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2003 ML 350
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I thought I would turn to my fellow MLers for some honest opinions and answers. My yellow brake wear indicator light has started blinking recently. I have a 2003 ML350 with 73,000 miles on it and I have been the owner for about 3 years. Is the light refering to my front pads or rear or both? What are the best pads to get? There is no noise coming from the brakes so far and no pulling. :surrender:
 

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2004 SL500; 2003 E320; 2001 ML430 Sport; 1999 E320 Wagon
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404 Posts
Brake wear indicator touches the rotor after >50% of one of 2 pads is worn so there will not necessarily be any metal-on-metal noise for quite a while. There are sensors on front and rear brakes so it could be either causing the indicator. On my 430, the rears wear faster for some reason, so you might check them 1st unless they were the last ones repaired.

This is an easy repair if you are comfortable with jacking up the car and removing a wheel. If not, pay to have it done - brakes are important.
 

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05 500
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...On my 430, the rears wear faster for some reason, so you might check them 1st unless they were the last ones repaired....
You probably do more high speed braking or highway driving than low speed braking/city driving. Here's what I have squeezed out from various MB techs. During high speed braking, the ML applies more brake force to the rear brakes to minimize vehicle dive. During low speed braking, it does what most cars do, dump more load on the front brakes.
 

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1999 E55, 2001 E320, 1990 560 SEC, 2004 ML350, 2001 ML55, 1995 S500, 1998 SL500, 2010 E550 Sport zoo
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I would suggest you have a MB indie, or competant shop look at it, with 73K you may or may not need disc replacement if they have worn down.

The good thing is ML brake parts from internet sources (yes, I understand about Hawaii freight) are not necessarily a high premium.

You have had good results from the OE MB pads (which are not Mintex like some internet houses claim ) but Textar which is better grade OE pad, then Pagid is best grade OE pad. Pagid ownes all three companies, but the pad quality is different.

You need to check the rears, to see if they have a sensor back there, or ask a MB dealer with your VIN #, since there are (2) types of rear pads for your year ML.

I use a semi-metallic pad made by Posi-Quiet, I have had good luck with them, same pad is made suplied by Centric.

Others have gone to ceramic with good result.

If you need discs, you might check autohausaz.com, and see their shipping policy or call them for shipping quote - they creidt the Continental freight, and you pay the difference cost for Hawaii.

Keep the beat !
 

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99 White ML320, 13 Audi S5,84 300ZX Turbo, 03 Audi A4, 03 Audi TT, 65 Ford Galaxie Conv
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Well, I just did my fronts this weekend and found it interesting that only the left front had a wear sensor. I honestly did not look over the right side to see if the connector existed, but I would assume not. Have no idea is there is a similar situation in the rear. I used OEM pads by the way.

If you do decide to do it yourself (it is very simple), the only pointer I have is to use a large screwdriver to pry the bottom of the pads off first and rotate the whole caliper off as if it were hinged at the top. I got the hint from the M-Class Outpost.
 

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1999 ML320
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Well, I just did my fronts this weekend and found it interesting that only the left front had a wear sensor. I honestly did not look over the right side to see if the connector existed, but I would assume not. Have no idea is there is a similar situation in the rear. I used OEM pads by the way.

If you do decide to do it yourself (it is very simple), the only pointer I have is to use a large screwdriver to pry the bottom of the pads off first and rotate the whole caliper off as if it were hinged at the top. I got the hint from the M-Class Outpost.
My 1999 ML320 have only one sensor on the FRT left side and one senser on the rear left side
 

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2003 ML 350
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
thanks for the great advice!
 

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2004 SL500; 2003 E320; 2001 ML430 Sport; 1999 E320 Wagon
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Yeah Mike - that sounds like more than 50%
Point being, if the wear sensor sets the brake light on, you don't have to run to your favorite indie or good buddy w/ tools to fix this one. You'll likely get more than a couple thousand miles before metal-to-metal. Plenty of time to mail order replacement pads.
 

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1990 190E 2.6,.... 1998 ML320, 2005 ML500SE
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Yeah Mike - that sounds like more than 50%
Point being, if the wear sensor sets the brake light on, you don't have to run to your favorite indie or good buddy w/ tools to fix this one. You'll likely get more than a couple thousand miles before metal-to-metal. Plenty of time to mail order replacement pads.
I'm sorry but I don't understand your 50% comment but I agree with your statement that, even at 25% of pad thickness left you have plenty of time to get the parts you need.
Mike
 

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Perhaps it was the "Greater Than" symbol I used [>] that confused you? I will strive to be more explicit.
 

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Perhaps it was the "Greater Than" symbol I used [>] that confused you? I will strive to be more explicit.
No, it wasn't the > symbol, I use it all the time in Excel spreadsheets. OK, I read your post for the 4th time and you are correct. I think I have dyslexia. I initially read your comment to mean that the wear indicator came on with Greater Than 50% of the pad thickness still left, not as you intended, Greater Than 50% pad thickness gone.
Mike
 

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"More than 50%" means that the indicator lights up as early as 51% worn, which suggests that I could drive for another year with the pad wear indicator light on!! Not the same thing at all as saying only 25% (or less) left.

DelJ



Yeah Mike - that sounds like more than 50%
...
 

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"More than 50%" means that the indicator lights up as early as 51% worn, which suggests that I could drive for another year with the pad wear indicator light on!! Not the same thing at all as saying only 25% (or less) left.

DelJ
I have replaced the brake pads in both my ML's more than once each vehicle. The latest being my ML500 2 weeks ago. The wear indicator sensor is inserted in the brake pad lining at about 20 to 25% of the dimension from the metal backing to the full new thickness or about 0.110" to 0.120" of pad thickness.
The floating caliper sensor will start hitting the rotor disc at about 0.090" to 0.110" of pad thickness left.

There is no way I could go a year from the time the light comes on and I only drive about 12K a year in each ML. Looking at the pads and mileage from the last brake change to this recent brake change I estimate one could get about 5K miles before there would be very little pad material left.

Where are you guys getting this 50% figure?

Mike
 

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2001 ML430 Sport bought in very nice shape despite 156K miles in August 2010
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The 50% number, or anything close to it, is bogus.
As a general guide, pads need to be replaced when the friction material is down to the thickness of the backing plate, which is more like >75% worn.
 

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The 50% number, or anything close to it, is bogus.
As a general guide, pads need to be replaced when the friction material is down to the thickness of the backing plate, which is more like >75% worn.
Absolutely correct. When the ligh came on my 500, I drove well over 10K before I decided to replace, and there was still life left on the pads. Well, it all depends on your driving style. I do 98% highway, so it wasn't a surprise to me.
 
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