February 26

2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500, Front Brakes



Mark: Hi, it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik, Pawlik Automotive in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Thirty eight years servicing cars and their owners in Vancouver and 18 time winners of Best Auto Repair in Vancouver as voted by their customers. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well;

Mark: So we’re going to talk about a Mercedes-Benz 3500 Sprinter van and there was a front brake problem, what’s going on with this vehicle?

Bernie: Yeah, so the Sprinter was brought to our shop actually for a pre-purchase inspection and we did the inspection on the vehicle and found a few issues. The owner decided he liked the vehicle and wanted to buy it so we did some front brake repairs and what we found was that the front brakes were extremely rusted on the vehicle. The right calliper, the brake, the wheel was very difficult to rotate and the front brakes generally needed some work.

Mark: So why would the brakes get so rusty?

Bernie: It’s a good question. Why don’t I just get into a photo here and then I’ll talk over photo.

2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500, Front Brakes
2012 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500, Front Brakes

Here’s our rusty brakes. You can see this is a brake calliper here which squeezes the brake pads, that’s the rotor, the surface this is usually normal extremely shiny piece of metal and the brake pads are located somewhere in here. You can see a general amount of rust around here. So I would say two things, first of all this vehicle probably came from a climate that used more road salt than you’d find around Vancouver and second, I think that the vehicle probably sat for a while. That usually causes this kind of rust buildup on the rotors. If you’re driving the vehicle everyday continuously, you don’t get that level of rust. So I think the vehicle probably sat for a while. Just to give a comparison shot of the after, that’s what the brakes looked like when they were repaired. So there’s a nice replaced calliper, see the rotor surface is shiny metal, inside the brake pads, again I can’t get the camera to see, but there’s also a brake pad wear sensor on this vehicle, brand new. That’s a brand new … as well. So that’s the difference between the new and rebuilt brakes.

Mark: So how are the rear brakes on the vehicle?

Bernie: Well they had some rust as well but the callipers weren’t seized, so for that we elected to do a service on the back brakes. There’s a lot of pad material left. So we removed the rotors,  we gave a light machining on the rotors to remove the rust, there was a lot of material left on the rotors, they were in good shape and we serviced the pads and did a service on the callipers. We have a sand blaster in our shop so we could actually take the calliper sliders apart, sand blast all the rust off, put new clips in where the pads slide and lubed them all up and the back brakes are pretty much as good as new.

Mark: And anything unique about the brakes on this sprinter van?

Bernie: The Sprinter, it’s a truck, so they’ve been you know, the brakes are larger than obviously what you’d find on a car but they’re built well for the size of the vehicle and really probably the only thing about this as opposed to maybe an American van is that it has the brake pad wear sensor on the pads and all the pads which is kind of a typical European thing. So when the brake pads wear to a certain point, a light will come on on the dash telling you the brakes are worn out. Assuming everything works properly, because the pad wear sensor’s on the outboard pads, I don’t know, depending on which way the brakes wear, sometimes you could actually have a situation where the brakes wear out and you wouldn’t now it until they start to grind but generally the pad wear sensor is pretty reliable.

Mark: And how long do brakes generally last on a Sprinter van like this?

Bernie: They’re pretty good. I’d say somewhere, anywhere in the 50 to a 100 thousand kilometre range for brakes depending of course of how much cargo one’s carrying in them. If you have a Sprinter van and all you’re carrying is potato chips, the brakes will last a long time because they’re light, but if you’re a plumber who’s full of copper pipes and a lot of heavy stuff, they won’t last very long. But generally  they’re pretty good. They’re well built brakes for the size of the vehicle.

Mark: So there you go, if you’re looking for service for your Sprinter van in Vancouver, the guys to see are Pawlik Automotive. You can reach them at 604-327-7112 to book your appointment, you have to book ahead they’re busy. Or check out their website pawlikautomotive.com or our four or five year, hundreds of videos on YouTube at Pawlik Automotive. Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark

About the author 

Bernie Pawlik

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