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



  • sirdarbysirdarby Posts: 20
    Don't trade at the dealer. Put it in autotrader or the newspaper and sell it yourself. I did and made an additional $4,000.

    Dealers buy your car for cheap and sell it retail for much more. There are a lot of private owners who want a MB, and don't care about maintenance.
    They just want agood deal.

    By the way, the MDX is a good choice, I know 3 people with them (two female relatives) who love the trouble free experience.
  • sirdarbysirdarby Posts: 20
    Sold my 98 ML last year for about 15K. It had 95K miles and was about to go out of 100k warranty.

    Anybody who doesn't have 100k extended is bungee jumping without a rope.
  • poppi68poppi68 Posts: 3
    55,000 miles. Any problems with the vehicles were fixed in a day. We purchased this vehicle because it was much better than the X5. It's not perfect (nothing is) but we love this vehicle and plan on driving it until it can't take anymore. Extremely safe and a beast when it needs to be. In NYC winters, I can't think of another vehicle I would rather have.

    It seems as though people expect perfection from autos. Why? Everything fails at some point. Everything, even the sun. This is the way of life.
  • causing damage to oil pan. Repairs $800 - $1000.

    Anybody else have this happen?
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    Losttooth, what year ML do you have? Mine is still rather new., so no problems yet. How many miles do you have on yours?

    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
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Harmonic balancer problems at around 60K-80K seem fairly common. What was your mileage?

    There is a check that can usually warn of the problem well before it actually fails. You shine a flashlight down the front of the engine and onto the lower pulley with the engine idling. If the lower pully appears to wobble, then the balancer is probably going.

    - Mark
  • I wish I'd known. I have a 2000 ML-320 with 56K on the clock. When it happened, there was a 'clunk', that I thought was something I'd run over on the freeway. Later thought it was pwr steering, but it was the lower pully.

    I guess I should check in here more often. Used to post here as "Sydney6".

    Other than some generally minor problems, (the usual found here) no major issues with reliability.
  • kiiwiikiiwii Posts: 318
    You are pretty lucky. Severl members here ended up spending $3-5k to get the damage fixed.
  • tomjavatomjava Posts: 136
    Doesn't MBUSA reimburse the repair costs? It's a very well known problem among MB V6 engine.

    IMO, MB should issue a recall on this issue.
  • If you know of ANYONE who was reimbursed for this failure, PLEASE let me know. Total came to US$925.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I haven't heard of any "secret warranty" on the balancer although I suspect there have been some goodwill fixes.

    Failure is somewhat common, but in watching the various ML boards, I don't think it is any worse than the machine-gun door locks or fuel pump issues, none of which have been covered either. All cars have issues like this, so it is a matter of degree. Without hard data, it is difficult to know whether this is a 1%, 5%, or 20% of the fleet problem.

    A lot of V8s seem to have the issue too.

    - Mark
  • Thanks. I think I'll send MBUSA a letter just the same. I'll let you know what happens.
  • We pulled the trigger on a new 05 ML350 three days ago. What a difference between it and our old ML320 (99). Totally different ride and feel. Very much improved, and way better than what we tried (Volvlo, Lexus, X5, Sequoia). I do have a question, we only got 2 remote keys (no valet key) and our old ML came with 3 (2 remote and 1 valet). Has MBUSA changed how many keys we get for '05? I will also call my dealer, but I wan't to hear from others.
  • pai7pai7 Posts: 35
    My daughter's 1998 ML 320 with 99K miles was traded for $10500.She got an 04 RX 330 AWD on which dealer discounted $3200.She enjoys driving the new RX.I also have a 99 ML 430 with almost 75K miles.Plan to sell/trade it before the extended warranty( 100K) runs out.
  • I have an 00 ML320 with 61k and I just returned from the dealer after the $430.00 scheduled B service. They also wanted me to replace the spark plugs for nearly $500 and they also suggested the gas filter and gas hoses? Has anyone had this done and is it really necesssary? The service on this vehicle is incredible...
  • Seems to me the spark plugs and perhaps the filter should be covered under the emissions warranty. I'm not 100% sure as I don't have that text in front of me, but I've had things like that repaired on other makes of cars under the emissions warranty. And gas lines going bad? How can they tell??? I've replaced exactly one gas line in all of the cars I've owned - I created a pinhole in the rusted line of my 83 Rabbit GTi when I was replacing the fuel pump(agian). And it has almost 200K miles on it.

    Seems excessive...But I saw this on another related forum:

    2000ml320 "MB M-Class Owners: Problems & Solutions" Sep 3, 2004 12:44pm

    So perhaps this really is a problem. Hope this helps...
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    There are two emissions warranties: 24K and 84K. The 24K warranty covers anything that would cause the vehicle to not pass emissios. But the 84K one only covers the cats and the computer - that's it.

    On the spark plugs and gas filter/hoses, I'd do what the book says - no more, no less.

    - Mark
  • pathdocpathdoc Posts: 126
    We have a 2003 ML500 which my wife drives. She noticed squeaking and reduced braking capability. She had the same issue approx. 12000 miles ago(12/03) at which time the dealer replaced pads. Now they say it needs pads and rotors at a tune of $1000. Neither time did the warning light come on.
    Is this normal for the ML?

  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Lots of issues here.

