winch at some point and after much research realized it would have to be done from scratch. Taking lots of measurements from my friends jk jeep and his winch bumper I concluded that I could fabricate mounts and use something similar. As luck would have it I sourced a jk winch bumper for $200 and fabricated it. Personally I think it fits really well. Ill do a write up for anyone interested here shortly.

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I wouldn't want to be a pedestrian hit by those front bumper corners!
 

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2000 ML55 sold? 2013 ML500,? 2017 C43 AMG,1929 Victory 6 roadster, 1927 Dodge 4 sedan, 1929 Dodge
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I wouldn't want to be a pedestrian hit by those front bumper corners!
Agree on that. That bumper would be illegal in Australia.
It will be nice when it catches your thigh as your walking around it when it’s parked.
 

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2000 E 320 Wagon + 2002 ML 500 SUV
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Nice project !

You'll stand out.

As you're an Auto shop owner you'll have advantages.

The challenge is these ML s are getting old yet have "layers of Tech" built in, (that other contemporary makes lacked) that become more finicky as years / miles roll up.

And, true to German (short-sighted ?!) form, when these "Tech Glitches" crop up - the ML stops running, which is, IMHO, idiotic.

My ML is perfect mechanically but bad sensor data makes it non- driveable.

I look longingly at Ford Explorers or ANY Japanese SUV and think, wow no STAR but they rack up miles & don't quit due to bad wheel speed sensors.

I might be mistaken - I'd even feel better if I learned ALL SUVs quit in that manner.

Rant over - thanks.

Please post full pics once done.
Some 'trail action' shots would be Groovy.

PS. Are you in High Desert / Colorado River area ?

15 years ago I was rock crawling in my Zuki in So Cal High Desert & Dunes.... great times & memories.

David in Texas
 
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