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



  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    It's not too late to complain to the service manager. Then find a different dealer!

    Steve, Host
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    Chigirl2, I have the Parktronic on my 2002 ML500. I would suggest to anyone to get this option. And yes, there is a button on the console to turn off the Parktronic.

    The Parktronic only activates when the car is in first gear or reverse (maybe there is a speed sensor too). Anyway, if there is snow, mud, or any other debris on the bumper, the Parktronic will not work properly. You have to keep the bumpers clean.

    A funny thing happened, when I was backing in my garage the other day, I noticed that the rear indicators lit up suddenly without warning me about what was behind the vehicle. I hit a wooden box in my garage and was shocked that the Parktronic didn't work (no damage to vehicle). Well, I found out why. A friend of mine who has an S500 with Parktronic parked in my garage and the same thing happened on that car... it didn't work.

    When I was at Costco I bought those electric bug things that gives off a signal that only bugs and rodents can hear.... well, it apparently effects Parktronic. Once I unpluged the "debugger", the Parktronic resumed normal operation.

    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
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    That's ok. There's probably still more ML430s than S430s, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are fewer than 4,000 of them in the US.

    Currently, ML430 drivers are leading in their Class again in the 2003 Paris to Dakar race. And, things are looking good: they have won that race for the last couple of years and I read that about half of the entries in this year's race had already fallen out as of the stage 12 but all 14 or so ML430s were still in the race.
  • thanks much mark, for the info. now i'm going to call my dealer and ask for the parktronic option for my future car. tahnks again...
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    The recent split of the board now has 95 people in a problems group, leaving over 6,800 in this group who apparently must have been much happier with their ML purchases when they posted here. That would be a pretty good percentage in MBs favor it it holds up.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Here's the link if you have a problem :-)

    MB M-Class Owners: Problems & Solutions

    Steve, Host
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I've got a 3-yr-old 2000 ML320 with 40K miles. I'm having routine service done by the dealer, bringing it in when the FSS says so. (Until 4-yrs or 50K miles, my understanding is that routine services are covered.)

    I just got it back from a B service and noticed that they didn't change either the brake fluid or coolant. I went back through the service records and it appears they haven't done either of these fluid changes in the two A and two B services since the truck was new.

    These are supposed to be done on calendar time rather than miles - I think one is every two years and the other is every three.

    Is anyone else having the dealer do these services under the free maintenance program?

    FWIIW, I got 25K out of the front brake pads and 40K out of the rear.

    - Mark
  • Just purchased my first ever MB for my wife, and yes, she absolutely loves it. A certified 01 ML320 with 30K miles (a little high). Put two years extra starmark warranty on it after reading many of the complaints on this site.

    Did have two minor problems that the dealer corrected when I got it. The radio head was not sending a good "wake up" signal to the CD changer in back. You'd press CD and it would say "No CD player installed," which was wrong. So the dealer promptly put in a new MCD/radio. Works great now.

    The other problem was a little more interesting. Prior to my purchasing it, they had 'cannibilized' the antennae lead for the Teleaid ant to fix another car quickly. When they tried to get a new lead from MB, MB said no, they had to get the whole harness. Despite the dealers arguement with MB, MB insisted. So, they replaced the entire interior wiring harness this week. Seemed like the long way around, but everything seems to be working - for how long, we'll see.
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    Some of you might be aware that I moved from NY london and shipped my ML with me. I now need to get a local UK lisence plate and the form asked me for the Chasis and Engine Number. In the states we go by the VIN Number. Does anyone know where I can find the Engine and Chasis number?
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    I have done 53K miles on my 99 ML320. Still on the original Tires/Brake pads. Most of my driving is Motorway/Highway.
  • hi. just curious, is there such thing as thick plastic/rubber strips that can be used on the bumpers to protect from light collision? i'm picking up my ml350 soon, and since i'm not used to suvs yet, i'm kinda afraid that i would scratch it or something... thanks!
  • Hi, this is my first post in this forum. Just found it last Friday. I got a great deal on 2003 ML320 (M1, M5, Bose, Desert Silver) about $5000 off MRSP. Will test drive Saterday. The dealer told me they will throw either a set of all weather mat or back seat cover. Hurry up, the 2003 ML320 is no longer in production.
  • don't think you need to be hurry... it will be there for quite sometimes....
  • bon_bonbon_bon Posts: 20
    Mark Hi !! I have a 2002 ML 500 that has recently started giving some kind of squeak. It looks as if it comes from behind the GPS System. But we cannot put our fingers on the exact position. My wife has a feeling that this squeaking noise goes away after the car warms up a little say 20-30 minutes of driving. Which led me to believe that this might be coming from some rubber lining that squeaks when the weather is cold. We never had this problem in the summer when we got the car.

