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

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Comments

  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    My experience is tha same as joe's. A block or two of delayed upshifts, then normal. The delay is not much either, maybe shifting at 3.5K where it normally would at 2.5K under light throttle.

    If yours is revving to 6K on light throttle until reaching full operating temp, then something is wrong, or at least out of adjustment. I'd continue to pester the dealer or try another - you may have to leave the vehicle overnight. I don't think it does the engine any good to be revving this high cold.

    Good luck and keep us posted,

    - Mark
  • brown38brown38 Posts: 7
    Thanks guys. I will take it to the capital city and leave it with them.

    Ted
  • rob944rob944 Posts: 5
    We've got a '2000 ml320 with 118,000 km, (74k miles). So far had a few small issues, but last week had the truck stall and not restart on a very hot day, dealer replacing the crank sensor. We really like the truck, but it's time for something newer so we're getting a '05 ML350 Special Edition tomorrow. Seems to me the bulk of the posters on edmunds (all makes and models) seem to have problems. If you think about it, if you don't have a problem, you're not out looking for solutions to your issues. For readers, keep this in mind when examining the composition of any of these threads. my 2 cents.
  • viggieviggie Posts: 16
    1998 ML 320: 84,300
  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 302
    Hi, I have the same problem with the steering wheel. Mine is a 00 320. Own it since new. This noise has happened less than 10 times in 4 years. I never took it to the dealer cuz I know I won't be able to duplicate this @ dealer.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    rob944, could you describe the circumstances where your ML stalled? I had several episodes of my 2000 ML320 abruptly losing power on long highway trips, sometimes coasting to the side of the road and almost stalling, but never quitting completely. It was always extremely hot when this happened - in lower ambient temps it was fine.

    I thought it was the fuel pump, but the dealer had the zone rep in and they did a ton of diagnostics. Finally, they decided it was the crank sensor and it was replaced. I was skeptical, but its been fine since, although I haven't taken any long trips in 100 deg weather.

    - Mark
  • pepe11pepe11 Posts: 41
    Hi,
    I've not posted on this site in about 2 years. When I used to view it, I found it incredibly informational and helpful. I just wanted to post a comment to see how other MB ML owners feel about the huge depreciation in our trucks. My black/black 2000 ML320 is loaded except no nav and no third seat. It is in very nice shape and has only 37k miles on it. Since I've now had it for the four years and it's no longer under full warranty and since I've had all the minor pita items go wrong with this truck, I've been thinking about trading it in. The range I've heard so far from everyone is $16.5k to $17.5k. Pretty pathetic (I think) for a truck that cost over $41k just four years ago. I know there is a certain level of SUV paranoia in today's market but I was expecting $20k plus. Just something for those of you considering buying a new ML - if you want decent resale value down the line, don't buy this SUV (maybe don't buy any suv/truck).
    I'd be interested in other's views and experiences on trade-ins.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Pepe, I'm not in the car business but ALL cars depreciate heavily expect maybe for a small handful. Every car that I have owned (13 or so) seem to drop at least half in 3 to 4 years. It's all market driven, supply/demand, etc. With all of the rebates offered now a days, it hurts our resale value.

    My local Mercedes dealer has done something I've never seen before. In the newspaper the other day, they had an ad for all remaining 2004 units are $100 over invoice except for the SL500. I've never seen them do a blanket ad like that before in the last 15 years that I've been interested in Mercedes. So, if the dealers are making wonderful deals, our ML's are going to drop in price (used).

    Mark
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I ran some back-of-the-envelope deprec computations on a few 2000 models.

    Using trade-in values, the ML is among the lowest (about 48% of MSRP) and the RX300 is among the highest (about 56% of MSRP). Significant, but this is the sort of variation you see as different models age in the marketplace. Certainly we're in a period where SUVs are having to be discounted heavily to move off lots, so as a category, they're not enjoying the traditionally high resale. Small SUVs and small Japanese sedans are the ones holding value at the moment.

    It may have something to do with demographics. The last of the baby boomers are putting their kids through school, and they want their kids to drive small sedans or SUVs and they don't need a Suburban in the driveway any more.

    As always, the best way to avoid resale roulette is to keep a car a while - the difference in retail in a ten year old car between the best and the worst is relatively unimportant.

    - Mark
  • Given the fact that these SUV's depreciate so dramatically, does anyone in this discussion plan to keep their ML-320 until it has no value? And further, does anyone in this discussion maintain their own vehicle? I am considering purchasing a used ML-320, but I don't want to step into a maintenance nightmare. From what I am reading, these Mercedes have too many electronic gizmos that can break, transmissions that think too much, and engines that can only be fixed by German trained technicians. Am I missing something?
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Jubi... I think you have hit the nail on the head, ML's are not maintenace free. The comfort will begin on the price of the used that you buy if it's cheap enough. If you can do the maintenace work yourself, the value is much higher. Personally, I don't want a car much out of warranty. I have another year of warranty on my ML (2002 ML500) and I might trade this December with a year left or next when the warranty expires. I still want another SUV and thinking of a larger one (Escalade ESV).

