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2008 ML350 4Matic (white), 2009 ML350 RWD (blue)
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Discussion Starter #1
My display screen on my 2008 ML350 started to flicker a few days ago and has now gone out altogether. This is the part that displays the odometer and various other information. Also I noticed strange marks where the "P" for park alphabet is. I guess it's gone bad or there's a short. So, frustrating exchange on the phone with the dealership today:

Me: I'd like to get an idea of how much it will cost to replace my display screen.
Serviceman: You'll have to bring it in for diagnosis. It costs $150 for that.
Me: Right, but I'd like to get an idea of how much it would cost if, worse case scenario, it needs to be replaced altogether.
Serviceman: We won't know that until you bring it in for the diagnosis.

In other words, they're not telling me squat unless I fork over the $150 which I intended to do. I just wanted to get a general idea of how much it cost to replace it. Have any of you had to have this done? I notice on our 2009 ML, the CarFax said the previous owner had it replaced so maybe this is a common problem? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

Here's what it looked like yesterday. The spot beside the P has actually gotten a little worse today.
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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The display screen is part of the Instrument Cluster and cannot be replaced separately.

The I.C. costs about $600 and must be programmed to your veh.

So $150 to find the problem, $600 for the I.C and another $150 to program it, not including the labor.

I would live with the pixel problem.
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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This not an uncommon problem on LCD displays in instrument clusters. The pre-facelift (MY2001-MY2004) W203 C-Class was plagued by this. Heat would cause the LCD panel to go blank. The yellow squiggle you see on the lower screen also occurs on the R230 SL, but it appears as a pink color - they call it the "pink shrimp". There are sources for these LCD screens and they can be replaced by disassembling the cluster. I've not torn into a W14 cluster, but I've worked on the W203 and W209 clusters and this job was not too bad.

If you want to fix this yourself, you'll have to source the LCD screens. You can find new ones (usually from China on eBay and Alibaba, etc.) or, you could buy a used cluster as a donor and scavenge the LCD screens from it. Note that you cannot just swap the entire cluster - it is coded to the car and you will lose your odometer. Of course there are "ways" around that, but by the time you buy the parts, the electronics needed for programming, and maybe damage one or more donor clusters in the process, you probably could just have the dealer install a new cluster. Another possibility is a cluster repair service, like Palo Alto Speedometer. However, once you send your cluster off to them, you CANNOT drive the car because of the odometer value stored in the cluster and the mirrored value stored int he EIS (ignition switch) vary, it will lock out the odometer reading.

Oh, and here's a tear-down I did on a W203 cluster. I assume the W164 is somewhat similar (most MBZ clusters are):

http://benzbits.com/w203/cluster.html
 

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2008 ML350 4Matic (white), 2009 ML350 RWD (blue)
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Discussion Starter #4
The display screen is part of the Instrument Cluster and cannot be replaced separately.

The I.C. costs about $600 and must be programmed to your veh.

So $150 to find the problem, $600 for the I.C and another $150 to program it, not including the labor.

I would live with the pixel problem.
Thanks 43sqd! Just the information I was looking for. I could definitely live with the pixel problem if I could get the other screen back on. $600 plus the $150 to program doesn't sound too bad. I was fearful that I may be looking at an over $1,000 repair job. I almost want to tell them to skip the diagnostics and just replace it but I think it would be worth it if it turns out to be a cheaper fix than replacing altogether.
 

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2008 ML350 4Matic (white), 2009 ML350 RWD (blue)
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Discussion Starter #5
This not an uncommon problem on LCD displays in instrument clusters. The pre-facelift (MY2001-MY2004) W203 C-Class was plagued by this. Heat would cause the LCD panel to go blank. The yellow squiggle you see on the lower screen also occurs on the R230 SL, but it appears as a pink color - they call it the "pink shrimp". There are sources for these LCD screens and they can be replaced by disassembling the cluster. I've not torn into a W14 cluster, but I've worked on the W203 and W209 clusters and this job was not too bad.

If you want to fix this yourself, you'll have to source the LCD screens. You can find new ones (usually from China on eBay and Alibaba, etc.) or, you could buy a used cluster as a donor and scavenge the LCD screens from it. Note that you cannot just swap the entire cluster - it is coded to the car and you will lose your odometer. Of course there are "ways" around that, but by the time you buy the parts, the electronics needed for programming, and maybe damage one or more donor clusters in the process, you probably could just have the dealer install a new cluster. Another possibility is a cluster repair service, like Palo Alto Speedometer. However, once you send your cluster off to them, you CANNOT drive the car because of the odometer value stored in the cluster and the mirrored value stored int he EIS (ignition switch) vary, it will lock out the odometer reading.

Oh, and here's a tear-down I did on a W203 cluster. I assume the W164 is somewhat similar (most MBZ clusters are):

W203 Cluster Repair
Thanks Rudeney! I suppose it's a bit of a comfort knowing it's not uncommon at all. I think I'll let the stealership have this one. I'm pretty good at repairs but generally prefer to leave electronic fixes to the "experts". At least if they screw it up I can get it fixed under warranty.
 

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CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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MSRP on a new cluster is about $1500. Labor is probably 2-3 hours, so my guess is it will cost you around $1700 at the dealer. If you can do without the car for a few days, you might look into sending the cluster out to a repair specialized. They usually charge $250 or so for this. Removal is easy - pretty much the same as what I detailed in my C-Class cluster teardown, but the slots for the hooks are at the bottom.
 

