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  #1  
Old 08-12-2013, 12:03 AM
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Question considering buying a 2001 ML 320

I am considering buying a 2001 ML 320. I do not know a lot about Mercedes, except that I understand they are good cars and that the ML 320 is a good work horse of a vehicle. I feel a little vulnerable .. being a female going into the dealership almost 100 miles from where I live and buying a car. I know I should not say that but I am sure it is because I do not know a lot about cars or buying them for that matter. I remember being humiliated by a cars salesman the first time I went to buy a car several years ago and no doubt it still burns. I do not have someone to go with me so I am asking this forum if any one has any information on this car. VIN# 4JGAB54E81A272000. It is again, a Mercedes ML 320 6 cyl black, 2001. Thank you.

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  #2  
Old 08-12-2013, 01:01 AM
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Knowing the service history of a 12 year old car would help. How many previous owners? The more owners, the less likely that maintenance was kept up. What's the mileage?
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  #3  
Old 08-12-2013, 06:20 PM
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My experiences with ML's have not generally been positive, except for the fact that I made a lot of money off them the last time I turned wrenches for a living.
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  #4  
Old 08-12-2013, 08:51 PM
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They don't call them the "Alabama trashcan" for nothing. Short of the 3 pointed star, there isn't much about a first gen ML there is very Mercedes like at all. Pull out the 112 engine and 722.6 trans and all you're left with is a poor attempt to compete in the SUV market. I'm sure you could purchase a much better vehicle for the same money.
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  #5  
Old 08-12-2013, 09:20 PM
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I was considering a similar car and got schooled about them here real quick. You'll get good advice on this forum about Mercs. You should take it. The early MLs are money pits and not very "Mercedes like" at all.
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  #6  
Old 08-12-2013, 09:52 PM
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I thought that the 2001 facelift also signaled improvements in the build quality.
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  #7  
Old 08-13-2013, 12:10 AM
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Can’t speak for all of em, but I’ve had a 2000 ml since it was a baby. It has needed some repairs but I have no complaints after 13 years and over 150K miles where it has been a great vehicle. The worse the road conditions, the more the ML’s capabilities stand out. After a couple of years of occasional searching, i found a way to connect an Iphone or similar to the hifi system that comes with the ML. Early editions did not support this kind of thing and there were no good after market was of doing this.

The 1997-1999 editions were problematic and MB did a major upgrade in the model year 2000 and after that changed things on the same chassis (W163) each year. If you want the best edition of this chassis, I would recommend the 2004 or 2005 editions. 2005 was the last model year and typically they have the vehicle figured out at about the time they discontinue it.

That said, if you are looking for lower cost over time, go for a Toyota and in any event, definitely have a thorough pre purchase inspection done. It is also a really good idea to get a used vehicle with the best possible manufacturer provided or after market warranty you can get. Verify with your shop that they can use this warranty and that they consider it a good value. Some people shop for 3rd party warranty coverage before they look for a vehicle. A good warranty removes one set of elements from the guestimate of what it will ultimately cost to buy a used car or truck.

If I were looking to indulge in an older MB SUV, I would probably opt for the 2000-2003 G-wagon. These are very nice and mostly reliable. But they are spendy to repair and consume a lot of premium fuel.
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  #8  
Old 08-13-2013, 12:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Azura View Post
I am considering buying a 2001 ML 320. I do not know a lot about Mercedes, except that I understand they are good cars and that the ML 320 is a good work horse of a vehicle. I feel a little vulnerable .. being a female going into the dealership almost 100 miles from where I live and buying a car. I know I should not say that but I am sure it is because I do not know a lot about cars or buying them for that matter. I remember being humiliated by a cars salesman the first time I went to buy a car several years ago and no doubt it still burns. I do not have someone to go with me so I am asking this forum if any one has any information on this car. VIN# 4JGAB54E81A272000. It is again, a Mercedes ML 320 6 cyl black, 2001. Thank you.

Welcome to the forum.
As you can see there is a wealth of information on here. There are many members with plenty of experience on ML's.
I suspect that if you give the location (town) where the car is, there maybe a member that could go & inspect it with you.
Any MB dealer could put those details into their system & give you a print out of its history.
Good Luck.
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  #9  
Old 08-13-2013, 07:44 AM
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If you are wanting a Mercedes and are willing to learn how to wrench (It's generally not that difficult-this forum offers a lot of good advice), start with a W123 diesel. They are usually pretty cheap to buy and relatively easy to work on, and will last a VERY long time as long as you keep up with the maintenance. If you don't want to learn how to wrench and want a relatively trouble free car, Honda and Toyota are what you should be looking at.
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Whoever said there's nothing more expensive than a cheap Mercedes never had a cheap Jaguar.

