Changing CV-axles on W245 B180 CDI

Including Ball joints and Tie rods

Having weird clunking sounds while driving or the steering wheels starts to shake when you are driving and getting worse with increased speed? Also the tires get worn excessive at one of the sides? This could be a sign that the CV axles going bad. It is possible to change out just the CV axle ends and not the whole axles, however it is more time consuming and often easier just replacing new complete axles. Changing the entire axles will only be covered in this article. The job can be pretty extensive and complex if you have not much experience in working on cars due to the requirement of time and many tools needed. Although it can be straight forward if you have some knowledge of mechanics. If your car have driven in a rust environment and you don’t have special tools, then maybe skip this job!

This will be a long one so fasten your harness and prepare a big tea pot!

Preparations

There are some considerations to be done. The original axles will probably fit the car better than after market ones. I find a lot of complaining around forums for poorly fitting after market CV axles for front wheel driven cars. Some cheap brands in reality sometimes use refurbished old axles and pack them with little grease and they might end up making sounds and break after a short time. Therefore be sure not to throw out your original MB axles without really being sure about changing them. Getting new MB axles for the B-class I would not recommend since they are crazy expensive and not offering any benefits other than being original. A good middle way could then be to buy a CV joint end refurbish kit. However this procedure is not covered here.

I wouldn’t buy the cheapest, but not the most expensive you can find either. Choose a brand you trust in the middle range. That will be 95% as good as the best ones. Also make sure the lengths and fitting are correct before ordering, parts stores list all kinds of variations, and manual and Auto/CVT variations are different even if they look similar in images.

There is a high chance you need to change the axle seals from the transmission while changing the axles. This could be because of age or they get damaged when removing/installing the axles. I didn’t think of this and one side started leaking a lot and I needed to take out the axle again. The axle seal for the CVT version I could not find in any online store, and needed to order one from Mercedes dealer and prised as such too!

You can be sure to need changing the lower ball joints and tie rods unless they have been changed in the last few years. This will add the need for a wheel alignment after the job. This needs to be done at a workshop unless you have really advanced equipment and training. A wheel alignment is quite cheap though compared to the changing of the drive shafts, so I would still consider changing the CV axles DIY.

There is a chance you will need to refill some transmission oil if some leaks out during installation. This is a good opportunity to change the filter and gear oil. This however requires you to have a dipstick and more parts on hand. Mercedes does not want their customers to change their oil, so they “sealed” the cap off and there is no dipstick. You can get a disptick for 5 bucks at Ebay, good filter kits also include the little plastic tab. Changing transmission fluid will not ne covered in this article.

You will need some special equipment for this

  • E-Torx bits (for removing bracket to right side axle and the ball joint bolts might have them)
  • Large star socket (for the original axle end bolts)
  • Glide hammer (to remove axle shaft seal)
  • Torque wrench
  • A good selection of spanners
  • Large and powerful tie rod and ball joint remover
  • Large sockets or similar to fit over the axle seal lip
  • Various lengths of socket extensions
  • Large soft ended hammer
  • Hex wrenches
  • Thread lock
E-Torx E14
E-Torx E14

You will need the following parts, depending on ambition level

  • Left side CV axle, is shorter than the other
  • Right side CV axle, is longer than the other
  • 2x Axle seal/ transmission output seal
  • 2x Ball joint
  • 2x Tie rod
  • CV moly grease
  • Ball bearing grease/assembly grease
  • High temp anti-seize alu-paste
  • 1L Transmission fluid – type depending on your transmission
  • Optional: Dipstick /Auto Filter/gasket

If you decide to go through with this job, be prepared that the tie rod might have rusted completely to the hub/knuckle. Then you will need large amounts of patience, cutting and drilling to get it free. I really hated this part. You are hereby warned.

