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



  • cticctic Posts: 291
    Supposing you got your ML in 1997, if you go to the dealer right away you still might get it fixed under warranty, since this appears to be a known problem and the '98 ML is a known problem itself. It just happened that your switch broke after the warranty expired. After all I'm sure that Mercedes-Benz did not design it's components just to last only 48 months and leave customers high and dry after that.
  • smwls8smwls8 Posts: 103
    I am leaning heavily toward a 2000-2001 ML purchase with our 3rd child on the way. The problem is I rarely find that the ML I am interested in has the 3rd row jump seats. I have heard they are $1500 through a MBZ dealer. Any other sources for these seats?

  • Thanks to bike5.

    I already bought a bug reflector from and installed it.

    My new ML320 already had 3 paint chipping spots before. But now I don't have to worry about it.

    I'd like to recommend other owners to install a bug reflector to their truck. It will absolutely stops paint chipping on the hood.
  • This is a major quality issue for all year ML's. I have an 01 and replaced the driver's during the first 6mos. Both front window's are now acting erratic and it will be going in on Wed for a service. I was told a emergency way to get the window up is to snap off the black rocker, pull out the white plunger, and take a small toothpick size probe and press down on the metal contact on the right side. Luckily I haven't had to try this so I can't say how it works. I thought by now MB would have designed a new switch because this complaint is extremely common. Good luck G
  • cdiccdic Posts: 36
    Common problem, although the service rep told me they had it figured out when I had mine replaced last month. Yeah - right - they figured it out alright. That's why the 02 has a different arrangement.
    I have seen the switch assembly on eBay (~$50) and will likely get one for when off warranty. It is an easy repair. I also hope we can continue to get the older style if we are going to need to.
  • Has anyone assumed a MB Credit lease? I am looking at assuming an '01 ML 320 w/9000 miles lease at $0 down and $592.42 a month for 24m with $25K residual at 2/04 lease end. How does that sound? (I am looking at several lease assumption deals as well to avoid putting down big money at dealership for new and longer lease terms). Also, I have excellent credit and don't see a problem with MB Credit, but don't they keep the orig lessor on the note somehow? Is there a way around it? I don't want to put my hopes on this deal if he is going to shy away because of them wanting to keep him liable as well. He advertised the deal as TAKE OVER LEASE. Thanks for any experiences assuming a MB lease. Christine
  • JOFOJOFO Posts: 14
    I'm looking to purchase a 02 ml320 within the next few weeks. For the money and the safety features, it seems to be the good bet. I test drove it today and was a little surprise how loud it was when you hit the pedal. My old 4runner isn't that loud at all when I floor it. I was also a little surprise at how much it seemed to struggle taking off. Everything else about the car is great. Are the engines somewhat loud when taking off?


  • procterprocter Posts: 19
    Has anyone tried larger tires on the 17" rims? If so how big and did they rub?
  • The engines and transmissions on the 6-cyl. models are loud at low speed and seem ponderous on takeoff.
  • The mileage odometer went dark on my ML320 at 26,400 miles. The truck is two months out of warranty. When I went to pick it up, the bill was $271.00. I told the service manager that I thought that it was an excessive charge. He told me how much labor is involved in taking apart the dashboard to get at the light. I told him that it is a fix that Mercedes should pay for. A mileage indicator shouldn't go dark after 26,000 miles. It's not like a headlight. It's supposed to last the life of the car, or let's say, at least 100,000 miles. He put on his stone face, and I paid for the repair. It's another example of the incomplete thinking -- from cup holders to keys to the O2 sensor to tailgate problems to wind noise -- that went into the ML320.
  • Has anyone experienced severe oil usage (3 qts/5k miles)on either a ML329\0 or ML430? Just had to have a ring job on my 2000 Ml430 with 22k miles. I've heard that there are some oil usage problems but my dealer denies any problems. Thanks
  • birgerbirger Posts: 80
    Hi, nobadeer

