electric window switches
poor fit and finish
tortional damper falling off front of crank
heating and ventilation controls
Apart from those I can't think of any others just now. By far the most
serious problem is the tortional damper issue as this is a heavy bit of kit
to fly around loose between the engine and radiator. Quite common with the
V6 petrol apparently.
The suspension units come as a single part and are consequently expensive
given that the springs are replaced even if you only need a damper.
Primarily only a problem on the 1998 and 1999 models.
Easily corrected with the revised part.
Other than the need for normal replacement, I am not aware of any chronic
problems with the shocks or struts.
I'd have to disagree. While the 98 & 99 models lacked some of the
"expected" luxury amenities, the later models, and especially the 2002+
models, have very good fit and finish. It seems that once most of the early
"chronic" problems are resolved, the ML is proving itself to be a very
reliable long-term vehicle.
Yes, one of the chronic problems that plagued the 1999-2000 models. It's an
easy and fairly inexpensive fix as long as you catch it before the defective
I am not aware of this as a chronic problem. Keep in mind that engines used
in the ML are the same ones made in the same factories as all other MB
models. There's nothing special about the ML that would cause a sludge
problem. There was an issue with excessive oil consumption in the pre-2001
models before they switched to full-synthetic oil from the factory.
Other than some complaints of inadequate cooling ability from the A/C system
(which was significantly improved in 2002+), I have heard of no problems at
all with the ventilation controls.
Like I said, it was a defective part that was not a problem on the 2001+
models, and is easily replaced as a preventative measure on the pre-2001
I believe you are speaking of the rear struts. This is very common with a
coil spring/strut cartridge arrangement. However, it is possible to buy the
parts separately as aftermarket equipment.
I will add one other issue, which is the fuel sender/pump unit. There were
many failures with the 98/99 models, but fewer with the 2000 model, and
basically none on the later models. However, the fuel sender/pump, lines
and filter were redesigned a few years back and subsequently there was a TSB
that called for their replacement on all pre-2003 models. It is likely that
most all defective 98/99 fuel pumps have been replaced, but the TSB for the
latest pump/sender and larger lines might not have been performed. What
this means is that if you go to change the fuel filter, it will require
replacement of the pump/sender unit and the fuel lines because the old
smaller filter is no longer made.
I would say that an ML that has been well maintained is a good buy right now
with the W163 just days away. Again, these trucks had some rough
reliability issues early on, but with those resolved, they have proven to be
fairly reliable vehicles and overall, they are good performers.
I had a 2000 model and have to admit to having no problems whatsoever with
the vehicle apart from the appalingly poor fit and finish, both interior and
exterior. Cheaply finished low rent plastic with poor fastening abounded. I
could have lived with this but not the poor ride quality which continues
today. The problem here is lateral pitching. I continue to follow these
vehicles sometimes and note the occupants swaying sideways on roads that
appear quite smooth in other vehicles. My family could not stand this in the
long term. Changed it for a BMW X5 which was in a different league as far as
design and build quality, though not as mechanically reliable. I have now
found my long term nirvana in the Range Rover which is mechanically similar
to the X5 in so many ways but so far with even better build and reliability
It seems that once most of the early
I have no doubt that it should last well. I did not sell mine due to any
doubt about long term mechanical reliability. I actually like the basic
vehicle and would not have bought it if I did not. The build quality issues
were certainly disappointing compared to most vehicles I have owned, even
1980's Land Rover products.
Yes, before the front crank pulley, incorporating the heavy tortional
damper, spins off into oblivion. Mine was a five cylinder diesel, lovely
They had to switch to synthetic mb229.1 specification oil in the USA quite
early on due to engine failures caused by premature lubricant breakdown.
Quite why they did not specify the superior 229.3 oil from the begining is a
bit of a mystery. It also points to a failure of R&D because the ASSYST
intelligent service monitoring should have prevented such failure if it was
calibrated properly for the oil used. Nonetheless this was a short lived
problem which was sorted simply and early on in the model cycle. There
should be no problems much after 1999 build and even these few would have
been serviced with synthetic oil from early on and any failure fixed long
Stiff lever operation with failure of the mechanical switching components
[rods] on pre 2001 models.
I did not know this. AFAI knew they were one sealed strut but things move on
and I would indeed expect fast moving parts to become more available and
affordable as the model becomes older and more common.
They have always been made in the USA, except for a brief production run in
Graz (all of which stayed in Europe). Most of the problems were not related
to build quality in the MBUSI factory, but to poor quality outsourced parts
(many of which came from Germany and Japan). As with most MBZ vehicles
through the years, a majority of the problems were "annoying" and not
related to safety or overall longevity. One of the most serious problems
was a self-destructing harmonic balancer which was manufactured and
assembled in the engine plant in Germany, and can also be a problem on other
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.