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1999 ML430
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1,559 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm kind'a surprised that many W163 owners actually have two (maybe more!), W163's taking up valuable parking space .

There is a pretty good explanation for this phenomena.

Once you own one, you realize how versatile these SUV's are, how they hold quite a bit of gear, have decent power, reasonable gas mileage,
great visibility and are pretty reliable vehicles for the long haul. Also very comfortable, collapsable seats in rear, fairly easy to work on (particularly
with help from BW members) and an amazing number of owners who love these vehicles !!

Another interesting advantage is you see these 1998-2003 W163's being offered at very reasonable prices, depending on condition. Economy of Scale plays in here because if you are purchasing parts for one , with this set-up, you are doubling the parts usefulness.

Looking forward to owners chiming in on what features in particular do you love, and would you consider owning two or more?

One last thing.....I occasionally slip my ML's into 4-wheel high and low just to check operation and maybe lubricate some of the drive components.
When I first got my brand new 1999 ML430 in late 1998,I often headed for the mountains and was absolutely floored by how well these vehicles drive in off-road conditions ! Excellent ground clearance and gobs of torque if needed and I enjoyed , in particular, creeper gear in 4WD low with foot off the gas and just tooling around on forest service roads in the North Georgia/North Carolina mountains. Couple of great fire towers are within a few hours drive !!

And with all the DIY selfers, decent supply of wear parts, inexpensive insurance..just get the liability.....they are remarkably reasonable in operation costs.

OK ...lastly, I can't fail to mention how vault-like these vehicles are. With a Body-on-frame construction, it is vastly superior to unitized construction. These babies are like TANKS....and are perfect for a teenager or kids in general, as far as SAFETY....... Yep, I have a Serious love affair with the W163's.

I am so afraid that I am going to run into a W163 that is a DIESEL !! THAT would be tough to pass up to complete my stable !!
 

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Registered
2003 ml500, 2004 ml350
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931 Posts
We purchased the 500 quite by accident. Our Mommy van a 1998 ford Windstar finally bit the dust. We need another car fast real fast. A local auction house, all online, had a Nissan Rogue which for years we wanted one. When I went to check out the rogue I noticed this Benz. By Monday, auction close, the Rogue was priced higher then we were comfortable paying. I sent a text to my wife "what about an ML" she was like "A What"? Sent her the link she was like OK.

A few hours later, and 2800$ plus 10% buyers premium we won the bid.

Had the 500 for a few months we were hooked, a few months later the Auction house had a 350 had to have it. We won that one for 1800.

What I like is the solidness, even after all these years the doors close like a brand new fridge. For it's time it was quite the car, it started the luxury SUV crazy. But it is was still Body on frame when everyone was starting to go unibody. Yeah it does not have the greatest MPG, but neither did the Windstar. My GMC same vintage has 2 airbag the ML 10 or did I miss some? Would I buy a third perhaps, especially if a 55 came my way!

She Likes the height leather heated seats and visibility.
 

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Premium Member
2000 ML55 sold😢 2013 ML500,😁 2015 C250 estate wagon, 1927 Dodge 4 sedan, 1929 Dodge
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4,729 Posts
I had my 430 for over 10 years and had a spare 430 in the yard for a good 6 years of that. I fitted the 55 engine and gearbox to the 430 a couple of years before I moved onto the W166. I loved that car everyday I drove it and even more with the 55 engine in it. It was an awesome beast of an SUV. The spare 430 saved me, and a few others a fortune in parts.
I must say the new 2013 ML500 is a world ahead of the old W163 and I would struggle going back to it. Sorry guys the 166 is just as awesome as the 163. The build quality of them is so much better I think. Some may disagree. They take a bit of getting use to driving them but after about a week I settled into it. All in all Mercedes has made a great SUV even better.


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1999 ML430
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1,559 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Matt...i looked at a W166 before I sealed the deal on the ML55. After having the 430 for so many years, I just loved how all the controls just fell to hand. The W166 had this mickey mouse stalk on the right to change gears and I was always reaching for the console mounted shifter. More room in the 163 also. It drove nice and had a tighter turning radius and the headlights were much better than the halogens on the 430......but the ML55 xenons were light years ahead (no pun intended!) :)
 