    Now your post has got me thinking if might be the board under the hood or something. Any further details that you can provide about the noise like where it was coming from, etc. would be very helpful. The dealership folks are dumb and are usually not very helpful.


    --Bon Bon
  • bargamonbargamon Posts: 302
    I was wondering if any experienced similar:

    Hatch lock somehow locked itself when upright, in that the lock moved from the accepting position to it being locked. Thus the Hatch would not lock. A few tries with the fob to activate the lock did not work, and eventually quit activating the hatch, but the rest of the locks work. I figured carefully how to reset the lock and it closed and locks. Now it won't open, it stays locked. I noticed the solinoid is just to the left of the first aid kit, but Im not messing with it. When I lock (using the fob) the truck, the lights on the outside do not flash now, and the overhead light does not turn off automatically.

    It would appear the truck does not think the hatch is closed.

    Did I: Blow a circit or fuse? (I doubt one would be dedicated to such a small function, or part of the locking system)

    THe manual latch both inside and out are just dead. By that They just are limp when pulling on them. I thought I did not force anything at any time. I Perhaps a rod or latch un did itself, but one would think the motor would still try itself, unless it is just jammed?

    My ll year old simply put his book bag and closed it. 10 min later I put my briefcase in and when I closed it, it just would not latch itself. Amazing what children can do!

    Any ideas for self fix before I engage the talents of others at $75 per hour???
  • Having recently purchased a 350, I am happy to say I find it easier to drive than my old 89 Toyota truck. In fact, it reminds me of driving a Jeep (Wrangler, that is). Easy to get into parking spaces and good visibility behind (once you remove that center headrest - I keep it in the back in case I need it). I expect you'll find yourself going wherever you want to go without having to worry about hitting anything in very short order : )
  • Hi,

    After saying "no!" to the MB extended warranty (can still change my mind I suppose) because of its
    1. High cost - about 7% of the vehicle's retail and
    2. limited coverage - most of the electronics are not covered - e.g. radio head, etc.

    I'm wondering if anyone else on this forum has any recommendations of third party warranty companies. We have a "Royal" warranty on our mini-van and have had little issue with claims with them (over $2500.00 so far) but I'd like to hear about other options - or who I might want to steer clear of...
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    You may want to check the Finance, Warranty & Insurance board too. Joeindenver - several warranty topics there plus some in the archives that may be of interest (search on "warranty").

    Steve, Host
  • I'm looking at the VW Touareg as a possible next vehicle. Any rumors about the next gen ML? If it's due soon I may wait to make a direct comparison before I purchase. Thanks.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Most rumor sources are saying that the new ML will debut in the 2005 model year, probably in late 2004.

    I'd strongly caution you to think long/hard about buying a Touareg in the first model year, especially if you are someone who doesn't want to deal with lots of service trips to get stuff fixed. It's got tons of strikes against it: 1) first year, 2) completely new platform, 3) extremely complex electrical systems, 4) German SUVs have a terrible history of first year problems, especially electrical (ML and X5), and 5) recent VW's have had sub-standard reliability in general.

    But I'd also be very hesitant about buying a new ML in 2005. Wait a year and the odds improve dramatically.

