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



  • sshowittsshowitt Posts: 137
    EST is 3 or 4 hrs ahead of PST?
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Actually, this topic is interesting to many, so continue if you wish:

    I asked someone (who I consider very knowlegable about ABS and the ML's other active safety systems) and this is an excerpt of what he had to say. Does your owner's manual say that ABS works in low range?:

    "The Blazer slipped down the icy slope with locked wheels in low range. The wheels can not act independantly, as you pointed out, because the center is locked in low range. The front and rear axle would have to start turning at the same time, more difficult than in the ML where
    all four wheels can act independantly in high or low range. So the ML wheels would probably have turned in that situation, even in low range.

    In the ML the advantages to use low range:
    Traction control only needs 1.2 MPH wheel speed difference, acting faster if a wheel loses traction than in high range, where a wheel speed difference of 3 MPH is needed before traction control engages. If one needs traction control, one would use low range and put a foot on the accelerator, very, very carefully when it's slippery. In low range ABS has a normal and an off-road mode. The latter can reduce braking distances with dirt/sand/loose snow/ice, anything
    which builds a dam in front of the wheels."

    A 3 sensor/3 channel system? I have to say that I'm surprised at this since most use a 4 sensor/3 channel system. A 3 sensor system would mean that the entire rear axle is considered one entity only and hence ABS may kick in earlier than needed.

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  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    It's 3 hours :-) The MB chat will be every Tuesday night (beginning tonight) at 6-7pm Pacific/9-10pm Eastern. FYI, the link to the chat can also be accessed near the top of this page, just below the discussion topic title. Hope to see you there!
  • ememelememel Posts: 5
    I have a question that I'm hoping someone here can clear up.

    I have a 2000 ML320. The Operator's Manual says (pg 147) that snow chains should only be used on the rear wheels, and that ESP should be switched off when chains are in use.

    However the little Quick Tips booklet says under Care Tips that snow chains should be installed on all 4 tires, and mentions nothing about turning off ESP.

    I called 800-FOR-MERC and got a guy who didn't inspire a lot of confidence tell me hesitatingly that I should put them on all 4, and then when I asked about the ESP, had to put me on hold and "check" and came back and told me to turn it off.

    What do you guys think? It's AWD so it should be chains on all 4?!? But the operator's manual pretty clearly says only on the rear.

  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Despite what the owner's manual says, I'd put it on all 4 wheels. Have a look at this:

    Strangely, the previous model years ('98-'99) also specified chains for all four wheels. As for ESP, I think you'd probably want to turn it off, but try experimenting with the system on as well.

    Good luck! Hope you can make tonight's MB chat
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Those of you may be interested in the Bridgestone winter driving school's one and half day programmes. Hurry though, it ends on March 10th.

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  • mdlewis1mdlewis1 Posts: 4
    Welcome to CD based navigation systems. Unfortunately, There is no way to plan a trip that involves a multi region area. When MB finally goes to a DVD based system the problem will be resolved as the entire U.S. can reside on a single DVD. In the meantime is our only way around it.

  • abc246abc246 Posts: 305
    What a nice short story! Sorry Drew- the Chevy may actually have a better ABS system. Yes it works in Low range. Yes it can be used on a slippery surface in low range. The system is actually sophisticated enough (imagine that…. a American SUV- not the MB) to adapt to the surface.

    The reason I have not purchased a ML is the off road performance and the V-6 performance. I am actually one of the few people who take SUVs and trucks off road. Every comparison that I have read the ML is nearly last in off road performance. The ESP actually gets it stuck. The suspension articulation is one of the worst of any SUV and the front bumper hangs down way too low. Without the skid plate package there is absolutely no under body protection for off road damage.

    I actually took a 2000 ML 320 for a test drive. I was turned off right from the start. It was badged a ML 430 on the rear hatch!!! It was a V6!! It also rattled on the test drive over bumps! The dealer said it was not prepped. The usually story. For this type of quality I will stick with GM. I want to buy a new truck but not sure what to get. I like power (want more the then ML V-6 has). I want to be able to take it off road. I want it to be somewhat reliable. GM has world-class engines and transmissions but the rest of the GM stuff does not speak quality. I am looking at the Toyotas SUVs and possibly a Chevy Tahoe.
  • neicey59neicey59 Posts: 47
    Did anyone have the 3rd seat installed in their ML320? I saw one at the dealership and it appeared "cramped" in appearance. I love the look of a ML320; however, I need/want the 3rd seat, and may have to look at the Acura MDX if installing this seat eliminates storage space.

