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

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Comments

  • Does anyone know whether there will be any changes? If the price will go up? I'm planning on buying one but I don't like to buy the first year a vehicle is redesigned.
  • cctdicctdi Posts: 82
    What you said in your post is so true, I do the same calculation for the mileage calculation; the trip mile number divided by the gallon number. And here are the references for those vehicles that I know so well in my daily driving( local, city and some highway)- the E320 CDI gets 28, Highlander Hybrid 24, Passat 2.L TDI 34, Touareg V10 TDI 20, E320 4matic wagon 16, E430 4matic 15, 4Runner V8 16, and I can’t remember that well for the others. Today, I filled up the CDI at $2.399 vs. $2.129 of the premium gas here in South Jersey. To my experience, the diesel should come down below the premium after April. Somehow in these past three years, the tax imposed on on-road diesel fuel increased so much, diesel was always cheaper than the regular. The tricky part from the policy makers is to tax the truckers and let them pass the cost to the people who won’t feel the pinch until the price of good increase in their shopping lists. The heating oil and off road diesel are same as the #2 diesel and cost much less, but it is illegal to pour in your car unless you use on your farmland. I am just a diesel lover, the longest car I kept was 97 300D, just like the CDI, I go to gas station every 425-450 miles. The only difference is the CDI is easy, fast, and silk smooth and I don’t detect the green smoke like the 300D, Touareg and Passat TDI in cold early morning starting! E420 CDI 4matic wagon is my dream car, I do wish it gets on this shore!
  • Hi. My husband drives a ML320 and is wondering if there is power steering fluid in the car and if so, where is the indicator and place to fill it? He is trying to diagnose a noise that occured when he started the car up this morning. The noise went away after awhile. The car is a 2001 model with about 90,000 miles.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    The power steering pump is at the right front of the engine as you face it with the hood open, near the oil filter. You have to pop up the plastic engine cover at the corner to get to the cap. The cap has a dipstick.

    - Mark
  • Hi..
    I am thinking about purchasing a 2000 or 2001 ML. I have been hearing alot of bad things about the car (electrical problems, transmission, etc.) Could anybody tell me if they recommend the vehicle, or should I consider something else.
    Thanks for your Help!!
    ~Kelly
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Kelly, I'm not a mechanical person per se, but if you are looking for a used ML, go for a 2002 or newer.

    2002 was the year that the ML was "refreshened" with a new front bumper and headlights, turning signals on the mirrors, refreshened tail-light covers and rear bumper update.

    The air conditioner dash controls are better as is the location of the power window switches on the console. In 2002, Mercedes added rear air conditioner vents for the second row.

    My 2002 ML500 has never left me stranded and I'm approaching 50,000 miles. It has been a really good vehicle. I'm getting ready to trade as I usually change out my "traveling" vehicle every 3-4 years. I would consider a new 2006 ML but they don't offer a third seat like I have in my 2002. And, I don't want an R-class, to "van-ish".

    I have not had any problems with my transmission or any electrical problems. I have other very minor issues like the rear cupholder breaking, light behind the speedometer went out, wrinkle in the console cover, a tailgate latch, washer fluid container leak (twice) and the black piece under the front bumper came loose twice.... EVERYTHING was fixed under warranty and have had no issues in a long time.

    Mark
  • jrynnjrynn Posts: 162
    If you had to take EITHER the upgraded Harmon Kardon sound system @$1080 or the MB-NAV system @$1250, which would you take and why?

    Is the upgraded stereo THAT much better than the stock stereo? Is the MB-NAV now user friendly enough to be useful?
  • This is my first time on this site. Hopefully, someone out there can help me. I have a 2004 ML500 with 18,000 miles and Mercedes-Benz Manhattan is stating that I must replace the brake pads and rotors for $1,300.00. It seems rather early in the life of the vehicle to be performing such an extensive repair. Any thoughts? Thanks.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Hi John.

    First thing I'd do is confirm how much brake pad you have left. Don't take the dealer's word for this.

    If you get under the car with a flashlight, it's very easy to see how much pad is left, by shining a light into the caliper from the plane of the wheel. (Turning the wheels full lock may help on the fronts.) As long as you can see a groove still remaining in the pad, then you're within spec. The dealers are generally very aggressive in pitching a brake job when the pads may be only 60% worn or so. Also, if there is no brake warning light (the pads have sensors that illuminate a warning light when they get near replacement time), that's usually a good indication that they're still okay.

    Typically, the front wear is heavier than the rear, although not always. My guess is that with 18K and unless you're really hard on brakes, you'll find that you have about 40% of your fronts left and well over half of your rears. Which means you probably can go onto about 30K or 35K on the fronts, and 50K on the rears.

