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



  • Quick question for you - was this test part of the normal dealer checkup, or did they do this for you on your request? Did you have any problems that caused them to look at the engine in-depth?

    I agree with Tracy that engine oil needs to be changed on a more regular basis than the FSS. I was just going to change the oil myself, but if at a reasonable price, they'll do that much diagnostic work as well, then why not pay for an extra oil change or two to extend the life of the car?
  • This was not part of normal check up. I bought preowned at 43k miles. Since then the "low oil" indicator has come up every 2500 miles and visual examination of the engine oil revealed that it got really dirty by 2500 miles.
  • tariktarik Posts: 344
    ...and frankly, I see things a lot more clearly now. The little things in life are not worth sweating...

    I am shaken, and right with you on that, and therefore: to heaven with all the oily stuff! Everyone will continue to do their own thing anyway, which is fine.

  • Are there any in-dash CD players that are compatible with the ML controller/screen? Given that it hides behind the screen so appearance doesn't matter, it ought to be possible to get a good one for a lot less than the dealer price.

    Failing that, are any aftermarket changers compatible with a non-Bose audio system?
  • when it comes to a/v stuff in cars.. I did some researching on the MCS system, and how I could go aftermarket with one of the following:

    Stereo system
    navigation system
    integrated cellphone

    The stereo was the first thing I looked at - especially since here in NY, there were plenty of car audio places that had ML320's handy with their own home-grown stuff.

    What I found was that it was tough to do anything and have it be integrated with the MCS, unless you went to some degree of hacking it up.

    Although I couldn't confirm it - you are supposedly still able to use a multi-cd changer (Alpine makes them) in the ML320 with a stock (non-Bose) system.

    The one thing that kills me is the cell phone - damn MB for wanting so much money for it. If it were only 200-300 bucks, I'd be all over it.
  • anyone else here get a ML320 in white?

    Initially, I went with white because it was easier to keep clean and unvandalized (NYC is like key-ing heaven; what a shame). Since mine is still on order, I wonder every day if I should go with a bolder, darker color.

    This, of course, is because there aren't all that many white cars around here, and because every time I tell people what color I bought, they say 'white?!' with a disturbingly surprised look.

    Any other whities out there? (and I mean that in a solely vehicular way).
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    IMHO it's tough to establish causality the FSS and the oil consumption issue together since you bought the vehicle used with a significant amount of mileage on it. I suppose that is the issue with used vehicles, that you don't really know the vehicle's history for sure.

    Good luck with your ML and please keep us updated.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Thanks for all of the great info! I never expected the guy to be able to retrofit the system with a DVD drive, but the TV part was interesting nonetheless.

    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    I believe the ML's audio system is not Alpine, but Panasonic. The MCS is made by Alpine though (I know, it's confusing).

    There are a couple of owners here in Town Hall with white MLs, perhaps they would be able to help you.

    As for the phone, all luxury vehicle manufacturers who have some sort of an integrated phone kit charge about the same amount of money, despite the fact that some systems are a lot better than others.
  • I meant the 'cd changer' was an Alpine unit. The head unit is a creation of Panasonic, with the MCS unit being produced by Alpine (did I get that right?).

    How did Sony get left out of all this? ;)

    As for the phone - I know it's a quality unit, and that's what the 'market' charges. I just wish it would be more reflective of real cost. In reality, the phone is no different than others costing 1/3 to 1/4 as much.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    I'm not sure if the ML's CD changer is an Alpine either (I think it may still be a Panasonic). You might have been reading about the C-class for that.

    FWIW, the MB phone kit is more than just the phone. It includes the antenna and the connectors for hooking up to the MCS, mike, etc. It's probably that and the engineering that you're paying for, but you probably already guessed that. It is a very nicely integrated unit though.

    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • Can it be added after you have taken delivery or does it have to come from the factory with it already installed?
  • Since the 2002 M 320 seems to have gained a bit more fat (Approx.100-150 Lbs), anyone with any comments on the pickup or drive feel. I am scheduled to pick up my M 320 next friday but still have time to change my mind to go for M 500.

    I currently have E 320 Wagon.

    Any feedback is much appreciated.

