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



  • I am very interested in this SUV. It looks good inside and out. I haven't test drove it yet, but I was wondering is there anything I should know about specifically before I go to the dealership on Saturday for a test drive. Any specifics that I should be aware of that are hidden and I won't find out until after I've purchased it?

  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Hey everyone,

    Just to keep you all updated on the MB chat idea. How does Tuesday, March 5th at 5-6pm Pacific sound? This will be our premiere chat, and it should be a weekly thing after that. All MB owners and enthusiasts (C-class, CL-class, CLK-class E-class, G-class, M-class, S-class, SLK-class, SL-class) are welcome to participate, of course.

    Please let me know!

    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket and Accessories message boards
  • mlx52mlx52 Posts: 72
    Could you post some pics of the Comand system? I'm very interested to see what it looks like in the M-Class and the software that the Comand features in the M-Class.

  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    Thanx for your input on the fogs. I will look into it =)

  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    I recently read in forbes mag i think.

    Not a very good review on the COMAND system in the S-class.

    the article dogged it from the ergonomics to how poorly the GPS worked..hmmm...anyone else read it ?


  • Which one out of 5 articles were you talking about :)

    I have to agree with some of their points

  • sshowittsshowitt Posts: 137
    What do you want to buy, an ml320 or ml430? new or used. What options do you want? What part of the country are you located in? We can be of service if we know what indeed you want. Go to edmunds new cars and look at the options and pricing to start.
  • The VAN (vehicle area network) that MB uses, called B2B, actualy follows an SAE standard (I worked on a draft version a few years back). The problem is the physical connectors are proprietary and interface is proprietary, so you can't just run down to Frye's and pick-up the parts. The MB phone installation uses two components that a standard Motorola car kit does not include: (1) a linear compensator, which is a sophisticated signal booster, and (2) the PSE module which interfaces the cell phone electronics to the VAN and the in-car wiring (like the mic). The PSE is the price you pay for the fancy MCS integration, and the linear compensator should give you better signal quality and coverage. That being said, it the price differential worth it--in my opinion, no. I hacked a Nokia 6160 into my 99 ML using the MY00's combo cell/GPS antenna and had no problem with signal strength, even driving up and down I-5 in northern CA.
  • A couple of weeks ago there was some comment concerning hauling "stuff" in our ML's and not being able to secure the rear hatch.

    This last weekend, I was in Chicago for work and made the time to go to the Chicago Auto Show.

    In the accessories area, I found the following item

    In speaking to the inventors wife, she quickly followed me to the ML 320 on display.

    The good news it works!


    00 ML 320 18K miles

  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    heh, have no clue =)
    my dad happened to clip it out for me. afterwhich i just chucked the article away ...

  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232
    Man, it snowed like crazy at Big Bear Mtn in CA.
    went boarding on sat and it was great ! Snowed all day into the nite.

    First time I ever saw so much snow fall. Had a chance to spin around in an empty lot on the way down the mtn. It was great ! ESP is quite amazing. They didn't require chains on 4wd but they did on 2wd. Boy, i felt special. =)

    I also noticed a lot of SUVs that were not 4wd ?. either that or they just wanted more traction ? saw plenty of SUVs with either their front or rear wheels chained.

  • Hi guys...son's question...can my little tv screen that only now shows radio stations etc., be converted into a navigation system? How? who does it? Mb or else and what is expected costs...I know this kid can't wait till the truck is his....he loves it too....thanks guys.bon
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    For $1500-2000, you can get the Nav. Go to and request a M-Class Accessories Brochure.
  • Osultan - would you mind posting a short how-to on your antenna integration? I'd be interested in trying it myself to hook up my Ericsson T28 to the antenna.
  • birgerbirger Posts: 80

    This is how the COMAND looks in a rather upscale designo ML interior, courtesy of MBZ:


    I'll put some real screen shots of my personal ML interior up soon.

    Kind regards,

    Birger in sunny Luxyland
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    Interesting that in that picture, there is a very visible foot rest. I haven't noticed this on mine, but the interior is really dark so I probably wouldn't ;-)
  • birgerbirger Posts: 80

    it's an exclusive feature of the Designo floormats - and BTW also of the ones our local MBZ dealer offers as accessories. As I didn't buy the latest ML locally, I haven't got this piece.

  • rnbnmrnbnm Posts: 3
    I am the mother of a 2-year old and am expecting twins in a few months. I'm looking for a vehicle that will fit 3 car seats plus 2 parents (plus occasionally an extra adult). I'd strongly prefer not to buy a minivan (no offense to minivan owners). Any views on the MB M-class? How easy is it to load kids in car seats in the third row? Any other ideas? The Acura MDX would be great, but the wait is currently at least 6 months in my area and I need a vehicle much sooner.
  • Hi - I've been reading the forum for a couple of weeks, as we have narrowed our search for a new SUV down to the M-class (we were looking at the MDX, Sequioa, and Yukon/Yukon XL) after my wife test drove an ML320. Obviously, she fell in love with the vehicle - it fits all of our needs, without being a boat.

