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



  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    and how other's couldn't care less.

    An example - automatic headlights. I never had 'em, never needed 'em. Nice feature for them to turn off if they've been left on, of course, but auto-on headlamps when the lights get dark don't impress me (reminds me of that sign in the road, the one that says 'DIP' - as if you were supposed to look around in bewilderment going 'WHAT THE HECK WAS THAT? Oh, dip!').

    Another one is the open door feature you mention. My wife's Honda has it, and she's always pointing out - 'you see that? you left the trunk open', or 'the rear door isn't closed right'). My eye just doesn't go there. It serves no purpose to me.

    The rain sensing windshield wipers another example of technology that ain't bad - but I wouldn't lose sleep if I didn't have it. I can tell when it's raining too (I'm funny that way).

    Now - autodimming mirrors, and tilt down mirrors - I can issue a Homer Simpson 'mmmmm.... autodimming mirrors....'.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Electro-chromatic mirrors are practically a must have for me now that I'm used to them. Whenever I drive a vehicle without them, especially a car, it is quite obvious as to how useful this feature is (fortunately I don't have to do this often).

    I'm still not completely sold on the rain sensing wipers. They're great, but sometimes it wipes when I don't want it to and I'd rather have a normal wiping interval.

    The good news about automatic headlamps in the ML is that they work well and turn on as needed. The '02 MLs (with halogen headlamps) have daytime running lamps which only turn on the low beams. My '00 turns on all of the exterior lamps, not just the low beams, something which I happen to like; in fact, all Canadian MB vehicles turn on all exterior lamps for daytime running lamps. Apparently this is a no-no in the US for some odd reason.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Regarding the rear spoiler (aka rear wing), it is unfortunately not compatible with the GPS antenna. You should also know that the wing requires drilling.

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  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    even if the navigation antenna didn't preclude it, the wife's 'no-drilling' policy would.
  • My back window now has glue all over it
    and has to have the insulation/glue repacked, (this is the 3rd window to have this malady).
    The rocking motion is about to make me seasick (yes, I agree with the writings of the reporter whose test drive findings were titled "The ML rocks, literally". My sister's Envoy rides better than my Benz, and has a much better takeoff(yep)

    Can somebody PLEASE remind me why I purchased this vehicle?? It is a 2001 ML320, and I have had it since June...and it's always one thing after another. I am begging my husband to allow me to get out of it. I have driven Honda's ALL my life, and all they EVER need is oil changes, and brake pads. I think I should have purchased another Honda product (ACURA MDX)

    Surely my truck was built on a Alabama State Holiday by MB employees who were forced to come into work sans holiday pay, and no lunch break.

  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Eplish -- Good point, and one I should have mentioned in one of my previous messages.

    AFAIK, only Evenflo recommends against putting an infant seat in the center of the second row because of the armrest. I have seen speculative posts about the center armrest being a potential hazard if it "plops down" onto a rear-facing infant.

    However, I don't believe any other carseat manufacturer recommends caution about the center armrest, which would indicate to me that they have tested the scenarios in addition to manufacturers like MB. Britax certainly makes no such recommendation.

    The key is to look at how the rear-facing seat's front lip "blocks" the center armrest from hitting the child if it ever comes down on its own. Most infant seats mounted in the detachable base are so high up in the air above the seat cushion that the center armrest couldn't bend down far enough to pose a threat.

    E.g. the Centura Avanta SE we used has a pretty high base, and a high front lip and it really pinned the center armrest inside its recessed compartment (though this was not with an ML320). Absolutely no danger of it coming down and hitting the baby. With the Britax Roundabout in rear-facing position, its front lip was also so high that it would not be an issue.

    My only guess is that Evenflo may be worried about a very small quantity of models (perhaps older ones) that have poorly designed center armrests, and they're just covering their liability. AFAIK there has not been documented cases of injury from the center armrest in a properly installed seats.

    Meanwhile, unfortunately, there are plenty of documented cases of injury from intrusion during a side impact. The M-class will do its able best to minimize and protect against that intrusion, but simple physics still has the child safer in the middle.
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    Sorry to hear you're having the infamous glue problem. For the rocking problem, I'd suggest you try test driving an ML430 or the MY2002 ML320 w/ the 17" wheels. I think the rocking is from the thick soft sidewalls of the ML320. If the rocking goes away, one solution it to upgrade your wheels/tires.
    For the glue, make sure they use 3M Yellow glue to glue them back on. If they use the MB glue, it'll just happen again. Sounds absurd, but it's true.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Did you try to drive another ML320 to see if there is that "rocking motion", as many people suggested here several weeks ago? You never got back to us on that. Does your ML have the General Grabber tires or the Dunlop Grandtreks? Try driving a Grand Cherokee over bumps and then you will know what rocking motion really is with those solid axles!

