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Upgrades For ML W163 Brakes?

5810 Views 13 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  miggit
Hi all, I'm looking to improve the stopping power of the ML..... as it's poor to say the least when driven enthusiastically :frown

I have suffered brake fade on more than one occasion, which has lead me to use engine braking more than the foot brake when towing..... and it don't like it And although no brown trousers moments have occurred to date, I'd rather not push my luck too much :wink

So I was wondering if the ML 500 brakes are a straight swap, or are we talking different hubs and the like..... In which case are there any other Merc's that have bigger brakes that are transplantable? Or am I looking at drilled / slotted discs and better pads?

The car is sporting a set of 17" wheels, which I believe are the norm on the AMG ML so clearance shouldn't be a problem
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You may be better off trying another pad. I have always been a big believer in OEM for brakes. Then I switched to Akebono pads and Brembo rotors. Best thing I did for me or the truck. Upgraded my CLS as well. Then everything remains stock spec but you reap the benefits of increased braking power and control. Good luck.
Have you tried completely renewing your fluid and braided lines. Replacing your flexible lines might improve the feel.
Well it's not so much the feel of the brakes that is the problem, it's more the strong smell of burnt brake linings and the fact that no matter how hard you jump on the brake peddle, it only pulls up gradually as if you were slowing down, not trying to stop :eek

Please don't get me wrong, the brakes do work, very well for a time, but if you continue to push them they give up and over heat..... I had the same problem with a Toyota Landcruiser..... big car, little brakes, not a good combination. The discs / rotors are way bigger on the Range Rover, and that doesn't suffer from fade at all. And while I find the lack of brakes annoying after a spirited drive, I have come to expect it, and adjust the driving style accordingly...... BUT, it is used for towing heavy trailers (3.5 tons / 7500 lbs+) and the worry is brake fade when going down a steep long hill. Happened once in the Landcruiser and was not a nice experience.

I need to improve the thermal efficiency of the brake system, and the best way is bigger discs / rotors to dissipate the extra heat, rather than increase the braking pressures........ I don't need to stop any quicker, but I do need to stop for longer :wink
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The sliding pins (31c) on floating calipers might be corroded. That will cause the burning smell because the caliper is not being retracted.


I've looked at that one already! I think I'll just have to pay a visit to a Mercedes salvage yard and see if I can sort out something bigger... I have noticed that the Brembo callipers are are fitted to the 270CDI so there must have been an option for better brakes..... But I need bigger brakes and it looks like the ML500 has a different hub/knuckle assembly to the smaller ML's.... Might just try a set of drilled / slotted discs to start with, the self cleaning action of the discs should ensure that I'm at least stopping with clean friction material, rather than, err, burnt :eek

I had to change the clutch the other week, and while there was 2-3 mm left on each side, and it was nowhere near the rivets, the clutch plate was black and totally burnt.....The net result was the clutch acted normally at low revs, but if you pushed it the revs would stay high, constantly slipping, almost as if the clutch was covered in oil..... I suppose that the brakes are doing the same thing, when they get too hot, the carbon / burnt bit acts as a lubricant..... Not the best thing if your trying to stop :wink
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Just reading through the thread and there seams to be a bit of confusion.... My brakes are working as Mercedes intended.

But where I live there are rather a lot of round-a-bouts, if your unfamiliar with these Google Earth / Map Milton Keynes UK, and have a look at the major roads... Nearly all the major roads in Milton Keynes Have a 70 MPH speed limit and are broken up with round-a-bouts.... in a 5 mile stretch you can go from 0 -70 - 0 multiple times, in fact the road that shows up the brakes weaknesses has 9 stops in a 6 mile journey.

By the time I'm pulling up at home, I'm having to push the brake peddle with all my might and keeping my fingers crossed that I'll stop. As I said this is not the first 4x4 that I have had this problem with, but I do also have a 4x4 that doesn't suffer at all. So it's not a 4x4 thing

I've just been looking at the size of the discs and there appears to be 2 sizes listed 303 mm and 345 mm for the front, is that the difference between sliding and 4 pot callipers? 345 mm front discs are exactly what I'm after, the Range Rover sports 344 mm fronts, so that's the sort of size that I need!
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I'm fairly certain, but not positive, that the big brakes will fit on the same hub.

The stock brakes are sufficient, however, when working probably. As 43 said, the sliding pins need greasing - in my case it was the rears that needed it. How much weight are you towing?
A 7500 pound trailer needs its own brakes.

I pull a 5000 pound single axle trailer and the brakes have never let me down. OEM brakes.
Trailers are up to 7716.179 lbs in weight, they do have over run brakes, and I have not had an issue with the brakes when towing, yet, and I want to keep it that way:wink

The brake fade happens when the car is driven hard (like Lewis Hamilton is behind me and he isn't getting past :devil), not towing, but, I have had the same thing with a Landcruiser Amazon, which once when I was towing with it nearly turned in to a fender bender at the bottom of a steep hill. Since that happened I'm very keen not to repeat it! And have been very wary of any car that show signs of brake fade.

I've found out that the discs will fit the hub, but the knuckle is a different part number for the 4 pot Brembo knuckles, so I'm guessing that the calliper lugs are in a different place :frown
I think you need a Lamborghini for your spirited drives not a
ML 270. Lol

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I've always heard that the W163's (not the ML55) brakes were kinda' anemic, but I've never had a problem with them. Biggest trailer I have ever pulled was a U-Haul to move my son in/out of college, and you just have to make allowances when going down hills, changing lanes and approaching stopped vehicles.

New rotors and pads with fresh brake fluid would probably be a good start. But IF you need to haul a heavy trailer on a regular basis you need a trailer with dedicated brakes or a BIGGER truck. Those white knuckle moments will take its toll on your health and possible someone else's !
I should get a sports car for the "spirited drive", but the ML is quick in the corners, and it's hard to give up the smile that the look of shock on the other drivers face brings :devil

And a trailer with dedicated brakes is a nice idea, but here in the UK they are not allowed because of some Euro Bull s***, and you wonder why we wanted out :wink It's over run brakes or no brakes and a maximum weight of 750 Kgs, which is sod all when you convert it to imperial..... a small wheelbarrow full of feathers is about the same :eek

And an F250 would be a lot better, but I can get 5 ML's for the price of 1 Ford...... it really does not compute :confused:
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