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Pelican Technical Article:

Brake Pad Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$100

Talent:

**

Tools:

7mm Allen head socket, prying tool or straight blade screwdriver

Applicable Models:

Mercedes-Benz W211 (2003-09)

Parts Required:

Brake pads, brake pad wear sensors

Hot Tip:

Lubricate the bracket the pad slide into to prevent the pads from sticking

Performance Gain:

Improve brake, prevent rotor damage eliminate brake squeal

Complementary Modification:

Replace the brake pad wear sensors at the same time

Depending on how much you drive you should check your brake pad thickness at least once a year or every 10,000 miles. Usually a quick look between the spokes of your wheels is enough but some Mercedes Benz stock wheels will require the wheel comes off to get a good view. Look at how much brake pad material is between the brake pad backing and the brake rotor. A new brake pad can have close to a half an inch of material. When you get down to less than a quarter of an inch then you should start to think about replacing your brake pads. Mercedes Benz uses brake pad wear sensors in the brake pads of their vehicles. These sensors start to wear when the brake pad thickness drops. This triggers a warning light in the instrument cluster indicating you have worn brake pads. If you continue to drive, the brake pad's backing will eventually rub against the brake rotor during braking and require both the brake pads and rotors to be replaced. To avoid this replace you brake pads with new brake pad wear sensors when the warning light comes on. In this tech article we will go over all the steps to replace your brake pads.

In order to replace your brake pads you will need to lift and support your vehicle. See our tech article on lifting and supporting your vehicle.

Front Brake Pads This picture illustrates the front right brake system with the wheel removed.
Figure 1

Front Brake Pads: This picture illustrates the front right brake system with the wheel removed. Use a flat head screwdriver to lever out one side of the anti-rattle spring. Be prepared to catch it, from time to time they will spring out of the caliper.

Front Brake Pads With the top of the spring removed pull out the bottom and remove from the caliper.
Figure 2

Front Brake Pads: With the top of the spring removed pull out the bottom and remove from the caliper.

Front Brake Pads Unplug the electrical connector for the brake pad wear sensor by squeezing the connector and pulling it straight out of the electrical connector bracket.
Figure 3

Front Brake Pads: Unplug the electrical connector for the brake pad wear sensor by squeezing the connector and pulling it straight out of the electrical connector bracket.

Front Brake Pads This picture illustrates the inside of the brake caliper.
Figure 4

Front Brake Pads: This picture illustrates the inside of the brake caliper.

Front Brake Pads Underneath the two covers you just removed are caliper mounting pins.
Figure 5

Front Brake Pads: Underneath the two covers you just removed are caliper mounting pins.

Front Brake Pads I like using a large flat head screw driver to lever the caliper over and force the caliper piston back into the caliper.
Figure 6

Front Brake Pads: I like using a large flat head screw driver to lever the caliper over and force the caliper piston back into the caliper.

Front Brake Pads Lift the caliper off of its mounting bracket.
Figure 7

Front Brake Pads: Lift the caliper off of its mounting bracket.

Front Brake Pads Remove the outer brake pad from the caliper mounting bracket by sliding it out of the grooves of the brake caliper bracket.
Figure 8

Front Brake Pads: Remove the outer brake pad from the caliper mounting bracket by sliding it out of the grooves of the brake caliper bracket.

Front Brake Pads On the caliper lift the spring loaded brake pad out of the caliper piston.
Figure 9

Front Brake Pads: On the caliper lift the spring loaded brake pad out of the caliper piston.

Front Brake Pads Be sure to do a good job cleaning the grooves (green arrows) that the brake pads slide in.
Figure 10

Front Brake Pads: Be sure to do a good job cleaning the grooves (green arrows) that the brake pads slide in. You can also apply caliper grease to the grooves to prevent the brake pads from sticking. Sticking brake pads cause uneven brake wear. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedure. Install the spring loaded pad in the hole of the caliper piston and install the outer brake pad in the caliper bracket. Position the caliper in the caliper bracket and tighten the caliper mounting pins. Fit the covers and plug in the new brake pad wear sensor. Install the brake caliper anti-rattle spring and fit the wheel. APPLY THE BRAKE PEDAL SEVERAL TIMES UNTIL THE NEW PADS COME OUT TO MEET THE ROTOR AND THE BRAKE PEDAL GETS HARDER TO PUSH ON. This is very important as you will not have brakes until the brake pressure is applied to the pistons in the caliper and take up the slack between the brake pads and rotors.

This picture illustrates the right rear brake assembly with the wheel removed.
Figure 11

Rear Brake Pads: This picture illustrates the right rear brake assembly with the wheel removed. Use a flat head screwdriver to lever off the anti-rattle spring and pull it off of the caliper. Be prepared to catch it, from time to time they will spring out of the caliper.

Rear Brake Pads Unplug the electrical connector for the brake pad wear sensor by squeezing the electrical connector and pulling it straight out of the brake pad wear sensor harness electrical connector.
Figure 12

Rear Brake Pads: Unplug the electrical connector for the brake pad wear sensor by squeezing the electrical connector and pulling it straight out of the brake pad wear sensor harness electrical connector.

