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2001 ML 320, bone stock for now ;-)
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey group... what's the scoop on all the ML bashing on the internet?!?! We just purchased a used 2001 ML320 w/ low milage (40K).. great car so far but my wife and I are a little nervous about all the bad press the ML is getting. Does it have any merit? or did we just make a mistake?

Mind you though we really love this SUV. It just feels right....
 

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1922 Ford T no OBD, no ECU, no SCN
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37,836 Posts
What bad press?
I hear a lot, that there is no better vehicle on US roads in crash ratings.
Both theoretical and practical.
 

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2001 ML 320, bone stock for now ;-)
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60 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I guess the word "Press" was not apropriate. We did a search on ML320 and the search returns some disheartening results from some disgruntled owners. We just want to be assured we made a good choice with the ML....
 

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2000 ML430, 2008 GL550, 2008 Ford F250 Superduty
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815 Posts
i think most of the disgruntled people are 1998-1999 owners. most 2000+ mls have the kinks worked out. i own a 2000 430 and it's been great. no problems other than your minor things here and there.

if you bought it an extended warranty even better. go in for regular services and you'll be fine.
 

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The ML is probably one of the best SUVs out there. Regardless of what other people say. The engineering that they put into the ML, is just unbelievable. And as Kajtek said, the safety ratings of the ML are mainly 5-star. One of the safest vehicles to be in.
 

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'01 ML-430/'96 C220/'05 Lexus RX330
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199 Posts
The ML's just have a bad rep as being high-maintenance of the nickel and dime expenses variety. Safety-wise and general engine wise they are great. I love my 2001 ML430 and its rock solid as far as drive-train and being reliable and generally trouble free. However, that said it has had almost $10K in out of pocket repairs over the past 5 years for minor stuff not covered by the warranty - about $16K including the warranty stuff. Brakes have to be replaced about every 15K miles at around $800 for the whole job since the rotors must be replaced with the pads, O2 sensors go out and the check engine light will drive you crazy between the gas cap and fuel octane - mine only like Phillips 66 93 octane, anything else sets the CEL. Seat trim pieces are poorly designed and break all the time if you're not careful getting in and out of the vehicle. Watch your power steering hoses, they have failed 4 times on mine. Catalytic converters both cracked in half - replaced under last recall. Stock batteries fail, of course by now yours has probably been replaced. Sunroof seals fail and leak every couple years (they use natural rubber). Internal door insulation pads glue fails so the insulation pad comes loose inside and gets caught up in the gears and rollers maing a major mess including buring out the window motors- replaced twice on 2 different doors. Window switch panel in center console has failed 3 times in mine, had to have a total replacement every time since individual switches are not replaceable. Instrument cluster bulbs go out frequently (not easily replaceable). Door lock actuators will screw up and sound like a machine gun as they fire up and down at about 10 times per second until they blow the fuse - have to replace the whole latch mechanism to fix (mine has done this twice). Front and rear differentials prone to leaking. Seals were replaced on both of mine and I just noticed last week that the front is beginning to leak again. Minor things, but just do a search on here for ML problems and you'll see huge lists. There is a list either on here or mbworld.org site that someone has compiled. I love my ML though and just expect that those are the costs I will have to pay to keep what I enjoy.
 

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2000 ML430
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278 Posts
I totally agree, tsanjose. My experience has been excellent so far. You should be fine, extended warranty gives you peace of mind. MY 2000 ML430
 

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500SEC, ML430, SLK230, S600
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272 Posts
Keep in mind that most people tend to hold their Mercedes-Benz products to a much higher standard than the average manufacturer. Hence, a rattle might be considered a "big problem," whereas it would usually be disregarded altogether.

The W163 does have a number of known issues, including the infamous fuel pumps and occasionally questionable catalytic converters, the latter items having been replaced frequently under the 8-year/80,000 mile emissions warranty. The crankshaft position sensors and mass air flow sensors are also known for their untimely failures.

That said, I feel it is likely that you've made a good decision with your ML320. My ML430 has proven itself over the past several years to be reliable, safe, and ultimately steadfast. Despite any eccentricities that it might have, it's a solid vehicle that I intend to keep for a very long time.

Welcome to the club! ;)
 

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500SEC, ML430, SLK230, S600
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272 Posts
Look at all of the responses from the resident ML430 owners here. I think that the 8-cylinder W163 models must have the makings of a cult car. :p
 

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Corsica said:
Look at all of the responses from the resident ML430 owners here. I think that the 8-cylinder W163 models must have the makings of a cult car. :p
Not only are most of the ML430 owners happy and satisfied, the ML430's were thought to have been one of the most troublesome of the MLs. Looks like we kind of proved that wrong. :)
 

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'01 ML-430/'96 C220/'05 Lexus RX330
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199 Posts
True. I wasn't complaining a bit on mine, just being a bit realistic on what my minor things have been. That being said, we have decided that here in a few months when we move to NYC, the ML is the one we are keeping and are selling the Lexus and giving the daughter the C220. I wouldn't keep it if it wasn't my favorite of the three.
 

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2005 ML500SE
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235 Posts
Corsica said:
Look at all of the responses from the resident ML430 owners here. I think that the 8-cylinder W163 models must have the makings of a cult car. :p
I don't know about "cult car", but I liked my 00 430 so much I turned it in and bought an 05 500 SE in Dec of 04. It has been flawless through the first 16,000 miles. Leaving on a 7000 mile trip on June 15th. Looking forward to days behind the wheel of "The Black Panzer". :)
 

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2002 C320 Sport Wagon
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43 Posts
tsanjose said:
i think most of the disgruntled people are 1998-1999 owners. most 2000+ mls have the kinks worked out. i own a 2000 430 and it's been great. no problems other than your minor things here and there.

if you bought it an extended warranty even better. go in for regular services and you'll be fine.
DITTO!
 

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1922 Ford T no OBD, no ECU, no SCN
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Well ... from what I experienced MLs don't have issues, but some of them have bad luck. Our 8-years old with 61k didn't have any mechanical repairs done yet. Totaled one time (to date) being in the dead center of 5-car pileup. Brakes pad exchanged at 45k, still has 2 original General tires.
It's a keeper, although I like mine E320 wagon and wife got ML55 after crash.
 

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ML320,C230, F250, Bayliner, Mountain Bike, Fleetwood Motorhome etc...
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Just drive it and enjoy it. I have a 1998 ML320. I'm the second owner and and it has been completely trouble free. The only thing that I changed is the oil every 5000 miles, brake pads, and tires 2 times.
 

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Boerne ML320, 98 ML430, very satisified. I've had some things come up, but nothing I almost couldn't do myself. Have an appt with the dealer to replace the Harmonic Balancer this coming Friday, got the letter in the mail telling me to come on down. I'll let you know if they try to sell me anything else.
 
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