    Well brake squeal comes and goes and generally is an annoyance rather than a problem. I would live with it unless it is pretty loud. If it came after the last brake repair, likely they didn't use the special paste on the back side of the pads that keeps them from vibrating.

    Reduced brake capability probably means a spongy pedal. If you confirm her assessment I'd have the brakes inspected for leaks, bled and if the problem returns, then you've got to figure out where air is getting into the system.

    Brake life is highly variable. 12K is very short, but MLs are hard on brakes and some drivers and environments are pure hell on brakes so it is possible. I get about 25K-35K. Dealers routinely overprescribe new pads because it is a high-profit fix. The sensors are actually pretty conservative, so unless they are broken or were not installed properly after the last brake job, you should have 30%+ of your brake life left even AFTER the sensor starts showing a problem.

    I'd try and look yourself at the brake wear - it is pretty easy to do with a flashlight. If you can see something left of a slot in the middle of the brake pad right in the center where it touches the rotor, then you don't need replacement.

    If you can correlate your issues with the last brake service, I'd find another dealer or cultivate a relationship with an indpendent shop. Often a simple pad change for a $150 or so is all that is required rather than the pads, rotors, etc. changeout that is $600 at the dealer. $1000? That sounds out of line unless something is broken and anything broken should be covered by warranty.

    Good luck.

    - Mark
  • Your car has 100,000 mile plugs. As long as it is running fine, do not replace the plugs. I replaced my gas filter at around 80,000 and did not replace any hoses.
  • I replaced my pads about every 15,000 miles. The only rotor replace I did was at 60,000 miles. That's for a 99 ml320.
  • Joe,
    The dealer says that MB is switching to new bigger gas filter due to our extreme winters here in the Northeast. Due to this new larger filter some of the hoses need to be replaced at my expense. It sounds fishy to me. I also think the spark plug price is a rip-off.
  • pathdocpathdoc Posts: 126
    Thanks for your suggestions. I will evaluate.
  • We bought an '05 ML350 about 2 months ago.
    I also inquired about the valet key and was told by both the service advisor and the parts department that the "flat" valet key was NOT available.
    That's too bad since it is so low tech (robust - does not break) and fit ON my key chain instead of ANCHORING it like the electronic key.
  • My words to MB would be: "If you're requiring this change then the change shall be covered under warranty because otherwise it can't be required for me to pay for it." It sounds like they would like for you to pay for a required upgrade that should be covered by their dollars. Assuming you're still under warranty, of course.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I doubt MB is "requiring" the change (as in a recall) - they're advising it. (Actually, the dealer is probably advising it, and I'd ignore it - most of the "advice" for additional service coming from dealers is mainly designed to increase their service revenues.)

    Holding a mfg to a standard where they they have to retrofit the entire fleet for free every time they make a change to a car doesn't seem reasonable to me. It would also stifle incremental improvements.

    - Mark
  • Gentlemen,

    Thanks for the feedback on the gas filter and plugs. They were both recomendations from the service rep. I am under warranty up to 100K. I will ask about the emissions warranty and see how they handle that. I have to bring the ML back for a loose ball joint and a broken glass faulty sensor. Both are under warranty.
  • re: "Holding a mfg to a standard where they they have to retrofit the entire fleet for free every time they make a change to a car doesn't seem reasonable to me. It would also stifle incremental improvements."

    I'm sorry, that's not what I meant in my previous post. I was under the impression from gortiz's post that the service advisor was saying the updates were "required" and "required" means (to me) they pay, if under warranty, not the user. I didn't mean to imply that I would require MB to update my vehicle if next year's ML350 had something different/better. I would not - that's why one buys new cars, no? : )
  • Well, after my 99 ML320 released about 5 years of hydrocarbons (Mobil-1) into the atmosphere at a rate of 1 quart per week, Benson Mercedes (Metairie, Louisiana) agreed to do the ring job.
  • Forgot to update this forum on the above. The vehicle is fixed, but the very next week the battery died. 4 or 5 years is normal life, but the Roadside Assist technician said I had the "old style" battery that had a leaking problem.

    There was significant surface corrosion in and around the battery tray area, and I told the technician that I had just had (three weeks before) the Service B, wherein this problem should have been brought to my attention.

    I also mentioned that the week before I had a harmonic balancer failure, and that that was a second opportunity to note the battery problem, AND I mentioned that I had heard (didn't tell him I heard it here) that a visual inspection of the balancer can detect an imminent failure. I told him that I am disappointed that the dealer didn't notice the potential HB failure as WELL as the battery problem. he said that they have had lots of problems with batteries and HB failures.

    As he replaced my dead battery, and as I told him of the HB issue, he looked at the HB (the car was running) and said that it looked 'wobbly' and that he would have it checked ASAP, and not to drive it too much until checked.

    I was flabbergasted that an MB technician would recommend that course of action, given that the HB had JUST been replaced one week before!

    To make a long story a bit shorter, in the end the dealer was very good about it, and replaced the battery tray and cleaned the area at no charge. They had about 4 journeyman technicians check again the HB, and they felt it was in perfect shape. The told me that a visual inspection is a good 'first indicator of potential' failure, but that only a more thorough inspection can truly indicate a problem.

    So, the moral is: if you have a 2002 (?) or older MB, have your battery checked for leadks and corrosion. Also, a visual inspection of the HB (if it's wobbly looking while running) can indicated that further inspection is warranted, but it may not indicate a real problem.

    Good luck
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