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



  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    The best way to answer your question is to rent an ML for a day and go to the worst trail you'll likely hit. You didn't say where you live, so I can't suggest where to rent from, but in the Boston area, there are a few places that let you do this for around $160/day though they whack you for mileage.

    The problem w/ the Sport pkg is that it cuts ground clearance by 1" which you can compensate for with bigger tires and the ML320 wheels. But if an ML320 won't make it over the levy, the Sport pkg one w/ modified tires will not...
  • bvmoonbvmoon Posts: 1
  • gpvsgpvs Posts: 214
    Here's an advice, if you stop screaming, maybe somebody will help you. :)

    Seriously, 1998 has been known to have more than their share of problems than the newer ones. Most people would advice you to get at least a 99.
  • mlx52mlx52 Posts: 72
    Do Mercedes engines feature any sort of systems that vary the valve timing depending on the acceleration required of the car? Ala Toyota's VVT-i or BMW's Double Vanos or upcoming Vavletronic technologies.

  • jl83jl83 Posts: 3
    I'm thinking of taking the plunge on an ML 320. I've read on the board that dealers will likely discount soon because of the 2002's coming. Also read the post about a rumor of possible rebates (this summer?) I'd like to know when do you think they'll be discounting the 01's and if there is anything to the rebate rumors? Thanks.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Mercedes was using variable valve timing before Honda made the "VTEC" term famous. However, unlike Honda, they did not publicise it and you actually have to look at the engine tech specs in the brochure to find this out. When the new line of engines came out for '97 though (starting from the all-new first MB V6), MB abandoned variable valve timing for variable intake runners which allow for excellent torque at low rpms. Note that the engine produces its maximum torque from 3000-4500 rpms (a torque plateau rather than a curve for this range).

    I read somewhere that MB may be considering using variable valve timing again for their all new line of direct injection gasoline engines for 2005. We'll see what happens when it comes out :-)

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  • thor3thor3 Posts: 120
    The 98 ML's were 1st production and had many issues.. noises, rattles, fit and finish.. BUT more important is the fact that they did not have ESP and this is a fairly substantial safety feature...

    With 88K+ miles you are taking a risk... assume this vehicle is a steal (under $20K?)... If it is in the mid to upper 20's you are making a big mistake. Look for a 1999 or newer... the new 2001's with full warranty (new interior, MCS...) will be going for $36Kish soon. If you can afford to stretch the payments out over a longer period you'd be doing yourself a favor... if the 98 has issues in the next 20K miles you may wish you spent the extra.

    Good Luck - Frank
  • vpotlurivpotluri Posts: 47
    I am having trouble getting my dealership in NJ, repair problems that cropped up. The A/C blows hot air. They put freon and a dye in. It started blowing hot air the moment I turned it on after leaving the dealership. Should have taken it back right then. There is a noise from behind the driver's seat since a week after I got the ML430. The dealer didn't fix it on my last appointment. I am less than happy with them. I still have my survey from the inital purchase. I am going to use it to vent my frustration, if they don't fix my problems at my next appointment. After I got my car back at the last appointment I noticed some scratch marks and gouges on the small panel on the back bumper. I asked the dealership about it and they say they don't know. I certainly didn't try to open that panel. I washed the car they day before the appointment and nothing was there. I saw this the day after the car was picked up. What exactly is there behind that panel?

    Who should I talk to if the service advisor doesn't take care of these issues? The manager of dealership? The salesman who sold the car? Does Mercedes Headquarters even care about total customer satisfaction? I am very frustrated and already thinking about dumping this car 9 months into my ownership.
  • cjgordoncjgordon Posts: 32
    I suggest printing your post above out and faxing it to both the Service Manager and the General Manager of the dealership. If that doesn't generate results, call 1-800-FOR-MERC and explain the situation. Good luck.

  • cjgordoncjgordon Posts: 32
    Do you have to use the topsider (suction device) or can you remove the drain plug to change oil????
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Your dealer uses a powered top-sider device to suck out the oil through the dipstick too. I believe that you can remove the plug from the bottom, but because of the large quantity of oil, as well as its position, it will splash into other spots as well (from what other owners have mentioned). I think the Top sider will probably be a better (and cleaner) bet.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    From you described it doesn't sound too hairy and the ML probably could handle it without difficulties. The ML is no Discovery though, of course.

    Ken, the Sport package does not reduce ground clearance because it only uses the ML430-sized tires, which of course are the same diameter as the ML320's. The ML55 has reduced ground clearance because of a lowered suspension. I'm pretty sure that the Sport package doesn't include this.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    No, there will not be a DVD-based navigation for '02. The only major change to the MCS is that the blue background will now be black. Also, there will be an optional dealer-installed voice command system for the radio and phone functions.

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  • rich96rich96 Posts: 37
    Actually, I was at the dealership last week for an oil change, and I saw that they lifted up the ML and drained the oil using the drain plug. I guess it will be faster to drain it that way.
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    I thought some of the ground clearance loss was because of the ground effects side moldings w/ the sport and ML55?
    If not, I'm puzzled as to why the MY2002 has less ground clearance than 2001 models...
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    No, the ground effects actually don't really take up much room as they only cover the area just below the doors.

    MB might have changed the suspension for '02? Here's what I'm confused over though. The UK specs shows that the ML55 is lower than the other MLs, so I wonder if what I saw for the N.American specs was a misprint?
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    That's interesting since it is contrary to what I've read and seen in the past.

