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2006 ML320 CDi, 3.0-litre Diesel 7G-Tronic
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1,670 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi everyone.

I'm interested to know how many miles have been covered by ML owners and the problems you've had.

I bought our 2006 ML320 CDi (W164) about a month ago, it has 224,000 miles on the clock.

The previous owner told me of only one problem, the rear gearbox rubber mount had perished. He had that replaced at my cost, €140, when I agreed to buy the car.

I was too kind. But the car was cheap, €6,300. And it's a great looker, and very clean inside and out, no scratches or debts.

It currently has the following problems:

1. The rear right door's lock bounces, points to a broken lock spring, replacement on its way from the UK.

2. Tailgate won't open/close by its motor, the motor runs, I topped up the fluid, found that the pump reservoir was dry. But it still didn't work. The problem is probably the solenoid connections are corroded. Undergoing fault finding, the weather's been bad recently.

3. Driver's window switch module has one rear window switch broken, replacement module on its way.

4. Both keys are very worn, Unlock buttons both broken through. Replacement key cases on their way.

Work done so far:

1. Engine oil and filter replaced. Previous owner said it had been done but he was evidently untrustworthy so I did it again to be certain.

2. Gearbox fluid and filter replaced. Very smooth gear changes now, noticeable difference, previous slight vibration at motorway speed (I'm not telling you I might incriminate myself :)) has now completely gone.

3. Slow tyre air leak, tyre repaired (screw in tyre). All wheels balanced.

4. Cracked wheel rim welded, rebalanced.

5. The car was eating the front tyres on the insides. Full wheel alignment done. The front wheels had both been set to near 0.015' (degrees) toe-in each, that's very near parallel. It's "within limits" on many tracking machines - but wrong! These types of car, rear wheel drive, mostly need a toe-in of from 0.25' to 0.5'. The "Green" limit on the tracking machines they've used on my cars are from 0' to 0.7' so the previous two aligners set my Prado to near 0' too, and it ate right through the insides of the last pair of front tyres, down to the steel banding, in less than 3 years, around 20,000 km! The rear tyres have around half their tread depth left. So I had to insist on this aligner to set both cars to what I want, at my risk. I had to really insist but he listened and did it my way. He suggested to set the ML to 0.15' each side and wait and see. Since the tyre wear was less than the Prado and I don't know this car well yet so I agreed. We shall see.

6. The bright metallic plating on the steering wheel "spokes" started to bubble and the plating on the left upper spoke side peeled off partly. This left a very sharp metallic edge and I cut my finger on it. I got the plated spoke cover off and removed what plating I could, and put on some silver tape. It looks good and you have to look very closely to see the difference.

7. The radio screen has a thick clear film covering it which also bubbled up and lifted off at the right side making it look very ugly. I tried to pull all of it off but it broke so I just lifted off what had bubbled. I might try again with a heatgun.

Next job is the front brake disks (rotors) are very worn and lipped. I'll have them replaced when we change the pads next.

This car is superbly smooth to drive, a very good looker, and in very good condition inside and out, so a lot can be forgiven for its age.

But I don't think any are worth their new price, similar performance and better quality can be had for less in other marques.

I'm interested to know your own experiences with your ML, whether you bought yours new or used, and your thoughts?

.
 

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W164 320 CDI MY08
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257 Posts
Bought my w164 320 cdi ML a year ago which has 216'000 km as of today. The car has been really reliable and has not needed anything during the time i have owned it.
Other than oil and filter changes i have services the transmission, front and rear diff fluid, power steering fluid and transfer case fluid. Would highly recommend these services to be performed.
Front brake pads and rotors will be replaced before summer just as a preventative maintenance and also plan to replace the brake fluid as i dont know when or if this was performed by the previous owner.
I am missing the power tailgate and AIRMATIC so i will never have such issues. Oil cooler seems not to be leaking as no oil leak is visible and no problem with the tranny( conducter plate known problem on 7g tranny). No leak from the rear tailights either.
This far the vehicle has been rock solid.
 

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2006 ML320 CDi, 3.0-litre Diesel 7G-Tronic
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1,670 Posts
Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
In the golden olden days we could only expect around 200k miles from petrol engines up to 2 litres, 3 litre straight-6 and big v8s would sometimes go to 300k miles (in the UK). Rust was always a big problem but we knew how to weld sills and use plastic padding to fill holes. :)

USA I don't know, most American cars I saw would just fall apart or rust within 5 to 6 years

Diesels (Mercs, Peugeots) could go to 600k miles before needing new rings, pistons, valves and rebores/honing.

What can we expect these days before needing expensive engine work?

Rubbers and plastics and seats obviously will suffer. I'm ignoring ancillaries like pumps, alternators etc. And of course the massive electronics.

