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1994 E320 Sedan
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Discussion Starter #1
This was supposed to be such an easy night. But yikes.

Brand new front rotors, and pads at all four corners. How hard could it be, right? I'd never owned a car with fixed calipers before, but knew it should be easy. So, after I fought the first front rotor, which was original to the car and really on there good, I put the caliper back on and went to replace the pads.

These Akebonos had noise supressing shims already installed on their backing plates. Visually, they first looked like they were molded onto there somehow, so I left them on. Trouble was, the shims have little wraparound tabs that grab the pad itself, so they stay in position. This makes the area of the pad where the retention spring sits too big. The retention spring ends up with far too much tension, nothing lines up, and you start swearing.

Anyone else ever run into that? I don't see it in any other threads yet.

Even after I replaced the Akebono shims with the ones from my OEM pads, it seemed like that spring was awfully difficult to get into position correctly with both pins lined up. Is it always tough to get the retention pins lined up?
 

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1993 300D 2.5 "Elsie"
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I installed them on all four corners with new rotors and had no trouble at all. I know the Mercedes Source guy also installed them on two of his cars with no trouble. Are you sure you got the right pads?

I don't know what, if any, difference there is between the '93s and '94s, but here's a pic of mine that shows the part number. Maybe that will help in some way? Otherwise, no clue. I've been using the Akebono pads since 2002, but this was the first time on a Mercedes.

Sorry you're having trouble. :(
 

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1991 560sl / 1987 300TDT / 1995 E300D / 1994 S350D / 1993 300SD /Cummins Diesel PU /2 airplanes
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861 Posts
I have Akebonos on three of my cars, two with Brembo rotors and one with ATE. they all work great and much less dust, also have put them on three other MBZ with no problem. Never had a problem installing them, maybe I was lucky.
Have to agree with chuckh0308, you certain that you have the right pads?
 

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68 vw typeIII, 85 vw GTI, 91 GTI 12v, 95 MB E320 te
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we have installed 100 plus sets of these pads on our customer's cars without any major problems installing or complaints for noise or dust. just happy people with out black wheels. i have them on all my cars that they offer them for too, and love them. however i have seen where the paint on the pad backing has been alittle thick causing the pad to bind when installing but nothing a quick file action couldn't cure
 

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1994 E320 Sedan
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Discussion Starter #5
According to the box, and holding the pads in my hand, I've got the right ones. Part number EUR561.

You're right that the brakes are different between yours and mine, Chuck. My 94 has fixed calipers with four pistons, so the pads slide in with the calipers in place. You just remove two pins and a spring. That's where I'm having trouble, is refitting the spring.

Truckster, when you put them in, do you use the shims that Akebono ships with the pads? They seem like they're just too big. They could probably be made to work if I break off the uppermost tabs that hold them in place, which would probably give me the clearance I need.
 

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1995 E320 sedan, 1991 Porsche 964, 2004 Porsche 986
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When I put Akebono ceramic pads on the front of my '95, I did have to wrestle with the spring clip a little bit (flat-blade screwdriver) so that I could get the pins in. Wasn't a huge deal but was a small pain in the keister. :D
 

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68 vw typeIII, 85 vw GTI, 91 GTI 12v, 95 MB E320 te
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yes i usually use the shims that come with the pads, unless the oem shims will fit. i know the lexus and toyota shims always seem to fit better than the ones offered from akebono. if you are able to remove your oem shims you might give them a try. the shims that came on those pads should pry off easily. my 95 does have a different front brake setup from your 94 but i'm sure we have installed both versions with out any problems. i do recall having to put alittle more pressure on the calipers some times on the pad set up like you have to get the calipers bolted up to the pad carrier. all the spring does is keep the pads from rattleing when brake pressure isn't applied. make sure your springs are hitting the caliper evenly (almost flat) not to the top or bottom
 

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1994 E320 Sedan
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Discussion Starter #8
I guess I'm going to just take everything back apart and reevaluate. Surely there's something out of sorts here. Maybe I'll start by reassembling with my old pads, just to see if they behave the same way. I should have thought to do that yesterday, but it was late and I was getting cranky. :)
 

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'95 E300 DIESEL, '91 600SEL, '92 600SEL
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IIRC the W124 used floating calipers, not fixed ones.

