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82' Euro 240D 84' 300D 01' SLK320 6 Speed Sport!
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Discussion Starter #1
Hello ML owners, I am contemplating buying an ML since my W123's aren't all that snow worthy and I have come across two in my area at what seems to be a steal of a price...However..Both say they need a new transmission. One , a 99' with 125,000mi, is for around $2500 and is in immaculate shape. Are the ML transmissions prone to tranny failure especially around 125,000 miles? Or is this a far less complicated and expensive problem? (vacuum?) Thanks
 

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1985 500sel konig special widebody, 1979 slc, 1992 300sl
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offer them 2,000. you can get one running for around 6,000.
 

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99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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22,135 Posts
The trans probably did fail due to lack of any fluid changes. You could put a used one in
with no known history other than mileage. Or get a good rebuilt one for $2500-$3000.
The cheap rebuilds have let more than one ML owner down. If you call a dealer your heart
will stop when they tell you the price from an MB dealer.
 

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1999 ML320
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24,029 Posts
Hello ML owners, I am contemplating buying an ML since my W123's aren't all that snow worthy and I have come across two in my area at what seems to be a steal of a price...However..Both say they need a new transmission. One , a 99' with 125,000mi, is for around $2500 and is in immaculate shape. Are the ML transmissions prone to tranny failure especially around 125,000 miles? Or is this a far less complicated and expensive problem? (vacuum?) Thanks
Did you test drive them ?

There's nothing special about 125000 mi, some here are way past that mileage while others suffer transmisison failures at 40K.
 

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82' Euro 240D 84' 300D 01' SLK320 6 Speed Sport!
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315 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Hmmm, maybe I will be rethinking the whole ML thing. They seem to be pretty heavy in upkeep, although thats what alot of people say about the SLK's and mine has been great so far (knock on wood). I guess the main question is to you all is what is the main consensus on the ML M163 series? These are also constructed during the time by what many consider to be Mercedes Benz's lowest pont in quality.
 

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1999 ML320 Elegance, BMW R1150RT, SAAB 9-3
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282 Posts
well Red - to answer your specific question "Are the ML transmissions prone to tranny failure especially around 125,000 miles?" you likely would have to ask mercedes that - they would have the data. all we have here is anecdotes.

all my knowledge of ML transmission failures come from reading this forum - in that context i would agree 100% with MLFUN: 'nothing special about 125000 mi, some here are way past that mileage while others suffer transmisison failures at 40K'

it does seem that ML do suffer from transmission failure - to the point where you may have trouble sourcing a good second hand unit due to the demand (conjecture on my behalf)

on important element to consider is that mercedes sold the ML as having 'filled for life' transmission - which they later changed their mind about. However many of use do the change at around the 60 - 100 k mi range - the car you describe is not much higher.

so back to the spirit of your post - reading behind the lines i suspect you are asking the advisability of purchasing a nice ML with a "blown transmission" - well it could be an excellent car for some and a really bad idea for others. also maybe the transmissions just need a new 7$ connector or a conductor plate or valve body (and fluid and filter change of course!)....for not much money.

if you can source a tranny and can do the swap yourself you have a great deal. if you are paying someone else to do the leg work and fixing you should likely look elsewhere & get an ML with a better history with a few problems as possible.


re; "I guess the main question is to you all is what is the main consensus on the ML M163 series? These are also constructed during the time by what many consider to be Mercedes Benz's lowest pont in quality. "\

excellent vehicle - but suffers from some poor quality components which hamper reliability (CPS, blend motor, MAF). if you plan to wrench yourself and use this forum to trouble shoot and find cheap fixes on a vehicle that has been well maintained you can get a lot of car for the money. like all vehicles they are not infallable and have their share of thinks wearing out (http://forums.mbworld.org/forums/m-class-w163/88443-list-stuff-watch-out-163-a.html) - but they are not the disaster some people make them out to be - these people typically rely on dealers who milk the consumer. my 0.02.

good luck.
 

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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
Mercedes original tranny "sealed for life" spec for all series at that time have caused a lot of premature tranny failures.

That said, it would be very interesting is either car moved at all - since "failed transmissions" are quite commonly misdiagnosed - meaning, I have seen some tranny's with bad conductor plates only, where the owner just walked away. I have seen other trannys with ground out internals totally thrashed- "failed transmission" is a really broad catchall.

A "failed tranny" with a shifting problem would be great to find one which was simply a shifter or conductor plate problem (or both) - EZ fix affordably and bingo you are a happy man

.
 

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ML320 2002
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Hmmm, maybe I will be rethinking the whole ML thing. They seem to be pretty heavy in upkeep, although thats what alot of people say about the SLK's and mine has been great so far (knock on wood). I guess the main question is to you all is what is the main consensus on the ML M163 series? These are also constructed during the time by what many consider to be Mercedes Benz's lowest pont in quality.
You want the benefit of uncertainty but not the risk that comes with it. I would like to know which $2 stock you recommend will be worth $6 the day after I buy it.
 

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1999 ML320
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352 Posts
My question would be if they didn't maintain

their transmission, do you think they maintained the rest of the mechanical parts? I would want to see their service records. For me, I wouldn't buy it. How do you know there isn't more wrong with it? Buy a working version of the ML, it might cost you a little more but you might save money in the long run.

Let us know what you decide to do.
 

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'99 ML230, '98 C220D, '85 Scirocco GTX
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I've been told that the transmission problems on W163 most of the times are related to uneven tire pressure, difference in tire wear, and similar. If the circumference on your wheels are different on a car with permanent 4WD, your gear box will break.. period.

Fortunately, I have not experienced this my self, but it makes sense... So I often check my tire pressure. My car has now run 260.000km without problems.

Also, they say it's the "distributor transmission" on W163 that fails, and the repair bill here in Norway is about $8-10.000 (but then again; service prices over here are insane.)
 

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2000 ML430, 2000 C280
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920 Posts
Good information. Thanks.

DelJ




I've been told that the transmission problems on W163 most of the times are related to uneven tire pressure, difference in tire wear, and similar. If the circumference on your wheels are different on a car with permanent 4WD, your gear box will break.. period.

Fortunately, I have not experienced this my self, but it makes sense... So I often check my tire pressure. My car has now run 260.000km without problems.

Also, they say it's the "distributor transmission" on W163 that fails, and the repair bill here in Norway is about $8-10.000 (but then again; service prices over here are insane.)
 

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1990 190E 2.6,.... 1998 ML320, 2005 ML500SE
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I've been told that the transmission problems on W163 most of the times are related to uneven tire pressure, difference in tire wear, and similar. If the circumference on your wheels are different on a car with permanent 4WD, your gear box will break.. period.
I can't believe the above statement can be true. Maybe shorten the life of the transfer case a little bit but not the transmission.
Mike
 
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