Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

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



  • I have tried with no avail to search this forum for past discussion related to WHY so many ML owners are changing their oil prior to the mileage MB has mandated. I asked my service Mgr is he was absolutely sure I didn't need to change my oil after every 3-4000 miles with a high performance product. His reply was "we are absolutely sure you WILL NOT sustain engine damage". He also said MB had done extensive tests and felt owner's were spending money uselessly.

    Leaving the lot I ran into a MB mechanic, and asked him his opinion "off the record" he stated it was the "darndest thing he had ever seen" but agreed this was the most awesome engine in the industry. He said it was "crazy" for people to think MB is telling them not to change their oil more frequently merely because they are responsible for the cost on the newer models.

    His statement was "why would MB risk a engine" just to save money on a "run of the mill oil change".

    My warranty doesn't expire for 8 years or 100,000 if he's wrong, hopefully my wallet won't be affected.

  • 52cars52cars Posts: 30
    If you go to, click on owners and log in. there is a 'my mercedes garage', which is supposed to manage your vehicle's maintenance. I enter 780 miles for my ml, and 9000 for my clk. it says: for ml, my next service is due @ 7500, and my clk is over due!

    it seems it is telling us to service the car every 7500. But with the FSS, what the heck do we need that for?

    i just think they did a great job to confuse us(maybe just me). any one?
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    Some people just seem to like a shorter oil interval better.

    I like to take the scientific approach - by theory, the shorter the oil change interval, the better the oil will protect your engine, thus, the longer the engine will last.

    That being said - there's a question of cost versus benefit when it comes to shortcoming the manufacturer's recommended interval for changing oils. You could change oil every single day, and it would be great. But how much better would it be than changing every other week, or every month? Would the cost of the increased changes merit the extra protection? Probably not.

    Therein lies your problem - in the probably.

    I myself drive in NYC - so I laugh when I hear people say 'I go 10,000 miles between drains and so should you'. I can easily go 1.5 years before I hit 10,000 miles. In between, I'll have had a thousand starts, lots of them cold. I'll have gone through seasons six times. I'll have driven stop-and-start for almost all 10k miles. Am I to believe that the oil will still be protecting my engine at that point?

    The FSS is a much debated thing here. I like to think of 'recommended' intervals as a compromise. There has to be significant reward to get that interval down less, and even more so because maintenance is included for so many (NA only) M-class vehicles. "Recommended" means on average, basing all types of drivers - from stop and go to all highway, from single climate to multi-season, or limited duty to heavy or extreme duty.

    Why would MB risk an engine for 'the run of the mill oil change'? Well - do some math - simply put, if you're talking 100k vehicles (only hypothetical), and the cost to MB per oil change is only $25, then the savings is $2.5 million. If the cost of repairing the number of engines that could fail by not decreasing the maintenance interval is less (significantly less, because you have to factor in other costs, like reputation) - then the interval stays the same.

    I like to take the reverse approach - I'll do an extra oil change myself once a year. It'll cut down the wear on the oil by 20-25%, and will (to some unmeasurable amount) protect my engine better. For that piece of mind, for my expensive and well-loved vehicles, I'd rather do it for the $60 myself and sleep well at night knowing that I did. I don't have my ML yet, but I've got a Chevy Blazer that has 180k NYC miles on it, and runs like clockwork, without any major repair. I like to think I played some part in that.
  • geos55geos55 Posts: 2
    Please e mail me at, I will give you the infos you need.
  • So does changing the oil "myself" void the warranty ...i agree with johnnyc...i too have a 84 300 turbodiesel with 223K changed every 3000 miles...still running strong and a 91Nissan sentra SE-R with 216K still driving like a champ ...guess oil changes has it's bennies. hey who's selling the topsider???
  • grohsgrohs Posts: 8
    Hi folks, this might make things clearer regarding oil changes.

    My cousin from Holland visited us this summer, he is an engineer with Shell. We got onto the topic of maintenance and oil changes, his car is a 2001 Toyota Camary and my wife's is a Honda Accord. In Europe the standard for an oil change is one year or 25,000 Kms., compared to our Honda which is 3mths or 6,000 Kms.

