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



  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    In an earlier post I mentioned how much I like my ML, etc, etc. Well, when I finished my 2000 mile trip recently, I did notice that I had a squeak in the dash. I've had the ML for a year on Dec. 15th. I took it in because I wanted to have mud-flaps installed and I told them about the dash squeak. They told me that Mercedes has a bulletin on this and that the squeak is actually coming from the hood area, not the dash. So, they will remove the hood, take it to a body shop to have brackets welded on and re painted (the underside not the top of the hood). The service guys said this will remedy the squeak. I sure hope so because I really like the vehicle and don't want any trouble.

    Anyone else heard of this remedy? 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
  • Looks like the power steering on my ML430 is dead. I have to really turn the wheel hard to make the simplest of turns. Backing out of a parking spot is a nightmare. It just happened today out of the blue. I called my dealer and they said since this is Christmas eve, they can't help me and told me to call Roadside assistance! I will do so. meanwhile I am wonderng has anyone experienced this? Thanks.
  • My power steering on my 99 ML430 has been trouble prone since 8000 mi (now has 42k). Last week my dealer finnaly fixed it, by replacing both the pump and the reservoir. It seems there are baffles in the res. that keep the pump from cavitating, and introducing air bubbles into the system, which can lead to failure. Hope this helps

    Happy Holidays
  • derel2derel2 Posts: 49
    My wife recently purchased a 1999 ML-430. I have a question regarding the climate control/heater. Is this a true climate control where the vehicle controls the amount of heat coming out of the vents to maintain a desired cabin temperature or is it a standard heater which puts out the same amount of heat depending on the dial setting? The reason I ask is that I notice that the air temperature coming out of the central vents in the dash above the radio varies without changing the temperature dial setting. The air will come out warm when the heat is first selected but will becoming cooler as the cabin heats up. Setting the dial hotter will again cause warmer air to come out of the vent which will eventually cool. The side vents do not seem to noticeably change the air temperature. The climate control systems I am familiar with require the operator to set the desired temperature for the cabin by inputting a digital temperature reading. The ML-430 just has a dial to raise or lower the temperature which makes me think it is not an automatic climate control. Am I right and is the changing temperature in the center vent indicating a problem?

  • djdjdjdj Posts: 111
    My 2000 ML320 works the same way when heating the car. Cooling seems to be more constant.

    Earlier discussions on the temp system refer to it as semi-automatic. I finds the temperature drops too much to be trying to maintaining a constant temperature until the car has really warmed up.
  • cticctic Posts: 291
    I think we all decided on this board about a year ago that it was automatic climate control (or semi-) but with analog guages.

    I start the dial off at 12 o'clock in the white and then put it at about 10 o'clock after 15 mins otherwise it will get too hot. I should really try just leaving it at 10.

    As air comes in whether the fan is at 0 or 1, I always leave the fan off when I first start the car otherwise I'll get cold air coming into the cabin. Sometimes if I get on the freeway right afterwards I never even have to turn the fan on - freeway speeds seem push enough air into the cabin. This is unlike MB sedans with the digital guage. When you turn the fan to 0, you can actually hear the vents closing and nothing comes in the car. This leads me to believe it's not just a difference of digital or analog guages - the whole system is different.
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    (Update)..... Picked up the ML on Saturday. The squeak in the dash is totally gone. Welding the front metal pieces under the windshield wiper area apparently has done the trick.

    The new mud-flaps were installed and I'm sure will do the job but they are kinda big.

    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
  • bfengbfeng Posts: 6
    We have a '99 ML320, which has been
    very reliable but for 2 problems.

    WINDOW SWITCH FAILURE: wife complained the
    1-touch down on drivers window was harder to
    activate. I ignored her. Then, at Midnight,
    the window switch failed with window down.
    It was midnight, 20 degrees, snowing, 40 miles
    from home, and we had 2 sleeping babies in the
    back seat!
    Mercedes roadside assistance arrived within
    15 min (but we had to call in twice).
    Mechanic said all ML's with the original
    switch configuration are subject to premature
    failure ... which is why he keeps spares
    in his service vehicle. Repair took 10 minutes.