83 300D Turbo with manual conversion, early W126 vented front rotors and H4 headlights 362,xxx miles
08 Triumph Street Triple 30,xxx miles, lowered 10mm in front, Pirelli Angel GT tires, EBC HH brake pads, otherwise stock.
88 Jaguar XJS V12 92,xxx miles. I should be in the garage now.
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  #10  
Old 08-13-2013, 10:46 AM
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I bought a 1999 ML320 new and ran it for 304,000 miles. Just sold it two months ago. I REALLY liked it. Yes, it had some nagging issues (door lock actuators failed more than once, gas gauge didn't work until got down to half a tank, power steering eventually leaked), but overall, I was very satisfied. I kept a spreadsheet with all of my maintenance costs. When it broke, it was expensive to fix. But overall, I concluded my maintenance costs were less than what I would consider normal for a domestic SUV. The most expensive thing I ran into was a transmission rebuild at 175,000 miles. An indy did it for about $2500 and I had no further problems with it.

This forum was a godsend and enabled me to learn how to fix lots of the issues myself. This vehicle is very easy to work on with the support I got here.

And I strongly disagree with the comment the ML "is a poor attempt to compete in the SUV market. I'm sure you could purchase a much better vehicle for the same money." My ML was safer, better looking, and definitely more highly engineered than other SUV's. And it was priced competitively. I paid $34K for it brand new in 1999 and that was comparable to domestic SUV's of the day.

There were definitely bugs in the early years (particularly 1998 and 1999), but I got a good one. I wouldn't hesitate to buy a 2001 to 2004 model. The earlier years are available for throw away prices.
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  #11  
Old 08-13-2013, 12:24 PM
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Was this a problem in the ML?

Crankshaft Balancer Failure! UPDATED
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  #12  
Old 08-13-2013, 01:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dynalow View Post
Was this a problem in the ML?

Crankshaft Balancer Failure! UPDATED
Quite likely. Harmonic balancer failure was on the M112 engines, which were used on the ML320's.

Mercedes-Benz M112 engine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  #13  
Old 08-13-2013, 02:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunedog View Post
My ML was safer, better looking, and definitely more highly engineered than other SUV's.
I guess you got lucky and yours wasn't one that had the fuel line rub though the BRAKE line resulting in a complete loss of brakes.....

I'll stand by my comment.
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90 300TE 4-M
Turbo 103, T3/T04E 50 trim
T04B cover .60 AR
Stage 3 turbine .63 AR
A2W I/C, 40 LB/HR
MS2E, 60-2 Direct Coil Control
3" Exh, AEM W/B O2
Underdrive Alt. and P/S Pulleys,
Vented Rear Discs, .034 Booster.
3.07 diffs 1st Gear Start

90 300CE
104.980
Milled & ported head, 10.3:1 compression
197° intake cam w/20° advancer
Tuned CIS ECU
4° ignition advance
PCS TCM2000, built 722.6
600W networked suction fan
Sportline sway bars
V8 rear subframe, Quaife ATB 3.06 diff
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  #14  
Old 08-13-2013, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duxthe1 View Post
I guess you got lucky and yours wasn't one that had the fuel line rub though the BRAKE line resulting in a complete loss of brakes.....

I'll stand by my comment.
I never heard of that failure in 14 years of ownership and 10+ years of reading this site so I did a little checking. According to this report, ML320 not affected. That is the model the OP inquired about.

"The Mercedes inquiry involves around 52,000 1999–2002 ML 430/500/55s. The agency is looking into whether the brake line from the master cylinder to the antilock brake pump “may be damaged and rupture from chaffing with a fuel line.” The agency said it had one report of a crash in which an inspection found a leak that was caused by the fuel line’s rubbing against the brake line, resulting in a loss of braking effectiveness."

http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/26/safety-investigations-stepped-up-on-several-models/?_r=0

So I'll stand by my comments as well.
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  #15  
Old 08-13-2013, 03:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duxthe1 View Post
They don't call them the "Alabama trashcan" for nothing. Short of the 3 pointed star, there isn't much about a first gen ML there is very Mercedes like at all. Pull out the 112 engine and 722.6 trans and all you're left with is a poor attempt to compete in the SUV market. I'm sure you could purchase a much better vehicle for the same money.
The ML did have some problems, but received a number of accolades, including the following:

The ML 320 was Motor Trend magazine's Truck of the Year for 1998 and was voted the 1998 North American Truck of the Year at the North American International Auto Show, Detroit, in January 1998. It also received the World Car Award in March 1999, voted by an international jury of automotive journalists in Geneva http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes-Benz_M-Class

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