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



  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    I heard that it was raining in LA today :-)

    The hitch receiver is just another way of referring to the trailer hitch opening. Do you have the trailer hitch installed? If so, then yes. If not then no, you don't have a "hitch receiver.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    My advice to you is to wash the wheels, and then wax them. The brake dust is much easier to wash off when the wheels are waxed (read more slippery).

    The Kleen wheels brake dust covers are not recommended as they severely diminish air flow to the brakes (despite what the ads say) and can cause the brake rotors to warp.

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  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    "He brought you "Confessions Of a Car Salesman" to give you the inside story of his undercover work as a car salesman. For this chat, Chandler Phillips goes one-on-one with "The Cardinal", Dependable Dodge's own Marc Antonucci . Don't miss this battle of truths as these two give it to you straight."

    If you haven't read's confessions of a car salesman, I highly recommend you do so. I found it very entertaining, and yet enlightening as to what goes in the auto sales business.

  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    I didn't install any trailer hitch. So I guess I don't have a receiver then. How much does one cost and is installation a PIA ? MB sells them ? how about others ?

    it was mentioned on here that the rear bumper has to be removed !?GREEEEAT.

  • birgerbirger Posts: 80

    there is an alternative solution, if you do not plan to do heavy towing: HiddenHitch makes a Class 2 hitch that bolts on to the frame using existing holes. They claim it can be installed in 15 minutes (which I believe after seeing the fitting instructions):


    and the installation does not involve removing the rear bumper.

    I would probably have opted for this had I known - I mainly used my trailer hitch for a bike carrier, and the Euro factory mounted (removable) hitch is a whopping 540 $. As it turns out, I'm going to get a trailer for my wife's MCC smart cabriolet - so the money may have been well spent after all.

    Hope this helps you - I don't know how much this hitch type costs, though.

    Kind regards,


    PS: Maybe the fitting instructions can't be seen until you click on them - it's a .pdf file
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Somone living in my area has the "Hidden hitch" hitch installed on his '00 ML320. IMHO, it doesn't really look as clean as the stock Class 3 hitch since it slopes down below the rear bumper. Actually it looks rather strange because of this. I'd guess that it probably doesn't provide much rear end protection either, since it is only slightly further out (maybe 1/2-1"?) than the rear bumper.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Yes, the rear bumper does have to be removed for the class 3 trailer hitch installation. You can find the trailer hitch instructions here.

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  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Those of you living in or close to NY may be interested in's NY editor contest.
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    What do you mean by "removable"? That is quite expensive. We can get ours for US$250 from Clairparts.
  • I own a '99 320 and I'm contemplating swapping my regular oil to synthetic, since that is the standard now recommended by MB. Does it make sense to change the oil now, 5,200 miles before my next scheduled service? (I currently have 25,000 miles.) For those with pre-2000 MLs, has anyone had any success getting the dealer to pick up the cost? Finally, what is the avg. cost of an oil change?

    Many thanks.

  • birgerbirger Posts: 80

    by "removable" I mean just that. The ball part/drawbar (no jokes, please) is shaped more or less like an umbrella handle. It's inserted from below, after you remove the trim piece in the bumper. There's even another trim piece to fit when you use the drawbar. In normal use, this trim piece and the drawbar are stored in the right rear of the cargo area (below the CD changer). I'll see if tonight I get around to scan the relevant pages of the manual, which explains the system better than I do.

    On my T&C minivan, I had the Class 2 hitch below the bumper. You're right, Drew, it didn't offer much in the way of "urban protection", unless you left the drawbar in place.

  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Hope those of you in Seattle are okay...we definitely felt the 7.0 magnitude earthquake up here in Vancouver.

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  • Well, I had the UNIMOG bug a bit before and the discussion here made me look around the net-they are very available. Both the Swiss and German armies are getting rid of their gas-powered 'Mogs. I put down a deposit on a 404S troop carrier (read flatbed truck with a canvas cover) fully rebuilt by the German army for use in Bosnia. It was never used and was surplused. New bed, new tires, new tranny, remanufactured engine-everything to new specs. I am getting it for $9,500-delivered to the US. So for everyday, I'll use the ML320 and for the backcountry fun-the Unimog! I can't see how it will hurt to have basically a super-heavy duty pickup truck that will go places a Hummer can't for so cheap-and it is a Mercedes! Thanks for re-igniting the interest.--Jeff
  • Hi All!

    We test drove the 320 and 430 this past weekend. We have looked at the MDX and an X5 too, but she likes the ML 430 the most.

    The sales guy told us Sat. that he could give us a discount off the sticker of $1000. On Mon. he called us and he told my wife that he could increase the discount to $1650. The price on the sticker for this car is $52345. It's loaded w/almost all options.

    My question to you is: Is this in the ballpark of what you all had to pay? Enquiring minds want to know?

