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Adjusting Your Mercedes Benz Parking Brake
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Adjusting Your Mercedes Benz Parking Brake

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$0

Talent:

*

Tools:

Long flat head screwdriver, 10mm wrench

Applicable Models:

 
Mercedes-Benz W124 (1986-95)
Mercedes-Benz W126 (1981-91)
Mercedes-Benz W201 (1984-93)

Hot Tip:

Make sure the parking brake is off

Performance Gain:

Car doesn't roll down hills

Complementary Modification:

Replace rear shoes and discs

If your parking brake is not functioning properly, and it is having a hard time holding the car in place, you may only need to adjust it rather than replace everything. Warning: In high corrosion areas the brake backing plate-heat shield must be inspected before attempting brake shoe replacement or adjustment. If it is in bad shape you will need to replace them. Note: The hub must be removed to replace the backing plate, destroying the wheel bearing.

There are two places in the parking brake system that can be adjusted. The easiest and one you should try first is to adjust the mechanism inside the rotor. There is an adjustment mechanism between the parking brake shoes that can be set to compensate for the wearing of the parking brake shoes. To adjust this mechanism, you must first raise and support your vehicle. Please see our Pelican Parts Technical Article on Jacking Up Your Benz for more information. With the car safely supported remove the rear wheels. There is an adjuster on both rear wheels.

While you do not need to remove the rear rotors or discs to do this, you will be doing it "blind," as you can not see the adjuster while working with it. The two parking brake shoes use the inside of the rotor as a brake drum. At the top of the two shoes is an adjuster that basically separates the shoes. It can be adjusted in or out by turning the spindled-wheel on the mechanism.

Turn the rotor so one of the stud holes is at 2 o'clock for the driver side and 10 o'clock for the passenger side. If you look in with a flash light you will see a sprocket. You will need to turn this sprocket clock wise to expand the brake shoes. The best way to do this is to make sure the parking brake is off and try and turn the rotor by hand. You will want to adjust the tensioner until you can feel it grabbing the rotor. Once the shoes are grabbing the rotor, back off the adjustment so the rotor just spins free. Now apply the parking brake and you should be good. Make sure you do both wheels, so that you have maximum braking power and so the shoes wear evenly.

If this does not work, it means that shoes have worn past where they can be adjusted on the hubs. Before you replace them you can adjust the cables from underneath the car. While the car is still safely supported in the air, get underneath the car by the rear of the drive shaft past the heat shield. You will see an adjustment mechanism that has a solid rod coming from the parking brake handle to the cable adjustment on the rear. You can move this mechanism by adjusting the 10mm bolt. The further towards the front of the car you move it the more slack the system will take up.

If you can not get the parking brakes to work with these adjustments then it is probably time to replace the shoes. Please see our Pelican Parts Technical Article on Replacing Your Parking Brake Shoes for more information. Remember when installing new shoes to reset both these adjustments with the most slack as possible to make room for the thickness of the new brake shoes.

You will need to rotate the disc or rotor until one of the stud holes is at 2 o'clock for the driver side and 10 o'clock for the passenger side.
Figure 1

You will need to rotate the disc or rotor until one of the stud holes is at 2 o'clock for the driver side and 10 o'clock for the passenger side. You will need to shine a flashlight in the stud hole (green arrow) until you see the spindles on the adjusting mechanism.

Here is what the adjusting mechanism looks like with the rotor off.
Figure 2

Here is what the adjusting mechanism looks like with the rotor off. You can see how the screwdriver enters through the stud hole and engages the spindles of the mechanism to turn it. You do not need to remove the rotor to perform this job though.

With the rotor on and the driver's side rotor hole at 2 o'clock slide your screwdriver in and adjust the spindle.
Figure 3

With the rotor on and the driver's side rotor hole at 2 o'clock slide your screwdriver in and adjust the spindle. This photo illustrates what is happening behind the rotor. If you had x-ray vision this is what you would see behind the rotor.

If you have used all the adjustment in the rotor then you can try the cable adjustment under the car.
Figure 4

If you have used all the adjustment in the rotor then you can try the cable adjustment under the car. Towards the rear of the drive shaft you will see this mechanism. Use a 10mm wrench to slide the mechanism (red arrow) towards the front of the car to take out the slack caused by the wearing of the brake shoes.

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Comments and Suggestions:
albdentist Comments: for W126 and others: left side drivers side rotate sprocket spindle downwards to expand brake shoes.
right side,passenger side rotate sprocket spindle upwards to expand brake shoes.

place assembly grease on wheel stud
April 11, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
syed Comments: my hand break handle does not sits and warning light is on
w123 rthand drive
November 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The cables or brakes may be worn. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
paul Comments: would have never done it with out your help thanks a heap
July 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
lestro Comments: Very good instructions. I did it on the W203. By the way, in the other wheel the spindle rotates to the other way around to adjust.
June 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
smallzmb Comments: Worked fantastic on my 84 300D!!! pictures and explanation were simple, took me 45 minutes,
May 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
ron Comments: Please clarify "turn sprocket clock wise". On driver's side, is that from "bottom upward" and on passenger side from "top downward"?
March 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I recall levering up expands and lever down retracts. I am checking in with our team to confirm this and will have the article text updated to reflect the response. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Arthur Comments: Thank you for helping me adjust the Hand Brake on my 1988 Mercedes Benz.
November 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jp Comments: Thanks for getting back to me please let me know when have more info on my vehicle which is a 2006 ml 350
August 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-77 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
jp Comments: can show description for a ml350 2006
August 9, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This article applies to:
190E 2.6 (1988-1994)
190E 2.3 (1984-1994)
300E 3.0 (1987-1993)
300E 2.6 (1991-1993)
W124 (1986-1996)
W126 (1980-1992)

We don't currently have a tech article for your model. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
peter Comments: good description. right to the point, nice photos too,
June 16, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
don d Comments: thanks for the info kind folks, very brief and to the point, easy to understand for an old man!
December 20, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Afmtop10 Comments: On my 1988 300SE, the adjuster bolt in figure #4 was 13mm. Thanks for the info...
September 20, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for letting us know. Sometimes on older cars previous mechanics may have changed a fastener - Kerry at Pelican Parts  

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