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MB M Class Owners Maintenance and Repair

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  • I don't have an answer to your tire wear problem but I can't believe you paid $1300 for a set of Michelins! I shopped around and paid $800 Canadian which is $394 US for a set of four. By the way Costco is the largest Michelin dealer in North America!
  • First - I think this car is pretty poor. It is pathetic that it is called an MB.

    My specific issue is about an undiagnosed and seemingly undiagnosable 'sloshing' sound that sounds like a fish tank of water moving around in the car upon accel/decel. The boys at MB tried to shake the car around to find it. That's it.

    Any ideas what it might be and if it is dangerous?

    Thanks!

    I won't be buying another one - but I doubt I could sell this one until I resolve the aforementioned.
  • Yesterday I learned that my aftermarket warranty (WarrantyGold)'s re-insurer has gone into liquidation and hasn't been/isn't paying claims.

    I paid almost $3k for the warranty which went in effect in May of this year.

    Today, I heard metallic grinding coming from the tranny. It's a '99 ML320 with 60k miles on it and is for all practical purposes now worthless.

    I'm embarrassed to have driven such trash.

    Folks don't know whether to laugh or cry when they hear the stories I have to tell about the ML.

    If it was a horse, I'd shoot it.

    Thank you MB for your quality, your ethics and your service. If you were a person instead of a corporation, you'd be either dead or incarcerated.

    May your remaining life be short and may your management find pleasurable cell-mates. The cons from Enron, MCI, Tenet, etc are sure to welcome you.
  • I leased a 1999 ML430 last year and did not research this vehicle enough before signing the lease. I assumed that the name Mercedes Benz would account for quality. I also had a BMW for the past 3 years and never had one problem. There has been one issue after another with this vehicle for the past 10 months that I've had it.

    - Door panel fell off on driver's side
    - Power steering hose recall
    - Transmission fluid leak. (Vehicle would roll back when parked on a hill)
    - Battery died with no dashboard notice (this one left me stranded)
    - In 10 months time I have added 6 quarts of oil. (This is apparently within the spec according to MB)
    - Crankshaft pulley fell off the vehicle one morning when I was returning home from the pediatrician with my daughter. The steering wheel locked up and the car began to stall when I was traveling at 40 miles an hour.

    I don't know what to expect next. I leased this vehicle for my family's safety. Now I won't even let my wife drive it.

    MB has offered me a 2000 year model for an additional $3000. I was appalled that I have to pay more money because they developed and sold a faulty product.

    According to MB if I terminated the lease, I would be liable for a penalty and the remainder of lease payments (15k+).

    I am at a loss. Does anyway think I should go for the 2000 model and pay the extra money or should I try to get rid of this vehicle altogether. I am assuming a trade in for an Acura or BMW would be just as bad finacially as the early termination.

    One thing I am most concerned with is the power steering hose issue. Does anyone know if this problem returns once the it is fixed under the recall?

    I could use some advice from others on this board that have experienced the same frustrations.

    If you any suggestions please email me privately at inet_eng@yahoo.com

    Thanks,
    AA
  • pathdocpathdoc Posts: 126
    I too had a 99 430 ML and had too many issues to even list. I have had numerous Mercedes dating back to a 79 450 SEL. They have been S coupes , sedans and SL's. I still have several of them and am a MB enthusiast. I had always had a SUV as well and after 2 Jeeps (91 Cherokee and 95 Grand Cherokee both of which were both much more trouble free than the ML)I got a ML430. I got rid of it after 4 years. Since it was not my primary vehicle I could afford to have it sitting at the dealer. They could never get rid of the squeaks. I understand that the 2000's are improved but I don't think I'd consider anything older than a 2003 and I still think there are unresolved issues. I know of a 2003 that had peeling door trim that seems to be a new issue. If you can afford it I would get rid of the ML since I'm not convinced the 2000's are any better.
  • On another post I wrote about ML Dunlop tire problems. On this post, I am
    wondering about the brake pads. My friend with the 2002 ML320 is going on
    his THIRD set of brake pads at 15,000 miles. While he does admit to driving
    almost all city (Pittsburgh hills) up-and-down driving, is it normal for the
    Benz Truck to go thru brake pads every 7500 miles? I owned Benzes for years
    but never the truck. Generally my "S" Class cars (S320...1999 then 1993
    before that) went thru pads every 12,000 miles or so. Shouldn't the truck
    get at least that many miles on front pads?
  • mb280mb280 Posts: 27
    My wife's ML has gone thru lots of disc pads (and rotors) over the 60,000 odd miles she has had it. Many more than I have had on my 1994 C280 which has over 160,000 miles on it. When I asked the dealer, he said that that was normal.
  • mjtaimjtai Posts: 1
    I also got a sloshing sound from my dashboard. sounds like stomach growling sometimes. my power steering clamp went and I completely lost steering. Driver side storage collapsed, and Passenger side door seal fell off twice after being replaced by the dealer and finally, it stalled one day during a bumpy road.
  • chumsaechumsae Posts: 61
    Today I rode for two hours in a friend's
    1999 Cadillac STS (sedan). It cost new
    about the same cost as a new 1999 ML320.
    The STS has 95,000 miles.