Plan for not driving the car in a few days. This might take you longer than you expect. If you see an obstacle you cannot fix and you need the car, then quit early before the point of no return. I had not planned it very well and lacked both tools and parts thought the whole process. So the car was jacked up on stands while I waited on new parts to arrive. I guess this is how you learn. Luckily I had a backup car so there was no stress. Although I didn’t plan that the car could not be driven for over 2 months straight…

Procedure

Before you raise the car, you will need to loosen the huge axle spindle nut. Take off the middle cap from the rim. If there is a dust cover hiding the spindle nut, then just raise the wheel with a jack and take the wheel off. Then remove the dust cover for the wheel hub, put the wheel back on and lower it to the ground again. Then loosen the spindle nut, use a long breaker bar because this one sits really tight!

Wheel hub dust cap
Remove wheel hub dust cap
Axle spindle nut
Axle spindle nut. The original is this star shaped. New after market CV axles comes with normal socket nuts to replace these.
Loosening axle spindle nut
Loosening axle spindle nut. They sit on tight so use a long breaker bar.

Do this for the other wheel if you plan to change both CV axles. After you removed the spindle nuts, you will need to raise the entire front of the car so you can get access underneath, so put it on safe on jack stands.

Next is two different ways to loosening the tie rod. The easy way if it’s not stuck. And the hard way if it’s stuck.

The easy way

Since this is the easy way, you don’t even have to take the caliper or brake disc off! Super easy right? If working on the right side, turn the wheel completely over to the right to get better access. Opposite for the left side obviously. Spray the tie rod bolts and the lower ball joint with penetrating fluid and let it work a few minutes before continuing.

Start by loosening the 19mm tie-rod nut on the hub knuckle assembly with a socket. The tie rod will stick to the knuckle arm because of the press fit, so the bolt will loosen by itself. Now you will need the heavy duty tie rod/ball joint puller tool. Place it over the tie rod and pop it.

Loosening tie rod bolt
Loosening tie rod bolt
Tie-rod puller
Snap off the tie rod with the ball joint tool.

Hopefully it will snap off and it will look like below:

loosened tie-rod
Tie-rod loosened

Now move over to loosening the lower ball joint. Since this is the easy method, you can avoid loosening the ball joint completely from the the lower suspension arm, unless you want to change the lower ball joint which I highly recommend. Use a 22mm spanner, you are not able to fit a socket over it. This bolt can be very tight so you might use a bit of muscle. You will normally not need a hex to stop it from turning when loosening since it is press fitted after tightening. The image below is in fact from tightening, but shows the same.

Lower ball joint
Loosen the Lower ball joint with a 22mm spanner. The hex is only needed when tightening. It is press fitted.

Hopefully it will look something like this when loosened:

Loosened ball joint nut
Loosened ball joint nut

Now get the ball joint puller tool again and snap off the ball joint from the steering knuckle. I don’t have a picture of it here, but you should figure it out since you did the exact same procedure on the tie-rod like 5mins ago.

After it is snapped loose, get a long pry bar, place it in the inner hole of the lower suspension arm and press down as far as you can with the bar leverage. This will enable you to lift the steering knuckle out of the ball joint.

Ball joint w245
Free ball joint of the steering knuckle. It is possible to free the CV axle spindle from the hub.

Withe knuckle free from the ball joint you can now easily free the CV axle spindle from the hub. You can normally drive it out with not too much effort.

The right side CV-Axle

The right side is slightly more complicated to remove, since it is longer and has another bracket under the car. Locate the bracket, it is secured with two Torx bolts.

Right side CV axles
Right side CV Axle. Contains a bracket in the middle.
Bracket for right side CV axle
Bracket and torx bolts

Now you can go ahead of pulling the CV axle out of the transmission. It might take a bit of force. On this side there is no place you can pry off the axle either. Be sure to have a drip pan under the transmission in case fluid runs out.

Right CV axle input into transmission housing
Right CV axle input into transmission housing
After CV axle is removed.
Bracket After CV axle is removed.
Right side CV Axle removed
Right side CV Axle removed

Left Side:

The left side is a bit easier, it can be pulled out straight away after the tie rod end and the ball joint have been loosened. It’s nearly impossible to pull the drive shaft straight out, due to the locking spring on the inside. Get a pry bar with the flat end and fit it between the inner edge of the drive shaft and the transmission housing. This will loosen the drive shaft from the transmission. Be ready for a drip pan if transmission fluid leaks out.

