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



  • Mark156 - thanks for your thoughts.
    I shot an offer on the 2003 ML320 Rep driven car with Xenon. Ball is in his court. We'll see.
  • wnielwniel Posts: 97
    I have heard about this dash squeak ever since the 1998 ML came out. In reality the problem is not the dash. In the past, the problem was with the perforated grill outside, underneath the back of the hood and the windshield. This keeps the leafs, etc. out of the vetilation system. The grill has a rubber edge that rides against the bottom of the windshield. On the far outer edge near the top edge of the fender, take and raise the grill slightly and either place a small piece of felt between the rubber edge and the windshield or spray some silicon in the area. The felt is the best fix. I think that you will find that this fixes the problem.
  • Anybody had any bad experiences with after market towing kits for ML320? It's not the hitch I'm worried about. A hitch is a hitch. But after viewing the wiring harness that MB supplies for the 7 pin hookup, and knowing just how "electric" the car is, I can't help but think the extra $100 now is worth saving a lot of trouble later.

    After market wiring just for 4-pole would be one of the directly battery driven relays. But I wonder if there would be trouble in electric feedback and sensor systems.
  • When I purchased my 98 ML in 00, as part of the deal I required they install a hitch. At that time I don't think there was aftermarket available for the ML. Anyway it was the MB variety. The wiring connection on the ML was round, but the wiring connection on my trailer was flat. The lights just were not working correctly. So, I spent an afternoon tracing the color coded wires through the conversion plug to see if they were in the right location to appropriately run the brakes, lights, and turn signals. Then I don't know why, but I removed the hatch cover into the left rear fender area - where the first aid kit is stored. I felt around for the wiring that came from the plug, went into the fender and forward in the car. I found a relay box of some sort by feel. It seemed to have an open socket hole. I felt around some more and found a wire with a plug, loose. I thought, well why not insert the plug in the open socket. And low and behold, the lights on the trailer now correctly performed their function.
    I'm picking up a 2003 ML 320 on Sat, with a dealer installed hitch. I just couldn't get excited about an after market job.
  • pathdocpathdoc Posts: 126
    I would be interested in your experiences towing with a ML. What sized trailer/weight have you been towing? With a ML 500 what would be reasonable? Has anyone tried a horse trailer? We just bought a horse and although I don't have an immediate need to trailer if my daughter keeps on training I might have to face it in the future. Since we just got a 2003 500 ML I'd be interested in any comments.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    In answering your question, I have a 99 ML430, I tow mainly two things, a pair of three seaters jetskies and a lot gear on the trailer, close to 3000lbs, no problem at all.
    The other item is a 22ft fishing boat on tandem axles, is over 5000lbs no problems either, many times I get in a steep boat landing I use the low range, the truck handles beautifully, one good thing about the ML is that short overhang on the rear placing the hitch close to the axle, as you know the closer you are to the axle the less swaying a trailer will do, providing you trailer and load is properly balanced.

    The ML 500 has a bigger and torquier engine and bigger disks in the brakes. I used to be into horses, I will go by memory and say a tandem axle two horse trailer depending on the build and brand is between 1200 and 1500lbs and a horse is between 900 to 1100lbs for a big horse, everything below tow rating.

    To summarize you have a vehicle that is more than what is needed.

    If it makes you feel better I took this picture at the factory, very few SUV's will have a beefy transmission like this. Press HI RESS for better viewing.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I use a ML320 for light- to medium-duty towing, typically a utility trailer weighing 1000-lbs with perhaps 1000-lbs of motorycycles and gear in it. One time I borrowed a larger trailer and loaded up three big street bikes, so I was probably at 3K or so.

    The ML does well. I'm especially impressed with the flexilbility of the engine and transmission. The body-on-frame construction lends a little peace-of-mind as well.

    As you approach the towing limit of 5K lbs, I'd start getting a little nervous - I'd really prefer something like a Suburban or heavy-duty pickup based platform for this. But if you are conservative in your driving, have good trailer brakes and hitches, etc. you should be fine.

    I'd never go over 5K though and I don't think the V8 buys you the ability to tow more - just tow with less effort and strain by the engine.

    - Mark
  • jcat707jcat707 Posts: 168
    I'm looking to buy a SUV and I would like to see what the monthly payments might look like. If any of you all could share your monthly payments, it would be greatly appreciated.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
    There's also a Calculate Monthly Payments link on the main page you can experiment with.

