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



  • Check out this link from the owner's gallery:
    drew_ "MB M-Class Owners: Photo Gallery" May 30, 2001 2:31am

    1. You face forward
    2. You get in from the passenger side rear door.
    3. If the 3rd row seats are already in place it takes about 30 seconds or less? maybe
    4. Yes one at a time or both. Look at the pix's your self and you'll see.
  • I've been away from "The Area" for a while, just two short years ago I was experiencing all your anguish, excitement, and anticipation.

    Y2k ML 320 Silver/Charcoal M1, M2, B*se, tow hitch + a few extra add on's, blah, blah...

    The bottom line, I Love my vehicle.

    There are a few things to improve, I did not buy the navigation, (looking out the window seems a lot easier than learning another computer that has a history of failing)

    The cruise control is great the best I've ever used, there is a learning curve.

    I too wish the radio controls were in the steering wheel.

    No fix for the 00 ML phone system for a national program type phone is my largest beef.

    I switched to synthetic not only in the standard oil but the gear oil also.

    Changed the air cleaner every 10K (inside @ 25K and it was filthy)

    Installed the Nord-Leth bug deflector and if you have never used the window deflectors in any vehicle I suggest those also.

    There are some great people in here that will help solve the few challenges we have with a human made vehicle.

    Ride on!


    Living in Central FL 20 miles in town - 21.5 - 23mpg @ 74mph AC on 1 center 11 o'clock.

    31K to date running well
  • image

    Check out this link from the owner's gallery:
    drew_ "MB M-Class Owners: Photo Gallery" May 30, 2001 2:31am

    1. You face forward
    2. You get in from the passenger side rear door.
    3. If the 3rd row seats are already in place it takes about 30 seconds or less? maybe
    4. Yes one at a time or both. Look at the pix's your self and you'll see.
  • The benefit of membership in the MBCA, to me, has been its publication, "The Star" magazine. I have found that this is the only magazine devoted to Mercedes (despite a large number of trade rags on Jaguar, BMW, Porsche, etc.). Also, you learn about the activities of the local club chapters, if you're so inclined to attend a MB event. Good luck deciding.
  • mchwemchwe Posts: 23
    thanks, sequoiasaurus!

    you would not believe how little info about these seats i could get from the local salesmen. the sad irony is that i live in tuscaloosa. the sales manager i spoke to could do nothing except show me one 2x2 inch picture of them in a brochure and sheepishly confess that "noone ever gets them."

    this setup is inconvenient for me: two kids still in car seats. it means having to move a car seat every time someone sits in the very back.

    oh, i wish that the mb minivan would hurry up!
  • I have two car seats also and I've put them on the window seat and middle seat in the second row. That leaves the last part of the second row room to move for access to the third row. Let's face it, a middle location for the car seat is much much safer than a window seat. Would you rather have your child in the middle or near the window during a side impact? I'll put mine in the middle thanks!
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    First of all, congratulations on your upcoming ML320! I'm glad you've reached a decision and did all your homework, and have selected a vehicle based on what best meets your needs and priorities.

    A few items ...

    1) Personally, I think the BabySmart seat is only necessary if you ever plan to have to drive with the baby in the front seat (since it deactivates the front airbag).

    If the MB infant seat is based on the Britax's infant seat (Britax makes the seats while Siemens created the BabySmart technology), which it probably is, I think there are alternatives that are more convenient and as safe.

    I think, personally, that you're better off with a good infant seat like the Graco Snugride DX5 or Century Advanta. I like dedicated infant seats because they're more convenient and built especially for infants. There are no dedicated infant seats that come with ISOFIX/LATCH, as far as I know.

    When you baby grows, you can move to a seat like a Britax Roundabout or Advantage. Unfortunately, Britax's ISOFIX/LATCH seat is forward-facing only, so unless your baby stays in the infant seat the entire first year and up to its weight/height rating, you may be better off with the non-ISOFIX/LATCH seats.

