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



  • biker5biker5 Posts: 199
    I found this info. that Midas do ML brakes from other side of the board and for the same reason they want to save some money on labor, but I am with Ken, Midas cannot touch my ML,NO CHANCE.
  • kenyeekenyee Posts: 738
    I'm not sure about brakes. I know he's used them before, but don't remember him replacing them as much as the muffler...
  • kozzy01kozzy01 Posts: 4
    I finally had the 2000 ML430 (16,200 miles) evaluated for poor front tire wear. Both front tires were worn down to near the wear-bar indicators on the insides of the tires.
    MB rotated the tires, and realigned the front end, which was out of alignment. (I hadn’t rotated the tires previously). They thought the worn tires had about 8K miles left, which they claim is average for the H-rated ML430 tires. Since it was beyond 12 months and 12K miles, total charge was about $225. I recommend that everyone have their alignment checked and tires rotated before 12 months or 12,000 miles, so MB pays the bill.

    Service was performed at RBM of Atlanta (R B and M are the initials of original owners’ names). Overall, I was happy with the service they provided except I should have taken it in before hitting 12K miles
  • kozzy01kozzy01 Posts: 4
    When I got the 2000 ML430 back from service, I noticed that the MCS screen light level did not dim after turning on the headlights. It’s always dimmed in the past, so I thought maybe something was reprogrammed.

    After messing around with it for a while, I realized that if you start the vehicle with the MCS off and turn on the headlights before turning on the MCS, the MCS will turn on with bright illumination and stay bright even if you turn your lights off and back on later in the trip.

    If your MCS is already on and the headlights are turned on afterwards, then the screen dims. If you turn your headlights off, the screen brightens.

    I guess this might be a 2000 ML feature.(?) Autodimming if your driving for a while and have to turn the lights on, but no dimming if you already have your lights on and then turn on the MCS. In either scenario, you can override the screen brightness with the soft-touch buttons.

    Has anyone else experienced this?
  • kozzy01kozzy01 Posts: 4
    The proposed prices of the 2002 ML500 don't bother me at all. Even though I paid about the same for a 2000 ML430, corrected for inflation, and don't have the new features (e.g., upgraded sheet metal and lights, bigger engine, side airbag curtains, better climate control, etc.), the trade-off is that I've been enjoying driving my ML for the past 1.5 years. Today, I still enjoy everytime I get into the ML. The 2000 ML is still a great and safe vehicle and was a great value when I purchased it.

    Sure, I would like to have most of the new features, but none of them make me feel like I have to upgrade, and I probably won't for 5+ years. By that time, the impact of the new features in 2002 will have less of an effect. I'm looking forward to the features of the 2007 MBs, which should be awesome.
  • Re Topsider: I have one and use it for all 5 of our vehicles, plus 2 lawn mowers. Excellent tool. Warm the engine first. Also before you start to remove the oil, unscrew the filter just to the end of the screw to permit it to drain. Wait about 20 minutes before removing the filter housing after doing this, or you’ll have a messsssssss.

    Re tire rotation: If I recall correctly recently MB announced that the tires should be rotated and balanced more often than their lame-o FSS system pays for. The old rule was to rotate & balance every 3,000 miles. Sadly this will end up costing as much as the tires do, over the tire life, so you really gain nothing except more even wear at approximately 2x the cost of the tires. So the compromise is about every 8,000 miles. If you use the ML in town, more often will help. If it’s only used for road trips, you can go 8,000 miles easily.


  • ml430s40ml430s40 Posts: 14
    For those who have had a trailer hitch installed, how much did you pay? My dealer has quoted me 460.00 for the hitch kit and installation. Sounds like a lot.
  • bertram60bertram60 Posts: 113
    I think I'm one of the few people here who's had the dealer install one after delivery. I was quoted around $500 installed, and decided to go to a Draw Tight dealer for about half the money. Upon speaking with the owner he said that they would do it, but to make it look like the factory one (behind the bumper cover) would require removing the cover. Since it is painted, he would not take liability for any damage done to the cover. Long story short, I went to the dealer and had it done. Luckily (I guess) there were a few other issues with the car, and I only ended up paying around $260 for it (installation only) to compensate me for the four days they had my truck.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    The cover is actually really easily removed. I'm surprised that the Draw-Tite dealer was worried about it. The middle cover removal is necessary to gain access to the drop down spare tire carrier anyway.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    There are other hitches out there on the market, however, they are less fancy than the MB hitch. I'm not sure if they have the electrical connectors either. Here are a couple of messages that you may be interested in.
    hilld "MB M-Class Owners: Accessories & Modifications" Aug 5, 2001 3:47pm

    drew "MB M-class Owners: Accessories & Modifications" sells the trailer hitch for $250:

