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The list of stuff to watch out for on a 163

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M-Class (W163) 1998-2005: ML 230, ML 320, ML 350, ML 400 CDI, ML 430, ML 500, ML 270 CDI

The list of stuff to watch out for on a 163

 
Old 11-12-2004, 09:44 PM
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The list of stuff to watch out for on a 163

Back by popular demand, here it is:


I think the brake parts are identical. All ML320's and 350's use the same stuff as far as I know. It looks the same anyways. Some 430's may even have had the smaller brakes.
Forget the remote starter, it aint gonna happen with the whole transponder in the key thing.
You could add step tubes, but not mudflaps. You could also add running boards. Brush guard should fit too. Personally I would leave it alone, it looks pretty good as it is, not to mention the wieght factor. Sport package bumpers are heavy compared to regular ones.
Anything that went wrong with 98-99 ML's is still an issue with the '01 models. They were not substantially improved until '02 with the redesign.
The '01 will probably be a bit more reliable though.
Fuel pumps - make sure you got the updated version, check filter and lines to make sure they are updated.
Harmonic balancer- check it often. This has yet to be "fixed" on any year model.
D-pillar covers crack
Aux fan fuse blows- needs upgraded wiring harness and larger fuse.
Window switches - yer left front will go down and not come back up!
Defroster vent likes to pop out of dash, replacement is easy.
Door locks like to fail, jump up and down. replace latch to fix.
Oil consumption- check oil level regularly, use only mobil 1 0w40, change more often than required.
Trans connector leaks- new o-rings to fix- updated parts available.
Oil level sensor- make sure it works and doesn't flash low oil for no reason.
Transfer case shift motor - make sure low range light doesn't flash on start up.
Leaking canister shut off valves were still prevalent during '01.
Leaking washer fluid tank- still an issue to this day, even with updated parts.
Tail gate lock breaks, allows tailgate to open when locked. Replace outer handle assembly.
Sunroof wind deflectors break. Replacement kit available.
Catalytic converters break in half, or rattle. Replacement required. Must remove torsion bars and reset ride hieght after replacement.
Bubbling center console armrest- replace.
Seat side trim cracks, falls off - updated parts are stronger.
Tele aid- banner year for problems. Disconnect.
MCS unit- there are a number of problems. Updated part may fix.
Sunroof accordians fall off - glue back on.
Wind noise- test drive before you buy. Usually no fixing that.
Vehicle stalls when hot - crank position sensor failure. Replace.
Vehicle will not start - fuel pump.
Vehicle will start then immediately stall- replace keys or das module.
Self adaptations at limit, part load or idle, right or left bank or both - replace mass air sensor, intake duct seals, air filter.
Hesitation on acceleration- updated ME control unit will greatly reduce this issue, along with random misfires, runs like crap, etc.....
EGR fault codes- go ahead and replace the valve assembly and the EGR tube. Saves everyone a lot of trouble in the long run.
Lifter noise- replace all compensating elements, inspect cams and followers, replace as needed.
Vehicle won't start, already replaced fuel pump and or no voltage to pump. Check electrical connector on chassis near left rear wheel, and look for burnt connector under fuse box underhood.
SRS light illuminated- updated side bag connectors available, also seat occupied recognition sensor in right front seat has been a problem.
Seat heater does not heat evenly- replace heating pads, maybe seat cover?
Rear seats folded flat, now they are locked to the floor, can't get them up. - DONT EVER PUT ANYTHING UNDER YOUR SEATS. ANY OF THEM. Check to make sure there is nothing there before folding flat. Too many times the cables are broken or popped loose by a missing shoe or some doodad left under the rear seat.
Lower power steering hose blows off- recall in effect. Benz will cover this part for 10 years regardless of mileage. Install new hose and clamp.
Door insulation falls off, leaves gluey residue on windows and sunroof- remove, discard. Installing more just means it will fail again later. There are updated parts available, with mixed results. Its impossible to get all the glue off the door, and what happens when your new glue sticks to the old glue, which then fails?
Coolant flush every 3 years.
Brake flush every 2 years.
Air filter due at 60K
Fuel filter due at 60K
Spark plugs due at 100K
Dust filter and wiper blades part of B service.
Trans is filled for life, requires no service and there is no dipstick in the tube.
No recommended diff service interval either.
No recommended tranfer case service either.
Brake life varys widely by driver.
Tires last longer on ML's than anything else. Expect your 17" to wear faster.