    Unfortunately, manufacturers are behind in ISOFIX/LATCH and I think that so long as you properly install your seat (and you can have it checked by a certified technician, depending on what resources your state has available), you may be better off with a more safe, conventional seat than an ISOFIX one.

    Check out for info on what seats fit and don't fit well into your vehicle.

    2) You can easily protect your Java leather from your baby with that nice MB seat cover accessory. I'm not sure what colors it comes in, however. I know with our baby, as they get old enough to handle a bottle or sippy cup, you will inevitably end up with formula or milk stains on the back seat!

    3) Lexol works great, I think you're quite fine with it. Heck, Drew and Ken use it, that's good enough for me ;)

    Again, congratulations on your pending ML320, and, more importantly, congratulations on your upcoming baby.
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    Actually, I used :-)
    I've heard good stuff about Lexol too.
  • We purchased a 2001 ML320E abt 7 days ago and we have been disappointed with it. Firstly, on delivery of the vehicle, we discovered several flaws. The stitching of the leather on the driver's seat came undone, there were paint flaws on the rear bumper, a torn handle(vinyl) of the rear door and several other blemishes that one would not expect of a MB vehicle. Just 2 days ago, the check engine light came on and with several other funky blinking lights on the dashboard. We called MB road assistance and they advise that we not drive the vehicle. Since it was the Labor long weekend, we were totally unamused and we were not able to contact the dealership until Tuesday. We want to know what some of you folks would do given our circumstances. We are very disappointed with the vehicle and have lost total confidence in it. AND its only been 7 days since we bought it. We feel that we should be given another ML to replace or perhaps have our C-class returned ( traded in) and have our money refunded. Or do you all feel confident enough to have the deficiencies repaired under warranty and keep this lemon of a ML. Its a stunning shame for Mercedes Benz. Would love to hear your opinions.
  • NothapplyML: My condolences. It really sucks to get a new toy and have any problems. Sadly it does happen. Relay to the dealer your feelings. Contact Mercedes USA directly by phone and also relay to them your feelings. Also, find out about your local lemon laws. This may be your only ultimate recourse.

    This said, the ML is really a pretty good vehicle. My '00 had problems too, and still has a couple, but it's worth it overall. I am sure that the dealership will be able to resolve everything. If you spend hours reading this site, you will find that at least 99% of the other readers think so too. Remember that a ML is a vehicle made of thousands of parts, mostly by American hands. That it has some problems is less than the ideal reflection on our country, especially on Labor Day. Unfortunate but true problems are SOP.
  • I am considering buying an ML320 and I just took a look at the 02 at my dealer. I like most of the changes including the climate control, fog lamps, auto lights, auto up/down windows etc.
    I also noticed the following changes from the 01 brochure:
    MY02 MY01
    - Overall Height: 71.7 69.9
    (including roof-rails)
    - overall length: 182.6 180.6
    - curb weight: 4786 lb 4586 lb
    - cargo vol: 34.7 40.4 cu.ft.
    (second row seat in use)
    - cargo vol: 81.2 81.2
    (second row seat down)

    - Fuel economy: 15/19 17/21
    (from the sticker)

    - Ground clearance: 8.7in 8.4in

    I don't know where the increased weight is coming from but maybe it is dragging the fuel economy down?
    The increased overall height of the truck might have come from the new wheels/tyres? But the specs do not indicate the step-in height in 02?
    The front and rear legrooms are the same in the two models. But does the reduction in the cargo space come from the first-aid and the other kits located in the tailgate.
    I have learned quite a bit from this forum and would appreciate comments from you folks to keep me in sync with what to expect of the MY02.
    Thanks in advance.
  • Sorry you had problems. The the 2001 ML I purchased (9 months) has not experienced any problems except a stuck headrest in the back and a noisy fan. Both were promply fixed by the dealer. I am very happy with the vehicle and don't regret purchasing it. No other SUV in this class compares.

