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2002 ML320; 1998 BMW 740il
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Discussion Starter #1
My wife and I purchased our 2002 ML320 last March thinking we were buying a great car. Never mind that that during the pre-purchase inspection, my mechanic told me to take it back to the dealer and run. Being the German car snob that I am, I totally ignored his advice and purchased it. We actually wanted an X5, but it was more than I wanted to spend. (I'd take my 740il over this ML ANY DAY!!) I did however, plunk down over $2k for an extended bumper to bumper warranty (which I thought would take care of any problems that could possibly arise haha)

Since we bought it,

1) the defrost flap motors had to be replaced (now it sounds like we have a mourning dove in the dash)
2) The BAS/ESP/ABS and check engine light came on and threw the car into "limp mode" stranding my wife. We took it to one shop who determined that the throttle actuator was bad. The warranty company (Hondacare) told my mechanic that unless he could provide specific computer values, they were not replacing the throttle actuator. My mechanic reset or reprogrammed something and it seemed ok.

Keep in mind that the warranty company does not pay for diagnostic fees (up to $120/hr at the dealer) nor will they pay for a loaner UNTIL it is determined that it is a covered repair. I knew all of this up fron when I bought the car, I just didn't bank on having all of these problems.

Several weeks later, the demons returned. I chose to take it to another independent shop that specializes in MB, so I figured he could take care of the problem. I dropped the car off the evening before only to be called the next day by the mechanic telling me that he could not duplicate the problem. We picked the car up and went through THIS CRAP THREE MORE TIMES. The car would act up, we would either drop it off or have the mechanic come pick it up while it was cold. He still couldn't get the car to do what the warranty company wanted it to do. Finally after being without our car for a total of 2.5 weeks (the warranty would not approve a rental because a definite problem had not been found, and after a confrontation with the warranty company, they approved the repair. I thought the problem was resolved. About a week later (AFTER I shelled out $385, so much for a "warranty") the problem returned. I took it back to the mechanic. He kept it for a day or two and it appeared that the problems was fixed. This was back in September.

Last week after we got the car inspected (safety and emmissions), the BAS/ESP and Check Engine light came back on and the car went into limp mode. I pulled over and cycled the key on and off several times in an effort to reset the computer. The check engine light stayed on (BAS/ESP went off) and I was able to get the car home under full power.

The warranty company really has no interest in helping me. I called me and they recommended that I call the mechanic that did the repair. I called the mechanic and he said that I could bring it in next week. He told me that I would still be responsible for the diagnostic fees, as it might not be the same problem.

In addition, the audio system volume shoots up to ear drum splitting volume at the drop of a hat. The pigeon/mourning dove sound is still coming from under the dash and it sounds like the right rear wheel bearing is going out.

I have 13k mikes left under the warranty and am terrified that this P.O.S. will financially and mentally drain me. I understand these things have transmission problems and other gremlins.

Any suggestions before I lose my mind? PLEASE!!!!! :confused:
 

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1999 ML320
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24,029 Posts
You are a cow and everyone is milking you for $$$.
The first mechanic just reset the computer. The second "MB mchanic" milked you for 2 weeks
without even checking for error codes (which causes the CEL).
Obviously, no one fixed the problem which could be the faulty throttle.
The CEL can be reset but if the fault recurs,
the truck will go into limp mode to protect itself and possibly your life.

Don't be a naive fool. But on the other hand, you could just be a shill.

About the other problems, never heard of anyone else who has them.
 

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Black 2005 ML 500
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1,662 Posts
These vehicles can be a nightmare, so if you are not mechanically inclined, you better get rid of it ASAP. Even if you are mechanically inclined you can get huge headaches with these vehicles (not to say all the money spent in repair after repair problems).. I am the last person that still owns an Mercedes ML among all my friends.. All of them were smarter and got rid of them fast..

