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



  • Hello,
    I quickly read an article last fall in Automobile
    magazine (waiting for my haircut) on tires for SUV's
    and the vehicle they used for the test was the ML320.
    I wrote down the top tire for performance and cost was
    the Yokohama Geolander 255-70R-16...around $75@

    Did anyone read this article.... thought's ?
    Has anyone had the Yoko's... do you like them...this size?
    Any other suggestions for a all season type tire... ? rig...
    1999 Black ML320...60k few problems...very happy with vehicle.
    I run Blizzaks for winter tires (live in northern Vt.) very good
    in snow & ice and for summer.... I had the original Dunlop
    Grandtrek's 255/65R/16 which are now shot ... about 40k on them.
    I appreciate any info.... thanks, Scott
  • bertram60bertram60 Posts: 113
    As I have had many high end cars and trucks, I am a little dissapointed with trade in value I have been offered by two dealers for my wifes 2000 ML430. I bought the car last year for $39,500 with 6,000 miles on it. A year later (23K miles), we're looking at the new ML500 (various reasons). Dealer has offered me the new truck for $47,500 ($50,280 MSRP, about $1,200 over cost) but is only offering me $32k for my truck! I've gone to another dealer and gotten roughly the same numbers. I really would have been upset if I had payed the $44k they wanted for this truck. Anyone else gotten any trade numbers? I've looked at the TMV reports and see between $34k and $36k, but can't get the dealers to come close enough.
  • nofeernofeer Posts: 381
    We adopted a little girl from china, china says "come now" 4 weeks early. Need car seat for my 98 ml320. Tried a cosco alpha omega, base is too big--will return it, but what seats have you all used (i need convertible type, she is 8 months old). Do you use a tether for the rear facing type? What works best in this vehicle, too bad latch system not on vehicle, unless they can be retrofitted.

    But I need a solution quick, we leave in a week! My wife is going nuts trying to prepare in such short notice

    Thanks for your help!!!!
  • sencsenc Posts: 44
    My kids are now out of car seats, but if I were you I would go to the Mercedes dealer and get the model they sell. That is the one my brother uses for his kids in his ML500. You'll pay extra, but why not? Aren't kids with the extra expense? The marketers prey the fear factor, but at least you know that model has been built to work in the M-B If you don't live near a delaer large enough to stock it, order it from some of the dealers you can locate online. They usually ship UPS same day.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    According to some articles the quality of Mercedes should go up considerably in the short future, without having to make a long story I explained myself a little at # 5934.
  • sencsenc Posts: 44
    I agree the labor is probably unsatisfactory, but before I lay the blame on them, I blame the ingineers mostly for a cheap design. MB used target costing to determine what this vehicle should cost to build and then backed into the cost of each component. That is why we got the initial cheap interior, cheap sunroof design, etc. I also blame the American suppliers because they were given a product to build and a max. cost and hey built whatever they had to to stay in the cost guidelines. Many of teh parts are made by the same companies that make failing parts for Ford and GM.(I've seen the supplier list on the internet) I guess with a German engineered vehicle built mostly of American components we get alot of the problems we had with American cars. MB can fix this IMMEDIATELY by demanding the same quality components as they get in Germany of the American suppliers. If the American parts makers just can't do it, ship them in from Germany and add it to the price, but don't sell us MB's with failing components under any circumstances. Frankly, I just think the American companies' tolerence for defects is higher than is suitable for Mercedes. Perhaps MB put too much faith in American suppliers' ability. Of course Honda seems to have found good US suppliers. I am American, always have been, but I work for Fortune 500 manufacturers and I know how the profit motive works.....profit, then a quality product...
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Don't have an ML, but ...

    Try It has a few user-contributed entries on what fits well in an M-class. Note that the M-class is spread across three model names there (including one spelled incorrectly, unfortunately).

    I'd recommend the Britax Advantage, or the Britax Roundabout. You really can't get much better than them as far as convertible seats go. I believe MB's convertible seat is a relabeled Britax with the BabySmart chip added (so if it's mounted in the front passenger seat, the airbag is deactivated). Thus I'm not sure if they fit any better unless Britax has customized the base for them. So if you plan to never use the child seat in the front, you may not need/want the BabySmart seat.

    The Advantage is almost exactly like the Roundabout but it has a headrest and the shoulder strap adjustment is MUCH simpler (no rethreading, just turn a knob). The Britax seats are not cheap but they are excellent. Britax is, after all, a European-originated company and they build seats for many markets. In fact, the president of Britax USA used to be an MB executive!

    When your child eventually outgrows the convertible seat, I'd recommend you not go to a booster (Britax makes some good ones here, though) and look into the Britax Super Elite. It eschews booster belt-positioning by keeping your child in a five-point harness for a very long time (as long as he or she can stand it).

