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MB M Class Owners Maintenance and Repair



  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 318
    Is it possible that you knocked your shift from "D" to "4" or "3" without knowing? That will keep your ML from shifting to the next gear. My ML spends half of the time in Houston (high humidity) and half of the time in DFW (high temp). There is no problem with the transmission.
  • I've have had my ML350 for 6 months. I BOUGHT IT FOR SAFETY AND THE AWESOME SERVICE I EXPECT FROM MERCEDES BENZ. This past weekend, I was pulling in a parking space with my 3 small children belted in the back when I realized the brakes were not stopping the car. When I pushed harder, the car accelerated, jumped the cement median and plowed into another parked car. Thank god no one was hurt. I'm sick thinking of what could of happened. I have a police report that says the officer and tow truck driver concur that the brakes were down to the floorboard and not engaging. Prior to this I have had a problem where I would step on the brake and the car would seem to stall and buck forward. It was to the dealer twice and they could not find it on the computer or duplicate it. I believe it is all related. DJDRAGEN WITH JOLTING ML350 WATCH OUT. THIS IS DIGUSTING FOR A $40,000+ CAR. THE MANUFACTURER REP IS GOING OUT TO CHECK IT - I HOPE THEY STAND BEHIND THEIR DEFECTIVE PRODUCT.
  • If I were you, no matter what Mercedes does, I would go to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) website and report this potentially deadly defect. Mercedes tends to sweep things under the rug for too long before they finally effect a recall campaign. They finally recalled the ML's for the power steering cooling hose problem (causes loss of power steering when hose clamp fails). They have yet to recall 98-2000 Mercedes vehicles with V-6 and V-8 engines that have defective crankshaft balancers that take out the oil pan and timing shaft cover when they fail (repair cost - $2,000).
    Don't wait --- Report it now!
  • What you are experiencing is Mercedes quality today. They have their problems and are not antying up to address them. The tech who looked at your car probably spent no more than 20 minutes looking at it since that is all they are allowed by the dealership service department and Mercedes warranty reimbursement.

    If you own a Mercedes for any length of time (outside of warranty) you want to find a good independent Mercedes mechanic that provides some customer service.
  • I bought a 2000 ML430 and this vehicle is not designed for working class people. If you are Bill Gates, then you won't mind the problems. I am a Mechanical Engineer and an auto mechanic with 20 years experience and I can barely keep up with the repairs. At 60K miles, the harmonic balancer broke, the brakes wore out, the rack and penion is leaking, and 3 times per week the transmission refuses to upshift until it is ready to do so.... no matter what position the gear selector is on. The power steering recall is a joke and any 10 year old can put a good clamp on a bad hose. Toyota has no worries from this disaster. If you took it offroading, I guarantee a 10,000 bill to fix it.
  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 318
    Does the defective crankshaft affect all 98-00 MLs? I have a 00 ML but did not get a recall notice. Should I bring it back to the dealer?
  • All 1998, 1999 and early build 2000 model Mercedes Benz with the V-6 engine have the crankshaft balancer problem. On the 2000 models the crankshaft balancers with a Part No. ending in 00-00 are the ones experiencing the problem. You can see the part no on the crankshaft balancer if you are beneath the vehicle and look up with the crankshaft balancer in the right position.

    To date, Mercedes has not issued a recall on these balancers, but if you are the original owner and the vehicle is out-of-warranty, Mercedes is covering the repairs.
  • Any person thinking of buying one of these vehicles should have a long hard look at its record. I bought a new ML exactly 2 years ago. I have three pages of a schedule of faults, some of which were serious. A recurring fault was auto slippage. The vehicle was conveyed to the dealership 4 times on the back of a breakdown truck and spent a total of ten weeks in the dealership. They still they could not fix the fault although it was showing as a fault on their computerised test analysis system.

    The culmination of this was two meetings with the heads of the the dealership and state managers from MB. After some intense negotiation a settlement was reached which effectively gave me all my money back on the vehicle if I stayed with an MB product. I have done so but have not purchased an ML class. That would be the last vehicle in the world I would buy.

