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Old 07-23-2000, 11:53 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: New York, New York
Posts: 179
I just bought an '87 300TD with 215K in excellent condition. Well here we go...

The break light stayed on when I got the car out of the garage today. The history on this point is that the light was on when I test drove the car last sunday. The owner explained that it was part of the maintance that he was going to do (pads and rotors on all four wheels). Sure enough the light was out on thursday when I received it and the maintance work appeared to be completed. It was still out on friday for a trip to Great Neck (40mi) and on Saturday for the trip to the MB Manhattan to get roof rack cross-bars (3mi) (taking six people to the Catskills for the week, may need them).

But today when I started it the light stayed on. I double checked the parking brake (the light blinks out and back on when I release it) and the break fluid level (actually a little higher than max). I can not detect any change in the breaking or the pedal action. The manual only says that the break light indicates that the level is low. Is there anything else I can do or check short of taking it to the shop. Is this something that I need to do before I drive 300mi?

'87 300TD Turbo
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Old 07-24-2000, 07:57 AM
Alain V.'s Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: KS.
Posts: 458
If the light that is on is the fluid level/parkbrake indicator (red- and says BRAKE) you can un plug the wires at the top of the fluid resevoir and see if the light goes out. If the light is now out and the fluid level is fine, you probably have a bad level sensor (the "float" may be sinking in the fluid which turns on the light).

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Old 07-24-2000, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Gainesville FL
Posts: 6,844
The switch at the top of the emerg brake often gets out of adjustment if you allow the pedal to slam into it when releasing the emerg brake.

I very seldom use an emerg brake in Florida (no hills) but when I find one engaged I place my foot on it, release the lever, and allow the pedal to return slowly by lifting my foot.

Steve Brotherton
Owner 24 bay BSC
Bosch Master, ASE master L1
26 years MB technician
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Old 07-24-2000, 02:16 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: New York, New York
Posts: 179
Here's a reply from Robby Ackerman who replied by email, but I thought would be helpful to others. With his permission:

My experience is ... in addition to the items you checked, and the IMPORTANT
items is the brake fluid level which was okay, this light comes on if a wear
sensor in one of the pads touches the brake rotor. When the wire in the pad
first touches the rotor you have 10,000 to 20,000 miles left on the pads.
For some inexplicable reason the wear pad turns on the light in the rain
with my 123 and my neighbor's 123. Are there MB brake pads in the car? you
can visually inspect the pads to see how much wear is on them and if you
want to take the time you can unplug each one, a 10 sec job on each wheel,
and see what that does to your light. I'd cover the light with black elec
tape and go on your trip.

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Old 07-24-2000, 06:48 PM
Posts: n/a
Black Electrical Tape?!?!?!?!
What is this, a VCR flashing 12:00?

76 240D (W115) - 550K miles
78 300D (W123) - 200K+ miles
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Old 07-24-2000, 07:35 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Near Williamsburg, Virginia
Posts: 358
What color is your wagon? It isn't smoke silver is it? The silver ones had electrical problems similiar to the gold ones. Have you installed additional batteries or chains?

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Old 07-24-2000, 09:08 PM
Registered User
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: New York, New York
Posts: 179
Well, the final out come is that the parking break switch needs adjustment, just as Steve suggested. The break light blinking off when the parking break is released should have been my clue. If I reach down and pull up gently on the parking break pedal while it's released I hear the switch click and the light goes out.

Moe and Jerry (no kidding!) at the shop around the corner were more than happy to replace my half worn out pads and relieve me of some encumbering cash.

Oh and Robby, they mentioned the electron problem with the smoke-silver paint and suggested gold chains and extra batteries.

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