I've owned the my ML320 2000 since 2000. Many issues.
Driver's seat caught fire and burned though my winter coat. MB quoted $1000, but then decided they would cover it... repair was actually $200 (replace element and the one pad that had burned through).
Catalytic converter right side replaced, $1600 MB part used - it was a recall part, that if they catch is free, if you get it changed elsewhere, too bad! But they won't tell you.
Power steering hose came off twice, in the middle of a left hand turn on very busy streets - before MB finally did a serious modification on the part.
Rear right spring broke - discovered while driving away from latest maintenance. MB didn't spot it, then denied it.
Fuel pump failed.
Top of piston position sensor failed.
6 mass oxygen sensor assemblies failed (1 every 1.5 years).
Electrical problems are constant, with blown fuses a quarterly event.
Replaced MB brakes with Brembo; resolved problem with fast wearing out of pads and rotors.
Engine trouble light was on for 3 straight years, before a poor wire connection to a sensor was found responsible (I miss that little light at night).
Latest problem... sudden catastrophic oil spill due to oil measuring tube separating from engine - lost 8.5 ltr of synthetic oil in less than 500m at 80km/h. Result - seized engine. Only warning - Oil light came on indicating oil level low. So the truck is sitting waiting for a new engine. Should I even bother? Argh!
I'll let you know... mine's in the shop as we speak for stalling out with no power. I have noticed that the starting mechanism is taking SEVERAL turn-over's before actually starting... concerned that it's next...
What can I say? But what a piece of junk my ML430 2000 model is. I bought it second hand in Australia. Yes I am from downunder.
We have had most of the problems listed above as well as a few others. Faulty switches replaced several times because quality control was off duty. More lights on the dash than I thought existed. Air conditioning dead. Locking in park and unable to move. Panels glued on a $80K car falling off and wanting a kings ransom to replace. My local mechanic tells me the front end will have to come out to replace a bush of some sort, I think I will wait for that one. Door locks malfunctioning, inside trim falling off, engine cranking but not starting because of faulty crank sensor, I calculated in 5 years we have spent close to 10k on this lemon. The central locking is playing up again 3 years after we spent $1k on it to fix.
Can't wait to upgrade to a Hyundai.
My ML320 has been good besides a crank angle sensor at 100'000 klm.
Like all cars I have owned before, yes they do require maintenance. Use Mann after market filters, after market brakes, and most of the maintenance costs are comparable to other vehicles, and the car still runs the same. I tow a boat frequently and drive it hard. Add a performance air filter, and the sluggish down low acceleration improves. Avoid M.B. dealerships unless you have to..
We bought two of these vehicles off-lease in 2004 when we moved to NW Ontario in Canada; a 1999 with 110,000 kms, and a 2001 with just 39,000 kms.
Fortunately the 2001 was still under the standard 4 year warranty, and we insisted the 1999 came with a paid dealer safety check. The dealers were delighted to bill MB Canada for all the outstanding safety items. Interestingly, they refused to show us any prior repair bills, although I did note on their computer screen that one was for over $5k! Wow.
The vehicles now have 200,000 kms and 130,000 kms respectively. The upside is they have never left us stranded, and have provided comfortable, safe and exceptionally practical transport for the last 7 years. This is quite something in our 6 month, -40 Winters.
Now to the (non-normal service) repairs:
110k kms. Ball joints done (free to us) by dealer on delivery $1,800.
125k kms. Check Engine Light Sender Unit and Central Bearing $1,100.
133k kms. Pads and rotors. $1,500.
134k kms. Parking brake repairs $400.
142k kms. New fuel lines. $500.
161k kms. Drivers window switch. $400.
164k kms. Drive belts, pulley + tensioner. $1000.
177k kms. Front pads. $120.
183k kms. Drivers window switch. $400.
194k kms. Power steering pump. Tie rod ends. $1200.
200k kms. SOMETHING BIG HAS GONE UNDERNEATH - EITHER DIFFERENTIALS OR STEERING BOX. ANY IDEAS???
Zero from 39000 kms to 74000 kms.
74k kms: B service + brake pads $1500.
76k kms: AC failed (still not repaired - this is Canada) $200.
94k kms: Power steering hose failed. THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN FIXED UNDER RECALL. $200.
114k kms. Mass Air Sensor failed. Water pump failed. Rear parking brake seized. New ball joints all round. Cost? Wait for it... $5840.77.
Now at 130k kms. Worrying sound like the 1999 above - diffs / steering?
We both had MBs in Europe from 1997-2004 (C and E Class Wagons), which were faultless. Yes, conditions here are harder, but many of the above have nothing to do with road surface issues.
THE BIGGEST ISSUE IS THE DEALERS. IN SMALLER TOWNS AND CITIES THESE ARE INVARIABLY (STILL) CHRYSLER DEALERS WHO ARE CLUELESS ABOUT BOTH THE VEHICLES AND THEIR REQUIREMENTS. THE ONLY THING THEY HAVE IN COMMON WITH MAINSTREAM DEALERS IS THEIR ABILITY TO CHARGE MERCEDES PRICE FOR CHRYSLER QUALITY WORK.
We do like the MBs and still have residual loyalty from the models we drove in Europe. Would I buy another??? Probably not. Why? Well although the post 2005 models are much better, Mercedes cynically foisted sub-std products on owners from 1995-2005 while pretending their quality crown was intact. It was not. Cough up an apology and $10-15k recompense and I probably would go for something post 2005.
I bet there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, like me.
I have owned the MB 320 2000 for less than a year now, and have had more trouble in that year (for which it was only driven for four months) than all my other vehicles combined in the past ten years. Really frustrating and expensive. Now the radio amp just quit working. On what other vehicles does this happen? Disgusted.
I am having the same problems with my windows and car not starting, and was told it is the relay switch. I am searching for others. Please contact WeeksShopping@gmail.com
I am also having issues with my ML320. What are your issues. WeeksShopping@gmail.com if you would like to reply.
I bought a used 2000 ML 320 last year. I can't think of anything I've done before that I regret this much! It has been a constant source of expensive problems. Past MB's I've had were great, including a 560 SEL, a 300D and even a 240D (slow as a slug though!) The ML's are built in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Could that be part of the low-quality problem? DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THESE TRUCKS!!! YOU'LL BE SORRY IF YOU DO.
The most reliable full size SUV is the GMC Tahoe / Chevy Suburban, or Ford Explorer/Expedition. You can get over 300k easy on these.
For a smaller SUV, choose a Toyota RAV4, Ford Escape, or Honda CRV.
Buying a used Mercedes is asking for a lot of trouble. We all know how expensive parts and service are. German cars are built for performance, looks and status, not long term reliability or low running costs.