    This will be my wife's vehicle primarily, and also our main "family" vehicle, when we are all together. And since the 320 and the 430 are both within our price range, now comes the hard decision, which to buy. I know the differences in the options, and like the extra things that you get with the 430, but for things like the navigation system, if I went with the 320, I wouldn't order it. What I really like is the larger engine (without much apparent loss in fuel economy), and even better, the larger brakes.

    The options that are important to us are really only the 3rd row seat. I'd love to have the HID lights, but don't want to get the sports package to get them.

    So, I'd love to hear people's opinions on the merits of each, and if I'll be kicking myself down the road if I don't get the 430.

    Also, if someone wants to post any tips on getting the best deal, that would be appreciated as well. My only previous experience was when the ML first came out, and we wished to test drive one, our local dealership told us that we probably wanted a honda instead (based on our age?), so we promptly took our $40k and bought a volvo wagon (which we now are looking to get rid of for an ML).

  • I have a 99 ML430, with ~25K miles on it. So far it's been a pretty good truck. The Dunlop tires that come on it are trash; at $54 apiece, you get what you pay for. I changed mine out to Michelin LTX M/S and have been much happier. The ML is a great vehicle in the snow. I'm in the Mtn.'s of W. NC. We've had almost 50" of snow so far this year, and the ML has been flawless. It will claw it's way up our steep driveway, when other 4x4's can't make it. Gas mileage is not great. Mine has been treated like a truck, it stays dirty most of the time, and I haul stuff in the back. As to dealing with a dealer, go to one of the web sites that gives you dealer cost, such as Kelly Blue Book , and do your homework, and then deal with the dealer based on his invoice plus, not the window sticker - minus! If he won't deal, use your best negotiating tool, your feet! Would I get another one? I don't think so, as I have to drive to Hickory (1 and 1/2 hours) to get service.
  • I just got a 430 about a month ago. The primary reason was for the larger engine and larger brakes. While I know the 320 would have been adequate for most of my driving needs in the WDC area, we often load the car up (there are four of us) including a luggage rack for longer trips...including going into the Smokey Mtns.

    In that regard, having the GPS will be fun (I think of it more of a toy than a absolute necessity since I know where I'm going). But I'm looking forward to using some of the features like where the next gas station or restaurant is.

    FWIW, I'm glad I made the decision to get the 430...this thing is a torque monster. Hope this helps.

    Regards, Bill
  • If you have a MY00-01, it is pretty straightforward:

    - behind the MCS is a silver box that looks like a cable TV splitter, becasue that's what it is.

    -There should be a black coax cable plugged into one side. If you have the nav system, then there will be another cable from the splitter to the MCS.

    - The other connection (they are labeled) will feed the cell signal to your handset or whatever else you are installing

    - The only tricky part is that the connector is kinda different--it is called an SAP connector, so you might have to get a convertor for your cell equipment--a good install shop that does European phones (i.e. Nokia, Ericcson) should have a connector if you need one.

    - On your roof, add whatever antenna you wish--with the straight cell or the cell/GPS combo--again, if you have the nav system, the GPS combo antenna will already be in place.

    If you have a MY98-99, its not a short post :) --check out my post in the archives for the M-Class list:


  • went to car wash today and car right front passenger rug was soaked. I told the carwash guy this was unacceptable and he had to dry it. He dried it with wet vac and a towel. "They must have left door open" I told them. But after we left and i put my hand up into skylihgt....the darn thing was wet. used to keep cover open but due to air noise of air coming in shut the darn thing. but when I opened it it was wet. So I guess my skylight leaks and also lighter doesn't work. Found that out today too. so i am batting a hundred today. Anyone else have broken cigarette lighter or noisy airy skylight that obviously doesn;t seal tight.. help bon
  • thor3thor3 Posts: 120
    Don't know if it was just your sunroof. Under pressure, depending on the angle of high pressure washer jets, you may also get water into the intake cowl that gives fresh air to the climate control.. this cowl is under the black plastic mesh piece on the lower part beneath the windshield. It has been mentioned here more than once about a water infiltration under high pressure water (such as car washes).

    I have an 1999 ML430 and about every three washes or so using a high pressure full service wash... I get a puddle of water on the passenger side floor... fortunately I have the Mercedes rubber mats and just dry it off. If I look closely I can see dripping water from the lower kick panel on the passenger footwell area. Since this only occurs when in high pressure car wash senerios I don't really care and continue to drive vehicle with no problem.