    I have had many new vehicles over the years, none of which have come anywhere near the appalling record the ML has had.
  • Had to have the breakpads and rotors serviced by the local dealer after about 30K miles on a 2001 ML 55. After having the car serviced the tires had unusual wear and tear to the point of needing replacement. The wear and tear on the tires evolved over a very short period of time after the service.

    Over the last month I started with replacing the tires (Dunlap) which came with the car when purchased. At $1,500 a set this is no cheap purchase. After the tires went on they started to wear immediately and the car felt out of allignment. MB Dealer blamed the problem on the tires and suggested a set of Michelin's (price tag $1,300). Bought the 2nd set and put the burdon back on Dunlap to take the tires back (which still has not happened). First ride out of the dealer with the Michelin's prooved no better. The car is constantly shaking and tire wear appeared almost immediately.

    The dealer then indicated there was a problem with the parking break and that all would be better following that service. Once again, things are no better.

    The cars now been sitting at the dealership for going on a month. This paricular ML's track record, including ignition issues, sporadic loss of gas tank indicatorsand other dash problems, many ABS warning problems, and now the tire issue is appalling for a $65k car.

    Any suggestions on the tire issue?
  • I don't have an answer to your tire wear problem but I can't believe you paid $1300 for a set of Michelins! I shopped around and paid $800 Canadian which is $394 US for a set of four. By the way Costco is the largest Michelin dealer in North America!
  • First - I think this car is pretty poor. It is pathetic that it is called an MB.

    My specific issue is about an undiagnosed and seemingly undiagnosable 'sloshing' sound that sounds like a fish tank of water moving around in the car upon accel/decel. The boys at MB tried to shake the car around to find it. That's it.

    Any ideas what it might be and if it is dangerous?


    I won't be buying another one - but I doubt I could sell this one until I resolve the aforementioned.
  • Yesterday I learned that my aftermarket warranty (WarrantyGold)'s re-insurer has gone into liquidation and hasn't been/isn't paying claims.

    I paid almost $3k for the warranty which went in effect in May of this year.

    Today, I heard metallic grinding coming from the tranny. It's a '99 ML320 with 60k miles on it and is for all practical purposes now worthless.

    I'm embarrassed to have driven such trash.

    Folks don't know whether to laugh or cry when they hear the stories I have to tell about the ML.

    If it was a horse, I'd shoot it.

    Thank you MB for your quality, your ethics and your service. If you were a person instead of a corporation, you'd be either dead or incarcerated.

    May your remaining life be short and may your management find pleasurable cell-mates. The cons from Enron, MCI, Tenet, etc are sure to welcome you.
  • I leased a 1999 ML430 last year and did not research this vehicle enough before signing the lease. I assumed that the name Mercedes Benz would account for quality. I also had a BMW for the past 3 years and never had one problem. There has been one issue after another with this vehicle for the past 10 months that I've had it.

    - Door panel fell off on driver's side
    - Power steering hose recall
    - Transmission fluid leak. (Vehicle would roll back when parked on a hill)
    - Battery died with no dashboard notice (this one left me stranded)
    - In 10 months time I have added 6 quarts of oil. (This is apparently within the spec according to MB)
    - Crankshaft pulley fell off the vehicle one morning when I was returning home from the pediatrician with my daughter. The steering wheel locked up and the car began to stall when I was traveling at 40 miles an hour.

    I don't know what to expect next. I leased this vehicle for my family's safety. Now I won't even let my wife drive it.

    MB has offered me a 2000 year model for an additional $3000. I was appalled that I have to pay more money because they developed and sold a faulty product.

    According to MB if I terminated the lease, I would be liable for a penalty and the remainder of lease payments (15k+).

    I am at a loss. Does anyway think I should go for the 2000 model and pay the extra money or should I try to get rid of this vehicle altogether. I am assuming a trade in for an Acura or BMW would be just as bad finacially as the early termination.

