Replacing Rear Brakes on a 3500


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After I received a quote of nearly a grand from the dealer, I decided to replace the brakes myself. The first step was to order the correct parts. I used Europarts of San Diego at a cost of $279 delivered. What I received were two OEM rotors, OEM pads and OEM sensors. Kudos to Steve for getting these out to me in three days.

This is more of a pictorial guide than a how to. First things first. You assume all liability in working on your vehicle. Working on your vehicle can be inherently dangerous. You will need some basic common sense and basic tools including Torx sockets. Neither the author or Sprinter forum owners are liable. The use of jacks and stands which meet or exceed rated capability is imperative for safety. Use caution in breathing in of brake dust with the use of a dust mask. This work is dirty and your hands will get grimy without gloves. I did loosen up the master cylinder cap to allow possible excess brake fluid to drain upon re-seating the caliper pistons. I didn't use the "official" torque ratings of MB to tighten up the bolts on re-installation, but having done this for quite a long time, I felt the proper torque on my air gun. You are responsible for the safe and sensible installation of all hardware. This write up is only a guide =)

The first thing is to jack up and support the van. (I did only one side at a time) Chock the front wheels to help prevent movement. Make sure the handbrake is released. Remove the rear wheels. I used a Nitrocat airgun with a high torque capability. You will need to either loosen up the lug nuts with the weight on the ground or have handy a high powered air gun. Your air gun will need to have a high torque rating to remove the stubborn bolts on the hub adapter.

With the wheels removed, here is the view. It looks daunting but really, its a piece of cake.

You will need to undo the electrical connector for the sensor and remove the sensor socket from the caliper. Use caution later on not to damage the wiring when the caliper is removed.

The next step is to remove the caliper and set it aside. Watch the brake hose does not get kinked and do not let the caliper hang on the hose. I set it on the springs and as you can see in the photo, I set up a caliper set tool to push the pistons back in the bores. You will need to remove two bolts at the back side to remove the caliper. I used a closed end wrench/spanner with the persuasion of a hammer tapping on the wrench/spanner to set the bolts free.

The next step is to remove the caliper retainer and center hub adapter. I used my Nitrocat air gun to loosen the hub bolts. The caliper retainer bar has two large 24mm (I think) bolts that again, I used a closed wrench/spanner with the tapping of a hammer to loosen. Set the hub adapter and caliper retainer bar to the side with their respective bolts. You may need to tap around the hub adapter once you remove the bolts securing it with a hammer. It will come loose.

The next step is to pull the rotor. There are no securing screws as there are on the front rotors. Now don't be a sissy and get out your BFH (Big Fu**ing hammer) and start tapping on the back side of the rotor around the perimeter. It will slowly come loose. Use caution as there is brake dust which may be harmful if you breathe it in.

Now comes the fun part, the reassembly.
Line up the the new rotor over the axle hub making sure the hub adapter holes line up as well.

The next step is to install the hub adapter with the bolts. I used my air gun in alternating patterns to tighten up the bolts. I installed them dry. The caliper retainer was installed next and I reversed the procedure of using the wrench/spanner and hammer to tighten the two securing bolts (24mm I think). Don't get all ape on them, just get them tight and use your judgment. Again, I installed them dry.

The next step is to install the pads onto the caliper retainer making sure the four anti rattle clips are in position on the retainer. Prior to installing the pads, I removed the paint on the inboard pad to prepare for the sensor. I did this to ensure electrical connectivity.

The next step is to install the caliper over the pads and reinstall the two caliper bolts. I used the closed end wrench/spanner with tapping of the hammer to tighten up the bolts. If you are having a hard time getting the caliper over the pads, you will need to compress the pistons back into the caliper bores. I bought a tool from sears for this purpose. You can rent this tool from your local auto parts store but they are cheap enough to purchase and have on hand.

Don't forget to install the sensor onto the pad and connect the wire to the socket. Re-install the sensor socket to the caliper and you are done. (Don't forget to re-install the wheels!) Check the Master cylinder fluid level and mop up what may have leaked out from displacement. Tighten the master cyliner cap. I had some leak out and washed out the area in the engine bay promptly. Brake fluid is more of a paint remover if left unnattended for long periods. The reason excess brake fluid may leak out is from prior servicing by a dealer. Some places "top" off fluids and if your brakes were halfway worn, any added fluid will get displaced when you install new spec pads.

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