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Hey All:

I'm posting here to hopefully help provide a more precise plan or to suggest alternatives for those wanting / needing guidance on affordable exhaust options for their ML500 or ML320's.

Before taking any action I watched every YouTube video and read every thread on ML exhaust mods / muffler upgrades. Most were helpful, but frequently lacked details on which exact muffler was installed or exactly what factory components were retained or deleted.

This I found frustrating, as I was hoping to have some precision in terms of how to proceed, especially considering my practical limitations on budget, and no desire to have to 'weld in / cut out' numerous models of mufflers to eventually achieve a satisfactory & lasting Upgrade !

Additionally, I also just completed a very satisfactory Exhaust upgrade on my wife's w210 Wagon, with the 3.2 V-6, m112 engine, with a slightly different muffler (a Flowmaster 40 Series) but the same engine that many of you have in your ML320's.

Along the way to this exact ML Exhaust Upgrade outlined below, I did research & conceive of a couple of variations that could also work perfectly well - but as those exist mainly in theory, I won't waste words explaining them, unless some of you reading have a desire to hear more regarding alternatives to my actual exhaust mods.

Enough said, here's our Exhaust Upgrade details:

This "Rumble Performance Muffler" R22583 is built better than it's very modest price might suggest.

I examined it very carefully before installing, and all the welds were correctly made and the interior baffles are well connected to the externally welded muffler case.

It appears this is made by a subsidiary of Magnaflow or AP Exhaust. It's also listed as an AP Exhaust VX2583 Performance Muffler.

And to remove any doubt, it's a 'DUAL INLET, SINGLE OUTLET' design, despite what a couple of commenters suggest. I bet they didn't look inside very carefully, as the bent metal baffles that direct the sound are bent for the sound / hot gas path to go FROM the Dual Inlet side, towards the Single Outlet.

This is also listed as a 'Transverse Dual In' type muffler.

Can this be used in reverse ? Perhaps, but the design is Dual In, Single out.

It turns out a lot of SUV's use the 2 Inlet, 1 Outlet exhaust system layout.

Our 2002 Mercedes ML500 - with the 5.0 litre Benz V-8 does and that is what I got this muffler for, to upgrade the factory MB muffler on our overly quiet ML500.

Our factory muffler was huge, twice the size & 4 times the weight of this much lighter - and quite a bit louder "Rumble Performance" 2 chamber muffler.

But that's what I was after, getting a V-8 rumble at both idle and while driving around, that was audible in the vehicle, but with no irritating drone inside at highway speeds.

After a bit of trial & error I achieved that and am delighted at the exotic Euro / Muscle car sound that makes driving a bit more fun & interesting.

As a warning, I at first deleted our factory resonator (while keeping the MB factory muffler), which gave a nicer but really subtle growl. Then, upon deleting the large MB factory muffler, and installing this Rumble Muffler (aka VX2583), the interior highway drone was just too much !

Back to the exhaust shop to have them Re-install the factory resonator back to it's original spot, just behind this new muffler.

Now, a week & 300 miles later, I'm very happy with the result: A throaty growl that is audible under most driving conditions, slightly audible but controlled under cruise, and no highway drone. It sounds very much like a Dodge Challenger Hemi / 5 Litre Mustang or Audi R8 Sportscar, which was my goal. (Yet well short of anything near obnoxiously loud.)

Also a nice side benefit: 1.5 mpg increase, which combined with a similar 1.5 mpg increase from the prior deletion of my clogged secondary Catalytic converters, means we now get about 19 mpg highway vs 16 mpg before these exhaust mods.

My total cost was minimal: $100 to delete Cats / straightpipe it. $ 50 to install muffler & $50 more to Re-install the factory resonator, plus the super reasonable $23 fo this muffler.

In 6 months of driving, we may save that back in fuel costs alone....thanks for reading - David in East Texas
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Some more pics.....thanks David

Here's more pics.

Pic #3 shows the new muffler, but with no resonator installed behind it.

It was only like that for an hour. Test drive revealed to much drone at most RPM / speeds.

So, back to the exhaust shop to have the Original factory resonator re-installed, as seen in the next two pictures.

Now, it has:

1) Secondary Cats deleted ("Straight piped")

2) Upgraded Muffler (this review)

3) Factory resonator

Oops almost forgot:

4) Added a Slanted cut Chrome exhaust tip. The reason for this wasn't just cosmetic. Without it, the edge of the Tailpipe was a bit up & under the rear bumper fascia, and I could sense extra sound resonance due to that.

