We bought a 2000 ML430 last summer, and are generally thrilled with it
so far. Isn't nearly as comfortable or smooth as our old 300E, but then
it is a truck. And it sure gets around in the ice and snow of Alaska a
whole lot better. However, we are not too happy with the heater - with
it set so the top half of your body is comfortable your feet are
freezing. In fact, we haven't found that any heat at all is blowing on
the floor, and I can see not vents or ducts that point down. Is anybody
else having the same problem?
Dave in Anchorage
Your 300E had a nice automatic climate control system. The ML430 has
manual adjustment for airflow and temperature.
You'll need to adjust the dashboard vent control levers (on the vents
themselves) to mid or low air output. Then turn the right heater vent
control knob to the six o'clock (pointing down) position for floor and vent
air, or three o'clock (pointing right) to get defrost, floor and vent air.
It sounds like your control knob may be at the nine o'clock (pointing left)
position, which is vent only (normally for A/C through the dash, with no air
for floor or defrost).
There are floor vents just under the front dashboard, on the upper center
console of the front seats, and two more floor vents under the front seats
for the rear seat passengers at their feet. The floor vents are all
controlled by the right heater control knob pointing down to the six o'clock
My ML430 gets very warm no matter how cold it gets outside. But it does
take adjustment from Defrost to Floor as needed by using the right-most
knobs of the three center control knobs on the center dash control area.
The usual drill is to get in, turn the control knob to 12 o'clock (straight
up) for immediate defrost, then down to four o'clock position for a majority
of floor air with some upper defrosting still enabled. I usually keep the
dash vents adjusted to about 25% open during the winter, since there is no
way to shut them off from the control knob on the console.
Also, remember that the temp dial should really be labelled w/
temp numbers. Roughly the 11 o'clock position is 68F'ish. There
is a temp sensor in that hole near the MCS...
Don't fiddle w/ the temp dial. You don't have to...
One other note about the ML's A/C controls is that if you turn the temp dial
all the way counter-clockwise, (i.e. to its coldest setting), the last click
will put it into recirculation mode. This is fine if you have the A/C
compressor running and want "max cold", but if you just want "unconditioned"
outside air at it's coldest setting, you will need to back off one notch.
If you use the recirculation setting w/o the compressor in a humid climate,
you will likely fog your windows.
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