    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • Is it true Michelin Cross Terrain tires ride smoother and quieter than Dunlop Grandtrek? I have the Dunlop Grandtrek right now and it's so far so good, but a little bit rough and noisy (could it be the tread design?). What about Pirelli Scorpion Zero?
  • noelbongnoelbong Posts: 41
    Drew, someone was saying his ML had bad lifters at 20,000 miles, can you tell me what bad lifters sound like? like a diesel engine?
  • ml430s40ml430s40 Posts: 14
    Has anyone installed all-weather mats and if so, how do you like them. I have seen the MB ones but they do not cover the middle portion of the back seat where my son sits. I have read that the WeatherTech ones work good but haven't seen any pictures of the rear mats. I have seen that the Husky rear does cover the whole back floor but they aren't as nice to look at.

    As for child seats, I will be in the need of an infant/child seat soon with our second child coming in December. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    BTW, our new Volvo S40 has the ISOFIX setup built in. At first I thought this would be great to have both new cars with this setup and thought I should have waited for the 2002 but have recently read that ISOFIX child seats are not transferrable to different cars yet. Just thought others may want to know.
  • sharonsharon Posts: 76

    As my youngest is 5, I don't have much experience with the latest infant seats. I did, however, just return from caring for my 8-week-old niece (family emergency). I put her Century infant carrier (the removable, carry-through-the-store kind) in the middle of the 2nd row and wasn't happy with how loose it fit. As hard as I tried, I couldn't secure it so that it didn't slide back and forth. I'm assuming a tether would have been needed.

    I purchased the Baby Smart booster seat for my 5 year old. It was pricey--he usually sits in the middle of the 2nd row, but there have been times I've had to put him in the front passenger seat--knowing the car seat disables the airbag has been well worth the cost. I've never used the Baby Smart infant seat, so I can't tell you how well it fits.

  • mtsangmtsang Posts: 70
    Does anyone know if the Digital Trip Computer, specifically the compass function, will be a standard feature in MY02 ML320?

    According to the MY02 Option Pricing Information, the Trip COmputer (w/electronic compass mode) is part of Option 102 (therefore, it is not standard). However, according to 1-800-FOR-MERCEDES, it is a standard for MY02. What gives?

    Thanks for all your response to my RFI re: 3rd row seats. You guys are awesome.

  • bertram60bertram60 Posts: 113
    We have a two year old and had a Century seat when he was smaller and now have a Britex, which although it's very expensive, is the best seat I've had to deal with. It's easy to move from car to car, and also said to be one of the safest seats out there. We will be getting a Britex booster seat as soon as he needs it. You can't spend too much for your child's safety.

    I would also be curious to know if the Baby Smart seat can be used in other vehicles besides MB.
  • sharonsharon Posts: 76

    My Baby Smart booster (I think they may call it a toddler seat) is a Britax. I've been very pleased with the construction.

    I think the "Baby Smart" technology is proprietary--but I may be wrong. I can use the booster in any car, but it will only turn off the air bag in a Mercedes equiped with baby smart. It would be great if the car manufacturers would come up with a standard technology for this.

  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    Britax seats are great. However, as an alternative to buying a Britax booster seat, please consider the Britax Super Elite (you can see it at their web site at

    The Super Elite is a forward-facing-only restraint that keeps a child 22-80 lbs in a five-point harness. Thus, it's a good alternative to boosters, using a more secure five-point restraint, than the vehicle's lap and shoulder belt. Most boosters only go up to 80 lbs though Britax does make one that goes to 100 lbs.

    Some children may not like being restrained in a five-point, but if a child has been kept in a five-point in the convertible he or she will probably be more accustomed to it.

    The Super Elite is also expensive (about $200) but is great. Unfortunately, Britax is having manufacturing problems so after a short introduction, it isn't available at this time but will be in the Fall of this year.
  • sharonsharon Posts: 76
    That does look like a nice seat, do you know if Mercedes is offering a Baby Smart version?
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    The Babysmart technology is developed by Siemens. Porsche also OEMs the same technology for the Porsche-brand child seats that are available for their cars.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Yeah I don't think it's unique to your ML. The MCS can't really be reprogrammed as far as the headlamps + MCS brightness goes. There is a light setting for the GPS function though, so you could play around with that too (it's usually set on auto).
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    You can simply buy and cut out some vinyl to cover the centre portion of the rear floor. This is what I have and it covers the area perfectly.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    I'm not sure exactly what the noisy lifters would sound like with this engine, but I would think that it would be a loud and continuous tapping noise.