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02 ML320 06 ML500
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This not an uncommon problem on LCD displays in instrument clusters. The pre-facelift (MY2001-MY2004) W203 C-Class was plagued by this. Heat would cause the LCD panel to go blank. The yellow squiggle you see on the lower screen also occurs on the R230 SL, but it appears as a pink color - they call it the "pink shrimp". There are sources for these LCD screens and they can be replaced by disassembling the cluster. I've not torn into a W14 cluster, but I've worked on the W203 and W209 clusters and this job was not too bad.

If you want to fix this yourself, you'll have to source the LCD screens. You can find new ones (usually from China on eBay and Alibaba, etc.) or, you could buy a used cluster as a donor and scavenge the LCD screens from it. Note that you cannot just swap the entire cluster - it is coded to the car and you will lose your odometer. Of course there are "ways" around that, but by the time you buy the parts, the electronics needed for programming, and maybe damage one or more donor clusters in the process, you probably could just have the dealer install a new cluster. Another possibility is a cluster repair service, like Palo Alto Speedometer. However, once you send your cluster off to them, you CANNOT drive the car because of the odometer value stored in the cluster and the mirrored value stored int he EIS (ignition switch) vary, it will lock out the odometer reading.

Oh, and here's a tear-down I did on a W203 cluster. I assume the W164 is somewhat similar (most MBZ clusters are):

W203 Cluster Repair
Great write up, but not for the faint of heart.
 

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CURRENT: 2011 SL550, 2011 C300 FORMER: ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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Great write up, but not for the faint of heart.
You are right about that! Getting the W203's LCD panel out is really just unclipping some plastic. If you break those parts, you can always just glue them back on. The real challenge is getting to the circuit board. That tear-down I did was to repair a bad gear in the speedometer servo. Also, I was having issues with various indicator lights "pulsing" and the back lighting not working. That big Mylar ribbon circuit board had become brittle and cracked. Not wanting to spend $1500 on a new cluster for a 12 year old car, I sis some research and was able to install a used cluster.

The solution was to either move my cluster's EEPROM chip to the donor cluster, or to write "virgin" code to the donor's EEPROM then use SDS to "marry" it to the car. That was daunting because the EEPROM chip is about the size of the "" symbol on your computer keyboard, and its eight legs are surface soldered. After damaging the original EEPROM when trying to remove it, and damaging the donor cluster's EEPROM, and even ruining two donor clusters, I bought a sleeve of 10 more chips and was able to program one with "virgin" code, re-solder it onto a donor cluster, then re-marry it to the car with SDS so all was well. I spend about $300 on parts, including the two ruined donor clusters and chips. So I'm still at least $1200 ahead on that project. :)
 

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2008 ML350 4Matic (white), 2009 ML350 RWD (blue)
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Discussion Starter #9
MSRP on a new cluster is about $1500. Labor is probably 2-3 hours, so my guess is it will cost you around $1700 at the dealer. If you can do without the car for a few days, you might look into sending the cluster out to a repair specialized. They usually charge $250 or so for this. Removal is easy - pretty much the same as what I detailed in my C-Class cluster teardown, but the slots for the hooks are at the bottom.
Well crap, that price range was exactly what I feared. I may consider sending it out rather than taking the roughly $2,000 hit. That's one of the advantages of having another ML in the stable. I can afford to go without the other for a little while. Thanks for the info!
 

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2008 ML350 4Matic (white), 2009 ML350 RWD (blue)
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Discussion Starter #10
Would any of you recommend this as a good starting point if I wanted to go with a used cluster? I know it's not as simple as swapping them out but it would seem if a new one is $1,500 this would be a significant savings. Of course, there's no guarantee a used one wouldn't go bad as well but I may be willing to take the chance.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/252899488545
 

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Call Palo Alto Speedmoter and discuss it with them. They will do overnight shipping and one-day turnaround if you pay.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So, to conclude. I waited it out a long time with the screen flickering. Some weeks it would work perfectly and other times it would go out for several days straight. Finally, I couldn't wait any longer because I had to pass inspection and, of course, the screen chose that time to go on one of it's several days long absences. I wound up paying roughly $140 for a used one. My mechanic was able to get everything sorted for $200. It looks and works like new so I'm happy to have paid only $340 in total for a perfectly working instrument cluster.
 

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2010 Mercedes Ml350 Bluetec
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Glad to hear you got yours sorted. The screen on our 2010 ML350 is starting to go as well so this thread was super helpful.

Ours if going where the temperature usually displays. I can live without that for a little while. The suspension clunks I am hearing are a more pressing issue.

Sent from my ONEPLUS A3000 using Tapatalk
 

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So, to conclude. I waited it out a long time with the screen flickering. Some weeks it would work perfectly and other times it would go out for several days straight. Finally, I couldn't wait any longer because I had to pass inspection and, of course, the screen chose that time to go on one of it's several days long absences. I wound up paying roughly $140 for a used one. My mechanic was able to get everything sorted for $200. It looks and works like new so I'm happy to have paid only $340 in total for a perfectly working instrument cluster.
Do you recall how he did it?
 

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2008 ML320 CDI
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Do you recall how he did it?
Here are a couple hints, but just a hunch:

If it's just a display screen (basically a ribbon cable connected pixel display) then there is no way for the programmed EEPROM to "know" what it's outputting the 0's and 1's to, nor does that matter because we're not contemplating anything nefarious here. My 2008 ML320 CDI display screen is dim as hell, and I hope to use the aforementioned approach to brighten things up. Wish me luck.
 

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2008 ML350 4Matic (white), 2009 ML350 RWD (blue)
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Discussion Starter #16
Do you recall how he did it?
He said he just removed mine, plugged the other one in and it started working. He was shocked. I saw him a few months later because the garage is two doors down from my office building and he asked me if I'd had any trouble with it so clearly he wasn't 100% positive that it wouldn't go out on me.
 
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