    If the seat is forward facing, you can tether it to the anchor. If you don't have one, your dealer can retrofit it, I believe. If not, use the cargo hook.

    Britax has one of the only seats that tether in the rear-facing position. You can run the tether under the car seat and try to attach it to the seat frame underneath. You may need to use the D-ring strap that now comes with the seats (used to be an extra cost accessory).

    Congratulations on your upcoming addition!
  • ran111ran111 Posts: 9
    I know how frustrating it is to take a hit on a trade-in. Advantage to the dealer. I do not trade-in my cars any more. It is my belief that a clean, low-mileage used car with documented maintenance records can be easily sold privately through local media newspapers - at least here in the greater Chicago area. Your expectation of the dealer giving you TMV for your trade-in (34k-36K) ain't going to happen. Your car, according to Edmunds, has a trade-in value of 32k - right where the dealer quoted. Check the local auto want ads, to see what private parties are selling their ML's for. I'll bet it is probably pretty close to the TMV price. That is where you set your asking price. You may save yourself a few thou. Good luck.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    I agree, they put too much faith on the suppliers, but keep in mind that not all parts were MB designed 100%, I took the factory tour twice and I distinctly remember the tour guide telling me that one of the unique things about the ML program was that MB not only secured domestic suppliers but let them design their own components, the idea behind was that they knew best how to adapt to their own means of production, an easier atmosphere of cooperation if you will, the whole vehicle was designed by MB, but for instance a switch, the shape and position, looks, was in the blue prints, the mechanism of the switch on the other hand was open for the supplier to design (within guidelines) to best fit his production capabilities (and prices) and lets keep in mind that a switch makers relies also on suppliers that make the basic materials and those in turn rely on even simpler suppliers that just make the basic raw chemicals, so is a long chain.

    The succes of Honda and Toyota has been the strictest guidelines for their suppliers, no compromise there, MB on the other hand ate tons of defective or sub-par parts, MB just recently acknowledge the problem, but at least is the begining in rectifying the problems, the bottom line was price but at the end MB paid a price for it and know they realize the price was not worth it, their reputation is now on the line and have no choice but to remedy things.
  • bon_bonbon_bon Posts: 20
    I have a question and hope someone can answer this one for me. When I switch on the lights on my new ML 500, they are a little blue and then they quickly turn a kinda yellow/white. I was under the impression that the Xenon lights are Blueish/White. Is this some that happens over time ? Maybe the bulbs are new and need to be "broken in" or this is all I get with ML 500. Are they Xenon lights only in name ? My friend has Acura and the Xenon lights are really blue and I can feel it. They were so cool that I ordered Xenon on mine, hence the concern.

    Also, there are two bulbs in the headlights. The larger one never glows. I tried looking at it during the day and then during the night. It just never glows. Do I have to do something special for that ? The smaller one (this I guess is the Xenon Bulb) is always on. During the day it is on as the daytime running light and during the night as the usual headlight. When does the larger bulb glow ?

    I would really appreciate if someone could help me understanding this.
  • nofeernofeer Posts: 381
    Thanks for the quick response for a car seat, tomorrow we go looking for the brands you all suggested. Whew!!!! much off my shoulders :)
  • benzamsbenzams Posts: 10
    i own a 1999 ML320 and a 2001 S430, and my S430 has the "Xenon lights", and i too, thought that Xenon headlamps were supposed to be bluish white, but instead, they were whitish, and a small tint of yellow. I asked my local benz dealership that question, and they said its supposed to be whitish. Then, what kind of light's do those other cars have that i see on the freeway that have the bluish lights???? Special Xenon? By the way, i have been using them for over a year now (S430 xenon lights). My wife's Lexus LS430 has the high intensity discharge headlamps (same as xenon) and they are to me, more white than the mercedes.
  • I'm considering having my oil changed by a 3rd party garage (e.g. firestone). My '99 ML320 is not covered by the MB maintenance plan. I've already bought several filters from the dealer. Is there anything noteworthy that I should tell the garage to be aware of...other that use 8 qts. of Mobil One 5W-30. I'm sure they'll drain it through the oil pan plug, although I read where use of a vaccuum device (e.g. topsider) is useful. My dealer drains it through the plug. What should I caution the garage about?
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Good hunting (for the car seat). I know Babies'R'Us stocks the Britax Roundabout but I'm not sure if they carry the Advantage. Since the Advantage has a couple of nice enhancements, I think it's worth the extra 10% or so in price (these seats are around $200-$220; not cheap but Britax is worth it).

    Outside of them, some specific baby/toddler stores, particularly the higher-end ones, will carry Britax as well. You can easily find them on the web with free shipping but I know you're in a hurry.