Prybar slot drive shaft
Prybar slot for left side drive shaft
Left side drive shaft loosened
Left side drive shaft loosened

The Hard Way

Let us imagine that the tie-rod is completely stuck and you cannot remove it with a tie-rod tool, either it breaks or it will not budge. Then what? Let me show you the hard way to fix this. In order to do this, you will need a set with good quality and new sharp drill bits. Also you will need to use an angle grinder. Rub on that patience lube you have in the bottom of your tool kit since you will need it! Let me show you how below.

Unbolting tie-rod
First step so easy. Unbolting the tie-rod.

First you will try to undo the tie-rod like normally, then your tool breaks or bends or worse. So your mind realise it is not budging at all. Fuck! You might be tempted to use a large sledge hammer to knock it free. Do not under any circumstance try this because you might end up bending the knuckle hub assembly. Do not bother to use a blow torch with heat either, it will not work and you will just end up burning the ABS sensor. The tie-rod sleeve will definitively burn up, but it will get ruined now anyway when it is this stuck.

Forcing the tie-rod tool
Forcing the tie-rod tool until it breaks. Failure!

To get better access you will need to remove the brake disk. Unbolt the caliper and hang it up with some wires to reduce the stress on the brake hose. Now bend the brake dust slightly shield out of the way, or unless it is rusted like mine, just tear it off.

Cut tie rod stud off
Cut tie rod stud off to prepare drilling. In the image you can see the tie-rod sleeve is burnt, so yeah I tried heat with no success. Do not bother with heat. Just start drilling.

Now the long and tedious process start. It is not without risk. If you do not take care you will need to replace the entire knuckle hub assembly. It will need to be replaced if there are scores inside the tie-rod insert after you drill it out.

Start by drilling with a small sized drill to make a pilot hole. Make absolutely sure that is in the middle other wise you will get out of the center line and might end up scoring the hole. You are hereby warned. The more narrow the drill the easier it is to get it started in the beginning. Use low speed and stop to apply oil to the drill bit head often in order to cool the drill bit head. Otherwise you will need to replace the drill often. This metal is super hard and will take a lot of time to get through. If you take it slow and use oil often it will not wear out your drills. Drill at least one centimetre before increasing the drill size. I used between 2-3 hours to get through the tie-rod before it popped out.

Drilling tie-rod
Drilling the tie-rod with narrow drill bit at the beginning. Go very slow and apply plenty of oil to aid in cooling the drill bit.

After you increase the drill bit size, make sure you don not score the knuckle hole. Go very slow and swap between the narrow and thick drill bits after you have gone a bit deeper.

Increase drill bit size
Increase drill bit size after you have a decent size hole. you will need to swap between them as you go along.

When you have traversed the entire length of the knuckle arm, about 2 centimetres, do not increase the drill bit further. Now grab your trustworthy punch drive which can fit in the tie-rod hole which you have drilled. Use some force and I’m sure will pop out. Try a few different sizes and continue drilling if it will not pop out.

Tie-rod drilled out
Tie-rod drilled out. This is the leftover which only let go after removing over 90%. Very stubborn indeed.

The ball-joint for some reason is not usually this stuck and can normally be removed by the ball joint remover tool. If this is completely stuck as well, then you might require help from a workshop, since it is very much harder to access. Have no solution for you here.

Changing drive shaft-transmission seals

I highly recommend to do this step since it is a high chance it never was changed prior and might start leaking. It is also easy to damage it when taking out and inserting the new drive shafts. I learned the hard way, it started leaking and the car probably lost 05.-1L of transmission fluid. And I had to take out the left side CV shaft out again. I did not change them initially since I got the wrong seals from the place where I ordered the rest of the parts. They did not have the right ones, especially for the CVT transmission variant I think they are hard to find? Anyway I needed to get them from a Mercedes dealer. And the price was 60$ each… OMG that is excessive! Anyway this is how to change them.

