The Six Things You Have to Know About the Mercedes Benz ML350
- Everyone knows that Mercedes Benz is a German brand. Indeed, between 1999 and 2002, the M-Class specifically was built near Germany by Magna Steyr-not much of a surprise there. After 2002, however, all production of the ML350 moved to the good old United States. This model and class have since then been made out of Vance in Alabama.
- The "M" in M-Class stands for "Mobility" as Mercedes Benz has designed these luxury sports utility vehicles for "those in control". Now, in the ML350, the "L" is extensively debated. There are many who insist that the "L" stands for "Luxury"-this has been contested because the entire M-class is supposed to embody luxury SUVs. So what is "L"? It stands for "Leicht", the German word for "Light" which is appropriate as the ML350 is a lighter version of the SUVs.
- Originally, Mercedes Benz had set up a joint agreement with Japanese auto manufacturing giant Mitsubishi Motors to develop a sports utility vehicle in 1991. Had those plans pushed through, Mercedes Benz-branded SUVs would have been based off either the Montero or Pajero. The plan was eventually abandoned in 1992 and Mercedes Benz continued on its own to eventually make the ML350 and the rest of the M-Class.
- The ML350 might not be the best selling SUV of all time, but it is an extremely consistent performer on the sales front. From its release in 2001 all the way up to 2011, it has sold at a steady, consistent average of 33,384 units annually-not bad for a luxury ride being sold during one of America's worst recessions.
- In September of 1996, the ML350 was used in the movie, The Lost World-sequel to the hit, Jurassic Park. Jeff Goldblum, the hero of the movie even go a complementary SUV from Mercedes Benz as part of the terms of agreement for the tie in. What made this all amazing was that all this happened a full year before the ML was even released and sold to the public.
- When Top Gear road tested the ML350, presenter Jeremy Clarkson was able to fit his fingers in the gap between the rear lights and rear bumper. Those fingers lead to $600 million overhaul of the Alabama factory which eventually led to great improvements in quality. The funny thing about all this was that the luxury SUV won "Truck of the Year" awards on the same year it happened!
Mercedes Benz ML350: The Common Gripes
The Mercedes Benz ML350 is one true feather in the famous German manufacturer's cap. Everyone knew Mercedes Benz as one of the world's best luxury car manufacturers. The trend, however, was shifting towards big, powerful SUVs. When the ML350 came out, it was exactly that: an SUV. The big edge it had over its competitors was that it was an SUV by Benz. Everyone knew of the big hiccup it had on Top Gear UK, what with the host being able to slip his hand between the bumper and the rear light. Thankfully, that clearly bad design problem is not as common as the following are:
Power train problems
This first one involves the power train and is most commonly observed in the 2006 version of the ML350. There are various ways in which this problem manifests. The simplest is that the drive gears don't catch and so, even with the vehicle running, one cannot drive about. It's simplest because it's easier to diagnose-as the ML350 is running, no "check engine" lights come one. In other cases, the ML350 manifests the problem when it loses power when the accelerator pedal is depressed. On top of that, the SUV refuses to accelerate over a paltry 10 miles per hour.
This problem is experienced by owners who have hit the 100,000-mile mark and is remedied by having the drive gears replaced-preferably at any official Mercedes Benz shop .
At around the 45,000-mile mark, many Mercedes Benz ML350 owners noticed that the "check engine" light would illuminate despite having no clear indicator of any engine trouble-the car is running smoothly, relatively. The culprit to blame, it turns out, is a balance shaft that needs replacing in the engine. It is a critical repair because this problem has caused stalling-even during a drive. Apart from the stalls, affected vehicles also experience inability to accelerate and a constantly lit "check engine" warning light. It's specifically the 2006 release of the ML350 that is most affected.
Again, the only viable and safe solution is to have Mercedes Benz do the replacement. The task of replacing defective Mercedes Benz ML350 parts is not so costly if you are still covered by your warranty.