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2002 Ml320 w163
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42 Posts
I started with a white 98 w163 ml320 and fell in love. I had awesome mpg almost 30 mpg on highway. Bought it at my local buy here pay here at $3,000. When I retired the ol girl she had 248,000 on her. She would have kept going but I let a friend borrow her and she overheated for to long and I didn't want to take the chance on the motor warp. So when this silver 02 came up at the same lot at $4,000 I grabbed it as fast as I could. Deff not the same mpg.lol. I love this one but I miss the heated seats and the trip/info center up by the garage door opener that my 98 had. I'm lucky to get the same mpg as my BFS dodge ram 1500 v8.lol
 

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01 ML55, 96 S320
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273 Posts
I almost bought a 2003 ML350 w/ 270k last month but ended up passing. It needed either a TCM or conductor plate and 100% needed two front wheel bearings and tires. Didn't want to buy tires for it to be honest. In my grief I picked up a 1996 S320 with issues for $350 a week later, soooooo....

Actually found a super cheap E320 on FB that I am going to look at. I have been so impressed with these cars since owning the W163 that I can't stop wanting to buy them. Parts aren't bad and there's so many options with local junk yards and a pick n pull that patience = epic savings.
 

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2003 C320 coupe, 2000 ML320
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665 Posts
Bought my 00' ML320 as a "cheap" replacement for my wife's never ending destruction of her 4x4 trucks.. Blew out the transmission on her Ford and blew the engine on the Dodge.. We've got a pasture that we call the "bottoms".. When it's been raining a lot.. The bottoms turns into mud and muck city.. Just a couple of days ago.. Had to go down to the bottoms,.. The wife was getting all over me about driving where the Ford buried itself up to the doors and is where the tranny came apart while trying to get it out.. Well here's three cheers for the ML.. At the same spot, I started sinking.. A little pedal to the metal.. And the ML powered through it... Hooyah... For the longest time , I couldn't get the wife to shut-up about her beloved Dodge,.. Two days ago, the wife said "I'm starting to like this ML"... (Maybe by spring, I won't have to start wrenching on the F-ing Dodge, Hooyah..)
 

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2002 ml55
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205 Posts
I agree with all of the above.... (and....I have a 2000 ml55 for sale if anyone is looking..... ;) )
 

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2004 ML500 Inspiration Edition
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51 Posts
I bought my 2004 ML500 as my first car. Now 18 months and 8,000 miles later I can't say I regret it. I cross-shopped the ML with the 4Runner and Touareg and a few others from the same era. The ML was the best value for the money by a long shot. My dad also had a W124 when I was a kid, later replaced by a W210 which eventually was the car I drove to high school. So I was familiar with the brand.

Looking forward to owners chiming in on what features in particular do you love, and would you consider owning two or more?
- Perfect size. I can toss my bike and lots of other crap in the back, even hauled a loveseat sofa. Yet it's small enough to comfortably maneuver tight urban streets.

- I agree on the "tank" comment. For all intents and purposes it's a poor man's G-wagon, and I mean that in a good way. The G-wagon DNA disappeared in later versions when they moved away from body-on-frame.

- Great visibility. Rear quarter windows are getting smaller and smaller on modern crossovers in the name of styling which reduces visibility. I'm not a fan.

- The design is aging gracefully IMO.

My dad likes my ML and considered buying an 80k mile 2005 ML500 SE that came up for sale locally to replace his Volvo wagon which has proven to me finicky. It was nearer to me than him so I checked it out. He decided against it but I'm pretty sure he will get a W163 eventually. Maybe a few years down the road I'll find a good one and buy it for him. For me personally if I owned a second car it would be an 07-08 Acura TL Type-S. To be honest sometimes it would be nice to have something other than a bulky SUV.
 

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2001 ML430
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464 Posts
I bought my 2001 ML 430 Sport in 2005 with 90k on the clock. I Bought it because I like European, and it was the most rugged true 4x4 SUV that was in my price range from Europe. 15 years later, I am still in love. In fact, I had my first "at fault" accident in my life (51 years old) right before thanksgiving where I did the public a service by punting a brand new Range Rover off the road. While the damage to the Range rover was minimum, I picked up it's rear and it took out my hood, radiators, right fender, and everything on the front end. I bought it back from the insurance company and am about half way through rebuilding it. While I am in there, and have the entire front clip off it, I am doing all wear items on the engine. Everything was original except the belt and spark plugs. I rebuilt the alternator, replaced the WP, Thermostat, plugs, pulleys, belt, and all rubber bits and bobs I could get my hands on.

I do off road the crap out of her as well as pull trailers, and genuinely use her any way I need. There is nothing I want to replace her with on the market today. She will be in my garage for a long time to come.
 