    One thing I am most concerned with is the power steering hose issue. Does anyone know if this problem returns once the it is fixed under the recall?

    I could use some advice from others on this board that have experienced the same frustrations.

    If you any suggestions please email me privately at [email protected]

  • pathdocpathdoc Posts: 126
    I too had a 99 430 ML and had too many issues to even list. I have had numerous Mercedes dating back to a 79 450 SEL. They have been S coupes , sedans and SL's. I still have several of them and am a MB enthusiast. I had always had a SUV as well and after 2 Jeeps (91 Cherokee and 95 Grand Cherokee both of which were both much more trouble free than the ML)I got a ML430. I got rid of it after 4 years. Since it was not my primary vehicle I could afford to have it sitting at the dealer. They could never get rid of the squeaks. I understand that the 2000's are improved but I don't think I'd consider anything older than a 2003 and I still think there are unresolved issues. I know of a 2003 that had peeling door trim that seems to be a new issue. If you can afford it I would get rid of the ML since I'm not convinced the 2000's are any better.
  • On another post I wrote about ML Dunlop tire problems. On this post, I am
    wondering about the brake pads. My friend with the 2002 ML320 is going on
    his THIRD set of brake pads at 15,000 miles. While he does admit to driving
    almost all city (Pittsburgh hills) up-and-down driving, is it normal for the
    Benz Truck to go thru brake pads every 7500 miles? I owned Benzes for years
    but never the truck. Generally my "S" Class cars (S320...1999 then 1993
    before that) went thru pads every 12,000 miles or so. Shouldn't the truck
    get at least that many miles on front pads?
  • mb280mb280 Posts: 27
    My wife's ML has gone thru lots of disc pads (and rotors) over the 60,000 odd miles she has had it. Many more than I have had on my 1994 C280 which has over 160,000 miles on it. When I asked the dealer, he said that that was normal.
  • mjtaimjtai Posts: 1
    I also got a sloshing sound from my dashboard. sounds like stomach growling sometimes. my power steering clamp went and I completely lost steering. Driver side storage collapsed, and Passenger side door seal fell off twice after being replaced by the dealer and finally, it stalled one day during a bumpy road.
  • chumsaechumsae Posts: 61
    Today I rode for two hours in a friend's
    1999 Cadillac STS (sedan). It cost new
    about the same cost as a new 1999 ML320.
    The STS has 95,000 miles.

    Here's the tale:
    Replaced the engine at 90,000. Replaced the AC
    compressor at 70,000. Fix "a dozen or more" small problems. The car now needs what sounds like a new AC compressor, new shocks front and rear (front shocks are $700 each, plus $200 labor -- the dealer quoted her $3,500 for front and rear shocks), the right rear view mirror spent a few minutes twitching at various points in our ride, remote entry is broken and the lcd display for the climate control is fried. This car still looks great but it easily needs another $5,000 to make it safe and functional in addition to the $15,000 they've already spent.

    None of this is meant to excuse M-B for shoddy
    work or unsatisfactory customer service. I doubt that any of the M-B models compare well to a Lexus
    LS400 on reliability (at 185,000 we're on original
    shocks, muffler, etc with our LS) but M-B offers
    its own version of quality that, in my opinion
    is good.
  • njexpressnjexpress Posts: 170
    Anyone ever try buying / installing aftermarket running boards? It would be great if you could share your experience..
    Thank You.
  • In addition to many of the common problems that members have written, I had a transmission failure at 98,000 miles while driving on Oct. 5. The transmission failed without any prior warning. Nearby M-B dealer quoted over $10,000 (the service adviser never quoted me the exact figure)to replace the transmisison and torque converter.

    I used AAMCO and a used transmission from a junk yard. The cost? $5,510. This was the least expensive way to fix the problem.

    As you may know, the transmission of ML320 is supposed to be maintenance free, and there is no dip stick to check the fluid.