Facts about the Mercedes Benz ML350
Do you know what the BlueEFFICIENCY 4MATIC means in the ML350? BlueEFFICIENCY denotes that the vehicle is equipped with several special fuel-economy features including aerodynamic modifications, direct injection, and start-stop system. The start-stop system automatically shuts down the engine when the vehicle stops (as in shifting to neutral and depressing the brakes all the way) to reduce the amount of time in idling, thereby reducing the amount of fuel consumed; and automatically re-starts when the vehicle is set to first gear. The 4MATIC means that the ML350 is equipped with Mercedes-Benz's AWD four-wheel drive system that improves traction in slippery conditions.
The Mercedes-Benz ML350 has a BlueTec trim. What does it mean? The BlueTec trim is MB's new line of environmentally friendly diesel engine. This is different from the BlueEFFICIENCY features that reduces fuel consumption.
Do you know what the ML in the ML350 stands for? A short backgrounder: Traditional Mercedes Benz vehicles were classified by alphabetical suffixed after an alphanumeric sequence that is equivalent to the approximate engine displacement in liters multiplied by 100. There was the 500E and the 600 SEL. But after 1994, Mercedes-Benz changed the way they named their vehicle with up to three letters followed by numbers that is approximately equal to the engine size as has been practiced before. Now, the ML in the ML350 that belongs to the M-class stands for "Mehrzweck Leicht" or general purpose light vehicle.
The Car Connection website gave the 2012 Mercedes Benz M-Class 8.6 out of 10 points. Meanwhile, the BMW X3 and the Dodge Durango both received 8.4 out of 10 points while the Ford Explorer also received 8.6 out 10 points.
Motor Trend included the 2012 Mercedes Benz ML350 in the list of the SUV of the Year Contender. The list includes Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Durango, BMW X3, Ford Explorer, Mini Cooper Countryman, Volkswagen Touareg, Dodge Journey, Saab 9-4x, and the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque.
The ML350 can accelerate from 0-60mph in just 7.5 seconds. Not exactly a head turner, but is fast considering it's an SUV.
Four Issues to Know about the Mercedes Benz ML350 before Buying
The American-built, German automobile Mercedes Benz ML350 redefines the standards of SUV manufacturing. With its luxurious looks and powerful engine, the Mercedes Benz ML350 merges what most SUV buyers have been looking for in an off-road vehicle. Despite its appeal and power, the ML350 is known to have some issues on its parts that affect the vehicle's performance. If you're considering buying one of these babies, you have to prepare yourself for what's in store.
The ML350 may be designed with thrilling driving pleasures in mind. Unfortunately, some units are subpar when it comes to shifting. The ML350, which has a 7-speed automatic transmission, sometimes experiences rough idle especially when shifting gears. The internal component failure, which affected models from 2006 up to 2010, often makes the vehicle shake badly. Some owners had to restart their cars to get rid of the problem temporarily.
Difficulty in acceleration
The great thing about the ML350 is that you can soldier on navigating rough roads with minimum effort. Unfortunately, for some 2007 ML350 units, acceleration could be a problem. The accelerator pedal may not have been attached properly with studs and nuts. With the unstable pedal, driving at consistent speed becomes both a challenge and a risk. As a response to the recall made in January 2007, dealers checked reinstalled the mounting nuts on all the affected vehicles.
Power steering fluid leak
One of the concerns of ML350 (particularly the 2006 models) owners is the potential fluid leak that may result from the lack of clamping power of the hose clamp. When the fluid leaks, power-steering assist decreases. This could lead to accidents and power steering pump damage if not repaired early. With more than 7,000 units possibly affected, Mercedes Benz issued a recall on all concerned vehicles. Moreover, dealers agreed to replace the power steering hose clamp at no charge to the vehicle owners.
Wrong software calibration
Like most modern vehicles, the ML350 uses computers to power different systems in the vehicle. In case of accidents, the computer that powers the fuel system should shut off to prevent fire from happening. Because of the improper software calibration on the 2006 and 2007 ML350 models, the fuel system remains powered after a collision. The manufacturer issued a recall on all affected units.
FAQs—Mercedes Benz ML350
I'm planning to install an additional step by the door of my Mercedes Benz ML350, but I'm not sure whether to go for running boards or nerf bars. How do I choose the right set for my SUV? What do I need to consider?