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Mercedes-Benz
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1,228 Posts
My ML has grown on me, but I have no interest in occupying garage spaces with multiples of the same chassis. Would rather devote the money, realestate, maintenence, and registration and insurance payments to a different automotive experience.
 

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Purple Moderator
99 ML430, 00 ML320, 05 E500 4matic Wagon
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21,939 Posts
We picked up the 2000 ML320 over 5 years ago with 128k miles on it for $2000.
It needed front shocks, brakes, e-box fan and aux cooling pump.
I also did buy a second a remote key fob for it.
It is still doing quite well.
 

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1999 ML430
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1,559 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
We picked up the 2000 ML320 over 5 years ago with 128k miles on it for $2000.
It needed front shocks, brakes, e-box fan and aux cooling pump.
I also did buy a second a remote key fob for it.
It is still doing quite well.
Good that you got the remote key when it was still available !!
 

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Outstanding Contributor
2002 ML320, 2003 A160, 2002 ML500, 2018 GLS350d
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4,292 Posts
... it was the most rugged true 4x4 SUV that was in my price range from Europe.
Hate to break it to you, but your ML was built in the USA. Only the powertrain was imported from Europe. Most the electricals were made in Mexico.

As for me, I own 2 of the same chassis because a friend crashed her 30-year-old truck and said she wanted to upgrade to an ML exactly like mine.

I found a beat-up 7-seater ML500 that had been neglected, and the depreciation on these was so awesome that I spent 6% of what I paid to acquire my first one. The friend couldn’t afford that much so I kept it for my daughter to learn to drive in. She’s logged 10 hours in it so far and only crashed it once.

I have bought the X166 upgrade which is so technologically advanced it’s mind-boggling. Drives itself, steers itself, parks itself. It just needs me to select its radar target and lane, and for back-up in emergencies. The penultimate step before full autonomous driving. It’s coming.
2619942
 

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Dallas, Texas
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7,140 Posts
Hate to break it to you, but your ML was built in the USA. Only the powertrain was imported from Europe. Most the electricals were made in Mexico.

As for me, I own 2 of the same chassis because a friend crashed her 30-year-old truck and said she wanted to upgrade to an ML exactly like mine.

I found a beat-up 7-seater ML500 that had been neglected, and the depreciation on these was so awesome that I spent 6% of what I paid to acquire my first one. The friend couldn’t afford that much so I kept it for my daughter to learn to drive in. She’s logged 10 hours in it so far and only crashed it once.

I have bought the X166 upgrade which is so technologically advanced it’s mind-boggling. Drives itself, steers itself, parks itself. It just needs me to select its radar target and lane, and for back-up in emergencies. The penultimate step before full autonomous driving. It’s coming.
Now, that is one impressive looking garage.:love:
 

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Premium Member
2000 ML55 sold😢 2013 ML500,😁 2015 C250 estate wagon, 1927 Dodge 4 sedan, 1929 Dodge
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4,729 Posts
Hate to break it to you, but your ML was built in the USA. Only the powertrain was imported from Europe. Most the electricals were made in Mexico.

As for me, I own 2 of the same chassis because a friend crashed her 30-year-old truck and said she wanted to upgrade to an ML exactly like mine.

I found a beat-up 7-seater ML500 that had been neglected, and the depreciation on these was so awesome that I spent 6% of what I paid to acquire my first one. The friend couldn’t afford that much so I kept it for my daughter to learn to drive in. She’s logged 10 hours in it so far and only crashed it once.

I have bought the X166 upgrade which is so technologically advanced it’s mind-boggling. Drives itself, steers itself, parks itself. It just needs me to select its radar target and lane, and for back-up in emergencies. The penultimate step before full autonomous driving. It’s coming. View attachment 2619942
You’ll love the 166 DrX they are a beautiful car. Great for road trips, my wife and I have done heaps since we bought ours.



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1970 w109 6.3, 2014 ML350 (petrol) AMG kitted, 2004 Vito 115 crewbus, 2003 CL600 V12 bi-turbo
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397 Posts
I have owned both a ML320 and ML55 AMG. I have owed 17 different Mercs and these were the most reliable by far. Yes - very important to put it in 4WD every now and then otherwise strange things start to happen. Currently driving a ML350 W166 and love it. Biggest money pit of a MB is my current hobby car 2003 CL600 V12 twin turbo. Costs me thousand to keep on the road BUT hop in it and push the accelerator and all the money woes are forgotten!
 
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