    I'm the original owner of the ML320, and I was waiting to trade the ML320 with 2004 E-class 4matic which I had to order and wait until Dec. This experience made me to stay away from M-B forever.
  • mqamqa Posts: 3
    My wife was driving on I95 with my two young children yesterday when the power steering quit and the battery light came on. At 60 mph the car became all but uncontrollable. Fortunately she was able to get it to the side of the road and call me to come get her. Turns out the Crank Pulley had broken and basically fallen out of the bottom of the car (after wearing a deep gash in the oil pan) rendering all of the belt driven accessories useless. Anyone ever heard of this problem? I have the vehicle back in my garage with the radiator out. Seems like if I take the nut off I can get a direct bolt on replacement? Is this as simple as it seems? I'm mechanically adept. Do I need to be wary of a defective part going forward? This is very scary, potential loss of vehicle control, particulalry for an MB. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I've had other (numerous problems) with this vehicle and am getting fed up.
  • What has happened is a known and common problem with with 1998, 1999 and early 2000 model E-Class and ML-Class vehicles. I would not try to repair it myself since Mercedes is repairing these problems under a goodwill warranty if you are the original owner. If you try to replace the crankshaft balancer yourself you will find it extremely difficult to remove the attaching bolt without the problem tools. The part itself is $83 and an hour of labor is allowed for the replacement. Even if you pay for it is easier to let Mercedes perform the repair. You are lucky it did not do further damage since when the crankshaft pulley normally comes apart it takes out the oil pan and timing cover. Depending upon how far it is driven before you shut down the engine it commonly causes $2,500 - $4,000 in damage.

    Take it to your Mercedes dealer and you may also be able to get the gouged oil pan replaced.

    You may also want to know that this part is constantly being updated and is now on revision 13.
  • Last month, going 65 on dry freeway, suddenly car starts violent shaking - no warning lights went on. Drove home on side streets at 50 MPH with no further incident. MB dealer couldn't find any cause for this problem; tires checked out fine, but we needed to replace the brakes.

    This week 6 intermittant incidents, going between 5 - 45 MPH -- hear loud clunk at 5 mph while parking, shuttering several different times at 35 on city streets, and shaking at 45 on freeway, all dry road conditions. ESP triangle and BAS/ESP warning lights appeared sometimes.

    Any thoughts before we take it back to MB?
  • mqamqa Posts: 3
    Thank you for the feedback re my '99 ML320 Pulley/Balancer problem. I'm surprised MB did not issue a recall as when this part fails the vehicle becomes very difficult to control. You are correct, it is a real knuckle buster getting the pulley to come off. Is it a reverse thread or something? I guess I'm looking at a flat bed charge at this point to get the car to my dealer and then I'm certain to get whacked by the dealer because I am not the original owner. Not sure how deep the gouge is in the pan until the pulley comes off, if I'm looking at any further repairs this could get really ugly. Looks like I'll be arguing with the good old local folks at Mercedes Benz, AGAIN. What an enormous piece of crap.
    Thanks again for your guidance.
  • Blame Mercedes Benz not the ML!!!

    This is really not an ML problem since the same problem exists on all Mercedes Benz products using this engine. There is a BIG difference between the old Mercedes Benz philosophy and the new. Under the old MB philosophy, if they had a problematic part, they would go ahead and replace it when it was in for servicing and you would not even know it. Under the new Mercedes Benz philosophy they do not replace it, do not recall it, and for many even refuse to admit a problem exists at all.

    The crankshaft pulley on your vehicle ends with a suffix "00-00" and anyone having one of these crankshaft pulleys should have them replaced since they will come apart around 40K miles on a ML and 60K miles on a E. There are three replacement part numbers available that can be used to replace the ones suffixed "00-00." At this time it is hard to know if one is better than the other since time/mileage has not yet proven the new design with less rubber in the donut (although there are three part number all three appear identical).