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  • rich96rich96 Posts: 37
    Yeah, I thought they were going to use the topsider too, but they didn't. I didn't ask why, though.
  • cjgordoncjgordon Posts: 32
    I think I'm going to purchase an electic (12V or 115V) oil change pump. They're commonly used on boats and much faster than the Topsider (2 quarts per minute). Any suggestions on what pump to buy?
  • proteus456proteus456 Posts: 65
    I'm trying to decide right now between buying a 2001 model ML320 with M1, M2, and M7 (perhaps bose/nav, not sure if its worth it) or waiting for the 2002. I can get the 2001 model at invoice or below, whereas I'd probably have to pay MSRP for the 2002 model. Difference would be 3-4k I'd imagine. Is it worth waiting? Other than auto climate control, and perhaps some slicker styling, are there any practical changes worth waiting for? If so, when would the 2002's be available?
  • spfoteyspfotey Posts: 131
    the biggest change i think will be the revision of the center console, which will allow for direct fans/ac to the back...
  • roger23roger23 Posts: 48
    Does anyone know the general or technical reason why black or chrome sidestep bars supposedly cannot be installed on a ML with the sports package?
  • planomlplanoml Posts: 244
    I'm in the same boat. I've got some prices on the MY01. Please, e-mail me at, if you want to compare notes.
  • gpvsgpvs Posts: 214
    Any knows where to get one of those rear bumper bars? I'm trying to match it with the factory side bars and a-bars.
  • dt77dt77 Posts: 232 sells them for the ML

  • tracy_lebtracy_leb Posts: 39
    M-B, Jeep to share components

    Zetsche promises unique platforms, distinct identities

    Automotive News

    TOLEDO, Ohio -- The next generation of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mercedes-Benz sport-utilities will share a significant number of components, said Dieter Zetsche, CEO of the Chrysler group.

    But he insisted that Jeep and Mercedes-Benz won't share a platform as a whole, and that their brand identities will not be compromised.

    Component and platform sharing between Mercedes-Benz and the Chrysler group is a touchy subject at DaimlerChrysler AG. Many Mercedes loyalists in Germany jealously guard the brand's reputation. But the company's financial crisis has tipped the balance toward sharing.

    "We intend to maximize the benefits of combining two directions: Make best use of common components with Mercedes-Benz SUVs, and make best use of common components with our own SUV product range," Zetsche said in an interview here last week.

    Zetsche ruled out complete platform sharing between Jeep and Mercedes-Benz vehicles. Instead, the next Grand Cherokee "will be a blend between an evolution of the current platform and some radical changes to accommodate components which will be common with Mercedes-Benz SUVs."

    Common components

    The M class and Grand Cherokee are both four-wheel drive and could, for example, share a transmission, transfer case and brakes.

    In a related development, the company has said the next-generation Mercedes-Benz E class and the Chrysler group's new rear-drive sedans will share electronic architecture and significant components such as the transmission and axles. The rear-drive sedans will replace the Dodge Intrepid and the Chrysler Concorde and 300M in the 2004 model year.

    Zetsche said in an interview April 20 in Auburn Hills that the Grand Cherokee, due in 2004, would be a totally new vehicle. "We are not talking about a new look and new interior; we are talking about an entirely new product. It's clearly not a major refreshment but an entirely new product."

    A top Chrysler group executive said Mercedes-Benz executives acknowledge the first generation M class had problems. These problems include fit and finish imperfections, a cockpit that luxury customers criticized and minor quality glitches.

    "They've dropped the arrogance they have about passenger cars and are turning to us for sport-utility help," the executive said. "They see we're the experts in SUVs."

    The current Grand Cherokee was introduced in fall 1998. The Mercedes-Benz M class was introduced in May 1997. The Mercedes-Benz Gelaendewagen, or G500, debuted in 1979.

    In Europe, the Grand Cherokee and M class are assembled on the same line in a factory in Graz, Austria.

    No brand compromise?

    Although Jeep and Mercedes will share parts, Zetsche insisted this will not compromise the brands' identities or their appeal to different customer groups.

    "There will be no Jeep which is half a Mercedes, and there will be no Mercedes which is half a Jeep," he said. But he didn't define a limit on the amount of shared parts.

    "But with Jeep we definitely haven't exploited all the synergy potential yet," he said. "I'm worrying more about achieving that than coming too close to Mercedes-Benz SUVs."

    These issues are discussed in the Automotive Executive Council, which concluded there will be no conflicts, he said.

    "We all want to develop our brands to their highest potential respectively but without jeopardizing their identities. For every specific detail, we weigh the benefits of possible synergies against the possible negative impact on the brands' identities. And we will always decide in favor of protecting the identity and integrity of each brand."
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    The ML is UNDER rated as far as off the road capabilities concern, granted is not the top but for normal off the road use is fine and with the low range is even better than many we assume are good off roaders, the secret to drive in off road conditions is slow, and the low range makes it possible.

    I tow a trailer with two big jet skies and other gear, over 3500lbs for hundreds of miles and over 75mph sometimes over 80 and no problems at all, sometimes I have to pull in steep and slipery boat landings and get the trailer over the hump and out, it does a lot better than my GMC pickup.

    It is amazing how so many people fail to use the low range, either they forget or don't think about or do not need it, anyway is better to have and not need than need and not have.
  • gpvsgpvs Posts: 214
    Thanks for the link, i'll be checking it out.
  • quipquip Posts: 3
    20% off 5/16-5/26 on all Thule and Yakima stuffs at Sportsrack.

    See you all at Powertrip tomorrow.
  • ck53ck53 Posts: 4
    Does anybody know how to wire up front fog lamps to the fog lamp switch. I presume the switch is pre-wired and I can just connect up to it somewhere. Vehicle is 2001 ML320.
    Any advice or suggestions would be most welcome.
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