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Old 10-18-2001, 10:23 PM
Posts: n/a
Questions about brakes pad and replacement

Today I went to get my front pads replaced on my 1990 190E with about 86k miles on it, but left the shop with four new rotors and four new pads. The cost was $477 for everything. I'm always wary about being fleeced, so to ease my mind, I need to ask some questions. It's not the shop, just me.

1. Is the price about right for pads (and 2 sensors) and rotor replacement? These are all original or German parts.

2. The mechanic showed me the old rotors and pointed out the ridge on the outer part of the rotors, which were made by the pads wearing the inner (contact) area down. Is that a sure indication that my rotors needed to be replaced?

2. Is brake fluid corrosive? The reason I'm asking is because when the mechanic topped my brake fluid, he didn't do a clean job. Some brake fluid were splashed on the resevoir, the little black sensor(?) on top of it, and on some of the surrounding metal and rubber hoses around and under the resevoir. Is this something to be concerned about?

3. It looks like the brake fluid was topped slightly higher than the MAX indicator level. There is some (air) space right at the top (i.e., you can see where the fluid level is). Should I be concerned about having my fluid level above the MAX mark?

Overall, I'm pretty happy about seeing some shiny metallic rotors on all four wheels; they look much nicer than the rusty ones. In addition, I feel more confident driving my car. I'm just a little concerned about being ripped off (either by price or having a needless job done) and the brake fluid. Thanks. I can enjoy my car now.
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Old 10-18-2001, 11:43 PM
Ali Al-Chalabi's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 1,837
The price seems pretty good for all 4 rotors and pads and labor.

If you were to do the job yourself, it could be done for around $220-$230 or so with OEM parts through fastlane.

There is a minimum thickness to rotors, if it wears to thin, then it needs to be replaced. If there was a big ridge, this is an indication of this.

Brake fluid is extremely corrosive to paint. Do not get it one painted surfaces.

I don't think the brake fluid a little over the max mark should be anything to be concerned about.
Ali Al-Chalabi

2001 CLK55
1999 Dodge Ram 2500 Cummins Diesel
2002 Harley-Davidson Fatboy
Merlin Extralight w/ Campy Record
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Old 10-19-2001, 12:16 AM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596

Ali Al-Chalabi is correct, brake fluid is very corrosive. You should not get on any painted or other steel surface with air around, but once you do if you rinse it off with lots of water you will neutralize its corrosive tendencies. The water essentially uses up the brake fluid's corrosive potential very quickly and thoroughly. So raise the hood and hose the area down. Take care not to splash the stuff if there are puddles of it so it gets on the exterior as it may stain or damage the paint too.

I would also not worry about overfilling slightly as long as you do have some free space above the fluid level before you get to the top of the reservoir. Jim
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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Old 10-19-2001, 12:17 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: PA
Posts: 5,440
The rotors should be measured with a micrometer and this reading should be compared with the minimum published in the repair manual. Did the mechanic do this? You can't tell by looking at them. Even if the front rotors needed replacement, it is unlikely the rear ones needed replacement. The rotors can be turned for about $6.00.
Did this mechanic have a boat payment due? If he did, you paid it for him. In other words, I would say you were ripped off by price because of good parts being replaced when not required. I do my repairs myself and I haven't ripped off myself for over forty years.

I don't want to bust your bubble but the shiny rotors will be rusty in about a week or so but thats OK because rusty ones work just as good.

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Old 10-19-2001, 10:03 AM
G-Benz's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Dallas/Fort-Worth
Posts: 5,711
I think you got a good price on the brake job.

I usually feel like rotors should warrant replacement about every two or three brake pad replacement would have been due for one eventually, but probably not at 86K. I can't see your old rotors from here, so I don't know if there was any premature or excessive wear that might have required replacement when it did.

As PEH said, the rear ones probably didn't need replacement. As it is, rear brake pads last about three times as long as the front ones...I've replaced my rear pads on my 300E for the first time at 95K, but the fronts got replaced then, and again at 110K. I'll swap the rotors at the next replacement cycle.