    As for the Envoy, it has a much larger engine, so of course it accelerates faster. Then again, it also scored a "Marginal" (one step above "Poor) in the IIHS offset crash test.

    As for the glue, it depends on your environment. Those of us that stay tuned to these M-class boards will know that it's a possible occurance, which may be why we are prepared (and not be mad or surprised) for it should something occur. My ML, for example, an early build '00 model built in the first decade of October 1999 production (yes, it's officially 2 years old today!), has never "shed" any of its door insulation pads (Knock on wood).

    When you drop your ML off for the door insulation clean-up, take a test drive of another '01 ML320 or a '02 ML320 and then let us know if they have that "rocking motion".

    Good luck!
  • neil99neil99 Posts: 11
    This infamous craftmanship just started to appear on my ML last week. It does not happen all the time. If my memory serves me correct, it only happens when there is a big temperature difference between the outside and inside of the truck.
  • biker5biker5 Posts: 199
    I guess its my turn...anyway have you check your tire pressure? because I start feeling the same thing and found out that put some extra pound of air in your tire make the ride diffirent. I used to have 32 PSI all around now I have 35 PSI, the the solid ride came back, no more rocky bouncing ride. I have General Tire BTW. Try it and you might change your mind to keep your ML.
  • Drew, I thought you had an '01 320. You mentioned about your rain-sensored wipers, on your '00? or is it an '00 430 or AMG? Just curious.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    No, I was referring to the rain sensor for the other MB cars that I have driven, as well as the '01 ML loaners that I've driven :-) My '00 doesn't have this feature, but it does have speed sensitive wipers.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Wow, 35 psi is a bit too high for me; that's 6 psi above the 29psi recommended. While it results in slightly better handling, the ride also becomes noticably firmer at the back. Personally, I run 33 psi up front, and 31 at the back. Just a personal preference, of course.

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  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    The Honda products that have been forced on me (a 94 Accord EX and a 98 Accord coupe) are HORRENDOUS.

    @ 82k miles - the 94 Honda has required the following:

    5 brake changes
    1 fuel pump
    the entire exhaust system has rotted out
    2 transmission fluid changes
    1 alternator
    1 water pump
    1 timing chain

    the interior is completely falling apart (and I take damn good care of my cars; my 88 Blazer, which has gone through HELL, looks to be in better shape than this POS). What I hate the most - making things like a water pump and timing chain 'routine maintenance', so that when they fail before 100k miles, it doesn't seem like p***-poor engineering.

    I gave some serious consideration to owning an MDX, despite all my previous bad-Honda blood. And after driving back to back, I didn't see the advantage the MDX had. The ride was a bit nicer, I'll give it that. But to forsake the safety features, the permanent 4WD, and the sturdy construction of the ML for an MDX? No way.
  • Reading some back messages about oil change, I am surprised that a lot of you guys use Mobil 5W-30 or 10W-30 synthetic. Are those weight oil recommended by MB in the tech manual prior MY 2002? I have a MY2002 ML320. The manual comes with it only recommends Mobil 0W-40, 15W-50 and some other brands that I don't plan to use. Upon some further examination, MB recommends engine oil that meets European A3/B3 standards or API SJ/SH. Label on Mobil 15W-50 says it meets A3/B3 API SJ/SH; Label on 10W-30 only says it meets API SJ/SH but not mentioning A3/B3. So my understanding is that MB does NOT approve Mobil 5W-30/10W-30 for their engine with FSS, because Mobil 5W-30/10W-30 does not meet European A3/B3 standard. Am I correct? or it is just for MY2002? On another note, Mobil does not sell 0W-40 in the States, so the only approved Mobil 1 oil would be 15W-50, isn't that too thick for northern states and Canada?

    I would like to use 10W-30, because then I can just buy one weight engine oil for both of my vehicles.

    Pardon me if any information is wrong, I am at work now.
  • If the above advice about increasing tire pressure doesn't help, I would continue to pursue the issue with your service department. I have a 2001 ML430 that doesn't rock side-to-side but have seen a few MLs, from being behind them on the freeway, that appears might have your problem. Have them check and tighten up the suspension components as a measure.

    I have a vibration/wobbling problem, between 40-80 mph, that I am pursuing. The service department has balanced, re-balanced, changed two tires, then finally changed all four to a different manufacture (even re-calibrated their balancing machine). Each time giving me back my vehicle thinking I would be satisfied.

