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1989 420 SEL, 2001 E55
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 420SEL has about 165k on her, and for the 4 years I've owned it have done a few minor repairs myself (monovalve, window switch, stereo...), but have had the local dealer do most everything else. My neighbor is the dealership's former service director, so they've always treated me right.

However, when they quoted me $1710 for Bilsteins all 'round I decided to try out an indendent shop. The indy shop checked out the car, quoted $623 for the shocks, and gave me a list of other repairs I should consider, one being new brake pads, rotors, and sensors, front and back (OE, about $725). They said that the pads "were down to the stops."

I asked the dealer to quote brakes front and back, and they couldn't believe that I needed all new rotors and pads, and asked to give me a second opinion. They say that I do need pads all around, and new rotors in the front (in fairness, they told me last brake job that next time I'd have to get new rotors up front), but rotors definitely not needed in the rear. However, they also told me that one of the pads in the rear was down to about 5%, but its opposite was probably 40-50%, caused by calipers not functioning well. They said that in general, all of the calipers were doing this to a certain extent, resulting in uneven wear, and somewhat diminished braking power. They also noticed a "clunking" in the front, and told me that my "brake stops" are worn down pretty far.

On the calipers, they've quoted them, but said I might want to just change pads and front rotors, then see how fast the pads wear to determine whether I must replace them.

Given that I'm not really much of a DIYer and that I'd like to run the car at least another 3 years, what do you think about:

1) ignoring the caliper issue, and watching pad wear as suggested? Am I just delaying the inevitable and compromising brake performance? Or if the car seems to brake fine, I'll just get a little less life out of a set of pads?
2) What do you think about original equipment v. aftermarket for pads, rotors, calipers? I'm inclined to stick to OE for pads, and the dealer said they put Bendix rebuilds on for calipers (OE?), aftermarket rotors.
3) break stops? They explained the concept a bit, quoted $800, but said I don't have to do it now, but will some day. Thoughts on this topic?

Thanks for the comments.
 

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'91 560 SEC
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71 Posts
If its 3yr run I'd say get your brakes done.

Part costs;
rebuilt caliper (think of it same metals just new seals) +-$100 each
Rotors +-$50 each
Pads (go with OEM.. just put in some other junk and the squeeks are driving me crazy)
+-$100 all around.
Brake lines +-$75 all around.
so +-$775

If you wana cut corners leave the back rotors (dont know the condition theyr in).

I just changed my front calipers as one of the old ones was seized.. keep in mind you cant just do one side gota do both.. all I can say is new calipers and brake lines and pads.. man the car feels nice.
 

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1987 420SEL
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1,133 Posts
Just my .02 in regards to the aftermarket brakes.

One of the after market rotor companies for this car is Brembo, one of the world leader in brake components. While they are rather expensive (I was quoted $70 each) they are certainly nothing less if not better in quality than the OEM parts.

Like many after market things, there are many, many companies offering lesser grade parts at lower prices. On my cars, especially with disposable components like brakes, I have no problem using aftermarket parts. OEM pads are Pagid, I believe, and these can be sourced through the after market at marginal discounts.
 

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1993 300TE, 1995 E320 Wagon
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1,895 Posts
Smokin-

I'm getting ready to do a complete front brake job on my 560, so I have some comparisons for you.

Regarding the caliper issue, I'm generally of the opinion that preventive maintenance is better than fixing things when they break, so if it were me, I'd be redoing the rear calipers (both sides, not just one), since one is sticking. You intend to keep the car going for at least three more years (at what annual mileage?) and so I would say that replacing calipers now isn't a bad idea. If it's your daily driver, it's probably better to be safe than sorry. On the other hand, you state that the car brakes fine now, just uneven pad wear (and therefore somewhat compromised brake performance). Since the problem is on the rear, it isn't as critical. I would definitely replace the calipers on if it was on the front, though.

OE parts are not necessarily required. Some would argue with this, but "OE" may not really be "OE," if you know what I mean. Check out the various parts suppliers (AutohausAZ, BMA, BlueridgeMB, Germanstar, TireRack, etc) for prices and ideas. If you go with rebuilt calipers, I would definitely get the Bendixes (or ATEs) though. Rebuilt calipers run $65 each (aftermarket), new ones $240 (both wholesale prices).

Rear rotors and pads wear much more slowly than in the front, and so it's likely you can just replace the pads. A set of pads/shims (no sensors on most rear brakes) runs $35-50 for the rears, and it's about an hour (max) to do both sides. Figure an independent would charge around $60-75/hr for labor-- so the rears would be around $100-125, but I'm also quoting wholesale parts prices. Most shops will charge 50%-75% more (in my experience), so call it $150 for the rears.

Front rotors/pads/sensors/bearings is a bit more involved. Rotors run $50 to $125 each, depending on make/performance. I got Brembos for $50 each-- Balos, Meyle, ATE are all about the same. Zimmerman cross-drilled are more like $100-125 each. Pads are a bit more on the fronts; Pagid/Textar/Jurid run around $45-60 for a complete front set. Akebono ceramics are more expensive ($75), but might last a bit longer (and they make less dust). Sensors are a couple bucks each, and you need four. When the front rotors are replaced, you might as well repack the wheel bearings (or replace them if you're doing the "long haul" preventive maintenance like me). Bearing kits run $25 to $45 a side. I'm also replacing brake lines ($15 ea) and rebuilding calipers ($25/side for the kit). For labor, I'd estimate that a shop would want 3/4 hr to an hour a side, depending on extent of work (repack bearings, brake lines, etc). An absolute minimal job looks to be $125 labor and $175 parts. A more extensive job, particularly if you ask for repacking bearings and a brake fluid flush (both recommended), would make the labor costs get closer to $200. Again, with parts markup, things quickly go up, especially if you add the extras like I'm doing. Your indy quote of $725 with OE parts seems a bit high, but not outrageous, I guess.

