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



  • I just leased a 2002 ML320 two weeks ago. I think it is a great MOM car. I am about to turn in a 1999 Expedition at the end of its lease. I have two kids but I'm am more and more convinced that my decision to downsize to the Mercedes what a smart one. Today, I came out of a drug store and noticed a really flat tire on my car. I had run over some construction schrapnel (?)--but a sense of calm came over me--I knew help was just the push of a button away. I pushed the roadside assistance button and immediate spoke to a MB agent. She asked me what I needed and already knew my location. The roadside assistance mechanic showed up in under 20 minutes to change my flat. I was impressed. The only negative is that my Dunlop tires are too new to find at NTB or Discount tire. My dealer (in Houston) had to order the tire from Dallas and I will have a new tire by Tuesday.

    I think the car handles great. My husband drives a BMW. He hated driving my Expedition on the weekend. But now I think he may be a little jealous of my wheels--even though he was the one who told me I needed this car. I love that my M-Class is off of the ground likes other SUV but is fun to drive and really easy to park. I also feel confortable with the safety features. I got the third row seats--they were on the car I chose. I only drive other kids on ocassion.

    I feel this car is under-rated. Everyone just loves the Lexus RX 320. That car has never thrilled me. I test drove one a few years ago and picked the Expedition instead. The Acura MDX may have all of the bells and whistles but it just misses something on the styling.

    I love my ML 320. I thought I would be driving a 2002 Suburban. I test drove one but thought with two kids I didn't have to go that route. I am so happy with my decision to downsize--now I can fit into any parking place!!!

    I hope my thoughts are helpful to someone and not too long.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Not too long, and a nice review too, thanks!

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  • I purchased an '02 ML320 this week with options M1, M2, M5, Bose system, and heated seats. The color is Capri Blue with an Ash interior. I was able to get it at $1,500 off the MRSP. I purchased it right off the lot. This my first MB.

    I have had it since Wednesday and I have already put 200 miles on it. I can't believe how well she handles and how quiet it is. I use to have a '97 Grand Cherokee and there is no comparing the ride. The ML320 is an awesome vehicle!

    I had a minor issue with the paint. There are some swirls in the clear coat, probably from the automatic car wash at the dealership. I went back 2 days after I purchased the SUV to see if they could buff the swirls out. They could not do it that day, but they said they would detail the whole vehicle next week at no charge and provide me with a free loaner car.

    I can honestly say this was the best car buying experience I have ever had. My salesman and the dealership were excellent. There was never any pressure to buy anything extra. I am a happy camper!

  • kwest1kwest1 Posts: 12
    My 1999 ML was in for routine service (39,000 miles) when the MB service center quoted a price of $1,100 to replace the pads and rotors for all four wheels. Could it be possible that this is a fair price for a complete brake job?
  • spfoteyspfotey Posts: 131

    that is right for the brakes. I get most of my maintenance work done at the certified Mercedes mechanic who is usually less expensive. I brought it in about six weeks ago -- $900 later i had new rotors and brakes... i couldn't believe it but in checking around that seems to be the ballpark price.

    but, hey, it's a mercedes...
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059

    Congratulations! I'm sure you'll be sharing your experiences with us and we all look forward to hearing about them.!

  • tariktarik Posts: 344
    The price seems about right, although pretty stiff. Did you ask why they suggest to replace the rotors, too?

    Most service departments make the majority of their money with parts, the more expensive, the better. In Europe, where brakes are much more seriously used than in the US, rotors usually don't have to be replaced until at least, say 60 or 70k mls. MB also uses sort of a soft compound on the pads in order to increase braking performance and to save rotor life. The price you pay is lots of brake dust on the wheels which you will have to hose off frequently to avoid burning-in. Go ask the SA to explain how they concluded that the rotors need replacement. If he refers to the odometer reading, find another dealer and report the SA to MBNA. Rotor thickness, evenness, and mechanical damage are the only variables which can necessitate a swap. Just be careful, too much BS going on these days...

  • wnielwniel Posts: 97
    Sounds like someone is trying to sell you something that you don't need. I have 50,000 on my ML and the rotors are fine. The only time that you may need to replace the rotors that soon is if they have become warped, which you can tell by feeling a pulsating on the brake pedal when applying the brakes. I wouldn't trust your service advisor or the dealership.
  • mkwamemkwame Posts: 21
    We picked up the 2000 ML with all the Bells and Whistles on Saturday. I'm quite pleased with the ride and the safety features especially the collapsable sideview mirrors. It rides so much better than the competition. We paid $34.4k with 14,876 miles. Can someone tell me where the Navi CD-Rom goes?
  • I was reading one of those car magazines and came across X5 4.6is. This puppy has ~350hp/350lb from a 4.6 engine. Our ML500 has ~300hp/300lb from 5.0 engine. My question is that is BMW that good in fine tuning their engines (across the board) or MB too conservative in building their engines?

