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Old 09-28-2018, 02:02 PM
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Squiggle Dog Squiggle Dog is offline
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Surprise, AZ, USA
Posts: 3,777
The 350SDL got the grille adorned with some badges, one of which was a gift from ScooterABC. The windows were tinted with limo tint to help cool down and protect the interior. He also had about $1,000 worth of sound system installed in it so it really thumps.

Due to the age of the brakes, a caliper that was sticking, and loose wheel bearings, I did a brake job. Because of the convenience and low cost, my roommate bought a set of remanufactured calipers by BrakeBest at O'Reilly Auto Parts. His car had Bendix on the front and ATE on the rear, but I like ATE better, so we ordered in ATE calipers front and rear. The calipers that came in actually looked really good.

Unfortunately, we found that the new ceramic pad set he got wouldn't fit between the front calipers and rotors. It turns out they only sell the ceramic pads in 17.5mm thickness and the ATE calipers only fit 15mm pads. Darn. I thought about trying to grind a couple mm off of each pad, but that's a pain to do each time the pads are replaced and then there will be issues if they are not perfectly flat. So, we returned the ATE calipers and ordered in Bendix calipers.

The front right Bendix caliper, pads, and rotor fit together perfectly. Awesome. But, the pistons and heat shields in the front left Bendix caliper looked different than the right side ones--like they were cheaper quality. Odd. I did a test fit and the pads wouldn't fit between it and the rotor. I pressed the pistons in as far as they could go and was able to force fit the pads in, but the rotor would not turn.

It looked like on that front left Bendix caliper, that they rebuilt it with pistons that were too tall so 17.5mm Bendix pads can't be used--you have to use the 15mm ATE ones. The caliper on the left is the one with the pistons that were too tall, while the caliper on the right was correct.

It gets better! The pins provided in the hardware kit were way too long. The pin at bottom was from the left side caliper, and the top one was from the right side caliper.

When fully seated, the clip wasn't even in the bore, so the pins would just fall out. But, the right side caliper that was good had the correct length pins.

I wasn't going to have that, so I ordered in another front left Bendix caliper. The parts store ordered in two of them by accident. BOTH of them were rebuilt with pistons that were too tall AND had pins that were too long. But the good thing I can say about them is that the bleeder screws weren't as puny as the on the previous set.

I was inspecting the Bendix rear calipers, and the hardware set that came with them was really cheap. The spring wires that hold in the pads were bent out of shape and kept catching on the pad shims. One side came with silver pins and gold springs, while the other side came with gold pins and silver springs. One side had a large bleeder screw and the other side had a small one--both different thread pitches. I decided that I didn't like the Bendix rear calipers and returned them for ATE rear calipers since the pad thickness doesn't matter on the rear.

The ATE rear calipers that came in were not the ones I had returned a few days earlier. One of them was missing the hardware kit. So, I ordered in two more rear calipers. One of them was also missing the hardware kit, and the other was a new casting that looked to be of atrocious quality. But, I was able to come up with a decent set of two out of those four--although the rebuilder ground off the "step" that aids in anti-squeal from the end of all the pistons and one of the boots had a hole in it from when the snap ring was installed, though the opposite side caliper boots had no snap rings.

I ordered in another front left and right Bendix caliper in the hopes that the left one would be a good one, and that if not, hopefully the right side would be good so I could pop out the pistons and use them in the left side one. In the meantime, I went to AutoZone and ordered in a set of Bendix front, and ATE rear calipers remanufactured by Duralast to see what they were like. Both the rear calipers were missing the hardware kits and I brought this up. The employee said that if I go onto their website, it will say if they come with hardware or not. I said, "I did, and it said YES, but these are missing it." Not that it mattered as I was content with the ATE rear calipers we had.

But, I inspected the Bendix front calipers and both of them had pistons that were too tall so the pads wouldn't fit, the same cheap-looking heat shields, and both hardware kits had pins that were too long! Unreal! So I had AutoZone refund my credit card. But they only refunded me for three calipers and one core. So, I had to go back and get that corrected. The employee said that I should try Summit Racing.

Then O'Reilly Auto Parts only got in a right front caliper. Same issues of wrong pistons and pins that were too long. They didn't get in another front left caliper and don't know what happened as it was ordered, but they ordered another.

It would take a week for NAPA to get calipers and I would have to pay non-refundable freight if they weren't right. Carquest could only get the front left caliper (which is fine), but they wanted twice as much as everywhere else plus a $40 core charge plus non-refundable freight, and it would be a week out. It would also be Cardone, which is probably the same rebuilder as O'Reilly and Auto Zone.

I stopped at O'Reilly and swapped out the puny front bleeder screws on the front calipers I have with the bigger ones that came on the two left fronts (with wrong pistons and hardware) that they ordered in a few days earlier. So at least I got two decent bleeder screws. I had them order in a pair of ATE fronts. We originally ordered ATEs for the car but they wouldn't work with the 17.5mm brake pads. But, they had the same pistons and heat shields that the one correct Bendix caliper had. So, they were probably rebuilt with Bendix pistons.

I love seeing the auto parts store employees cringe or make snarky comments when they realize the parts are for a Mercedes--because they are voodoo, you know.

I went to O'Reilly Auto Parts to pick up the ATE front calipers. They had Bendix pistons and heat shields in them. The pins in one of the hardware sets were much too long and one of the spring plates looked goofy, even though they both had the same part number printed on the bags. I brought them home, put the air compressor nozzle up to the inlet, and popped out the pistons and heat shields in the front left. I did the same with the front left Bendix caliper and swapped them out. They are interchangeable but different lengths--the Bendix pistons are shorter.

I also was able to come up with two good hardware sets out of the four bags. Now both the Bendix front calipers fit onto the rotors with the pads installed, with almost no drag. Problem solved (for me and my roommate, anyway). Proof that rebuilding of calipers should be left to people familiar with these brake systems because of the high likelihood of getting parts mixed up, that can cause big problems even if the difference is very small. It sure is a good thing that I test fit all the parts before I started painting the calipers and had the car taken apart with plans to get it back together before the weekend was over. Looking back on this, if it was my car, I would have rebuilt the calipers myself.

The Bendix front calipers we used are on bottom. The ATE calipers up top are those from which I swapped out a piston and hardware set.
Stop paying for animal enslavement, cruelty, and slaughter. Save your health and the planet. Go vegan! I did 18 years ago.


1967 W110 Universal Wagon, Euro, Turbo Diesel, Tail Fins, 4 Speed Manual Column Shift, A/C
1980 W116 300SD Turbo Diesel, DB479 Walnut Brown, Sunroof, Highly Optioned, 350,000+ Miles

Last edited by Squiggle Dog; 09-28-2018 at 04:25 PM.
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