    It will be interesting to see how scored your oil pan is since usually when they go they cut through the oil pan requiring replacement of the pan. For do-it-yourselfers it is extremely difficult to replace the balancer since you almost need a breaker bar to get enough torque to remove the bolt and you have to be able to keep the crankshaft from turning at the same time.

    Don't let them tell you that this is an unknown problem since that is what they will probably do. Appeal it to the MB zone service representative if you have to. Mercedes should be recalling these vehicles since, as you stated, the results could be very dangerous. At present, many people who are experiencing this problem are reporting it to the NHTSA on their website in an effort to force Mercedes into a recall. I suggest that you consider this action also.
  • I purchased a "Starmark" certified 2000 ML320 in April; 03 with 40k. One week after taking it home it standed my wife and two kids in a torrential downpour. Some kind of sensor was to blame. Weeks after the oil light came on. They said at the dealership that this was common and if it happens again to just top it off. A month later the muffler sounded like a race car. They had to replace the catalytic converter. The oil light continues to come on once a month. My passenger side window is getting stuck and the rear window wiper is not working. T make matters worst this Sunday on our way to church the ML began to buck like I was learning hoe to drive a manual. When the tranny finally caught it jerked the car violently. The engine check light popped on and the car skipped again from first to second gear.
    What a nightmare!! Here I thought I moving up in the class of vehicle I drove, what a mistake. My wife spends more time at the dealer than at home. I am meeting with the service Mgr. I want to get rid of this hunk of junk. Any advice for negotiating my return of this vhicle? Do I have any recourse with getting this car possibly taken back by the dealership. I would not mind gatting a different car, possibly a used E W/ 4matic. Any advice would be appreciated.
  • mqamqa Posts: 3
    So here is the final chapter in my trilogy. My Mercedes dealer (in Greenwich, CT) refused to acknowledge that there was a problem and were going to charge me to have the vehicle towed and the full labor and parts to do the service. Unbelievable but true and I have since sent a letter to MB North America, let's see what that turns up.

    Meanwhile, I had previoulsy gone to my local car parts dealer, purhcased a 1/2" drive 17mm hex male socket, put a breaker bar on the end of it and.... no luck. That sucker was on there tight. Subsequently, I took a section of 1" pipe put it over the breaker bar and....voila, the bolt backed off. No wonder the thing was so tight, it was literally covered from end to end in loctite. (put something thru the exisitng pulley to brace it against the engine block to keep the engine from turning over - it is a standard thread, lefty loosey). Maybe not the most professial way to do it but it came off and with no harm done.

    Went back to my MB dealer, swallowed my pride, purchased the new part for $78, (Hey guess what, he had one in stock, I pictured this huge parts bin full of them, waiting for unsuspecting customers to come in and buy them so MB can make more money off this travesty) reinstalled it, put my car back together, more loctite, radiator, front brace, hoses, etc. and it works perfectly.

    The scoring on the oil pan was not severe (not severe enough to be leaking oil anyway). All told about 3 hours of my time including dealer visits, and I saved about $800. Who knows how long it will hold up, and who cares because I am immediately selling this disaster.

    When I look at the design of the broken part I wonder what engineering genius came up with this idea. A pulley that drives all the engine components that is connected to the crank rotor by a flimsy rubber ring. The ring was so heat damaged and cracked it practically came apart in my hands.

    A very bad customer service experience indeed. Buyer beware. Anyone want a slightly used ML320? :)
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    I own a 1999 ML320. But I am still hesitant to recommend a used M-Class to anyone. I think Starmark Certification is crap anyway. I dont't think they do the 175 point inspection or whatever. They just add 2500 dollars and hope that they get to keep the money. If something does go wrong they will try to badger you into paying for the repairs. How good is the warranty if you are spending every week at the dealer. Time is money too.
  • There is a leak on my 99 ML320 power steering rack and pinion system. Does any one know how much it will cost to replace it? I got a quote about $2K. Is it true? Boy, I should have stayed with Toyota for good. Is there any recall on 99 ML320 related to power steering other than clamp? Thank you for the info.
  • We have finally gotten to filing an official Lemon Law buy-back notice with MB on my wife's 2002 ML-320 (23,000 miles - built in April 2002). There are two issues each of which meet the requirements of Lemon under Texas law. The dealer has been great but they just can't fix the problems.

