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  #1  
Old 05-10-2011, 02:15 PM
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1985 300d brake caliper replacement

I have a 1985 diesel (300d) with 220k on it. I recently took it to a new mechanic that works on classic cars here in Brooklyn, New York where I live. He quoted me $950 to replace both front calipers-does that sound like a reasonable quote for parts and labor on this job? I saw the calipers online for about 150/each-does that sound right?

Thanks!
Sadie

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Old 05-10-2011, 03:19 PM
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You should be able to get rebuilt front calipers for $75 each. You can also get new Mintex or Pagid pads from $30-$42. I don't even want to tell you what I think about his labor charge.
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Old 05-10-2011, 03:51 PM
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Sounds high.
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Old 05-10-2011, 05:52 PM
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I'd get a parts and labor quote. I won't pay someone $75 to $85 an hour labor. That's just me.
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  #5  
Old 05-10-2011, 07:08 PM
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brakes

Sadie, that job is easy enough if you sit down and study it, you can do it yourself and save about $700- $800. I did mine. take your time ask a ton of questions here and save your money! It is worth the effort spent to learn how your car works. And is even better saving a TON of money!
Also you can click on the parts tabs above and look up parts for your car.

You will need MAYBE calipers (sounds like 2) and 2 sets of brake pads and also the 2 sets of brake sensors. If it were me, I would replace all the brake hoses too (4) about $10 each. By looking up the parts here you can get an idea of how much labor he is charging you. You can also call the local parts store in your town and get prices for pads, hoses and calipers and sensors. Then you can decide if you want to go to this mechanic. I would think a shop should charge about 2-3 hours labor, not sure but that is a guess on labor.
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Old 05-10-2011, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sadie picard View Post
I have a 1985 diesel (300d) with 220k on it. I recently took it to a new mechanic that works on classic cars here in Brooklyn, New York where I live. He quoted me $950 to replace both front calipers-does that sound like a reasonable quote for parts and labor on this job? I saw the calipers online for about 150/each-does that sound right?

Thanks!
Sadie
$950 sounds at the high end of a repair that uses new calipers. But if he's a "classic car" mechanic and has rates of $150/hr, that could be about a two hour repair plus $300 each for new calipers. Those are using numbers from the Buy Parts link. So it sounds really high, but may be in his normal range. You should be able to find cheaper places that will do a good job.

While your car is 25 years old, there's nothing magic about the brakes that requires special expertise. You get re-manufactured calipers for $100-150 (look at the buy parts link) depending on the core charge, the type of caliper (don't mix Bendix and ATE parts, get 2 of the same), maybe shipping.

Brakes are straightforward as a DIY if you have the space and the confidence. I'll guess in Brooklyn space might be an issue, and I'll stereotype that maybe you're not considering a DIY.

If in doubt, ask the mechanic for a written estimate and itemize here. You'll probably get some good advice and maybe some crazy advice. Like, yeah, at least two new hoses for the front; maybe 4 if the rear is bad or old; new fluid (a few pints, for a good bleed), probably new pads on the front, inspect the hard lines for rust since you're in NY...
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:13 AM
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way high and a good job to do to learn, pretty straight forward, that said any capable mechanic should be able to do without issue so you can avoid the 'specialist"
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:48 AM
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It shouldn't cost any more than $300 - take the car to midas. The calipers are available - it may take a day or two tops to get them in but all the parts for this car are available from the local parts store which is where most shops get the parts.

It sounds like the guy is trying to get the parts from the dealer or direct mail order from Germany or something.