Sorry to hear you have so many frustrating problems. What are the OBDII scanner error codes when this happens..? These codes give some clues on what the problem can be.. but as you experienced, even the Mercedes dealers can't fix their own vehicles in an acceptable/timely manner. The audio problem is a well known problem with a microphone located in the trip computer, which is suppose to let the volume go up and down depending on the ambient noise. In my case, the dealer were never able to repair it (even when it was new), so I just told them to disable that feature and the problem goes away...

Below are some links to some similar problems..

AC



http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w163-m-class/1281948-ml320-my-abs-bas-esp-ets-lights-tranny-wont-shift-out-1st-gear.html

http://www.benzworld.org/forums/w210-e-class/1358935-97-e-320-abs-ets-light-tranny-limp.html

http://mbworld%2Eorg/forums/showthread.php?p=2641500
 

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1999 E55, 2001 E320, 1990 560 SEC, 2004 ML350, 2001 ML55, 1995 S500, 1998 SL500, 2010 E550 Sport zoo
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7,035 Posts
I would check/replace the battery...

I would check/replace the battery... after all the diagnosis, sometime simple will work...

Your flaps - I have not had that problem, so no comment from me...
 

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ML430 - sold
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929 Posts
I also used to be a 'German Car Snob', but ....

our experience with the ML cured me - I now drive a Lexus RX400h and couldn't be happier.

No more MB products in my garage.

Your mechanic was right - suggest you cut your losses and sell asap.

BTW I suspect the BMW X5 might not be much better reliability wise.
 

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2002 ML320; 1998 BMW 740il
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your kind compassionate words

I am neither a cow or a shill. The first mechanic was unable to replicate the problem. The second mechanic did replace the throttle actuator. My wife said that this problem returned when she let the fuel level get too low and then filled the tank.

Perhaps instead of insulting people, try using your vast wealth of knowledge to help those of us who need it.
 

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1999 ML320
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You might not think so. But your mechanics and warranty companies surely do.
I bet they see $$$ signs when you approach them (thus the term "cash cow").

Without details, what kind of help can you expect ? Only in the post above did you mention the second mechanic replaced the actuator. Don't you think that's relevant
to point out in the first place ?

Believe me when I say we are on your side and I am actually doing you a favor
by pointing out that you are being fooled. You call the truck a POS when all your problems
are largely self inflicted and that's not cool.
 

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2000 ml430, 99 infiniti i30 limited edition
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980 Posts
if your battery voltage is low, these lights will go up. Mine went on random til I drove the M L for a long time and they never came back, I might be wrong but I think the battery charging to full capacity got rid of these stupid lights. Anyway, if you can sell it, sell it before more things go wrong.
 

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2002 ML320; 1998 BMW 740il
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Discussion Starter #9
You might not think so. But your mechanics and warranty companies surely do.
I bet they see $$$ signs when you approach them (thus the term "cash cow").

Without details, what kind of help can you expect ? Only in the post above did you mention the second mechanic replaced the actuator. Don't you think that's relevant
to point out in the first place ?

Believe me when I say we are on your side and I am actually doing you a favor
by pointing out that you are being fooled. You call the truck a POS when all your problems
are largely self inflicted and that's not cool.
I thought I gave as many details as I could in the first post. I can not get out of this car without losing thousands of $$$. I can't take that kind of bath right now.
 

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2002 ML320; 1998 BMW 740il
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11 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Error Code PO120

I plugged in my code reader and got "PO120 TPS/Pedal Position Sensor A Circuit Malfunction"
I tried to clear the code but it kept coming back. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong.
??
 

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2002 ML55 AMG, 2005 Chrysler Crossfire Coupe Limited, 1999 C280
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4,714 Posts
I plugged in my code reader and got "PO120 TPS/Pedal Position Sensor A Circuit Malfunction"
I tried to clear the code but it kept coming back. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong.
??
vukman61, I'm really sorry to hear about your problems.
I am not technically minded in any way but it sounds like that code has something to do with the original problem you had in relation to the throttle actuator. See if you can PM 43sqd who is an experienced mechanic and see what he says.