    It's like Terry says in "Real World Trade Values", buy what you like.

    Mark
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,963

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I'm taking a wait/see attitude about continuing to drive my ML320 out of warranty.

    The 50K warranty has been long gone for 15K miles and I've had one unexpected expense - an O2 sensor repaired at my local garage for $235. But I've also been doing most of my own maintenance like brakes, oil, and filters. I don't think the ML is any harder to work on that similar SUVs (they all have lots of computers and electornics), but if you have some odd problem that requires the computer and diagnostic capabilities of the dealer, then you are in the very-high-priced MB service system where $400 is nothing.

    If you're handy and can cultivate a good relationship with a local independent service shop, driving the ML long-term might be a reasonble proposition. But if you just are throwing the keys at the dealer whenever any problem occurs, it could get prohibitively expensive.

    - Mark
  • Along the lines of my last post, will an ML-320 accept a generic OBD-II scanner/code reader? I don't mind electronic complexity if the computer can generate valid fault codes.
  • Undecided between these two models. I have read in the MB brochure that the ML 500 has a wider front and rear track widths ( 1 inch). Does this make a difference in handling and rollover protection? I also like the fact that the ML 500 not only has more power and torque, but also bigger brakes. I always thought that this was because it was significantly heavier than the ML350, but it is only about 60lbs. heavier according to the MB specs. Your insight will be appreciated.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Babalulu, I've had my ML500 for 32 months and 29,600 miles. I have the third seat, nav, parktronic, 6cd, bi-xenons with headlamp washers, etc... I've been relatively happy but I've had to deal with a few small issues. I've never been stranded or towed.

    I had the rear brakes replaces at 18,000 because the dealer thought they were getting close. Since I was going on a 2,000 mile trip, I didn't want to worry about a brake job so I gave them the approval to go ahead and replace them. I'm going to wait until the "brake shoe" light comes on before I change the front of which I think I have about 20% left. This vehicle is heavy and goes through brakes quicker than I thought it would... 18,000 on the rear brakes?? seems a little early.

    But, basically, I've been happy with the ML as a whole. The third seat has come in handy so many times. Also, the parktronic makes it a cinch when parking in tight spaces.

    Mark
  • diesel11diesel11 Posts: 21
    Resale values are dependent on many factors:
    1. Dealer/Manufacturer incentives on the new vehicles.
    2. Reliability....long-term.
    3. Buyer demand.

    Issue 3. is the biggest factor. The SL500 has high resale because there arent that many made and the demand is relatively great. The designo editions are even better because of even lower production numbers.

    I have a 2001 LS430 and a 2003 ML350. LS is perfect in every way. The ML had its steering column replaced already!

    I plan on putting 200,000 miles on LS, only 90-100,000 on ML.

    IMO its still way cheaper to keep the vehicle beyond warranty than have a MONTHLY car payment!!

    Fred
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I would guess the wider track of the ML500 is strictly due to wider tires or slightly different wheel offsets as the basic chassis is unchanged. I doubt it has much effect on rollover protection.

    The magazines have always said that the V6 ML handles better due to less weight in an already nose-heavy vehicle, and because the tires are narrower. The ML is "overtired" to look more muscular in the American car market where big wheels and tires are cooler. In the Euro market, both models of ML's have much narrower tires because they handle better and have a lot less unsprung weight.

    As to brakes, the V8 does have bigger brakes, although V6 brakes are already pretty big for this class of vehicle. Whether bigger brakes are needed is open to debate, but you'd think they'd have a bit better fade resistance.

    The best reason to prefer the V8 is simply that you want more effortless torque, particulary if you want to tow heavy loads. The V6 does need to be thrashed at high rpm when climbing grades with a load and often has to drop from overdrive to 4th on highway grades. The V8 will drive more effortlessly. The brakes and handling differences are down in the noise in my book.

    - Mark
  • brown38brown38 Posts: 7
    I have a 2000 ML430 that I will sell you. I maintain it myself but I feel my luck is running out. I replaced the brakes and harmonic balancer myslef, but there are no after market manuals available so electrical diagnostics would be impossible. I plan to trade or sell ASAP.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    We faced the buy new or spend $$ in repairs question 2 weeks ago. We knew the 45k mile service would be significant, but upon hearing it would all add up to $2.5k we decided to look around and perhaps buy something new. I should note our ML320 has been utterly trouble free in 50k miles (yes, my wife let the last service slide by 5k miles). Our ML320 looks new, by the way, for all its reputation it seems to be put together very solidly from a hardware point of view.

    We looked at the Lex RX330, the BMW X5 and X3, and the VW Touareg. In the end, my wife continues to like the ML best, and in the end we decided that her car still looked so good that spending the $$ on a new near identical car did not make sense. In fact, there are things we like better about the '99 ML320 than the '04 ML350, not the least the fact the newer model is 500lbs heavier and feels porkier, and our color choice was a fortunate one.

