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



  • cticctic Posts: 291
    Take you ML to another dealer. They should just replace the whole unit.

    My dealer has been very good with fixes. My Bose unit CD control had problems with the go back switch. I thought they were just going to oil it or something, but they replaced the whole head unit. With a problem as serious as yours, they definitely should replace it, especially if you can demonstrate it in front of them.
  • I raised so much hell with Mb, they sent me a 3K check in 2000 for all the problems with my ML320. Ive 51k on it. The local dealer will not sell me another car, but will sell my wife
  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 283
    Hello Fourrunner, $2K seems to be quite a lot. What year is your ML? If I were you, I would check the blue book value of the car first. MLs depreciate quite fast. This is a good place to start thinking if you want to fix the steering or now. I usually take my cars to the dealer for repairs, but situations like this, you may want to consider checking with another MB dealer just to make sure it's necessary to spend $2K. Or, you can go to a local trustworthy private MB specialist. They may give you a better price than the dealer for the same fix. ...just make sure that they give you a written warranty after the fix. Hope it will turn out okay for you. Good luck.
  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 283
    There is one batch of the MLs have problems with MCS. I don't know the specific made period. The problem was caused by the MCS software. There was no recall. By checking the manufacture date, your dealer should be able to determine if the MCS has the defective software. The only fix that I have heard is replacing the entire unit.
  • pablo_lpablo_l Posts: 491
    ..I thought there had been a recall on this? A clamp that goes lose or something? If related to that, they should fix it for free.
  • I installed a navigation to my 2 wk old 2004 ML350. The installation took less than 10 mins. I've never opened up MB cars before. I had to buy a pair of radio removal tools($7). Yes, everything was pre-wired. I had to hook up two plugs. In order to have the voice working, I have to have the navigation version coded by a dealer. I inserted a DVD-ROM, and it was start working flawlessly. I was impressed by the speed and the accurancy.

    2004 ML350 purchased on 10/31/2003 $2.4K below invoice.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Allnation, when you say "2.4K below invoice", do you mean below MSRP?

    Also, how much did the nav system cost? Was is a MB unit or an after market unit?

    Thanks, Mark156
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Edmunds lists $1,000 and $2,000 incentives on an ML350. Dunno if they are in combination. No one should be paying above invoice; the supply is good, demand is flattened, and incentives exist. Been that way for a while.

    Even has a 2004 price $600 below invoice (in New York), and I bet one can beat that pretty easily.
  • I am thinking about buying a 2004 ML350, but after reading all the
    issues here on this site, I starting to have my dobuts about spending $40K and then to suffer through basic car problems. It seems the problems are more with the options then the car itself.

    Would any one of you still recommend the vehicle or would you buy something else?
  • We, personally, have enjoyed our '00 ML320. Not
    perfect, but well balanced for economy, utility, safety, off road, and on-road drive-ability.

    Some owners have had genuine horror stories with their ML, their dealer, MB USA, or all three. I also think that some owners have higher-than-practical expectations of an ML....
    At $40,000, an ML has the drive train of a $50,000 E320, PLUS all wheel drive. I wasn't expecting fit and finish as good as an E or S Class car at this bargain price.

    I suggest you get the latest Consumer Reports on
    cars (or any other reliable source) and see what they say. I know I looked just recently and saw that the ML was excellent in the drive train and
    a little weaker on the periphery - but not bad in
    anything. Consumer Reports is a more reliable
    way to gauge how ML's or any car does across many
    owners. Everything made falls into a bell curve
    and this means that some things are going to do
    poorly - but those poor experiences aren't a good predictor of what your experiences will be.

    Based on the good ratings in CU, I'd say if there's a problem it is with dealers and MB USA
    who have been slow to respond to customer concerns.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    The decision to buy a ML today hinges on your expectations and how willing you are to accept some reliability risks for an SUV with some great attributes.

    If you are really bothered by car problems, want Honda Accord levels of trouble-free-ness in your car, and don't have any special needs in your SUV, then I'd get a Honda Pilot, RX330, Toyota Highlander, etc. They're good vehicles, more reliable, very comfortable, good values, and because they're more car-based, are a little smoother, quieter, etc.

    OTOH, if you are willing to put up with an occasional problem, like German cars, like the ML, need the extra towing capacity, utility, and off-road capability, then the ML is a great choice. It's also a good value now - with the discounts and rebates, you can pretty much get into a ML for the same money as the Japanese SUVs and the warranty and free maintenance is a nice feature.

    Another thing to consider is what you'd buy if you didn't buy the ML. The ML's reliablility isn't great, but at this point in its development, I think it is better than a BMW X5, Volvo XC90, or VW Touareg. Buying one of these because of the ML's reliability issues would be jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

    Keep in mind that all vehicles have issues and lemons. The ML is not as good as something like a Honda Pilot, but if you start looking closely at their forums, you see problems too. No vehicle has an unblemished record.

    In the final analysis, the problems with the ML would be a factor in my decision, but not the deciding factor. If everything else is equal, I'd avoid the ML. But if you really like the vehicle, I'd be willing to look past the problems.

    - Mark
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    Have you read the 2002 Ward's Best Engine article that talks about the ML's 500 engine. It is a a unique point of view about value. I found it at . . .

