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Mercedes-Benz M-class (ML320, ML350, ML500 and ML55) 2005 and earlier

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  • biker5biker5 Posts: 199
    Tony, you are correct the the hitch receiver OF OUR ML is 2"
  • rs64rs64 Posts: 64
    As you probably have read here, you can get a great deal (provided you are within the first 12 months of ownership on new car) from Lisa at Courtesy Motors in Chico, CA.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,862
    "The ML55 AMG is a limited edition vehicle designed to appeal to sports car enthusiasts as well as SUV fans."

    A potent version of the M-Class

    Steve
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    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • 1wiseguy1wiseguy Posts: 120
    I have a chance to buy a 99 ML 320 with power moonroof, leather (looks like vinyl to me)and runners. Any idea what would be a good price in Canadian dollars? It's going to be sold at a sealed bid (it is a company car and the person who drove it has left the company). It has only 40,000 km (25,000 miles). The ESP is a great feature for a Canadian winter.

    I was a bit surprised with the interior- I expected it to be more luxurious- but I want something with good resale and that will last for several years.
    Thanks in advance.
  • budinctbudinct Posts: 19
    Here's something for you...

    I went to pick up my 2002 ML320 and before signing the papers, I went to check out the truck. I quickly noticed two minor dents on the passenger door and it looked as if it was repainted. I knew the truck just came in from another dealer as part of a dealer swap.

    Needless to say, I did not take delivery. The dealer and I worked out a deal for another truck w/ extra equipment on the lot at no cost. MB also offered me an extended warranty at 2000 prices plus 10% off... Good deal? I think so. An extra 24 months b to b for $1700.
  • liebermlieberm Posts: 1
    I am planning to lease a M320, but will not need the car until June. I think the new model year will come out in July, and I can manage until then. Anyone know when the new model year is coming out?
  • ml320_98ml320_98 Posts: 1
    Mercara - (5904/5)
    I lived in the UK for 13 years and just returned to the U.S. I owned MANY UK and US Drive cars. DON'T SELL YOUR ML 320! It's smaller than the "LAND ROVER" and it's better looking! The MAIN point to remember is with a left hand drive car, you can "ride the curb" (getting as close as possible with out touching it) This is a BIG help and advantage when driving on narrow roads. No reason to sell...If my wife and I can drive a Chrysler Grand Voyager on the roads of Yorkshire and London you can handle a ML 320.
    Happy driving!
  • i bought a 2001 ML320 fully loaded last November and have been very happy with the ride, handling, space, etc. but am curious if every ML does this--after i turn off the car (short or long trips) a noise continues under the hood that sounds like a fan and it continues for at least 5 minutes every time. is this normal? i asked a MB road tech who had to rescue me on christmas eve with a bad window switch if it was common and he said yes. anyone know what this is?

    also, i have a few other questions. i experience some sideway skidding on snowy streets when turning, is it the ML or the dunlop grandtreks? my grand cherokee never did this.

    also, what are my options for a single cd player upfront besides the nav system? thanks in advance, chicago
  • bertram60bertram60 Posts: 113
    The noise you hear is a re circulation pump for the engine coolant and is normal. The pump runs to prevent any "hot spots" on the motor. If the noise goes away, then you need to worry
  • thanks for the quick response, i can finally let go of this worry
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    Just like bertram60 said, the water recirculates inside the engine for a few minutes to even the temp and avoid hot spots, is an all aluminun engine.

    As far as lateral movement on the snow keep in mind that the ML weighs almost a thousand pounds more than the Jeep, some people have solved this switching to other tires. I never had that problem but I have the 430ML and it has the wider tires.
  • bon_bonbon_bon Posts: 19
    New (Proud) owner of an ML 500

    Just took the delivery from an out of state Dealer. Got a great price. Email me if you need the Name of the dealer and the price I paid for it. It has Metallic color, bose+CD Changer, M3, M5 and Xenon lights. I have driven the car 550 miles now so here are my comments. I own a lexus RX300 for past four years, hence I will do some comparison with it. I am mostly gonna present my issues here as the good things about the car are advertised everywhere. Here we go for ML 500:

    1) The '02 ML 500 looks beautiful and my wife loves the looks. The Navigation System works good but is too slow sometimes and you can miss a turn, especially if you are in a downtown area. You would have to come to a stand still before you can put in a new location. We did that and while it was calculating we started moving. Big mistake. It asked us to take the next exit on the highway, made us go through some unknown city and brought us back to the point from where we had started. I guess it does that because if you go off route, it brings you back to the same place and then starts all over. We wasted 30 minutes and drove 40 miles unnecessarily. So I can say that it is not very reliable. You should make sure that you check the route before following it blindly. Also, there is no way to shut the radio off if the navigation system is on. The only way is to reduce (and ultimately shut) the volume for the radio. Another problem is if you are going from one zone to another (each CD has a zone on it) you cannot give a point on CD1 to a point on CD2. It will not have that. So I did this, I guessestimated some location along the border (or crossover point for the two CDs) and then when I reached that point, I put in the second CD and it took me to the final destination. All this is very cumbersome and has a potential for making mistakes. I wish they had a better system. Or if there is a way, someone could respond to my comments and I would be very greatful.

    2) The interiors are very good, seats comfortable and the drive is smooth. The RX300 has even more smoother ride but then its a car, right ? For the first time we could feel the pot holes on the inner roads around our neighbourhood. With RX300 we did not know that they existed. So in comparision, RX300 drives more like a car as compared to ML 500.

    3) Bose CD player is good, the volume control (as noticed by everyone) is placed a little far off. My wife, who is shorter, has to really strech herself to reach it. CD changer is in the back so you would have to stop the car and then change the CDs in the cartridge. In Lexus, the CD Changer is the dash so the passenger can change the CDs while the car is being driven (a big advantage).

    4) The dealer programmed the doors to automatically lock themselves once the car reaches 9 M/Hr. This is a very good feature, especially if you have kids. He also programmed the daytime running lights for us (they don't come as default).

    5) As mentioned in this board, there is no indication for the door ajar (or some door open). Also, the doors are a little hard to close. You really have to push them to make sure that they are closed. Hence the door open feature becomes even more important/necessary. The RX300 has very smooth and light doors and still has an indication on the dash if any door is open (including the boot). In ML, this is less of a problem during night because the inside lights shutoff only after all the doors are properly secured. This is, however, an issue during the day, especially if you have kids 'cause the doors are a little hard to close for kids (unless they are in the habit of slamming the doors).

    6) There is no indication for the headlights. I mean there is no way to know if the lights are on from inside. Sure you can keep everything on Auto and never worry but once again it is a basic feature and almost all cars have a little indicator on the dashboard that tells if the headlights are on.

    7) Going uphill, the 5.0 liter engine makes noise in the sense that you would have to push the gas paddle. Maybe the car is new and this will go away. This is a big difference between RX300 and ML. RX has VT engine and we never felt that we are pressing the gas paddle and that the exhaust was making a noise. In ML you'd really have to push the paddle and it makes some noise.

    8) Brakes are good considering the size and weight of the car. The head rest of the middle seat in the back can obstruct your rear view. I had it taken out because wife is short and wanted to make sure that she can see properly.

    9) The air re-circulation button goes off automatically after every half hour or every five minutes if the outside temprature is less that 47F. This is a very annoying feature. We live in the city so we have to keep it on to eliminate the fumes, etc. from entering the car. In winters, I would have to keep switiching it on every five minutes. What were they thinking when they designed this ???? Maybe this was done to avoid fogging in the car, but then there should be a way to override this.

    10) The automatic climate control works well and the AC is pretty good. However, the climate controls are rotary dials as compared to the Lexus which had a digital display. Also, you can increase or decrease in steps of two degrees only. You can shut off the rear AC which is a good feature.

    11) The floding side mirrors are awesome. They fold with a push of a button. A very good feature if you park your car on street sometimes or during the car wash.

    12) We did not hear any rattlling or any other funny noises that we keep hearing about on the board and we have driven more than 500 miles in the car on all kinds of roads (except real outdoor kinds). Maybe it is still new and we might hear them later.