  • biker5biker5 Posts: 199
    Do your homework first before you sign the contract. Did you know the invoice price of that ML430 if you don't its not to late to go to this site and check the invoice price, go to the new car section and click MB then click ml then click all the option you have on that ML you are looking for get the total then add 500.00 bucks and around 400.00 to 500.00 ad fee get the total again and that,s the good price for that vehicle. Good Luck.. its work for me.
  • wnielwniel Posts: 97
    pathdoc: I live in Laguna Niguel and have been using the dealership there for many years. In the past they have used the Enterprise Rentals for their loaners. I was just told that they are no longer using them as they are now using the new C class for loaners. With regard to service, I'm very pleased with the service and they have excellent service reps to deal with. It is a brand new facility that was just opened a couple of years ago where they moved across the freeway from their old one. I hope that this answers your questions regarding this dealership.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    Mark, I think that is a high price, I paid around 45k for my ML430. The only disadvantage that I see on the 430 over the 320 is that you will be a more frequent visitor to the gas station, and premium at that.
    Contratulations on your Unimog. A word of caution, be sure you are protected by having some kind of writen agreement in regards to the condition of the vehicle, there are some good guys and then some bad boys dealing with Unimogs.
    You will find out that Unimogs are adictive. You should look around in your area for an off-roading club, they are a good crowd, that likes to play rough with their toys like a bunch of kids and spend time outdoors, is a good clean pastime that the whole family will enjoy. I guess I should post a pic of my Moggs, but rigth now they are in pieces, going thru a complete restoration, hopefully it will be ready in a few months, I have my own shop at home and I enjoy working on it. My favorite Mogg is the 406, is compact, one inch shorter than my porsche, the best part is that although my moggs are 21 years old all the parts are available, all the way down to the rubber trim for the cab.

    In case anyone is interested I know of a 406 Mogg that can be had for 10k or less, the bad thing is that it needs work in the engine for lack of use and condensation damage and extensive cosmetic work for being out on the wheater for 20 years, the good thing is that it only has 68 miles. Definitely is a project for the mechanically inclined with the facilities but it all in all is a good deal, considering that a replacement today cost around 120K.
  • My wife would like a SUV. She has test driven a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder, & Mazda Tribute. The Cherokee & Pathfinder didn't feel right. I saw some used M-class on-line. Is the 1999 ML430 with 30,000 miles for $35,000 a good deal? Any owners out there who can comment on reliability & performance? I've read alot of good things, but I'd like some more input-Thanks!
  • I have just receive my Front Grill Bar Style II for my 01 ML320. The instructions are not very detailed and it involves taking off the bumper etc. Do any of you know where I can get the instructions to take off the bumper etc and possibly for the whole install.
    Or maybe I should bring it to the dealer ha?

    Any suggestions welcome! thanks for your help!
  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    My dealer at downtown LA loans out Cs first. Not sure exactly who owns them but they use Enterprise staff to manage the Cs. If all the Cs are used up, they tap into a wide range of other cars. From explorers, to the new Montero, to mercury sables. DTLA actually has a little enterprise booth in the dealer itself.

  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738

    Someone on the M-Class Mailing List just did this. You can see his posting on the E-scribe Archive.

    When you do your install, can you take digital pictures?

    BTW, what did it cost and did you get the skidplate, too?
  • bertram60bertram60 Posts: 113
    I just bought my wife a 2000 ML w/9,000 miles on it from a MB dealer (car was Starmarked) for $39,500. Car has Bose/Nav system, and sunroof. I contacted a friend who's a wholesaler and he just sold a '99 ML430 w/ 19k for $34,000 so you're not far off the mark. I would think that something closer to the 30 mark would be a good deal.

    If you're buying it privatley, and the truck is close by, see if the seller will allow you to take it to an MB dealer and have them go over the it prior to purchasing.

    There are also some online services that allow you to plug in the VIN to see if any insurance claims or major recalls have effected that truck. I'm sure someone on this site can recommend one of them.

    I also saw a service in Automobile magazine a couple of months ago that will go on site and give the truck a pretty good going over. I would also ask to see the service records, or find out what dealer has serviced the truck and go to the service manager to see if they can check the records.

    My experiences have been that sometimes people "forget" a few "minor" items that aren't discovered until it's too late. I would also go to your local MB dealer and look on their used lot. I stumbled onto mine as it was being driven onto the lot. Three others that were there all had been painted in various places, and had roughly the same price. After doing some checking (calling my friend), I was willing to pay a little more for the truck that was there as opposed to saving $1,000 at the auction and maybe having to wait for a few weeks to find one that was as clean as this one. Don't be afraid to haggle, the worst thing they can say is "You have a deal!" Good luck - randy
  • jmcdowelljmcdowell Posts: 13
    I bought this from Michael Carradine. The 406 sounds like a deal! I am still recovering from shock at buying one-can't imagine another yet.....Jeff
  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    what "rocking" motion in the ML ? er. ya.

    have no clue what he's talking about.

    my baby don't do that.