    In Holland traffic jams are standard with long wait times, when you get into Germany you are flying at 160 or 180 kms/hr. The difference though, is their gas, 91 octane is their regular grade and their premium is 105. This provides for a cleaner burning engine and less contamination or wearing out of the additives in the oil. He went on to say that no one in Europe would buy a car will an oil change interval of 6,000kms.

    So, if MB is recommending you use 91 octane or better from a quality gas provider, there is probably more to do with it than preventing engine knock from the higher compression. To my understanding the 320 is an ULEV which would also explain the longevity of the oil

  • My ML500 (Capri Blue/Charcoal) was built on October 11, and should be at dealer soon. My dealer says that the V60 Phone and body colored, illuminated full length Running Boards (New design for 2002) are "Not yet available/delayed availability" from MBUSA. Has anyone had any experience with these MB add ons?
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    to changing oil and picking the octane level for your gas.

    Things like driving habits, climate, elevation, engine type, etc. - all factor in.

    The same - and then some - go into factoring in how long the oil change interval is, and what type of oil should be used.

    I don't tend to disagree with your engineer cousin Brian (only because I spent too many years in college to become one myself) - but there's one thing I'd debate - how 'clean burning' the higher octane gas would be. That's another religious argument along the lines of 'how long should the oil change interval be' - namely, how much do you get for the extra octane? Some would argue anything over 91 doesn't buy you a thing, others would argue that 105 is the holy grail. I fall somewhere in the middle.

    Answering Sam's question - changing the oil yourself doesn't void the warranty - as long as you use OEM parts, OEM recommended oil, and save receipts. So if you get yourself an OEM oil filter, and pick up some recommended Mobil-1 (oil range dependent on where you are and the temps there), you'll do just fine.

    Benefit - we can argue till the cows come home, but here's the simple fact - 8.5 quarts of Mobil-1 (I'll go with 9 - easier) @ $5 a quart = $45. Add a MB oil filter to the mix @ $25 = $70. That's for you to do an additional oil change per year. $70.

    Might sound extreme to some - but to others, like me, who pay premiums for microfiber cloths and Klasse, leather cleaners, Rain-X's, etc. - it's just another car-related expense, and gives me a comfort level.

    And it *DOES* benefit the oil - we just can't say how much - it's impossible to measure. The oil does stay cleaner longer (overall), and that does get more contaminants and crankcase acids out. Whether the cleaner oil merits the cost is not up to serious discussion, because we really can't tell.

    Don't mean to stretch out a long topic - but I'd love to see some kind of consensus. This is one of the big-time car related religious discussions, like 'Do I get anything from Synthetic oil versus Dyno oil' (the answer to which you'll have to go to a different forum to learn ;). Bottom line - what's best is whatever you feel comfortable with. I don't think MB will jeopardize most engines (some will be; unfortunately, *ALL* manufacturers recommended maintenance intervals do that, because they can't fit all driving situations), so you can sleep well at night if you're worried. And if you are worried - just change it an extra time. Well worth the $$$ just for the comfort.
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    it was at - but keep an eye on that and - to see if either one puts it on sale again.

    Right now, it's going for $46.99 + tax + S&H. Last week, it was on sale for $29.99 + tax + free S&H.

    My normal disclaimer - I don't work for either one, and I've never even *used* the Topsider before - just keeping the populace appraised of a good deal. If I run across more, I'll be sure to let you guys know (and wherever there's a discount on the net, super-cheap and all knowing JohnN will be there...)
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    been listed on this forum and others as 'delayed availability'.

    I know my dealer mentioned the first Q '02 as the timeframe for the MB phone. Running boards, though, I don't know about. I had some interest in fender flares as well, and they're delayed for three months - maybe the running boards are delayed equivalently?

    Good luck with your new ml!
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    since I got an e-mail from a concerned forum member, worried about the environment.

    Changing your oil more often, *responsibly*, is not bad for the environment.

    Used motor oil is highly recycleable, and will return to use if brought back to a recycling station.