    In the meantime, I have spoken to the service manager and ridden with the head technician. I have notified MBUSA client assistance to officially document my concern. They say the next step is to have a MBUSA Technical Rep come out for a test drive. They cannot perform any major service without his consent. I have an appointment with him on Oct. 18.

    They seem to be following the procedure written on a past service bulletin. Someone on another forum sent it to me. I have submitted a copy to the service department, too. I have recently found a link documenting past MB Service Bulletins. Check it out, your issue could be there.

    I believe it is in your best interest to pursue them. These vehicles aren't perfect and even the slightest mechanical problem may become a safety hazard, also de-valuing your purchase. Remember, all vehicles are built from a combination of parts that have tolerances. If you build something, each part within tolerances, the final outcome may still be out-of-tolerance.

  • biker5biker5 Posts: 199
    Drew,I know, 35 PSI is sound too high, but I feel fine IMO. I haven't drive my ML that much now a days, maybe that's one of the reason I felt diffirent when I drive it. I will keep an eye on my ride. Deng,I think I will have to drive it for a week next week. ;-)
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    You are correct about the weights.
  • gustavmgustavm Posts: 43
    "Regarding the rear spoiler (aka rear wing), it is unfortunately not compatible with the GPS antenna. You should also know that the wing requires drilling."

    Drew, my understanding was that the GPS antenna that comes with the ML serves both for the Tele-Aid and for the GPS Navigation system. According to the "Build Your Own ML Truck" module, the accessories tab clearly shows a rear-spoiler installed alongside a GPS antenna.

    What gives? Are you talking about a different antenna?

    -- Gustav
  • lamkenlamken Posts: 19
    Until we have proper testing you can only guess that the benefit of rear side airbag outweights the risk. At one point car maker claim the benefit of front airbag outweigths the risk until people get killed. I know there is no death from rear side airbag but they are so rare. As soon as NHTSA deem them safe I'll have a new ML with rear side airbag and head curtain. For now I'll stick with my old ML because I do not think the rear side airbag provide that much extra benefit for a child who is properly restrained. Car race driver do not rely on airbag to protect them but rather on superior restraint and roll cage for protection.

    Here in Canada only two of the approved oil With A3 certification is available. Mobil 0W40 is not avilable not even at the dealer. The only choice I have is Mobil 1 15W50 and castrol synthetic 5W50. Although Mobil 1 15W50 is probably OK for mild winter I am still a little bit worry for really cold weather therfore I compromised and use Castrol synthetic 5W50 in the winter, which everybody reminds me is not synthetic but hydrocracked. In the summer I'll use Mobil 1 15w50. Some use mobil delvac 5w40 which is avialable in Wal Mart but it is not on the Mercedes approved list
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    Desertsilver mentioned - "I am surprised that a lot of you guys use Mobil 5W-30 or 10W-30 synthetic. Are those weight oil recommended by MB in the tech manual prior MY 2002?"

    Having worked as an engineer in the early stages of my career, let me say this - people seem to think we put together documentation for kicks.

    Nobody ever seems to want to read instructions or manuals, and most don't want to follow recommended maintenance or use guidelines.

    Here's a great point - people bring up the topic of mixing oil weights on the M-class mailing list.

    Multi-grade oil is a tricky bird. You can't take equal portions of 0 and 40 and end up with 20. It doesn't work that way.

    What you can do is forsake the lower portion of the range if you'll never need it. Case in point - the 0W. Here's hypothetical, since I don't know the viscosity curves of the oil - but if the 0W-40 doesn't hit a viscosity below 5 until less than -10 degrees F, and you live in Florida, then you're safe with 5W-40. Might even be safe with 10 or 15W-40.

    But to go to 15W-50? That's pushing things a bit. If the manufacturer says it's a go, then I'd do it. On my own, with my expensive vehicle - no way.

    Again - to each his own. But I *beg* of you to follow recommended guidelines. The people who write them are the same people who designed your engine, and they *do* have a clue why they picked 40 grade weight.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Oh I was referring to the aftermarket rear wing, not that MB deflector, which I actually have not seen. I do know that there is an European deflector available from MB in Europe (has been available there since 1998), but I'm not sure if this is the one that MBUSA is now offering as an option. Is this what you saw? Personally, I don't like the looking of this Euro deflector, but that's just me.



  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    If I recall correctly, it's good down to minus 33 degrees Celcius. Pretty cold enough for me! It never gets more than -7 degrees C around here, and even that is pretty rare.
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    the temperature versus viscosity scale refers to the nominal viscosity at a particular temperature.