Removed drive shaft seal
Removed drive shaft seal

You will need a slide hammer puller to get them out since they will sit incredibly hard in the transmission housing. Put the new ones in your freezer since the outer diameter will shrink slightly and it will be much easier to insert into the housing. Timing here is essential. Get the old ones out before you ready the new ones. If there are any scores or rust marks in the inner edge of the transmission housing, you will need to use a bit of fine sand paper and polish the surface clean. I promise you it will leak if you skip this step. You will only have one shot of getting the new ones in. If they go in crooked and you bend them, you will need to get new ones. Therefore it might be smart to practice getting in the old ones back in first if you never did this kind of job.

Installing requires an equal size socket tool which matches the outer diameter of the seal. Get your favourite grease ready to easy the inserting of the seal. I used ball bearing/ hub grease. Use a long socket extension which you can pound on. Now when everything is ready, run and get the new seal out of the fridge and be as fast as possible, every second here counts! Grease up the new seal while it still freezing and install.

Grease up the new seal
Grease up the new seal while it is still freezing cold.

Use the socket and tap it in with a rubber hammer. Make sure to tap it in carefully and checking often that it goes in straight. When the outer edge of the seal is parallel to the outer edge if the transmission housing it is in the right place. If you overshoot, then you have to pull it out again. There is no end edge in the housing which tells you when it is in. So it is very easy to drive it too far in. The inner dust flap of the seal will stick out from the edge and will fit inside the drive shaft dust cover.

Tap in the seal
Tap in the seal
New seal in place
New seal in place. Notice the outer edge is parallel to the transmission housing.

Now you should be ready to put in the new drive shaft.

Fitting the CV drive shafts

Try not to pull the CV shafts apart since you might end up in a situation where the balls inside the joints will fall out of their sleeve and the joint will not function properly. First lets do the right side.

Fitting the Right side

Firstly put some grease on the drive shaft end that goes into the transmission. This will aid the locking ring to slide into place.

Grease drive shaft end
Grease drive shaft end

Use a rubber hammer and knock in the drive shaft into the transmission, make sure it is all the way in. The shaft should now line up with the intermediate bearing bracket holes. Use some thread locker on the bolts and tighten to reasonably tight.

Frive sahft intermidiate right side bracket
The right side drive shaft intermediate bracket should line up. Use thread locker on the bolts and tighten

Fitting the left side

Fitting the left side is just as fitting the right one, except the intermediate bracket fastening. Be sure that the drive shaft is far enough in so the dust cap goes over the inner seal rubber flap.

Fitting the end

If you need to change the lower ball-joint and the tie-rod, this is how you do it.

Remove the lower ball joint. Here you will need the E-torx if it is the original one still attached.

3 E-torx bolts securing the lower ball-joint with the suspension arm
3 E-torx bolts securing the lower ball-joint with the suspension arm

Once it is off, use a round wire brush to polish the inside the ball joint hole and the tie-rod insert hole. This is to remove any rust or left over dirt. This is a very important step in order to make them fit snugly.

Polish the lower ball joint hole
Brush the lower ball joint hole

Then use the same brush to clean the tie-rod hole.

Brush the tie-rod hole
Brush the tie-rod hole

Remember the tie-rod that might get stuck. Now use some anti seize Alu-paste to lubricate the lower ball joint and tie-rod holes before fitting them. So the same situation will not happen again if you need to loosen these again. Prepare for the worst you know.

Alu paste in tie-rod holes
Anti seize Alu paste in tie-rod holes

Ready now the new parts for fitting.

New parts vs old
New parts vs old. The older are a bit crusty. The left side is the cut one which was stuck and cut, needed a change here.

The new ball joints will usually have normal bolts instead of the E-torx ones, except the ones I ordered didn’t come with new bolts so I had to reuse them. This is totally fine. The top bolt always are new, do not reuse these, since they have a locking plastic ring. So here you don not have to use thread locker. Since you have to use a spanner to tighten the ball joint bolt, you can not use a torque wrench normally, so tighten with some force within reason. It will be pressed in the fitting and will not come loose.