    In turn - if it does help keep the engine running longer - that's that many less cars on the junkpiles of America. So you could look at it as a positive in terms of environment - I'd just say it's a wash, and not hurting anything.
  • Johnnyc

    Nice discourse on oil changing. I liked it! I will add that oil filters are about us $12-$15 for OEM grade and about us $8 for OE. And, lastly, to my understanding the dealers and MBUSA cares naught if you change your oil more frequently than recommended. The next buyer, however most definitely will take it as a sign of above average care for the faithful steed!

    Okay, one more owe it to yeself to get a Topsider or similar. The topsider or equivalent will remove *all* the mess from changing oil -- especially on a ML -- which will otherwise spray everything from the sway bar to the right front tire, just as soon as you pop the bolt. I use mine on all 4 cars, 3 lawn mowers, and the big weed whacker. Between that and surgical gloves (a must any time working on a car) there is not a drop of mess. Pretty cool!

  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    no way. Maintaining my vehicles is a solemn ritual to me, with the oil stained hands proof positive that the vehicle and I have bonded.

    OK - so I need to get out more often. Sue me.

  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    I keep trying to figure out what a fair price is for this bad boy - I've heard all kinds of prices (anywhere from 'dealer threw it in free' to $2500 installed).

    What's the norm? If you've got it - mind telling me what you paid for it?

    Also - anyone with an Alpine aftermarket DVD NAV in it? With MCS? I've been trying to figure out what the costs would be to just add the Alpine version, and how I would get a screen display installed in addition to the MCS (not a lot of surface area to work with there it seems, and I wonder how audio integration would work).
  • js888js888 Posts: 11
    "...I use mine on all 4 cars, 3 lawn mowers, and the big weed whacker...."

    Just the other day, I used my Topsider to change the transmission oil (not the ML, my other car) and it was a cinch.

    I highly recommend it to any DIYer's.

    Take care. :-)

  • Jon90Jon90 Posts: 33
    I am almost decided on an ML500, want to see one with a third seat to decide on that option, but dealer has none in 10 models and another month at least til one comes in.

    I am also undecided on the Xenon, but i havent heard enough good things to warrant it, and i am hoping to get a well equipped 500 for about 48K, so its proabably out

    I did ask the dealer is she was aware of any special incentives or low interest coming, she said no. Then I asked if she thought they might, she smiled and politely said, No". I guess they are selling well. EVERYONE STOP buying for a month!!!! Then we can all get a better deal. Oh well. I have not yet asked the salesman for his best price, but will start that process monday. I am in virginia and i would like to get for 1,000 over invoice but i dont think i will get that here. Kinda funny how we get so concerned over even a couple hundred bucks on a 50K car....

    I have one final question, and will ask it here since there is no 20 year old mercedes topic and a coule of you have said you have old turbodiesels. I have an 83 300CD with 180K and still going strong. SO strong in fact it wont shut off after i remove key, have to pop hood and hit "stop". Been in 3 times for vacuum checks and they have even cut off the door locks and a couple other things. ANyone ever have this problem in an old MB diesel?
  • howvoodhowvood Posts: 19
    On the rear if the injection pump, there is a vacuum operator that shuts off the fuel. Usually it is that, the vacuum line to it or the vacuum switch controlled by the ignition switch.
  • mymlmyml Posts: 12
    Just came back from the dealer. Test drive the 02 ML320, no hesitation and no rocking felt. A few weeks ago, I also test drive a 01 ML320 and felt the hesitation and the rocking. Talked to the salesman about getting the 02 ML320 (Silver/Ash, M1, M5, M7). They don't have it and they will either get it from another dealer or order it. I offered $500 over invoice, salesman came back with $1,500 over invoice. I told him we'll think about it. What do you think guys ? Is this a good deal ?

