ML350 oil change with pictures

Hey here’s a recent oil change I did on my truck.  Just for reference I have a 2004 ML 350.  I do most of the maintenance on it now that it’s not covered and I have to say.  From most vehicles that I have owned.  Except for a 69 Beetle.  This is one of the easiest to work on.  Check the pictures below.

Above is the engine view, I forgot to take a picture of it with the cover on.  The cover pops right out.  It’s not fastened in any way.  To make it easier to remove, tilt it to towards the passenger side.   That rear left hook is a little tricky because of the small clearance it has.

Here’s the oil cap that houses the oil filter.  I’ve marked it right at the notch to estimate where it should stop when I’m tightening it after replacing the filter.  It’s easy to remove.  Turn it counter clockwise and to reduce the damage to it you can wrap it with a towel and then put the oil filter remover.  I have one with teeth so I always use a towel.  Except for the first time.  Can you tell?

This picture isnt that great but you can see the filter still in the case.  Make sure to keep it clean and covered while you’re working.

close up of the case where the filter goes.  Cover it up while working.

Now head below the front of the truck and locate the drain plug.  It should’nt be to hard to recognize.  By the way.  I always have trouble with the draining.  For some reason I always end up having to do some clean up.  I would recommend a large oil pan.  You’ve been warned. Ha Ha

 

ML350 oil change with pictures Part 2

I meant to continue this post days ago but I couldnt find the time.  Here’s the rest of what I intended to put up.   Enjoy and I hope it helps.

While you wait for the oil to drain out you’ll want to get started on your oil filter replacement and dont forget to change the seals.  Here’s the one I like to use.  I like to order one or two from Auto Parts Warehouse. I find it easier to get a couple from them than to hassle around trying to find an auto parts store that has one.  I dont like to skimp on the oil filter and use a cheap one.  I figure I give it an oil change every 10,000 miles which for me is about 6 months.  Why go cheap.

Note: this is for a 2004 Ml 350.  Don’t go blaming me if you get the wrong one for  your car.  Ha Ha Ha.  I’m sure it can’t be to different for other years that are close.  Check just to make sure.

Here’s a view of the used oil filter.

Now about those seals on the oil filter shaft.  There’s a total of four seals.  Make sure you change all of them.  They will come with the replacement filter you get from Auto Parts Warehouse.

It’s a long shaft, damn that just doesnt sound right.  Anyway, I had to break the picture up into two.  Check below.

When you replace them, they can be tight to remove.  Just take a small screw driver and carefully remove them.  Below is a shot of the first two.

Here’s what it should look like with the new seals and the filter installed.  Follow the instructions on your replacement filter.

Put the filter back into the case and tighten it to the mark you made when you started.  Notice the marks I’ve made.  The red marks are from the dealer.

It’ll feel tight about half way down.  It’s OK keep on going till you reach the marks.  I like to get to the mark or just before it if it’s feeling to tight.

Now, before you start pouring oil dont forget about putting back the drain plug below.  Here’s the after picture.  After I cleaned it up a little.  Your oil filter will  probably come with a new ring.  The  copper looking one.  Replace that one also.

Now you’re ready to pour.  I like to wrap the oil fill with a cloth for those unfortunate accidents that happen sometimes.  Again, being that I only do this about every 6 months.  I dont skimp on the oil either.  I go for Mobil 1 synthetic.  Choose the correct weight for your area and temperatures.  I’m in LA and it’s usually hot here.  I usually get it on the lighter side.  My ML350 is now in the 75,000 miles range.

My 2004 ML 350 uses about 8.5 quartz of oil.  Check your dip stick as you fill and don’t over fill it.  Better to stop and check it once the oil settles in or the following day.  That’s it guys and gals.  Ready to ride.

 

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ML 350 Power Steering Leak fix – With pictures…easy fix

Ok, so my Mercedes Benz ML 350 is just about to be 10 years old and to no surprise, on this model at least, it’s leaking power steering fluid.  I say no surprise because it’s had this problem since it was 2 or 3 years old.  I got it repaired twice for this while it was still covered by the dealer.  Since then, I’ve been just refilling it and sticking it out not getting it repaired.  The leak was small and it was not a bid deal.  NOT anymore!  It’s started to make a whinny sound and it’s leaking a lot more so I figured I would get it fixed.

