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Old 03-16-2003, 03:25 PM
Posts: n/a
Angry Brakes and Rotors

Maybe someone here can explain to me what happened to my car.
I have a 2001 E320 with 23,000 miles on it.
I took it in for the second service and my service tech called me and told me I needed new front brakes and rotors, which according to him were not a warrantee item.
I asked him how it was that my rotors were scored so badly without my brake pad sensors going off to indicate that I needed brake pads. He gave me a double talk answer and charged me $470.00 for the work. Later on talking to my sister, who has a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee (Chrysler-Dahmiler...hmmm) she said the same thing happened to her jeep at 20,000 miles and the dealership replaced the rotors for free. My dealership informed me that they no longer refinish rotors because of the thickness yada yada.
I dont understand how rotors can go bad on a car that still had viable brake pads unless they were defective rotors to begin with.
Please help me to get the information I need on this topic.
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Old 03-16-2003, 03:44 PM
dmorrison's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Colleyville, Texas
Posts: 2,694
Pads I can believe( but that sounds a little early), But the rotors should last through about 3 sets of pads. I would pay for the rotors but I would also inquire about a possible caliper problem that may be causing the pads to stick and the heat build up has warped or dammaged the rotors. Otherwise the rotors should not need replacing. We have a 99 E300 with 63,000 mi and the rotors are fine. I measured them when I replaced the pads at ( second set) 55,000 mi and they should last to about 90-100,000 mi.
IF they are replacing rotors at such a low milage. Items covered under warrantee are defective and the whole system should be looked at.
I would suggest that any Item that you have to pay for that is being replace. Demand that the old part be returned to you once it is off the car. If you had the rotors you could have them measured and see if they are telling the truth. It keeps them honest. If they DO need replacing then something is wrong with the braking system. Demand further investigation of the car.

Mercedes does not turn rotors. It is cheaper to replace them

1970 220D, owned 1980-1990
1980 240D, owned 1990-1992
1982 300TD, owned 1992-1993
1986 300SDL, owned 1993-2004
1999 E300, owned 1999-2003
1982 300TD, 213,880mi, owned since Nov 18, 1991- Aug 4, 2010 SOLD
1988 560SL, 100,000mi, owned since 1995
1965 Mustang Fastback Mileage Unknown(My sons)
1983 240D, 176,000mi (My daughers) owned since 2004
2007 Honda Accord EX-L I4 auto, the new daily driver
1985 300D 264,000mi Son's new daily driver.(sold)
2008 Hyundai Tiberon. Daughters new car
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Old 03-17-2003, 10:09 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,303
Brake rotors are rarely damaged by worn pads that are replaced within a reasonable mileage after the replacement sensors are activated (mechanical or electric). If you drive through mud, sand, or other small, abrasive material frequently, you will experience premature rotor wear and scoring. This will be accentuate if your driving style is 'rabbity', i.e. speeding up and slowing down with frequent brake use or feathering. I have found dramatic differences in rotor and pad wear traceable apparently only to the driver.

The recommendation that you request the old parts prior to any repair is very good, though, and helps reduce the chance of a dishonest business deal. So, what WAS his 'double-talk' excuse?

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Old 03-17-2003, 11:53 AM
Posts: n/a
Brakes and rotors

Thank you both for answering me. I really appreciate the input. Yes I did ask for the rotors when I picked up the car, so I do have them. He mentioned to me what milimeter they were worn at and that it was more than what they deem acceptable.
But heres the twist. I have owned MANY cars over the last 25 years, and I have never had this occur. My last car was a 93 Volvo wagon, which I had the rotors replaced at 76,000 miles (I was the original owner). So my personal driving style is not the issue. The fact that I am driving a sedan and do not, and never have taken it "off road" would not account for the occurance of more than normal driving conditions in terms of debris collecting between the rotor and brake pad. I have found the E320 to be a very glitchy car and have had many repairs done to it in the 2 years I have owned it. So another defect in the car is totally predictable to me.
I honestly feel that there is a defect here somewhere and my lack of knowledge in terms of mechanics is how they have gotten away with charging me for this repair. I have to assume that the rotors that went bad on my sisters Jeep are the same ones used in my Benz, which would make total sense. Now why would Chrysler admit it and fix it with no problem, and yet Benz won't.
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Old 03-17-2003, 01:16 PM
csnow's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Mass
Posts: 1,127
In roadsalt areas (like mine), I have not found that rotors typically outlast pads.

All that sand they dump on the roads is an excellent abrasive, and makes for some serious gouging.

Years ago, with the soft asbestos pads, sometimes..., but the pads did not last as long or perform as well, so it was a mixed blessing.

Now, 23k is still not very far on a front set, but since your sensors were not on, the may have been acting a bit pre-emptively. Perhaps they figured the brakes would not last until the next scheduled service interval. I'm not judging them either way, just presenting a possibility. Were there any braking problems reported, or just wear?

As chance would have it, I also own a Jeep GC.
They had a massive rotor recall on several models, so that might explain why they were replaced for free in her case. That, or just goodwill from embarrassment.
There are no mechanical similarities between these machines.
For all of the complaints about warped rotors on MBs, the braking problems (and braking performance) on the Jeeps is much worse.
1986 300E 5-Speed 240k mi.
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Old 03-17-2003, 02:24 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: At Sea
Posts: 1,729
Most dealerships will just replace the rotors along with the pads as a matter of course. MB does not recommend resurfacing the rotors, besides, it only costs them about $50 more to replace the two rotors as compared to resurfacing them. That being said, they hit you with that $90+ /hr rate which, along with list price for the parts jacks up the cost quite a bit. Many on this forum perform this service themselves for that reason - at worst have a local independent MB specialist do it. If you do have an indie do the job, you may want to show him a printout of fastlane's prices for the parts and have them supply you with their parts at competitive rates. The reason for this last is that most shops will not warranty work if the customer supplies parts and some won't perform the service at all. Either way this will save you money next time.

BTW, you may want to measure the thickness of the old rotors if you want to bust their chops. I doubt that it's worn down that much. If you plan on having your car serviced there in the future I would just chalk it up to experience and consult this forum first next time!
1993 300e-2.8
- gone now <sigh>
"Do not adjust your mind, it's reality that's malfunctioning"
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