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ML320, ML500, S550V4, ML550
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm getting ready to store my new baby for the winter and have made a checklist to share, plus looking for any additional tips.
I plan to keep this vehicle for the long term and don't need three cars on the road, so the S550 goes into cryogenic hibernation and my MLs get to drive in the snow and rain for which they do a fine job.

1. Storage location
The vehicle will go in a dry secure location unheated but with a concrete floor, power available for trickle charging. Some people need to protect against rodents and other pests by using mothballs, rat poison and maybe plugging up the exhaust tips.

2. car cover
I bypassed the $300 Noah fabrics used in the MB OEM and other top quality covers. I don't need wind and weatherproofing, so I got just a dust and ding barrier. The one I chose from eBay [link] was a 4 layer cover with a semi-custom fit (no mirror pockets) but at 1/5 the price it does the job. The cover also blocks the air vents and other entry points for pests.

3. Trickle charger
My SA advised getting a 3rd party model rather than the MB badged device, and in my research I found the MB product is manufactured by CTEK, a Swedish company. The matching model is the CTEK 3300 . I got one and it works as described. My charger came with both medium sized crocodile clips as well as a short connector to bolt on to the battery terminals with a quick disconnect and a rubber protective cap on the other end. This allows the adapter to be left permanently bolted to the terminals and easily disconnect the charger. The CTEK model also works for motorcycle batteries. It has circuitry to detect the battery condition, recharge to full as needed and cycles on and off to maintain the charge over the long term. I got mine from Amazon for ~$70 [link]. The MB product is around $150 but also comes with a 12v socket adapter which is an optional $10 accessory from CTEK. The manufacturer page is here.

Thanks to other posts and the vehicle manual I have gathered that the starter battery under the hood can be disconnected and should hold enough charge through the winter, though a little top-up from the CTEK before starting may be beneficial. The real charging protection serves the "consumer battery" located in the rear behind the back seat for safety reasons. This battery serves all non-starter electronics and maintains the seat memory and other custom settings.

The consumer battery terminals are also under the hood just next to the starter battery beneath a black cover around 10" long. Pinch the tabs to release the clips and wiggle it off. Here is a picture (Thanks DieselBenz!):



On my 2008 S550 only the two outer cables are present. Connect the positive charging lead to the tall brass post, the negative to the other (outer) lead, then connect the charger to the mains supply. I have been testing on my ML500 for a few weeks and it seems to work fine, alternating between green (full) and orange (pulse charging) blinky lights.

4. Fuel stabilizer
My SA recommended adding Sta-Bil to the fuel and driving it around a bit to mix before storage. I have read a full tank of fuel reduces condensation, but some locations require a maximum of half a tank. At 1oz per 2.5 US gallon the 10oz treatment works for the full tank.

5. Tire pressure
I was told +6PSI to each tire to prevent flat spotting.

6. Insurance/registration
You will probably want to keep coverage for fire, damage and theft. In PA we are also required to keep liability insurance on state registered vehicles, even if they are not driven on the road. For "mature" drivers this may not be a big cost, but those with teenage drivers on the policy may want to avoid this by transferring the plate between summer/winter vehicles or using seasonal registration.

7. Kiss and wake up
Giving the vehicle a good clean and a polish inside and out before you put it away will minimize scratching from dust under the cover and help you fall back in love when you wake her up.

8. Before you hit the road
Leave a note to yourself with a list of what to do when getting back on the road (reduce tire pressures etc.)

Please feel free add any additional tips or corrections.

 

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1998 S420
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95 Posts
Reducing the tire pressure will not help with flat spotting. I've tried it and that does not work. You either need to jack the car up and put it on axle stands or buy the thickest peice of foam insulation you can find, cut it into 4 tire sized sections and drive the car up onto it. The tires will sink into the foam, thereby staying round. I've done this on many cars and it works great, is very easy and very cheap. I think it cost all of $7-10 per car. I would also leave the windows cracked a little bit and put a marine/motorhome dehumidifier in the trunk and inside the cabin to absorb any moisture. Sta-Bil was good protection before the ethenol junk was added to all blends of gasoline. You need something to combat Ethenol now and regular Sta-Bil will not do that. You need Star Tron enzyme fuel stabilizer/ethenol neutralizer. Wal-Mart and marine supply stores carry this product. It is big time in the marine industry. It has been working very well for me. You can run it on a regular basis to clean your fuel system and it works great for storage.
 

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ML320, ML500, S550V4, ML550
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423 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Just an update on getting the vehicle out of storage.

Starter battery - started car with ease, no noticeable loss of power over 6 months.
Auxiliary battery - retained all custom settings (seats, garage openers, radio stations etc.) The CTEK trickle charger did a fine job.
Tires - Lowered pressures to normal, no noticeable issues with flat-spotting
Fuel - no noticeable issues with fuel.

Overall a very smooth process - glad to take her out again.

Some minor customizations before hitting the road -added a German (Euro) front license plate and driver side convex mirror.
 

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ML320, ML500, S550V4, ML550
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423 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Just drove through the snow and slush of the NY/CT NorthEaster last weekend, and was satisfied with the performance of the summer tires and 4Matic in heavy rain/light snow.

Now it's prep time for going back into storage for the winter.

One other thing I remember when i got the vehicle out of storage after 6 months. The Airmatic suspension looked very low. Apparently after a week or so without being driven the suspension drops a few inches more onto fixed mounts, I assume to save the bladders. When I started up the vehicle it displayed a message to wait while the vehicle was rising back to normal. Everything seemed fine a few minutes later.
 

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E55 2006 / E55 2000 / White Odyssey
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169 Posts
What a waste to put a such beautiful car storing in winter. You must treat your cars very careful person :thumbsup:
 

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1992 300E 2.6
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357 Posts
Which outer lead

Newshound says: "On my 2008 S550 only the two outer cables are present. Connect the positive charging lead to the tall brass post, the negative to the other (outer) lead, then connect the charger to the mains supply."

Which outer negative post is he talking about next to the tall brass post, in other words, there are 3 other terminals left to the tall brass post?
So is he talking about the 1st one right next to the tall brass post, the middle one, or the one furtherest to the left toward the windshield?
 

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1992 300E 2.6
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357 Posts
Going out and looking at mine, I was easy able to see that middle terminal comes from positive starter battery. So I just connected the negative to ground bolt and I got a good connection for the battery tender. I also notice the first terminal shown in this pic next to the positive tall brass post, well mine is totally absent in my vehicle which is a 2007 S65. Now Newshound says he has 2008 S550. Is that something Mercedes added for the 2008 year or the 2007 S550 has it also and the 2007 S65 don't??? Where does that terminal lead to or what is it?
 
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