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



  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    I think the data shows that vehicle reliability is inversely related to purchase price - the most expensive vehicles are typically the least reliable. This goes for all cars, not just MB.


    Most experts attribute this simply to more complex systems, particularly electronic gizmos and software, and the pioneering of cutting-edge technology on more expensive cars - technology that has not had the testing and years in service of the more mundane systems on cheaper cars.


    IOW, all cars offer similar reliability, but if you have more car, there are more things to break down. Any expectation that the extra money you pay for a MB, BMW, Volvo, Saab, Cadillac, Lexus, Infiniti, or Acura buys you extra reliability isn't, and never has been, backed up by the data. The most reliable cars are the relatively simple and mundane ones produced in huge numbers - for example, 4-cyl Toyota Camrys and Honda Accords with auto transmissions.


    - Mark
  • futurefuture Posts: 2
    Gentleman, you are not comparing apple to apple. What you have is a V8 by MB in contrast to V6 by Lexus. Why don't you test drive the GX470 V8 by lexus. Perhaps, this may educate your views a bit.


    My sister own a lexus RX300 V6, Now this vehicle reached 200,000 mile. So far, she only replaced brake pads, 5 x tires changed, normal services without any major works done to this car. Mine ML320 on the other hand, after the warrentee cost me an average US$2,700 a year. Transmission went once and it cost. The vehicle is now 120,000. It is to costly to keep, I am looking to trade in very soon.
  • yxjinyxjin Posts: 1


    My 1999 ML320 has only 60k miles but burns that much of oil! I have to add one quart of expensive oil for about every two gas station visits for the past year. And it getting worse!


    I did the oil consumption test at dealer to confirmed the fact back in August. Our local dealer then agreed to replace the engine under the class lawsuit settlement. However, the dealer later said that MB manufacture refused to do it because they can't download the vehicle data from the instrument cluster directly. The dealer can down load data using hand-held device, but the manufacture said they don't trust that device. So, they want me to pay for a brand new instrument cluster first before they even consider replacing the engine or not. That’s an expensive piece and working. I don’t see any reason I should pay for it.


    The dealer once praise the MB manufacture for not to replace me a refurbished engine but a brand new one. Four months later today, I don’t see they have any intention to replace the defect engine at all.


    Anyone had the similar problem and experience with oil consumption out there? Where should I get help on this problem?






  • krusinkrusin Posts: 1
    Here is my recent experience with my 2002 ML320 (30K miles). It has been in the shop four times this year (2004) for problems covered by the warranty. The most serious was in early December '04 when the car jumped when I put it in reverse. Then when I started to drive it it would rev rpms severely--I couldn't even accelerate to get on the freeway and had to take the feeder road to the dealership. I rented a car for two days and then picked up my "repaired car" a couple of days later. About a week and a half later the same transmission problem happened. I took it in. I rented a car at the Enterprise on site location. Paid taxes and $10 a day extra for SUV. Four days later the dealer called and said they had to order a Transmission Control Module (computer) from Germany and it would take up to two weeks for it to get to Houston. They also told me that I was responsible for the rental after five days (dealer's new policy). The part got in around 8 days later. Because this happened over Christmas holidays, I had the rental about 10 days over what the dealer covered. This cost me $500 extra to rent a car because Mercedes can't bother to provide parts to its US dealers.


    I also had two other major repairs in '04. One was to repair the fuel line. It broke while I was leaving a car wash with kids in the car. I was turning onto a street and lost power steering. The recall notice came in the mail about two months later!! I have also had numerous problems with a intermittent whistling noise, broken cup holders, power seat not working and replaced two sets of brake pads.


