Last post on May 01, 2013 at 5:19 PM
You are in the Mercedes Benz M-Class
What is this discussion about?
Mercedes-Benz M-Class, Mercedes-Benz ML55 AMG, SUV
Nov 03, 2003 (2:40 pm)
I have owned a 1999 ML430 going for four years now and it has been trouble free.
Love the ride and precision steering, the suspension is on the stiff side but it was designed so for off road handling.
The bigger tires on the V8 are there to take advantage of the bigger engine, the differentials on the V8 have less reduction than the V6.
There is no specific problem area other than the infamous fuel pump and the window switches and the recall on the steering hose clamp.
Other than that an issue can arise at random, most of them are the cheese components that Mercedes sub contracted and installed on the ML and gave all the bad publicity and with a reason.
I can’t speak for newer models since I never drove one, I know the year after mine they added extra insulation and are quieter than the 98 and 99’s.
I have towed real heavy weights with my ML and is a work horse, they are built strong, had they gone the extra mile and made sure everything that went in there was first class they would have a winner, IMO.
I agree with Mark, they have made many upgrades since they first launched the vehicle.
#7211 of 8197 ML Reliability
Nov 03, 2003 (4:38 pm)
My 2000 ML320 has not been troublefree by any stretch, but none of the problems have been disabling and MB has been very responsive about fixing things under warranty. The basic engine, drivetrain, suspension, etc. seem very robust, but there tend to be a lot of accessory and electrical glitches. I recently have a stalling problem under high temps/loads - the dealer had it for several days with the factory rep. They finally decided it was a crankshaft position sensor, but it sure felt like a fuel pump problem to me. We'll see.
If dealing with car issues bothers you, I'd go for a Japanese SUV - it is hard to beat the reliability of SUVs like the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and Nissan Pathfinder. OTOH, I think a late-model ML will do better than a X5, XC90, or Touareg.
I'm soldiering on outside of warranty with my eyes wide open. I really like the truck (and German vehicles in general - I've got a Mini on order), but would like it a lot more if I have no further problems.
#7212 of 8197 ML Reliability
Nov 03, 2003 (5:33 pm)
"The basic engine, drivetrain, suspension, etc. seem very robust, but there tend to be a lot of accessory and electrical glitches."
That's true of all MB vehicles, and not just the ML.
Nov 03, 2003 (6:58 pm)
"The basic engine, drivetrain, suspension, etc. seem very robust, but there tend lot of accessory and electrical glitches." to be a
That is exactly what I was talking about “cheese subcomponents” dammed why cant they just buy better and problem solved.
Nov 03, 2003 (8:47 pm)
Whoever got our '00 ML430 got a pefectly maintained vehicle and the best truck we ever owned until the ML500 that replaced it. Nothing against the 320-engine because we enjoy it in a C-class and I know it is a great powerplant but I'd be tempted to go for the V8. The 430 is what does so well every year in the Paris to Dakar romp in the dunes.
The ML430 will have bigger, better brakes. I do not know about balance, but for us, the ride was better in '00 and '03 when we did the V6/V8 comparison (probably because of the difference in power).
And, the 275s on all four corners are awesome and contribute to give the V8's better wet surface stopping distance than any other ~5K lb. vehicle. The V6's higher profile tires would be better for offroad but I think the V8's lower profile tires offer better handling for our kind of driving.
The newer year may have some good features worth considering though, e.g, when were side head airbags introduced? Our ML may have been the only truck in '00 to have side airbags for both front and back passengers but side-head bags came later. Also, the air conditioning system was improved after '00--was it '01 or '02 (look to see if it has two fans in front of the radiator--if so, it's the older system)? When was the gas tank volume increased from 19 gallons to 22? And, the rain-sensing wipers and the center cupholder were added sometime after '00--they are convenient features too.
The mileage probably is better for the 320 unless you have a lot of hills in your travel routes but the 430 makes towing easy and comes with GPS.
Nov 03, 2003 (9:46 pm)
Side curtain airbags came out with the 2002 model. That year brought many changes (supposedly over 1,100 components were different). There was a mild facelift as well.
Nov 03, 2003 (11:22 pm)
The lower-profile and larger tires on the 430/500 do give up a little ride quality and off-road capabilities in return for crisper pavement handling. I think it all depends on whether you are interested in an SUV to drive aggressively on pavement or are more interested in utility out of the vehicle.
My comment about the bigger wheels of the 430 not necessarily being desirable is based on John Lamm's M-Class book that states: "... the 255-65-16 tires are probably a bit larger than Mercedes' engineers woudl prefer. In Europe the M-Class has 225/75-16s, but Americans like bigger tires on their SUVs."
Additional, Consumer Reports has stated in their reviews, "The V8-powered ML500 accelerates faster but rides less comfortably and is thirstier for premium fuel." They further conclude, "The Mercedes ML430 V8 is a very capable and well-rounded vehicle. Handling is secure, braking is good, and the interior is bigger than it appears. But we actually prefer the six-cylinder ML320, which handles better, offers more comfort, and costs about $7,000 less."
If you want/need more power than the V6 provides, then certainly the 430/500 is the vehicle of choice. But don't fall into the trap of always thinking bigger is universally better.
#7217 of 8197 Feedback
Nov 04, 2003 (7:17 am)
All - Your feedback has been awesome! The 320 sounds like a better bet for me. Can I get that book by John Lamm at any bookstore? Now all I have to do is find the right one and move my wife's E Class....
Nov 04, 2003 (9:44 am)
It's available through both amazon.com and motorbooks.com. B&N sometimes carry it.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0760304319/qid=1067- 963955/sr=8-8/ref=sr_8_8/104-2179217-4307144?v=glance&n=50784- 6
If this doesn't work, but try a search by author for "John Lamm".
The book is wonderful book on how the M-Class was developed, but it is highly pro-ML - it reads like a printed infomercial - it reminds me of the "Test Drives" that appear on the Speed Channel. If they haven't updated it, it is highly out of date as well as it appeared when the car first shipped and the version doesn't cover any of the changes or developments post the original 98/99 models. IOW, it's an interesting book but neither objective nor comprehensive. Great photography.
#7219 of 8197 ML350 Navigation
Nov 04, 2003 (3:34 pm)
My 2004 ML350 didn't come with a navigation. I am trying to buy one from a dealer. From what I read so far, ML350's are all pre-wired and need ONLY one dvd navigation unit. It seems like it will only take a few min. to install. But not sure how much dealer would charge.
Has anyone done this to newer ML350?
Do you know the part # for the dvd unit?
Do you think I can install it?