    Steve, Host
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    BTW - asking once is adequate!

    tidester, host
  • pathdocpathdoc Posts: 126
    Thanks for the info it is reassuring.
  • lamkenlamken Posts: 19
    My ML have 2 near stall on the highway in one month. It loss power during acceleration and the engine start to shake and the check engine light came on. The shaking only stop after I turn off and turn on the truck again. The first time the dealer said cylinder 4 misfire and replaced all the spark plugs. When it happen again they said the code suggest multiple misfire and proceeded to replace the catalytic convertors. Any one with similar problem before? I am not sure why the dealer think the catalytic convertor is the problem instead of looking at the ignition system. I have 140000km(approx 90000miles on my 1999ML). Thanks for any advise.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I have no idea why a bad convertor would cause misfire. Especially suddenly.

    Do you have another dealer to go to? This one sounds incompetent.

    - Mark
  • Lamken,

    You mention that your dealer "proceeded to replace the cat converters..." did this help the situation?

    As far as other comments posted, clogged converters can cause trouble in the engine. Too much backpressure in the exhaust will cause less than ideal clearing of the gasses in the chambers which could result in some misfiring or other trouble. A friend of mine had a T-bird that was running reliably and then over a week's time it became almost impossible to drive. Interestingly it idled OK - just did not want to accelerate. Replacement of the converter solved the trouble right away. The mechanic said the issue might have been some "bad" gas or simply that the converters got too clogged for the engine to run any more. The car in question was at 102K at the time.
  • I DO hope someone from MB reads these boards...

    I have a ML350 and I am finding it difficult to get the gas nozzle into the filler neck properly in cold weather. I'm currently on a trip in Ohio and they, as do other states, have emmission control gas pumps as well as pumps with the "splash-back" protector on the nozzle. In cold weather these rubberized plastic devices might as well be made of steel as they are difficult to bend and sometimes will just not allow you to put in the pump's nozzle all the way into the filler neck. And if you do manage to get it in all the way, getting it back out can be harder. When it's 3 degrees F with a 20mph wind blowing the last thing you want to do is take your gloves off to bend back the pumps splash-back protector so you can put gas in the truck.

    I'm thinking all of this stress on the fill neck housing can't be good for it and I'm wondering if other's have had this issue and if so, what they could suggest to help mitigate the problem - if anything.

    As much as this beast wants to go to the gas station : ) one would have thought access to filling the fuel tank would be a little easier. To me, it looks like tilting the angle on the filler-neck outboard just a couple of degrees would help a lot - but I'm sure there is more to it than that.
  • lamkenlamken Posts: 19
    So far the engine is running fine but it also ran fine for one month after all the spark plug has been replaced. I'll just have to wait to see. BTW i found a mayonnaise like deposit on the oil cap. Some say this is normal because of our frigid canadian weather, some say it might be coolant getting into the oil. The oil on the dipstick loks OK. I'm not runnig low on coolant and the coolant in the reservoir looks fine. Any thoughts on that.
  • djdjdjdj Posts: 111
    The poor fit ceases to be an issue once you break off the plastic ring that is part of the gas door locking mechanism. That isn't the 'factory approved' solution but functionally it solves the problem.

    The first time it snapped off I didn't know why. After the dealer fixed it under warranty I noticed it was much harder to get the gas nozzle in. When I really pushed it in one time, I watched the tab break off and realized the car isn't built to accomodate that nozzle collar.

    Losing the tab does not reduce the gas door locks efficiency so I didn't have it fixed again. I am sure many others have broken it off without realizing what they did.
  • wnielwniel Posts: 97
    I would guarantee you that this deposit on the gas cap is not from coolant in your oil. More than likely, the dealer put some lubricant on the threads of the filler cap. They typically use a white grease for this function and for many other lubrication uses in the car. Ordinary grease tends to rot rubber and other materials, the special white grease doesn't.
    I hope that this helps.
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    "It's my understanding that most of VW's problems are coming from those models made in Mexico." Nope. I've had more than my share of problems on GTI and it was made in Germany. Many of the problems are design issues that VW has known about for years but either not done anything about or only fixed belatedly. For example, on the 12valve VR6 engine, a number of parts tend to fail early -- coilpacks (I'm not talking about their current coilpack fiasco that affects the 1.8T engine which uses a different coilpack design), starters. The rear brake rotors are undersized and wear prematurely. The whole window regulator fiasco.