    In any case, we have decided to keep the car, based on the gutfeel it will not yet turn into a troublesome money-pit.

    There is no exact science making such decisions. We struggled with it, but in the end my wife didn't seem enthused enough about a new car to justify the expense, and the car hasn't cost us anything other than its original purchase price and a set of tires, which makes the current maintenance expense seem a reasonable investment.

    We always have maintained the car in the original dealership. We might start to stray away from there.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    What needed to be done for $2.5K?

    - Mark
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    My wife's got the bill, but it involved: brakes, CD changer (it skipped), something with the cooling fan wiring, throttle cable, and the whole 45k service.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Thanks Pablo. This sounds like the standard stuff the can really drive up ML ownership costs.

    Dealers tend to wildly over-service the brakes (replacing pads only half-worn) and usually replace serviceable rotors, which can double or triple the cost of brake maintenance. My CD changer simply doesn't work if it hasn't been used lately, but I live with it. ML's have a lot of cooling fan problems and the sticky throttle cable problem seems to be something that all of them develop regularly - it is supposedly repairable by some strategically placed grease, rather than replacing the cable all-together). And 15K inspections at MB can be $800 or so, just for the inspection.

    If you want to scrounge and find a good indepedent mechanic, you can reduce these costs by about 2/3rds. But if you're happy and they're doing a good job, then that's more important than penny-pinching.

    Good luck with your truck.

    - Mark
  • We also have an ML 320 (99) that we have been very happy with. It has been trouble free and solid. We tow a boat that is pushing the envelope of 5000 lbs (plus), never without any problems. My concern is that it really needs better brakes and that is why we are considering the ML500. But, since the redesign of the ML 320 into the ML350, have the brakes been improved? Our lease is up and we have a ML 350 in order, here in two weeks. We tried all comparable SUVs out there and we are still going back to the ML . We tried the Volvo SUV, Lexus gx 400, BMW X5 and still, we liked the ML. I was thinking of waiting for the 06 ML, but the 05 is great and it is here. Opinions on the 05 ML 350 brakes? Oh, and where did the ML350 gain 500lbs? I seriously doubt this. I will look at the 99 manual tonight.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    Mark -

    I agree with everything you say. We will most definitely start servicing the car in a place that comes highly recommended. It will not quite save 2/3s, but even 40% saving will add up very quickly! I just want to make sure my wife's car is thoroughly inspected and always safe to drive, but that does not mean it must be serviced at the dealer's service, which -I agree- wildly overcharges.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    bablulu -

    the carpoit comparison confirms 400lbs of additional weight on the recent ML. The dealer also confirmed additional heft - some of it goes for very good stuff, such as additional airbags. The new engine also has some very nice pull. The '04/'05s are very nice, just for our particular situation not quite compelling enough given the fact my wife's car looks very well and got some after-market stuff installed that she really likes.
  • Well - I am loosing my patience with this vehicle. Last week the Driver side Door Lock started playing havoc - locking and unlocking on its own. The dealer replace the Driver Side Door Lock & the lock control module. Everything worked fine for a week.

    Now the power windows go up and come back an inch or two after doing an auto close. Sometimes the auto close does not work. Also, since I had the Coolant Leak 4 times in 2 years I was just checking under the hood for the coolant level and realized that the radiator is lose - it can be moved back and forth slightly !! Damn another visit.

    Every time I take the car for service I think I should get rid of this and get something else. But, my SA keeps telling me that we have replaced so many parts on your car that its like a new car with all latest and greatest parts. He advises me to keep it since all the known issues are fixed. At times I tend to agree with him but then there's something else which comes up. My dilemma is - what will break next vs I have gotten everything fixed so now it should be more reliable.

    Anyway, was checking out the 2004 Acura MDX for my wife and the sales rep wanted me to trade my ML500. The Trade In value comes to $30k - thats a steep depreciation of 40% form its original price of $50k. The cost of owning this car has been around $1k a month. Thats pretty expensive. Don't know what to do - keep it or sell it. I love the ride and the power but am sick of the dealer visits !! Decisions decisions.

    Sorry for the long post - Happy Motoring !1

    Regards,
    Rahul
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Rahul, I too have the '02 ML500 and have not had as many issues that you have had. I have about 29,000 miles on mine. I'm thinking of trading it for an '05 something, not sure yet. That will still leave an additional year of warranty on my Mercedes.

    If I had the issues that you have had, I think I would trade.

    Mark
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    The radiator on mine has been somewhat loose since new - the bushings at the top have a lot of play. May be normal as mine has 65K without it being an issue.

    - Mark
  • mgdiazmgdiaz Posts: 6
    Rahul,
      I'd sell it. I have an MDX and it has been as reliable as a rock. It holds its value extremely well too. I also have an E-Class that has given me plenty of headaches. I guess MB quality is definitely not what is used to be. Good luck.
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