I called the dealer and I’m looking at at least $250 to $300 to have the seal replaced.  Not bad I thought.

But…..

before I took it in I figured I would check to see what the parts ran.  I knew it wasnt much but I was really surprised to see that the parts needed to repair this leak was literally under $10 bucks and it’s actually closer to $5 bucks or less now that I think about it.  Here’s the breakdown.

O-ring (gasket): part#000-466-18-80 – $3.40 Look for it here or at Amazon.

Retaining Clip: part#000-994-19-03 – $2.50 Look for it here or at Amazon.

Power Steering fluid: The genuine stuff is CHF 11S

If you get just the o-ring, the clip was fine when I removed it and I really didnt see a reason to replace it but since I had already bought it, I replaced it with the new one.  You can really do this repair for just a few bucks and maybe an hour of time.

It took me an hour and that’s including having to stop, clean my hands and take the pictures.  It really is an easy repair.

Check it out below: All the images are clickable to see exploded views.

  1. Remove the engine cover, gently taking care to not break any of the plastic parts that attach it to the mounting sections on the engine.
  2. You’ll need a medium flat screwdriver – to remove the clip and the seal.
  3. Turkey Baster – to remove the fluid from the reservoir.
  4. Torx Tool – #10 to remove the one screw that holds the reservoir in place.
  5. New parts: gasket and clip and CHF11S power steering fluid (the good stuff)

1 new parts 1 torx tool2 1 torx toolchf11s

Remove the power steering fluid with the baster.  If the baster doesn’t reach the bottom of the reservoir tape a straw to the end of the baster to reach the bottom and suction out all the fluid you can.  The more you remove the less mess you’ll have when you slide out the reservoir.

2 removing fluid

3 baster

 

Now take the front screw off with the Torx tool.  It’s located in front of the reservoir facing the fan.  Should be easy to find.

4 removing one bolt

 

Once the screw is out slide a shop cloth or any piece of rag under the reservoir to help catch any excess fluid in the reservoir when you pull it out.  I used a piece of a blue rag.  You can see it under the reservoir below.

5 cloth under reservoir

Now remove the retaining clip on the back of the reservoir. Its under the hose on the image below.  The closeup below shows the area with the clip already removed.

6 clip view 7 clip off

 

I would say that the clip is fine and doesn’t need to be replaced but it’s such a small inexpensive piece why risk it.  You can see the new and old piece below.

8 clips

 

On the picture below you can see that the reservoir has been removed and the hole plugged.  That’s to make sure that no dirt or junk gets into the system.  The gasket will be on the inside of the reservoir where you see the napkin.  Pry it out with the screw driver, should be no trouble at all to slide it out.  NOTE she shape of the reservoir on the left side.  It’s notched.  You’ll have to make sure that the notch realigns with the bracket when you re-install it.

9 reservoir off

 

Here’s a shot of where the reservoir was removed from.  Clean up the reservoir and the inlet you see on the image below.  Again, being careful to not allow any dirt on junk into the system.

10a pump view

 

Once both the reservoir hole and the inlet are nice and clean slide the gasket onto the inlet.  Make sure the power steering reservoir gasket or o-ring is nice and snug all the way back on the inlet as you see below.

11 old and new gaskets

You can see how flat the old gasket is compared to the new one.

12 new gasket on

 

Now you should be ready to slide the reservoir back into the inlet.  When you do so make sure to align the reservoirs notches with the bracket and gently slide the reservoir all the way back till you hear or feel, in your hands, a light click.  The notch on the reservoir should be aligned with the notch on the inlet where you’ll place your new reservoir retaining clip.  Don’t forget to put your front screw back on and tighten it to spec.

13 reservoir back on

 

Two  more steps to go.  You’ll have to slide the new retaining clip into place.

14 new clip on

 

and refill the reservoir.  That should be it.  Make sure to refill the power steering reservoir with genuine power steering fluid ( I like to use the CHF stuff)  to the max mark on the dip stick and remember:

DO NOT TURN THE VEHICLE ON TILL YOU HAVE REFILLED THE RESERVOIR!  IF YOU DO YOU WILL FILL THE SYSTEM WITH AIR.

Which happens to be a pain in the a** to get out.