I don't recall having problems when intalling these pads on my mother's 300TE (1990).
Later W124s, approximately with the introduction of the M104, used the 4 piston fixed caliper vs. the single piston floating type.

The only exception are the diesels which kept the single piston floating calipers.
 

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1994 E320 Sedan
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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks to our friend ps2cho, I've scribbled together some pictures to better explain what I'm talking about.

Thanks to our man ps2cho, I've got some pictures I can use to illustrate what I'm seeing. The photos are originally by him, except the one I took from Akebono's site to show the shim I am talking about.

From above, without my mspaint scribbling, they look like this:


notext by krshultz, on Flickr

In this artist's rendering, :) I have outlined the spring clip in red. The outline of the brake pad backing plate is in blue. And the place where the spring clip contacts the brake pad is colored in, with solid blue. The retention pins are outlined in yellow.


clip by krshultz, on Flickr

The Akebonos have shims on them, and these shims have little fingers that hold them in place. They wrap around the tops of the pads, where the spring clip contacts the pad. On the shims from the OEM brake pads, these fingers are not present. I've pointed at the fingers with some awesome red arrows: :)


shims by krshultz, on Flickr

With the Akebono shims in place, the spring clip (first pic, red outline) rests on top of the fingers on the shim (first pic, solid blue area). This bends the entire spring clip upwards, away from the brake rotor. This makes it impossible to get the retention pins (first pic, yellow) through one side of the caliper, then through the spring clip, and then the other side of the caliper.

It could be that I'm worrying over nothing, but I felt I should ask. I've not seen anyone else describe this problem with the Akebonos, which made me wonder if something else is going on.
 

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1994 E320 Sedan
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Discussion Starter #13
Sometimes, I swear, owning this car is like playing whack-a-mole. I solve one problem and another one shows up. I decided to remove the little arms from the Akebono shims. That worked great and the pads, spring, and pins all line up great.

But, I think I may have gotten a bad set of rotors, or the wrong rotors. The size seems fine, the diameter and everything looks the same as my originals. But, I've noticed a couple problems with them:

1. I found "Made in China" stamped on them. This was all part of an online order with Advance Auto - I was using a coupon, and buying a trailer hitch for the car at the same time, so I threw these in my cart. I know it was a gamble, but to be completely honest, I used to buy auto parts store rotors for my race car, constantly. Never had a moment's trouble out of them.

2. The hole where the allen bolt goes, to hold the rotor to the hub, is misaligned, on both rotors. Everything else is fine, but that one hole is perfectly wrong. This despite the rotors being marked as an "Exact Fit."

3. While driving the car, at full steering lock to the left, I can hear something metallic rubbing, passenger side front. It sounds a lot like the rotor flexing just enough to contact the brake caliper. The driver's side front doesn't do this. Naturally, I can't reproduce the problem with the car up in the air.

Advance's return policy is actually quite good, so they're probably going back. Whether or not they can source me the correct rotors at all, is another matter altogether. I might even switch them left to right, to see if the noise moves. I've never worked this hard to do a brake change. :mad:
 

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1993 300D 2.5 "Elsie"
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Almost all brake rotors are made in China now (probably 95% of them...ugh...), even Brembo. The only ones I could find that were not made in China (at least in terms of standard replacements) were Pilenga (Italy), but they only have them for the rears on our cars. However, as with anything, quality of Chinese parts can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. FWIW, I used the Centric brand (made in China) on the front and the Pilengas on the rear. So far I have no complaints about either.

I'd return the ones you got and try a different brand.

I think I would have lost it by now if I were to have so many problems! Good luck!
 

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'95 E300 DIESEL, '91 600SEL, '92 600SEL
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My last set of Balo rotors are still made in Germany. I believe the same still holds for Zimmermann and ATE.

I would avoid anything automotive coming out of China, especially a critical safety piece like brake components.

I rather pay more to have the conifidence my brakes will work and stop on a dime (if needed) everytime I hit the whoa pedal. It's a lot cheaper than dealing with higher insurance rates.

