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



  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    The numbers were from various reviews in car magazines.
  • I have a 2000 ml 430 with 60k. I have been experiencing oil consumption problems with the vehicle, especially recently. I purchased the vehicle with 35k from a private seller in January 2001 and have been able to verify that the prior service was done at the recommended service intervals. I do a disproportionate amount of highway driving estimate: 85%/15% The vehicle oil light came on at 40k. I called Mercedes dealer who had done all of the previous service to inquire if there might be a problem. The service advisor advised me to add a quart and bring the vehicle in. After checking the service history the advisor seemed to be perplexed by the situation. He offered to place the vehicle in an oil consumption study that Mercedes was currently conducting and said at the next scheduled service they would change the oil to Mobil 1 synthetic. When I pressed the issue as to if he had seen other ML's with similar problems, he offered the information that Mercedes had been forced to address the consumption problem on the ML. He further stated that his dealership had even rebuilt and replaced some engines due to oil consumption.
    I then had the ML serviced at 49K when the service indicator came on. The oil was changed to Mobil 1. Since then the oil light came on at approx 55k (-1.5L), 59.4K (-1.5L) & now at 60.5K (-1.0L). The dealer states that this consumption pattern is "within MB tolerances". I think this is absurd. I believe that the oil consumption is likely directly related to the fact that MB is pushing the oil change intervals way too long, probably corellated to the fact that they are paying the bill for the oil change under warranty. I have to question whether MB expects that most owners will trade vehicle before situation manifests itself or in my situation, the previous owner was leasing. I also find it interesting that MB issued a service bulletin in early 2001 advising dealers to switch to synthetic. I believe that this is clear evidence that MB has come to realize that they have overextended the oil change intervals, thus causing premature engine wear and oil consumption issues. However, at the dealership they aknowledge my belief that the oil consumption is a problem, but the dealer states that MB only considers oil consumption a problem if the vehicle is using more than 1L every 600 miles!, are you kidding? This is a $50K vehicle. Thankfully,the local dealer did note way back in March that I was expereincing oil consumption issues while the ML430 was still under warrantly. The latest time the indicator light came on, the dealer is now recommending that I have the oil changed again (even though my service indicator says the are still 4500 miles before service). The dealer say the want to better document the problem for MB. I feel there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate significant oil consumption. My opinion is that the damage has already been done and is not likely to be reversed. In fact, as you would expect, it appears to be getting worse. I have asked to speak with the regional MB rep to discuss the problem. My concern is that if I let the dealer continue to draw the situation out by putting new oil in the ML, MB will take position that it is a high-mileage situation that they should have been been alerted to sooner. I have owned several vehicles that I have driven to upwards of 175K, always changing the oil at NO MORE THAN 5K INTERVALS. Not surprisingly, this is the first oil usage issue I have ever had. The dealer answer to that statement is that those vehicles used oil as well, but I didn't notice it since I changed the oil so frequently. I feel like my inteligence is being challenged. I have never heard of any oil manufacturer suggesting going up to 16K between changes. As a sales rep I typically drive 30-40K each year. As such I pay particular attention to the fluid levels, even between services. My livlihood depends upon by thoroughness on maintenance issues. Let me know if anyone has had similar experiences and if anyone had MB rebuild or replace their engines as was reported to me.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    "I believe that the oil consumption is likely directly related to the fact that MB is pushing the oil change intervals way too long, probably corellated to the fact that they are paying the bill for the oil change under warranty."

    Pre-'00 MLs in the US did not have free scheduled maintenance. In Canada, oil changes are not free either, even for the '00 and newer models, so the above is not the case at all. Additionally, other manufacturers such as BMW also have a flexible oil change system which tailors the intervals based on the actual driving conditions of the vehicle.

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  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382

    Just a reminder that the MB chat is on tonight (6-7pm Pacific/9-10 pm Eastern). Hope to see you there!

  • lamkenlamken Posts: 19
    The rear air side bag is a concern if you have a child who is leaning on the door. Even restrained in a child sdafety seat my daughter's head can touches the door if she dose off. That is why I am keeping my 1999 ML. I have two daughter and one of them will have to sit next to a door.

    Attach is a link regarding rear side airbag and children.
  • gpvsgpvs Posts: 214
    So, what happens to children who sit there (assuming that middle seat is taken)when the vehicle gets hit on that side? Do you just risk having them hit the hard plastics, metals , etc of the door? Or would you risk the side airbags deploying and hurting them?

