Date registered: Aug 2002
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If you follow the instructions in the owner's manual exactly, you should be able to clear the service indicator, eventually.
That said, I think some ML on-board computers might be a little "touchy" that you might have to reset it serveral times before it would clear - case in point, my wife's uncle and I both have the same model year ML, however, I could clear my SI the first try but on his, I'd have to reset it at least 4~5 times before it would finally take, go figure.
Maybe his (and your's) have a "flakey" computer.