    Does anyone have any updated info on a possible fix on these two problems....

    1) On almost a daily basis there will be an incident of accelerator hesitation. From a standing start you step on the gas and nothing hesitation, no chugging, no revving...nothing for perhaps two seconds. And then the vehicle takes off like normal. We use consistent gas source and it does not (after logging for a couple of months) to make any difference on temp, humidity or engine temp.

    2) Much less frequently, maybe once a month or every six weeks the tranny will either suddenly shift down (like 5th- 1st) or it will not shift out of first at all.

    My wife really loves this vehicle when it is working right...but it is scary to drive.

    McAllen, Texas
  • I found this message board after doing a google search. Its a little scary to see others that with similar stories.

    My wife and kids were stranded in our ML because of the crank pully problem like others. I was very suprised the MB did has not recalled this vehicle.

    The Tow truck driver showed up and yelled "Crank pully!" He told me he picks up ML320s all the time with this problem. Also, he mentioned that the power steering hose breaks. Finally, he says Micheal Irvin runs out of gas all the time in his CLK.

    How would MB feel knowing they got a ML320 stuck on a busy highway with the hood up and a whole family standing around? Hundreds of cars pass by and see a family stuck in the dirt!
    After 40K miles here are our problems so far:

    - window switches quit working.
    - oil high light
    - BASF/ESP light
    - crank pully and damaged oil pan (stranded!)

    Still unsure if I should sell this truck or risk going off warrenty next month.
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291

    Guess you got really unlucky with your ML. I say, sell it.

    Although I am no fan of Diamler Chrysler, I do like my 1999 ML320 and will probably keep it for a couple of years more.
  • derel2derel2 Posts: 49
    I need new tires on an ML-430. The current tire is a Dunlop 275/55R17 109H. The Dunlop web site indicates it no longer makes this size of tire. Similarly, Michelin, Bridgestone and Pirelli web sites do not list a tire of this size. Goodyear offers a tire but I do not like it. Any suggestions on an equivalent replacement for the original Dunlops?
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    try or

    I recently bought Michelin 4x4 XPC all terrain tires for my 1999 ML320 255/65/16. Paid 150 + shipping for each tire from tire rack. Got a free JVC DVD player from Michelin. Tire rack was about 20 bucks more for the same tire.

  • danp7danp7 Posts: 3
    This part also known as HARMONIC BALANCER was replaced with a new belt at the dealer for $ 240 out of pocket for my 1998 ML320 because I purchased it used. I believe MB dealer will replace it under warranty if you are original owner and should cover even 1999,2000 models. Strongly recommend this repair as this is a known problem MB is not ready to admit.
  • danp7danp7 Posts: 3
    Dont't give up ! At 70k miles, dealer diagnosed it as "AIR MASS" sensor which was covered under Warranty. GOOD LUCK ... it is a safe car
  • danp7danp7 Posts: 3
    Unsure of your situation ? Check out WARRANTY DIRECT in your research ......
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    Extended warranties from third parties is like an insurance policy. It is only as good as the company who has underwritten this policy. A year ago, I was considering getting an extended warranty for my 1999 ML320. I was quoted about $2000 from warranty gold and warranty direct. One of the firms who where underwriters to these companies went bankrupt and none of the policies will be honored any more. I am glad I didn't plonk down 2000 dollars only to see it go down the drain. My recomendation would be to take the $2000 and put it in a 5 year CD with some bank offering a good return.

    It is always better to buy the extended warranty from the Car maker if you can.
  • Does anyone know what a fair price is for an extended warranty for a 2001 ML320? I have a 4/year 48K lease and with another 1-1/2 to go, have 37K miles.