    I now drive my second ML, but have also been an early Explorer owner. The load surface length in the ML might be just a tiny bit shorter than the Explorer's, but it's not very much. The cargo area in itself is FLAT on both trucks, and the ML is wider and taller. I have a holiday home nearly 800 miles away, and transporting stuff down there is a LOT easier in the ML than it was in the Explorer (I shudder at the thought of having done the trip with the Explorer fully loaded on the standard (inflated to max, though) Firestone ATX tires - at 85 MPH....). On the other hand, both ML's have put in duty as moving vans with no problems. Below you see the 270 after going to the IKEA furniture store in a BIG way. FYI, there's 400 kilos on the roof bars, and another 400 kilos waiting to be unloaded from the back. This is not something I'd recommend!! But renting a van on-site, go nearly 150 miles, unload, drive the empty van back, and then returning with the ML was not attractive either!!


    With the passenger seat ALL the way forward (it can't be occupied then) there's JUST enough room to put in packages of 210 cm high furniture elements - which eliminates the need to use the roof rack - and this is nice in winter.

    I was happy at the time with the Explorer - but it's no comparison to the ML. However, if you want cargo space AND safety and not necessarily a "truck" with a separate frame, have a look at the new Volvo XC90. Apparently it's bigger than the ML cargo-wise.

    Good luck with your purchase,
    drive safely
  • sencsenc Posts: 44
    Thanks everyone for all the great info. If anyone has replaced the switch themselves, I would appreciate any instructions on how to get to the window switch in the console to replace it. (just can't justify taking it to dealer for a simple fix-they'll try to charge me $100+). thanks
  • dave68dave68 Posts: 16
    I'm trying to install a front facing child seat in my 99 ML320. I called my dealership today to ask about tether anchors for the child seat and they said that they were not available. Is it safe to install the seat without having the tether strap installed? Dealership told me that they are required on all vehicles 2001 or newer, but there was nothing available for 99 models. Any help is appreciated.
  • dave68dave68 Posts: 16
    Overall my 99 ML320 has been a good vehicle. It has had its share of annoying squeaks and rattles that drive me "insane". I've had no major mechanical problems. In my opinion, the build quality is not as good on the ML as MB sedans. Granted, the price is not as high as the sedans either. I also understand that MB has made improvements over the last few years on this vehicle.

    I'll be driving the vehicle for one more year and plan on trading it in. I've not decided what I'm getting next, but I will be looking at the BMW, ML and the Acura. A friend of mine has the BMW and the interior does seem much nicer than the ML.
  • sencsenc Posts: 44
    I was wrong about the dealers...I took my vehicle to Beck Imports in Charlotte today and they replaced my window switch as a courtesy at no charge!! They do a great job every time I'm there and free while I waited was extra nice!!
  • sencsenc Posts: 44
    I have 54,500 miles on mine and bought it new in late '98. It is a '99 ml320. (Previously had a '98 but that's a different story.) I've had my share of annoying squeaks and rattles(doors, etc). The first year, I took it in several times for these items and all were eventually corrected except the noisy sunroof which was a poor design(sounds like a window is open all the time). The only crippling failure I had was the electronic fuel pump, which wouldn't shut off when I got home one night and they towed it in and fixed it under warranty at about 48k miles. All said, it is the only vehicle that I have ever driven with 54k miles that still drives like it did when it was new(except the 325IS I once had). The interior and sunroof and many other items have been addressed in later years. My brother's wife drives a 2002 ML500 and the interior is as nice as the sedans. Seats have more/better leather, doors have leather, etc. Much nicer than the early years. That is what M-B does best, constantly refine the vehicles and don't really publicize all the improvements, but when you drive a newer one, you will notice them. I still think the sedans are better and hope to trade mine for a C240 or another ML this year. Recently, I got to drive mine all over the city in snow and it was as if the snow wasn't even there it was so sure-footed. I've driven all makes and M-B still APPEARS to build the best vehicle, but you do pay for it. Beware of those BMW's. They are built close to me and many people have bought them and have MANY problems with them, similar to the early ML's. Check out the BMW sport ute board on here and you will see the same problems showing up repeatedly. You would be very satisfied with a 2002 ML, IMO...
  • cticctic Posts: 291
    If it's an option you should consider going to another local dealer for service if there is one.

