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Rear Brake Pad and Disc Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Brake Pad and Disc Replacement

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$75

Talent:

****

Tools:

5mm Hex bit, 19mm wrench, brake piston retraction tool

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W210 (1996-03)

Parts Required:

New brake discs and pads

Hot Tip:

Clean all the brake caliper mounting surfaces before re-installing

Performance Gain:

Better stopping power

Complementary Modification:

Replace tires

Replacing your brake pads is one of the easiest jobs to perform on your Mercedes-Benz. In general, you should inspect your brake pads about every time the rear tires are removed and every 25,000 miles, and replace them if the material lining of the pad is worn down enough to trigger the pad replacement sensor.  In reality, most people don't inspect their pads very often, and usually wait until they see the little brake-warning lamp appear on the dashboard. For longest rotor life, it's a wise idea to replace the pads, and inspect your discs as soon as you see that warning lamp go on.

If you ignore the warning lamp, the pad will wear to the point of metal on metal contact, where the metal backing of the pads are contacting the brake discs. Using the brakes during this condition will give you inadequate braking, Once metal on metal contact is made the discs are ruined; there is not enough excess metal to resurface the rotor without going below allowed factory specifications. The smart thing to do is to avoid this problem and replace your pads right away.

Begin by jacking up the rear of the car and securing it on jack stands. Now remove the rear wheels. You'll see the calipers directly underneath. The rear brakes on the Mercedes W210 use what is called an opposing piston caliper. This design of caliper uses retaining pins to hold the brake pads in place. Unplug the brake wear sensor connection by pulling it straight out of the connector bolts to the inside of the caliper. Now use a drift as shown here to hammer the two brake retaining pins out of the caliper. It's a good idea to use safety glasses here as the pad retaining spring underneath is under tension and can come flying out once you remove both pins.

Once the retaining pins and spring are removed, you can remove the pads from the caliper. It may take a little effort to remove them based on how badly they are worn. You may even want to try wiggling the old pad back and forth. This will help to push the piston back into the caliper bore and give you a little extra room to work with. Once the brake pads have been removed from the caliper, use a wooden handle or some other means to push the brake pistons fully back into the bore of the caliper. This will allow you to slide the new pads back into the caliper.

Loosen and remove the 5mm hex bolt that secures the brake wear sensor fixture to the caliper. You'll need to remove this in order to unbolt the caliper from the hub. From behind the brake disc, you'll see the two 19mm bolts that hold the caliper to the wheel hub (green arrows). Loosen and remove these two bolts. Once the caliper is free, you'll want to secure it up and out of the way. Do not let it just hang by the brake line. This can damage the line.

You'll need to take the tension off the inner brake shoe in order to remove the rear brake disc. To access the adjusting screw, you'll need to rotate the disc until one of the holes for the lug bolts is at 10 o'clock. If you shine a light inside, you should be able to see it. Also remove the 5mm brake disc retaining screw holding the disc to the hub. Turn the adjuster wheel counter clockwise in order to lessen the tension on the two brake shoes. Once the tension has been relieved, you can pull the brake disc off.

Place the new brake disc over the hub and secure it using a new brake disc retaining screw. It also helps to place a dab of anti-seize compound on the threads of the screw. Re-fit the caliper to the wheel hub and torque the 19mm bolts to 85ft-lbs. Rotate the disc so you can access the adjuster screw inside with a small screwdriver and rotate the screw clockwise to increase the tension on the shoes. From time to time, pull the screwdriver out and check if you can still turn the disc. You'll want to keep increasing tension until you can't turn it anymore. Now back the adjuster off until you can just turn the disc.

Now slide the new brake pads into the slot between the caliper and the new brake disc. Press the new brake wear sensor into the slot on the brake pad. Take care to line up the sensor correctly as it can be kind of difficult to center it and get it to seat correctly. You can re-use the old sensor so long as the contact inside has not been broken. Re-fit the brake pan retaining pins and hook the spring underneath. Once you line up all the holes, drive the pins into the caliper. Now re-fit the 5mm hex bolt holding the brake wear sensor fixture to the back of the caliper and connect the new sensor to the fixture. Now put the wheel back on and torque the lug bolts to 85ft-lbs.

PLEASE NOTE: 1999 model E320 W210 chassis cars use SINGLE PIN pads and a single and LONGER pad retaining pin than the two pin pads use. The retainer spring is also a different design for the single pin. - There is only ONE pad wear senor on the Right rear outer pad, verses two on the front...one on each side.