    Gasoline engines sound nothing like diesel engines (the pitch and frequency is completely different) so I always find it odd when someone compares the ML gasoline engine to a diesel engine. If you listen to a domestic brand pickup truck's diesel THAT's a diesel!
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    If you have an ML430, the rougher ride is caused partly because of the low profile tires and also because of the stiffer sidewall of the Grandtreks. This allows them be able to go off-road to a certain extent. The Cross Terrains, on the other hand, are advertised as providing the look of an SUV tire, but the ride of a passenger car tire. This is why they're smoother...they're not really off-roadable, but very heavily on-road biased. The Pirellis are performance tires, and almost completely unsuitable for snow.

    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • I use my '01 ML430 exclusively on-road and only when the Saints win the Superbowl will we ever get snow :) So that pretty much narrow down to Michelin Cross Terrain.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Sounds like it (the Xterrains may be) a good choice for you. I'd wait for the new Dunlop SP5000 tires too...those are supposed to appear on the '02 MLs and will be more on-road biased than the Grandtreks.
  • svinaiksvinaik Posts: 84
    Anyone booked the 2002. What's the best price anyone has been able to get, particularly in NJ. After skipping ML for the past 4 years, I have to admit that with 2002, it does become a great value for money (S class V8-, SL class air conditioning, CL class Bi Xenon).I was totally unimpressed with the earlier interior & noise factor in ML 320 ( was looking at 320 at that time) with engine sounding like straining too hard, and ended up buying the E Wagon.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    Funny, the 3.2L V6 is also available in the S-class outside of N.America. ;-). The 4.3L V8 is the same one as in the S430.

    As for the interior, if you didn't like it before (I assumed you looked at a MY2000 or newer), you may be disappointed now because it hasn't changed aside from the centre console cupholder, and the automatic climate control.

    The MY2002 models will very in extremely short supply for the first several weeks of the launch, and prices are expected to be at MSRP for a while.

    Vans, SUVs, and Aftermarket & Accessories message boards
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    I'm afraid I haven't heard about MB asking Britax-Roemer to create a BabySmart version of the of the Super Elite seat. As Drew says, Siemens developed the "tag" technology for BabySmart, and Britax (the German division, Britax-Roemer) builds the BabySmart seats for MB.

    Fortunately, even if MB doesn't get a BabySmart version of the Super Elite, one could use the BabySmart toddler seat up to a certain age, and hope that by the time the child outgrows it, the child may be easier to leave in the backseat (and use the non-BabySmart Super Elite), which of course is always the best place even with the BabySmart technology.

    The Super Elite should also do a much better job than a Britax booster seat in keeping a child from sleeping against the rear side airbag -- at least in theory. That's because its five-point harness should discourage some leaning, and it has some limited side bolsters.

    Initial feedback from parents lucky enough to get the early run of the Super Elite is extremely positive. However, I'll probably leave my son in his Roundabout until he gets close to outgrowing it before switching to the Super Elite, figuring that the Roundabout is still more optimized for toddlers. But I think we'll skip boosters until he outgrows the Super Elite, I really like the idea of the five-point harness for him.

    Fisher-Price had made the Futura which went to (I think) 60 lbs, and it was somewhat similar though not as elaborate as the Super Elite. However, that model was discontinued and now Fisher-Price is leaving the car seat business.
  • drew_drew_ Posts: 3,382
    William, the Babysmart seats are available in three models. As you mentioned they are built for MB by the European arm of Britax. The three models include: Infant (from birth to 20 pounds), Toddler (20 to 40 pounds) and Booster (40 to 100 pounds). As you know, in the event of a collision, the child is protected by the restraining abilities of the child seat and the seatbelt system.

    For those of you who are curious as to how Babysmart works, the BabySmart system uses a small "resonator" specially integrated into the child seat, somewhat similar to the security tags sometimes attached to merchandise in retail clothing stores. A low-power signal from the car prompts a return signal from the resonator in a BabySmart-equipped infant seat, allowing the system to sense the presence of the seat and automatically turn off the passenger's front airbag. Since the car's signal is essentially "reflected" back by the resonator in the child seat, the seat itself needs no battery or power hookup.
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