    Reliability wise, the state-of-the-art SUVs of choice today are (unfortunately) the GX470/4-Runner and Pilot/MDX. I say "unfortunately" because I much prefer the design of the German SUVs, but I would never buy a first-year model.

    - Mark
  • Thanks for the feedback. I'm aware of and agree with the concerns you mentioned about recent German and Japanese SUV's. I like the Toyota reputation for reliability and the German penchant for safety/performance. VW seems to be trying to replicate both in one package. It's my understanding that most of VW's problems are coming from those models made in Mexico. Likewise the problem riddled ML and X-5 are made here in the US. Not saying North America can't build high quality vehcles, but the track record doesn't support that position. Anyhow the T-reg is produced in Slovakia, not far from the Wolfsburg plant. Perhaps doubtful/hopeful, but maybe the close oversight will minimize those problems. I am considering the 4runner as well, but I like the blending of great on road handling and off pavement capability that the T-reg seems to offer on paper. Mostly I was hoping to gain feedback here about the direction of the next gen ML. Would consider it as well if it considerably improves it's reliability and modestly up's it's off pavement characteristics and appearance.

    Any talk of a hybrid power plant, or is Mercedes leaning more toward the fuel cell for the future power plants?

    All in all, time is on my side (I may not purchase for quite sometime), so I'll just sit back and see how things develop.
  • Got run into by another driver, while in my 98 ML 320, and finally got other driver's insurance company to recognize they needed to pay me the $ to which I was entitled under law. So, now am looking for a new ML, with no trade in.
    Considering several options:
    ML 350 looks nice but dealers are not discounting much - normal. They are saying about $1500.
    Still some ML 320's out there - both 2002's and 2003's and there is evidently hidden $1500 factory money, on top of what you could normally negotiate with dealer
    Currently in mix on my radar screen:
          2002 - ML 320 with and without Xenon
          2003 - ML 320 with and without Xenon.
    Local dealer has 2 cars which were driven as Rep and demonstrator cars, he is trying to sell as "new" with a little more discount.
              2002 ML 320 with Xenon lights and 16000 miles
              2003 ML 320 with Xenon lights and 9000 miles.
    I am about to make offer on the 2003, as a "used" auto and "used" pricing, on condition he Starmark Certify it, and give me 2 years extended warranty.
       Any thoughts on these cars, and this approach?
    If he doesn't take the offer, then I will look at "new" 2003 ML 320's at other dealers. Have selection of Xenon and not Xenon. Is the extra $ for the Xenon worth it? Or is it just about $850 for a gizmo to show off?
        Lastly I will look at 350's, but was looking more strongly at 320 because the pricing.
    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Get the bi-xenons. They're a safety enhancement, and you will find that $850 is a bargain, especially compared to what it could cost later on to replace the headlamp assemblies.

    Edmunds' Incentives page says the dealer incentive is $2,000 on the ML320, not $1,500.

    The ML350 will probably sell for only $500 above invoice in a lot of places soon if it isn't already -- any price spike is due to it being "new."

    Remember that the spread between invoice and MSRP for MB vehicles is not very much (especially compared with Lexus), so there's a bit less room to discount. But also remember that you're dealing with a vehicle in its last model year, whose supply is good and sales have been weakening, and incentives have been readily available. Thus you should get an excellent price on a still-excellent vehicle.

    Good luck.
  • What are people seeing out there for discounts off list for a 2003 ML 320?
    I am centrally located to be able to trade anywhere from Minneapolis, to Chicago, Kansas City, Omaha and Lincoln, as well as good old Des Moines - whose dealer has a reputation for not negotiating much at all because he thinks he is the only game in town.
  • Thanks for your thoughts, wmquan

  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Most sources I've seen don't think the country of mfg is a significant factor in vehicle reliability. This is based on vehicles which are produced in multiple locations such as Japanese and American Accords or German and American MLs. So I'd expect the Touareg to be as reliable/unreliable as you'd expect from any 1st year VW and first year SUV.