Adding the tip brought the sound wave out from under the body & more cleanly behind the vehicle.

A very small thing, seemingly, but made a very large improvement indeed.

Plus a chrome tip adds a nice look !
 

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Woot!
Great job, great write up Dave. :beerchugr:
with crisp photos too!

What a difference in muffler sizes. wow-za.

So you went and initially popped in the R22583 (too much rumble...) and replaced it with the VX2583, correct?

Post your exhaust tip and
Post a youtube on the cat growl of this beast so we can hear what we've seen. :wink
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks glad you like 'em.

Negative, those are same muffler under different listings.

I first deleted 2nd Cats & MB Resonator (retaining stock muffler tho) = nicer sound but still too quiet.

Then replaced factory muffler with this one, found it sounded great but too much hiway drone.

Had shop add factory Resonator back behind new muffler (same location as before) and, voila, sound is now perfect - throaty V-8 note at idle & WOT, subtle but audible at cruise.

Yes I will post YouTube of layout & sound test.

There are alternatives to this scheme that I discovered along the way.

Happy to share those too.

Cheers - David
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Here is the YouTube Video overview of theses mods...

Ok, here is the video version.

I didn't have time to video a 'drive by' to hopefully capture some 'at speed' sound impressions.

But I'll try to shortly....stay tuned.

Cheers - David in East Texas


 

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David,
Great sounding growl. subtle and it opens up quite nicely :)
Going to look at this setup once I get my other MB to-dos off my list.

Photo of the exhaust tip you chose?? (nudge, nudge...) :1poke:

:)
 

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Nice. The sliencer on my ML55 is utterly massive too and my also is possibly quieter than I would like. This may be something for me in the future. Thanks for posting. Want to get my dual exit tips on first though.
 

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Can you post a picture of this.....thanks David

Nice. The sliencer on my ML55 is utterly massive too and my also is possibly quieter than I would like. This may be something for me in the future. Thanks for posting. Want to get my dual exit tips on first though.
Yes, I'd be curioius to see that. By Silencer you mean a 'Resonator' - where is it located on the truck ?

And I assume the very rear mounted unit just ahead of Rear bumper with the Dual Tips, that is your Muffler, yes ?

If the resonator is more towards the middle of the car, perhaps just a simple y pipe like a 2 - 2.5" to single 3" replacing it, and just maintain the rear muffler (assuming it's in good shape)

I bet those rear mufflers don't come cheap ! There's lots of options to explore...

Cheers - David in East Texas
 

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Yes, I'd be curioius to see that. By Silencer you mean a 'Resonator' - where is it located on the truck ?

And I assume the very rear mounted unit just ahead of Rear bumper with the Dual Tips, that is your Muffler, yes ?

If the resonator is more towards the middle of the car, perhaps just a simple y pipe like a 2 - 2.5" to single 3" replacing it, and just maintain the rear muffler (assuming it's in good shape)

I bet those rear mufflers don't come cheap ! There's lots of options to explore...

Cheers - David in East Texas
I have always just referred to anything like this on the exhaust system, rightly or wrongly, as a "silencer". Maybe a British thing?
 

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Great work! I have a rear cat/muffler delete on my 01 but the work is shotty as hell (pix forthcoming) and I think my pass manifold is leaking. It’s definitely loud when you’re WOT and subtle at idle but the leak(s) kill everything and it sounds like a typewriter. I only take it short trips as I’m still bringing the beast back to life but I’m excited to have mine sound like yours. I love naturally aspirated V8s. Getting rarer these days
 

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Thanks Ed...back to you Sir

Great work! I have a rear cat/muffler delete on my 01 but the work is shotty as hell (pix forthcoming) and I think my pass manifold is leaking. It’s definitely loud when you’re WOT and subtle at idle but the leak(s) kill everything and it sounds like a typewriter. I only take it short trips as I’m still bringing the beast back to life but I’m excited to have mine sound like yours. I love naturally aspirated V8s. Getting rarer these days
Hey Ed:

Thanks for the 'Flowers'....I enjoy the sound with each drive !

On your situation, I don't know if you saw my earlier thread on how I had a cracked weld on my passenger side front Catalytic - symptoms sound just like yours.

