Date registered: Mar 2019
Vehicle: 2003 ml500
Location: boise Id
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
You did not mention mileage.
No matter how mech incline you are, a paid inspection by even an Indy holds more weight. But 2 months ago we purchased an 03 ml 500 at auction, so there was very little I could due in way of inspection, an mechanic inspection would of been tough and I had short notice could not even drive it. Though I did sneak a roll forward and back to be sure it moved.
The auction house is pretty good at noting issues they have observed, ours stated jump needed to start and front end noise. In fact they have a 09 Gl 320 ending Wednesday, it reads: "noticed fluid leak" and there is.
So I brought a multi meter to check if it was battery or alternator, alt was fine, battery bad.
As Jonathan said check every switch, heater, seats/heat, AC windows, mirrors etc. interior lights.
Since it needed a jump, radio would not turn on but said enter code. So I knew the code would solve it or a used head. Code did the trick. Look under for any fluid puddles.
After we got it I called MB for radio code was told their was an open recall. Went to the dealer and they did a 60 point check for free while working on the recall.
Aside from suggesting fluid replacement/ spark plugs they found:
Bad engine mounts
valve cover leak
Power steering leak (cant find it and fluid level has not dropped?)
In addition to the above I found:
Bad differential mount ( better known as subframe bushing)
Bad transmission mount
Bad rear drive shaft center support bearing ( think I read some 99 owners saying theirs is one piece)
listen for a bad wheel bearing as well. If front end during turns it will go away. Many online videos covering this.
Bushing and mounts will be steering wheel vibration and noise.
Center bearing, if there is one, will sound like a warped rotor or bent dust shield scraping, put 4 people in the car everyone will say it is coming from the wheel closest to them, but the noise is behind the center console.
If the engine on the 99 has an appearance cover ask the owner if he will pull it off ( If done wrong they tend to crack and If you do not buy the car you do not want to pay for a replacement ) some fill caps may have to come off first.
Then you can look for oil/fluid leaks. Check exhaust system for cracks or rust. See if you can get a loaner code reader. check for codes, rpm, some will give the shift points on a drive. Friend gave me one, the 19.00 ones you see advertised, downloaded a free app it gives me all the above on my iPhone.
look under at shocks/struts for oil leaks.
The engine and transmission are pretty solid and if cared for will last a long time. But do your initial check, no matter how much you like, it no matter if you will or have no intension, ask "you mind if I take it to my mechanic"? If a firm "yes I mind" walk away.
Let us know how it goes.