    13) There no sound when the car locks or unlocks. Making some kind of sound during locking/unlocking is a good feature and we like it. We have that in the Lexus and now we are tuned to looking for a sound when we unlock the car. Unfortunately, the ML does not have this feature but the ML flashes its lights 3 times when you lock it and swithes its parking lights on when you unlock it in the night. But we would have liked if there was some sound during locking/unlocking.

    14) The key for the car is very cheap looking as if it was made in a hurry and all possible cost cutting features were applied to it. Its a shame to have that cheap plastic looking key for a $50K car. They should have done something better than that. We hate the key.

    More as I discover new things. Once again, these are only my observations and may be wrong or that I have not understood the systems correctly yet. If there is a solution for any of the problems I have stated above, please feel free to post them. It will help me alot.

    But one thing is certain, we are enjoying our new car/SUV. However we are keeping our RX 300 too.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Congratulations, bon bon! And thanks for the report!

    tidester
    Host
    SUVs
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    I am sure you can not help but compare the newcomer, the ride of the ML is going to be stiffer but you have here a true truck while the RX300 is basically a car in SUV uniform, the ML offers things that are not readily visible but if you care to crawl underneath note the size of the transmission you will be surprized, also note the heavy frame and beefy suspension.

    Other things that come with the vehicle is a true low gear transfer case, a plus when towing heavy loads up steep terrain or when going off-road, more control because lots of torque at low speed, as a matter of fact the ML is a superb off-roader, better than the public image, it has won the Paris Dakar (longest in the world) race twice in its short life in the un-modified class, meaning as is from the show room, nobody can boast that record even makers that have been making SUV's for decades, besides those the ML has won numerous other awards in in the world in off roading.

    As far as the engine grunt you hear you have to consider that the V8 in the ML is close to 300hp and the torque it produces is 325ft/lbs against the 220 of the RX300 and is almost 9000lbs heavier, besides the ML has a sophisticated double wall stamp and form ehxaust header that will leak some grunt (resonance) but allows the emission control to heat up rapidly and makes the vehicle a LEV engine.

    Unfortunately the ML did not have the clean record wished for, a new design, a new plant, new workers, other than the engine and transmissions that comes from Germany, the rest has been sourced here in the US and precicely those components have given some complaints, just recently the chairman of Mercedes said that this was not acceptable and that there would be a crackdown on the suppliers that fail on quality controls (long overdue by most opinions and mine too), this does not mean that problems will come for sure, I had my 430ML since 1999 and no problems to report.

    Anyway happy motoring.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Hi Folks, I have about 3200 miles on my ML500 (Desert Silver/Java) M1,M3,M5,M7, Bi-xenons, parktronic. I've had two Jeep Grand Cherokee's ('96 and '99) and I really like the ML in comparison.

    I've never had an problem at all with the Nav system. Takes me directly to my destination and is fast and prompt.

    In reference to the RX300, a friend of mine has one which are very nice vehicles but the passenger front seat only moves forward or backward, it will not raise or lower which can be uncomfortable on long trips.

    One item I wish the ML had is the auto open and close of the windows and sunroof with the key fob. My 2000 E430 sport has it and I like that option. Sometimes, I will open the third seat pop out windows and realize that I haven't closed them, if the ML had that option, it would be nice.

    I really like the parktronic, I don't have to worry about removing the headrests because the sensors let me know exactly how close I am to anything in the way.

    Mark
  • rockypaulrockypaul Posts: 104
    Nice post from a newbie.
    You will "grow" into your ML500 and appreciate its many attributes over time.
    On the Nav system cd based units never work as well or as quickly as dvd based.
    The best I've experienced were in a Lexus LS430 and an Acura TL. However they still are cumbersome and may find you pulling off the road just to change the radio dial.
  • procterprocter Posts: 19
    I put 17 in.,wheels on my ML 320 because I knew I would be driving on lots of snow. The car will go into a slide even with the better traction.

    I don't know if it is better than a Jeep -- never driven one on snow. But remember the Jeep Quadra drive is probably a better traction solution. It really does drive every wheel rather than brake the slipping wheel. I've read, however, that Jeep's take time to react and you can feel like you are in a two wheel, rear drive for a couple of seconds before it kicks in.