    Before their pick of the 500, Wards had picked MB's 320 (as it was in the E-class) for a couple of years running. The 320 is the component part of MB's 430 engine and we really enjoy it in the C-class.

    The 350 is the component part of the 500, which I think is one of the great engines, so that would be of interest to me if I wanted a V6 (it seems like it would be even better than the 320, especially in a heavier ML that can be used for towing) but I do not have a personal experience with it--not even a test drive.

    I can recommend the ML500 though: the V8s come standard with bigger, better brakes, wider tires on all four corners, they're faster and stop quicker, and have navigation. You might think about the Xenon option too--I think it is worth the extra $600-700.
  • How much I paid:
    I paid $41.0K on Oct 31 2003 from a dealer in BayArea. MSRP was $46+ It was about $2.5 below the invoice. If you need more info, email me.

    Every available option but Sports (appearance package) and Parktronic.

    About Navigation:
    I spent $825(no tax) on the DVD-based factory navigation AND DVD-rom map disc. I bought this from the internet and installed it myself(free). Took me 15 mins. I also had to buy a pair of radio removal tools for $7. It was working right away!. However it had to be version coded from the dealer in order to activate the voice(no charge, the advisor thought it was factory installed since I had only 500 miles). Retail for nav is $1400(dvd unit) + $270(dvd map) + $200(install) + tax. The navigation works very well. I LOVE it.

    My favorite options:
    1. Navigation
    2. Xenon ( get this! )
    3. Power folding side mirrors ( it's standard in 2004)
    4. Leather third-row seats ( they are completely removable )
    5. Bose

    What I've added so far:
    1. Burwood shift-knob
    2. all weather floor mats
    3. Navigation

    What I want to get next:
    1. Chrome side bars
    2. Chrome brush guard

    What I don't like:
    1. Mileage
    2. CD Changer in the cargo area.
  • Anyone know how to replace a failed bulb in the instrument panel of a '98 ML320? There seem to be four bulbs for the two circular indicators. The second one from the left has failed but I can't figure out how to access the panel. I can pop off the panels to the left and right of the steering column but I don't know where to go from there. Any help out there?
  • Where did you purchase the dvd drive for the navigation on the net? was it an electronics company or E-bay... I have been looking for weeks
  • I haven't seen any mention of '03 or '04 ML-55. Has anyone heard if they are temp. or perm. discontinued?
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    I took my ML last week to the dealer to have a couple of things done (coming up on two years of ownership).

    -a dash light that covers the gas gauge and part of the speedometer went out. Mine is still under factory warranty so the dealer took care of it.
    -The arm rest between the front seats started to ripple--replaced under warranty.
    -I scratched the inside drivers side back door handle (inch long) and MB replaced/repaired under warranty (looks like new again)
    -The accelerator pedal was sticking a little; repaired/replaced under warranty.
    -driver's window would squeak once positioned from one inch to almost all of the way down; now fixed.

    The issues with my ML have been small and taken care of by my MB dealer. At this point, I would definitely buy another one if I wanted an SUV in this size range.

    Other warranty repairs:
    -replaced windshield washer fluid reservoir
    -replaced fuel pump in gas tank; it made a buzzing noise
    -squeak in dash at windshield---ML had to be taken to a body shop to weld something under the wiper area (bulletin sent out)
    -Recall for power steering hose clamp.

    I'm realizing that when I'm listing all of the things done to my ML, it seems like so much more than it felt like. Generally, I had most of these issues done when the ML needed servicing. I was never left stranded so it's easy to forget the small things.

    Mine listed for $52,000 (MSRP) with all of the options (bi-xenons w/headlamp washers, third seat w/electric pop-out side windows, 6-CD changer, navigation w/full set of CD's, sunroof, auto sensing wipers, heated seats and parktronic.

    The air conditioning system is phenomenal. Even on the hottest days, the air condition system can handle anything mother nature sends!

    Also, I agree with Allnation, the CD changer in the cargo area is not a preferred location. Since I have the third seat option, it takes extra effort to get the changer. If it was located maybe in the dash or under the front passenger seat, that would make it easier to get to. I don't change the cartridge often so it's not a major deal to me but I would like it better up front.

    Just my .02 worth. Mark156
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    On a recent 2,200 journey which included the "FLAT" plains of Texas, I managed 25 mpg on one tank of gas (total highway driving). I always reset my "MPG" read-out to get my mpg on each tank.

    The land was flat, the wind nonexistent and my ML500 with the big V-8, 288 hp, was barely sipping the gas. On several other tank refills, I was getting 21-23 with no problem on the road. But, once the wind picked up or if the terrain was hilly, the mpg dropped like a lead balloon.

    I generally have no problem getting 16/17 in the city. If I make only short city trips, I have gotten only 13 mpg on a few tanks.

    The gas mileage really started to get better after 10,000/12,000 miles on the odometer.

  • Why does the mileage improve after 10/12K miles?
    I only have 700 miles now. and I've been driving like a 90 yr old man. no rpm over 30K
  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 283
    Did you get the MPG from the trip computer or did you calculate by the actual mileage and gas? The trip computer always gives "much" better result than the actual number.
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