It progressed from a slight hiss (also fumes in cabin at idle; had to hit reciirculate air button alot) slowly got louder til one day - say in 45 days time it was super loud - I stopped driving, read up on threads & examined my Cat welds sure enough they were showing a half to 1mm gap separation on upper & lower welds.

It was bad enough I took pictures to show exhaust shop & picked the one that sounded the most confident to fix the problem at reasonable price.

They did it for $80 - it helped doing a rear cat delete as they just made that part the rear cut for the removal and then undid the 2 Exhaust flange bolts, the 2 bracket support bolts & unplug o2 Sensor.

Then they did reweld cracks on bench & reinstall. I was afraid the Cat would Melt or Self Destruct so I trailered it to the shop for the fix.

Anyhow long story but PTL it's all fixed now & better than ever.

Hope yours is as simple to remedy - keep us updated please.

Cheers - David in East Texas
 

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Hey Ed:

Thanks for the 'Flowers'....I enjoy the sound with each drive !

On your situation, I don't know if you saw my earlier thread on how I had a cracked weld on my passenger side front Catalytic - symptoms sound just like yours.

It progressed from a slight hiss (also fumes in cabin at idle; had to hit reciirculate air button alot) slowly got louder til one day - say in 45 days time it was super loud - I stopped driving, read up on threads & examined my Cat welds sure enough they were showing a half to 1mm gap separation on upper & lower welds.

It was bad enough I took pictures to show exhaust shop & picked the one that sounded the most confident to fix the problem at reasonable price.

They did it for $80 - it helped doing a rear cat delete as they just made that part the rear cut for the removal and then undid the 2 Exhaust flange bolts, the 2 bracket support bolts & unplug o2 Sensor.

Then they did reweld cracks on bench & reinstall. I was afraid the Cat would Melt or Self Destruct so I trailered it to the shop for the fix.

Anyhow long story but PTL it's all fixed now & better than ever.

Hope yours is as simple to remedy - keep us updated please.

Cheers - David in East Texas
Thanks David, great info! Sorry on the delay in photos but I have an update!

I used some QuikSteel from Autozone to patch up what I circled in red in that one photo just to stop the huge leak. Sounds/drives much better but still leaks. Please note I bought the car like this non-running! I don't think I would ever treat a car like this, esp a MB and an AMG at that!

Whoever did this basically permatex'd the crap out of it. The cats are two years old or so and it has randomly added pipes amidships (says 2.000" AL on the side. Aluminium?) fused with the OEM ones then joining with that terrible seam you see. Sound isn't great, when I have this all removed/fixed I want to add the muffler you did and get that Mustang V8 rumble.

I don't know how much of this I can save or if I should get new cats and steel and a muffler. Rear muffler is okay (save for the damn host clamps). Sounds solid and doesn't show any damage from rust or idiot previous owners.

Feedback would be great! I have some more work to do on it to get it road legal before I send it to my neighbor/welder/mechanic's place but I want to get some MB owners input first on how to get this looking and sounding good.
 

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A few impressions....thanks David

Hey Ed:

Just some quick impressions:

First, yours is an ML55 which has some variance in layout. For example, (this is surmisal on my part from a modest amount of web research - no ML55's are nearby for inspection) you probably have a transverse mounted rear muffler at the very back of your ML, just fore of the bumper.

In that area, I have a spare tire / carrier.

On this ML500 only a single 2.75" pipe goes thru / up & over the Rear Suspension crossmember, so all of my ML500's exhaust components are forward of this Rear Suspension Crossmember.

I would be curious to know what belongs in the center of your rig. Where the large heat shield is visible & the akwardly fabbed "Y Pipe" is located.

I'd guess that that used to be a center 'muffler / resonator'. It might have been just like mine, which was a large 2 in, single out Muffler.

Ill try to find an image that shows your layout. Also here is a thread discussing this issue:

https://www.benzworld.org/forums/w163-m-class/1704499-exhaust-pipe-diameter-ml55-2.html

Layout here: https://goo.gl/images/rkwxyu

I bet that is what you had stock. Maybe others with an ML55 of your year can confirm.

Anyhow, you could probably drop the rear Catalytics - the ones with no O2 sensors on them. Just have them removed & straight pipe - NOT Aluminum - installed in their place.

The awkward Y-pipe is probably losing you some efficiency and is likely an attempt to merge the exhaust streams - which is required but needs to be balanced.

Your original Muffler / Resonator was, in effect, a Y-pipe in that it was 2 in, 1 out. And MB engineers would have balanced it.