    By the way the check engine light will come on if you don't tighten the gas cap or you put low grade gas in the tank. In any case, other than the possible engine problem, the other problems you describe will be fixed by the dealer. (Did you not look at the vehicle before you took delivery?) Even so, the problems you describe are not significant unless there are extensive engine problems.
  • It sounds like you really did not go over the car upon delivery. One would not expect to have to do this with an MB, but it is always wise to do so. When we got our 00 ML430, I noticed that there was a cut in the dashboard and a few other interior mars and had them noted before we left the dealership. It was no problem for them to replace the dashboard and the other misc. problem.
    If we had driven of, they could have easily and rightfully so blamed us for puncturing the dash and scratching the wood. It may have been done during prep, whatever. I do feel for your discontent. Hopefully your dealer will rectify the situation. I can not emphisize more, the importance of going over the car prior to taking it off the lot, outside in natural light, interior, exterior, glass and mirrors. Note to your salesperson any flaw or problem that you see. Just one additional thought, you still have leverage with the dealer as you will receive a questionaire from MB, a percentage of the dealer's profit on the car is based on this questionaire. If your dealer is a quality dealership, I am sure that your problems will be rectified immediately. Let us know how you make out.
  • Thanks for the replies. The flaws and imperfections were duly noted at time of delivery. The sales rep was fairly embarrased and was very cooperative in terms of getting things rectified. The check engine light came on just a few days after. Will check gas cap to see if may be the prob and its unlikely fuel as we use only premium unleaded. We understand that the problems are somewhat minor aside from the engine light thing-not sure of that yet but I guess its that we had expected a lot more from MB having own an MB before. We have a 2001 Cross Country Volvo as well and we absolutely have no trouble with it from delivery to now-8 mths ago. I guess we were comparing both the vehicles and I must admit, the Volvo XC beats the ML hands down in quality, comfort level and value for the money.
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    The TV news seemed obsessed w/ calling it a "Mercedes SUV" :-)
    It is very rare that we get enough pictures of car crashes to guess what car it was. I frequently have to guess (yep, morbid curioisity :-) based on the alloy wheels. That's the only reason I mention this observation. The TV video showed at least 10 secs of the ML's front while it was on its side and while it was being pulled upright. You could clearly see it was a 1998 from the grey bumpers. The airbags went off. The roof was not crushed like you'd see w/ an Explorer. It looked like it was slid on both sides. I suspect it was still driveable.
    ESP and curtain bags may have helped, but the stupid occupants would have just been bounced around inside because they didn't wear seatbelts...
  • <<Remember that a ML is a vehicle made of thousands of parts, mostly by American hands.>>

    Actually, the ML's parts that make up the vehicle are all built in Germany. The Alabama plant only assembles the vehicle. I doubt that ANY part is made in the US.


    I looked at the Volvo as well, and I liked it very much. However, I didn't feel as safe, particularly because the Volvo is over 800 lb lighter than the ML. And, after reading the XC boards here, I opted for the ML.

    I hope you will be able to get all your problems fixed by the dealer. You shouldn't have to go through that with any new vehicle, especially not one from MB. Good luck!

    -- Gustav
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Much of the ML's components are made by American suppliers. That's partly actually why the early MLs had problems. A lot of it had to do with local supplier issues + their quality control. It also had to do with MB's inexperience with them. I believe MB used to rely on their German parts suppliers for strict quality control. The American suppliers were not as good in this area and quality suffered. Luckily things have become much better in the last couple of years at least, as suppliers have been changed or quality + design drastically improved.

    The ML's engine + drivetrain are fully built and assembled in Germany and shipped to the US though.

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  • You mentioned two car seats (in the middle and side). Are these toddler-seats? boosters? I've found that fitting two toddler seats next to each in other in most cars is difficult (the bases tend to sit over the seatbelt of the other). Haven't tried it (seen it) in an ML though.
  • Drew,

    I had no idea that many of the components were supplied by US manufacturers. That's actually a little bit scary, particularly when one considers that DC plans to share components between ML and Jeep Grand Cherokee. It doesn't bode well for future MLs...

    My understanding had been that parts were shipped from Germany and literally assembled out of the box. As you pointed out, no wonder the M-Class, at least at the beginning, had so many problems.