    The service at the dealership has been good, but I've had numerous problems with the ML and have had it in for service half a dozen times for "in-warranty" repairs.
  • With MB offering low APR on the M class it is tempting, but I only see problems with the M class if I read the board. Any chance the 2003/04 models are good?
  • nofeernofeer Posts: 381
    you've got to be kidding me....after 200+comments, consumer reports pans this dirge of a vehicle. don't waste your money, buy a used lexus rx or new ford or chevy, my wife loves her audi a6 quattro and they pay all the maintenance. jdpowers puts MB brand as the fastest falling quality nameplate out there. they are living on their laurals and arrogance of the 3 pointed star. I WILL NEVER BUY A MERCEDES PRODUCT...... they lose their value, cost a fortune to maintain and hey they have worse quality than a ford or chevy. learn from others mistakes, get, honda, toyota, suburu, audi acura etc.
    i had my m class back to the shop 22 times, not long enough for lemon law, hey one time the entire handle assemby came off in my hands, the people i was with laughed i was mortified. another loved my slk 230 and wanted a flashy mercedes roadster,--hey they had nothing but problems lousy dealer pain in butt car. electrical nightmares, that your only way out is to trade it in. both my partners bought a ml 55---ooooh wow, performance mercedes, cool, ooooooh, but nightmare, both took huge hits in tradein for toyota sequoia, and caddy escalade.none of us have MB anymore. JUST NOT WORTH IT now mb is "seriously looking into quality" geeee its about time. those that afford to buy MB can also afford not to. buyer beware.
  • bhana1bhana1 Posts: 12
    I tend to disagree with nofeer. Consumer reports says that ML is still a competent SUV although has had reliability issues. However, based on their survey the reliability has been improving. My reasons for buying a 03 ML-500 : strong engine, good performance, decent handling, good safety record,right size(not too big and not too small),pick up and delivery for service.
  • Tires: we use Michelin Cross-Terrain on our
    ML320 and they are about as perfect as a tire
    gets: 65,000 warranty, superbly quiet, superb
    road feel and tracking under all conditions. These are $150 at Sam's Club, and you'll need to
    order them in.

    Warranty: we almost, but did not, buy a warranty from Warranty Gold, whos underwriter went under
    per the prior posting. I did quite a bit of internet-based research and this company and its underwriter looked good.... decent ratings on both and no problems with BBB, or anything else that I could find. I guess one hint was that they were hungry negotiators, knocking the price
    down a few hundred (to about $2,000 for 100K/4 years), bumping up the coverage to "platinum"
    (ie, exclusion-type coverage), and going to free
    zero deductable. This was about 60% less than the
    coverage offered by the dealer's $3,200 product.

    Is it worth buying an ML?
    First, the consumer ratings I recently read showed that the ML wasn't great but not bad on
    reliability ratings. Here at Edmunds, the Lexus RX has 2,336 general posts and 24 problem posts versus the ML which has 7,292 general posts and
    203 problem posts. Hence, on the surface the RX
    has a problem post rate of 1% and the ML has a problem post rate of 3%. I don't believe this means the ML has 3 times the problems of the RX, but it seems to make a case that, a) ML owners are several times more likely to make a post than an RX owner (I believe that there are more RX's sold than ML's and yet we see many more ML general posts), b) we now own a Lexus LS and the ML, and even though both dealerships are owned by the same family, the Lexus "treatment" is noticably better than the MB "treatment", so I think the poorer dealership experience contributes to the bad karma of the ML, and c)many ML posts under "problems" are followed by several responses (like this one!) In the end,
    I'd venture a guess that the ML sees about
    a third more problems than the RX, and that the
    MB headset at corporate and the dealer add another third to the perception of problems.