You need to consider the looks you want to achieveas well as the safety of the passengers who will be going in and out of your SUV. In terms of looks, a nerf bar will give your vehicle a more rugged appearance, while the sleek characteristic of a running board will create a more modern and stylish appeal. In terms of security, a running board is generally more convenient for elderly or children because they feature a wider stepping area that can run the length of your vehicle's side, from the front door to the rear. Meanwhile, a nerf bar can run the same length, but they are generally built with a stepping pad positioned only right by the door, although there are now some nerf bars with a stepping pad running the length of the bar. Find the one that serves your need.
I just bought a new set of brake pads that I'm planning to install this coming weekend with the help of a friend with DIY experience. I noticed that the pads I bought come with what look like shims. What are these for?
Brake shims are often installed at the back of the brake pads to prevent brake noise and vibrations when braking. Not all of the brake pad sets in the market come with shims since your factory pads and hardware are supposed to have shims already. When installing the pads, check the original hardware to find if there are already shims installed. You can discard these shims and replace them with the new ones, or you can also reuse them. The important thing here is that you don't install the new shims while the original ones are still on—these can cause braking problems such as brake overheating. When installing the shims, be sure you clean the area properly as any dirt will cause improper seating and malfunctioning.
I need to replace my factory paper air filter, and I'm trying to find one that can improve my engine's performance. Any tips to help me find the best filter for my Mercedes Benz ML350?
First and foremost, find a high-performance filter made from cloth or foam. They are less restrictive of airflow, so your vehicle engine will breathe easier and likely perform better. The right filter material can give your engine as much as 4% extra horsepower increase. Aside from this, a cloth or foam filter can be easily washed and reused after miles of use. Unlike disposable paper filters, they're actually cheaper in the long run because you won't have to replace them every now and then. One other feature you might want to look for is oiled filter. Some filters are greased to improve their dirt-trapping capacity. You can get a filter with this feature to ensure that you won't have any dirt particles circulating in your engine.
Getting Luxurious With Mercedes Benz ML350
The Mercedes Benz ML350 is a luxury sport utility vehicle under the German automaker’s ML-class that has won the hearts of the Americans. Launched in the United States in 2002 for the 2003 model year, the ML350 replaced the smaller-engine-powered ML320. With more than a decade and three generations up its sleeve, the Mercedes Benz ML350 continues to innovate and to feature sleek styling and better engine performance every year without neglecting the safety of every driver and passenger.
2003-2005: First generation
All the first-generation ML350s ran on a 3.7-liter V6 engine that produced 232 horsepower, and was mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. This marked an increase of half a liter of engine and 17 horsepower from those of the defunct ML320. With a bigger and better engine, the new five-to-seven-seater SUV came equipped with technologies suited for a luxury-type vehicle like the DVD-based navigation system and the five-inch LCD display with touch controls for the climate, audio, and telephone functions. While lounging on the leathered seats, drivers and passengers would feel secure inside the ML350 with Mercedes Benz’s Tele Aid emergency communication system. This state-of-the art technology automatically contacts Mercedes Benz’s roadside assistance center should any of the front- or rear-side-impact and side-curtain airbag was deployed.
2006-2011: Second generation
Longer, wider, and lower were the characteristics Mercedes Benz wanted its second-generation ML350 to have. With bigger dimensions, the luxury SUV received more front and rear legroom, giving its passengers more comfort while traveling on the road. The ML350 also received a redesign—from the lowered grille to the new shape of the headlights—that further heightened its sleek appearance as a luxury vehicle. New features on this generation ML350 include powered front seats, a backseat video system, and a command system for controlling the navigation system, stereo, and other devices. Also new to this generation SUV is a telematics system called mbrace2 that can lock and unlock doors remotely and find the vehicle in a parking lot with the use of a smart phone.
2012-present: Third generation
The latest third-generation ML350 is packed with hi-tech devices that make driving this luxury SUV more fun and comfortable. A Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system, together with Bluetooth audio streaming, a CD/DVD player, and MP3 and USB slots, completes the entertainment system on this vehicle while the Attention Assist driver-drowsiness detection and Pre-Safe system ensure the safety of the ML350 drivers and passengers. With improved interior and exterior styling, the third-generation ML350 offers the ultimate luxurious driving experience.