New lower ball joint fitted
New lower ball joint fitted.

Before you insert the CV shaft into the hub, you will need to polish the inner hub surfaces. It is probably a bit rusty. Clean it up with sand paper so it is completely smooth.

Rusty inner surface of hub
Rusty inner surface of hub. This needs to cleaned with sand paper.

Use some CV lithium-moly grease for the interface between the CV shaft and the hub. This is important to keep noises and vibrations from the hub after you fit a new CV shaft. This is a common problem on front wheeled drive cars, the knocking after you replace completely new axles. Especially on Volkswagen and Audis. M ake sure to follow their recommendation with using CV moly grease.

CV Lithium moly-grease
CV Lithium moly-grease
Grease the inside of the hub
Grease the inside of the hub with CV moly grease
Grease the inside of the CV shaft where it interfaces with the hub
Grease the inside of the CV shaft where it interfaces with the hub

You do not have to grease the spline where it goes into the hub. Since you want to avoid slipping change of the drive gears.

Lower ball joint
Loosen the Lower ball joint with a 22mm spanner. Use a hex. wrench to hold the stud from rotating.

Now mark the spot where the tie-rod was and unscrew it from the steering rack rods. Put the new ones in in the exact same length as the ones you put out. You probably still need a front alignment job after this, but might at least make the car go somewhat straight meanwhile. Put some anti seize alu-paste on it.

Steering rack rod
Steering rack rod. Put some anti seize alu-paste on it!

After tightening then put on the tie-rod end on the hub knuckle assembly. Use at first a spanner and the hex to keep it from spinning, then tighten snugly. Then move over to the torque tool and tighten it to 60Nm.

Tightening tie-rod
Tightening tie-rod. Tighten to 60Nm.

If you removed the brake caliper, these bolts needs thread locker and then tightening to 115Nm. The little bolt to the brake disk which goes on the hub needs thread locker and only 15Nm.

After tightening the tie-rod, the only remaining is to tighten the CV drive shaft spline nut. To to this, the wheel have to go on first. And then lower the wheel to the ground so you can tighten the nut. The torque tool has to be set to 100Nm and then then tighten 60 degrees more after your each the torque setting. Prepare marks on a circle so you know roughly how much to torque. There is even apps on your phone to to this, or make circle from paper and put it on yourtool. Or buy a tool which tells you exactly the degrees.

Tightening the CV drive shaft nut
Tightening the CV drive shaft nut. 100Nm then 60 degrees.

After torquing the drive shaft spline nut, raise the wheel up. Take off the wheel. Put the hub dust cap back on then put the wheel back on.

If any transmission fluid came out it the time to replace this with the exact amount which came out. This might not be needed, depends only if some transmission fluid ran out during the job.

Take the car for a test drive and listen and feel if there are any weird sounds or vibrations. If all good you are done. Consider you a master of mechanics DIY jobs. This job is not easy and you should be very proud!

Robs Out!

How to change the Emergency Brake on Mercedes Benz W245 B-Class

Have you ever experienced running after your car while it free-coasts down a hill? Or have you thought leaving the car in Park on your automatic was totally safe until you later find the car flipped over at the bottom of the hill? Well maybe it’s time to fix that little issue with the emergency brake! Might also come in handy if your hydraulic brakes decides to take home-office one day, better safe than I told you so!

Many cars have issues with the emergency brake simply because of too little use especially when you have an automatic. Simply leave it in park and it will not move, well that’s mostly true if on flat ground. The emergency brake is mechanically operated usually though the pulling force of wires and springs. When not in use this mechanism will inevitably rust in place. This is exacerbated on salty winter roads with and infrequent cleaning of the car. On the Mercedes W245 it uses basically the same system Mercedes have always throughout the last decades, except there is very unconventional Mercedes style of using a hand lever in the center-console instead of the usual pedal lever.

