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



  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    We've had intermittent ESE/BAS and other lights come on now and then since our 2000 ML320 was new. The general MO is that we'll have a period of a week or two where they'll be on a couple times and then they'll go off for six-months. I mention it to the service guys, they replace a sensor or a connector, but obviously they haven't found the real problem.

    Until you get a consistent fault, I'd ignore it. I almost consider it just another funny characteristic of the vehicle.

    - Mark
  • This may sound strange but I had similar symptoms with an E320. It was always resettable and when the battery failed due to an internal short and was replaced under warranty the BAS fault never reappeared. It seems that the battery plates made contact when the battery would heat up a little and the change in voltage would foul the electrical system. Maybe try another battery? (6859)
  • I am thinking of buying a friends 1999 ML 430. He's the original owner. The car is loaded and in excellent condition. It has 67,000 miles with extended warranty (100,000). Asking approximately $23,000. Any suggestions?
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I'd review the service records with a fine tooth comb and go through the electrical systems one-by-one and make sure everything works. These cars are mechanically robust but the electrical systems are really flaky, especially on the 98s and 99s. Water leaks are also an issue. I'd make sure it has had its fuel pump replaced - this item failed regularly on the 99s and it is a disabling failure.

    $23K for a 99 430 with MB extended warranty sounds like a pretty good deal, although it depends a little on the how it is optioned. The dealers around here typical are asking $30K+ for this car.

    OTOH, I hear ML prices are VERY depressed right now and you can get new cars for $5K off or so and this has to trickle down. Personally, I'd rather spend $36K on a new 2003 ML320 rather than $23K for a used 99 ML430, but then I find the 320 power completely adequate and prefer the lighter and more fuel efficient engine.

    - Mark
  • sencsenc Posts: 44
    My '99 ML320 will only bring about 16k with roughly the same miles and I am the original owner. I think the price for the 430 may be a little high. I wouldn't pay that high of a percentage more for the 430 than the 320. That's just my opinion. I'm in NC, so values could vary outside the southeast.
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    Since at least '00, the V8s have shorter stopping distances: they've got larger rotors and wider tires. So, there's a safety reason if you're looking for an excuse. On the west coast, that price looks good.
  • Stever@EdmundsStever@Edmunds YooperlandPosts: 38,971
    Check your clamps - possible fluid leaks could cause engine fires:

    M-Class SUV probed for leaks

    Steve, Host
  • When is the next redesigned M-class model coming out? Pictures and info would be geatly appreciated.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I don't know if this info is reliable or not:

    - Mark
  • aveghteaveghte Posts: 68
    My wife is looking at a new ML350 when her Lexus 300 comes off lease later this year.

    Will there be any significant changes between 2003 and 2004 versions of the car?

    I have heard about reliability problems with the M-class in the past. Has reliability improved? The 3.5 liter engine seems better suited to pull this large vehicle. My wife likes the comfortable leather seats. Are they supportive for long car trips? Our Lexus RX 300 has been great but we want to try something new this time around and the safety features of the ML 350 seem unmatched. Also we get flooding here in South Florida and the 20 inch fording depth sounds like a useful feature.

    She likes the Silver and Desert Silver (gold) colors of the car but she also likes the Java leather - is it possible to get these color combinations? Does the beige leather hold up well or would she be better with Ash (gray) or Charcoal (black) leather? We have a baby on the way so we want to have something that won't get too dirty.

    We will be going to a Volvo XC 90 event in two weeks. They said that they will have ML350's and X5's to drive in addition to the XC 90's. Sounds like a good chance to test drive without having to deal with a salesman. We test drove the T5 XC 90 but were unimpressed with the engine. The T6 costs as much as the Mercedes and the BMW but doesn't seem as luxurious.

    Thanks for any help you can provide!
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    They're planning on a new SUV in 2005, so I doubt they'll do anything significant in 2004.

    Reliability has improved, but if your "300" is a RX300, it won't match that. MB still has a much higher percentage of electrical glitches. The data shows it improving from "awful" to "below average".

    I certainly wouldn't pay much attention to "fording depth" in my decision - at the depths where the ML might be slightly better than another SUV, you're putting yourself at huge risk.

    Personally, if I was buying a new mid-size SUV right now, I'd get either the Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander, but the ML is still a very nice SUV.

    - Mark
  • sjmurray2sjmurray2 Posts: 65
    Anyone have experienc with this program? Good or bad?

  • I bought a ML350 in December (replacing my tried and true '89 Toy SR5 V6 ExtraCab PU) and since have piled up 5000+ miles. I took it cross country (from Denver to SW Ohio and back) and drove it nearly every day 100 miles round trip to a client's site in Cincinnati. Did I mention I got to experience everything from rain to near blizzard conditions on this trip? The truck was very sure footed - even with the standard tires. My brother-in-law got his Jeep GC stuck in the snow at the end of his driveway - I had no trouble at all.

    However (you knew that was coming didn't you??) at 1600 miles the check engine light popped on. Called MB they said not to worry - so I didn't. Got home and had it serviced and it turns out a wire had broken in a harness to a fuel sensor. they ordered a new harness and everything seems fine now. The dealer was very good about getting me in and out and I got a loaner car for each trip (once to find out the trouble - the other to install the harness).

