Need help with mistake made during brake change - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2009, 05:16 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Need help with mistake made during brake change

I tried to change the pads and rotors on the front brakes. I have finished one axle and I think I made a couple of mistakes. Even though this was done on a 2002 C240, I think this information might be useful for anybody who attempts to change brakes on any model. Would appreciate if someone could suggest ways to fix them if possible.

1. Before pushing the piston back into the caliper using a C-clamp and a used pad, I did not open the bleed screw properly. I had read that I just need to slightly crack the bleed screw. So I just barely cracked the bleed screw and pushed the piston back into the caliper. Now midway in this process when half the piston was in the caliper, I realized there was no fluid going into the hose and container. Then I cracked the bleed screw further, pushed the rest of the piston into the caliper and the brake fluid went into the container thereafter. I am worried I might have pushed some brake fluid into the master cylinder and ABS system. I took some fluid out of the master container but I am really worried about the fact that some could have gone into the ABS system. How bad is it? Some way to fix it?

2. I screwed up big time while picking the brake cleaner fluid. I did not check carefully what I bought from the Pepboys store - it was WD40 instead!!! Before putting in the new rotor, I sprayed the hub and the rotor liberally with WD40. But not the pads and not the caliper assembly. Thinking that it would evaporate and dry out in a minute, I let it stand for 10-15 minutes but of course it did not. Then I wiped out the rotor to the extent possible and put it on the hub, then the caliper assembly with the pads. Havent driven the car yet. I am thinking if I were to just take off the wheel now and rotate and spray the brake cleaner fluid on both sides of the rotor even more liberally, I should be ok. Please advise.

Please respond at your earliest convenience. I have only 1 car and need to get this fixed and the other axle done before I can start driving again.

Also do I need to bed the brakes or regular city driving will take care of it over due course of time?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2009, 06:04 PM
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Hey, 'pash.

Remove the pads. You may have already ruined them since they'll lean up against the rotor.

Pull the rotor off and wash it with dawn dishwashing liquid, then let it dry. Then blast the surfaces with brake cleaner and let it dry, reinstall and good luck. If the pads show signs they absorbed some wd40 blast those areas with brake cleaner too. It may dilute it enough to let you by. If you didn't use MB anti-squeal paste this is your opportunity to put some on while you have them back off.

If you replaced with OEM parts no real bedding in is necessary, just drive gently on them for the first few hundred miles, no hard stops, no riding the brake, etc.

If you forced old, contaminated fluid up into the ABS plumbing, what's done is done and there is no way to unring the bell. If you had the bleeder screw open you need to bleed them a bit anyway, that will push back down all the stuff you pushed up, bleed 'til you have clear fluid. Obviously do this AFTER you take care of the rotors or you'll press the pads into the wd40.

Good luck, and please complete your BW profile re: vehicle and location by clicking the user cp link.

Take care and enjoy the ride,
Greg

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2009, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks much gregs210

I'll remove the pads and blast them with brake parts cleaner solution. Will also remove the rotors, wash with dawn and blast them as well. I put the anti-squeal paste so I should be ok there. Shall then bleed the brake bleeder screw also. Don't know if that helps but the brake fluid that I collected in the container was very clear. I put OEM pads.

Also my vehicle and location is there in my profile. I can see it in the left hand frame. Is it not visible to others?

Last edited by thapash; 04-06-2009 at 07:50 PM. Reason: typos
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-06-2009, 07:57 PM
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I see the profile info now, Go Cowboys.

It is a good sign the fluid you got out was clear. If you flush the fluid regularly as MB says it is a small chance of having a problem, but always better not to take the chance.

Be sure to drive really gently those first few hundred miles. You might have a bit of grabbing from the residual wd40, so just be aware.

Take care and enjoy the ride,
Greg

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill)
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 09:25 AM
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You may have "read somewhere" about loosening the bleed screw, but you didn't read it in official Mercedes procedures.

This step is not necessary--just be sure you won't overflow the fluid reservoir.

Kent Christensen
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
You may have "read somewhere" about loosening the bleed screw, but you didn't read it in official Mercedes procedures.

This step is not necessary--just be sure you won't overflow the fluid reservoir.

x2. IMHO if you change fluid regularly (every year or two) your ok to remove some fluid from the resevoir, push the pistons back, replace pads then while your at it use a presure bleader to flush/blead the system with new fluid. I've done this for decades, including cars with ABS starting in the 90's and never had any problems. Now if the fluid hadn't been changed in decades, that would be another story and I'd probably flush the system before I started working on the brakes, then do another flush afterwards


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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Brake fluid flush was done at dealership last June

I got the brake fluid flush service done at MB dealership last June. Since then I have driven 10K mostly highway miles, including a trip from San Francisco, CA to Irving, TX. Do I still need to flush/bleed the system using the pressure bleeder or can I just bleed the bleeder screw a little and drain some old brake fluid. Please advise.

