I have a 2001 ML320 too. I don't remember that they have 'a handful' of recalls in the first 2 years at all. And I did ran into many problems mentioned by the top post. Most of the time I have to pay for them because they always told me that it was not covered.
As for MB service, it truly sucks. I think it's fair to say that what they care most is to make more money, not their customers. One time, a rubber band fallen off the sky roof after their repair work on it the time before. They asked for about $300 to put that rubber band back in. What can I say? And this time, the power string recall came out in Sep. according too many sites, but the service shop just did not do it in my Oct maintenance service until it broke yesterday. Thank god I was not on the freeway. When I asked about this, they first told me that the recall was in the last day of Oct. Then they told me that they meant for another recall in Oct. And then they said they don't have to do the recall until the part actually break. What on earth does that rule come from?
Also, right after my last maintenance service, the console lights went on and off for some reason. They replaced my battery in that maintenance service. I though that could be causing it. But today while my car is in the shop, they told me that it was caused by the trip computer. And it will cost me $700 to replace the trip computer. Can somebody tell me how the trip computer controls the console lights?
By the way, the service shop I'm talking about is the Mercedes Portland in Oregon.
Folks, I'm sure I won't own a Mercedes for my next car. Even if some Mercedes models have better quality, how can their service stands up to their customer?
I am the person with the original post on this thread. Some further updates.
1. At 63K miles, the power steering hose failed and the vehicle had to be towed for repairs. Total cost to fix including towing was $331.
2. At 65K miles, the check engine light came on and the air mass meter had to be replaced. Total cost $564.
3. At 73K miles, the folding side view mirrors failed (we usually fold them before we drive into the garage). This cost $1200 to fix.
4. At 75K miles cruise control stopped working. Some switch had to be replaced, Cost $88.
I too own a ML320 and it is a great truck to drive. I have however had more or less all the issues mentioned. MAF, PS hose, window switch, brake switch, front brake pads every 12K miles, BAS/ESP yaw sensor etc. I agree with one poster that for the quality of the truck, nothing comes close in this price range. The bad news is that if you are not handy with repairs, you are going to have huge bills for all the issues that will occur. I only have 56K on the truck but have had all the "known" issues already except the crank position sensor failure. Most of the repairs cost not more than $100 each time for the parts, but at the stealership they START at $400. I would say the motor and tranny are bullet proof, but the electrics are more like Lego.
Also an owner of a ML320 with 54,000 miles and the repairs are mounting. Experiencing electrical and sensor issues much more frequently than before. Hard to believe a "quality" car is having so many problems. Cost of brakes and tires is entirely extreme. I own a 1991 420 SEL and it runs like a the MBZ of old. I would not recommend the ML series to anyone.
I am at 190,000 miles on my ML320.
Repairs done to this car, other than normal maintenance included:
Crankshaft Positioning Sensor- $175 for part, DIY.
Power Steering Resevior repalcement- $300 (Dealer part & labor)
Spark plugs and wires- $350 for parts, friend's help
Air mass meter- $170 for part, DIY in a few days.
Car runs great, other than normal maintenance. Gas mileage could be better, at ~20 MPG, but the car more than paid for itself by racking up 200,000+ miles.
After plugs and wires, the car performs as if it is new. i'd buy another ML in the future.
I have a 2001 ml 320 I bought it used with 50000 miles now it has 141000 miles changed the spark plugs once, mas air flow sensor, windows switch twice and front and rear brakes once and it need the front again. replced shocks.not bad for 90000 miles that I owned the car.
I also own a 2001 ML 320 I brought it brand new in 2001. I have spent approximately $20,000/- on service, repair and tire change in last 8 years (Current mileage 148,000 miles, same driver driven, no accidental repair included).
The car started to show rusting in few places approximately around 50,000 miles.
And again this is the 3rd time that my car is having the same problem; it fail to start, it takes waiting between turning the key to start the engine, it shows ERROR message. And with past experience, I can tell you when I take it to the dealership for this problem, my bill will be minimum $2500/-.
I feel that the product, I mean the parts, are poorly made they OR do not have qualified mechanics to identify the problem and solve it without changing the part, because every time you tell them of a complaint, the service people say that it needs the new part (I tried going to 2 different service dealerships). This car is not worth its value.
OMG, THANKS FOR POSTING ALL THESE FAULTS. I was about to trade in my Alfa Romeo 156 due to endless faults of electrical gear box and.. hoping that it the Merc will end all these problems, but seems to be that this car is worse.. whew, might as well keep the Alfa as I have replaced so many parts to it and spent heaps of money repairing it.. Dang, so far so good, just 4000 dollars on the damn Selespeed and registration, and it drives like dream.
I'm the original owner of my 2001 ML320. I now have 70k and have had only minor issues. Of course the recall of the power steering motor. This was repaired by MB of Tampa.
Other than brakes pads and rotors cost, I'm happy with the vehicle. When you own a vehicle for 9 years, you will always have some repairs. The more expensive the vehicle, the more the repairs. If you can't afford a Benz, don't buy it.
Purchased my ML in October '01. At the time I thought car was a good value at its price point compared to other luxury SUVs.
The car currently has 168,000 miles, drives great when no problems, however too much wind noise and rattling.
Problems this year have been replacing ABS pump ($1500), driver door actuator ($500), window switch broke (replaced entire center console unit $600), and replaced all 6 coils (~$1600). What a year!
So you ask why do I still have it; well quite frankly have invested so much, I feel like I ought to get my money back out of it :.) But now the SRS light is flashing on, not staying on constantly yet. Read some posted comments and am afraid that I am going to be really upset.
I've only referenced problems in 2009. Each year especially since the warranty has been up has had some major expense to deal with. From the beginning there were indications that we would have an interesting relationship, the car you love to hate. In February of '02 I was dealing with the failed passenger window, parts on back order for weeks. Shortly thereafter experienced in real time the power steering pump bracket/hose failure, identified as a recall. By now I am telling the dealership that I am still waiting to have the infamous "Mercedes experience". Rubber seals around doors and liftgate separating, and on and on and...