Last post on Aug 14, 2013 at 8:07 PM
You are in the Mercedes Benz M-Class
What is this discussion about?
Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Mercedes-Benz ML55 AMG, SUV
#6885 of 8199 CAUTION: Serious Safety Flaw
Apr 02, 2003 (6:14 pm)
SERIOUS SAFETY WARNING FOR ALL ML OWNERS
My wife and family barely escaped serious injury several days ago when the power steering failed while on the freeway. Fortunately, she was on a straight freeway section, but the failure occurred during traffic and she changed several lanes involuntarily and ended up in the median. Vehicle is a 2001 ML-430 with 32.5K miles.
After giving up on TeleAid (do they have more then one employee?), I tried to muscle the car home and was amazed at the difficulty in steering.
When the steering fails - and it fails very fast - the car cannot be controlled by a 5'2", 90lb female!!! I can bench-press well into the 200's (even at my age) and I could not control the vehicle.
I reported this to 800-Call-Merc the following morning as well as to my local dealer. While both were polite and apologetic, neither really seemed to be concerned about safety issue. I was astonished. My entire family could have been killed.
Someone will be killed or seriously injured under this failure scenario. Don't let it be you or your family. I'm reporting it here for your safety.
My wife said that she heard a noise like a high-performance motorcycle and was looking for it in the rear-view when the steering just "disappeared". Apparently, this was the power steering pump failing. You've got about three seconds after you hear that sound to get your life in order.
I'm not comfortable trusting my family in an ML any more. The reliability of this vehicle has been abysmal. However, I draw the line with my family's safety. This is a severe safety flaw, and Mercedes does not appear to care. Someone else will own this car by the weekend.
Be safe & good luck!
San Antonio, Texas.
#6886 of 8199 power steering clamps
Apr 02, 2003 (7:35 pm)
You've had the infamous clamp failure. We've known about it for a good 6-8 months already on most of the ML forums. MB still hasn't issued a recall
Apr 03, 2003 (12:01 am)
Joel, sorry about your scare, but I'm skeptical that the ML has a power steering failure mode that is any worse than most cars.
1. How did power steering failure cause your wife to involuntarily change lanes on a straight freeway section? Didn't the failure cause the steering to become very hard to turn? If so, I'm perplexed how the car started changing lanes involuntarily.
2. How do you know you personally can't physically turn and control the car if the failure occurred while your wife was driving? Did you intentionally turn off the engine while in motion and check it yourself? If you attempted to turn it while the vehicle was stopped, then you're adding the static tire friction to the resistance which isn't representative of the effort required when the vehicle is moving.
I agree that the ML has a poor reliability record and that the power steering clamps are a trouble spot. But I'm skeptical that that ML is any worse than other vehicles if the power steering fails.
Apr 03, 2003 (4:18 am)
Markjenn-Do you work for Mercedes-Benz?
#6890 of 8199 No - Just an ML320 Owner
Apr 03, 2003 (10:55 am)
Others may disagree, but I just try and seek a balanced view about the car. I've posted some very critical things about the car too.
We've had two owners come in and say that the ML is unsafe and say that any oil consumption is unacceptable. Their entitled to their opinions, but I think it useful to see if their positions are reasonable.
My ML has had a few problems (mostly early on), but overall 45K miles later, it has been a pretty good vehicle. Of course, any one person's experiences are anecdotal.
#6891 of 8199 ML 500 owner
Apr 03, 2003 (3:22 pm)
I purchased my 2002 ML in August and this has been a wonderful vehicle. I have yet to run into any problems. As of now the truck has 14K miles on it and has been serviced once for an oil changed. I guess I feel comfortable with the vehicle reliablity because I have 4yr/50K mile warranty and I also purchased the extended warranty for the extra year and 50K more miles. Has there been any problems with the 02 model? Again I drove this vehicle from Colorado to New Orleans in 24 hours of hard driving and this vehicle still has not given me a ounce of trouble. I hope that it is not setting me up for the fall.
#6892 of 8199 Oil level light
Apr 04, 2003 (10:06 am)
Yes, I bought from MS dealer, and it had 40k miles
Mr.Pappu Rajesh can you be kind to mail me the copy-if you give me your e-mail address then I will send you my address.
Thanks a lot!!
Apr 04, 2003 (12:48 pm)
Kenyee is right. The power steering hose clamp is a common problem on MLs. When mine failed, MB sent a service truck to my place. The tech added the power steering fluid and replaced a new clamp. It took about 15 min to fix. The fluid made a big mess in the engine bay.
#6894 of 8199 Power Steering Clamps
Apr 04, 2003 (5:25 pm)
A recall appears to be happening as we speak:
Make: MERCEDES BENZ
Models: M CLASS
NHTSA CAMPAIGN ID Number: 03V121000
Recall Date: MAR 26, 2003
Component: STEERING:HYDRAULIC POWER ASSIST:HOSE, PIPING, AND CONNECTIONS
Potential Number Of Units Affected: 211000
ON CERTAIN PASSENGER VEHICLES, THE HOSE CLAMP USED TO SECURE THE POWER
STEERING FLUID COOLING HOSE TO THE POWER STEERING FLUID COOLER MAY NOT
PROVIDE SUFFICIENT CLAMPING FORCE FOR THIS CONNECTION.
THE LOSS OF POWER STEERING FLUID MAY RESULT IN DIMINISHED POWER STEERING
OVER TIME AND ULTIMATELY CAN DAMAGE THE POWER STEERING PUMP.
DEALERS WILL INSTALL A NEW HOSE CLAMP ON THE POWER STEERING HOSE TO THE
POWER STEERING COOLER. DURING CLAMP REPLACEMENT, THE POWER STEERING
COOLING HOSE WILL BE INSPECTED AND REPLACED AS NECESSARY. MERCEDES-BENZ
HAS NOT YET PROVIDED AN OWNER NOTIFICATION SCHEDULE. OWNERS WHO TAKE
THEIR VEHICLES TO AN AUTHORIZED DEALER ON AN AGREED UPON SERVICE DATE
AND DO NOT RECEIVE THE FREE REMEDY WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME SHOULD
CONTACT MERCEDES-BENZ AT 1-800-367-6372.
CUSTOMERS CAN ALSO CONTACT THE NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY
ADMINISTRATION'S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).
Registered owners should shortly be receiving notices from MB.