    In addition, I mentioned when I dropped it off the first time that I thought the tranny was shifting a little erratically and they said they dropped the pan and cleaned out clogged screens with "flashing" material in them. While it seems to be much happier now, I wonder just what "flashing" material is...

    All in all, still a thumbs up from my point a view - especially now that I know the truck can handle pretty much anything nature can throw at it. Oh, it is available in Desert Silver / Java. That's what I have - I like it and I have 2 children - just put a light blanket on the seat and seatback and you should be able to prevent most disasters : )

  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    Now that there are so many crossovers with most admitting the actual "utility" of a SUV is less important, I think MB's ML is more a husband's car; you'd probably prefer it to Hondas, MDXs, RXs and XCs. And, if your wife likes it too, sounds like a match made in heaven. The form-fitted canvas rear seat cover is a good option if you're worried about kids and leather.
  • djocksdjocks Posts: 124
    I am in the market to possibly lease an M-class. It is between the Lexus RX300 and the M-class.

    I am quoted $1005.00 out of pocket and $499 a month for the lexus. Can MB come under this or will it be more. I understand the M-class has more room but we do not need it. I just like the looks of the M-class a little more.

    Can any one help?
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    There are so many variables in leasing that it virtually impossible to know if your deal can be matched or not. Price-wise, a ML350 runs a little more than the RX, comparably equipped, but I've heard that MB sales are way down, particularly of the C-class coupes and MLs. If there was time to go in and drive a hard bargain, now would be it. OTOH, if you're looking at an RX300, then you're looking at an obsolete model, so it should be heavily discounted also.

    I'd do your homework and get all the invoice prices off this site including any dealer incentives. Then go in and offer something near invoice and if they bite, then see what residual and lease factors they'll allow and what the payment might be. You really want to avoid going in and saying "can you do $x/month?" Salesman lick their chops when they get a customer that says this, because they can manipulate the deal by extending terms and adding capital charges to get any payment amount you want.

    And shopping for the lowest payment will sometimes unduly favor cars with an an artificially high residual - that's fine if you're sure you're going to turn the car in at the end of the lease, but if you shop for a lower upfront price and lower residual, you'll have better options to buy the car at the end of the lease.

    All these things are the reasons I don't lease - too much power in the hands of the dealer. If you buy the car, you have only a single number to negotiate and you can directly compare deals. Unless leases are subsidized, you'll typically get a lower total cost of ownership with buying.

    - Mark
  • djdjdjdj Posts: 111
    You picked the wrong day to bring up this question.

    $900 to replace the radio because Starmark doesn't consider the radio 'necessary'.

    It seems the Starmark warranty is crafted to cover things that last on Mercedes, rather than protect you on parts that are not reliable.

    The Starmark inspection also means little. When I got my Starmark'd car, the wipers didn't work right, the sensor for the oil level was broken and the dealer blew the repair and then the dealer repaired a number of other items they evidently didn't notice on their first inspection.

    The radio really kills me though. This is the 3rd radio in a 2000 ML320 with 58,000 miles. The SA says he'll ask MB if they'll 'help' with the cost.

    The ML is great to drive but it is the shop every six months for something. The power windows in the ML will break, its a given. When I complained my driver window switch broke, the SA told me "that's nothing, usually more than one break at a time". Nice consolation.

    To EDXIAN, I would recommend against buying a 1999. Supposedly the 2000 is better but I am seriously thinking of dumping this to avoid future big dollar repairs, so I would avoid a 1999.

    My brother-in-law had a 1999 ML for about 2 years before trading it in on a BMW X5 which he loves. Now I understand why.

    Consumer Reports just rated MB as the second worst quality car (above Cadillac) and specifically mentioned the M class and C class as the reasons why.

    The dealer gave me a C240 sedan as a loaner today which I loved (most of the their loaners are Altimas but I always get a Benz because the first month I owned the car they had it as much as I did) but MB quality scares me so much I'll get a 3 Series if I want a car like.

    If MB spent as much on quality control as they do on advertising, it would be a worthwhile automobile.
  • email77email77 Posts: 27
    I own a 1998 ML320, this is a piece junk, only this junk don't go in to the water. since the day one this SUV give me nothing but trouble. now when I start the car in the cold days, it give me a height pitch noise it last 2-3 min. I tried turn off the fan, it still there, it is not from the engine, I can't hear from outside, is anyone else have this problem? please help...
  • sl723sl723 Posts: 2

    The first time to own the MB ever, I bought 2000 ML320 in Nov.2002. On the day I picked up the turck from dealer and drove to home, the oil level light came up so I took it to the dealer to add some oil. It has been 4 month and drove for around 3500 miles, I noticed the oil level light again. When I took it to the dealer they've said that it is normal for MB to burn about 1 QT per every 1,000 miles. ??? Is this true??

    Anybody have same experience?
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    No, 1 QT of oil per 1,000 miles way is too much, I dont have to add any oil between oil changes, around 7,000 miles, I just cant go to the 10,000 recommended miles. Did you buy from an MBZ dealer? How many miles does the truck have?
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