  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    my service A is due soon. I want to confirms several things...
    1. oil change comes free it correct ? and synthetic mobil 1 will be used ?
    2. what else will be done on my ml ?

  • biker5biker5 Posts: 199
    Here are some:
    Tire rotation, I did it myself coz. they will charge you for tire rotation as well as wheel balancing,if you want your wheel to balance. I didn't do that because my tire is look fine and its not rocking like what CNN said. Also if you have some other minor complaint, tell them, so they can do it at the same time, I had one minor, my back sit wasn't coming down/folding smoothly..just the driver side, they adjusted it, now is working fine.

    How many miles do you have now on your FSS? Because here in San Diego they won't change your oil not until your FSS reads less than 999 miles. They said thats the MB policy since they are the one who's paying.
  • ylanylan Posts: 2
    I decided to take my ML in for unschedule oil change (@5000miles). Since its not a regular interval neither schedule A or B, the dealer in Portland, Oregon is asking ~ $96.00 for oil change to mobil1. What is the price in other parts of the country? Just curiouse as to what 2000 models with all services being free really buys me.
  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    is it a PY21W type ?

  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    i also asked the dealer to perform oil change to mobil 1 at about 5000 miles. at that point, the FSS showed some 5000 miles. When they did the oil change, they resetted the FSS. even after I reminded SA not to. Techs did it, and later admitted they shouldn't have. So according to FSS computer, I've done service A, but I haven't.
    So dealer will do my service A at 10000 miles.
    I"m about 9800 miles now.

    Apparently, it's not such a big deal. FSS only monitors oil so ... or at least that is what my SA said. For example, he said they must definately do Service A before the ML has reached it's first b'day or 12000 driven miles. FOr realignment and rotation etc...

    so my FSS is kinda screwed up now. he plans to reset FSS displays two spanners and no services A or B have been performed..heheh...

    I can't recall how much I have left on FSS now, but it's pretty high. Some 6000 miles. But this number doesn't mean anything now...the understanding between my SA and me is that they will perform Service A pretty soon. right about 10000 miles on odometer.=)

  • rockypaulrockypaul Posts: 104
    Try besetting the FUSS yourself.
    Very simple; see manual.
    You will then be better prepared to control your own maintenance intervals especially oil changes if you intend to keep the vehicle past its warranty period.

    While it is true that new oils of all kinds maintain viscosity for a much longer period and the FUSS will confirm this it is not necessarily true that filter elements continue to filter as efficiently as when new.

    Why not eliminate for a few dollars the long term worry about causing what can be considered easily preventable wear on so many finely machined engine parts.
  • jwomacjwomac Posts: 7
    Had my 00 ML-320 in for service yesterday (at Long Mercedes in Chattanooga). The rear driver-side window had started getting "goop" on it when rolled down all the way. The servicer was very familiar with the issue. The CD changer had also started to fail at times playing for a second and then skipping for several seconds. Other times, it would work fine. They fixed the door and replaced the changer. I also got them to replace the console lid under warranty (for the bubbling that others have seen also). I was given a Grand Am from Enterprise as a loaner. I also asked the service manager about the new synthetic policy. He confirmed that MB had authorized them to use Mobil 1 , Pennzoil, and Castrol synthetics but that their dealership would only be using the Mobil 1.
  • bob259bob259 Posts: 280
    My coolant leak has re appeared, in what appears the same location, within two weeks of the dealers water pump/gasket renewal procedure. I had been noticing the ground under my ML at work damp, but I assumed it was from the old coolant that had leaked, but yesterday it looked to fresh and when I looked I saw coolant dripping from the sway bar.

    Called the dealer and they can't get me in till next Tuesday. Hopefully it won't be another two day wait for parts to try and fix it right again.

    I'm getting to know the service area far to well.. While I love this vehicle, I certainly didn't expect it to be in the shop so much.
  • I am considering a ML-320 or 430 with 3rd row seating. We are a family of 4 with 20 pound dog, mostly suburbs driving, no off-roading. We will "roadtrip" often to locations 3 - 8 hours away. I am wondering if this vehicle would be frustratingly small for us. I you might think we could do without the 3rd row seats to gain more cargo room, but not for carpooling and outings with grandparents. Anyone with advice out there? I test drove the MDX and did not like it...felt like a toy that tipped. Also have been looking at full size SUVs but I just don't like driving those big trucks. Currently we are in a minivan and enjoy the room, but would like more safety features. (Higher riding, better crash tests, etc.)
  • sshowittsshowitt Posts: 137
    I beleive that they fold up and with that option, the rear windows open up. As to cargo space, you could alway put a cargo box on the roof if the 3rd seating was necessary. The ML accessory booklet has a couple of options in this area. As to the 6 v 8, the 8 does use up more fuel but comes std with the MCS, bigger brakes and tires, and other std equipment that would be options on the 320. Compare both units apple to apples, equipmentwise, less the engine, tires and brakes, then decide if the difference in $$$ is worth it for those 3 items. My wife loves the mcs, poor sense of direction, and having had a 320, the v-8 does give extra oumph on the highway, getting on and passing. Just a few thoughts to consider.
  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    I recieved my updated nav CDs from Navtech 2 days ago. Seems like this is normal procedure ? cuz I never contacted anyone to get it updated...