Rear Brake Pads This picture illustrates the inside view of the right rear brake caliper.
Figure 13

Rear Brake Pads: This picture illustrates the inside view of the right rear brake caliper. Remove the two T40 Torx caliper mounting pins (green arrows) recessed in the rubber caliper slides. There may be covers that pop out of the rubber inserts but our car did not have them. If you do have them you can probably lever them out with your fingers or a small screwdriver.

Rear Brake Pads I like using a large flat head screwdriver to lever the caliper over and force the caliper piston back into the caliper.
Figure 14

Rear Brake Pads: I like using a large flat head screwdriver to lever the caliper over and force the caliper piston back into the caliper. Insert the screwdriver in the hole and lever the caliper away from the body of the car with the screwdriver.

Rear Brake Pads Remove the caliper from its brake caliper bracket.
Figure 15

Rear Brake Pads: Remove the caliper from its brake caliper bracket.

Rear Brake Pads Remove the outer brake pad from the caliper bracket by sliding it out of its grooves.
Figure 16

Rear Brake Pads: Remove the outer brake pad from the caliper bracket by sliding it out of its grooves.

Rear Brake Pads Lever out the spring loaded inner brake pad out of the brake caliper piston.
Figure 17

Rear Brake Pads: Lever out the spring loaded inner brake pad out of the brake caliper piston. You will have to force the new spring loaded brake pad into the hole of the brake caliper piston during installation. You can clean the grooves the brake pads ride in and apply caliper grease where the pads slide to prevent them from sticking. Installation is the reverse of the removal procedures. Install the outer brake pad in the caliper bracket. Fit the caliper in the caliper bracket and tighten the two caliper mounting pins. Plug in the electrical connector for the new brake pad wear sensors. Install the brake caliper anti-rattle spring and fit the wheel. APPLY THE BRAKE PEDAL SEVERAL TIMES UNTIL THE NEW PADS COME OUT TO MEET THE ROTOR AND THE BRAKE PEDAL GETS HARDER TO PUSH ON. This is very important as you will not have brakes until the brake pressure is applied to the pistons in the caliper and take up the slack between the brake pads and rotors.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Joe Comments: Nick, I took a blow up of the rear break caliper from your web site out to the car to compare the parts, there is no hook up for the censor on my car, there is one on the passenger side and the censors attached there but nothing on the driver side. Both front wheels have sensors attached.
November 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Your model may be different. Can't argue with what's there. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Joe Comments: My 2005 E500 does not have a wear sensor on the drivers side rear wheel
Is this normal?
November 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: it should. is the connector there? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Andras Comments: Disconnect the SBC connector before you start a brake job. It is large, rectangular, multi-pin on the side of the SBC unit. No need for a scan tool, nor to disconnect the battery.
October 28, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Gerry Comments: would you know what the type and size head for the bolts, under the caps, that hold the caliper?
August 24, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have that info. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Chris Comments: I have a 2004 E320 and my brake calipers do not look anything like the pictures you have in this article. There is no anti-rattle spring and there are no plastic covers over the caliper mounting bolts. There are actually metal clips which attach to the top and bottom of the caliper that the brake pads fit into front and back which are replaced along with the pads. Just thought I would mention it for others who read this article because they may see something very different with their car. Also, you really do not need to deactivate the SBC, just disconnect the battery until you are finished and you should be fine.
February 2, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Models with SBC are different, thanks for the note. I will have article updated to reflect that it does not cover SBC models.

If you have SBC, you should deactivate it.

1. CLose all doors
2. Wait untill vehicle goes asleep (15 - 20 min) - instrument cluster goes completely black and is OFF.


You can now disconnect battery.

When working on brakes. Do not wake the car up until you are 100% complete. When done, pump brakes. Then start the engine and pump the brakes. If the red SBC light is ON, cycle key a few times, it should go out. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
428Street Comments: Nick, thanks. I know it doesn't apply to the 212 which is why I asked : I'll call in and buy a repair manual if you guys sell one for the 212. Thanks.
December 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We should be able to get you one. Give our guys a call. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
428Street Comments: Is this above procedure similar for the 212?
December 21, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This article applies to:
E320 (2004-09)
E320 WAGON (2004-09)
E320 4MATIC SEDAN (2004-09)
E320 4MATIC WAGON (2004-09)
E500 SEDAN (2004-09)
E500 4MATIC SEDAN (2004-09)
E500 4MATIC WAGON (2004-09)

Your vehicle is different. We don't currently have that tech article. If we get a chance to perform the procedure, we will be sure to document it.

I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Rob in Virginia Comments: Since the W211’s from 2003 to 2007 have the “brake by wire” SBC, how do you deactivate the SBC so that the brakes don’t activate while you’re working on them? Also, I understand there is a way to make the system retract the pistons automatically so that the newer, thicker pads can be inserted.
June 11, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: A Mercedes-Benz scan tool is needed to place SBC into service mode. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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