Best of luck buddy!

ps. If the problems persist - Sell the thing - It's probably cheaper for you in the long run.
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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I plugged in my code reader and got "PO120 TPS/Pedal Position Sensor A Circuit Malfunction"
I tried to clear the code but it kept coming back. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong.
??
Yukman, I can understand your frustration and can really sympathize. But keep in mind that you have two factors working against you. The first is that you, and the rest of us, now own a vehicle that has been over engineered. Over engineered to the point where too many features have led owners and mechanics alike to throw up their arms and surrender and rrightully so. These vehicles were specifically designed to do just that so the owner has no alternative but to return to the dealer for repair.

The second thing working against you is your warranty company who gladly took your money when you signed the contract, will now use every excuse known not to part with it. Believe me when I say that I have been on the phone, hours at a time with warranty companies who request one thing after another in an attempt to find ONE THING that you cannot supply them in an effort to deny the claim. It's the nature of the beast.

Now on to your problems. Please answer the following questions:

1. When your original problem occurred, did the BAS/ESP lights and the CEL light come on at the same time?
2. Do you know what the ORIGINAL codes were?
3. Your first mech. said that the throttle actuator needed replacement, but they denied the claim. Then you said that you took it to ANOTHER mech who couldn't duplicate the problem. But then you say that the warranty company APPROVED the repair. If he couldn't find the problem, how did the company approve the replacement of the throttle actuator?
4. Obviously, your problems were solved from Sep. to Feb. but then you say that the ESP/BAS & CEL lights came back on last week after inspection, but you stopped there and didn't explain further. The BAS/ESP lights went off and you still had the CEL light. Why didn't you return to the mechanic who replaced your throttle actuator? Was it because he said that you might have to payfor diagnostic fees if it wasn't the same problem? He was absolutely correct. After 5-6 mos. I would have told you the same thing.
5. Please explain the problem your wife had with running low on fuel. Did she run low or did she run out of fuel?

Also let me explain that turing off the CEL light only turns off the light. It does not eliminate the problem. You have one of two choices here. The first is return to the mechanic who replaced the throttle actuator and see what he has to say about the new code of P0120. It is related to the TA but does not necessarily mean it is the same problem. Explain to him of the new problem and that you need his help again. Schmooze him a little but don't go in with the attitude that he caused the problem. See how much it will cost.

The second choice you have is to bring your truck to a M/B dealer. Since you have an aftermarket warranty, they might be better able to deal with the company in satisfying their demands. These companies tend to believe a dealer over a regular mechanic, which is understandable. While it is there you can also have the audio roblem resolved and also they might be able to talk the company into fixing A/C-Heater flap problem. Remember, you only have 13k left on the warranty and I would make a decision ASAP.
 

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2002 ML320; 1998 BMW 740il
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Discussion Starter #13
43sqd, thanks for your reply, here are some answers to your questions

Yukman, I can understand your frustration and can really sympathize. But keep in mind that you have two factors working against you. The first is that you, and the rest of us, now own a vehicle that has been over engineered. Over engineered to the point where too many features have led owners and mechanics alike to throw up their arms and surrender and rrightully so. These vehicles were specifically designed to do just that so the owner has no alternative but to return to the dealer for repair.

The second thing working against you is your warranty company who gladly took your money when you signed the contract, will now use every excuse known not to part with it. Believe me when I say that I have been on the phone, hours at a time with warranty companies who request one thing after another in an attempt to find ONE THING that you cannot supply them in an effort to deny the claim. It's the nature of the beast.

