Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
ok this is my first post so hi all. i am looking to buy an ML. i want to spend between 10-15k, so yes i am looking for used. i am comming from a BMW 325i that i love but i want something bigger. i dont like the look af the BMW X series so i am looking at MB ML series. what is a good year to buy? what are some of the problems with them over the years? is 98, the first model year, bad? i know on my bmw that the cooling system is the weak link in the car. are there any weak links in the ML series that i should know about when buying? my dad had an ML320 and i loved that car but i dont remember the year. the only problem that we had with it was the fuel pump went bad one day but the MB dealership got it fixed fast and we never had a problem with it after that. any advice about these cars would be helpful. so what breaks alot on these cars and what should i do to it when i buy one, beside change all fluids?

thanks, Rich Corley
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,126 Posts
Hi Rich,

My advice is to stay tuned and read the posts here. Scroll through the older pages and read the stories, bugs, fixes, etc. It will help you to know what to look for and expect. Then you should use the search feature for those items that intrigue you. Indeed, benzworld has been here a long time and everything you want to know has already been written.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
115 Posts
This forum is one of the top 5 reasons I've kept my ML - I know I have a solid resource to fix just about anything on / in it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
I like the way one of the MLers put it. This car has a lot of problems. But with a resource such as this one, you can cheaply and effectively take car of any one that comes up. If you make the investment you have the potential to have some problems, but dont be afraid because we are all here to help you b/c you arent the first to have these problems.

And the newer the better. Get a 500 if you can, they are exhilarating to drive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,035 Posts
Can be a very good value...

The ML (W163 chassis designation) early years '98-'99 (and the car shipped Spring the prior calendar year) has issues that were corrected with later production years.

I have found after 2000 major "improvement" in build quality.

ML500's are gutsy, but today's gas prices you pay-to-play.

Options, especially 3rd seat option and entertainment center, can have a +/-$1000 impact on value/selling price.

In dec I bought a 2001 ML320, with heated seats/entertainment/3rd seat option, with 60K miles for my former fiancee, from my local indi MB dealer for $11.5K. I was "OK" with the price since the car was fresh and PPI checked out OK. From there is takes me about $1500 to take the car up w/fresh pads/discs, fresh tires, and new OE battery.

It pays to shop to find the right car, and with a ML the interior is the first tip.. then have a PPI done..

Good hunting !
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,562 Posts
Few well-known issues with an early MLs (98-2001):
Harmonic Balancer - Recall item
Power Steering Hose/Clamp - Recall item
Fuel Gauge reads incorrect readings - Fuel Pump (along with Fuel Level Sender) needs replacement.
Crank Position Sensor (intermittent starting issues)
Brake Light Switch (this one is known to cause all kinds of havoc on an ML)
Windows Switch pack (in the center console) needs replacement
Windows regulator ('machine gun' problem) needs replacement
Alternator Voltage Regulator is a weak point (updated part available)
Oil Level Sender is a weak point
Timing Cover plate gasket is known to be a weak point (updated part available)
Some people have had to change MAF sensor several times

Due to age, some of the following things cause problems:
Coolant reservoir becomes brittle and the outlet nipples break
Aux coolant pump (not the main water pump)
Windshield fluid tank cracks and water leaks on to ABS control module (expensive)
old/weak battery is known to cause lot of problems.
Transfer case makes noises, changing the fluid often is wise.
Transmission fluid should be changed often as well along with diff fluids.
Engine and trans mounts may need replacement as/if/when necessary


Those are some of the things that come to my mind readily. Thanks to this forum, I can handle almost all of the above issues by myself with basic tools and TORX sockets.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
ml's are great. being a tech in a mb shop i have to say ML's are the most reliable. you want to stay 2000 and above. my ml430 has 150000 miles on it and it doesnt skip a beat, my brother in law's 06 has had more problems then my 2000. i would stay with the v8. more power means less stress on the engine, the v6 seem to burn more oil. if you have any questions pm me and i can answer just about anything you need to know for repairs on your ml
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
thank you to all that replied. if you think of anything else post it too. i am a tech at bmw and would just get an x5 but i hate everything about it lol. i love the ML. im probably looking for 00-01 rite now because i want to put down about 7000 and keep the payments around 250-300 a month. im asuming that there is no one weak link in the ml???? i know in my bmw the weak link is the cooling system, especially the plastic water pump giving out or the clutch fan literally exploading and taking the whole cooling system and most of the time your hood with it. how do these do in the snow? i will need to be able to take whatever i get into the poconos a few times a year. my origional intent was to buy a jeep JK and use it as a DD and a weekend offroader but i made up my mind to get an ML as a DD and a TJ as an offroad toy. how would the ML do towing a TJ a few hundred miles a few times a year to get to the trails? i towed a big trailer with my dads ML320 ONE time and it did fine. what do you guys think?

thanks, Rich
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
675 Posts
Your a mechanic!!?! Spend the 15k, get yourself a nice ML (the newest model you can get for the money) and you have a wonderful truck...
Thats said, sometimes I get very annoyed with the ML. Stuff breaks on it I never seen breaking even on the old beat-up cars I drove 20 years ago with double the mileage and years on it...

According to Mercedes on a German website all the money they thought they would save building the ML in Alabama went up in smoke because of all the severe issues they had with the first production runs and the warranty claims..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
What more are you looking for?

-Tranny
-Transfer case
-engine sludge depending on the previous owners use of synthetic
-creaks and groans
-many electrical gremlins (just about anything electronic)
-see if regular maintenance has been done b/c youd have 12 spark plugs, wires, and many other items to replace if not

As is said before, these trucks are prone to problems, but most of them are easily fixable for any level DIYer with the info on this and a few other forums
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,108 Posts
According to Mercedes on a German website all the money they thought they would save building the ML in Alabama went up in smoke because of all the severe issues they had with the first production runs and the warranty claims..
Really? Even after factoring in all the tax incentives AL gave up?
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top