    To make a note of what the ML does do well (very well) is drive through terential rain fall. In Florida, where my in-laws live, we have driven through many a storm with driving rain and never has any water leaked in. So it is a "man made" leak issue and not necessarily an ML or Mercedes issue. You can argue the point that other SUV's can go through high pressure car washes without leaks but this in my opinion is a waste of time.

    As far as your sunroof leaking you may want to let the dealer know but again.. any vehicle with the right water pressure on a rubber seal will leak. I can get water in our Audi for example by holding a high pressure washer nozzle at an angle in the door seam - hitting the flexible rubber door seal which flexes and lets just a bit of water in.

    Don't get over concerned is my point it is not really an issue for most instances except in car washes...

    There is a chance (if my explanation above was not the case with your ML) that the sunroof drains or drain tubes could be blocked or even disconnected. These drain tubes run down the pillars (not sure if "A" - "B" or "C" pillars - Drew will know) but they can allow water in if compromised. IF they are blocked the water will not drain appropriately and can "pool" up in the sunroof water channel (rim around sunroof) and then has no place to go... perhaps leaking into the vehicle.

    Anyway, just wanted to give you the facts on the issues - may not be any issue at all - reporting it to your dealer won't hurt anything though if there is a drainage issue.

    Take care - Frank
  • matt00matt00 Posts: 32
    I am interested in buying or leasing a ML320. How much should I expect to pay if I want to purchase the car? Or, how much should I expect my monthly lease payments to be based on a 36 month 15K mile?
    (With very little down)My current lease on an Infiniti Q45 is up and I would like to hear from other MB owners about the ML320?
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    You guys put your poor MLs through car washes?
    1/2 ;-)
  • thor3thor3 Posts: 120
    Yes! I use a totally brushless car wash - literally all high pressure nozzles with soap and a some sort of wax (silicon based I'm sure). Because nothing touches vehicle it does not always get car as clean as I like (if real dirty) but I can bring it through a second time and it gets close to perfect.

    It just is too damn cold to wash by hand in the winter and usually the vehicle has salt or sand on it anyway and my hose doesn't have the pressure to remove it all with out wiping and this may scratch. Another benefit of the high pressure is that it has a filtered water cycle last that puts on water that is not hard or too soft and leaves the car spotless for the most part without wiping down. I guess this with the silicon wax does the trick.

    I must say that I am extremely anal and would not bring my vehicle through any sort of brush system in fear of scratches... but that is just me!

    See you! Frank
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    I guess I'm even weirder...I've heard that high pressure washes can push dirt into your paint and scratch it. I do hand washes using a sheepskin mitt and a hose w/ a "rain" nozzle. You're right about the cold; I keep hoping it'll go over 45F again so I can wash it. I'm wondering if it'll be worse not using a touchless wash w/ all the salt sitting on it than using it and getting scratches :-(
  • thor3thor3 Posts: 120

    I've also heard about the high pressure wash pushing dirt into paint but don't see any real issues. I probably would not do it on new paint until it had properly cured/hardened and had a good sealant applied.

    I think anyone can think of a way to suggest pending damage with any form of washing if they wanted to. I'm sure the high pressure wash/sand blast analogy came from someone thinking of a sand blast setup with sand being "blasted" against the paint... in reality the sand/salt is already on surface so it is really being pushed off the paint provided there is a soap agent to assist. The wash I am speaking about sprays the whole vehicle with a soap/soaking agent - low pressure w/2 full applications... then it uses the high pressure to remove...I feel pretty good about the dirt (especially sand) being suspended in the soap agent.

    I'm sure Drew has the ultimate answer : ) Perhaps another picture of all the cleaning agents he uses : ) : ) : ) : ) : ) :)

  • yickwoyickwo Posts: 54
    I strongly suggest that you look into a Sequoia. My wife and I have been doing research about these three SUV's for almost a year now. The only reason that we have not bought a Sequoia is that being just the two of us, we do not need that much room. The Sequoia sounds like it will fit your need perfectly (3 baby seats and 3 adults). It is extremely comfortable and quiet. The ride is amazing. You have to test drive it.

    We were not as impressed with the MDX. The MDX had more road and wind noise (especially with the roof rack) than either the Sequoia or the ML. The interior of the MDX is not really very luxurious. I think the Sequoia Limite was just as nice, if not better quality, than the MDX. The price for a fully loaded MDX is not cheap (close to $40,000). I don't want to sound like I am totally trashing the MDX because it is a nice SUV, and it meets some people's needs fine. However, for that kind of money, I would take the ML over the MDX because the MDX is really only a "near-luxury" SUV instead of a truly luxury SUV.

    I think we may end up with the ML, but I sincerely urge you at least check out the Sequoia. Better yet, if you can test dirve both the MDX and the Sequoia back to back, like we did, you will be sold on the Sequoia. Good luck, and please let us know what you decide.
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