    Those lower ranges indicate that the oil gets to be very light weight in the lower temp ranges. The difference between 10 and 15 is not as much as the difference between 0 and 15, which is noticeable.

    The bottom line is you should follow the manufacturer's specs. Of course - I've heard that MB recommends different oil in different locales for the same engine, so go figure. Maybe they make a concession based on region, or maybe there's a slight advantage to the 0W that merits getting in certain climates.

    You can find 0W-40 if you look, and the price isn't that much higher. I would rather pay the extra amount for the peace of mind.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    I think that I would be cautious about saying that it's a problem from looking at another ML from behind. Road undulations can make any vehicle appear to be rocking. This is especially prevalent in a vehicle with solid axles, since a bump on one side of the vehicle is transmitted to the other side via the axle; this is known as bump shock. In some situations in vehicles with front solid axles, the bump can even be enough to upset steering, called bump steer. The ML, of course, has a four wheel independent suspension system, so any bump steer or bump shock should be minimal at worse.

    Good luck,

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  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    "The bottom line is you should follow the manufacturer's specs. Of course - I've heard that MB recommends different oil in different locales for the same engine, so go figure. Maybe they make a concession based on region, or maybe there's a slight advantage to the 0W that merits getting in certain climates."

    Yup, this is indeed the case with MBUSA. Colder regions of the US get 0W40; I believe it may also depend on the season.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Please use links to copyrighted materials, such as on the MB site, unless you own the copyright of the picture(s).

    Here is the URL of the picture that John was posting:

    That is indeed a rear wing. Keep in mind that MB has been known to airbrush things in though (for brochures), so the only way to know for sure is to try it out. I do know that similar looking aftermarket wings are not compatible because they make contact with the antenna.

  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    People who have been killed by airbags have mostly been either children, or unrestrained (no seatbelts worn) adults. FWIW, no one has been killed by an airbag in a MB vehicle. Not all airbags are the same either. The better ones, such as MBz's and Volvo's, have internal tethers to prevent the airbags from expanding too rapidly or too far backwards.

    Even if a child or adult is properly restrained, there is no much you can do in a side impact crash since there is so little crumple space. The side airbag prevents the door structure from making direct (and possibly fatal) contact with the occupant.

    As for race cars, that is a completely different scenario and not a fair comparison, according to the race (Indy & NASCAR) track doctors. You have drivers which are in a controlled environment of a race track (designed for safety), in good health, wearing fire retardent suits and helmets, sitting in proper positions with 4, 5, or even 6 point racing harnesses possibly with HANS devices. Additionally, the cars are designed for safety in mind and can usually fly apart upon impact. Safety crews and doctors are literally seconds away should a disaster occur. This is completely different than in the rear world. For what it's worth also, the Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR and CLK-LeMans cars had a driver's airbag to protect the driver.

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  • Thanks for the replies!
    I like Johnnnyc’s approach. The manual is there for a good reason. I am actually surprised that MB does not specify an oil weight for a particular model. It lists approved oil for all of its engine offerings and let “Service Centers” to go figure. How can those dealers put correct oil in our engines? It is impossible! As far as I know, they contract their own oil supply with local suppliers based on how much they get from each oil change! So all MB can insist on would be “synthetic please”.

    I change my own oil for all of the vehicles I’ve owned. Currently a 98’ Accord I4 with 50K+ miles. I used Mobil 1 10W-30 from 3000 miles. Change oil every 7000 miles (Honda calls maximum interval 7500 miles between oil changes). So far, the engine runs as smooth as it can be. I have some very limited experience of mixing oil. I add about 25% 5W-30 before a winter oil change and I do notice better cold starts. For the ML320, my original plan is to use 15W-50 year round and add about 25% 10W-30 at a fall oil change. Now it looks like I need more research. I’ve got reply back from Mobil online sales and was told 0W-40 is not sold in the States and some European car dealers might have some imported. On another note, I read someone posted long time ago that he used 5W-30 and it had been 10K miles and no problems. I bet even if only dino oil used, for only 10K, there would be hardly anything noticeable.

    Accessories! Yup, I finally got chance to watch the video comes with my ML. It does have several shots of MLs with a “spoiler”, though it is not something I want. I would prefer something like the one that can be found on Toyota LC, I don’t know why.

    I called Clair for step bars and was told 2001 would fit on 2002 and “new” ones for 2002 is $550 for sale, instead of $405. Go figure, the tube gets thicker? I think I have to wait and see, just requested a MY2002 accessory brochure from MBUSA.
  • Just found 3M Scotchcal Film, seems like an excellent product with some wide range of applications. There is a good writings on this

    Any inputs? I have to fiure out where to source it.


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