Figure on average the labor cost will equal the parts cost. $150 in parts + $150 in labor.
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Old 05-11-2011, 11:12 AM
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Parts prices are somewhat controllable, labor on the other hand is different everywhere. Here in northern California hourly rates are approx $110.00.
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2011, 11:50 AM
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Hi, thanks to everyone for the helpful advice. If I had the space I would try a DIY, but I don't here in NY. I'm actually planning to drive the car to SC to see family, where I would have space, but I'm not sure it would be safe to drive that far (about 600 miles) before replacing the calipers--any final thoughts on that?
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Old 05-11-2011, 12:02 PM
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What is it doing that is not working correctly?
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Old 05-11-2011, 12:24 PM
1985 300D Turbo
 
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Inside the caliper is a piston, a round cylinder that pushes on the brake pad when the brake is applied. Usually the pads do not move very much at all when the brake is pushed. IF the pistons are frozen, (rusted) then they CAN be rebuilt if someone wants to take the time to do it.

Most here replace the calipers if they are locked up (rusted). You can test to see if they are locked up by jacking up ONE side of the car and trying to spin the wheel. If the wheel does not spin freely, then more than likely the caliper COULD be rusted, or you COULD also have bad hoses. My opinion is....get rebuilt calipers and new pads and hoses and sensors, have them flush out ALL the old brake fluid, and be done with it! Also have them check the rotors, if they are too thin, they should be replaced. Check the local mechanic shops and get the mechanic to show you what is wrong and explain it to you. Get your idea about how much each part is, then you can decide what to do. I would not chance it if I was going to take a long trip..but your mechanic can take the wheels off and get a better idea and SHOW you what is going on.
I took my $400 car to a shop to get an idea what was wrong w/ it, and they were going to try to charge me $3000 to FIX EVERYTHING. I did not ask to have everything fixed, just what was the problem? Ended up costing about $300 to fix what was broken PARTS AND LABOR. After that repair, I fixed my own brakes! Cost: brake pads, hoses, and new brake fluid
So I feel you..I was in the same boat...dont let them buffalo you. Take your dad or boyfriend with you to the next shop. I bet the bill will be significanly lower
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Old 05-11-2011, 03:52 PM
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Quote:
and I run off customers with your pi$$ poor attitude
LOL

Did anyone ever hear what the brakes are actually doing (or not doing) that makes him think you need new calipers?

I'm setting up a shop to service imports in the Soperton, Ga (one mile off of exit 71 and I-16) area and am going to be real selective (and limited) who I set up as a customer base.
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Old 05-11-2011, 05:10 PM
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You guys are setting a great example of MB owners - please take the bickering to PM land and help the original poster understand what is fair.

$800 may be in line if the shop was quoting replacing the calipers, rotors, brake lines and pads & sensors. If NY has high labor rates.

As with any shop when you take your car in they will tell you everything that should be replaced to bring the car up to like new. That doesn't mean you need to accept every recommendation.

Ask the shop to explain what parts they are planning to replace and ask them why they are so expensive.

Lots of shops get the parts from the local parts store & add 10% or 20% for transportation etc. That is OK.

If it were my car - or my wife/daughters car I would make sure it was done right - but I wouldn't want them replacing a bunch of parts that were still servicable.

Now - lets try to keep on topic in the future.
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  #15  
Old 05-11-2011, 07:41 PM
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For the OP (Sadie):

Two miles on unsafe calipers is two too many, if the brakes don't work. 600 miles on a system that may need some maintenance but is otherwise safe might be okay as long as you're aware of the issues. If the mechanic didn't say "these are unsafe and I recommend you leave the car here" then you may be okay going to SC.

Are there symptoms, or just a "your calipers are bad" recommendation from a new mechanic?

Do you have to pump the brakes to stop? Does the pedal sink? Do the brakes feel mushy? Do they squeal? Is there brake fluid on the ground or on the calipers? Are the pads wet with fluid? Did you rear-end someone and discover they didn't work? (kidding)

Diagnosing a need for new calipers without knowing the symptoms is tough. Normal reasons would be obvious leaks, excessive uneven pad wear that indicates a stuck caliper (compare inside/outside), stuff like that. Other symptoms like mushy pedal might mean old fluid with moisture or air in the lines; things like hard to brake or dragging and overheating brakes might be a master cylinder.

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