    If you do need pads, dealers are also extremely aggressive about recommending new rotors. Because the rotors have very little extra "meat", they don't want to machine rotors anymore, so they just recommend new rotors as a matter of course. In reality, your rotors are probably within spec and unless visibly grooved, you can probably fit new pads and not do a thing to rotors. Many of us are getting 100K miles out of rotors this way without any squealing problems.

    Now the dealer may not be willing to do brakes without replacing rotors. They'll say that it won't be safe, or won't meet spec, or will always squeal. If they insist on rotor replacement, then I'd push for having it done under warranty as getting 18K out of a rotor can be considered a defect in materials. Some folks have even managed to get early pad replacement done under warranty, but this is a harder push.

    If you can't get MB to cover anything, I'd recommend you find a good independent garage that knows Mercedes to give your business to and only go to the dealer for warranty work. Finding someone who will work with you to find lower cost solutions is key to owning a MB at something approaching reasonable cost. My experience is that MB dealers consider $1300 spent every 18K miles on brakes is just "routine maintenance costs". They even gave me a dirty look when I suggested this was too high, like I was being a cheapskate or something. Which is one reason, I just traded my ML yesterday. Absolutely loved the truck, but it just was too expensive to keep it running.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Markjenn, what did you get?

    I picked up a 2006 Land Rover LR3 HSE, Java Black Pearlescent with Alpaca beige leather, Cold package, Heavy duty package... added a wood dash and thick black rubber mats on all three rows.

    I liked my 2002 ML500 (48,700 miles) but it was just about out of warranty and I was ready for something else.

    The Land Rover has a 4 yr. 50K warranty that incudes all maintenance... My ML had that but Mercedes doesn't offer that anymore. Also, my local Mercedes dealer doesn't offer loaner cars. I made sure that the Land Rover did and my salesman said "sure".

    I hope my luck with the Land Rover is good, I just didn't want a Mercedes this time, especially, for the lack of included service and no loaner cars.

    Mark
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I took a breather from pricey and fussy Euro makes and went with the milk toast SUV: Honda Pilot.

    - Mark
  • Mark,

    Thank you very much for your response. It gives me some good insights. Unfortunately, I did succumb to the "we won't release your car to you because it is not safe" argument from the dealer, and paid the nearly-$1,500.00 cost.

    Good luck with your new purchase.

    Regards,
    John
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    John, the same thing happened to me with my 2002 ML500. I took my ML in the shop for service and they told me that my rear brakes were needing replacement; I had 18,000 miles on it. Since I was about to go on a driving trip, I let them do it at a cost of about $250. Apparently, it didn't need rotors.

    Then at about 26,000 miles, while I had the ML in for service, they wanted to replace the front brakes, I said no. I figured that is what the "brake pad" replacement light is for.

    Well, what do you know, I waited until 46,000 miles to replace the front brakes (and rear). The light never came on. The service tech couldn't believe I never had the pads replaced. He asked me if I had them replaced by another shop and I said no. I told him that I was waiting for the light to come on. He didn't like that.

    Since the dealer, in my opinion, tried to make me spend money WAY to early, I decided when the time came, they would NOT get my business. I had a private shop do it, replacing all pads, rotors and brake fluid at the cost of $1,100.

    Next time, just wait until the light comes on. Always question the service guy, they are not their for your interest. Sure, they can be nice and all, but hold on to your wallet! :surprise:

    Mark :)
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    John, I did the same thing the first time the dealer recommended new brakes. I think it was at 20K. No big deal.

    They are very subtle with their tactics to get you to perform excessive service - they'll have the service techs write things in the work order in all caps like "CAR IS NOT CURRENTLY SAFE TO DRIVE", which to a new owner is pretty intimindating. And who wants to have a service record for the vehicle which shows you ignored such advice?

    In their weak defense, they will argue that the car is serviced so infrequently that if the pads are more than half worn, there is some risk that they may be under spec before the next service visit. This reflects an attitude of "Cost is unimportant to our customers and the inconvenience of having to schedule an extra service visit between routine visits is." Which is probably true for some, but not me.

    - Mark
  • steverstever Ex Yooper, just arrived in New MexicoPosts: 40,535
    I wonder if a complaint to your local consumer affairs office or attorney general is in order. My guess is that a mechanic in the next block would ok the car to drive for another few thousand miles, even if the brakes are nearing their expected life.

    This tactic has an odor of bill padding to it.

    I wonder what their response would be if you said, ok. let's tow it to Midas and get a second opinion?