On this B-Class the emergency brake system was completely inoperable and nothing happened when pulling the lever. My initial thought was to exchange the cables, but after some thinking I decided to change both the brake shoes and the cables together. The job took a little longer than expected due to corrosion and some unforeseen stuff.

Preparation

I urge you to inspect the brake shields for rust before starting on this journey, because if they are very rusted, you will not be able to secure the brake shoes inside the brake rotors. If the brake dust-shields are severely rusted, you will need to get new ones. And the job requires you to detach the rear hubs in order to install them. Changing the brake shields will not be covered here.

You should also just change the rear brake pads and rotors if necessary since you will be dealing with the same area of the car anyway.

Things you might need:

  • Emergency brake cable left side
  • Emergency brake cable right side (not the same as the left one)
  • Emergency brake shoe repair kit, which includes new springs
  • (Rear brake pads)
  • (Rear brake rotors)
  • (Left and rear brake dust- shield)

Removal Procedure

To support the rear end, you need medium tall adjustable jack-stands. Start by jacking up the rear end. Use wheel chucks to prevent the front wheels from rolling. Place the rear on jack-stands, there is a clever area near the back end of the car for the stands, I also use a backup jack at the jack-point for the side I’m working on. Take off the rear wheels, and before you do anything else, get a bucket with soapy dish water and a stiff brush (like an old dishwasher brush). Then brush down the entire brake assembly and surrounding area! This is to prevent harmful brake dust getting loose and into your lungs. The soapy water will bind up the harmful brake dust and road grime so be generous and thorough with the scrubbing. It also makes the job a lot less dirty and more enjoyable.

Rear brake hub assembly
Dirty rear brake hub assembly. Note placement of jack-stands behind the rear springs.

Remove the brake caliper. Use two spanners to loosen the piston assembly. Then loosen the bolts for the brake carrier attached the rear hub. These bolts are not very tight compared to the front calipers. To relieve stress from the brake hose, use some string or zip ties to hang the caliper from the spring or similar.

Now comes the tricky part. Loosen the securing nut for the rear rotor with a Torx bit. Then you need to pull outwards the rotor from the hub. It might be frozen due to rust and seized in the parking brake mechanism. Make sure you don’t have the parking brake applied. If the rotor is frozen, tap it lightly with a hammer. Too much tapping might warp the rotor and you will get vibration while braking. I used a lot of time and force in able to pull it loose from the emergency brake. The old rusted springs ended up snapping instead of the shoe giving in. There was a thick layer of rust encapsulating the brake shoe.

Remvoving disk rotor
Removing the rotor. Use a couple of wheel nuts along with a long screwdriver or similar as lever.

Since the springs broke and the brake shoes fell off I don’t have a picture of the assembly still on the hub, but the mechanism to the cable is . This was very rusted together and was the reason the mechanism didn’t work along with a very tired cable.

Emergency brake lever mechanism inside hub.

Use a lot of WD-40 or similar rust penetrant and let is soak before starting to loosen it. Unhook the cable from the underside of the car in order to loosen the cable mechanism.

Emergency brake cable
Unhook e-brake cable

Using a plier drag out the E-brake lever mechanism from under the hub in order to get more space.

E-brake lever mechnaism
E-brake lever mechanism. It is held in place with a pin through the end of the cable. Remove the pin to loosen the cable.

The lever is made up from 3 parts. The outer lever, the inner lever and a pin connecting the inner lever to the cable. Use a punch to remove this pin in order to get the cable free. The repair kit for the e-brake usually does not contain the lever mechanism and the pin so make sure not to loose these parts!

There is one last step to free the cable. There is one bolt securing it on the backside of the hub. Here you will need an E-Torx bit to get it loose.

E-brake fastener
E-brake cable fastener on the backside of the hub.

Now the cable is free and you can pull it from the backside and the cables can be removed.

Restoration

The e-brake lever mechanism is probably rusted like mine and needs a thorough clean and lubrication. I applied some rust stabilising paint in order for the repair to last longer, but this is totally up to you. The E-brake mechanism also contains a cylinder with a small cog over it. These are neither included in the e-brake service kit and you need to reuse these in a non-rusted fashion.