Come to think, donb't drop the rear cats just yet, as if you do that and keep the funny y-pipe it may be overly loud.

If you don't mind taking that chance, then go right ahead. I guess you still have the rear muffler in any case, which my ML500 lacks.

This is why I had to add back in my stock Resonator behind my new "Rumble Muffler R22583", is because of excess drone.

The resonator tames that effect. It's also an effect of the Rumble muffler being an 'Aggressive sound 2 chamber performance muffler.'

Ok, so here's what you could do, now to think of it: You could just get the Rumble performance muffler, have it installed to replace the awkward Y-pipe. Why ?

Well, the muffler is only $28 from Amazon & a shop would probably install for $50-60, and this would at least balance your exhaust flow. Probably improve the sound too.

Then next step would be to consider removing the Rear Catalytics.

Mine were partly blocked - I estimate one side more than the other.

I can't even being to say how much better then engine runs now - the oil seepage from valve cover gaskets, oil cap & oil cooler has totally stopped - engine runs cooler - sounds better idles smoother.

Unmonitored (no O2 sensors = no indication if they're clear or blocked ever) Catalytics were basically a stupid, brain-dead 'throw a bone to Enviro-wacko California & Fed bureacrats' move, if ever there was one.

Seriously, many cars are saddled with this junk and they're just there to please California enviro bots ?

Once these ill conceived units get blocked, how many engines then die slowly from suffocation, causing a host of other issues along the way ?

As one who escaped from the California nightmare, I'm a bit more able to grasp this than others who've never lived under that regime.

Gotta admit, cutting the Rear Cats out feels like taking part in an Automotive Tea Party, 2018 Style !

Rant Over.

But I hope understood & helpful to you and others, too.

Cheers - David in East Texas
 

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Hey Ed:

Just some quick impressions:

First, yours is an ML55 which has some variance in layout. For example, (this is surmisal on my part from a modest amount of web research - no ML55's are nearby for inspection) you probably have a transverse mounted rear muffler at the very back of your ML, just fore of the bumper.

In that area, I have a spare tire / carrier.

On this ML500 only a single 2.75" pipe goes thru / up & over the Rear Suspension crossmember, so all of my ML500's exhaust components are forward of this Rear Suspension Crossmember.

I would be curious to know what belongs in the center of your rig. Where the large heat shield is visible & the akwardly fabbed "Y Pipe" is located.

I'd guess that that used to be a center 'muffler / resonator'. It might have been just like mine, which was a large 2 in, single out Muffler.

Ill try to find an image that shows your layout. Also here is a thread discussing this issue:

https://www.benzworld.org/forums/w163-m-class/1704499-exhaust-pipe-diameter-ml55-2.html

Layout here: https://goo.gl/images/rkwxyu

I bet that is what you had stock. Maybe others with an ML55 of your year can confirm.

Anyhow, you could probably drop the rear Catalytics - the ones with no O2 sensors on them. Just have them removed & straight pipe - NOT Aluminum - installed in their place.

The awkward Y-pipe is probably losing you some efficiency and is likely an attempt to merge the exhaust streams - which is required but needs to be balanced.

Your original Muffler / Resonator was, in effect, a Y-pipe in that it was 2 in, 1 out. And MB engineers would have balanced it.

Come to think, donb't drop the rear cats just yet, as if you do that and keep the funny y-pipe it may be overly loud.

If you don't mind taking that chance, then go right ahead. I guess you still have the rear muffler in any case, which my ML500 lacks.

This is why I had to add back in my stock Resonator behind my new "Rumble Muffler R22583", is because of excess drone.

The resonator tames that effect. It's also an effect of the Rumble muffler being an 'Aggressive sound 2 chamber performance muffler.'

Ok, so here's what you could do, now to think of it: You could just get the Rumble performance muffler, have it installed to replace the awkward Y-pipe. Why ?

Well, the muffler is only $28 from Amazon & a shop would probably install for $50-60, and this would at least balance your exhaust flow. Probably improve the sound too.

Then next step would be to consider removing the Rear Catalytics.

Mine were partly blocked - I estimate one side more than the other.

I can't even being to say how much better then engine runs now - the oil seepage from valve cover gaskets, oil cap & oil cooler has totally stopped - engine runs cooler - sounds better idles smoother.

Unmonitored (no O2 sensors = no indication if they're clear or blocked ever) Catalytics were basically a stupid, brain-dead 'throw a bone to Enviro-wacko California & Fed bureacrats' move, if ever there was one.

