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MB M Class Owners Maintenance and Repair



  • 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
  • I am replacing the brakes pads for the second time at 52,000 on a '00 ML430. Can someone tell me who the manufacturer of the Original equipment (rear) pads was? We are having a terrible time finding aftermarket numbers for PAGID or Textar brands. VIN is A-168557 I am looking for the least expensive replacement due to having 3 mos left on the lease.

    Thanks, Mark
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    This is precisely the reason why I am a bit wary of buying off-lease vehicles. Most owners treat it knowing that they will return it in two/three years. :)
  • Hi all!!
    I have an 03 ML 350 with 6500 miles on; The gas guage has been acting up; At approximately a 100 miles after fill up, it drops down to near half tank; If I tried refilling the tank, It wouldn't take more than 7 gals. What's worse, I start seeing the red indicator light after 210 miles approximately...
    The dealer keeps insisting that they do not see any error codes - So, replacement of any part is out of the question :O(
    Anyone experience this before? I am thinking of calling 1800 Mercedes about this. But, I would appreciate any input before I do so. I do have the JD Power Survey with me and I haven't mailed it yet -I am definitely gonna mention this to MBUSA if I get any evasive replies... Don't know what else I could do?!?
    An otherwise satisfied (for now, at least!) owner of an ML!
  • njexpress,

    I just recently bought my 2003 ml 350 (with 1900 miles)for $41K even, with every option possible except parktronics, inspiration, and convenience package, and I had the same problem with the gas gauge like you described. About 6-7 gallons of gas aren't reading on gauge. The SUV is reading only 15-16 gallons. I took the SUV back for diagnotic. They replaced a few components related to the feul tank??? I pumped gas again when it was low. Nope, the problem was still there. I could only pump about 15 gallons max. Plan to take it back to dealership next week.

    I'll update progress of problem on board.

    Did I overpay for the my wife's ML 350???? Thanks

  • boy, after looking at the for ML 350 prices and after reading all the problem associated w/ ML models, I wonder if I should go with the MDX instead. For starter, at 40K+, you still don't have some of the 'niceties' in ML that MDX has as standard. To get the 'convenience' stuffs, I have to shell out another 5K+ to 8K+ on top of the 40K+ ... I realize that MDX also have its own problems and issues but overall, it seems the quality is a lot better than the ML... What to do, what to do ???
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    I'd say, do more research: maybe you'll come to the same conclusion; and, even if you come to appreciate MLs more, it still may not be the best car for you. But, my feeling is that these two cars are not comparable, e.g., you're not going to see a MDX in the Paris to Dakar race and most people would not buy a MDX to tow with. And, you're not going to read about MBs on some forums that don't have detractors, no matter what the model--you have to go deeper into your research to get past a relatively few loud and vocal brand bashers. However, for the money you're talking about, e.g., $40K + $5-8K, you're into the range in which you can get a new ML500 which is a great choice, e.g., try this link:

    As far as money goes, I think the MDX will obviously be cheaper--ML is cheaper than a Toyota Land Cruiser--but, there are many choices that are cheaper yet so there's always less expensive options. Plus, you can spend even more, e.g, an E-class AWD station wagon, and I've heard some good things about Lexus and a neighbor has a new Escalade that gets treated very will in the press (I like his XMI radio) and costs more so have fun researching.
  • Interesting that you mentioned you couldn't pump more than 15 gallons. I've never driven past the red indicator level, myself. I shall try pushing my luck this week when I am alone and see how far I can go on a full tank and if I run out of gas, I shall push the "I" button on the roof... Just gotta make sure that my wife and my 2 month old are not on board ;0)
    I will definitely post what transpires...
    As to overpaying - Here's my take - I don't bother checking prices AFTER I buy - It is only gonna make me feel sad. No matter how good my deal was, there will always be a better deal, somewhere....
    Feel bad still? Just look at the wonderful interior of your ML and feel proud for the quality and execution!!! Without exaggeration, It can put some high end leather sofas to shame. What color is your ML? Mine's white with Java, Sun Roof, Leather, Bose, No seat memory; Other than the stiff ride, I enjoy everything this truck has to offer!!!
    Good Luck and Enjoy your ML!!!!
  • njexpress,

    I will bring the ml 350 in for service this Friday. Hope it gets fix. I'll update on Saturday or after it gets repaired.

    My ml 350 is brillant silver with charcoal leather. It comes with sport chrome package, heated seats, 3rd row seat, sunroof, CD changer, wood steering wheel, xenon lights, bose audio sytem, chrome front grill, tint, and navigation system. I love the SUV and the options. It looks every sporty and stylish. I love driving it on weekends and on long trips. My wife drives it on weekdays. Although it drives like a truck, I think the performance and steering is excellent for the size and weight of SUV. I drive a Mercedes Benz S500--exceptional sedan by the way, and I think the ml 350 is very good for a truck.

    The ML class only looks good if you upgrade from the basic model--my opinion.
  • I always find it interesting (and somewhat concerning) to see all of the extremely negative reviews on the ml. I have a 2003 ML-350, Black with black leather interior. We got the inspiration edition, which has larger wheels, chrome grill and the nice stitching on the leather.
    I love this vehicle, and I have not had any reliability concerns in the first 12000 miles.

    I think the inspiration edition and the ml 500 look more aggressive in styling than the base 350. Just my opinion though. My other car is a lexus gs300, which I also love, but for very different reasons.

    I understand some of the reliability issues with the eatlier versions of the ML 320, but according to consumer reports, THe 2003 ML350 is average reliability. IMHO the ml350 has improved their reliability (not to lexus standards), which is typical as the model gets further into it's 7-8 year cycle for major re-design.

    I have always bought end of model-run vehicles for this reason. Again, just my opinion. Anybody have any thoughts on this?
  • Diesel11,

    At the beginning, I was reluctant to buy the 2003 ml 350 for my wife because of reliability issues. Actually,I wanted the new 2003 GX 470. But after purchasing it and driving it for several months, I really enjoyed the SUV.

    Although it has some problems, the dealership that I bought it from is very good when it comes to service.
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