    Last, the ML is just plain different from the RX: truck frame, off-road, handling, tax benefit if used for business, utility, and safety. For me the ML is a better choice, but I could easily see why someone would choose the RX... I'd like to see a third of my problems go away and have a better dealer experience, but I don't want to give up my ML to do it.
  • nofeernofeer Posts: 381
    i hope this is not a big $$$$ problem need your advice

    98 ml320 70k miles
    when hard accelerating upshifting hesitates from 2-3rd
    and it hangs at 3800rpm and struggles to go above 55-58mph
    moderate acceleration, not apreciable delays or weird upshifts but worries me if i have to hard pass someone, regular driving nothing noticable
    if i manually shift and hard accelerate similar problem
    help but not with manual shifting and moderate hard acceleration, Hmmmmm

    sidenote--i'll never buy another MB product again--period i would have done better with a ford or chevy, jd powers and consumer reports agrees. MB says they are really working at this--BIG DEAL they are losing their base, i suggest audi, toyota, honda etc, not MB

    will drive this "very average" vehicle for another 3-4 months then a minivan i was hoping to drive this till next fall may not be able to, if this thing needs a new trans ill donate it to goodwill, i'm not putting another dime--if its simple adjustment ok but if big $$$forget it
    Ref---#204 this 98 had more problems than other years, my friends ml55 were the first 2 years they were out, they wont buy another MB product either, so out of 3 vehicles the re-purchase rate is 0, thats' 100% won't buy again Hey what i said was my and my associates opinion just beware
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    I've been following ML boards since Mid-2000 when we bought our ML430: 74K miles, traded for '03 ML500. For us, there are no better SUVs available and there are many others that think so too. The ML500 is the best yet.

    It's the right size for us--good all around vehicle that tows, handles well, has incredible braking (275s on all four corners and big rotors), very powerful because of the 325 ft. lbs. of torque at less than 3k rpm, built like a vault safety, a good tour car and daily driver, room for animals and lots of cargo, plenty of room in the back seat for passenger comfort (the A/C and ventilation system on our '03 has a huge volume and offers backseat passengers a lot of air), and of course, a very worthy off-road vehicle--it's good to know it (the ML430) is built well enough to take on and win Paris to Dakar, year after year. We don't take our ML into the outback but appreciate the four wheel drive once a year in the snow and appreciate its sure-footedness in rainy conditions.

    You'll be interested to read the Ward's yearly review when they made their 10 best engine picks of the year for 2002: for what you get, you'll read that they think the ML500 offers a very good value. the link is:

    You might want the Xenon light option; I think you will like it a lot better than the halogens.
  • nofeernofeer Posts: 381
    I agree the engine is wonderful, good mileage and great transmission. but the other stuff clouds the potential for a truly great vehicle. the 98 that i owned was in the shop for many electrical problems, airleaks, door handle fell off, avg or below avg quality. but it never left us in the snow, like a friends volvo wagon did. the performance is very good and the size especially for 5 6 footers is wonderful. noisy, choppy etc.
    for whatever reason my transmission "hesitation" with hard acceleration has diminished somewhat, i hope it was some fleeting gremlin never to reappear. but expensive to maintain, i wont buy another MB product. MB needs to get dvd base navigation and get rid of all the "command module" buttons tooo confusing
  • nofeernofeer Posts: 381
    went to MB for check engine lite it is the "mass air flow sensor)air mass meter. $298+$30 airfilter+$120 labor

    is this something i could do myself, and reletively easy???
    if so i found a place selling it online for $211
    what do you think
  • Our 02 ML-320 has now been in the shop for 61 straight days (it arrived the week before Thanksgiving) for accelerator hesitation and a transmission that downshifts at will. This is the third time for the two problems...the first time was a week and the second time two weeks.

    Our dealer has said MB folks from both Houston and San Fran have been to fix...but here we sit.

    Have contacted (in writing) MBUSA both the second and third time...all we have gotten back is a form letter.

    Does anyone have any other ideas on how to deal with MBUSA? We did sent a Texas Lemon Law notice back when it went in November...and another last week.

  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,092
    Sorry to hear about your ML problems. Perhaps this article can help.

    Getting Some Lemon-Aid From Your Lemon Maker
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