    Here's a thought ... he was willing to give me the 02 ML320 (Desert Silver/Java, M1, M2, M5, M7, Bose Stereo upgrade) that I test drive for $500 over invoice !
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    think about it - unless you're seriously set on the color combo of Silver/Ash, he's basically offering you a car off the lot configured the same way you want it, with the M2 package for free (it runs about $1000). Otherwise, it also sounds like you can call him and get exactly what you want for $1k over invoice (you offered $500 over, he countered with $1500 over, $1k over in the middle as compromise).
  • grohsgrohs Posts: 8
    John, I whole heartedly agree with your statement. Personally, I'm going to stick with what the MB engineer's decided. As I get older, I get lazier and that extra time I spend changing oil is less time for fishing.....brian
  • I am looking for a 2002 ML in SF Bay area also. Sounds like you have done very well in finding a dealer that will deal. Would you mind telling me which dealer? I checked with the Costco Auto program and they only have dealers in SoCal.
  • grohsgrohs Posts: 8
    After reading about the Topsider, I thought it might be usefull for my other vehicles. Being in Canada and not knowing who carried it here, I did some research....

    This fellow had the suction tube break into small pieces, (the hot oil hardened the plastic and made it brittle), leaving some of it in the crankcase.

    I also went to WestMarine, since I have purchased from them before and found them good to deal with and read two unfavourable reviews about this product.


  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    It's stated very clearly - the tube should *not* be immersed into hot oil.

    What's hot? Relatively speaking, the oil should be warm to the touch. If it's boiling hot, something bad can and *WILL* happen.

    I'm skeptical too - but for so many people to use it, and for only a few horror stories to come up (I saw the westmarine reviews as well prior to purchasing), it should do fine.
  • mymlmyml Posts: 12
    He's not giving me the M2 for free. He was saying that I could get the Desert Silver with all the options (i forgot, it also have Heated Front Seats) at $500 over invoice.

    What's your email address ? I'll send you an email with the info.

    PS. I've been doing some calculations and here's what I came up:

    (msrp - $2000, see post 5362) is better than (invoice + $1000). Difference is $171.00.

    Thanks a lot guys !
  • One of the things that Mercedes is known for is covering costs of abnormal problems after the original manufacturers warranty has expired. The FSS system is used in every MB model since 1998, all engines from 4 cylinder to 12. Someone mentioned MB saving $2.5 million by recommending oil changes every 10k. If these motors start having problems, it will cost alot more than $2.5 million to repair and replace these motors and if enough of these had the same problem there would probably be a class action suit to follow. FFS 10k oil changes are recommended on their 130K S-class models, thats good enough for me;)
  • 52cars52cars Posts: 30
    If mb recommend oil change every 5000 with mobil 1. 99.99% people will be satisfied. In that case, It will cost them 10 oil changes over the 50,000 mi warranty. Now with the FSS, we may get 4, or 5 oil changes. It save them 6 oil changes over the 50,000 mi/4 years periods. 6 oil changes cost them about 6 X $40 = $240.

    If they don't have the total confidence in their FSS, i believe they will spend that extra $240 per vehicle. why? consider how much they spend on Ad to bring in new buyers. $240 is only 0.48 % of a $50,000 car.!

    by following mb's recommendation, if you still have a problem with your engine, would you buy another mb. would you tell your GOOD friends to buy a mb. does anyone still believe in" we didn't just build a better SUV, we built a better mercedes."???

    that's my belief.
  • neil99neil99 Posts: 11
    I have broguth an MY2000 in July 2000 and have only 6K miles on it so far. There is still over 4K miles to the first scheduled service. I think I will only use the MB scheduled services for twice over the 4-year schedule. I have changed the oil twice so far. First time on 1.5K miles and the second time at 6.5 miles.
  • Hi, Drew,
    I understand that you used 5w30 Mobil1 Synthet when you changed the oil for the first time. I too used 5W30 Mobil1 instead of the recommmended 0W40 weight. So far I have driven about 1400 miles with the 5W30 in the crankcase. Did you see/feel any difference after you switched back to 0W40? How long did you drive with 5W30? I am beginning to think maybe I should switch back to 0W40 as soon as possible but one part of me is doubting if it is necessary. I appreciate any suggestion.
  • mymlmyml Posts: 12

    Your calculation is right !
    Decisions ... decisions ...
  • Anyone know Drew's whereabout? Why did he leave in such haste? He sure will be missed. He is like family. Come back, Drew, if you see this message. Sob, sob : (
Sign In or Register to comment.