    Also, if you have the 3rd seat, can adults sit there, or only children?

  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Actually, the ML's third row is larger than the MDX's. The latter's third row is really only for children or small adults, while the ML's can hold larger folks for longer periods of time. I wouldn't want to spend hours in the back there, but it'll be fine for shorter trips. You can slide the second row forward to make more room, and access is easier, and you can remove the seat or part of it.

    I'm afraid that you'll find little cargo room behind the third row of both vehicles if you use both seats (you can use them 50/50, however, and use some of the space). The MDX has slightly more behind the third row but it's still not very big. A full-sized SUV would have more room.
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    Sounds like you'd be most happy w/ a Range Rover (except for the reliability part ;-)
  • cdiccdic Posts: 36
    I think he ought to get a Tahoe or Suburban. Seems to me that's the type of GM he wants anyway. Sounds like the trip to the MB dealer was a waste of time. I can't help but think he had it in his mind an ML would not do before he got there. He wants a V8, so why didn't he test drive one. Also, I was not aware that we actually had a reliability problem(?)

    How many ML owners out there would consider trading in their ML for any GM?

    "The suspension articulation is one of the worst of any SUV", Sounds bias and I beg to differ. Unlike the ML, most 4X4 SUVs have straight axles in the rear, yeilding a rougher ride when encountering the likes of a pot-hole. And the torsion bar configuration of the front end is a proven technology. In '95 Toyota changed from torsion bar to coil spring front end to give their 4Runner the soft highway ride the market demanded, not because the articulation was superior. Perhaps you should focus on ground clearance. Perhaps the ML does not have the inital ground clearance abc246 requires, in which case he should look elsewhere, and I would bet he already has.
  • kwest1kwest1 Posts: 12
    I recently arranged to purchase a 1999 320ML and am very interested in obtaining a sales brochure, with all the nice glossies, describing this vehicle. The local Connecticut dealers no longer have such brochures.

    Does anyone have one that they could lend me?
  • norge003norge003 Posts: 11
    Sorry for the repost but since I am a ML enthusiast I wanted to know some thoughts from people who actually own a ML......thanks in advance.....this will help in my purchase.

    "If anyone has time could you please give my your perspective on the SUV comparison done in C&D in December of 2000....Does anyone think that the 320 should have done better or is it really the 5th (tied) best SUV out there? Yes, granted, it is subjective but with all of the enthusiasm that it gets on this board I would have thought that it would have done better than a tie for 5th. Oh, btw, I am on this board daily and thoroughly enjoy reading all of the discussions that go on here.....thanks."
  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    wow, interesting topics going on here =)

    on another note, I took my 00ml430 in for Service A. She's right about 10000 miles. This is what will be done as part of my service A:

    Among some of the thigs done at this service,

    - Mobil 1 oil change will be done.

    - Wheel Balance

    - Wheel Alignment

    - Wheel Rotation

    Oh, saw a CL600 at the dealership today. Wat a beauty. I've acutally seen a few on campus already too...

    That thing has a mark up of 35K on 125,000 making baby $160,000. woa. =)


  • yickwoyickwo Posts: 54
    I have to admit that when I first read the C&R article, I told my wife that we were not going to get the ML. However, three months later, we are now a proud owner of a '01 ML320 and are very happy with the decision. I am not a car expert, but I do my homework, research and compare the subjects to the point that will often drive others mad. Before we actually had the opportunity to inspect and to drive an MDX (first place winner I believe), we thought that it was the SUV we would end up buying because of all the hype and high praises. All the auto mags. are jumping on the MDX bandwagon and preaching how wonderful MDX. However, when we actually drove the MDX and inspected the SUV in detail, we were not very impressed with the quality (in particular the leather and the fake wood). The MDX just wasn't "all that" if it makes any sense. Especially when the Acura dealers are demanding full MSRP (almost $40K for a fully loaded model) for it, I said no thanks and walk out. As I stated in my prior posts, I just don't think the price for the MDX is justified (when compared with the current ML going price).