Replacing your brake pads is one of the easiest jobs to perform on your car.
Figure 1

Replacing your brake pads is one of the easiest jobs to perform on your car. In general, you should inspect your brake pads about every 10,000 miles, and replace them if the material lining of the pad is worn down enough to trigger the pad replacement sensor. In reality, most people don't inspect their pads very often, and usually wait until they see the little brake-warning lamp appear on the dashboard. It's a wise idea to replace the pads, and inspect your discs as soon as you see that warning lamp go on.

The brake pads are held in the caliper by two metal pins (green arrows).
Figure 2

The brake pads are held in the caliper by two metal pins (green arrows).

Unplug the brake wear sensor connection by pulling it straight out of the harness as shown here.
Figure 3

Unplug the brake wear sensor connection by pulling it straight out of the harness as shown here.

Use a drift as shown here to hammer the two brake retaining pins out of the caliper.
Figure 4

Use a drift as shown here to hammer the two brake retaining pins out of the caliper. It's a good idea to use safety glasses here as the pad retaining spring underneath is under tension and can come flying out once you remove both pins.

Shown here is the pad retaining spring (green arrow).
Figure 5

Shown here is the pad retaining spring (green arrow). Make sure that you don't lose this.

Now pull the brake pads out of the caliper as shown here.
Figure 6

Now pull the brake pads out of the caliper as shown here.

Once the brake pads have been removed from the caliper, you'll want to use a wooden handle or some other means to push the brake pistons (green arrow) back into the bore of the caliper.
Figure 7

Once the brake pads have been removed from the caliper, you'll want to use a wooden handle or some other means to push the brake pistons (green arrow) back into the bore of the caliper. This will allow you to slide the new pads back into the caliper.

Loosen and remove the 5mm hex bolt that secures the brake wear sensor fixture to the caliper (green arrow).
Figure 8

Loosen and remove the 5mm hex bolt that secures the brake wear sensor fixture to the caliper (green arrow). You'll need to remove this in order to unbolt the caliper from the hub.

You'll need to take the tension off the inner brake shoe in order to remove the rear brake disc.
Figure 10

You'll need to take the tension off the inner brake shoe in order to remove the rear brake disc. To access the adjusting screw, you'll need to rotate the disc until one of the holes for the lug bolts is at roughly 10 o'clock (green arrow). If you shine a light inside, you should be able to see it. Also remove the 5mm brake disc retaining screw holding the disc to the hub.

ThisPicture shows the adjuster screw with the brake disc removed.
Figure 11

This picture shows the adjuster screw with the brake disc removed. You'll need to turn the adjuster screw with a screwdriver in the direction of the green arrow in order to lessen the tension on the two brake shoes. Once the tension has been relieved, you can pull the brake disc off. This sometimes confuses people as they can't figure out why the rotor won't come off after removing the retaining screw. Sometimes, you may need to spray a bit of penetrant oil inside the hole help free up the adjuster. Most people never think of adjusting the parking brake. Over time, heat, grime and brake dust can cause the adjuster to stick.

Place the new brake disc over the hub and secure it using a new brake disc retaining screw (green arrow).
Figure 12

Place the new brake disc over the hub and secure it using a new brake disc retaining screw (green arrow). It also helps to place a dab of anti-seize compound on the threads of the screw. Re-fit the caliper to the wheel hub and torque the 19mm bolts to 85ft-lbs. Rotate the disc so you can access the adjuster screw inside with a small screwdriver and rotate the screw up to increase the tension on the shoes. From time to time, pull the screwdriver out and check if you can still turn the disc. You'll want to keep increasing tension until you can't turn it anymore. Now back the adjuster off until you can just turn the disc.

Slide the new brake pads into the slot between the caliper and the new brake disc.
Figure 13

Slide the new brake pads into the slot between the caliper and the new brake disc.

Press the new brake wear sensor into the slot on the brake pad as shown here.
Figure 14

Press the new brake wear sensor into the slot on the brake pad as shown here. Take care to line up the sensor correctly as it can be kind of difficult to center it and get it to seat correctly. It's also somewhat easy to break the sensor as you push it in, If you have it lined up correctly, just push it all the way in.

Re-fit the brake pan retaining pins and hook the spring underneath.
Figure 15

Re-fit the brake pan retaining pins and hook the spring underneath. Once you line up all the holes, drive the pins into the caliper using a drift and hammer.

Now re-fit the 5mm hex bolt holding the brake wear sensor fixture to the back of the caliper and connect the new sensor to the fixture.
Figure 16

Now re-fit the 5mm hex bolt holding the brake wear sensor fixture to the back of the caliper and connect the new sensor to the fixture. Now re-fit the wheel and torque the lug bolts to 85ft-lbs..