Now on to your problems. Please answer the following questions:

1. When your original problem occurred, did the BAS/ESP lights and the CEL light come on at the same time?
2. Do you know what the ORIGINAL codes were?
3. Your first mech. said that the throttle actuator needed replacement, but they denied the claim. Then you said that you took it to ANOTHER mech who couldn't duplicate the problem. But then you say that the warranty company APPROVED the repair. If he couldn't find the problem, how did the company approve the replacement of the throttle actuator?
4. Obviously, your problems were solved from Sep. to Feb. but then you say that the ESP/BAS & CEL lights came back on last week after inspection, but you stopped there and didn't explain further. The BAS/ESP lights went off and you still had the CEL light. Why didn't you return to the mechanic who replaced your throttle actuator? Was it because he said that you might have to payfor diagnostic fees if it wasn't the same problem? He was absolutely correct. After 5-6 mos. I would have told you the same thing.
5. Please explain the problem your wife had with running low on fuel. Did she run low or did she run out of fuel?

Also let me explain that turing off the CEL light only turns off the light. It does not eliminate the problem. You have one of two choices here. The first is return to the mechanic who replaced the throttle actuator and see what he has to say about the new code of P0120. It is related to the TA but does not necessarily mean it is the same problem. Explain to him of the new problem and that you need his help again. Schmooze him a little but don't go in with the attitude that he caused the problem. See how much it will cost.

The second choice you have is to bring your truck to a M/B dealer. Since you have an aftermarket warranty, they might be better able to deal with the company in satisfying their demands. These companies tend to believe a dealer over a regular mechanic, which is understandable. While it is there you can also have the audio roblem resolved and also they might be able to talk the company into fixing A/C-Heater flap problem. Remember, you only have 13k left on the warranty and I would make a decision ASAP.

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post. Here are answers to the questions you presented:

1) Yes, both BAS/ESP and CEL came on at the same time
2) Unfortunately I did not the codes from any of the mechanics. I will say that when I originally took the truck into the first mechanic for a pre purchase inspection, there were multiple stored faults. I just don't recall them all
3) The first mechanic thought the throttle actuator was bad even BEFORE the lights came on. His basis for that was the fact that the truck had a bit of hesitation before accelerating from a stop. When the lights came on, I took it to him. Like you stated earlier, the warranty company was looking for every reason to deny the claim. According to the mechanic, they (HondaCare) was looking for specific computer values to approve the claim. Although they understood that all this stuff was going on, unless it met specific textbook repair criteria, they weren't approving anything. Since they wouldn't approve the repair, he "reprogrammed" something. I really don't think he would have taken advantage of the situation, as I have been taking my BMW's to him for years. He may not be the least expensive, but he is always honest with me.
I took it to the second mechanic on three seperate occasions. He was unable to satisfy HondaCare's criteria to replace the Throttle Actuator, so he just had me drive it until the lights came on again and said that he would take it directly to a MB Dealer (I think he had a friend with the STAR machine) When it happened again, it was on a Saturday. I just parked the truck, called the mechanic, picked it up and took it directly to the dealer. Still unable to satisfy the warranty company, we picked it up again. This happened yet again, this time he came to my house to get the truck. The problem continued to occur, but finally he was able to give the warranty company what they were looking for in order to approve the claim. (I also threatened the warranty company as well) We picked it up and everything seemed ok for a week or so, then the lights came back on. We took it back to him, he did something and it was fine until last week.
4) The BAS/ESP & CEL came back on last week. We had it inspected last Friday and the light appeared on Tuesday. One thing I do recall is that I was out in the snow on Tuesday and it was slippery. I turned off the ESP momentarily. It seems like things went wrong after that. I did call the mechanic that replaced the actuator and he did tell me to bring it in next week. I understand that no one works for free, but if I took it to him for one specific problem and that problem APPEARS to reoccur, then I do not expect to pay a diagnostic fee. If it is a different problem, then I expect to pay that fee. I just don't think he will be totally honest with me about this.
5) my wife did not run out of fuel, it was just low. In fact EVERYTIME this problem occurs, it is AFTER we put fuel into it. We always put premium into it (if that means anything to you)

I have contacted a MB Dealer and schmoozed with a service advisor. He said that he'd work with me, but he still has to pay his tech (Which I TOTALLY understand) Yes, he can help me with the other problems @ $120.00 per hour. I guess I'll just have to suck it up and pay that.