    Also, what is causing the weight increase. Is it additional insulations / heavier materials... ??

  • but I used the unit during my test drive (the CD changer) of the 2002. It was definitely 100% Alpine (I used my Alpine magazine, and with the exception of the white lettered 'Mercedes Benz' logo on the front panel, the rest of it was completely identical). Could it be some cross-branding between Panasonic and Alpine?

    People thought I was funny - but I brought along my CDs, and gave the stereo a full test drive as well. At $1200, it's a good idea. I thought highly of the system that some people dislike (although I'm not a Bose fan - could it be some prejudice going on against them in this case?).

    As for the cell phone - I'm sure there's an entire system. Two questions though - one, is it possible to get one used and have it installed, and two, has anyone successfully used a non-MB phone with the system?
  • I am on my second white ML, the first, a white with grey 98 ML320 and now a 00 White with grey ML430. My wife drives this vehicle. I think the black black grill and door handles against the white is a nice contrast. White is indeed easier to keep clean and is a neutral color and inconspicuious. Another reason that I stayed with the same color is that most people did not realize that we had purchased a new ML.
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    Interesting. The CD changer was switched w/ the 2001 model; connections are all fiber optic now. Prior to that, it was Panasonic. Someone on the m-class mailing list installed a Becker fiber CD changer model in his MY2001. I'd presume you could do the same on the MY2002 if you really wanted. Compare the part#s for the CD changer for the MY2002 w/ the one for MY2001 and you'll know for sure. It's a bit of a pain because you have to much w/ some fiber connections in the console to get it to work.
    As for Sony...that's almost as bad as Bose. Both are bought primarily for name rather than performance ;-)
  • about the Sony. I should *really* try to make the sarcasm stick out more in online posts.

    But all things considered - I thought the Bose performed fairly well, for an OEM system. I figure it would cost at least $300 for the changer, and although I could do much better for $900 on the rest of the head unit + speakers, the system performs adequately for one worth $600 (so basically, I value it as $300 over what I could get it at - with an extended warranty of 8 years, I don't mind).
  • Drew, correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought all hookups - antenna, power, etc - are all there even if you did not originally order phone with the vehicle (phone being a DIO and not a factory installed option). The only issue is phone/MCS programming.

    I remember people's accounts of successfully tapping phones into the internal harnesses, BUT they were not able to make phones communicate with MCS - actually communications were detrimental as MCS would send a shutdown command to the phone if it did not recignize it as an MB.
  • Rajesh,

    Thank you for the feedback. Great to hear that MB is still standing behind their product. It is unfortunate that they need to, however. I am concerned that the FSS marks the downward turning point for MB quality. Why? Because, as you have experienced, you can take a truly great vehicle and destroy it due to lack of scheduled maintenance. Since half or more MB vehicles are leased, and everyone knows that most folks that lease are not exactly motivated to maintain their vehicles, this creates a huge opportunity to turn vehicles to trash in short order. MB has a vested interest in doing this as it is primarily they who profit from these problems. Were it not for sights such as and so many would go merrily along the way to high expenses courtesy of the lame-o FSS system with no means of discussing problems with other MB owners. Thank you Mercedes.

    Security has been on almost all of our minds due to the horrific events this week. I would like to suggest that just as many of us go merrily along our way thinking that the security systems put in place on our behalf work without flaw of any notable concern, the maintenance monitoring system put in our MB vehicles is no less subject to less than desired behavior. I hope those of you quick to defend the faulty FSS system just because it has the MB name on it will put your ill-thought-out suppositions aside long enough to save some expense down the road. I only wish our FAA would have done much the same thing and not permitted our airport security to become so horribly lacking as to permit a reasonably expected event (hijacking) to take place. The FAA acted like idiots. They yielded to the pressure of customers that didn't want to be bothered and we are about to pay the price to the tune of Billions of dollars worth of reactive taxation, to mention nothing about many lost lives. Much the same is true of the FSS system. We as individuals didn't have much choice about what the FAA did. However we DO have a choice when it comes to caring for our vehicles, just as we do have a choice in caring for our families.


  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    No you're absolutely correct. I was refering to the fibre optic connections that have to be made for the phone to reside in the centre console :-)
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