    Let's hope that DC will have the good sense to not destroy MB's image by sharing the wrong parts with Chrysler. The last thing I want to be driving is a Chrysler with a German name...

    -- Gustav
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    From what I understand, any future parts that will be shared will mostly be drivetrain related and not interior trim. For example, the next generation Chrysler LHS will share the '03 E-classes steering rack. It will be Jeep that will benefit from future parts sharing since they will be using MB parts, not the other way around (there is something in the merger agreement about this). I wouldn't worry too much about it unless they start degrading quality on the MB end.

    I'm guessing that If the ML was assembled in the US with solely German made components, the price would probably be significantly higher, closer to the BMW X5 levels.

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  • I have been waiting to get the new 2002 M Class as I had heard about the changes they were making from the previous model year editions. I saw an earlier post about ordering a 2002 ML320 through the Internet Office at the Mercedes Dealer in Bakersfield California. I contacted the guy there and you were right on. After going through a couple of other online services I found the guy there to be very straight forward and pleasant to work with. He didn't try to work me over on the price or ask me "what payment do I want". We configured my ML together and I am paying a flat $1000 over invoice. I am expecting to take delivery in October so I'm really jazzed. I would like to go back to the factory and pick it up but I can't get off work so I will just pick it up at the dealer. The guy tells me he is taking orders on all 2002 models and gives a good, no haggle price on whatever you choose. My dad is thinking about ordering a G Class so I am going to hook him up with the same guy. If anybody is interested - here the guy I am working with:

    Ron Hoff

    I don't have his direct dial number. I think the 800 number goes to the switchboard so you'll probably have to ask for him. He is the manager for the internet sales and worked the whole deal for me himself - very nice guy to talk to and work with. Tell him I sent you his way...
  • I have a '98 ML320 and have had numerous problems, mostly electrical.

    The latest was that the auto transmission locked up in third gear and would not upshift.

    Has anyone had a similar problem and if so, what was the fix?
  • "It will be Jeep that will benefit from future parts sharing since they will be using MB parts, not the other way around (there is something in the merger agreement about this)."

    It would make sense, Drew, that such a clause would exist and that it be public, if only to reassure both shareholders, investors and consumers that MB's quality reputation would not be jeopardized. As it is, indeed, Chrylser stands to gain from MB's technical expertise, and MB from a greater economy of scale.

    The JGC has been, and still is, a vehicle with such terrible reputation for reliability and poor build, that the mere suggestion that it could share anything with MLs is scary.

    Thank you for your reassuring lines, though.

    -- Gustav
  • The Oct 01 issue of Automobile has an article and picture of the upcoming MB GST crossover vehicle that is shown in the link above.
  • Skimmel,
    I have one huge toddler seat(the full size one for the whole body) and right next to it is a base for an infant seat. My 6 year old sits in the third row. He climbs in the back door even though the middle row seat that slide forward is clear to move, it's just easier to hop in the back door. 350 miles on my 2002 and no problems whatsoever (knocks wood). Get the 2002 ML!
  • We just took a look at the 2002ML, and my wife is nixing it for the following reasons. We need to carry 4 adults and two kids in childseats, 1 infant, and 1 toddler.
    Assuming I put the toddler in the third row, and the infant and two adults in the middle row....
    There's no room for any cargo! No room for diaper bags, 2 strollers (or a double stroller, etc). Has anyone thought about this? Any suggestions? The alternative is a minivan..(yuck).
  • if you regularly need to carry that much stuff - you're looking at an Expedition, Sequoia or minivan. Mid-sized SUV will be tasked trying to carry that much on a regular basis.

    I figured I'd have to do something similar from time to time - but figured I'd depend on a luggage box on the rooftop carrier. Those waterproof carriers can extend your trunk considerably, and are great in terms of on-the-spot storage.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382

    Just a reminder that the MB chat is on tonight (6-7pm Pacific/9-10 pm Eastern). Hope to see you there!

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