Everyone is doing what they are contractually(sp?) required to do. The warranty company is acting well within their guidelines as described in the contract. The dealer I purchased the truck from has been as helpful as they can, the mechanics are trying their hardest to help me, but the warranty company is doing their darndest to make everyone's life difficult and in turn, is pissing off the mechanics, who in turn take it out on me because they tell me I bought a crappy warranty. Believe me when I tell you that out of ALL the aftermarket warrant companies, this was the best. (Kind of like voting for president; you really don't like any of the choices, so you pick the best of the worst) They are not a risk retention group and when I purchased the warranty, the company was owned by Ford Motor Company, so I thought it couldn't have been that bad.
 

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2002 ML 500, 1994 Ford Explorer donated to Doctors without Borders
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As long as you have your warranty, I would stick with the MB dealership. Hold them to fixing what they say is wrong and let the warranty pay for it. There is a warning, however. The warranty does not cover maintenance items. If the dealership finds something that needs to be done, you will pay $$$ for it, else pay the diagnostics fee. It's a bad situation, but at least the car will be fixed the way it should be.

My 2 cents...

Good luck!
 

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1999 ML320
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...
ps. If the problems persist - Sell the thing - It's probably cheaper for you in the long run.
I wouldn't give up so fast. Yuk has already sunk $2K in it so at a minimum should
get at least 2K of repairs done before giving up. $2K buys you a lot of repair work.
Just don't squander the budget on unknown MB mechanics or non MB mechanics.
Chances are the truck only needs some sensor, relay replaced.
 

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2002 ML 500, 1994 Ford Explorer donated to Doctors without Borders
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mlfun has a point. There are lots of sensors to fail. I will soon start removing sensors instead of paying for expensive repairs. I don't need a sensor to tell me that I'm out of washer fluid, especially when the sensor itself goes bad so easily. When I pull the lever and there's no fluid, I'll know that I need some. :)
 

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2002 ML320; 1998 BMW 740il
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Discussion Starter #18
A couple of other things to consider...

My wife failed to mention that she put 91 octane in the truck when it crapped out. I almost always use 93 when I can find it, otherwise 92.
We just filled it up with 92 and drove 300 miles this afternoon. So far it seems ok. No CEL, No BAS/ESP light. I guess the real test is when I fill it up again.

Also, we put new tires on it back in December. I put the Michelin Latitude Tour HP and it made a world of difference in the ride and gas mileage.

Just out of curiousity, how many miles can you get from a tankful on an ML320? I can get about 350,

One thing I do know it that if God forbid, my wife and daughter get T-Boned, they will have a better chance of walking away from it than some Detroit P.O.S.
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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At work I spent some time looking for an answer to your problem and remembered that you said that when you first got the truck there were multiple codes that were stored and unfortunately you do not have them. Below is a Tech. Bulletin which addresses your probem in some respect. What they are saying is that ML's in a certain VIN range have experienced corrosion problems at the plug to the ESP/BAS control module. One module is located in the fuse/relay box and the other is under the washer bottle. Two or three other members have had to replace this module for various reasons. Whoever checks this truck out should be checking those items.

One thing I cannot understand is when you say that the problem surfaces after you fill up with gas. Maybe you can elaborate as to when this actually happens. Is it directly after filling up or is it days later? I really can't see any way there could be any relation between gas and a traction control problem. But let's see what you have to say.

Another thing I noticed while I was looking over the wiring diagrams for the traction control system was that one wire (blue) from the radio was fed to the ESP/BAS control module in the fuse box. I then remembered that you said you were having volume fluctuation problems. For the life of me I cannot understand why a radio wire would be fed to this module. It just doesn't make sense. Maybe there is a corrosion problem and it is effecting multiple things. This is intriguing to say the least and could you please let us know what the outcome is.
 

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