    Its not always the numbers, but how the engine makes the power. Here is the comparision:

    X5 4.6 HP 347 @6500 rpm X5 4.4 HP 282 @5400
    TQ 354 @3700 TQ 324 @3600

    ML55 HP 342 @5500 ML500 HP 288 @5600
    TQ 376 @2800 TQ 325 @2700

    Mercedes motors make much more torque at lower rpms, which is more usable in the real world. BMW motors favor high speed driving. All the numbers are pretty healthy...
  • poxpox Posts: 11

    To use the navigation system, insert the Navigation CD in the single disc drive in the MCS unit. After you have done so, press the Navi button on the MCS control panel and it will walk you through the rest of the process.

    I think that you will enjoy having a navigation system in the vehicle. I used to get lost all the time but I now have no trouble getting from Point A to Point B. The navigator does not always find the shortest route, but it has gotten me to my destination!

    If you plan to travel a lot, you will have to make sure that you get the Navigation CDs for the states that you plan to visit. This is an unfortunate consequence of having a CD based navigation system rather than a DVD based system.


    2000 ML430
    32,500 miles and going strong!
  • biker5biker5 Posts: 199
    kwest1, congratulations on your purchase of '99 ML.Paying that much for a brake job is not on my budget, look around on some independent MB shop and you might find some good deal. If you are a handy man like me(ehem) you can do it your self. The cost of the pads and rotors is not that much. The killer is the labor.

    Jim (SoCal)
  • I have a 2000 ML 430. Brought it in to the MB dealer for its first maintenance. Got a surprise when they told be the free service found that only 3mm was left on the rear brake pads. Sensor goes off at 2 mm (it reportedly came with 10-12 mm). The is the first time I've ever hear of pads going out so soon. I live in the suburbs, drive 30% freeway. The front pads are fine. It is really possible that the rear pads go out so soon? At this rate, I'd be changing rear pads every year at a cost of $300. Has anyone else run into this problem?
  • My 99 ML430 pads(both front and rear) were changed at 16k. Mostly city driving.

    I had one question. The local toyota dealership does oil changes on MLs. They use halvoline synthetic oil. It seems like a good deal. $40 (bring your own filter). Is the halvoline synthetic oil ok. My last oil change was at the local mercedes dealer and I think they used castrol. Is it ok to swith between synthetic oil brands, ect.

  • kwest1kwest1 Posts: 12
    Thanks: biker5, wniel and tarik for your thoughts on this topic. After much consideration, I took my ML to the local German auto repair shop, who replaced only the pads (all four) at a total cost of approximately $500. They recommended rotors to be looked at the next time the pads are replaced (vs. the local dealer who rushed to the conclusion that pads and rotors need replacement now). I wish I were sufficiently handy to perform my own pad replacement. Are there any service manuals that anyone would recommend to streamline the steps involved?
  • tariktarik Posts: 344
    Good news about your brakes, just what most readers had suspected...

    As to simplicity of DIY, replacing the brake pads is not rocket science, especially with a good manual (ML owners please help out as to sources).

    While I usually recommend to do things like those yourself, I also find that you should have a certain confidence level in getting into a car's internals before considering a brake job. It would be interesting to know how much of the total of $500 was for parts and how much actual labor charges. If labor is less than $100, I think you got a pretty acceptable deal - not worth getting your hands dirty at all.

    Happy it worked out Tarik
  • I first noticed a squeaking sound when the weather started to get cold. The sound is related with going over bumps. It sounds like rubber rubbing against something and it is coming from the bottom of the windshield on the driver's side.

    Now that it is cold, it seems to happen as things warm up (I think -- it's an intermittent problem that I haven't quite figured out).

    The dealer has tried to fix it twice (they are always working on the A pillar); however, they have yet to fix it.

    Has anyone else had this problem on a 2002? If so, what's the fix?


  • biker5biker5 Posts: 199
    Robert,Try to spray some silicone spray around the bottom edges of the windshield and that annoying sound will go away. I had that problem on my My2000. Like what you said its only comes out during cold weather. I just ignored it.
  • I have a 99ml320 with almost 80000 miles. am looking at a new one and don't know if i should get an 01 or 02. sales guy(obviuosly) is pushing me to an 02. There is around a 2800 price difference. Is the 02 that much better? Also, am considering the Acura MDX, which is much more favorably priced and is higher rated.Any thoughts?

    Also, is the navigation system really worth the extra money, and how much is a reasonable pricetag for it?

