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Pelican Technical Article:

Adjusting Rear Parking Brake

Mike Holloway

Time:

10 minutes10 mins

Tab:

$0

Talent:

*

Tools:

Large slot screwdriver, floor jack, two jack stands, two wheel chocks, lug wrench, safety glasses, penetrating oil, brake cleaner

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz R107 (1972-89)

Hot Tip:

Wash down wheels

Performance Gain:

Your parking brake will again work as it was designed to function

Complementary Modification:

Brake shoe replacement

The Mercedes Benz 450SL is considered by many to be one of the most attractive cars Mercedes produced. It is a stylized combination of power, grace, and comfort and was sold under the model designation R107. At over 3,600 pounds and designed to meet (and actually exceed) strict safety regulations, the 450SL was nicknamed "der Panzerwagen", which means "the armored car", by the engineers who designed it. The 450SL was produced from 1973 through 1980, after which the R107 became known as the 280, 380 and 500 SL.

The SL variant was a two-seat convertible/roadster with a standard soft top and optional hard top and optional folding seats for the rear bench. The designation SL derives from the German Sport Leicht, or Sport Lightweight and was first applied to the infamous gullwing 300SL. The 450SL was the third generation SL. The SLC (C107) derivative was a 2 door hardtop coupe with normal rear seats. The SLC is commonly referred to as a 'SL coupe', and this was the first time that Mercedes-Benz had based a coupe on an SL roadster platform rather than on a sedan, replacing the 280 and 300 SE coupe.

The robust, V-8 powered coupe is a joy to drive and many drivers test the power of the 450SL. While the speed off the line is questionable, the top end performs smooth and responsive giving the driver a sense of security. The 450SL cruises comfortably at speeds in excess of 75 mph. Of course, at some point the car has to stop and at that point much stress is applied to the braking system. It is important to keep the brakes in excellent working order.

All 450SL models use fixed calipers on the rear brakes. Some rear brake calipers are installed on vehicles where the axle shaft is supported on grooved ball bearings. Calipers with a compensating feature may be installed on axles with grooved ball bearings or self-aligning bearings. After removing the caliper, spray penetrating oil to free the rotor from the hub. Washing the rotor with an evaporating cleaner or at least water on the parts before disassembly will reduce dust. This will make the job much easier and safer. Once the rotor is removed the parking brakes will be visible. Make sure the car is supported by jack stands and the wheels are chocked. Consult our article on safely jacking and supporting your 450SL for more information.

There are a few instances when the rear brake pads require inspection or adjustment. The brakes may feel spongy or soft or they could feel grabby. There are several reasons why this could be the case. The simplest explanation is that he rear brakes have not been properly adjusted. Fixing this is a rather simple procedure, which will require removal of the wheel.

After the wheel has been removed, insert a flathead screwdriver into the hole on the rim of the disc brake in order to get to the adjustment turn wheel.
Figure 1

After the wheel has been removed, insert a flathead screwdriver into the hole on the rim of the disc brake in order to get to the adjustment turn wheel. The picture shows what the adjustment wheel would look like with the disc off. You will need to keep the disc on.

The reason why you have to keep the disc on is that after a small turn of the adjustment turn wheel, try to rotate the disc brake.
Figure 2

The reason why you have to keep the disc on is that after a small turn of the adjustment turn wheel, try to rotate the disc brake. You will have to repeat this several times until the wheel no longer turns. When this occurs, turn the adjustment turn wheel back about 2 to 3 teeth or until the wheel begins to move freely. 

When all the adjustments are made to each rear wheel, press the parking brake pedal to the first click.
Figure 3

When all the adjustments are made to each rear wheel, press the parking brake pedal to the first click. The brakes should grab slightly.

While you have the rear wheels off, it is a good idea to inspect the condition of the rear brake pads and the parking brake shoes.
Figure 4

While you have the rear wheels off, it is a good idea to inspect the condition of the rear brake pads and the parking brake shoes. If the parking brake is functioning properly, and the parking brake shoes are in good order. Your job is done.

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