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



  • chowrchowr Posts: 11
    Thanks to all of you who responded to my question. Unfortunately, the response that I got from the dealer left such a bad taste in my mouth that I ended up getting a BMW X5 3.0 this weekend. I expected the most amazing service from a luxury car dealer and I got it at BMW instead. Good luck to all of you out there. I think the bad thing for me is where I live. There are only two dealers and I guess they can get away with this kind of attitude.
  • What area is your dealer located? Did you have to negotiate to get
    the price below INVOICE? What price did the dealer initially want?
    I'd really appreciate if you could share your experience.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    Jon90, I too would like to know where you got the $3,500 off a 2002 ML500. I would say that is VERY rare. I only have one dealer in my town and there is no way they would have gone that much. I'm glad you got a good deal. I am very satisfied with mine.... the power is awesome. Now, I want Parktronic on all of my future cars!

    Happy Motoring, 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
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    I bought a Thule system from an online store. I don't remember the model. What you need to do is go to the Thule web site and put in the truck details and get the part number. Then you can shop around for it. If i remember the details of the model I bought, I will post it here.
  • After looking around I bought the MB roof rack Cost $268 Heavy duty 250lbs cap they lock on and are a snap to install Good luck G
  • As a long time reader I am amazed at the early mileage writers are quoting as brake and tire replacement time. I have a 2000 ML320 with over 59000 trouble free miles. Tires hit wear bars at 52000 so replaced with original equip (Dun lops) from Sears @$72.00 ea. Brakes haven't squeaked yet although dealer said he'd like to replace pads at 50 since that was their usual policy. Since there's still adequate pad life, the Original pads are still on. I do lots of Mountain driving in Summit County Colorado, but I do downshift on long descents over passes rather than stand on the brakes.

    I ran out of warranty at 50,000 miles but other than to replace a defective nav system antenna, never needed it. This is the best vehicle I've ever owned (note "ever") and I'm in my 60's so have owned many including over ten MB products. I have an E320 which just sits in the garage since all my drivers prefer the ML.
  • My brake light indicator has come on at 35,000 miles (99 ML 320). How much time do I have before I have to replace them and what is the approximate cost of the job?

    Thanks in advance...George
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059

    If you're lucky, it could just be some air that's made its way into your brake lines - cheap and easy to fix!

  • djdjdjdj Posts: 111
    Even the dealer admitted MB didn't have a cure for the rattling that comes from the metal plates that cover the gap when the seats are folded down. With the seats up, every time I'd hit a little bump they'd bounce and I'd hear it. Those were the only noises left and they really bugged me.

    I finally resorted to using the bungie cords I had bought to keep luggage from rolling around. I ran the cord through the hole in each one and secured the ends to the hooks in the back.

    Now the plates are lightly sprung in the air. They lay flat if any weight is put on them but stay up when uploaded so they don't bang around. Its great now.

    On brakes, my ML320 has 37K miles on it. The dealer just said that they mic'd the front brakes and it will need servicing soon. I told him I'd wait until the light comes on and he dropped the sales pitch. I do a lot of highway driving and downshift a gear instead of braking when its safe. I believe the brake life is very dependent on driving conditions and habits.
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291

    I just ordered a tow hitch from It was $250 + $14 shipping. (No
    taxes on internet sales). Dealers were quoting $295 + tax. I am going to install
    it myself. Does any one know how I can remove the rear bumber?

  • cticctic Posts: 291
    Late reply: How about taping a velcro strip on metal plates. They're real cheap.
  • cticctic Posts: 291
    Mine came on at about 16K. It cost about $225 to have them done plus tax, just the fronts. I'm gonna check out an independent next time.