  • lamkenlamken Posts: 19
    NHTSA is suppose to come up with proper testing of these side airbag using standard child dummies this year. Once they are deem safe I'll get the latest ML. For now the only thing I'll do is to make sure my kid is properly strap in their child seat. BMW is shipping the X5 with the rear side airbag deactivated, probably to avoid litigation. Yoy have to pay 750 canadian to have them activated and only after you have sign your life away.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    The NHTSA has already tested the side impact airbags with child dummies, AFAIK. After their testing, they asked that any manufacturers, who have found that their side impact airbags do harm properly restrained children, to de-activate them. MB's position is that if the rear occupants children or adults alike, are properly restrained, that the side impact airbags are far more beneficial than the risks involved, and as such they refuse to de-activate any side airbags. As was mentioned above, if you do not have any side impact airbags, it is the hard door structure, even though it has some energy absorbing padding, that will make contact with the outboard passenger, rather than the airbag.

    As the driver, you still do have the responsibility of making sure that any adults or kids are not falling asleep leaning against the doors. Instead, get them to lean towards the centre armrest instead. Personally, I have not found this to be an issue; hink of it like making sure that your passengers are properly buckled up.

    Side curtain head protection airbags are not a problem since they deploy downwards from the headliner not so much outwards. They also extend down only about the window/door sill height.

    As for the BMW X5, rear side impact airbags are optional. If you do order them, they come from the factory de-activated and you have to sign a document saying that you understand the risks involved with BMW's side airbags and that you cannot sue the company in the event of an injury. You do not have to pay $750 to activate the airbags, but you do (obviously) have to pay for the option.

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  • gustavmgustavm Posts: 43
    "Accidental" deployment of the passenger-side airbag is a much more common occurrence, given the preponderance of non-lethal frontal collisions at low speeds. On the other hand, a lateral collision is by definition a more serious accident.

    The distance between the door/glass and the child in a lateral collision is not going to decrease as much as in a frontal collision. Also, the frame of the child seat is going to provide great protection for the child, protection that a front passenger lacks.

    Therefore, unless it is found otherwise, I think it is safer to leave your child IN a car seat with the side airbags activated. It is more likely that she'll be protected rather than hurt by them.

    My two cents...

    -- Gustav
  • gustavmgustavm Posts: 43
    "MB's position is that if the rear occupants children or adults alike, are properly restrained, that the side impact airbags are far more beneficial than the risks involved, and as such they refuse to de-activate any side airbags."

    Drew, I think that MB's position also proves that they so trust the safety of their devices that, unlike BMW, they are willing to assume legal responsibility in case there is injury.

    -- Gustav
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    Believe it or not, that is the proper procedure. You dealer has to do the oil consumption documentation process before they can ask MB for an engine rebuild on your behalf.
    I'd suggest talking to the regional rep w/ the info you have. That might speed the process up.
    This is the first MY2K model I've heard of having it (previous ones were 1998/1999) and ML320s...
    Where are you located? I'm curious if region has something to do w/ it...
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    For what it's worth, there have been no reported cases (worldwide) where adults or kids have been killed by side impact airbags.

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  • Thanks Kenyee. Heavy drinker Ml 430 is located in Indiana. Interested in your thoughts on how environment could be a factor? I have no doubt that MB would require extraordinary evidence to document obvious problem. I agree with you that bringing all parties (Manufacturer, dealer, owner)together now to discuss is prudent idea.
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    the side airbags.

    My position was the same that a few of you came to - namely, that a properly restrained child should not be harmed by the airbag.

    The difference in deployment between the two airbags makes all the difference. In the case of the side airbag, you shouldn't make contact unless the side structure has been bent inwards, in which case you're better off being pushed by the airbag rather than the pillar.

    My worry isn't really for now - I guess I'm looking too far into the future for my own good. My first child is due in January, and I can put him/her in the center.

    As William mentioned, it's probably more prudent to put the kid in the center, and just put more emphasis on getting the car seat installed properly, rather than use the outboard LATCH connectors. I'd guess that those will come in handy in years to come, when the kid has moved on to the booster seat (unless there isn't a need for LATCH there, in which case I have a nice option which I just can't use).

    Cheers to all for the great advice,
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    installed, or was that someone else's picture I saw?

    I'm using my spare time to get a list of things I'd like to install on my new ML, and the spoiler is on my maybe list. It looks nice from what I've seen, but it's always been a 45 degree shot from the side. I'd love to see what it looks like dead on, from the rear and the side.

    Anyone have similar pics?
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    In no particular order:

    Mudflaps - since it looks like those big tires can toss around some mud.

    Sunroof wind deflector - keep the wind noise down.

    Carrier racks - so I can add ye olde' luggage carrier.