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W163 Crash Test Driver
2008 ML350 (Me!), 2010 GLK350 (Wife), 2003 ML-350 (Deceased)
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1,571 Posts
My 2008 is currently at 236,000 miles. The engine runs great, the body has some dents and dings, but no rust (touch wood!).

I am overdue for a brake fluid flush. Maybe I will do that this weekend.

Here is everything I have done since buying it:
  • Replaced both Rear Tail Light Bulbs
  • 4x Tires - Continental Extreme Contact DWS - 255-50-ZR19 XL (Lasted 36,000 Miles)
  • Oil & Filter Change - Mobil1 0W-40 & Mobil1 Filter
  • Air Filter Change - Mann C 3698/3 x 2
  • Repaired both folding side mirrors. Broken Wires.
  • Replaced both Brake Sensors due to false warning
  • Changed Brake Fluid (OEM DOT 4+)
  • Replaced all Windshield Wipers (OEM)
  • Changed Spark Plugs (NGK Double Platinum)
  • Replaced Coil Pack #1
  • Replaced/Fixed Swirl Flap Linkage
  • Replaced both Intake Manifold Gaskets
  • Replaced Manifold Pressure Sensor (MAP)
  • Installed Mid City Engineering SmartKeyStarter
  • Installed Directed Smart Start - DSM350
  • Added Front License Plate Frame
  • Acid Flushed & Replaced Coolant @ 50% (Mercedes Blue)
  • Oil & Filter Change - Mobil1 0W-40 & Mann Filter
  • Changed Cabin Air Filters
  • Replaced Engine Thermostat - 100c (Wahler)
  • Replaced Idler Pulley & Bolt
  • Replaced Sheave Pulley
  • Replaced Oil Filler Cap
  • Replaced Sheave Bolt (OEM)
  • Replaced Front Driver Parking Light
  • Replaced both front wipers - Bosch Icon
  • Replaced Rear Wiper- Bosch Icon
  • Oil & Filter Change - Mobil1 0W-40 & Mobil1 Filter
  • Changed Transmission Filter, Gasket, Riser & Fluid (Fuchs Titan 4134 - 4.5L +/-)
  • Changed Rear Differential Fluid (Mobil1 75W-90 1.5L +/-)
  • Changed Front Differential Fluid (Mobil1 75W-90 1.5L +/-)
  • Changed Transfer Case Fluid (Fuchs Titan 4134 - 1L +/-)
  • Installed AUX Transmission Drain
  • Replaced both License Plate Bulbs (6418)
  • Oil & Filter Change - Mobil1 10W-30 High Mileage & Mann Filter (2,3)
  • Replaced AUX Battery (OEM)
  • Replaced Battery Vent Elbow
  • Replaced both front struts. Mercedes OEM.
  • Replaced both rear shocks. Bilstein
  • 4x Tires - Pirelli Scorpion Verde AS Plus - 255-50-HR19 XL
  • Replaced Rear Rotors - Brenbo
  • Replaced Rear Brake Pads - Akebono
  • Replaced shock tower bolts with proper OEM
  • Oil & Filter Change - Mobil1 10W-30 High Mileage & Mann Filter (1,3)
  • Replaced both front wipers - Bosch Icon
  • Replaced Rear Wiper Motor (Used, Re-Lubed)
  • Replaced Rear Wiper Arm - Dorman
  • Replaced Rear Wiper Blade - Bosch Icon
  • Replaced Positive Jump Point Guard Cap
  • Replaced Power Steering Pump
  • Replaced Belt Tensioner
  • Replaced V-Belt
  • Oil & Filter Change - Mobil1 0W-40 & Mann Filter (2,3)
  • Treated Engine with LiquiMoly Ceratec (450ml)
  • Replaced Front Wipers (Bosch Icon)
  • Replaced Rear Wiper (Bosch)
  • Replaced Upper Guide Pulley (Grooved)
  • Removed/Replaced Power Steering Oil (2L Mercedes PS Oil)
  • Wheel Balance, Rotate and Alignment (Firestone)
  • Replaced Left Front TMPS Sensor - DVT-P4332
  • Replaced Left Front Wheel Bearing
  • Replaced Front Brake Pads (Akebono)
  • Replaced Front Brake Rotors (Brembo)
  • Replaced Engine Air Filters (Mann)
  • Repaired Engine Harness Mouse Damage Under Air Filter
  • Drained and replaced transmission fluid (Fuchs Titan 4134) 6 liters +/-
  • Treated Transmission with LiquiMoly ATF
  • Replaced Main Battery - Mercedes OEM (95Ah 850A)
  • Replaced Driver Sidemarker Bulb (Sylvania 2827)
  • Replaced power steering fluid (Merc PS Oil) and added 37.5ml Liqu-Moly
 
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2006 ML320 CDi, 3.0-litre Diesel 7G-Tronic
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1,670 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Wow, that's a lot of work and cost, bud.

