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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm thinking about upgrading my 1997 SL500 brakes but not sure that I need F1-style brakes so unlikley I'll be going down the route of the AMG callipers. I'm thinking about the following in order of priority

1. Flush entire system brake fluid and replenish with DOT-4 brake fluid
2. Change existing brake pads to EBC brake pads (from www.ebcbrakes.com) – which ones would be the best choice? I checked their website (see below for EBC recommendations)
3. Change to stainless steel brake lines (from www.goodridge.net) - does one do all four wheels or just front?
4. Changes discs (ventilated / cross-drilled)

I'd be interested to know what sort of percentage improvement I'd receive (above OEM rubber lines, pads etc) for each of the above (is there anything I have overlooked?)

I'd love the full all-singing-all-dancing AMG brakes but this would be overkill for Hong Kong's relatively low speed roads / driving.

Cheers

Alan
 

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Brake pads - get EBC Red Stuff Ceramic. Better performance, less dust
New brake fluid - good idea
Brake lines - all four corners will improve brake feel a bit.

Unless you are taking your car on the race circuit I would stop at that. Upgraded brake pads and new fluid will give you all the braking performance you will ever need. Ask yourself have you ever suffered brake fade when driving your car? No? then the standard brakes are doing just fine for your style of driving. I know I have put a big brake kit on my car, but then I do take it out on tracks. Having said that my standard brakes (and the small version at that on a 1992 car) coped with mountain passes and the Nurburgring with only EBC red stuff pads. They never faded, even though when we stopped at the end of 20km "forest stage" in France, all four corners were pouring with smoke from the pads!

Big brakes are a waste of time and money otherwise, unless you want to do it just to improve the looks, but it is an expensive way to do it. Cross drilled rotors will not make any real difference to brake performance, they just look trick.
 

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While that is obviously good sound advice, you can get all 4 cross-drilled rotors from parts.com for a bit over $300, and they look amazing...

Our cars are hardly all about practicality in the first place, and you're already going to have to eat the labor costs to change the pads anyway, so why not just do the rotors too while you're in there?

The cross-drilled ones pay you back in spades when it comes to looks...
 

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Go for the EBC red stuff for the pads. I put them on all four corners on my 500SL last year and love them. I also just put them on the front of my Jag. Much better brakiing and after the break in period they are very low dust.

Matt
 

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Big brakes are a waste of time and money otherwise, unless you want to do it just to improve the looks, but it is an expensive way to do it. Cross drilled rotors will not make any real difference to brake performance, they just look trick.
Stuart is this an admission that your brake upgrade wasn't really worth what you laid out for the difference in performance from a simple fitting of EBC ceramic pads?

Please be honest :D
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Stuart is this an admission that your brake upgrade wasn't really worth what you laid out for the difference in performance from a simple fitting of EBC ceramic pads?

Please be honest :D
I got the impression, please correct me if I'm wrong Stuart, that what Stuart was saying was yes go the big brake route if you're doing track work, want / need to stop in a car length or like the look (all valid reasons I'd add), but ultimately it's not worth the effort / expense if one is just looking for a better brake feel during 'normal' or 'normal enthusiastic' driving.

In the case of my stock AMG wheels (see pic) I wouldn't see anything if I fitted new rotors / callipers for atheistic reasons.

Cheers

Alan
 

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Discussion Starter #7
While that is obviously good sound advice, you can get all 4 cross-drilled rotors from parts.com for a bit over $300, and they look amazing...

Our cars are hardly all about practicality in the first place, and you're already going to have to eat the labor costs to change the pads anyway, so why not just do the rotors too while you're in there?

The cross-drilled ones pay you back in spades when it comes to looks...
Chris
Thanks. I was thinking about skimming or changing the rotors for new ones at some stage as I do feel they judder a bit under heavy braking - something I thought (?) might be caused by worn or uneven rotors. You're right would be best doign at the same time as my new EBC ceramic pads and a completely brake fluid change.

Other than looks, which are not going to be seen with my AMG-style wheels, is there any improvement getting cross-drilled rotors (US$300) versus stock (US$???)?

Cheers

Alan
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Brake pads - get EBC Red Stuff Ceramic. Better performance, less dust
New brake fluid - good idea
Brake lines - all four corners will improve brake feel a bit.