    Wooden shift knob - because I'm funny that way.

    A-bar with skid plate - I'm thinking Manik, but I could go with the OEM as well. Any difference, in terms of size/finish? I'm thinking chrome to go with my white ML.

    All-weather mats &
    Cargo tray - from Weathertech - that big lip, combined with the fact that there are cutouts to accomodate the 3rd row seating, make this one a must for me.

    Rear bumper bar - WAAG makes these, but sadly, only in a black or gray vinyl finish. Good protection for the bumper, but I don't know how great it'll look.

    Ventvisors for the windows - never had 'em, but a friend swears by them - says they're all that's needed to open the windows in the rain. Again - contingent on looks.

    Side-steps - again, maybe Manik, maybe OEM. I've read the OEM's are a bit more rugged, and are covered under the warranty (which, I'd extend, so I guess they'd be covered for 8 years?). I'd really like the running boards, but the price is a bit too rich for my blood. I'm not sure - how much do these help entry? Seeing as my wife and in-laws aren't very tall, this might help them get into the vehicle as well as help the appearance ;)

    That's it - I know it seems long, but I've also omitted some stuff (like the convex mirror as recommended by Ken - seems like a must).

    Comments are welcome!
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Excellent discussions and points of view, thank you. As I've said before, I'm still formulating a long-term opinion on this topic, and I think it's up to the individual parent to make the determination for their own case.

    I think that the rear side airbags are safe for children so long as you can keep them from leaning against them (especially sleeping against them). That would be the parents' or caregiver's responsibility.

    However, as mentioned previously, even a restrained child can still dip his/her head toward the airbag. Restraints do not pin their necks and heads into a fixed position, especially booster seats and child seats without a five-point harness. My son is too young to understand commands to adjust his head positioning, and he leans quite a bit.

    What can help alleviate concerns is a very deeply bolstered seat, or rather, one with deep "side wings." The deep side wings will cradle the child's head and keep them from leaning against the side airbag. The side wings, which have hollow plastic and perhaps some padding, should substantially reduce any risk since they're between the airbag and the baby's head.

    For convertible seats, to me there's no contest, Britax Roundabout or Britax Advantage are great seats, and they have deep side wings that cradle a dozing child's head:

    (My son's head is covered by the deepest part of the wing.)

    For folks whose kids have outgrown convertible seats, I think a major key to alleviating rear side airbags concern (namely my own) could be in new "youth" seats as alternatives to booster seats. E.g. here's a "conventional" Britax booster, which is an excellent seat:

    However, there is nothing to discourage the head from leaning against the rear side airbag if the child dozes off. The lap/shoulder belt will not do as much to restrain the child as a 5-point harness. Here is the "new" Britax Super Elite, which is a booster alternative:

    This new seat, still revving up into full production, is basically a giant forward-facing only toddler seat that goes to 80 lbs! I'm not sure if its side wings are deep enough to control a dozing kid's head movement, but I'm hoping it is (I will need to see one in person but it's not widely available yet). Plus it has a 5-point harness that may well keep a child more "tightly wrapped" than a booster-positioned lap/shoulder belt.

    When my son outgrows his Roundabout I'm going to a Super Elite. Its main drawback, besides its typical high (but worth it) Britax price is that it is a very bulky seat and will take a good chunk of room in the backseat.

  • I agree with Drew, alot of the European manufacturers are recommending extended oil changes Porches, Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagon and Audi recommend 10-15k between oil changes. I have two friends with MB cars that have the FSS system and both have over 100,000 miles using 10k oil changes and no oil consumption. Since you did not purchase the vehicle new, you have no way of knowing how the previous owner treated the vehicle such as proper break-in of the motor for the first 1000 miles or how it was driven. Good Luck!
  • lamkenlamken Posts: 19
    Drew, your are right in stating NHTSA did tested the aibag (AFAIK about 11 rear side air bags including mercedes benz) and therefore came out with the warning. They are suppose to have a more detail test using standard dummies with different in and out of restraint position this year which should come out with a more definitive answer. That is the report I am waiting. My child is in a 5 point restraint and when she dose off her head is still very close to the door. I have look into all the Britax childseat that was mentioned in previous post but unfortunately most of them are not avilable or not approved for use in Canada which have a different child safety seat standards.
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    Most of the cases I know of are in the Michigan area and one in the MA/VT area. They are usually rather high mileage.
    I've heard of no cases in the southern CA area, so I'm thinking it may be weather related.
    Plus, synth oil is not required in Canadian dealerships, only in US ones...
    Thanks for the data point. How much mileage is on your ML430?
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