Again, easy breezy repair, which to my surprise is cheaper than buying genuine power steering fluid, the CHF 11S stuff which happens to be cheaper at Amazon than everywhere else I found it.  I’ve used the FEBI stuff before, the genuine CHF 11S works better.  The system doesn’t whine with the genuine stuff.  Just my observation.

All being said and done it’s a $6.37 (including tax) easy repair that takes less than an hour to complete.

Good Luck now all you have to do is clean up the driveway of all those power steering fluid stains.  Ha Ha Ha

Thanks for reading.

 

ML 350 wont start…guess what. It’s most likely the voltage regulator. Read this before you buy the whole alternator

Don’t you just hate getting stranded in the middle of nowhere? I mean even if you know exactly where you are it’s really annoying We’ll this just happened to me. I took my family out for a quick walk at a local flee market and “click” tried it again and “click” again. I mean, damn, I thought for sure I wasn’t going to hear that on a Mercedes-Benz. We’ll I was wrong. No knock at my ML, it’s actually been a very good vehicle to us. Except for this issue with what seemed to be the alternator, it’s been really reliable. Once, shortly after we bought it the crank shaft sensor went out and it would crank and crank and not turn on but fortunately it was still covered. Got it fixed and didnt have any issues till now with the alternator.

Here’s some background on what you’re going to see on this post. I actually started it a while back. We’ll more than a while it’s actually been a couple years. I had this issue with my alternator back in 2010. What I described above, did in fact happen about two years ago. I managed to have road side assistance give me a boost and I got the car running again just long enough to make it home and just as I expected it didnt turn on again. At that time I was in a hurry and it got me by surprise. What I ended up doing after pages and pages of reading on the internet about what the problem could be was looking for a voltage regulator. Everywhere I read, it seemed that the alternator would be fine and the problem was the voltage regulator so I set out to find one. Luckily, I found one over at Auto Parts Warehouse. Everything was perfect except that I didnt have the time to wait for the part to come in. At the time it was my only car and I couldn’t be without a car for days so I opted to find a voltage regulator locally.

Good luck finding a shop that carries it. I tried all of them and they all said they had to order it. We’ll I can do that and for less than what those guys wanted to charge me for one. I ended up calling rebuilding shops and they said no. I had to take the alternator in and they would bill be to rebuild it and put one in. Which is what I ended up doing.

Forward two years and the junkie voltage regulator they put in dies again. Which gets me to where I am now. With different symptoms but the same problem.

Here’s the symptoms my ML 350 had when the voltage regulator went out the first time. NONE! Yes, you read that correctly, none that I noticed. The morning we left for the flee market everything was fine and when it was time to leave the dreaded “click” happened.

The second time around there where symptoms. Here’s what started to happen:

  1. Obviously the battery indicator would turn on and go off.
  2. The system seemed to skip a beat. Once in a while the electrical seemed to miss a beat and the whole car would like shiver a little. The battery indicator would light up while it shivered and turn off. (Note when this happened, I went online and ordered the part) You really can beat the price about $50 bucks to fix your car is not a bad deal.
  3. The last and might I add the worst one. I literally got home and didnt drive the ML again till I fixed it was when I was on the freeway and all my dials just dropped for a moment and then everything came back on. That was weird! Then it did it again in about a 2 minute time frame. Luckily I was able to get back home and I started working on it the next morning. By then the part had arrived. Which really surprised me. I expected the part to take longer to arrive but it arrived in two days from the day I ordered it.

Thankfully the symptoms saved me a battery the second time around. To what I understand the first time my voltage regulator went out it over loaded the system, including the battery and made it poop in a sense. It actually had a crack down the side and I had to replace it along with the alternator. All in all I spent about $250 on the whole thing. I changed the battery and took out the alternator and took it in to the rebuilding shop to have them, supposedly rebuild it.

Now, two years later, you might ask how do I know it was a junkie voltage regulator. We’ll it lasted only about two years for starters. The first one that gave out happened a good 6 years after I bought the ML 350. Oh and when I took it out it looked really cheap. You’ll see in the picture below what I mean.

Here’s the steps I took to replace the voltage regulator on my 2004 ML 350.

Disconnect the battery, loosen and remove the red wire from the battery.

remove the passenger side front tire.

