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Premium Member
1999 ML430
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1,811 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Just wanted to pass some information along.

I have always admired the look of the stainless steel bars that were offered from MB for the W163's. Unfortunately they were expensive and now, no longer available from the dealers.
Stepping up to the plate are the aftermarket suppliers and I recently purchased a set and installed them on my 99ML430.
They are 3" diameter (very beefy) and are fairly easy to mount. They come with decent hardware and once installed are rock solid. The instructions are a little sketchy and they seem to be durable. Kudos to the seller for offering a money back guarantee if not satisfied. They SAY they will pay for the return shipping. Surprising in that they weigh over 50 pounds.

I am a stickler for OEM parts, but since these are very rare now (E-bay/Pick a Parts) and in used condition, I opted to purchase the ones below. They do give a nice look to the W163's and hopefully will last a good while with seasonal cleaning and polishing. Best thing about these puppies is they cost very little and shipping is FREE...!


 

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Premium Member
1999 ML430
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1,811 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
43sqd..thanks for posting those two links to the OEM side bars...

I have seen plenty of the first listed, with the black step pads, and a few of the second listed with just the straight
tubing.
Between the OEM choices, I prefer the second with the straight tubing. It is a larger diameter (looks like 3" diameter), than the ones with the steps. Any of the OEM step bars are going to be expensive and will likely be in rough shape.

The ones I posted a link to are 3" diameter . I'll try to get a few pictures of the final result after mounting.....
 

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W163 and General Mercedes Host
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3,270 Posts
Springer,

Aries makes a nice side step bar that replicates the OEM product and fits nicely by the rocker panel covers.
Many of the non-oem products protrude out too far and make the installation look funky and out of whack (imo).
I removed a set including all bolts and mounting brackets (not installed yet) a few years back at the PnP for $30, (teensies dent on the PS underside that you can't see when installed). It's fitment was perfect.
Plus, Aries provides lifetime replacement of the step pads and rivets. You know how these step pads deteriorate over time with weather and UV exposure.
 

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Registered
1998 ML320
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121 Posts
I bought a set of the Aries bars and didn't get around to installing them before finding a set of the OEM (made by Oris, same as the trailer hitch kit) bars and brackets at a junkyard. I like the design of the bracket on the OEM bars (the version seen in the first installation sheet) better than the Aires design.
 

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W163 and General Mercedes Host
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3,270 Posts
I bought a set of the Aries bars and didn't get around to installing them before finding a set of the OEM (made by Oris, same as the trailer hitch kit) bars and brackets at a junkyard. I like the design of the bracket on the OEM bars (the version seen in the first installation sheet) better than the Aires design.
Another set of nerf step bar brackets I have here. I believe these are oem (dont recall though)
I like to pull what I'm able to, when on site, when I have the right tools with me. :)

w163 nerf step bar brackets oem.jpg
 

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Premium Member
1999 ML430
Joined
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1,811 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
43sqd..thanks for posting those two links to the OEM side bars...

I have seen plenty of the first listed, with the black step pads, and a few of the second listed with just the straight
tubing.
Between the OEM choices, I prefer the second with the straight tubing. It is a larger diameter (looks like 3" diameter), than the ones with the steps. Any of the OEM step bars are going to be expensive and will likely be in rough shape.

The ones I posted a link to are 3" diameter . I'll try to get a few pictures of the final result after mounting.....
Here's a few pictures I took today.....
lk0dmbEWRiOU8b82gUjnfg.jpg
 

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Registered
1998 ML320
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121 Posts
Another set of nerf step bar brackets I have here. I believe these are oem (dont recall though)
I like to pull what I'm able to, when on site, when I have the right tools with me. :)

View attachment 2639783
those look a lot like the Aries brackets, though I think there was a late OEM design that looked like that. The two variants of the early OEM design had horizontal bolts connecting the bar to the brackets, with a tab on top of the bar that fit into a pocket on each bracket. It’s a robust design, but it’s a bear to dismantle when the bolts are rusted and break off.
 

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Registered
1999 ML430; 1998 S420
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264 Posts
What's the deal with the light on the tow hook cover...did you install that?
 

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Premium Member
1999 ML430
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1,811 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
By the way, I did recently replace the hitch ball. Went with a CURT 40047, which is a 2" stainless steel ball that has a great design that totally eliminates a lot of the noise and bumpiness of trailering a boat, or whatever. Just smooths out the ride and rock solid towing. I think I paid about $25.00 and it is a fantastic design. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !
 

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Premium Member
1999 ML430
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1,811 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Yep, my bad... those are just reflectors. I got them at one of the auto parts stores. Probably Advance or O'Riellys. Should be readily available. I think they had an adhesive perimeter, but I added a couple of s/s phillip heads to firmly secure.

Nice that you can remove the covers, install the reflectors and then just ease them back in. You could wire them with lights if you want to, but really not necessary. I like the look......
 
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