    Instead of the old one which says 1999.1, it says 2000.1 now. Once you place the new CD in, a software download actually takes place for about a minute ...

  • andrew36andrew36 Posts: 7
    In response to post 1989:
  • andrew36andrew36 Posts: 7
    Unless you don't care much about power, steering, and GPS, go with the 320. I have a "00 430 and it's great. But... you need to test drive them both back to back and see what you think.
    Other safe SUV'S to consider:
    BMW X-5: Great SUV but probably WAY TOO SMALL
    Lexus RX-300: Great car-like/mini-van like choice with decent interior room.
    Mitsubishi Monetero - OK crash scores but has 3rd row seat
  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    The X-5 - way to stiff.
    RX300 - floats like a boat
    ML430 - inbetween, just right =)

    depends what you like.
    again, i recommend test driving all ! =)

  • dennettdennett Posts: 332
    He didn't show at Friday Freeway, and that's not like him. I wonder if the quake may have taken out his cable modem service? Everybody have a great weekend!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    He's around (putting out fires in Azteks at the moment).

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  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    dt77 Mar 2, 2001 3:41pm

    "RX300 - floats like a boat"

    I suspect this statement is based on a MY2000 vehicle. For 2001 the suspension is a bit tighter, and a set of Michs or Pirellis make the handling even better (the stock GY Integritys are poor when it comes to sport handling). Plus there is the SilverSport Edition for folks who want a "euro-tuned" suspension.

    But you are absolutely right, drive all for yourself and decide.
  • ometofuometofu Posts: 53
    Get your ML ready people. A major storm will reach its menacing arms toward the Northeast by Sunday, and stick around for a few days. Any advise from ML owners in Canadan on how to deal with 12" or more of snow.
  • wnielwniel Posts: 97
    I just got back from Mammoth Mountain in the Sierra's where they had over 12' of new snow in the month of February alone. I was there for a week of skiing, and it snowed five of the seven days I was there. One thing for sure if you are going down hill and it's icey or slippery one is better off shifting down through the gears instead of using the brakes. If the ABS kicks in you have lost most all of your stopping ability. In shifting down through the gears the engine and traction control keep you from sliding and slipping and then you can use your brakes for the final few feet. I had a bad experience while I was there. I was sitting at the bottom of a hill at a stopsign waiting for the traffic to clear where I had used the above technique. I had no problem stopping and a new 2 ton Dodge Ram truck 4 wheel drive couldn't stop and ran into the back of me. He missed the bumper completely as the truck sits up so high and hit the hatch door breaking out the glass. My ML is now in the bodyshop having 2400.00 worth of damage rapaired.
    Having driven in that environment a lot over the last few years has tought me a lot about how to drive in those conditions.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Yes...stay home ;-) Actually, use your common sense and leave extra room for yourself as well as others in less capable vehicles/with less capable driving skills and you should be fine. Don't forget the small shovel, the sand/kitty litter, and the cellphone just in case you do get stuck.

    Don't use low range in the snow (since the front wheels will lock), and use engine braking to help to slow you down.

    Have fun! I'm snow or rain out here today :-(
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Ouch! Sorry to hear about that. Hope that you or anyone else with you was not injured. Do you know approximately how fast the pickup was going when he impacted your vehicle? Were you pushed significantly forward and was your ML damaged anywhere else?

    Take care!
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    Sorry to hear about that. Any chance you have pics of both cars? Sorry...morbid curiosity. :-)
    There probably wasn't anything you could do. I've had people do that to my Integra in the rain here in the Boston area...where "safety gap" means no one can safely cut you off (I get cut off a lot)-:
  • drmhfdrmhf Posts: 29
    I just negotiated a deal for a 2001 ML 320 from a dealer on LI in NY.
    M1 package
    Heated seats
    Power skyview top
    Alpine in-dash CD
    Azure blue metallic
    The salesman agreed to a price of $39,500. + tax. $371 over invoice.
    The car has to be ordered and will take about 8 weeks.
    Am I getting a good price, or can I do better?
    Thanks, Mark
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