Hope this is enough to keep you on top of things for a while. I probably forgot something along the way...... Enjoy your new vehicle!

***Keep in mind I just cut and pasted, No way am I retyping all this! It may not make perfect sense since it has been taken out of original context***
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Old 11-12-2004, 11:54 PM
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good list, im sticking it to the top!
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Old 11-13-2004, 11:31 AM
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thanks for posting..definately some items I had overlooked..

BTW...the leaking windshield washer reservoir is easily fixed. Remove,
determine where leak is (usually a seam) ,clean thoroughly, dry thoroughly
and mix up epoxy cement. Apply to crack..wait 24hrs and you're good to go!
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Old 11-24-2004, 05:44 PM
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Don't forget E-Box Cooling Fan, it will fails (stop working, making weird noise) about 50K miles or so. 15 minutes to replace, costs $130.
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Old 11-28-2004, 10:26 AM
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great post!

Thanks
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Old 12-20-2004, 09:19 AM
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'05 MB CLK 320A; '06 BMW X5 4.8is
I have had almost every single one of those problems, in fact, i didnt drive the car for a year and the only miles it got were going back and forth to the dealer.
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Old 12-21-2004, 02:31 PM
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Thanks saturnstyl!!

Great info and great post!!

Unlike mrkbbd, I have not any issues with my ML other then the horn that just stopped working, but mine is a baby at 16k miles however.
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Old 12-21-2004, 03:27 PM
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1998 ML 320
ME control unit?

"Hesitation on acceleration- updated ME control unit will greatly reduce this issue, along with random misfires, runs like crap, etc....."

What is the ME control unit???
thanks in advance
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Old 12-21-2004, 07:00 PM
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Motor Electronic. Its the engine computer.
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Old 12-31-2004, 01:48 AM
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163 issues

What does that cost? Couldnt be cheap... I have the same issue, usually happens when I get on it and the car is up around 110 or 120, but it doesnt go away till I shut it off. Also I plugged a computer into the OBDII port (my stepdad owns a garage, but mercedes is far to electronic for his people) and it spit back some transmission errors, one of his people recomended reflashing the tranny computer... Any thoughts on this?
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Old 01-07-2005, 01:04 PM
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wife's car2014 ml350
good question and will starmark cover this new unit?
Originally Posted by 55fanatic
What does that cost? Couldnt be cheap... I have the same issue, usually happens when I get on it and the car is up around 110 or 120, but it doesnt go away till I shut it off. Also I plugged a computer into the OBDII port (my stepdad owns a garage, but mercedes is far to electronic for his people) and it spit back some transmission errors, one of his people recomended reflashing the tranny computer... Any thoughts on this?
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Old 01-12-2005, 10:06 PM
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2002 ML500,2005 Toyota 4Runner, 2006 F150 King Ranch, Kawasaki ZX1400 Ninja, 1978 Jeep CJ7
You missed one thing, and thats the snow issue.
In wintery climates, and the vehicle is parked when it's snowing, you can't get a door open without the snow falling inside, either on the carpets or the seats.
This is one design flaw that really pees me off!
The snow lands between the roof and door tops, sneaks in the gaps around the doors, and it's an annoying mess when you have to open it up to get a snow brush, to clean the rest off.
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Old 01-16-2005, 12:32 AM
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Originally Posted by WienerWater
You missed one thing, and thats the snow issue.
In wintery climates, and the vehicle is parked when it's snowing, you can't get a door open without the snow falling inside, either on the carpets or the seats.
This is one design flaw that really pees me off!
The snow lands between the roof and door tops, sneaks in the gaps around the doors, and it's an annoying mess when you have to open it up to get a snow brush, to clean the rest off.

