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Premium Member
1999 ML430 and 2003 ML55
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Discussion Starter #1
Well, it's that time of the year again....seems like it comes earlier every year......to replace the damn windshield washer reservoir. Seems like you can just LOOK AT IT and you will see the cracks starting to form. Doesn't take much to destroy it.....a few years of plastic decomposing and becoming brittle, heat from the engine, vibration and just the slightest touch to watch it disintegrate before your eyes. Seems like life expectancy is about two years. Anything over that its on borrowed time !

So i go to price these babies and they start at $45.00 all the way up to $150.00. WTF....!!

I love to save money, but not risk getting an inferior product. Particularly for a part that is a major pain to install. So once again, I went for the OEM Mercedes just to avoid any fitment problems. The larger capacity 7.6 liter is a very tight fit and not an install to take lightly.....hope this one goes well....
 

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ML320 W163 2000 189 7 seater
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60 Posts
Well, it's that time of the year again....seems like it comes earlier every year......to replace the damn windshield washer reservoir. Seems like you can just LOOK AT IT and you will see the cracks starting to form. Doesn't take much to destroy it.....a few years of plastic decomposing and becoming brittle, heat from the engine, vibration and just the slightest touch to watch it disintegrate before your eyes. Seems like life expectancy is about two years. Anything over that its on borrowed time !

So i go to price these babies and they start at $45.00 all the way up to $150.00. WTF....!!

I love to save money, but not risk getting an inferior product. Particularly for a part that is a major pain to install. So once again, I went for the OEM Mercedes just to avoid any fitment problems. The larger capacity 7.6 liter is a very tight fit and not an install to take lightly.....hope this one goes well....
Mine seems fine and it is the original one 20 years old so maybe I am just fortunate!
 

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Premium Member
1999 ML430 and 2003 ML55
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2,018 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
You are ,indeed, very, very fortunate ! This stuff is so brittle after a few years......be advised, the new ones offered online are a bit larger capacity(5.7 liter) that makes it harder to install. Old one held plenty of fluid, not sure why they changed it, but they are a PITA to install now !!
Best advice I can give you is to make sure to order OEM (mercedes) and not one of the less-expensive china knockoffs that is more prone to failure....
 

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Current (2002 ml320, 2002 ml500, 2005 ml500 sport 2006 bmw 525xi)
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67 Posts
It's the heat that kills these. When you live in an area where there is 100 days in a row over 100F, everything drys out and cracks.
 

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ML320 W163 2000 189 7 seater
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60 Posts
It's the heat that kills these. When you live in an area where there is 100 days in a row over 100F, everything drys out and cracks.
That's why mine is okay, I live in the north west of England and it only gets to 30C for three days a year. You don't ever need A/C either so I have never bothered fixing mine. It never gets really freezing either as it is not that far from the sea.
 

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2000 E 320 Wagon + 2002 ML 500 SUV
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Springer & Camobob:

Please remind me which state youre in ?

Hot & Humid or Hot & Dry ?
.
Were Hot & Humid here.
I'd guess mine is not original but cant say how old.

At least 4.5 years as Ive owned it that long.

Mine the top is cracked but bottom half is leak free so I just fill halfway for now.

I have other repairs before new washer tank is needed...

I have taken to lifting my hood in summertime upon returning to my shaded parking spot - it evacuates so much heat it seems like a good move to lengthen the lifespan of plastic & rubber underhood parts.

David
 

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1999 ML430 and 2003 ML55
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Discussion Starter #7
David, I'm just north of Atlanta.

Good idea with popping the hood after getting home....

By the way...the larger capacity I mentioned is 5.7 NOT 7.6 liter as I originally stated.....
 

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2003 C320 coupe, 2000 ML320
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953 Posts
Dave, ... same here... I just cut off all the rotten stuff and made a fiber glass lid...
2651812
2651813
 

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W163 and General M Gremlin
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4,575 Posts
Springer & Camobob:

Please remind me which state youre in ?

Hot & Humid or Hot & Dry ?
.
Were Hot & Humid here.
I'd guess mine is not original but cant say how old.