    Maybe you could also have complained to the service manager. After reading 1000's of posts here, it seems that complaining more might help. MB is supposed to have a good reputation for service.
  • cticctic Posts: 291
    I have a 2000 ML and you can buy a tether anchor kit that you can install on 98s-2000's. I ordered one and after 3 tries their service department couldn't install it! They either didn't have the instructions or all the necessary parts.

    I finally asked for the kit back and returned it to the parts department, and to add insult to injury, the service department lost a few parts and the parts dept wouldn't give me a full refund. However, I asked to speak to the parts manager and he did give me the full refund. The kit cost about $100(?), the most expensive collection of plastic and metal nuts and bolts I'd ever seen.

    What I ended up doing was running the tether anchor stap either over or under the 2nd row seat back and attaching it to the metal catch on the floor for the 3rd row seats. It's pretty sturdy.
  • I thought my 02 ML320 engine was a little louder than I had expected as well. But it seems to have gotton alot quieter now that it's broken in - 1000+ miles. Knock on wood - no signs of squeaks and rattles yet.
  • All, I just bought a '02 ML320 and I just want to make sure how the auto-tilt-down works. On the brochure its suppose to be standard. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. On the BMWs it works by moving the power adjustment to the driver side but w/ the ML For some reason I can't seem to figure out the combo. Any ideas?
  • your side view mirror adjustment needs to be set for passenger side - and it only works for that side.
  • Its hard to believe that those are your impressions of the ML, compared to an old 4runner. In comparison the 2002 4runner V6 only puts out 183hp at 4,800 rpms and 216 lbs of torque at 3,600 and weighs around 4,200 lbs. The ML puts out 215 hp and 233 lbs of torque starting at 2,800 rpm and weighs 4700 lbs. The ML should feel, and is much quicker and faster then the lastest 4runner, and any old versions...
  • just purchased an ml500 and am wondering if anyone has any ideas regarding a rattle coming from the area of the rear hatch, sounds like right side ...

    this forum was beneficial locating the dash rattle and hopefully the dealers remedy.

    also, the rpm at freeway speed (75 mph) is about 3000. seems high in relation to the e320 that loafs at around 2500.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181

    When: Saturday Jan 19
    Where: Pine Barrens (Lebanon State Forest, NJ)
    Meet: Intersection of Rte 70 and 72 near Whiting, NJ
    Time: 10:45-11am
    Who: AWD/4wd Vehicles (no 2wd please)
    What: Off-road Trail Ride through the barrens, will be fun for all, we encourage Subarus, Rav4s, CRVs, Isuzus, Highlanders, 4-runners, Santa Fe, Explorers, etc.

  • thecpathecpa Posts: 16
    My 2000ML gets a rattle from the right rear and its the right rear seatbelt banging on the seat.
    My 320 runs high RPMs also I haven't checked but I guess 75 is 3200 or so too. I think its the greater rolling resistance of the ML and or the engine is cleaner burning at some RPMs. HAPPY TRUCKING!
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    Hey guys. I've had my ML for almost a month. Everything seems to be perfect so far. The power is amazing.

    One question... have any of you noticed that the power steering seems really tight (hard to turn) in small spaces. Example: when stopped or starting to roll slowly and needing to turn the wheel all of the way left or right... it takes a lot of effort to turn the wheel. Do you think it might be the extra wide tires needing extra effort?

    Thanks, Mark
    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
  • mrwhipplemrwhipple Posts: 378
    Is your tire inflation low? Wider tires do add a little extra effort. There is more tire mass to move.
  • Picked my 2000 ML430 up from the dealer today Glad it was MBUSA picking up the $10,460.00 bill to put in a new engine(short block). Service Manager when pressed admitted that they (and MBUSA) were replacing numerous 430 and 320 engines due to what they think are defected piston rings. MBUSA is treating it on a case by case basis.
    Interesting thing is they replaced the pistons and rings with same as coming from the factory...will I have another failure in 24K miles?
    Look out for excessive oil useage!
  • cticctic Posts: 291
    Haven't heard of this at all from any of the other members of this board. Anyone else have this?
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