Thanks Stuart - you confirmed what I was thinking. I like the idea of the big brakes but driving in Hong Kong, even with the odd free road to open her up, is unlikely to justify the cost / hassle factor for the upgrade. Ditto for the stainless lines - they look great and are no doubt worth doing if you're doing the full Monty brake-wise but probably not worth the effort if brakes can be simply / cost-effectively improved with just fluid change, EBC red-stuff ceramics and new (or maybe cross-drilled rotors) whilst I’m there (your thoughts re cross-drilled / vented discs given above?)

Seems you have been driving suitably 'enthusiastically’ with and without the big brakes…last time I drove across European no speed limit autobahns was in a Volkswagen Beetle in about 1984 – definitely no smoking pads seen!

By the way, anyone have any views re best brake fluid. I want something I can just open / drop into the brake cylinder after purging the old fluid. I don't want to replace all cylinders, seals etc, as a newer product may not be compatible with existing. Am I looking at DOT-4 grade or a higher spec compatible fluid?

Cheers

Alan
 

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Stick with what you have Alan - I have used ceramic pads since their inception and in those days cross drilling was necessary to vent the gas. My current car I fitted Akebono (I rate better than RedStuff) on vented solids and they are great, so a good saving there!
You will see nothing behind your wheels as you say, so save your money.
If you do go cross drilled, note that the SA discs will not fit your car, and be careful not to buy cheap ones that are solids just drilled for the effect - they crack.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Stick with what you have Alan - I have used ceramic pads since their inception and in those days cross drilling was necessary to vent the gas. My current car I fitted Akebono (I rate better than RedStuff) on vented solids and they are great, so a good saving there!
You will see nothing behind your wheels as you say, so save your money.
If you do go cross drilled, note that the SA discs will not fit your car, and be careful not to buy cheap ones that are solids just drilled for the effect - they crack.
Thanks Hal.
SA disks: noted. Think I'm erring on the side of not cross-drilling - have read a previous post of yours on cheap drilled solids cracking - thanks.

Do you think it's worth changing stock solid discs for vented solids or just put new stock discs on with new pads (likley RedStuff as I apparently have a local dealer in Hong Kong)

Cheers

Alan

ps. Handsome hound you have but where exactly is the petrol a rip-off (almost everywhere out of the States and Middle East)
 

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Chris
Thanks. I was thinking about skimming or changing the rotors for new ones at some stage as I do feel they judder a bit under heavy braking - something I thought (?) might be caused by worn or uneven rotors. You're right would be best doign at the same time as my new EBC ceramic pads and a completely brake fluid change.

Other than looks, which are not going to be seen with my AMG-style wheels, is there any improvement getting cross-drilled rotors (US$300) versus stock (US$???)?

Cheers

Alan

The cross-drilled are OEM Benz rotors...they're just off the Silver-Arrow edition of our car, versus the regular edition. The real clincher of the deal is that they cost almost exactly the same as the regular ones, so if you have to replace them anyway then why the heck wouldn't you go cross-drilled? That is true for my car, which is an '01. I am not sure if they will fit yours, but other companies make them in the correct size even if the OEM ones don't fit. Just stay away from the super-cheapies...you get what you pay for, and as another poster mentioned the poorly built ones will crack and fall apart. That said, there ARE well-made aftermarket rotors that will fit your car. Brembo makes cross-drilled rotors in pretty much every conceivable size, so I am sure you can find something that fits.

I disagree on not seeing the rotors. You WILL see them through those rims. I have the same rims, and every time I see the flat rotors I'm like "can't wait for next week" when my appointment with the Indy is.

Also, I wouldn't try to refinish the OEM rotors. Just scratch that off the list of available options. They are already so close to minimum specs when brand-new that you will just increase the already outrageously-long pedal travel in this car by removing more, and they will just warp again anyway, especially as you remove even more material since that translates into more heating.
 

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Alan

Standard disks are vented already. I would stick with standard ones. Hal and I are in the UK, hence why I have done an LPG conversion on my 600, 49p a litre at the moment instead of 100+p for ordinary unleaded, 106+ for super (which I like to give the old girl if i am going to cane her, especially for the Nurburgring, cheap insurance for your engine)
 

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Honestly, I went from solid disks to Silver Arrow drilled ones and I am happy I did it especially when it's soaking wet on the road: they dry faster and collect (and keep) far less water that solids in those conditions together with the fact that they can get rid of heat faster.
From then on every car of mine will always have drilled disks.

Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Alan

Standard disks are vented already. I would stick with standard ones. Hal and I are in the UK, hence why I have done an LPG conversion on my 600, 49p a litre at the moment instead of 100+p for ordinary unleaded, 106+ for super (which I like to give the old girl if i am going to cane her, especially for the Nurburgring, cheap insurance for your engine)

LPG: I hear that. Father-in-law's Land Rover Discovery is converted and goes from Northhamption to North Wales on a single charge. Would do it in Hong Kong on my SL500 but Transport Dept (Govt) won't permit it (wouldn't pass it's annual test if done without their permission).

Cheers

Alan
 

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Discussion Starter #15
The cross-drilled are OEM Benz rotors...they're just off the Silver-Arrow edition of our car, versus the regular edition. The real clincher of the deal is that they cost almost exactly the same as the regular ones, so if you have to replace them anyway then why the heck wouldn't you go cross-drilled? That is true for my car, which is an '01. I am not sure if they will fit yours, but other companies make them in the correct size even if the OEM ones don't fit. Just stay away from the super-cheapies...you get what you pay for, and as another poster mentioned the poorly built ones will crack and fall apart. That said, there ARE well-made aftermarket rotors that will fit your car. Brembo makes cross-drilled rotors in pretty much every conceivable size, so I am sure you can find something that fits.

I disagree on not seeing the rotors. You WILL see them through those rims. I have the same rims, and every time I see the flat rotors I'm like "can't wait for next week" when my appointment with the Indy is.

Also, I wouldn't try to refinish the OEM rotors. Just scratch that off the list of available options. They are already so close to minimum specs when brand-new that you will just increase the already outrageously-long pedal travel in this car by removing more, and they will just warp again anyway, especially as you remove even more material since that translates into more heating.
Thanks Chris

You're right - if the new ones cost the same as refurbishing the old ones then well worth doing it.

Anyone know if the OEM Silver Arrow Cross-Drilled rolotrs would fit directly on a 1997 SL500?

Cheers

Alan
 

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Anyone know if the OEM Silver Arrow Cross-Drilled rolotrs would fit directly on a 1997 SL500?

Cheers

Alan
Hi ahmorris I'm afraid that the SA rotors cannot be fitted on your car because as far as I can remember yours should have the non Brembo brake system. Usually the Brembo system has black painted calipers so you can easily recognize them.
Please correct me if I am wrong.

Cheers.
 

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Thanks Chris

You're right - if the new ones cost the same as refurbishing the old ones then well worth doing it.

Anyone know if the OEM Silver Arrow Cross-Drilled rolotrs would fit directly on a 1997 SL500?

Cheers

Alan
It's not that the drilled discs cost the same as "refurbishing" the originals, it's that they cost the same as "replacing" the originals.

You should NOT attempt to turn the rotors on this car. It is a disastrous waste of time, and in the end you won't be happy with it and will end up buying new rotors anyway. There is not a whole lot of material to play with on these...they are designed as "throw-away" rotors, and there isn't extra thickness available for you to remove to take any imperfections out. Forget about having them refinished/turned, it won't work out well and they will end up warped again within a week.
 

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Hello Chaps

I think one of the things SK hasn't mentioned he is running about 50hp than stock and thrashes his car within an inch of its live around the country lanes near where he lives.... Been in it when he dives 2000KG of car into a corner and one of the back wheels comes off the ground its well just a weeee bit scary or fun depedning on your view :) ..... and that was with his standard brakes. I'm running close to 100 HP over stock and TechTune is running even more... I like the idea of stopping......... we have or are in the process of going for the upgrade. Who says size doesn't matter. ;)

J
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks Chris

Refurbishing the original stock discs (rotors): point taken - you are right - good idea to get new ones if I am there anyway.

For the standard / stock OEM setup on my car (no Brembo or Silver Arrow discs and don't want to change callipers etc) can anyone point me to any websites for replacement discs. I'm planning on fitting EBC redstuff ceramic or EBC greenstuff pads - does this limit me to any specific type of disc?

I quite like the idea of putting non-solid rotors on (for looks as well as better performance) - any views as to whether I should go for dimpled, cross-drilled, slotted or combinations of these.

Am I right in assuming all 'performance discs' are ventilated (sandwiches steel rather than solid) nowadays and if so am I better off going for ventilated discs rather than OEM-style solid discs? I assume the ventilated discs are thicker (28mm think?) compared with the 9m OEM discs? If so does one need to change the callipers if fitting ventilated discs?

You may have gathered I'm not that clued up on modern brakes (they were all drums when I last took a set of brakes apart!) so all help apprecaited. There is some info on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_brakes) but alas not specific enough.

Thanks again in advance

Alan

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