    Here's the tale:
    Replaced the engine at 90,000. Replaced the AC
    compressor at 70,000. Fix "a dozen or more" small problems. The car now needs what sounds like a new AC compressor, new shocks front and rear (front shocks are $700 each, plus $200 labor -- the dealer quoted her $3,500 for front and rear shocks), the right rear view mirror spent a few minutes twitching at various points in our ride, remote entry is broken and the lcd display for the climate control is fried. This car still looks great but it easily needs another $5,000 to make it safe and functional in addition to the $15,000 they've already spent.

    None of this is meant to excuse M-B for shoddy
    work or unsatisfactory customer service. I doubt that any of the M-B models compare well to a Lexus
    LS400 on reliability (at 185,000 we're on original
    shocks, muffler, etc with our LS) but M-B offers
    its own version of quality that, in my opinion
    is good.
  • njexpressnjexpress Posts: 170
    Hi!
    Anyone ever try buying / installing aftermarket running boards? It would be great if you could share your experience..
    Thank You.
    Cheers!
    --njexpress
  • In addition to many of the common problems that members have written, I had a transmission failure at 98,000 miles while driving on Oct. 5. The transmission failed without any prior warning. Nearby M-B dealer quoted over $10,000 (the service adviser never quoted me the exact figure)to replace the transmisison and torque converter.

    I used AAMCO and a used transmission from a junk yard. The cost? $5,510. This was the least expensive way to fix the problem.

    As you may know, the transmission of ML320 is supposed to be maintenance free, and there is no dip stick to check the fluid.

    I'm the original owner of the ML320, and I was waiting to trade the ML320 with 2004 E-class 4matic which I had to order and wait until Dec. This experience made me to stay away from M-B forever.
  • mqamqa Posts: 3
    My wife was driving on I95 with my two young children yesterday when the power steering quit and the battery light came on. At 60 mph the car became all but uncontrollable. Fortunately she was able to get it to the side of the road and call me to come get her. Turns out the Crank Pulley had broken and basically fallen out of the bottom of the car (after wearing a deep gash in the oil pan) rendering all of the belt driven accessories useless. Anyone ever heard of this problem? I have the vehicle back in my garage with the radiator out. Seems like if I take the nut off I can get a direct bolt on replacement? Is this as simple as it seems? I'm mechanically adept. Do I need to be wary of a defective part going forward? This is very scary, potential loss of vehicle control, particulalry for an MB. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I've had other (numerous problems) with this vehicle and am getting fed up.
  • What has happened is a known and common problem with with 1998, 1999 and early 2000 model E-Class and ML-Class vehicles. I would not try to repair it myself since Mercedes is repairing these problems under a goodwill warranty if you are the original owner. If you try to replace the crankshaft balancer yourself you will find it extremely difficult to remove the attaching bolt without the problem tools. The part itself is $83 and an hour of labor is allowed for the replacement. Even if you pay for it is easier to let Mercedes perform the repair. You are lucky it did not do further damage since when the crankshaft pulley normally comes apart it takes out the oil pan and timing cover. Depending upon how far it is driven before you shut down the engine it commonly causes $2,500 - $4,000 in damage.

    Take it to your Mercedes dealer and you may also be able to get the gouged oil pan replaced.

    You may also want to know that this part is constantly being updated and is now on revision 13.
  • Last month, going 65 on dry freeway, suddenly car starts violent shaking - no warning lights went on. Drove home on side streets at 50 MPH with no further incident. MB dealer couldn't find any cause for this problem; tires checked out fine, but we needed to replace the brakes.

    This week 6 intermittant incidents, going between 5 - 45 MPH -- hear loud clunk at 5 mph while parking, shuttering several different times at 35 on city streets, and shaking at 45 on freeway, all dry road conditions. ESP triangle and BAS/ESP warning lights appeared sometimes.

    Any thoughts before we take it back to MB?
    Thanks
  • mqamqa Posts: 3
    Thank you for the feedback re my '99 ML320 Pulley/Balancer problem. I'm surprised MB did not issue a recall as when this part fails the vehicle becomes very difficult to control. You are correct, it is a real knuckle buster getting the pulley to come off. Is it a reverse thread or something? I guess I'm looking at a flat bed charge at this point to get the car to my dealer and then I'm certain to get whacked by the dealer because I am not the original owner. Not sure how deep the gouge is in the pan until the pulley comes off, if I'm looking at any further repairs this could get really ugly. Looks like I'll be arguing with the good old local folks at Mercedes Benz, AGAIN. What an enormous piece of crap.
    Thanks again for your guidance.
  • Blame Mercedes Benz not the ML!!!