    I am going to buy a Suburban next year when my lease is up. Not only is the reliability poor of the M-class poor, the dealer now can't afford to give M-class owners "Mercedes Service" on these SUV's because of the problems they have had. Mercedes failed to have this important transmission part in supply in the US and it cost me about $500 extra to rent a car because of time to order it from Germany. I might as well by a Chevy!
  • Too many service problems is an understatement with my 99 ML320 with 70k miles. Apparently a slow lead in steering fluid meant replaced power steering rack & pinion for $2k. MB will comp the part for $1200 - but seems way to soon for a major part failure like that. Requires aligning front end when they are done, and got more bad news that a front ball joint has to be replaced, and front hub on the other side should be. That's another $1200. Had already swallowed hard and agreed to have seat heater fixed for $350 - although not a necessary repair. Haven't even brought up occasional pass door lock erratic behavior (flicks on/off fast several times every time I release brake and start to drive forward) - only happens occasionally and then stops. I could go on...Just seems like way too many major issues for what I thought would be a solid car.
  • ml430ml430 Posts: 1
    You mentioned "an intermittent whistling noise". Did you ever find out what the noise was or where it came from? And, how often or when did it come on? I seem to have experienced the same noise (kind of high-pitch) upon acceleration at first, then it would go away but return when I slow down below 20 miles per hour.. I have a 2001 ML430.. Thanks for your reply..
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    Hard to believe the ML has been around for 7 years now.


    2006 Mercedes-Benz M-Class


    Steve, Host
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    I had the Transmission Control Module on my 99ML320 replaced at about 35K miles. I would think that they would have fixed this problem for the 2002 module. My car was in the shop for about 3 days.


    The symptom was when I used to slow down/stop at say a traffic light, the transmission would downshift with a thud. I have about 70K miles now and have had no issues with the tranny ever since. The repair was done under warranty.
  • I've had my 2002 ML320 since March 2002. It now has 28,000 miles, and the only trouble I have had is related to the cheap Dunlop tires. I finally replaced all 4 with Michelins. Otherwise, it has been the greatest car ever. It has also been in a side impact hit by a Suburban. Repaired with no ongoing issues, and we all survived. Reliability is important, but let's not forget about safety. Don't buy anything that doesn't have side head impact air bags. Who cares if you saved a few grand when your six feet under!!!!
  • derel2derel2 Posts: 49
    I am somewhat embarrased to ask this but how do you add windshield washer fluid for the rear window washer? My wife has a ML-430 and I wanted to top off fluid but can't find where it is added! The owner's manual doesn't show how unless I am missing it. I have serviced many cars over the years with rear window washers and never had this problem. Her car is routinely serviced by the dealer so I never had the need to do this before.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    If I am not mistaken there is a panel behind one of the rear wheel wells with the reservoir inside.


    tidester, host
  • I have a 2000 ML-320 with ~60K. My wife reports that the the BAS and ETS lights came on today. I think I remember that this is typically a module failure, or it needs to be reset.


    Can anyone illuminate further?
  • xmf314xmf314 Posts: 154
    I saw the 2006 M-Class at the Los Angeles Auto show. It's a very attractive vehicle, and the interior is a big improvement over the present model.


    However, the nerdy column shifter is a little retrograde. The last vehicle I had with a column shifter was a 1983 Ford Thunderbird.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Nah, it's not a nerdy column shifter. What the vehicle does have is steering-wheel-mounted shifter controls, like some sports cars and sport sedans do. The column shifter is for engaging reverse and park, so it isn't a clumsy shifter like, say, a Honda Pilot.
  • clark4clark4 Posts: 9
    I see has small incentives posted for the ML... Anyone have an idead when they might be increased?
  • xmf314xmf314 Posts: 154
    Sorry to disagree with you wmquan, but that thing hanging from the steering column of the new M-class sure looks like a column shifter to me,


    I like my shifters on the floor, where the Lord intended them to be.
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Sorry, but you misread my post. I'm not disagreeing that it's a column shifter. But a nerdy one? Nah. I highly doubt if anyone's lord intended shifters to be on the floor. Let alone ones that aren't true manual stick shifts with a clutch in the first place. It's a two-and-half-ton SUV with a manumatic, not a ton-and-a-quarter sports car with a tight, short-throw, six-speed shifter.


    The presence of the shift paddles on the wheel is a decidedly modern (read: un-nerdy) touch.


    Personal preferences on the location of controls aside, the transmission itself is an interesting 7-speed unit, quite unique in the SUV marketplace.
  • xmf314xmf314 Posts: 154
    No matter where the shifter is, it appears to be a great vehicle, and the 7-speed transmission only makes it more so.


    I may put it on my shopping list in the future.
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    The manual tells you how to reset it. Mike came on once at about 53K miles and I did the reset per the instructions in the manual. Never had the problem again.
  • mercaramercara Posts: 291
    I just sold my 1999 ML320 with 70K miles for $15K. My cousin bought it. I was a bit reluctant to sell it to family with the reviews and stuff like that. Anyway he insisted that he wanted it cause I have taken very good care of it. All service done at the dealer with service records. Mobil 1 from first oil change even before MB made this mandatory. Besides I have not had any major post warranty issues. I think he got a great deal at 15K. I have been posting on this board for a long time and will probably continue to chime in from time to time.


