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



  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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
      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.
  • sirdarbysirdarby Posts: 20
    Don't trade at the dealer. Put it in autotrader or the newspaper and sell it yourself. I did and made an additional $4,000.

    Dealers buy your car for cheap and sell it retail for much more. There are a lot of private owners who want a MB, and don't care about maintenance.
    They just want agood deal.

    By the way, the MDX is a good choice, I know 3 people with them (two female relatives) who love the trouble free experience.
  • sirdarbysirdarby Posts: 20
    Sold my 98 ML last year for about 15K. It had 95K miles and was about to go out of 100k warranty.

    Anybody who doesn't have 100k extended is bungee jumping without a rope.
  • poppi68poppi68 Posts: 3
    55,000 miles. Any problems with the vehicles were fixed in a day. We purchased this vehicle because it was much better than the X5. It's not perfect (nothing is) but we love this vehicle and plan on driving it until it can't take anymore. Extremely safe and a beast when it needs to be. In NYC winters, I can't think of another vehicle I would rather have.

    It seems as though people expect perfection from autos. Why? Everything fails at some point. Everything, even the sun. This is the way of life.
  • causing damage to oil pan. Repairs $800 - $1000.

    Anybody else have this happen?
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 1,992
    Losttooth, what year ML do you have? Mine is still rather new., so no problems yet. How many miles do you have on yours?

  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Harmonic balancer problems at around 60K-80K seem fairly common. What was your mileage?

    There is a check that can usually warn of the problem well before it actually fails. You shine a flashlight down the front of the engine and onto the lower pulley with the engine idling. If the lower pully appears to wobble, then the balancer is probably going.

    - Mark
  • I wish I'd known. I have a 2000 ML-320 with 56K on the clock. When it happened, there was a 'clunk', that I thought was something I'd run over on the freeway. Later thought it was pwr steering, but it was the lower pully.

    I guess I should check in here more often. Used to post here as "Sydney6".

    Other than some generally minor problems, (the usual found here) no major issues with reliability.
  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 283
    You are pretty lucky. Severl members here ended up spending $3-5k to get the damage fixed.
  • tomjavatomjava Posts: 136
    Doesn't MBUSA reimburse the repair costs? It's a very well known problem among MB V6 engine.

    IMO, MB should issue a recall on this issue.
  • If you know of ANYONE who was reimbursed for this failure, PLEASE let me know. Total came to US$925.
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