    We than went to the Lexus dealership (RX300 was no. 3, and we skipped the X5 because I am not a big fan of BMW). We were somewhat impressed by the RX300, but did not find it to be so refined as to rival a car. The RX300 was in fact a little irritating because it did not feel like a true SUV and at the same time it was definitely not a sedan. RX300 was a little on the small side, and everyone around the block seems to be driving one. Plus the Lexus does not come with free maintenance. We didn't care for the interior styling, but did find the back seat to be the most comfortable. For a price of $38-$40K, it is not a real bargain when compared with the ML.

    We did not look at the Mits. Monetro (4th place winner) because we were shopping for a luxury SUV. As a side note, we were really impressed with the Toyota Sequoia Limited 4X4, but again, for the current going price, it was $1K to 3K more than the ML.

    The bottom line is that most people who drive a SUV will almost never go off road and probably will not need to tow any thing. Therefore, all the towing capacity and off road ability is of no importance to us. There are probably many legitimate reasons that C&R judged the SUV's the way it did, but when you factor in what ML has to offer with its current market price, it is a great value. It may not be the "best" (what ever that means) SUV in the world, but it is one of the safest SUV's around. The engineering and safety features of a MB just cannot be beat (although we do have to put up with the sub par reliability issue of the ML). Just like the ML commercial "Staying alive" it is about buying a peace of mind and the best for your family, and having a three-pointed star on the front grill is just added bonus. My long winded advice is don't place too much emphasis on the comparison tests out there. Go out and compare the different models and their prices, and you will be convinced, as we were, that the ML is a terrific value.
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    For off-roading, wheel articulation, breakover angle, and entry/exit angles are the most important features (besides a good 4WD system for the times you get stuck :-). The ML does have bad wheel articulation (HaroldP on our mailing list has mentioned this copious times and he's a heavy off-roader) compared to solid axle suspensions; the tradeoff is better on-road handling.

    yickwo had a good summary (and I agree that the ML320 is the best "bang for the buck"). I'd also point out that C&D and most auto mags never list their priorities in evaluating "best". Almost no ones' priorities are the same. The auto mags' priorities are usually:
    1) does it drive like an M3?
    2) does it drive like a BMW?
    3) does it have new features no one else has?
    The MDX does have a good blend of what most people want in an SUV nowadays, but "best" is still relative.
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    You complain about pricing of the other vehicles you drove, yet, when I priced out a ML320 with similar equipment (at least M1 and M2, sunroof, etc.) as other luxo SUVs you are now talking low 40's. As you pointed pointed out, a loaded MDX at MSRP is about 39.5. A fully loaded RX300 w/Nav can be had for 38.5 easily.

    Free maintenance? You are only getting maintenance as per the on board ML maintenance 'puter. That's what, once every 10k miles? Trust me, all the oil changes on any other vehicle for the warranty period is going to be a few hundred dollars at most.

    So I find it hard to believe that pricing was a determining factor.
  • birgerbirger Posts: 80
    Funny - I posted the first part of this 5 hrs ago, and it's never appeared??


    No - the Norwegian ML in the picture (owned by Per Spangebu) has the "first-generation" EU hitch, which was not removable, which to me is not practical, and IMHO quite ugly.

    In the beginning, Brabus offered a trick electrically retractable hitch (maybe they even still do). Apart from the usual horrendous Brabus price, it also involved losing the donut spare - not good.

    The present hitch, offered from MY 2000½, is fussier to mount than I like, but at least it stows away when not needed - and the look is reasonably clean.