When did you buy her, and how many miles did you out on?

.
 

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W163 Crash Test Driver
2008 ML350 (Me!), 2010 GLK350 (Wife), 2003 ML-350 (Deceased)
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1,571 Posts
Wow, that's a lot of work and cost, bud.
Well, it's been over the course of 4+ years and I am kinda anal about writing everything down. 😊 You would be surprised how fast the list grows when you document every little thing you do. I am FAR from a Type A person, but I got myself into the habit of making a spreadsheet for every vehicle and large motorized device I own (generator, lawn mower, log splitter, etc) and entering the date and mileage for every little thing I did. It's super handy when it comes to keeping track of what machine needs attention next!

If you remove the maintenance items & normal wear parts, it's really just a power steering pump, wheel bearing, swirl flap linkage, rear wiper motor, coil pack, thermostat and a battery!

With the exception of the wheel bearing (no shop press), I did everything else myself in my driveway (no garage!!!). If you can turn a wrench, you can fix these vehicles. I was never a gearhead in my youth. I paid someone to do everything outside of the occasional oil change. That is until I got my first Mercedes and about had a heart attack from the sticker shock at the service counter! I thought "Really?! It really can't be THAT hard. If some 20 something kid in the dealership garage can do this, I can too!". Then before I knew it I was doing things I never thought I would at my age! The Germans made it super easy and even provided instructions for everything (WIS). The first 20 items happened in the first month because like you, I got a killer deal because the car had what was described as "serious issues". Well, after a scan they all turned out to be normal, easily fixable Mercedes stuff.
 
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2006 ML320 CDi, 3.0-litre Diesel 7G-Tronic
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1,670 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Still, well done, it's a lot of work.

Mercs used to be easy to work on and great quality, I loved my old ones. When I was young I couldn't afford any mechies and bought cheap old bangers, so moving up to my first Merc took many years and I could see the difference.

Not so now, I'm more and more disappointed with my ML every time I work on it, how flimsy it all is.

But I'm getting too old to get under, the old head starts buzzing and the knees and back bite back! :)

Luckily the two mechies I've got to know here are nice and helpful and honest, so I can afford to get their help, usually they charge me €20 labour for things like pad changes and small work, or €50 for longer jobs of 3+ hours. I pop in with a box of sweet pastries and coffee and they appreciate that too, they don't have time to sit or make their own.
.
 

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2006 ML320 CDi, 3.0-litre Diesel 7G-Tronic
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1,670 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
So what's the highest mileage in an ML, chaps, what has yours done?

Has anyone done over 400k miles, 500k miles?
 

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4 Posts
2007 ML350 4Matic 3.5 Liter V6
Currently, 272,178 miles.

Coil packs started going bad last year.
Intake manifold was replaced, solenoid arm was broken-affected gas mileage.
Suspension: shocks and struts replaced, sway bar links also replaced.
Changed transmission fluid a couple of times.
Transmission module replaced due to shifting problems.
Both batteries replaced this year. (2nd time in its lifetime.)
For the first 12 years, just stayed with the MB oil interval through an indie.
Recently changed the synthetic oil and filter myself.
Definitely have not been using quality (expensive) gas most of its life. Shows how durable this SUV is even with Ralph’s gas.

It’s a durable car and the engine is still strong.

The only thing that might be a costly one that I’ve been putting off is that on cold start up. There is a rattle which sounds like it is coming from the timing chain, maybe the tensioner. Once it’s warmed up, it runs great. The indie doesn’t seem concerned with it.

The two MB indie mechanic shops I’ve taken it to for service are surprised to see how many miles are on the ML350. Probably because people tend to get rid of “high mileage” cars thinking that they’ll break down. I beg to differ.
 

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Coupe/Convertible Forums Moderator
CURRENT: 2011 SL550 FORMER: C300, ML350, CLK550 Cabriolet, C240, ML320, 300TD
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19,540 Posts
Ours died (totaled in an accident) at about 190K miles. I bought it with 100K miles on the clock. It had all service records, which showed nothing more exciting than scheduled maintenance had been performed. The only non-scheduled maintenance issues I had were repairing the intake manifold tumble flap control lever and the dash vents (both common problems). It did go in the shop for the Takata airbag recall, and they did the cam adjuster wiring harness TSB at the same time. Otherwise, it was a great car and very reliable. In fact, about a year before it was finally totaled, it was in another accident that damaged the front grille, bumper, right fender and bent the axle carrier. Other than paint, I did all the work myself (insurance wanted to total it due to cost). it drove fine after that. I hated to see the car go.
 
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