NCV3 Replace Front Brakes

Timburriaquito

New member
I'd like to say thanks to Piper1 for this write-up. I changed my front brake pads and rotors and relied on these pictures and directions. I would just like to add that when you take off the Allen head pins for the caliper, I used a 6mm hex key. And the bolts holding the caliper bracket are 21mm. I didn't have that big of a socket on hand, but my neighbor down the block had one I borrowed. Otherwise, everything else went just like you said. My biggest problems were getting the tire off after the lug bolts were out, and then getting the rotor off after all the other hardware was off. Both appeared to have sealed themselves to the hub with rust. I found a YouTube video to help get that rotor off finally.

I got my pads, rotors and wear sensors from Europarts-SD.com. I feel like I really accomplished something, and saved a lot of money. Next for me is to check on my glow plug issue.
 

Compstall

New member
Could be normal for you, but for the T1Ns (should be for NCV3s too), brake life depends greatly on whether it's driven mostly in the city or mostly on the highway and also greatly on your driving habits. Some have achieved over 200k on one set. I'm due for my second set soon.
Our trucks/vans go through rotors/pads every 20-30k tops.
 

T.J.T

Member
worst job of my life. Doing the bakes was easy, getting the rotors off of the caliper bracket took every ounce of my patients. Changing the brakes takes about 30 minutes, It took me 5 hours to get one rotor off and one caliper bracket.... thats with anti seize. I wasnt about to heat it or use the "bolt" trick as I heard that can damage other things
 

Manawanui

Member
Although I am not looking forward to the job, this thread has been very helpful, & I will probably replace my front rotors & pads when I get home. I am now working on my list of tools & other stuff to have on hand, as my sprinter is my only vehicle, and my nearest parts/tool store of any kind is about a mile away.

The bolt and allen key sizes are very much appreciated.

Three questions:

1. Does anyone remember the torx size of the small bolt which fastens the rotor in alignment?
2. Has anyone used heat to help loosen the rotor from the hub?
3. Has anyone used heat on the other bolts in an attempt to avoid stripping threads?

Thanks to all,

Rob
 

folzag

New member
Thought I'd add myself to the list of resounding success stories.

A few items worth mentioning:

Brakes were 7 years and 61k mostly highway miles old. Probably could have waited another 9-12 months.

Bought them from BrakePerformance.com His advice to hammer opposite sides of the rotor to separate if from the hub was essential. Would not have known to do that otherwise. Thanks!! I also used liberal amounts of penetrating oil at the hub-rotor interface.

The rubber boots and metal clips were all in excellent condition. I reckon thank Pacific NW winters for that. I bought the replacement kits, which turned out to be unnecessary. I went ahead and used them, though, I also saved the old ones in case something needs replaced next time around.

Contrary to what piper1 indicated, the old rotors also seemed in decent enough shape. I'm thinking about checking whether I can get them turned for another go around.

Everything came apart and re-assembled perfectly. I used anti-seize and synthetic brake grease, depending on location, on all threads during re-assembly. There was a touch of corrosion on the threads of the front slider pins. In 7 or 8 years when I next do this job, that should be now be one less thing to go wrong.

Since it was asked, the torx head on the bolt that holds the rotor in place is a T-30. Allen heads on the front, as was mentioned, were 6mm. The rears don't have allen heads, they are regular 13mm.

Also, having an E7 (kind of an inverted torx) on hand was also useful to unbolt the connector on the caliper that the wear sensors plug into. Without unbolting it, I wasn't able to plug it back in. There wasn't enough space and it was at a tight angle.

I reused the wear sensors. There was nothing wrong there.

Running a rubber tube from the bleeder valves to a beer bottle on the ground was very handy when compressing the calipers. Zero mess.


I think that covers it. Took 4 hours for the fronts and about the same for the backs, due to one of the rotors all but absolutely refusing to separate from the hub. I don't have a garage so was doing one side at a time and was very meticulous about greasing all the threads during re-assembly. If one had garage space to do both sides at once, an impact wrench to back-out the lug bolts, and a little practice (it has been over 15 years since I last did any kind of brake job), I bet it could reasonably be done in less than 2 hrs front and 2 hours back. If you skipped greasing threads, that would probably save another 1/2 hour, but that's penny wise, pound foolish IMHO.

Cheers and good luck.
 

Compstall

New member
Although I am not looking forward to the job, this thread has been very helpful, & I will probably replace my front rotors & pads when I get home. I am now working on my list of tools & other stuff to have on hand, as my sprinter is my only vehicle, and my nearest parts/tool store of any kind is about a mile away.

The bolt and allen key sizes are very much appreciated.

Three questions:

1. Does anyone remember the torx size of the small bolt which fastens the rotor in alignment?
2. Has anyone used heat to help loosen the rotor from the hub?
3. Has anyone used heat on the other bolts in an attempt to avoid stripping threads?

Thanks to all,

Rob
I don't work on Sprinters regularly enough any longer to recall the torx size.

From my experience, there's typically not enough meat on the rotor to last beyond one set of pads, they're pretty anemic to start with. Out of all the sets of rotors I ever changed on a Sprinter, I think I've only been able to get two or three of them turned. After that I gave up on bothering with the trip down to the machine shop because they were almost always too far gone to turn. Just buy new ones and save yourself the time.

On that note, if you're going to put new rotors on, use a big hammer and just break them loose from the hub that way. Use a manual impact driver to break the alignment screws loose as well. It's usually best to have new ones handy just in case.