Now remove the black liner wall, there’s 6 plastic nuts that you’ll have to remove.  Once removed you have to wiggle the liner off.  It’s easier if you start removing the part of the liner thats closest to the front of the car.  Then work on the section closest to the door.

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here’s a shot of one of the sections you’ll have to remove a plastic nut.

nuts off.

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Liner off, now you’ll have direct access to the alternator.

IMG_2776

There’s the alternator you’re looking for.  Before you get to remove it you’ll have to remove the belt you see there on the right side.  There’s a tensioner that keeps it nice and tight.  The picture below shows you where you’ll find it.

IMG_2780-2

Here you see the pulley that’s the tensioner.  The nut in the circle is where you’ll put your socket wrench and turn counter clockwise.  The nut wont actually turn because it’s not a nut it’ll just move the whole pulley to the left which will allow you to slide the belt off the tensioner.  Look below.

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Here you see the belt already off the tensioner.  Now you can go back to the alternator and slide the belt off the pulley on the alternator.

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Once the belt is off the alternator pulley you can start removing the electrical connections to the alternator.  WARNING again remember to remove the battery connectors before messing with those connections.  I’m sure you understand WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR BONE HEAD MISTAKES.  You take full responsibility for fucking around with your car…..alright now that that’s done with.  Lets move on.

IMG_2786-2

Remove the black cap on one of the nuts and put it somewhere safe.  You’ll be putting it back after replacing the voltage regulator.

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Now, loosen and remove the two nuts marked on the picture and disconnect the electronic connector on the bottom left of the alternator.  That’s all you’ll have to worry about here.  Now you’ll move on to remove the screws that hold it in place.

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Here’s the image with the nuts off.

IMG_2790

The top screw is not problem, it’s easy to access and remove.  Just be careful to not sure a tool that’s to long and damage your radiator   Keep in mind those are not regular bolt heads.  They’re the star type.  You will need a set of Torx sockets.  The bottom one is a bit more fun to remove.  Lets keep going.

IMG_2792-2

It’s tough to photograph this sucker while it’s screwed in but this should give you a good idea of where to find it.  Unscrew it all the way and slide it all the way out. You’ll notice that there’s a sort of fitting that the screw goes through to fasten back in.  Keep those two in mind, we’ll talk about those again, soon.

For now you’re going to have to carefully wiggle the alternator out of the space it’s in.  It shouldn’t just fall out when you take the bolts out.  In my case it took a bit of working it to get it out.  Damn, all this trouble for a little $50 buck voltage regulator.

Let’s get to work on that bad boy.

Once it’s off here’s what you’ll have.  Pretty scary huh.  Not really it’s actually a lot simpler than you think.  Here’s what you’ll do.

IMG_2795-2

Remove the two nuts and the screw that keeps that plastic protector plate.  Make sure to use the correct size tools.  You don’t want to mess up those three pieces.

IMG_2796-2

Once it’s off it’s easy to see what you have to do to remove the voltage regulator. By the way, it you don’t know what it looks like, don’t feel bad I didnt either.  It’s the black plastic piece that has the electronic connector.  All you have to do at this point is just remove the three screws.  Just keep in mind where you pull them from.  One of them is shorter.  The lighter one on the left of the picture is the smallest of the three.  I’m my case it was a pain in the ass to remove one of the other two.  Remember when I mentioned that I took it to a place where they put a piece of crap voltage regulator, you’ll notice that that voltage regular that’s on there doesn’t even have a manufacturer or part number…nothing.  Pretty clear indicator of a trashy low quality part.  Also, you’ll notice that the top screw is already stripped before I even touch it.  Thanks again to that shop I took it too.  Removing it was a nightmare and I ended up just replacing the bolts with new hex bolts as you’ll see below.  Once you have those three out, you’ll just slide that voltage regulator out and chuck it.  Slide the new one in and reverse the steps.

Here’s the alternator with the voltage regulator removed.

IMG_2798

Here’s  a shot of the new voltage regulator in place.  Notice the brand spanking new hex screws and you’ll also notice that this voltage regulator actually has branding and markings.  Also, the picture doesn’t show it but remember to put all three of the screws that you removed.  My truck ran for a good 6 years and about 50,000 miles before it had any problem with the voltage regulator.  I expect the same this time around.

