Mercedes ML320 W163 - Reliability


Asked by Jan 25, 2017 at 01:06 PM about the 1998 Mercedes-Benz M-Class ML 320 4MATIC

Question type: Shopping & Pricing

I am thinking about buying one of these, E32 engine, 3.2 V6. Specs look
good (I don't ask a lot from an engine - power or stuff, I just prefer a comfy
ride), from what I seen on the internet, easy to work on, parts on ebay
pretty cheap, (big/whole parts kind of expensive - like transmission, but
hopefully no problems). Transmission 722.6 seems ok, the electronic part
is abot 2-300$ so no that expensive, engines looks ok, no problems with
the intake butterfly valves, timing chains seems ok (unlike other European
brands - vw for example). I've seem some reviews regarding some
actuators, switches, but nothing serious. As a person coming from Europe,
these cars have nice reviews here and are renown for reliability and class
(but I didn't work on these to confirm), but in the USA the C and E...well...
you can talk on this subject a bit. Does this apply to the ML? (1997-2005
model). A diagnostic tool is not that expensive, the MB II is about 160$ so
it's ok. Anyone who is a pro on these cars, an opinion please? I like playing
the mechanic part, but not all day long, and certainly I'm not a mogul to
invest in the car more than I paid for it...
PS: thanks for listening and thanks for the replies!

6 Answers


Here are the ML SERIES recalls, copy and paste below

4 people found this helpful.

Like I tell everyone that wants to buy a car, only buy a car that you can afford to repair and you seem to have this covered. I would make sure any car you buy that all the recalls are taken care of, you do a car fax and have a good tech look it over. The car is a good running car with few break downs and if you don't drive hard you should have no issues...

1 people found this helpful.

Thanks, I've seen the recalls and the common flaws. Also one of the expensive flaws could be the cats, they tend to die early and OEM tend to be expensive, but I found a few solutions for this, and some being cheap - a magnaflow pair tops 500$ or less (with welding labor included - I don't have the tools to weld and to be sincere... I kinda lack the skills :) )


COMETGUY61, Thanks! I afford it, there is no problem with covering the cash-down payment and the complete maintenance (I like to do these operations with my own to hand - I'm sure things will be performed better than in some shops) and have some money put aside for some problems - a bearing, a set of tire, pads, etc. The question was just about putting 4-5k in a car am spending about the same amount in short time, this is why I was asking for more impressions about this car. I love my cars, I take good care of them, I don't abuse them, and in 99% percent of the cases, this can be seen. And hopefully this will be the case too. I just don't want to think about the 1% where you 'meet' a car from hell... :))


At any time you can get the 1% car from hell and it happens but as I said I loved the car it rides good, you can get parts at a fair price and easy to fix. It's not to big, nor to small. The car is worth about $2,000.00 to 3,000.00 adding the extra $1,000.00 in parts for a car like the ML320 is not that bad, With proper car you should get 200,00 miles out of her...

Best Answer Mark helpful

I would buy a luxury car for the performance and luxury but only if I could afford to have the dealer or a specialty shop maintain it and then sell if by the time it hits 100,000 miles. I loved my Jaguar V12 XJS but tuneups were a killer and it is nearly impossible to find people that know how to work on them.

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