When you install the new stuff, spread some anti-seize on the inside of the rotor hat and also use it on the threads of the alignment screws. This will prevent problem in the future.
 

folzag

New member
Great write up! Are there any writeups for the rears and the parking brakes? Im going to get this job done before winter really sets in.
I didn't do anything to the parking brakes. The rest of the rear brakes are similar enough to the fronts that it's obvious what to do.

The only difficulty I ran into was that my 21 mm socket was a deep-well and so didn't give me quite enough room to fit it and the breaker bar, which is a little fancy itself, in the space between the bolt head and the leaf springs. I had to really finesse it in and was only able to give about 5% turn... just barely enough to "break the seal" and switch to a more slim profile ratchet.

On the re-assembly I was not able to do the whole 60 ft-lbs + 40 degrees bit either. I stopped at 60 ft-lbs on all 4 corners.
 

sailquik

Well-known member
Rensho,
It's not just "dust" from the brake pads.
It's a 50%/50% mix of brake pad dust and iron dust worn off the rotor.
Look at the extreme outside edge of the rotor......there is a very small area that is not
swept by the brake pads.
Notice the very sharp edge and that the smooth shiny surface of the rotor is slowly wearing away.
If you want good brakes, that don't fade to nothing the first time you use them hard coming down a
grade, you will stay with the hard OEM pads and rotors as they are engineered to give the best performance
on vehicles the size and weight of Sprinters.
They are designed so both the pads and the rotors wear at about the same rate.
When the pads have worn down to the sensors and the brake pad light comes on, it's time to replace the rotor as well
just as compstall described above.
The OEM Pads and rotors may squeal and squeak from time to time, but overall they seem to be the
best combination for Sprinters in terms of brake performance and wear.
Hope this helps,
Roger
 
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Rensho

Member
Roger, i'm not sure if i fully agree with your pads assessment.

I've used EBC green, red, yellow pads, along with Akebono.

In my experience, soft pads dust a lot, have great cold bite, and fade more quickly.

The harder pads, hardly have any braking when cold, don't dust as much and don't fade as much.

The akebono pads use a lot of carbon, and seem to work great and do not dust much.

This is with my past/current cars, eurovan, outback, audi wagon.

I'm not sure if i want to blow $100 to replace my newish pads on the van, but the dust does bother me a lot. The bite is OK, but i do notice a slight lack of overall braking performance in general. The brakes on this 2500 are smaller than my 2002 Eurovan.
 

pfflyer

Well-known member
I am going to do a brake job tomorrow but I have maybe a stupid question. My oem rotors came with a primer like coating for corrosion protection on the shelf and during shipping. I can scrape it off with my nails. Should I take the time to scrape off the paint where the shoes make contact or just let the pads scrape it off?

rotor.JPG
 

sailquik

Well-known member
pfflyer,
I suspect that it's an anti-corrosion coating, and may not hurt anything as it will be wiped off very quickly, but it would not hurt to
try a strong solvent (gasoline or acetone would be good try) to see if the coating will melt off leaving just the bare cast iron.
This would be a good question to ask a trained Sprinter technician to see if they just install the rotors or if they somehow remove the
coating prior to installing them.
Maybe Carl the Sprinter Guy or one of the other resident MB Sprinter techs would like to weigh in on how they
handle the coating when an authorized MB/Freightliner dealer shop does a brake rotor replacement using the OEM rotors.
Hope this helps,
Roger
 
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pfflyer

Well-known member
Thanks Roger. I was going to wipe them down with some solvent but in case it didn't wipe off easy I was wondering how much effort I should make. I have done several brake jobs on other models but never had the rotors coated before. Thanks again to the OP for the write-up. Hope it goes as easy as the other brakes I have installed.
 

Rensho

Member
From the VW and Audi guys, they let the pads wear that off.

They even go as far as spraying noncoated rotors with hitemp paint and again, let the pads take off the paint on the braking surfaces.

you certainly want to wipe down with alcohol or degreaser first.
 

sprintguy

Member
Leave the coating on, no need to take it off.. that way the places the pads do not hit will take more time to rust out. It does also help in the break in process , smells funny too.

Carl
 

pfflyer

Well-known member
Leave the coating on, no need to take it off.. that way the places the pads do not hit will take more time to rust out. It does also help in the break in process , smells funny too.

Carl
Same thing that I was told.
 

piper1

Resident Oil Nerd.
Hi Everyone!

Wanted to come back here and provide some updated info...

During the brake job I performed at the beginning of this thread I used parts from brakeperformance.com

I have been a loyal user of their parts for a long time and felt good recommending them.

I have however noticed on the last 2 trucks of my own I did...the rotors supplied by them were quite soft...really soft! Trucks that had gone close to 200,000 miles on stock parts were now needing rotors at less than 50,000...not pads...ROTORS!!

Therefore...I can't say I'd recommend their stuff any more....it used to work really well for me (and it worked great on the Sprinter!!) but perhaps they have changed a process or supplier and that has changed the product.

Wanted to share.

I miss this forum!
 

Rensho

Member
I have however noticed on the last 2 trucks of my own I did...the rotors supplied by them were quite soft...really soft! Trucks that had gone close to 200,000 miles on stock parts were now needing rotors at less than 50,000...not pads...ROTORS!!
Are you using the same pads on both rotors for comparison?

The stock mb pads seem pretty soft and dusty, which should preserve the rotors better.

Thanks for the heads up.
 

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