    This is really not an ML problem since the same problem exists on all Mercedes Benz products using this engine. There is a BIG difference between the old Mercedes Benz philosophy and the new. Under the old MB philosophy, if they had a problematic part, they would go ahead and replace it when it was in for servicing and you would not even know it. Under the new Mercedes Benz philosophy they do not replace it, do not recall it, and for many even refuse to admit a problem exists at all.

    The crankshaft pulley on your vehicle ends with a suffix "00-00" and anyone having one of these crankshaft pulleys should have them replaced since they will come apart around 40K miles on a ML and 60K miles on a E. There are three replacement part numbers available that can be used to replace the ones suffixed "00-00." At this time it is hard to know if one is better than the other since time/mileage has not yet proven the new design with less rubber in the donut (although there are three part number all three appear identical).

    It will be interesting to see how scored your oil pan is since usually when they go they cut through the oil pan requiring replacement of the pan. For do-it-yourselfers it is extremely difficult to replace the balancer since you almost need a breaker bar to get enough torque to remove the bolt and you have to be able to keep the crankshaft from turning at the same time.

    Don't let them tell you that this is an unknown problem since that is what they will probably do. Appeal it to the MB zone service representative if you have to. Mercedes should be recalling these vehicles since, as you stated, the results could be very dangerous. At present, many people who are experiencing this problem are reporting it to the NHTSA on their website in an effort to force Mercedes into a recall. I suggest that you consider this action also.
  • I purchased a "Starmark" certified 2000 ML320 in April; 03 with 40k. One week after taking it home it standed my wife and two kids in a torrential downpour. Some kind of sensor was to blame. Weeks after the oil light came on. They said at the dealership that this was common and if it happens again to just top it off. A month later the muffler sounded like a race car. They had to replace the catalytic converter. The oil light continues to come on once a month. My passenger side window is getting stuck and the rear window wiper is not working. T make matters worst this Sunday on our way to church the ML began to buck like I was learning hoe to drive a manual. When the tranny finally caught it jerked the car violently. The engine check light popped on and the car skipped again from first to second gear.
    What a nightmare!! Here I thought I moving up in the class of vehicle I drove, what a mistake. My wife spends more time at the dealer than at home. I am meeting with the service Mgr. I want to get rid of this hunk of junk. Any advice for negotiating my return of this vhicle? Do I have any recourse with getting this car possibly taken back by the dealership. I would not mind gatting a different car, possibly a used E W/ 4matic. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • mqamqa Posts: 3
    So here is the final chapter in my trilogy. My Mercedes dealer (in Greenwich, CT) refused to acknowledge that there was a problem and were going to charge me to have the vehicle towed and the full labor and parts to do the service. Unbelievable but true and I have since sent a letter to MB North America, let's see what that turns up.

    Meanwhile, I had previoulsy gone to my local car parts dealer, purhcased a 1/2" drive 17mm hex male socket, put a breaker bar on the end of it and.... no luck. That sucker was on there tight. Subsequently, I took a section of 1" pipe put it over the breaker bar and....voila, the bolt backed off. No wonder the thing was so tight, it was literally covered from end to end in loctite. (put something thru the exisitng pulley to brace it against the engine block to keep the engine from turning over - it is a standard thread, lefty loosey). Maybe not the most professial way to do it but it came off and with no harm done.

    Went back to my MB dealer, swallowed my pride, purchased the new part for $78, (Hey guess what, he had one in stock, I pictured this huge parts bin full of them, waiting for unsuspecting customers to come in and buy them so MB can make more money off this travesty) reinstalled it, put my car back together, more loctite, radiator, front brace, hoses, etc. and it works perfectly.

    The scoring on the oil pan was not severe (not severe enough to be leaking oil anyway). All told about 3 hours of my time including dealer visits, and I saved about $800. Who knows how long it will hold up, and who cares because I am immediately selling this disaster.

    When I look at the design of the broken part I wonder what engineering genius came up with this idea. A pulley that drives all the engine components that is connected to the crank rotor by a flimsy rubber ring. The ring was so heat damaged and cracked it practically came apart in my hands.

    A very bad customer service experience indeed. Buyer beware. Anyone want a slightly used ML320? :)
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    I own a 1999 ML320. But I am still hesitant to recommend a used M-Class to anyone. I think Starmark Certification is crap anyway. I dont't think they do the 175 point inspection or whatever. They just add 2500 dollars and hope that they get to keep the money. If something does go wrong they will try to badger you into paying for the repairs. How good is the warranty if you are spending every week at the dealer. Time is money too.
  • There is a leak on my 99 ML320 power steering rack and pinion system. Does any one know how much it will cost to replace it? I got a quote about $2K. Is it true? Boy, I should have stayed with Toyota for good. Is there any recall on 99 ML320 related to power steering other than clamp? Thank you for the info.
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