As for the Akebono pads, I would remove the attached shims completely and use the stock shims or trim the excess tab using a Dremel or similar.

I've never run Akebono pads, but I've never seen this issue with Pagid, Ferodo, ATE pads.
 

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My last set of Balo rotors are still made in Germany. I believe the same still holds for Zimmermann and ATE.

I would avoid anything automotive coming out of China, especially a critical safety piece like brake components.

I rather pay more to have the conifidence my brakes will work and stop on a dime (if needed) everytime I hit the whoa pedal. It's a lot cheaper than dealing with higher insurance rates.

As for the Akebono pads, I would remove the attached shims completely and use the stock shims or trim the excess tab using a Dremel or similar.

I've never run Akebono pads, but I've never seen this issue with Pagid, Ferodo, ATE pads.
Where do you get the Zimmermann discs? I did a LOT of research when I did my brakes last and I never saw a dealer for them.

I saw the Balo discs, but didn't realize they were made in Germany. Not sure how I missed that as trying to avoid Chinese discs was the whole point of my search!

The ATE's may be manufactured in different countries. When I was researching, they always came up as "made in China," but it may depend on which part number you get.

I read somewhere (sorry, the place escapes me now...) that some companies actually buy plain discs from China and then machine them with their slots, branding, or whatever, and then label them as made in wherever they did their specific machining, so even the ones you think are from Germany may not be if that's true.

And I don't necessarily have a dislike for everything Chinese. Plenty of crap comes from the U.S. and other Countries too. It's just harder to figure out what's OK and what's not from China. And, of course, I don't like this whole idea of manufacturers "hiding" the fact that something is made there.
 

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1994 E320 Sedan
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Discussion Starter #17
My last set of Balo rotors are still made in Germany. I believe the same still holds for Zimmermann and ATE.

I would avoid anything automotive coming out of China, especially a critical safety piece like brake components.

I rather pay more to have the conifidence my brakes will work and stop on a dime (if needed) everytime I hit the whoa pedal. It's a lot cheaper than dealing with higher insurance rates.

As for the Akebono pads, I would remove the attached shims completely and use the stock shims or trim the excess tab using a Dremel or similar.

I've never run Akebono pads, but I've never seen this issue with Pagid, Ferodo, ATE pads.
Yep, I took the offending tabs off of the Akebono shims. It still strikes me odd that I'm the only one to have had the problem, but there it is. Other than the poorly formed rotors, I like the brakes just fine. They don't have the initial bite of the Textars that were on it before, but that's okay by me. As long as brake pads are strong enough to cause the ABS to engage, they're fine for a street car. These are plenty strong enough to do that.

I wonder if maybe the rotors are for a different car? It seems unlikely that both rotors would have the hole for the mounting screw be identically wrong because of bad quality control, although I guess anything is possible. The diameter and thickness all seem to match what was on the car previously. We're there changes made to rotor specifications that aren't obvious to the naked eye?

This is a fabulous car that I am enjoying the heck out of. But sometimes I enjoy it through gritted teeth...

In fairness, my experience with Chinese stuff hasn't been altogether awful over the years. And given my admittedly limited experience with Italian automotive quality, I'm not sure stuff from there would be any better. :)
 

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Give the Akebonos a week or so to settle in. They should end up feeling just like the Textars (that's what I had before too), except without all the mess on your wheels! :cool:

I hear ya on the frustrations. So far I've been fortunate and haven't had too much of that on mine, but I'm sure my day is coming!

The origins of parts is becoming more and more foggy all the time and quality is not always determined by the Country of origin. All you can do is research and hope for the best it seems!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I ended up at the dealer. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they had the rotors in stock, and, using my MBCA discount, they were about 72 each. Compared to $45 for the crappy ones at Advance, it's what I should have done to begin with. I've gotten so used to this dealer not having anything for older cars in stock that I've largely quit trying them, but now I'll think twice.
 

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'92 400E
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Akebono

Just put these on all 4 corners with ATE Premium One rotors. Went in tight in the calipers. But they work great. Quiet. Good stopping, and virtually no rotor dust after 2000 miles. Can't complain!

Glen
 
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