    Anyone know if MB has updated its BabySmart convertible seat to the level of the Advantage? I believe the previous convertible BabySmart was based on the Roundabout. You can tell by the Advantage having a knob to raise and lower a headrest and the top shoulder strap anchorage; the Roundabout does not have the headrest and the knob (has three pairs of slots to thread the straps through).
  • birgerbirger Posts: 80

    By "the larger bulb" I suppose you're referring to the inboard H7 lights. On North American models, these are used as "flash-to-pass" lights when the normal headlights are OFF. Seeing that you (Canada??) have DRL's, it's normal (though odd) that they never come on.

    If my informations are correct, on European models these bulbs are active as "flash-to-pass" lights, but also when using the high beams.

    As to the color issue, I think there's no significant difference between the ML's Xenons and other cars.

    Kind regards,
  • wnielwniel Posts: 97
    I'm still driving a 98ML that I bought new in November of 1997. It had more than its share of problems but fortunately had a great dealer who was more than willing to work with me to fix them all. I can honestly say that the truck performs very well now with no squeeks and rattles and I currently have 56K miles on it. I have been a Mercedes owner for the past 15 years and know all about the quality that they have been known for and what they provided. I must say that I was a bit disappointed with the first ML even though I bought one. One must realize that when it first came out it was in competition with all of the other mid size suvs that were on the market at the time i.e. Ford Explorer and others. If they had initially come out with a high end vehicle totally built in the Mercedes tradition, the truck would have cost in excess of $80K and would have priced themselves totally out of the market for the majority of SUV owner wannabees. As you know the G wagen that Mercedes built for years in Europe was and is considered the best suv ever built sells in the neighborhood of nearly 90K depending what it's equipped with. They just now started bringing them into the US. One of the most important things to remember is that the ML does have an all Mercedes drive train built in Germany. This should be the most important thing to consider. Mercedes as you know has been making improvements to the ML and I think that they will definitely continue as more and more people are willing to pay more money for their SUV's than they did four years ago. All of the newer improvements cost more money and we the consumer will have to pay for it if that's what we want. Personally when I bought mine I liked the utility interior cause I use it for numerous tasks around the house like hauling lumber build projects, and anything else that comes along. Just my opinion.
  • cticctic Posts: 291
    Advise not to buy MB baby seats. I have the middle sized one. It's uncomfortable for the infant to sit in, they don't like it. The only advantage is that you can use it in the front seat. Uh, the other advantage is that if your kid has an pee-pee accident, the seat has enough padding and a non-permeable pad underneath to keep the leather seat dry.

    For babies, the best seat to buy is the one with the base. This way you don't have to keep threading the seat belt through the carrier everytime you bring the baby.

    Regarding quality, I've been reading this board since 1998 or so. There seems to have been a considerable jump in quality since the MY 2000 ML's. I have a 2000 320. The 2 major things I've had done under warranty was replacement of the CD player (known but rare problem), and replacement of all the door seals (for wind noise) but that didn't help.

    The most complaints on this board have been what I call intangibles: noises, rattles, trim problems. I've had a few. I also believe that other dealers such as Honda or Subaru would simply have laughed at those complaints, but from what I can see and have experienced, the MB dealers will actually fix or try to fix them.

    Utility: I also use it as a work truck and I've carried unbelievable amounts of things in it. From 2 by 4's, to wooden pallets, trash, refridgerators (small ones.) They should have filmed me and used me for an ad.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    Bon Bon, I had the same question about the headlights on my ML 500. My salesman and the head mechanic couldn't explain this. Since the 2002 offers Bi-xenons, the shutter will open to give you "high beams" when the xenons are on. When my lights are off, the headlight (closest to the grill) will come on if you need to "flash" anyone. (As Birger states)

    Question to Birger or anyone....The problem that I've noticed recently is that my headlights are blinding on coming cars. They flip their high beams on blinding me. Can these be adjusted a little lower as not to cause me blinding them?

    Also, when I have my parking lights on, my fog lights will not come on unless my headlights are switched on. Can the dealer make my fog lights illuminate with just my parking lights on?

    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
  • abc246abc246 Posts: 305
    Your definition of intangibles is not typical. I think all of those items you listed would be major problems in my book, rattles, noises, trim problems- and I drive a Silverado and Blazer! I would definitely sell the vehicle if it had these problems and the dealer did not correct them.

    Now that Chevy trucks cost about as much as some MB products I have been cross shopping them. I test drove a ML 2 years ago and it rattled on the test drive! At least my Blazer waited 2 years before it started to rattle.

