Sounds like the air cleaner on a California model is different than a 49 states version. I had to temporarily fabricate a breather hose when mine broke on a weekend. I made it work, but it wasn't easy due to hood clearance. I would think you would probably want to repair with the correct parts. Surely a good MB parts man can come up with the part numbers you need.
2004 C240 Wagon 203.261 Baby Benz
2008 ML320 CDI Highway Cruiser
2006 Toyota Prius, Saving the Planet @ 48 mpg
2000 F-150, Destroying the Planet @ 20 mpg
And remember folks, Only You Can Prevent Hilliary.