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Comments and Suggestions:
Rahul_63_soni Comments: Hi I have a 1996 C280 and the bolts which hold the rear calipers seem to be siezed any tips?
December 5, 2016
LorenAZ Comments: I used this article to remove and replace the rear rotors, pads, sensor and 5 mm hub bolt on my '96 E320. Bought all the MB OEM parts from Pelican. I took my time and it went uneventful. Great photos and instructions from the article. The passenger side rotor was grinding when I stopped but the dash board warning light still had not come on. I found that the inside pad was worn to the metal, while the outer pad had the sensor. There was no sensor on the drivers side.
Things I'll add to the article. I found that the caliper hold down bolts were 17 mm instead of 19 mm.
The parking brake adjuster wheel on the drivers side is at the 2 o'clock position. Passenger side is at 10 O'clock.
If you plug the sensor wire into the wiring fixture just before you secure the fixture with the 5 mm bolt, it's easier to push in and get a secure attachment.
If you have the original owners tool kit, there is a 6 inch threaded rod that screws into one of the lug bolt holes in the hub that really helps to align the rim holes for the lug bolts. Especially helpful if you have heavy rims and tires.
I saved about $200 in labor by doing the work myself. It was just as easy as you said it was.
Thanks again for all of these articles and for your parts catalog. This will be my go-to website for repairing my E320!
February 8, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
LorenAZ Comments: I read this great article, ordered the parts from you and received them very quickly. I ordered MB OEM discs that were painted solid gray. Do I need to remove the paint from the disc before I install them, or does it come off as the brakes are applied. Thanks for this very useful information.
January 30, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Leave the paint. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
BlueThing Comments: Great info, thanks. I've used this site several times, and saved a ton of time and money.
But FYI to others, on my W210 2002 E55, my star wheel to adjust parking brake figure 11 rotates UP to loosen, and is at 2 o'clock position, for the Driver side.
Fig 11 I assume is passenger side, at 10 o'clock, rotates down. Not sure if that's by design, or previous owner did something wrong.
But thanks again.
January 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
rower30 Comments: Be aware that later mine is a January 1999 model E320 W210 chassis cars use SINGLE PIN pads and a single and LONGER pad retaining pin than the two pin pads use. The retainer spring is also a different design for the single pin.
-
There is only ONE pad wear senor on the Right rear outer pad, verses two on the front...one on each side.
-
Be certain that the parts look-up gets you the right parts, it did not for me and I found out after I had the brakes apart.
December 5, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it. I will have the article updated.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Pin2 Comments: DIY 4 brakes and rotors parts 160.00. Labor 0.00
Dealer Price $610.00.

Your Guide = Priceless

You guys ROCKS.
October 29, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
William Comments: Where is the article on "Jacking up your car" that is mentioned in the write up? I have a 1999 E430 that would need to jack up the rear to place on jack stands to replace both rotors and pads.

September 13, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: All article are here:
http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/MBZ_Tech_Index-W210.htm
 
mechanical n00b Comments: This guide was super helpful, thank you guys for providing this online service! My W210 E300D went through the rotor/caliper/brake pad/brake hose replacement without a hitch. Small issue after the fact; there is this constant low-sound scrape noise coming from the rear passenger side. I followed all these steps very carefully and I can't figure out why I'm hearing this sound now when I drive. And it isn't just when I'm braking but any time the wheels are in motion. It's not a squealing sound but more of a soft, constant, scrape sound didn't have this sound before this job. Wondering if ya'll had any insight into what I should check out when I put her back up on the lift
April 3, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check if the backing late is bent, hitting the rotor. That ir maybe some rust was dislodged. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
CrashTank12 Comments: Great DIY how-to, pics were very helpful. Thanks!
Only one thing was off, at least in my case. I replaced the rear brake pads on my 2001 - W210 E320...& there was a slight difference in the part about "Now use a drift as shown here to hammer the two brake retaining pins out of the caliper." The brake pads were held in the caliper by only ~one~ metal pin. In addition, there was no brake wear sensor to pull out of the harness on either side.
Aside from that all else went smoothly. Oh, & it is a good idea to use safety glasses...as the pad retaining spring underneath WAS under a bit of tension and did come flying out once I removed the pin. Getting it back in did prove to be a bit challenging, until I figured out using a large standard screwdriver to push the retaining spring far enough down, to allow the retaining pin to be driven back into place.








May 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
oldtrucker Comments: I see the wear sensor was mounted on the outside pad. Re-assembly was done on the inside pad. I guess it does not matter where to put the sensor?
Also, some cars don't have sensors at all on the rear brake.
April 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I suggest putting the sensor back where it originally was. SOme vehicle do not have rear sensors. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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