And here’s the last shot before it was on it’s way back into the truck.  Plastic plate back in place and everything fastened nice and tight….but don’t get to crazy on the plastic pieces.

Now, just reverse all the steps above and put it back together.  That’ll take care of the problem.  When you go to put it back in the truck you’ll notice that you’ll have to press out the two pieces that help align the bolts that hold the alternator in place.  In that it’s easier to press them in with a C clamp slowly than trying to bang them in.  You’ll see what I mean whey you try to put the alternator back on.

The main thing is to have your voltage regulator ordered quickly once you notice the symptoms.  They’re inexpensive and easy to replace, you just have to make the time.  You can find it by clicking on the image below.

ml voltage regulator

Click image to find your voltage regulator.

 

…..and then the light bulb when off!

No really the freaking light bulb when off right on Christmas Eve.

Luckily, I had a spare that I kept from the last time this happened.  I got a great deal on the pair at Auto Parts Warehouse when I ordered them.

Replacing the bulb on the head light is not difficult at all and you should be able to do it with little to no experience.  It’s probably one of the easiest things to do.  No need to adjust the light height or any of that, like on the older cars.  You just access the housing through the back and replace the bulb.  Voila…back in business.

Anyway, I took some pictures to show how to get the pesky bulb out.  It’s the one on the drivers side.  It’s a bit tight to get in there but its doable.  The picture below shows you how to start the process of removing the cap to access the area where the bulb goes.  Replacing the head light is not necessary.  Don’t do what I did the first time and start to unscrew the top of the housing.

Access is behind like you see on the pictures.  It’s pretty self-explanatory.  Remove the dust cover.  Twist the twist the bulb to unlock it (you’ll have to turn it counter clockwise from your position) and pay attention to how the metal shim is placed.  You’ll have to replace it when installing the new bulb.

Put your cover back on and you’re ready to ride.  Hope you had fun working on you car.  I certainly did.

ML 350 Mercedes Benz Repairs

Minor Mercedes Benz repairs like oil changes, brakes, filter changes even alternator repairs are easy to do.  There’s no need to go break the bank at the dealership or otherwise known as the steelership by some who figure how much they can save on labor cost for minor repairs that can be done in a few hours for hundreds of dollars less.

Take my car for example.  Recently it stranded me.  I was having a nice Saturday, out with my wife and three year old daughter when it just wouldn’t start.  No warning, no light flicking, nothing!  I called road side assistance and they said it was the battery.  They helped me get it started and I went directly home.  Once there it wouldn’t start, again.

I did some research and figured out that it wasn’t the battery.  It was the voltage regulator which is inside the alternator.  I’m not a mechanic.  So you can imagine that Mercedes Benz repairs were a little intimidating to me.  I’ve rebuilt engines, simple ones with a very small number of electrical components.  This was beyond my comfort level so I called the dealer.  “Wow!”  I wasn’t prepared for the $1,200 estimate I was given.

I was about 90% certain that the voltage regulator was the problem.  I searched online and found it selling for less than sixty dollars, so the 1,200 dollar estimate really scared me.

The Mercedes Benz repair guys told me that I was probably going to need the whole unit replaced.  What I found online was that this car tends to have problems with that piece only.  Not the whole unit.  I ordered the piece online and got to work.

I didn’t know how to approach breaking down the area of the engine where I needed to work.  I had to remove the belt.  Take off the passenger tire and remove the liner to be able to access the alternator.  It sounds more complicated than it is.  I’ve owned many cars and to be honest.  This Mercedes Benz repair was simpler than others I’ve had to do on a Ford family van we had or a Toyota.  Ford was by far the worst.  It’s like those guys try to figure out how to make it extra hard for you to fix your own car.

I was most concerned with the removal of the belt.  Just by looking at it I couldn’t figure out where to release the tension to the belt.  I checked online but all I could find, explained how to do it as if I already knew how.  That wasn’t helping.  I finally found a picture of a different model Mercedes that gave me more to go on.  It happened to be the same type of tensioner and presto it was off.  Way easier than all the other tensioners I’ve ever had to deal with.  It looked so different to what I was used to, I could’nt figure it out.

To make the story short, the repair ended up costing me less than three hundred dollars and that’s with a new battery.  I opted to replace it because it was leaking.  Apparently when the voltage regulator goes out it over loads the battery and they leak.