At least 4.5 years as Ive owned it that long.

Mine the top is cracked but bottom half is leak free so I just fill halfway for now.

I have other repairs before new washer tank is needed...

I have taken to lifting my hood in summertime upon returning to my shaded parking spot - it evacuates so much heat it seems like a good move to lengthen the lifespan of plastic & rubber underhood parts.

David
I am surprised you guys have so much issue with these reservoirs. In the PNW, I've never had to replace them, not once, other than via a front fender bender. Definately a weather/climate induced issue (along with all the freeway miles you guys put on)
 

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2000 E 320 Wagon + 2002 ML 500 SUV
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Springer,

You'll have a similar climate as East Texas I suspect then.

I mainly pop the hood in our oppressive summer heat - until highs drop into 70s in Fall - Winter - Spring as the ambient temps allow more rapid cooling.

Bobby nicely done mod !

My skill set being limited, I used Gorilla Tape to reinforce top of tank - its holding for now.

On tank size, mine reads 7.6 litre and looks like a tight fit.

I'd welcome a smaller one to ease installation but the details on tank size are confusing.

Do any of you have clarity on the issue ?

Also have you seen a complete list of rubber plugs or hoses - 'all the bits' needed to completly Remove & Re-install the new tank ?

One thing that always concerns me is that local parts availability for our MLs (any MB model) is NIL so if you begin a job and lack a part your stuck waiting on them to arrive.

Thanks for any input - this job is just around the corner for me !
 

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2000 E 320 Wagon + 2002 ML 500 SUV
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Khomer:

Theyre made with the wrong kind of plastic for high temp resistance.

Looks like blow molded HDPE or LDPE but should be PETE or PVC probably ABS would be best.-

I'm no plastics expert BUT clearly the current one isnt enough in hot climates.

Isnt Germany a cool Northern Clime like Canada ?

So maybe thats part of the picture ?

Not enough German MB engineers live in Alabama year round ?

Or drive 10+ year old MLs to know...

David
 

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W163 and General M Gremlin
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Khomer:

Theyre made with the wrong kind of plastic for high temp resistance.

Looks like blow molded HDPE or LDPE but should be PETE or PVC probably ABS would be best.-

I'm no plastics expert BUT clearly the current one isnt enough in hot climates.

Isnt Germany a cool Northern Clime like Canada ?

So maybe thats part of the picture ?

Not enough German MB engineers live in Alabama year round ?

Or drive 10+ year old MLs to know...

David
Gemany can get real humid.
Not so much over here, other than back in central and eastern canada ( similar to NY region).
Highest max avg temps in the summer hit 30s more or less (86-90) and not for long stretches.

I guess in the summer, one has to eat ice cream down there real fasssst.
OR I guess you can buy the cheaper ones that add alot of gaur gum.
 

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2003 C320 coupe, 2000 ML320
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"I guess in the summer, one has to eat ice cream down there real fasssst."

A few years back, I was driving from Naples to Tampa (I-75 about a 2 1/2 hr drive) and there were so many car fires from exploding fuel lines, it took me a 5/6 hrs to make it.. The bitchin part was I had to turn on the heater full blast to try to keep my temp down , so I wouldn't end up like the three blazing hulks in the middle of the highway..
 

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2000 E 320 Wagon + 2002 ML 500 SUV
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"I guess in the summer, one has to eat ice cream down there real fasssst."

A few years back, I was driving from Naples to Tampa (I-75 about a 2 1/2 hr drive) and there were so many car fires from exploding fuel lines, it took me a 5/6 hrs to make it.. The bitchin part was I had to turn on the heater full blast to try to keep my temp down , so I wouldn't end up like the three blazing hulks in the middle of the highway..
Now thats what I call H E A T !

So Bobby youre Florida ?

Central ?

My Sis is in Destin / Panhandle.
About similar Heat to E TX but they get ocean breeze to relent it a bit.

But yeah my version of that story from my 'So Cal' days is heading East on I-10 just E of Coachella / Palm Springs over the infamous Chiraco Summit.