Brake work on your car is relatively simple, so stay with the forum and learn how to do them yourself. Parts are inexpensive, and you can do the entire job in a few hours and save $$$.

In the meantime, hose off the area that the brake fluid spilled...use a gentle spray, or you'll wind up splattering the brake fluid droplets on other parts of the engine...
2009 ML350 (84K) - Family vehicle
2001 CLK430 Cabriolet (71K) - Wife's car
2005 BMW 645CI (124K) - My daily driver
2012 Mustang V6 (60K) - Daughter's car
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Old 10-19-2001, 11:30 AM
Neil Eglintine
Posts: n/a

Well, I've just had all the rotors and pads replaced on my '87 190E. The rotors cost 7 pounds each plus tax (say $12). Pads were about 15 pounds a set. I paid my mechanic 100 pounds to fit them. Total cost including tax less than 200 pounds ($300).

Rotors are so cheap that I would ever think about having them turned.

Happy days
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Old 10-19-2001, 01:16 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: At Sea
Posts: 1,729
for my future reference, just how much should a rotor cost, say on a w124? also about the practice of replacing rotors every second set of pads or so, what would your check criteria be? i used to just check runout with a dial indicator and as long as the surface was not gouged i would slap on the new pads.
1993 300e-2.8
- gone now <sigh>
"Do not adjust your mind, it's reality that's malfunctioning"
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Old 10-19-2001, 02:12 PM
sixto's Avatar
smoke gets in your eyes
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Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 18,745
Brake fluid is corrosive? Water is corrosive. Getting water in brake fluid makes the mix corrosive. Brake fluid comes in a metal can that doesn't corrode until you put water in it.

Brake fluid will peel off paint and other protective coatings. That will leave those parts subject to corrosion. By all means rinse the spill immediately with lots of water. If paint has started to bubble, get the area treated to prevent corrosion.

91 300SE
81 300SD
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Old 10-19-2001, 02:28 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Posts: 180
I think w124 rotors retail for about $40 front and $30 rear in the US -- I don't know how Neil got that price -- the shipping and import tax might pay for itself Cheers, Andrew Seidel.
86 560SEC
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83 300D Turbo
75 240D
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Old 10-19-2001, 02:41 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Plano, TX
Posts: 2,476
Coupla comments. I think you actually got a pretty darn good price for having a shop do this work. Other folks have posted much higher sums of money for the same work. Of course, the million dollar question is whether you needed this work.

MB publishes two thickness figures for brake rotors. The minimum thicknes is the thinnest it can ever be allowed to wear. Below this point it is unsafe to use. A maintenance or service limit is also specified. This slightly greater thickness specifies the minimum permitted thickness at the time brake pads are changed. Below the service limit, the rotor will wear below the minimum thickness before the next brake pad change. The only way to determine whether your rotors were below this value is to measure them. The presence of a ridge means nothing beyond indicating the rotor is no longer brand new.

As well, the shop should have changed the brake fluid with this service, not merely topped it up. MB specifies brake fluid is to be changed at least every other year. Doing so preserves your safety and extends the life of brake components such as the master cylinder and calipers.

My opinion: the shop gave you a good price, but is very sloppy. If they didn't measure the rotors, didn't change the brake fluid, and did spill brake fluid on your paint they aren't good enough to work on my cars.

- Jim
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Old 10-19-2001, 06:57 PM
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Since when is any price good for sloppy work????? ~~P E H~~
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Old 10-22-2001, 11:06 AM
Neil Eglintine
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My prices

Try the following link
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Old 10-22-2001, 12:16 PM
/8 200
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That link is dead
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Old 10-23-2001, 11:15 AM
Neil Eglintine
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Originally posted by /8 200

That link is dead
No it isn't!!
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Old 10-23-2001, 01:30 PM
/8 200
Posts: n/a

I tried it yesterday it wasn't there.
Just tried it and guess what ..... WORKS
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