    It is possible to plan travelling using more than one CD. As my region ends 10 miles from my driveway, I know! But it is a PITA, because you have to plan in several steps. Over here, the software (in a borderless European Union!) still list the border crossings in the POI section. What I do is to program in the border crossing as a target, and the final destination as well (you will be able to program [probably] a destination in Western Australia provided you have the relevant CD. It does not matter where the truck is located. Only when you start guidance, it will tell you that you are not on a digitized road, and [probably] show you the approximate distance and direction to say, Perth. After you have done that, and saved the final destination, switch CD's to the local one, and ask Fräulein to take you to the border. Once you have driven off the edge of the map, re-swap CD's, and recall your final destination from the destination memory - and you should be back in business after 1/4 mile or so. It's not the easiest thing, but it's feasible - and YES!, I'd like a DVD-based system.

    Kind regards,


    in Luxyland where it's so foggy I regret not taking the ML this morning - the smart doesn't (yet) have GPS ;-))
  • bob259bob259 Posts: 280
    It seems like we are getting a lot of little turf wars going on on which brand vehicle is better than the other, then taking pot shots at those who disagree with that individuals thinking.

    What a person decides to buy is his or her own' personal' choice. The choice is based on a number of factors including, but not limited to, purchase price, ones available funds, safety, personal likes and dislikes, options available, input from others (forums like this), style, etc..

    We are all, well at least most of us, on this forum because we made that choice and decided the ML was the best bang for the buck and met our personal requirements, or wants and needs. I like all types of vehicles and had a GM prior to my ML, but had decided on a Lexus till I started reading this forum. Between my brother's input (who owns a Porsche), Drew's input, the RX forum and several test drives I changed my choice to the ML320. Would I like the V8, most days no, some days yes, but for 95% of the time the V6 suits me fine and has almost as much torque as my GM V8 did. Would I change my decision, no. But that was my personal choice and I'm more then happy with it, I love the ML more each day and the more I drive it. From a guy who used to swap every year or two this I think is a 'must buy' recommendation.

    In any event, lets try and respect each other's decision and opinions. And most of all have FUN!!!
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    ...I'm just curious to as how somebody worked out their pricing. I think the ML is a damn fine vehicle, but when I priced it out it didn't come out "cheaper" than any other vehicle that was mentioned by the person who made the claim. Maybe I screwed up in pricing it? I'm willing to learn.

    You're right vehicle choice is subjective and I'm not questioning someones choice. I'm simply asking about price, which is objective. Geez...
  • norge003norge003 Posts: 11
    I agree with what you both said and I appreciate you guys taking the time to give my your perspective. I agree that C&D as well as some other mag's out there don't ever list priorities when they do comparo's and from a consumers point of view it can be difficult to disect the information that is truly relevant to us buyer's. I also agree (yickwo) in that most of us will never do 'hard-core' offroading with our suv's or heavy towing and our suv's will be used as daily cruisers that take us around in style (safely I might add). Yes, the only true comparison happens when one goes out and individually tests not only the vehicles but the sales and service staff as well and then makes a decision based on real world information and not just imformation provided in a magazine. Thanks again for your input......
  • kozzy1kozzy1 Posts: 6
    dt77. I just had the A service performed on my 2K ML430 but it did not include an allignment tire rotation and balance. I think it mainly involved synthetic oil, filter, and other fluids. I'll have to check my manual, but before I do, can anyone clarify what's involved in the A Service?
  • biker5biker5 Posts: 199
    Oh boy I hate to tease you ....Pal I have one on my collection, But I want them too..e-mail me and will talk....Grrrrrrrrrrr I hate to it.....:-)
  • biker5biker5 Posts: 199
    allignment ,rotation and balancing is going to be extra charge if you want them to do it. don't qoute me on these, because some dealer in the country they do it for free..Not my dealer anyway..
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    Don't be afraid to ask us for our opinions on your findings...e.g., "XX seems safer than YY because of ZZ", etc. The decision is ultimately yours though, unless you want total strangers to help you spend money ;-)
  • tonychrystonychrys Posts: 1,310
    "unless you want total strangers to help you spend money "

    Hey, isn't that what in-laws and cousins are for?
  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    SA said I get all this for free.
    ONE TIME only.

  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    u just want info on the 99 ? or u want glossy pics too ? hehe..i think 99 specs are archived on the MB site...

  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    I understand that there was a "hiccup" about the time you were posting. Sorry about that:-)

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