On 115 degree summer days you WILL see all trucks & cars with Cooling system / Tranny issues dotting the shoulder all the way up.

Even worse is the I-40 'long pull' W from Needles to Barstow a near continuous upgrade of 50 miles (I think) that has Popped many a Radiator.

In our Ram Van towing a Tractor load (4500#) I had to leave Needles at 3am (85 deg cool) and drive with heater on high windows down just to avoid that breakdown.

Probably would make a brand new ML washer tank crack straight through in one trip....ha ha.

David
 

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Premium Member
1999 ML430 and 2003 ML55
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Discussion Starter #15
Khomer:

Theyre made with the wrong kind of plastic for high temp resistance.

Looks like blow molded HDPE or LDPE but should be PETE or PVC probably ABS would be best.-

I'm no plastics expert BUT clearly the current one isnt enough in hot climates.

Isnt Germany a cool Northern Clime like Canada ?

So maybe thats part of the picture ?

Not enough German MB engineers live in Alabama year round ?

Or drive 10+ year old MLs to know...

David
7.6 is the current replacement reservoir...I've got that size currently and it is toast...and I have another 7.6 on the way.....they made this change about five years ago and for the life of me, i don't know why !

It just causes us to shoehorn the larger size in, which is a real PITA !!
 

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2000 E 320 Wagon + 2002 ML 500 SUV
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So the old part # for the earlier smaller tank shows none available ?

I hear the old tank just popped out & new one in.

Or is there a substantive difference in how theyre plumbled to washer motors that makes retrofitting a bad plan ?

Anyone know ?

Thx David
 

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96 S420, 00 ML55
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82 Posts
David,

Older, smaller tanks pop in and out without removing crossmember and fusebox. I found one in the pickapart and installed it. Unfortunately it had small cracks that began seeping right away so it had to come out. Finding a good one now is a problem. I did discover that the big tank would go in when the condenser and crossmember were removed, which may be better than pulling the fusebox bolts and lifting it out of the way which I understand is the other way you have to do it.

Mike in ABQ
 

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Premium Member
1999 ML430 and 2003 ML55
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2,018 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Mike, that is correct.The problem with pulling one out of a donor ML is that it is in pretty bad shape to start with. This plastic, exposed to heat, cold and vibration is subject to cracking and the procedure to install is just speeding up the deterioration. The original smaller size was an easy replacement..took maybe a 1/2 hour to button it up.
Unfortunately, those are no longer available and I would discourage pickers from messing with these, because its already on its last legs and not worth the trouble and aggravation. If you could find a NOS (new old stock) in a warehouse, that would be the perfect solution!

Why MB decided to enlarge the tank is the $64,000 question. The original was just fine ! It held a reasonable amount and maybe needed total refilling maybe once/twice a year. Its not like owners were screaming for a larger capacity !


The factory new tank, larger capacity, does require moving some other pieces out of the way to install it. Even then you need to tweek it to fit and hold your tongue just right! This is a project that you do not want to repeat anytime soon, so an OEM reservoir is recommended instead of a Chinese knockoff.

I know the re-design was due primarily to the need for three pumps, not the original two. The ML55 needed one for the windscreen, the rear window and now, the headlight washers !

One thing I can say with some certainty is to have a bottle of dishwashing detergent handy...not for inside the tank, but to help with the exterior of the tank to add slipperance (if that's a word) to the tank.

and of course a six-pack is required to complete the project ! I've got a new tank ordered and I might just start with the six-pack and go from there !!
 

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So out of curiosity, do the tanks fail from the inside or the from the outside? Primarily due to the heat issues? common in your region?
 

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1999 ML430 and 2003 ML55
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2,018 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
khomer2, hard to say. My current tank cracked a few days days ago when I put a little hand pressure on it. Did not take much pressure and currently, I have Gorilla tape on it till the new one arrives. I would guess the outside of the tank takes the worst beating and with my new one, I am going to start applying 303 protectorant to the outside on a regular basis...that should help.....
 
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