    I am in the Market for and LX470 or Toyota Land Cruiser. Hope to pick one up in the next month or so.
  • mlny99mlny99 Posts: 1
    Yeah, I have 1999 ML320 and i have the same problem. Guess what??? I gave up. My friend also has a same car, and he also has same problem.

    They did the oil comsuption also when i had the warranty, now it's over. NO MORE Warranty for me...Now i have to be careful because Mercedes Dealer will ripp you off. Recently i had a "check Engine light" that came up. First the Technician said that my piston was going bad. Some ridiculous price of LABOR more than 36hours. i started laughing!!! I said you know, i only have 60,000miles on the car and this car is driven by my wife. She does not race. And then right at way she said: Oh! It's The MASS AIR FLOW SENSOR(MAF).

    And i said: AH! On the Intake you mean??? She mumbled. And she kept going saying that if i don't fix or replace that the car will start shaking and the motor might blow. So, i implied: HAHAHAHA!!! You are funny, good try. Just for your info, i run a Performance Shop for modified cars. and i will just fix myself. And then she said then i still have to charge you for $200.00. And she asked me: How are you thinking of getting rid of Checking Engine Light off? I said don't worry. I'm not stupid. Just plug the OBD2 computer and take it out. By the way, this was from HELMS Brother's in Bayside New York(service dept).

    They wanted to charge me total of from $800.00 to $900.00 for labor and parts. I only spent $275.00 for the part. It took only 7-10 minutes to change the MAF and 2 minutes to get rid off the checking engine light.


    Thanks and regards all,

  • I can't find any good reviews of the new model even though its been at auto shows for over a week now. Don't try looking -- I've looked all over.
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    That's probably because they haven't done an initial production run yet, so there are no models in testers hands yet. The auto-show cars may not even be mechanically complete.


    - Mark
  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    I've had my ML500 for 37 months and 39,200 miles. I just put new tires on it and I'm getting close to a set of brake pads but the brake pad light has not come on yet.


    I have a silly question... Do our ML's have heated side mirrors? I normally keep mine in the garage but kept it out recently in the dew and noticed that when I turned on the rear window defogger, the mirrors didn't clear. Every Mercedes I've had has had heated mirrors. It doesn't say "heated mirror" on the mirror itself.


    I bought the top-of-the-line ML with the third seat, parktronic and navigation.... I just assumed it had heated mirrors too.


    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
  • Called Benz and they said the state will not let them sell used Diesels, even with over 7500 miles on them.


    Yet, VW lists used diesels on their dealer sites.


    If ou figure you are going to drive your M-class vehicle 200,000 miles and you figure 17 mpg and $2.30/gallon, thats = $27,000 in gas. But with diesel at $2.00/gallon and 30 mpg thats = $13,000.


    Also, there will be fewer repairs on a deisel and less chance of a breakdown.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    The difference between the two scenarios you proposed is only $3,500 - you figured the cost running diesel incorrectly. Also, 200,000 miles will take the average driver something like 14 years to achieve so the difference works out to about $5 per week.


    tidester, host
  • markjennmarkjenn Posts: 1,142
    Another issue with this computation (at least around my locale): Diesel is MORE expensive than gas, not less.


    - Mark
  • chumsaechumsae Posts: 61
    My 2000 ML320 has heated side mirrors. Nothing

    needs to be on for them to work. I noticed that

    they were on one morning when there was a dew on the mirrors and steam was rising up within a few seconds of starting the car. On my car the heater element outline (4" dia round shape) shows

    up first, then the rest of the mirror surface is

  • mark156mark156 Posts: 2,006
    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
  • Deisel is usually a little more this time of year since its winter and a harsh one at that!


    (1)(200 000 * 2.30)/17 = $27,058.8235 (Premium)


    (2)(200 000 * 2.00)/30 = $13,333.3333 (Diesel)


    (1) - (2) =~ $14,000 savings.


    Weekly cost savings=(13,333.3333/14)/52= $18.3150183 which is more than the $5 a week savings you, Mr Tidester proports as the truth.
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