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2004 Black BMW M3 Track Car & 1981 5'10 Brunette, 34C package
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
hello all-
i'm new here and havent found much using the search function. i'm looking into buying an ML55, and was wondering what kind of reliability i can expect. i'm not new to high-mileage germans, so i'm ok with the usual maintenance. the one i'm looking at is a 2000 with ~67k miles. it would be used for daily driver duties to keep the miles off my garage queen. is this a car i can reasonably expect another 60k miles out of? are there any major common faults in the 60-120k mile range? specifics i should have my eye out for? thanks in advance!
-alex
 

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2002 ML 500, 1994 Ford Explorer donated to Doctors without Borders
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2,126 Posts
Hi! Welcome.

I must say that I'm surprised that you didn't find much using search. I would suggest that searching will yield many, many posts, giving you a much better impression than you're likely to get from a few responses here.

The ML55 is still an ML. Just see all of the posts regarding any of the MLs. You'll find issues, fixes, DIY solutions and costs. It's all here!
 

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2004 Black BMW M3 Track Car & 1981 5'10 Brunette, 34C package
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
i was looking more for anything specific to the 55. I've done a bunch of reading on the ML's in general and i'm not too intimidated with what seems to be going wrong. i'm also bringing an MB dealer tech with me to look at the car in detail, and hopefully bring it back to the dealer to throw it up on the lift for a more detailed look, i was just looking for as much info as possible. is there an engine code specific to the non-supercharged 5.5L, as it's used in other models, and i might find more info that way?
 

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E250 Bluetec Sprinter250 Bluetec
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37,287 Posts
There is less ML55 on the roads and I am under the impression that people seldom use them for long commuting. Gas mileage might have something to do with it?
Anyway, MB engines last 300,000 miles, so I expect the AMG engine to do the same.
 

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2004 Black BMW M3 Track Car & 1981 5'10 Brunette, 34C package
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
my mileage is something like 250% reimbursed... so my condolences go to greenpeace, but gas mileage is not a consideration! i'm just hoping i can expect another 4-5 years of highway out of this motor without anything much more than normal maintenance. my MB mechanic friend says they're pretty bombproof, but i'm hoping to find some reports of catastrophic failures so i can see what i'm up against and some of the worst-case-scenarios.
 

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2000 ML55
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73 Posts
I have a '00 ML55 I got in January last year with 50k on it, I have 75k now.

I just put a steering rack into it, it appears as tho, when my power steering hose blew off, it did something to the valve or solenoid on the rack. I got used to the steering weight (like going 110mph, very stiff). Now with the new (rebuilt) rack, the force required to turn is like 1/10th of what it was and I am back in love with my 55.

I got the rack online at carsteering.com for $525, the dealership quoted $1600 and had it installed for $360, saved a TON. I've heard $2800 horror stories.

Also did a MAF Sensor assembly at 55k.
 

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2004 Black BMW M3 Track Car & 1981 5'10 Brunette, 34C package
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
thanks for the feedback! i'll have wholesale MB parts and labor paid for in budweiser, so short of catastrophies i cant imagne this getting too expensive. what was the root problem with the rack? was the hose malfunction a result of a service error, or did it fail under normal conditions?

while i've got you here, how's your overall satisfaction with the car? any rants?
 

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2000 ML55
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73 Posts
There's no rhyme or reason for the reack failure, some never go. I chalk it up to MY luck. But like I said, the trouble started when the PS hose blew off of the radiator.

As far as rants, the torsion bars make a racket that I am getting ready to fix next. I'm going to rplace the bushings and lube it all up nice. A car that started out life THAT expensive shouldn't have suspension noise.

Another thing that pisses me off is how loud the sunroof is, its like the gasketing is not strong enough to keep it quiet when closed.

Overall tho, the car is sweet, FAST FAST FAST, maneuverable, AWD is nice, Nav is nice, even tho it is outdated a bit, stereo is ok, not great. I like the headlights too. You should get one... especially since they are only slightly more expensive than the 320's or 430's and way rarer. The horsepower giggle factor is what its all about, especially on the highway. Passing speeds from 60-80 are quick and its fun pulling away from traffic on merge ramps and toll plazas.

I recently drove from Philly to Myrtle Beach SC and TORE UP the last stretch of highway at 2:30 am 100mph (120 at times). That little experience, while not very bright was an eye opener.

GET ONE
 

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2004 Black BMW M3 Track Car & 1981 5'10 Brunette, 34C package
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Discussion Starter #9
wow... nice to hear that you're so happy. also glad that it seems like you know your way around a car, mechanically. i've found some pretty good deals on them, and at this point it's between this and an X5 4.4i. i'm leaning toward the merc, though, since i have access to cheaper replacement parts... no such deal for bimmers.

has anyone towed anything bigger than a bread box? i'd probably be using it to occasionally tow a racecar (~2 tons with car, trailer, and peripherals). i'm also a little concerned with the rear cargo space, as i'd like to put a shifter kart in the back, and i'm not positive it'll fit. i'll have to take some measurements and see what's what.
 

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00 ml55
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77 Posts
I've towed my rx7 to the track without issue. With the trailer and stock springs the rear sags a bit I guess that is to be expected.
 

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05 ml 350 SE
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between the 2, the 4.4 is pretty ballsy itself and more sporty, but again id prolly go with the 55 just cuz its rare
 

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ML430 - sold
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Reliability and ML are two words not often heard together in a sentence :)
That said most if not all the problems are pretty well documented on this site and many of them are just annoyances rather than serious $$$
So providing you keep on top of the repairs (and routine maintenance) you should have lots of fun with an ML55.
 

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05 500
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6,550 Posts
I agree with Timf's comments except for the just annoyances rather than serious $$$ part. The ML55 doesn't have any specific issues you'd not find in any ML. You could run into minor annoyances like TimF said or like Trashman, it could be an expensive steering rack thing. I'm on my second ML and have been through some issues - just replaced the power steering on my 500 and now the master cylinder need to be tossed out also. If your interest is in engine issues, rest assured, you'll be fine for a lot of hundreds of miles. The tranny and xfer case hardware on the other hand, need apprximately 60K service intervals. Again, applies to all MLs not only the 55. Even the torsion bar cracking noise is a common ML issue. What you want to do is get a good one - check out all info available b4 buying - and keep up in maintenance, and budget a good $2500-$3000/year for maintenance & incidentals.
 

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E250 Bluetec Sprinter250 Bluetec
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Darkmann said:
and budget a good $2500-$3000/year for maintenance & incidentals.
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We didn't spend that much on our ML320 in its 8-years old life.
That include brakes and tires.
 
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