    One last thing. My present ml has been plagued with lousy AM radio reception. Any similar experiences, especially with later models?
  • I just had my 01 320 in for service a few weeks ago, 9K mi. I originally brought it in for a broken drivers window switch, this was replaced on the spot (Saturday). I then brought it back a few days later for the following: Rear hatch wouldn't lock electrically (replaced complete latch assy) A/C wasn't cold enough on hot days over the summer (freon was low and a blown fan fuse was replaced)Driver side mirror shook at highway speeds (replaced mirror)glue on the sunroof (insulation replaced with new)all covered under warranty and no problems since. I know most of these are common problems and were taken care of perfectly. I am sure some people will and maybe should consider these quality issues but this vehicle is still the best all around SUV I have ever owned or driven. If your window switch breaks in the down position, this is how I was told to get the window up. Break off the black rocker, pull out the white plunger inside and push down on the metal clip on the right side. I wish I had known this when mine broke. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!Note: my FSS light just came on which will put that service at 11,000 mis.
  • My 430 just came from the dealer for wind noise service. I had them look at the pad ansd rotors. Ihave 22297k on this car. The front rotors have 31.88mm left (30.0 is min. spec)and fr. brakes have 60% left. The rear has14.3mm (min spec is 12.5mm) and rear brakes have 75% left. QUESTION.Is this normal wear for rotors on this car. I bought this starmarked with 18988K about a month and a half ago. My wife drives about 40% freeway. HOW DO I PREVEENT THE PROVERBIAL EXPENSIVE ROTOR CHANGE? HOW MUCH ARE THE ROTORS AND CAN I DO THE CHANGE MYSELF. I HAVE MB TECHNICIAN CHRISTIAN BROTHER WHO CAN HELP ME OUT.
    IDI ANY ONE SEE THE "TOPSIDER-LIKE" (Plstic) equipment they are selling on the latest issue of the STAR magazine. Is this any good. Wherecan I but the real topsider?THANKS ALOT LOT. GOD BLESS.
  • biker5biker5 Posts: 199
    Adrian, e mail me.
  • I was at my dealer getting my 36,000 service and I saw the G Wagon just brought from the Vehicle Preperation Center (VPC). After talking to the General Manager of the Dealership who knows me by name, I was allowed to test drive the "monster".

    My early impressions on the G Wagon are as follows:

    It surely feels like a truck. The engine sounds like that of the ML 55 AMG. Incredible torque power at lower RPM. It feels heavy and it drives as such too. I believe it is meant more for off roading than for freeway cruising. Switshing lanes is a breeze and way at ease. Gas mileage is very poor.

    The G wagon is loaded with everything you can imagine in an ML Class as standard equipment except you have to pay for a phone. CD Changer is standard and so is the navigation system. The steering wheel has the same multifunctions ala C E Cl, CLK SLK and S Class (excluding the ML).

    I think the Wagon will be appropriate for 6 footers Plus people as the headroom is way unmatched with any other production vehicle I know including the Range Rover, Land Rover, and the like.

    I was also impressed with how quite the ride was considering its weight. It is the heaviest Mercedes out there. Even more so than the S Class (by 700 lbs.)

    I have been given a brochure with data on it. If some of you is interested email me and I will be happy to scan it.

    P.S. the MSRP on the G Wagon is $73,000 and some change. But, our greedy dealers are already projecting an asking price for no less than 30,000 over sticker!!!! I guess they will be making more profit than the manufacturer ..what a deal!

  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059

    the MSRP on the G Wagon is $73,000 and some change. But, our greedy dealers are already projecting an asking price for no less than 30,000 over sticker!!!!

    Is that for real? That should just about cover his daughter's tuition at a Stanford or Harvard!

  • I have been shopping at dealers in the NE and the best I can do is $1000 off sticker for Lux, M1, heated seats.

    How is everybody else doing?
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    Budinct, I got $1,500 off MSRP on mine. I should get it mid-December. I ordered it completely loaded including: 3rd seat, bose, bi-xenon, phone, parktronic and the CD package (all CD's for the country $140). The dealer made me think that I was stealing it from them.

    2010 Land Rover LR4, 2013 Honda CR-V, 2009 Bentley GTC, 1990 MB 500SL, 2001 MB S500, 2007 Lincoln TC, 1964 RR Silver Cloud III, 1995 MB E320 Cab., 2015 Prevost Liberty Coach
  • I took my three-week-old Black ML320 into the dealership for tire replacement service earlier this week. The dealer washed the car before returning it to me. I just noticed that it now has considerable swirls in the finish. I don't yet know if they used an automatic car wash on it or how this happened. I have only used a touch-free car wash. My perfect finish is gone. Does anyone know if there is a product that the dealer can use to repair the clear coat finish? I will be talking to them tomorrow and want to know if anyone knows what to do. I noticed an earlier posting relating to swirls in the paint finish.
  • johnnnycjohnnnyc Posts: 166
    I'm trying to get together a field of about 10-15 people - I've got 7 or 8 thus far - in order to achieve a better discount.

    If interested, please e-mail me at
  • I have a 2001 ML 320 and have had it back to the dealer to fix the trip computer and radio. The trip computer goes nuts every 5-10 days or so with no ryhme or reason. The date seems to adjust itself back to 1997 and the gas mileage does a countdown from some silly high number. The dealer replaced it but it's doing the same thing again. Anyone else experiencing this?

    The FM radio is always cutting in and out of stereo. It seems to gather in a stronger signal and you get this wonderful sound when stopped at a stop light. (all FM stations) Where is the ariel? The dealer already replaced the radio so it must be a defective ariel. Has anyone experienced this and have it fixed?

  • Jon90Jon90 Posts: 33

    I got below dealer invoice from very reputable dealer outside DC (something like $3,600 off sticker). Do not pay 1,000 off sticker From northeast worth taking train down to pick it nice drive back to help break it in
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