Seriously, many cars are saddled with this junk and they're just there to please California enviro bots ?

Once these ill conceived units get blocked, how many engines then die slowly from suffocation, causing a host of other issues along the way ?

As one who escaped from the California nightmare, I'm a bit more able to grasp this than others who've never lived under that regime.

Gotta admit, cutting the Rear Cats out feels like taking part in an Automotive Tea Party, 2018 Style !

Rant Over.

But I hope understood & helpful to you and others, too.

Cheers - David in East Texas
Great info David, thanks! That AMG sounds good too, wish mine I had that burble going for it.

So post 13/16 in that thread is the OEM setup for my 2001. The PO removed the secondary cats and rear muffler (or what I would have called resonator) so its new front cats, crappy welds/turns then into that scary Y then it meets up in that rear, transverse muffler with the goofy hose clamps. Basically from the rear doors back its OEM and forward of that its all some weird concoction.

My guy came by Wed night and looked it over. He said if I want to flip the car (I bought it for $2000 as a project) he can clean it up but if I want to keep it (my plan) he recommended his buddy who can fabricate a new system and save those cats (just grind down all that permatex then weld those cats in place). I have leaks in mine but driving at 2k RPM I don't have a drone so the rear muffler is doing it's job. I would like to keep it and probably add what you did and have the rumble but not the annoying drone.

It'll be a few weeks until I have it read to go to his shop but I will keep you updated! Thanks again for the help and the links. I wasn't sure how to start my exhaust thread so pardon me for stealing yours!
 

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Our ML-500 exhaust project update

I've been watching this thread since it started. Todays pictures of the system , It appears to be weak & Shaky. Subject to cracking of repaired areas & the start of new ones. It maybe time to replace from the engine manifolds to the rear Muffler. I did Headers and down pipes . Front Cat delete at first . But at the slip fit area between the new stuff & the older piping & rear cats , I would keep developing minor exhaust leaks. So I update to V-Band exhaust connection clamps and S.S. flex pipe inserts at the down pipes. All down recently & after the 1st install in 2012. Attach is some info I posted back Then. A recent dyno pull showed I had over 400 crank HP/ and back up with a 14 second flat 1/4 run at Palm Beach moto-sports park. My ML -500 is still evolving . https://www.benzworld.org/forums/w163-m-class/1687671-ml-500-exhaust-system-updates.html#post5559472

Your on the right track with your Exhaust updates. I chose to do mine a little different , I still do very long road trips , so I did not want a droning exhaust . but one that would snarl , when I floored the Load peddle . . If you really want a major change in Performance . Change your Torque converted to a Hi stall ( 2000 RPM ) PTE
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Hey all:

Trip MPG update:

On the 600 mile highway drive home from Florida our ML500 just returned 19.3 MPG.

Feels very good to have it that reasonable, finally.

It was a warm drive 100 deg, 5 of us, fully loaded averaging around 70-75 mph.

The noise on the highway was pretty acceptable. You do hear the exhaust note at speed - not bothersome though.

Wife & daughters got used to it.

With 3 teenage daughters, there is already a 'drone' at highway speeds !

Cheers - David in East Texas
 

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Great Original Write-Up

...On the 600 mile highway drive home from Florida our ML500 just returned 19.3 MPG....
That's very good to hear. I really like the write-up and vid. Would definitely look into this mod. Have to check-out the emissions rules in MD where I live.

...With 3 teenage daughters, there is already a 'drone' at highway speeds !

Cheers - David in East Texas
LOL! Next they'll be asking to take the truck out for a spin!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Darkman:

Thank you - glad its appreciated you found it helpful.

Hopefully your emissions rules don't prevent you from doing what's best for your ML !

Are you thinking the 2nd Cat delete OR upgrade muffler wouldn't be allowed ?

Just curious !

David
 

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Are you thinking the 2nd Cat delete OR upgrade muffler wouldn't be allowed ?

Just curious !

David
I think the second muffler is allowed - though there are counties here with posted "NO EXHAUST MODS ALLOWED" signs due to noisy ricey mufflered cars. Also, one of my other vehicles is a Z32 twin turbo with intake/exhaust mods, and I have not had any issues with it. The second cat is what I'll have to check - with no O2 sensor on it, I really don't see why it would be an issue. But you never know when you live close to Washington, DC.

Any Marylanders here who can chime on this?
 
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