    I can tell you that the Chevy dealer worked hard at fixing everyone. I even had a noise that only occurred in low range, brakes on, with gas pedal about half way to floor. The SUV was nearly stretching out the front suspension. It turned out to be one loose front differential bolt. It only made noise in deep sand on the beach, but it should not make any noise.

    I have been looking at the C230 coupe (great deal) or the ML to replace the Blazer. Also looking at Tahoes for the around the same price as a ML. I do not know if I want another SUV or a fun car to drive.
  • jorgegvbjorgegvb Posts: 15
    I am a Realtor and my clients seems to find it hard getting in and out of my ML 320. I think it affects smaller people more than taller ones. Anyway, I am thinking about adding step bars, but MB wants $649 +labor, which I think is pretty expensive. Has anyone one found a good aftermarket step bar at a reasonable price?
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    You could probably write most of that cost off on your taxes.

  • sencsenc Posts: 44
    Speaking of the G wagon, my brother also has a G, and for my money, I'll take the ML any day. His is a 2002 model and the interior is very nice, but the thing is just too primitive an impractical for me..It makes the ML look gorgeous side by side!
  • mclass4mclass4 Posts: 3
    I've already had a power steering leak and a faulty fuel pump after 11 days of driving my new 2002 ML320. Anyone else had this to occur with a NEW ML320?
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    mclass4, I've had mine since December 17th and 3,300 miles and not nary a problem. I really like this vehicle.... especially the third seat option for extra people. The air conditioning is wonderful (has already been in the upper 90's in the southern California Desert) .

    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 have a 2000 ML 430 and it has been terrible in terms of quality. It has had some form of problem an average of every two to three months. The brake light switch has failed multiple times, the rear brakes needed replacement after 22000 miles, the wiring in the steering wheel failed, a short caused the battery to die at 30000 miles, the MCS CD malfunctioned, and the list goes on. The service department at the dealer is great, but I'm seeing way too much of them. Overall the truck is a tremendous disappointment.
  • mclass4mclass4 Posts: 3
    How was your experience with the Mercedes Customer Service center? Do you still fill out the surveys?
  • 1wiseguy1wiseguy Posts: 120
    I didn't get a response from anyone here (post #5917) but had to make a decision, so I bought a 1999 ML320 last week (leather, moonroof, side runners, heated seats).

    It was used by a senior executive at my office who was transferred internationally and could not bring the car with him (different cost centres and all). The company had to sell it and I figured that I could possibly get it for a good price- i.e bidding against dealer's wholesale offers.

    I ended up getting it for $30,000 Canadian (roughly $USD 18,600). The car has 40,000km on it (roughly 25,000 miles) and is generally in good shape although there are a few rock chips that need touch-up on the hood. The MB dealership looked it over and signed all the paperwork certifying it to Ontario government standards for the sale of a used vehicle and made it clear that it was still under warranty for another year and 25000 miles. They found nothing wrong with it.

    Yes, the ML320 has a few rattles but if you buy it knowing that, it's not a surprise.

    Does anyone know if the depreciation is likely to be significant on a 3 year old low mileage 320 or if I have any access to an extended warranty? If I could buy an extended warranty? Will I need an extended warranty? I live 5 miles from work and expect to put no more than 10000 miles on it this year.
  • procterprocter Posts: 19
    3rd party oil changes. I don't like paying the dealer to change my oil, and so I do my own. -- every 5000 mi. by the way. First, you can get non - MB filters and they work fine- I use Bosch. Second always drain. The dip stick sucker leaves oil in the pan and it is the bottom oil so it has the worst dirt etc. Third, you'll have to go to the dealer to get the Maint. Monitor reset. Should be done for free as it's no big deal.

    Step rails. I got Manix stainless for about $250. They have a web site. However, my observation is most people don't gain much help getting in and out. Let's face it the ML is really a truck.

    Tire Size. I'm still looking for the max. size tire I can put on 17 in. wheels. Any help?
  • tomhocktomhock Posts: 6
    The owner's manual gives instructions to re-set the FSS display. Simple to do.
  • wnielwniel Posts: 97
    Procter, I couldn't disagree with you more regarding the use of the Topsider that sucks the oil out of the crankcase. The truth of the matter is that the Topsider removes more oil than if you removed the drain plug. This has been proven many times by others and myself on this and other Mercedes lists. The drain plug sits on the side of the pan and leaves at least a quarter of an inch of oil in the bottom of the pan. When removing the drain plug after sucking it out, not nary a drop comes out. Many Mercedes delearships use this same system in changing oil especially on the ML due to the mess that it crates with the plug on the side of the pan. Without putting up a piece of cardboard or some other makeshift splash shield, the oil flows all over the side of the tire and on the cross members under the truck. What a mess. I too used to believe that it was best to remove the drain puug for the reasons that you mentioned until seeing for myself what the best method is.
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