Having had the ML for two years I am familiar with this problem... I find that if I wipe the snow off the door edges first... No snow goes in AT ALL :p ... so try that trick instead of just opening the door, hehe I know you folks up in BC arent too used to snowfall, and have been gettin a ton recently. I believe your more acclimated for rain?
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Old 02-07-2005, 12:21 AM
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The harmonic balancer -- isn't this an issue with the 320's only and not the 430's?
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Old 02-13-2005, 02:07 AM
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Very informative, nice write-up. Are those problems, some if not all, covered by the factory warranty? I'm about to purchase an '02 ML320 with less than 14,000 miles.
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Old 04-08-2005, 01:44 PM
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2000 ML320 2006 SLK 350
I guess not...

Originally Posted by Arnee
The harmonic balancer -- isn't this an issue with the 320's only and not the 430's?
The latest recall of the harmonic balancer is both on the V6s and V8s...so both had the issue...
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Old 05-31-2005, 08:00 PM
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I haven't had most of them but had..the motorized locks, power steering clamp, and now the fuel indicator. Shes a 2001 ML320 with almost 45,xxx miles....As for the snow problems getting in the car, it has also happened to me in every car I get in, not just the ML. I have a 2005 camry, 93 mazda mx3, 93 mazda mpv, and a 93 Mercury Villager.
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Old 05-31-2005, 09:26 PM
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lol... it is caused by opening the door... creates a vacum almost... dusting the car off usually helps
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Old 01-17-2006, 05:17 PM
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Navi?

I own a 1999 ML 430, I just talked to a Mercedes dealership service manager and their electrical genius guy, and I was told that I would not be able to install an original mercedes navigation system (used - e-bay from another ml owner). They said the dashboard's shape was changed slightly for 2000+. I was wondering if it was true, since it seems like many people are doing that these days. Also, if it is available, what should I look for/watch out for in doing so? How would I be able to install it myself?

Thanks
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Old 01-17-2006, 10:14 PM
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not true, u can put it in.
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Old 01-18-2006, 01:45 AM
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1999 ML 430 Nav.

How sure are you about the Navi installation? Who should I contact to get some info on purchase/installation, ...

Thanks for the good news
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Old 01-18-2006, 09:40 AM
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do a search for Navi retrofit here, you could also contact Steve MbenzNL. He is a sponsor here on MBworld and could set you up with the Eurocommand and it would also allow you to recieve over the air TV stations.
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Old 06-06-2006, 06:58 AM
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ml430 panic

I picked up my 99 ML430 today (140,000km's) and during relaxed driving feels great however I felt it wasn't kicking down to first as it should so from a standing stop I accelerated in 1st to find that the engine lost around 50% of its power. I also noticed that the temp gauge was increasing to over 1/2 way.

I pulled over and popped the hood to see bubbles blowing back into the cooling reserviour.

Head Gasket panic.

After letting the motor cool down I released the cap and started the engine although this time there where no bubbles.I also put the cap back on with the engine running and no more bubbles.

It was suggested that maybe the Catalytic Conv. might be blocked.
Has anyone heard of this problem??
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Old 06-15-2006, 03:05 PM
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The list of stuff to watch out for on a 163

I was seriously thinking about buying a 2000 to 2002 ML270, but after reading this I'm having a definite rethink. I had heard that there were some quality issues, due to it not having been built in Germany, but even so this does seem rather dire for a Mercedes.
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Old 08-01-2006, 07:10 PM
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Thank Chrysler

This is what you get when you buy a Chrysler. Everything except the driveline in the ML's are American made. Take an interior apart sometime, you will be amazed by the amount of Chrysler emblems stamped on various parts. However, Benz is not off the hook either. Trans conductor plates??? Why can't they seal properly????
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