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  #1  
Old 02-03-2017, 05:02 PM
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Location: Fort Myers, Florida
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HELP!! Caliper Dust Boot Too Small? HELP!!

Vehicle Information & Background:

I'm currently going through the brake system on my car. I have changed the brake hoses; removed, disassembled, and cleaned the front & rear calipers; and now I am trying to reassemble the calipers. I'm having difficulty getting the dust seals installed over the ridge on the caliper.

US Version
1995 Mercedes E320 Wagon
VIN Post F323055
W124.092 Chassis
M104.992 Engine

Dust Boot & Caliper Type:

Centric 143.35015 Caliper Repair Kit Front
Centric 141.35081 Front Brake Caliper

This is a fixed caliper with a ridge surrounding the piston housing. The Centric 143.35015 dust seals (38mm & 42mm) wrap around this ridge. Often the dust boots have a circlip that is expanded, and then placed around the dust boot to hold it in place. My dust boot, however, has the circlip built into the seal. It is not the type with the "teeth"...to be honest I don't know what that is, but I've seen others mention a type like that...this is not that. It is simply a rubber seal with a flat wire (the single piece unbroken circlip) embedded in it.

My Problem:

When I try to fit the dust boot onto the caliper it seems as if it is too small to fit, and I did lubricate the seal, the caliper, the piston...everything...with brake fluid before attempting installation. It's not off by much...probably less than a millimeter, but regardless of what I try it doesn't seem to fit. It definitely won't go in with just my fingers. I tried using 2 pairs of needle nose pliers and my fingers. I tried using a board & other various items in conjunction with a C-Clamp, my hands, and a hammer. I haven't tried a bearing/race/seal press to be honest because I don't happen to have one, but it just doesn't seem like even that would make a difference. I noticed that the seals I've tried pressing in have split basically right up the middle. It seems like that's where the diameter of the ridge and the diameter of the seal match up. Enough for half of it to make it around the ridge, but not all the way. It feels like a seal press would just be pressing it in the same half-way spot. Am I wrong? Would it somehow push it outward more allowing it to slide over the edge? I ordered 2 sets in order to redo both front calipers, and they both seem to be the same size. I don't know if these seals are just garbage and don't fit right, or if I'm missing something.

Someone Please Help Me! My car is up on jack stands right now, and I really need it. It's going to be a while anyways having to order & wait for parts, so I really need a response soon. I've been working on this thing for a while now, and every time I think I have it finished something else pops up. I desperately need to get it back on the road quickly.

Answers I'm Not Looking For:

1. Buy a new or manufacturer rebuilt caliper instead. I don't trust rebuilt calipers, and as cheap as they are I can't afford 4 calipers right now. My caliper bodies, housings, and pistons are all in good condition. I just needed to exercise the pistons, clean them up, and replace the seals to bring them back to being good as new minus the pretty paint that will quickly not be so pretty.

2. Bring it to a mechanic. Again, I can't afford that right now unless I can find a mechanic who would be willing to just connect the boots to the caliper for me, and only charge me for the roughly 5-10 minutes maximum it should take to do all four.

Answers I am Looking For:

1. How to properly install these seals

2. What tools I could use to properly install these seals

3. What seals people have used on their W124's that might work better, or be installed more easily.

4. Verification that this seal/caliper combination is generally problematic, and that the issue is not with the install method.

5. Kits that would work for my car that use the non-integrated circlip that you can spread to fit the ridge on the caliper.


Last edited by Fallinggator; 02-03-2017 at 06:46 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2017, 08:34 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 1,908
Check out this DIY tech article from our site on caliper installs - if you're looking for the rear set, there is also a link for it in the Brakes section. Lastly, if you have any additional questions or need more specific info, post a Comment just below one of the articles and someone will get back to you with detailed info. Hope this helps and best of luck!

Mercedes-Benz W124 Front Brake Caliper Replacement | 1986-1995 E-Class | Pelican Parts DIY Maintenance Article


-Dmitry
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  #3  
Old 02-07-2017, 03:37 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Fort Myers, Florida
Posts: 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dmitry at Pelican Parts View Post
Check out this DIY tech article from our site on caliper installs - if you're looking for the rear set, there is also a link for it in the Brakes section. Lastly, if you have any additional questions or need more specific info, post a Comment just below one of the articles and someone will get back to you with detailed info. Hope this helps and best of luck!

Mercedes-Benz W124 Front Brake Caliper Replacement | 1986-1995 E-Class | Pelican Parts DIY Maintenance Article


-Dmitry
Thanks Dmitry, but it's not an issue with changing out the caliper, pads, or rotor. That's all pretty simple. So is rebuilding a caliper for that matter. It's just rebuilding this specific set of calipers with this specific caliper rebuild kit that I am having trouble. I'm not used to the clip being built in to the boot. Usually the ones I've installed used a split ring that went over the outside of the boot to hold it on. There are a few other designs I've used, but not the integrated clip. I've even read threads about dealing with this specific type of boot, but I'm beginning to think that these boots just don't work for this caliper. I even tried using a bearing press to press the seal on, and it just basically split the seal up the middle around the circumference of the seal. It's like the seal is about 0.5mm too small, and because the clip is so rigid you can't stretch it in any way to make it fit. I'm pretty sure I had it completely level when I applied it, and there just didn't seem to be enough circumference to it unless I'm missing something or some specific tool I should be using.
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  #4  
Old 02-07-2017, 05:02 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 1,908
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fallinggator View Post
Thanks Dmitry, but it's not an issue with changing out the caliper, pads, or rotor. That's all pretty simple. So is rebuilding a caliper for that matter. It's just rebuilding this specific set of calipers with this specific caliper rebuild kit that I am having trouble. I'm not used to the clip being built in to the boot. Usually the ones I've installed used a split ring that went over the outside of the boot to hold it on. There are a few other designs I've used, but not the integrated clip. I've even read threads about dealing with this specific type of boot, but I'm beginning to think that these boots just don't work for this caliper. I even tried using a bearing press to press the seal on, and it just basically split the seal up the middle around the circumference of the seal. It's like the seal is about 0.5mm too small, and because the clip is so rigid you can't stretch it in any way to make it fit. I'm pretty sure I had it completely level when I applied it, and there just didn't seem to be enough circumference to it unless I'm missing something or some specific tool I should be using.


If you think it would help you out, describe the kit and your procedure in a Comment just below the article I linked you to and one of our MB experts will get back to you with info, if relevant.


-Dmitry
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  #5  
Old 02-17-2017, 12:39 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Fort Myers, Florida
Posts: 34
So, I've been having heart problems lately, and I wasn't able to get back to working on my car for a while. I'm at least glad to know that I wasn't simply that out of shape. I was getting extremely tired doing simple things on my car. Anyways, on to the car stuff.

I finally got to the rear caliper, and I discovered that the seals went on just fine. I had to make sure that they were flat & that they went on level, but they actually went on. I wasn't pulling my hair out trying to get a seal on that just wouldn't fit. That tells me definitively that the seals made by Centric that are supposed to fit the 1995 E320 Wagon front calipers absolutely do not fit. I received two of the same seal kits, 1 for each side, and neither of them fit. That kit at least just simply does not fit that car. The caliper repair kit I used that did not work was:

Centric 143.35015 Caliper Repair Kit Front

I'm hoping to find a Centric kit that does fit because they are just simply much cheaper, but if not then hopefully the ATE of FTE kits will work. They are much more expensive, but still much cheaper than a new caliper. I've already got the calipers completely cleaned, refinished, and rebuilt other than installing the dust covers.

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