    (2) Mass air flow sensor went bad at 20kmiles.

    Otherwise, this has been a rock solid, dependable
    family hauler. If it keeps on at this rate, one of
    our toddlers will get it as her first car.

    Road Side Assistance: When we called about the
    window problem, Merc. said a tech would call us
    back in 10 min. 30min passed and no call. We called
    again, they apologized, and alerted the 24hr tech
    from another local dealer, and he called us back
    in less than 2 minutes. So, be persistance and call
    until you get service.

    John Feng
  • derel2derel2 Posts: 49
    We recently purchased a 1999 ML 430 from a non- Mercedes dealer. The vehicle has less than 50,000 miles and is still under warranty honored by Mercedes. How does the road side assistance work? Is it included with the original warranty and does it expire at 50,000 miles? Is it transferable to second owners? or is it a separate coverage that requires an annual fee like AAA?

  • cticctic Posts: 291
    Roadside assistance is available to any MB vehicle, no matter how old. It does not expire with any warranty.
  • djdjdjdj Posts: 111
    The switches go so often you would think M-B would automatically change the panel as part of the B service. Mine just went at 53K on a 2000 ML320. The dealer was very blase about it; when I said the driver's window switch failed, the SA said its usually more than just one.

    Mine failed going into a car wash but I jiggled it up in time. Unfortunately 3 days later I was leaving a parking garage (remembered it on the way in) forgot about it, the window went down and stayed down. 20 degrees out but I was on the way to dealer anyway so I dropped it off, went to the Infiniti dealer next door, picked up a QX4 brochure and sat in the M-B lobby reading it and complaining to my sales person about the ML.
  • If your window switch fails you can raise the window without assistance from MB. To raise the window after the switch fails you have to pull hard up on the failed switch. Pull really hard. Don't be afraid to break is broken anyway. The switch will snap and the window will come up. You have to remember not to press down after you have it up or it is down until you replace the switch unit.
  • cticctic Posts: 291
    How does that work? What does the snap do?
  • Somehow when you reef on the switch and it clicks it brings the necessary parts into contact and closes the circuit so that the window goes up. I saw the mechanic at my dealership do it so that I could get the window up until they could swap out the unit.
  • I purchased a spare key (never used) ML320 key for my 99 ML320. How can I program it to function like my other ignition key? Do I absolutely have to bring it all the way back to the dealer? They were supposed to program it when I picked it up, but never did. It's a very long drive. Thanks in advance for any instructions.
  • Introduction - mvhanson - Des Moines, Iowa
    Purchased 98 ML320 in 00 with 16,000 miles
    Loves - The handling and brakes - More on that
    Hates - heater air flow to feet is absolutely worthless and not worthy of MB's name - need to shut off dash vents to force air to feet.
    Interestingly noted messages by others about the window switch. Mine went out too, and dealer replaced at no charge along with other maintenance charges after initially telling me it would be about $80. I previously took the switch apart to try to fix myself, and concluded the plastic source of the problem was not fixable.
    Handling: Besides my own love of how it handles, My wife has loved the ML handling as she ran over a deer on a dark WY interstate this summer. She kept it on the road. No damage to the ML, but a few days later a dog in Jackson went crazy smelling the underside of the truck.
    Braking: I found the brakes outstanding as I realized yesterday that the car in front of me was not only slowing down but actually stopped. My foot pressure quickly changed from gliding pressure to all out jam. The ML successfully came to a stop before I hit the car in front of me. I then looked in the rear view mirror and realized the Dodge van behind me was not going to be as courteous. I was ramed forward into the car in front of me.
    The ML is fixable, but I'm told that with the declaration of damage on the title, I will lose about 30% of the ML value versus a never-damaged one when I trade. So I am seriously going to try to get the insurance company to just purchase the ML from me, or at least pay me for the lost value.
    Has anyone had experience on the value declination? I'm told I should trade now and get the other driver's insurance to pay for the lost value right away. Anyone had experience on this?
    If I trade, everyone in the family (wife, 16 yr old son, and 25 yr old daughter) says I should get another ML as opposed to the competition.
    I am considering a used 2001 or a new 2002 320, or a new 2003 320 or 350.
    Did MB fix the air flow to feet problem?
    Did MB fix the window switch problem?
    Anyone have any experience in the 350 and comments on it versus the 320? Any comments on the 2001 as a used vehicle?
    Thanks for all replies.
  • spfoteyspfotey Posts: 131
    i own the 98 ML and looked very seriously at getting the 03. They have improved the vehicle a lot since 98 -- much smoother ride. the 02 version is the one i would recommend if you go that way rather than 01. 02 had quite a few improvements including rear ac/heat and a redesign of the front dash.