    But we really don't know and maybe the Touareg will break the pattern. It would be too risky for me, but what is life without some risks? It's just a car and the warranty and lemon laws give you something of a safety net. Certainly the initial reviews of the Touareg sound like it is a great SUV.

    When I bought my 2000 ML320, I based my decision on getting the SUV I wanted, and was willing to put up with some glitches. With 40K, the truck has settled down without any recent problems, although I'm still hesitatant to take it out of the warranty period. I'll probably get a Pilot in the next year, but if the truck has another good year, maybe I'll solider on - I really, really like design of the ML and the way it bridges between a rugged, tow-worthy, off-road worthy truck and a well-mannered highway car.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Here is a site that has some shots of the new ML. I have no idea if they're accurate or not.

    - Mark
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    Bon Bon, I've been out of town, sorry the delay in responding.

    The squeak started a year after I took delivery. So, I was surprised that it came after 12,000 miles of driving. My selling dealer told me there was a bulletin on the dash squeak that required some welding to be done under the windshield wiper area. He told me that it was located where the A pillars meet the fenders and the metal from the lower windshield area.

    The squeak sounded like it was the rubber part all across the bottom of the windshield. I too, couldn't pin point the exact spot.

    After the fix was done, I drove back to my other home 1,800 miles away for the winter. To my surprise, it squeaked again but not as bad and more towards the passenger lower windshield. I was livid!!

    Once I reached my winter destination, I called my local dealer and explained what my purchasing dealer did to the vehicle. They seemed unaware of the bulletin. Also, the squeak only happened when I was on the interstate and not in the city. I thought I was going to pull my hair out driving on long stretches of concrete pavement. It was worse when I drove over the expansion joints. It made a nice rhythem though!!!

    The second dealer kept my ML for about 3 days and could not duplicate the squeak. (how frustrating is that!) So, they suggested I take the service manager for a ride to see if I could make it happen. We drove for over 50 miles on all kinds of pavement/bumps, etc. It didn't make one single squeak. So, my guess is, is that it settled down and hopefully will not come back.
    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
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    Just a suggestion, if you do get the Bi-Xenon lights (which I really like), they can be adjusted if you find on coming cars flashing you.

    People were flashing me all of the time so I took my ML back to dealer where they were adjusted. No flashing since.

    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
  • bon_bonbon_bon Posts: 20
    Mark 156 Thanks for the info. Well I am sort of going through the same thing. I took the car to the dealership and they had the service manager sit with me for a about half hour. The damn squeak did not appear. But I mostly happens during the mornings or evenings when I do a cold start and then consistently on the regular bumps on the city roads. I have scheduled another apointment (at 7:00 AM) with the dealer. Let's see if it reproduces itself this time.

    Has anyone else on the board experienced this squeaking problem ? It seems as if it comes from behind the NAV LCD but could be somewhere else too in that area. It drives me nuts that constant sqeak, squeak, squeak... all the time. It sounds as if there are two rubber parts rubbing against each other.

    One other member (Thor, I guess) suggested that we should ignore these noises and focus on the quality of the vehicle. Sorry but I cannot. It drives me nuts and I would like to get it fixed if I can. I also own a lexus RX 300 and it is now four years old but still puts ML 500 to shame when it comes to noise level inside the vehicle. Otherwise I have no other complaints with the ML and its a 02 ML 500 with 9000 miles on it now.
  • cassiricassiri Posts: 40
    Bon Bon,

    I too have a 99 RX300 (wife's) and a 99 ML430. The RX's quality is far superior, but I tolerate my squeaky, quirky ride because it far outperforms the Lexus in accelerating, handling and fun to drive categories.

    I tried relentlessly to get the dash fixed by the dealer and had them take it apart on several occasions. They lubricated and attached felt on several contact points. It has improved, but on a really cold morning, any decent bump at low speed will bring it out.

    Like many here, I am probably more frustrated with the Dealership and Mercedes response than the actual vehicle. I expected some quirks, but thought I would have a reputable company to back up the vehicle. No such luck.
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