    I don't tail gate or hit the brakes hard but my wife drives like a maniac so I'd estimate 90% of the brake wear is from her.
  • My wife was ready to get out of her original SLK. We replaced it with an '02 320 in Designo Savanna with everything except Parktronic. The Nappa two-tone seats are sweet, and the whole Designo effect makes the move from sports car to truck less painful (I didn't want her to think it was 'cause she was getting too old for a cool car). Anyway, it's the 1st M Class I've really liked and I got a great deal to boot (in Mobile).
  • cdiccdic Posts: 36
    Anyone here ever replace the front brake pads themselves? Is it easy like other cars? My ML430 is at 14K and they are squeeking a lot (especially in reverse). If you go to the MB parts desk, do you have to ask for anything else besides a brake pad set? My last SUV was a Toyota. Brake pads were real easy to replace, but if you got the pads from a generic parts store, all you got were pads. The Toyota parts department gave you a pad kit with replacement spring clips, shims, special grease etc. What does MB give you with the pads?
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    Are you sure you need brake pads? Brake squealing is caused by high frequency vibration between the pads and the rotor because the pads wear at a slight taper from front to back, at low pressure the front end of the pad is free to vibrate,(the pad is tapered because the front is what comes in contact first and friction tends to grind into the pad at the leading edge) in reverse the taper effect is more pronounced, I bet if you brake hard there is no squealing, that is because the full pad is pressed against the rotor and no room to vibrate.

    Here is a company that sells a compound that should help, it goes on the back of the pad, acts as a cushion allowing the pad to make full contact a lower pressures.

  • Do the Sylvania near-xenon bulbs work out okay in a new ML with std lighting?
  • According to a quality report leaked in Germany, Mercedes quality has taken a big tumble.

  • cdiccdic Posts: 36
    Thor: Thanks for the reply. No, I am relatively sure I do not need pads right now. I was interested in what to do when I do need them, especially if they wear as fast as some seem to be claiming (and as evident by the short time it takes to turn the wheels black).
    Your explanation seems more than plausable to me, like you have been there. Also, the brakes appear to be temperature sensitive, they squeal more when cold and louder when colder. They also stop squealing with increased pressure (more than I like or need to apply) just like as you suggest. The really odd thing is, on my ML430 it is only in reverse. I rarely if ever hear anything while moving forward, but I wake up the neighborhood while backing out of the driveway in the morning. This seems like a different situation than the one you describe with the tapering of pads from forward motion, but perhaps related.
    How much does noise free compound cost?
  • I have a ML 2000 yr. Doe's anyone know if it is normal for the gas pedal to have sideways movement. I had service look at it and they replaced it and said the all ML's have some left to right play. I still have some play, and not much confidence in my service dept.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    The squealing in reverse is related to the taper, imagine your pads looking like this, a vedge of cheese, the front thiner, when the pads touch, the thicker part, the rear touches first, (at low pressure) allowing the front to vibrate, in reverse is worst because the leading edge now is the thick part leaving the thin part (front) with room to vibrate.

    As far as the black dust and wear they have nothing to do, Mercedes uses a softer pad with high organic (carbon) fillers and binders, this soft pads is what gives the MB this smooth and sure braking, plus the rotor last longer because of less abrasion at the expense of the pad.
  • I'm dealing with MB of the Triad (NC) and the salesperson told me he'd sell any ML320 at invoice + 500.00. Is there some type of promotion going on? To my knowledge, there's 279.00 "paper wrk" charge.....Which I will negotiate....Any help would be appreciated!
  • Jon90Jon90 Posts: 33
    Sorry for the late reply, just got back from Bourbon Street and still hungover.

    My deal was effortless. The dealer is located around Wash DC and it is worth a little drive/train to go pick it up if you are anywhere near. I tool the train up and had a wonderful drive back. It was even in the middle of a horrible snow storm, saw at least 40 cars upside down or stranded, the ML never wavered....I went all through the Shenendoah Mountains on the way home in the storm....what fun!

    Anyhow, the dealer quoted that right off the bat, I kept waiting for the "hook", but one never came. I will definitely check in with them on my next one (they have four mfg's). When i went to pick it up, I happened to run into someone else i told this dealer about. He had driven down from Jersey and ordered one on the spot after he got a similar deal (he got straight invoice).