And you are right lkchris, I haven't read the official Mercedes procedure. I just followed the DIYs on the forums (DIY-Brake.pdf by gregs210 and other brake-related DIY posts). But I did not follow the instructions properly thats why I landed in this problem.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-07-2009, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by thapash View Post
I got the brake fluid flush service done at MB dealership last June. Since then I have driven 10K mostly highway miles, including a trip from San Francisco, CA to Irving, TX. Do I still need to flush/bleed the system using the pressure bleeder or can I just bleed the bleeder screw a little and drain some old brake fluid. Please advise.

And you are right lkchris, I haven't read the official Mercedes procedure. I just followed the DIYs on the forums (DIY-Brake.pdf by gregs210 and other brake-related DIY posts). But I did not follow the instructions properly thats why I landed in this problem.
since you opened the bleed screw, you should at least bleed the brakes to make sure you don't have any air in the lines. Have someone depress the brake pedal and hold it, then open the bleader with a hose attached. make sure no bubbles come out. If you see bubbles, close the bleader, release the brakes and repeat till there is no air in the line. don't just open the bleader, you WILL get air in the line in that case.


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Chromed OEM wheels, Akebono's, H1+90 fog, Burlwood/Leather shift knob, Rostra Lumbar support, Check seat heaters, Bilstein's, Parrot Bluetooth, GG Bailey Custom cargo mat, GG Bailey trunk mat, Real Burlwood Instrument Cluster w Chrome rings, Burlwood & Chrome shift surround, Euro headlights with Osram 70W/65W H-4's, clear corners, Silverstar corner lamps, Euro Trunk mount Warning triangle, SL600 Burlwood armrest trim & Burlwood cupholder sliding cover, Kahtec flashing third brake light (CHMSL)


97 E420 Royal Indigo/Grey Leather

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2009, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thapash View Post
I got the brake fluid flush service done at MB dealership last June. Since then I have driven 10K mostly highway miles, including a trip from San Francisco, CA to Irving, TX. Do I still need to flush/bleed the system using the pressure bleeder or can I just bleed the bleeder screw a little and drain some old brake fluid. Please advise.

And you are right lkchris, I haven't read the official Mercedes procedure. I just followed the DIYs on the forums (DIY-Brake.pdf by gregs210 and other brake-related DIY posts). But I did not follow the instructions properly thats why I landed in this problem.
Just to be clear, if I were a line mechanic I wouldn't do it either because you'd spend a fourth of your work day on this extra step.

However, as I've said repeatedly, even though I maintain my cars properly, I always do this. You only need to lose a master cylinder (or ABS system) once to decide you never will just shove the fluid back up the line, either.

The flip side of this coin is that if you crack the bleeder screws, compress the pistons, snug the screws and then flush when you're done, that often works out to about the recommended interval for flushing the brake fluid, so you kill two birds with one stone.

My bottom line when I post DIY-type stuff is to recommend it to the LCD. I don't ever want someone coming back saying "I followed that guy's recommendation and now I have to buy an ABS pump" etc.

So it's always the choice of the one doing the work, all I do is suggest and recommend, but neither will I apologize for a suggestion that is outside the ambit of the WIS.

Pash, for your C240 take a look at richardm98's flush information for the W210 (which he says is from the WIS or manual, can't recall which). IIRC you don't have to worry about the added steps in the bleeding procedure listed above, I think it's like the GM systems that it won't suck in air if the screw is cracked with the hose on it.

Take care and enjoy the ride,
Greg

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-08-2009, 09:37 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the help

The brake job went fine. I pulled the rotor, cleaned it with Dawn dishwashing liquid, washed it off with water, then cleaned with brake parts cleaner. There was no sign of any absorption on the pads, but still cleaned the pads with brake parts cleaner. Reassembled everything. Then did the other wheel without making any of the previous mistakes.

Since the brake fluid flush was done last June and the brake fluid I collected while pushing the piston back in was very clear, I did not bleed the brakes or flush the brake fluid after the job was done. Shall do it later.

I started the car and drove a few miles - the brakes feel just fine, no sponginess, no grabbing. I will see for a few more days/weeks. It should get better I think as the brakes bed.

Cant thank you guys enough, especially gregs210. All the mechanic work I had done in my life this far was oil change on my old schoolcar - '86 Nissan Pulsar - 9 years back. But got lot of inspiration from DIY-Brake.pdf and other DIY posts. The first wheel took me 6 hours - 3 hours to get the frozen rotor out (I was pounding way too gently ) and remaining 3 hours because of my poor mechanical skills. But the next wheel took me only an hour!

I saved lot of money in the process, learned something new, none of my friends work on their car, so some bragging rights , but mostly satisfaction. I feel like writing a DIY post from an amateur's perspective. But I am not sure because there are already so many brake change DIY posts out there from the experts.

Dont know what else to say - Many many thanks guys!
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