The quote from the dealer for the shocks is insane, IMHO. Bilstein Comforts run around $80 apiece, wholesale, and it's maybe 15 minutes each to replace them (for a competent mechanic). You'd probably want a new alignment after the work, so add $100 or so. That makes it a $500 job, with an additional $75 or so for the markup. Again, the indy is a bit high, but not outrageous.

Even if you're not much of a DIYer, you could easily do the rear pads and the shocks yourself, thus saving a couple hundred bucks. Some independents don't mind if you get the parts for them (saves the markup), but some won't like it (it's an important part of their bottom line). No harm in asking, and if you have a long association with a mechanic, you can negotiate a bit, if your budget is tight (like mine).

Lastly, I have no idea what a "Brake Stop" is. And for $800? Someone can tell me I'm a fool to ignore this "crucial" part, but it sounds like BS to me.

I recommend (to anyone, actually) this site if you want to find some excellent DIY guides (with loads of pictures). It's a subscription site, but an excellent resource. It was put together by the previous owner of my 560SEL (and one of the reasons I bought the car was because of the quality of his work)!

Mercedes Repair


Some more links to play with:

Auto Parts at AutohausAZ - OEM Auto Parts - Discount Replacement Parts, Resources and Car Care Tips

BMA Auto Parts | Bumper to Bumper since 1978 | Oem auto parts, vw parts, sachs boge, mercedes benz parts, honda auto parts, saab parts

The Number One Source for You and Your Older Mercedes, We sell Solutions, not just parts! | MercedesSource.com

MercedesShop FastLane

Mercedes Benz Parts, Mercedes Parts, Accessories

Blue Ridge MB and AMG East » Parts for Sale (New Items!)


Best of luck with the decisions ahead!

Dave
 

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1985 500SEL with a 560 V8
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645 Posts
Breakdown of what i just did in terms of brakes on my 500SEL
ATE front pads -$25
ATE front rotors - 15.53 each
ATE rear rotors - 12.27 each
ATE rear pads - 15.97
Meyle Brake hoses -6.36 each
Front calipers - 45 each
Wear Sensors 2.60
 

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1993 300TE, 1995 E320 Wagon
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1,895 Posts
:eek:Amazing prices!!:eek:

Care to let us in on your supplier?:bowdown:

D
 

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1982 280 se aut. ecc. - sold
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1,607 Posts
Don't forget to change the fluid!
Sticking caliper might be a sticking pad.

gr J
 

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CH4S Admin , Outstanding Contributor
1985 500SEC, 1991 190E 2.6.
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40,650 Posts
Breakdown of what i just did in terms of brakes on my 500SEL
ATE front pads -$25
ATE front rotors - 15.53 each
ATE rear rotors - 12.27 each
ATE rear pads - 15.97
Meyle Brake hoses -6.36 each
Front calipers - 45 each
Wear Sensors 2.60

Is the rotor price from the HSC (Homeboy shopping club)?

My friendly parts guy quotes me U.S. $ 37 ea. for the ATE made in Germany front rotors, and that is wholesale.
 

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Mercedes
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I'd like to know the source for those prices, too! Plan on doing rotors/pads in the summer amongst other things to the 560.
 

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1985 500SEL with a 560 V8
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645 Posts
I'm in the parts business. :) Even at wholesale there is much markup.
Just did balljoings on my car. Meyle brand at 10 a piece. never used them before so i hope they last as long as the originals did.
If anyone needs some assistance in locating parts pm me. More than willing to help. Problem would be shipping these rotors since they are KINDA HEAVY!
 

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1993 300TE, 1995 E320 Wagon
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IACAsian-

Good to know another source-- too bad you're on the other coast from me, though.

Get ready for some new customers, is all I can say-- :D

Dave
 

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1985 500SEL with a 560 V8
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645 Posts
ElRojo, PM me and i'll give you a good parts supplier out by you. As for new customers? not exactly what i had in mind. If members are local i have no problem helping, just having to ship is a PITA, especially rotors.
 

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1989 420 SEL, 2001 E55
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18 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Awesome advice as always! Thanks especially to Dave "ElRojo" for the extensive info. It really helps.

BTW, my "brake stop" is really a brake support arm. I checked my paperwork and saw the proper description, checked out some threads on the forum, and now know a bit more about that issue. Damn, too many things to fix.

Anyway, thanks again to all for the great advice. Gotta post up on the ticking sound from my head...
 

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1993 300TE, 1995 E320 Wagon
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UPDATE ON BRAKE JOB

Once I got into the job, I found myself spending lots of elbow grease on cleaning one caliper, and to top it off, my supplier had given me an ATE rebuild kit, rather than a Bendix one. So after directing a few choice words at Murphy, who obviously was lurking around my garage, I decided to just go ahead with rebuilt calipers. I was quoted $126 each from the local Dealership (Keyes on Van Nuys), and $65 each from BMA (NuGeon rebuilds). I would have liked to go with the dealership, but unfortunately my funds are very scarce, and I needed to replace them NOW. I may regret this decision later, but I am happy with the results so far. I have Brembo rotors and Akebono pads , which were a very tight fit initially, but I now have solid brakes and NO dust, even after a couple hundred miles of city driving. Normally I'd be washing the wheels again with Textar or Pagid/Jurid pads. I also replaced the bearings, and everything seems to be very smooth now.

D
 
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