    the window switches have finally been fixed and with auto climate control in the 02's they have improved the overall ventilation system.

    i drove the 350 and couldn't tell a difference between that and the 320 but i'm sure there are improvements if it's timed. i would look for a used 02 -- these vehicles don't hold their value as much as other Merc so you can probably get a decent deal.

    i ended up going with the MDX simply because i needed some more space for the occasional sixth person, i wanted fewer breakdowns, and more power.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Welcome aboard! You'll find some of the friendliest, helpful and best informed people right here!

    tidester, host
  • Spfotey and tidester
    thanks for the comments and welcome.
    I'm waiting on repair estimate now, and that will influence what direction I go.
    I welcome other comments from others.
    I looked at GMC Yukon this pm. Talk about sticker shock.
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    A new ML500 (or even a used ML430 or 500) has even better braking than the 320 or 350-- bigger rotors!
  • Price is a consideration, and since I have found the 320's power ok for my needs, I've never seriously looked at spending the extra $ for a 430 or 500.
    Thanks for the comment.
  • spfoteyspfotey Posts: 131
    you might want to pick up a copy of the Car & Driver SUV comparison they recently did. i don't recall all of the vehicles but as i recall it was pretty comprehensive...
  • birgerbirger Posts: 80
    Hi, Robert

    Sorry about taking more than three weeks to react to your post - but I've been off on holiday in a computer-free environment ;-)

    Whatever other options you choose for your future ML, DO get the Bi-Xenons! Since I retrofitted them to my 2001 ML 270 CDI, driving in the dark is a non-issue. The low beams are very efficient, without dazzling oncoming traffic, and the hi-beams are just awesome. Even more so, if you do a small modification to also have the traditional H7 hi beams come on like on the European models - but even without this additional candlepower, driving by night is a pleasure.

    I know, they don't come for free, but IMHO it's one of the most important safety (and comfort) features. And in some years from now, it might be a little harder to sell a ML without this option.

    Cheers from wintry Luxembourg,
  • I have just turned 70,000 miles on my 2000ML and wanted to share my results.

    Pluses +: Nothing broke. I got 52,000 miles on the original Dunlops and 59,000 before the dealer recommended replacing the front brake pads. I bought the same Dunlops from Sears for $89.00 on sale. The dealer wanted $140. The heated seats are wonderful. There is adequate power for every thing I do including trailer pulling. The MB hitch works perfectly. The nav system is adequate but really not necessary. I have no squeaks, no wind noise from poor door seals, no complaints. The audio system is great for a truck, but,(see negatives). You can see out of it far better than out of my E320 sedan. My wife likes it. The cup holders work. It gets respectable gas mileage. I want another one.

    Neutrals +/- : It is and always was a truck. The ride is stiff and solid. If you like a Buick ride, you won't like the ML. It uses premium fuel which with today's economics costs a mere 5% more than regular (because even cheap fuel is now expensive). The cargo space is adequate for cargo, but, (see negatives). It is great in bad road conditions without second guessing the traction system. I live above 9000 feet 80 miles west of Denver and the ML has been tested - often! Many other SUV's are OK driving through stuff, but fail in the downhill mode.