    Steve, Host

    Moderator
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  • steverstever Ex Yooper, just arrived in New MexicoPosts: 40,535

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

  • jrynnjrynn Posts: 162
    If it's 200 inches long, then Edmunds ought to note that it's a fancy competitor to the Suburban/Expedition, not to the Range Rober/Cayenne.
  • Stop thinking about it, or your dreams may turn into nightmares. Or don't listen to me, just get a copy of Consumer Reports and take a look at their auto issue and the reliability of the ML. You should consider something else after reading what they say.
  • There are NO diesels in the pipeline for the forseeable future. 3.5L V6, or 5.0 V8 - a higher performance V8 is due, but certainly not an economy model.
  • The ML has a campaign on the power steering return hose and clamp at the radiator. It's a lifetime thing. If you loose p/s fluid by the hose blowing off the radiator cooler pipe, you will not be able to steer the car fast enough to avoid an accident. NO KIDDING! The fluid can be just low, but check the hose for dampness and swelling. Or take it to a dealer and have them check it. This is VERY important - not only for you, but those you may hit when you cannot steer. Of course, there are other places the fluid can leak - the steering rack, or the reservoir above the pump. Please be careful, you can't steer, it gets really hard to turn the wheel. If you are on the highway at speed it will get very scary.
  • That's just plain horse----! They cannot keep your car, "safe or not." YOU are the owner and they have NO grounds NOT to release YOUR car to YOU!
  • I hope the salemans' "sure" holds up. I once had a client tell me the salesman told him there was a 500K mi warranty on the diesel engine in his M-B 300D. Because of this, after the radiator hose ruptured he drove his car in 45mi to get his warranty coverage. Boy did it cost him a bundle!
    The cylinder head cracked and the radiator had to be replaced. I am not an expert on Land Rovers but I am not sure they are much better than the earlier MLs. As we all know, the service department cannot make a silk purse out of a sows' ear, but they can try to.
  • It is difficult for me to understand how the front brake pads on any 500 lasted that long. Do you live in the country? City driving negates long brake pad life. Especially a 500ML. If you didn't wear out the rotors in 46K mi, you must live in the country.
  • It could be an A, or a B service. The "double wrench" usually means a B service. The B is an A with extra items. The A is an engine oil/filter change and an inspection. The oil change interval is about 10K mi. At 60K mi the fuel filter should be replaced. If the fuel pump has not been replaced at least once, the connecting fuel lines to the filter will need to be replaced. Do not try to use the original fuel lines ( 3 ) with the modified fuel filter! Even at this mileage, the factory rep may OK warranty coverage for replacing the fuel line - R&R L-H rear seat, etc. Although not officially recommended the auto trans should be serviced. There is no official interval for the auto trans.
    At 4yrs or 100K mi the spark plugs should be replaced. They can probably go closer to 100K mi if you wish and are having no check engine light on/flashing. They cost about $115pts/2.0hrs lbr. Make sure the crankshaft pulley/harmonic balancer has not begun to come apart. There is a campaign on this part. When it lets go, it eats up the upper oil pan and timing cover. Also, if you are driving it at the time it goes away the steering becomes very hard since you lose power steering caused by a loose belt. Other than that you may get an air filter, that's about it. The dealer can give you an estimate, whether it's the official M-B maintenance or the dealers' "modified" service.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    You're being overly dramatic.

    The power steering failure problem due to the hose coming loose has discussed a lot, and while I'm sure it is no fun to have the problem happen, people who have done tests have found that the ML's steering is essentially the same as every other car when it loses power assist - the effort goes up, but the car remains controllable and steerable, albeit with a higher effort. The effect is exactly the same as if the engine stalls.

    - Mark
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    3screws... we sure are a bright ray of sunshine!

    My Land Rover dealer offers loaner cars when you drop your vehicle off for warranty work. I'm not sure how this compares to the M-B 300D story? We are just talking loaner cars here, right?

    I don't live in the country, I got 46,000 miles out of the original rotors and pads on my 2002 ML500 and the "pad replacement light" had not come on yet but probably was getting close. My ML500 was a very sturdy reliable vehicle as it started every time and never left me stranded in 4 years. I can't say that about my two previous Jeep Grand Cherokee's ('96 & '99).

    Mark :)
  • Is it okay to use an aftermarket or rebuilt (Autozone) mass airflow sensor? Ebay has supposedly new Bosch ones from $100, Autozone has a rebuilt one for $180
  • Hi Everyone,
    I bent one of the struts that hold up the rear hatch(dont ask me how)..I was able to remove and straiten it but a month later I just heard it lose pressure and now its dead...Does anyone out there know where I can get a pair of these for a fair price and have a part #?? Should I just get 1 or 2? Will the dealer,UGH, be the only place to get them besides maybe a junk-yard? Trying to save some money but I do need it soon!!!! Thanks in advance....Kevin
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    This is one of those things that is unusually cheap on a Mercedes. They're readily available online for as little as $25 or so.

    - Mark
  • steverstever Ex Yooper, just arrived in New MexicoPosts: 40,535
    Years ago I replaced a single strut on a minivan hatch and it worked fine (guess the other strut was still ok). Back then I had trouble finding a single strut; most were sold in pairs.

    Steve, Host

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

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