    I've never lost control in the ML-320. Try this to see if you gain some confidence in it. On an open snowy parking lot try to do a dounut. No matter what the throttle, the car will stop the skid, and pull out slowly in the direction it was in when the skid stopped. Braking is even better. I've had people doing 360 degree spins right in front of me in 4wd's (Toyota, Chevy, ... ) and I can apply full brakes and stop straight every time. I've driven on snow for 30 years, and while I personally would rather have a little more control of things, this car's traction system is by far the best for the average person I've ever driven. I'd be a lot less afraid of the other nuts in the snow if everyone had one of these!

    By the way, I want more ground clearance for snow. Does anyone know how much bigger I can go on tires when my OEM's wear out?
  • maabmaab Posts: 41
    Our 2000 ML (20000 mi) battery went dead yesterday, and I guess the good thing was that it was parked in our drive way. Strange thing was that there is no indication of any juice (can't use remote, no phone, no warning lights, not crank). It didn't even give me a pathetic dead battery light.

    I called 1800 and local dealer came by to replace the dead battery within 30 minutes. You got to love MB Roadside Assist. It was strange to see a huge battery (twice as big as "regular" ones) and lasts only 20K miles (a year and half usage). I wonder who actually make these batteries, just because Die Hard and Trak Auto ones will last three to four years.
  • rockypaulrockypaul Posts: 104
    Once when fairly new to the ML320 in 99 we had a 43 inch snowfall in 24 hours.
    Roads were closed,counties were closed!
    My office is 38 miles from home and I made it without much stress until I got to my street.
    Still unplowed and with headlight high snow I managed to get stuck at the end of my driveway on the layer of ice and slush under the snow cover. What an embarrassment. Tried rocking,can't be done with the skid control system. Tried low range and found the power shutdown too early. My neighbor finally had to push me.

    Later that winter I found that when you turn the skid control off you can rock as well as take advantage of the true 4 wheel drive capability with the 35/65 split.

    Moral of story: never got stuck again here in the upstate NY area (Rochester)!
  • maabmaab Posts: 41
    I thought it's fatal (to auto transmission) to rock it; I've done it with manuals, however.
  • sencsenc Posts: 44
    I was just reading some of the March posts regarding problems with the MB quality. As an orig. owner of a '99 ML320 with 57k miles, I will say I have had my share of all the problems posted(sunroof noise, fuel pump quit, windlow switch, door latch rattles, etc.). Some of these are inexcusable(can't MB get door latches right?. However, I certainly had worse problems with domestic vehicles where it seems reliability is like paying the slots in Vegas...GM had to be the worst(new Bose in new 1989 Corvette went out, GM's 'service' was to pull it and ship it and me do without radio for 4 weeks!), Ford Taurus transmissions/brakes won't last, domestic front wheel drive cars drive terrible, wife's 2001 Expedition which has terrible vibration problems-Ford knows it's a design problem but won't stand behind it, etc. SO, I guess since I can't afford to trade for a new ML right now, I will continue to drive it with the understanding that out of warranty service will be costly, but probably less headache than a new domestic that has problems from day 1. Atleast, it drives VERY smooth and runs and drives as good with 57k miles on it as it did when new, and that is something you certainly can't say about a domestic. I think what is so irritating about the ML's is that we know they aren't as well-built as the sedans. Granted $40-50k is not as much as many of them cost, but is there really any excuse for some of the problems? I drive my mothers CLK 430 Cab. and brother's S and it would take me a week solid to find ANY problem with those cars. Even the C280 I had was PERFECT and required no warranty work. Now, if only I could afford a new C or ML..........
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    You are rigth in your observations.
    The problems have been disscused so many times, by now it is a general concensus that, 1st- The Ala assembly plant is not up to par, labor being the major problem when you consider they hired locals with no skill in puting together someting like a vehicle, hence the jokes, Dixie truck, the trim and fit of a Chevy with the engineering of a Mercedes, etc.
    2nd-The suppliers, other than the engine and drive train coming from Germany the rest is all sourced out here in the States, correct 1 and 2 and we have a first class vehicle

    I would say the time to buy a new ML would be in a year or so and here is why, the chairman of Mercedes said that those quality issues with Mercedes are not acceptable and he would personally take charge to bring quality up to first rate, like what people expects from MB, a crack down on suppliers is expected also since some have unilateraly switched designs. The pressure on Mercedes has been great, the German press in particular has been very loud about the quality issues, they could not ignore it no more.