    Post your email if you want the dealer name/salesperson

    Good luck
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Post your email if you want the dealer name/salesperson.

    I don't think it's a good idea for people to be posting their email addresses on the boards. An alternative would be for you to expose your email address in your profile. Anyone interested in contacting you could then look it up by clicking your name on your post and contact you without having to make their own address public.

  • a guy who writes for the Detroit News might have a bit of a bias toward American iron? Do you think a real pro-Euro writer would advance his/her career in Detroit? My wife has an '02 ML & hasn't had any problems at all. I also have an '02 Caddy DHS and likewise have had no problems with it. Cost-wise, they were almost identical. I think the ultimate difference will be resale value.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    I read the article and I agree with most of it, I own a 430ML and had a few issues, nothing serious but irritating on the other hand the ML is such a well engineered vehicle and purpouse built it translates into a quality of ride and handling that is hard to ignore.

    Rigth now I have a GM truck also and is nothing to write home about, it does not have that precise steering of the Mercedes (amongst many other things), one does not become aware of it until one drives the ML, now I dont want to drive the truck for long distance travel, is not as pleasurable, the wandering steer is annoying.

    To say that Detroit still has the upper hand in value has to be taken with a grain of salt, their top SUV's cost more or the same, neither the cheaps ones nor the more expensive one have the same degree of sophistication of the ML and they are not trouble free either.

    And lets not forget that Detroit has the upper hand in dishing out pure junk in the past, for the past 35 years I bought my share of it, my ML may have a rattle here and there, but that is a far cry from engines going out as soon as 70K or transmissions going at 45K with some serious repairs in between and a total lack of handling etiquette.

    I will not dispute that the Alabama plant has some quality problems, to me is labor related including the subs, I have heard of some flaws from ML owners that borders on third world labor quality.

    In a nutshell is like this, an ML owner will concede that the vehicles has issues but is such a pleasure to drive that if they got rid of some of this issues it would be a top vehicle.
  • I thor-o-ly agree with Thor.
    Had my share of arbitrations with GM and hidden warranties, scores of recalls on Chrysler products and switched to all foreign made and never looked back.
    Have enjoyed Infiniti, Toyota, Lexus, BMW, Subaru and MB. Dealer support in ALL cases far exceeded my the terrible support on 3 Cadilacs from GM.

    Going on my 4th year with a '99 ML320 and sure it has had its annoyances but the dealer has always come through.

    In fact recently several items were replaced without my intervention by the dealer so that I would not be liable after the warranty expires in
    late August. They were all typical items found on this chat site to be problematic over the years and all were items that do not alter my most favorable impression of the ML. It remains a finely engineered vehicle with some bad OEM parts hung on it in Alabama.
    You don't throw the baby out with the bath water or some such cliche.

    That recent visit to the dealer under warranty found the rear shocks, fuel pump and lines, window switches, oil pan sensor, 9qts. of Mobil 1,
    rear seat removed, adjusted and replaced all without a peep out of me or a dollar.

    Try that with your Escalade under a GM bumper to bumper warranty where it seems only the bumpers are covered!

    Again, Thor is on point; the ML remains a finely engineered suv with a great engine and drive train
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    Not denying that MB has some problems, but here are some good news for the future.
    The article also corroborates what everybody is saying, that quality is sliping, new cars do not rank that well but old Mercedes, those in the age of 6 to 11 years old rank a lot better.

  • sshowittsshowitt Posts: 137
    Jon 90, please go to my profile and e-mail me the dealer thanks Steven
  • Hey RockPaul,

    That sounds like a very proactive dealer! Taking care of those nagging details. I don't suppose this dealer is located in So Cal? I definetly can use a dealership that stands by the customer and doesn't simply turn their head with "no problem found" or writing stuff off as "that's normal".
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