    Negatives - : There is not enough room for a jury rigged third row of seats. the Honda Pilot has enough room and it burns regular gas, and it's way cheaper. The CD changer is foolishly located way in the back. The gas tank should be larger so cheap guys like me could make it from Sam's club or Costco to sam's Club or Costco for cheap gas. The spare isn't full size.The "fuel remaining miles to go to empty" readout calculates all the way to dry if you have selected km's but gives up the ghost early if miles is selected giving only a low fuel flashing warning. Probably doesn't matter if you live in a big city and never leave.

    That's about it. I read guys complaining about door seal squeaks and must presume that they don't sell cans of spray silicon in their part of the world. I see many petty gripes and can only guess that some folks who thought they were buying a touring car didn't know they bought a truck, and MB makes zillions of trucks, this being one of their itsy bitsy ones. For the person considering an SUV, I say go for an ML and you too will be (ML) Most Lucky!

    A caveat. In Denver, the 320's but not the 350's are offered for invoice, but the dealer has a $2000.00 incentive below that plus the usual holdback, so some good buys are there for the wise buyer. Don't run out your warranty miles before you run out your warranty months like I did. I want another one!
  • I have a 2000 ML430. Dealer previously replaced pads worn out for some unknown reason under warranty. The sensor light never came on to warn me. I have the same issue again. This week I realized there is a squaeking noise when I brake. Then it started getting louder and now it is noisy throught out the driving not just when braking. My brake pad sensor light is still not on. I am afraid the rotors are getting damaged with every mile I drive. Last time they replaced the pads & rotors under warranty because the sensor light never came on. How many miles are we supposed to get on brake pads before we need to have them replaced?
  • cticctic Posts: 291
    It depends. Stmarie1 above got 59K (wow!) out of his before needing replacements, he must be driving a lot of freeway miles.

    I live on a hill and got about 15K out of mine. The ML is a heavy truck and the brake pads are very soft. Many of us are getting between 15 to 19K only.

    I don't know how the sensor works, but the noise doesn't sound right. Better call your dealer right away.
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    Also ran out of warranty miles before years and am happy to hang onto the truck ... it tows great as you said so don't see any need for a 500 and it seems like the 430 gets about the same or better mileage as the new 350. The truck handles very well in the wet and snow last month in Yosemite with Cross Terrains-- the ESP light never blinked. I didn't know that the miles to empty calculator worked to empty when kilometers were selected.
  • I too didn't notice the KMs to empty function worked. My wife has a 2002 ML320 and we have no serious complaints at all. It seems happy in the swamps of Louisiana. If only the radio controls were on the steering wheel.......
  • hi all. have question on the parktronic for the ML350. do you guys know if we can turn it off, or is it active all the time (thus may get annoying since it'll beep everytime something gets near the car)? thanks much!
  • I called the dealer (Ray Catena in NJ) and explained to them that I was hearing loud squeaking noise from the car while driving and while braking. Furthermore, the braking detriorated badly and I was having trouble stopping the car safely. They told me to call the 800-FOR-MERC number and have it towed to their dealership. I did. Now I am told that the brake pads wore off and need to be replaced and I MUST pay for the towing. I argued that they were the ones who told me to tow the car and I was never told about having to pay for the towing. I further asked why didn't the brake sensor light come on. The service rep gives me stupid story that it would have come on any second!! (I suppose this guy could predict the outcome of this year's Super Bowl) Last time they replaced the brakes & rotors because of the brake warning light not working. I understand brake pads are not warrantable. But shouldn't the brake warning light be working so as to warn me before I hear loud noise and vehicle becomes unsafe to drive?

    To say I am annoyed with this is an understatement. But I am going to fork over the cash (almost $400). In 6 months when my turn comes around to buy the next vehicle, I will go with a Lexus GX470 and not the ML500 as I was planning to. I have had too many issues with this vehicle and the dealer, pardon me, sucks. I enjoyed the car when it was working properly but don't care for the aggravation and frequent trips to the hideous dealer anymore.
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