    Now we have to have realistic expectations, there will not be an overnigth fix, is a huge organization but they are sincerely commited according to insiders. I have a 99 430ML and really never experienced those problems, but in a year from now I would trade, my vehicle is meantless and I suspect a good trade in value and quality should be up.

    On the other hand the long term longevity of the ML is good, in other sites people with over 100,000 miles say the Ml is as smooth as new and as solid, other than the usual trim and fit or ligth switch or rattle having to be corrected.
  • takisjotakisjo Posts: 2
    Just got the 2002 ML and have put about 1k on it. I think Bon Bon did a great job of summing up some of the "mind bogglers" on the ML vs. the RX. It's been interesting to see the differences between German and Japanese engineering. It seems German engineering doesn't see the forest for the trees not to mention the tighter overall trim and fit of the RX. I love both vehicles, and I think there's no question the RX is the better value for the money, but I'd like to point out a few things I live the ML over the RX.

    1.) It's going to sound sexist but the ML just looks, drives, and feels more masculine or beefy. The RX seems more "soccer mom"-ish and to me is a slighlty higher luxury wagon. ML fun factor is an advantage, not to mention it's a trus SUV. It seems from the posts and our experience that the RX appeals more to the ladies and vice versa for the ML for the guys.
    2.) The turning radius on the RX is the most ridiculous I've ever seen in any car. ML is much easier to park and maneiver, even though its 6 inches longer. I curse at the RX every time I try to park it in tight parking garages.
    3.) RX does not have side mirror memory. Not sure why it's important to have seat memory but then have to manually adjust your mirrors every time.
    4.) Much more high speed wind noise on the RX. Don't have the spoiler because I think it looks goofy. I noticed the roof racks face different directions on the two vehicles, so don't know if that is why. Any opinions?

    Won't bore you with more, plus there aren't many more... but we love both vehicles. My wife sticks to the RX and I stick with the ML and we're both happy. If anyone's interested I'd be happy to do a more detailed side by side comparision (based on real person opinion not technical specs) but I'm sure that's been done on this thread before.
  • brdrbrdr Posts: 7
    Earlier this year I was driving out of a parking lot at a ski resort here in Northern CA and I lost complete control. The lot was empty,it was a sheet of ice that I hit and plowed sideways into a huge wall of snow.I was going no more than 10-15mph, so that helped in avoiding any serious damage.
  • joeconejoecone Posts: 5
    Bzzzzzzz. Wrong !!! The GX is no competition. It is not a truck. Just another unibody pretending to be an SUV.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    I'm afraid you buzzed too soon. The GX470 is indeed a truck, with body-on-frame construction. You lose your turn.

    "Like the Lexus LX 470, the GX 470 boasts a durable body-on-frame design ..."

    The vehicle is based on the Toyota Prado, which is a well-regarded off-roader outside of the U.S.
  • i have purchased several ML series since 1998. I was on the waiting list for the ML320 in 1998,(silver on black, M1 package, fender flares) and it suffered from several production problems, like rattling from the inside. Then, in 1999, i switched to a black-opal ML320, and it was much better. My wife still drives it, and I myself drive a 2000 S430. I now want to trade in my 1999 ML320 for a new ML500 abalaster white designo. Is it as bad as the 1998/1999, or is the quality better? I am already disapointed because the s-class interior is filled with cheap-like plastive materials. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • neicey59neicey59 Posts: 47
    My wife is going crazy trying to clean the LYCRA skirts around the second seats in her 2001 ML320. The java color really shows the dirt on these skirts, and during on of her many cleaning sessions my wife discovered they were adhered to the top of the seats by velcro

    Anyone had luck cleaning these skirts, or keeping them clean? Hopefully MB will get rid of these soon and replace them with leather skirts.
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    #5919 of 5941 Driving in the UK with a Left hand drive car by
    Thanks for the information. I had a few more questions regarding registering the car, etc. I would really appreciate it if you could send me your email address to tony_cora@rediffmail.com.

    Thanks,
    Tony
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