    A bigger problem than VW quality is their dealer network. More than a few of the VWOA dealers are very substandard and have very poor service departments.

    The Touareg is a very interesting looking vehicle, but I'd wait a year at least. Let them get the bugs out first. And maybe by then VWOA will have improved the dealers.
  • sencsenc Posts: 44
    These warning lights on the dash of my '99 ML320 have started to come on sometimes. They always go off after I turn motor off and restart vehicle. I know thisi indicates a malfunction, but has anyone had this problem yet, and if so, what was problem and how much $$$ did it set you back to repair? Current mileage is 70k. Thanks
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    We've had intermittent ESE/BAS and other lights come on now and then since our 2000 ML320 was new. The general MO is that we'll have a period of a week or two where they'll be on a couple times and then they'll go off for six-months. I mention it to the service guys, they replace a sensor or a connector, but obviously they haven't found the real problem.

    Until you get a consistent fault, I'd ignore it. I almost consider it just another funny characteristic of the vehicle.

    - Mark
  • This may sound strange but I had similar symptoms with an E320. It was always resettable and when the battery failed due to an internal short and was replaced under warranty the BAS fault never reappeared. It seems that the battery plates made contact when the battery would heat up a little and the change in voltage would foul the electrical system. Maybe try another battery? (6859)
  • I am thinking of buying a friends 1999 ML 430. He's the original owner. The car is loaded and in excellent condition. It has 67,000 miles with extended warranty (100,000). Asking approximately $23,000. Any suggestions?
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I'd review the service records with a fine tooth comb and go through the electrical systems one-by-one and make sure everything works. These cars are mechanically robust but the electrical systems are really flaky, especially on the 98s and 99s. Water leaks are also an issue. I'd make sure it has had its fuel pump replaced - this item failed regularly on the 99s and it is a disabling failure.

    $23K for a 99 430 with MB extended warranty sounds like a pretty good deal, although it depends a little on the how it is optioned. The dealers around here typical are asking $30K+ for this car.

    OTOH, I hear ML prices are VERY depressed right now and you can get new cars for $5K off or so and this has to trickle down. Personally, I'd rather spend $36K on a new 2003 ML320 rather than $23K for a used 99 ML430, but then I find the 320 power completely adequate and prefer the lighter and more fuel efficient engine.

    - Mark
  • sencsenc Posts: 44
    My '99 ML320 will only bring about 16k with roughly the same miles and I am the original owner. I think the price for the 430 may be a little high. I wouldn't pay that high of a percentage more for the 430 than the 320. That's just my opinion. I'm in NC, so values could vary outside the southeast.
  • mac320mac320 Posts: 147
    Since at least '00, the V8s have shorter stopping distances: they've got larger rotors and wider tires. So, there's a safety reason if you're looking for an excuse. On the west coast, that price looks good.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,571
    Check your clamps - possible fluid leaks could cause engine fires:

    M-Class SUV probed for leaks

    Steve, Host
  • When is the next redesigned M-class model coming out? Pictures and info would be geatly appreciated.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I don't know if this info is reliable or not:

    - Mark
  • aveghteaveghte Posts: 68
    My wife is looking at a new ML350 when her Lexus 300 comes off lease later this year.

    Will there be any significant changes between 2003 and 2004 versions of the car?

    I have heard about reliability problems with the M-class in the past. Has reliability improved? The 3.5 liter engine seems better suited to pull this large vehicle. My wife likes the comfortable leather seats. Are they supportive for long car trips? Our Lexus RX 300 has been great but we want to try something new this time around and the safety features of the ML 350 seem unmatched. Also we get flooding here in South Florida and the 20 inch fording depth sounds like a useful feature.

    She likes the Silver and Desert Silver (gold) colors of the car but she also likes the Java leather - is it possible to get these color combinations? Does the beige leather hold up well or would she be better with Ash (gray) or Charcoal (black) leather? We have a baby on the way so we want to have something that won't get too dirty.

    We will be going to a Volvo XC 90 event in two weeks. They said that they will have ML350's and X5's to drive in addition to the XC 90's. Sounds like a good chance to test drive without having to deal with a salesman. We test drove the T5 XC 90 but were unimpressed with the engine. The T6 costs as much as the Mercedes and the BMW but doesn't seem as luxurious.

    Thanks for any help you can provide!
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