Rusted e-brake lever parts
Rusted e-brake lever parts. The two cable ends on the right side can be thrown. I had to cut them since they were so rusted to the pins I had to get the pins out on the bench.

I decided to clean and repaint the rear calipers as well since they were really ugly. This is totally optional and of course the whole ordeal will take longer.

Lubricate the e-brake lever mechanism with heat resistant lubrication, such as aluminium paste or copper paste. This will make it not seize up as fast. Also lubricate the adjusting wheel on the cylinder screw.

After you are satisfied with the restoration work you can start assembling the stuff.

Assembly

Reverse from removal…. Just kidding! This might take longer than you expect, since working with the springs of the E-brake is very fiddly. There might be some tools that might make this job easier, but you still need some brute force. So take a sip of the patience tea (or hibiscus) and get going!

Start with attaching the new cable in place and attach the lever mechanism. Make sure to drag the lever all the way in so it takes up as little space as possible. This is the easy part.

new cable
New cable popping through
Lubricated E-brake lever
Lubricated E-brake lever

Now for the hard part. Check out the picture for reference on how the emergency brake is assembled around the hub. Make sure the adjstment screw is all the way in so it’s at its shortest length

E-brake shoe and springs
Assembly of E-brake shoe and springs.

This is a bit trial and error since I might not have the best method here, but I found out that you need to keep the top spring in place on both sides and the adjusting cog in place. Keep the lower thicker spring in place on only one side and slide it beneath the lever mechanism. Use a flat headed screwdriver which is at the same width as the two outer springs which will need to fit into the slots in the brake dust-shield. They have to go in vertically then use the screwdriver to turn the spring 90 degrees to secure the spring. Start by doing one end then the other. Now the e-brake shoes are under quite a lot of tension and they are totally out of place. Try forcing one side into its natural place while using a strong hook to grab the loose end of the lower spring and try reaching the other shoe. This is more tricky than it seems and it’s possible to get it all fit up and still the whole assembly to be out of alignment. Trust me you will know if it’s not aligned properly. You will not be able to use it or get the brake disk rotor on.

I must have used a couple of hours to get both side on and was quite tired after it. Drink a lot of hibiscus to not loose nerves!

A trick is to use gloves while working to spare your hands, try to avoid impaling yourself on sharp hooks, spring and your tools. Also try not to use too much force on the smaller spring since it will break easily. If you break some of the springs you will need to get new ones otherwise the wheel might get stuck while driving. This is critical and must be sorted.

Emergency brake in place
Emergency brake in place, upper section. Notice how it gits snugly around the hub.
E-brake
E-brake in place. Lower section

Now that the E-brake assembly is in place, put back the brake disk rotor, this should pop right on now that the E-brake is adjusted all the way in. Make sure there is no tension in the cable, adjust the cable at the cable clip under the car if necessary. When the rotor is back on. It is time to fit the rear calipers back on. The bolts require some thread lock and only tighten them to 35Nm.

If you are putting on new brake pads, remember to coat the mechanical moving parts with some brake pad grease to avoid friction. Use lightly and never coat the disk surface or the brake pad material itself.

Calipers bolted on.
Freshly painted brake calipers
Freshly painted brake calipers

So you thought you were done? Time to adjust the E-brakes now!

Adjustment

Start with tightening the cable mechanism under the car. When it’s tight enough so the wheels will spin with a slight resistance when the E-brake is off the cables are good. Now fine adjustment is needed with the cogs. Put on the wheels, but leave one bolt off on each wheel. Spin the wheel again with the E-brake off. If it’s freely spinning, then tighten the E-brake with spinning the adjustment cog with a long flat headed screw driver through the wheel lug hole. Tightening is done when the screw is going outwards. Use a small torch to see what you are doing. When there is a small resistance. You should be good. Now pull on the E-brake on hard. Remember the cables will stretch and settle a bit. Now with the E-brake off again, repeat the same procedure. The wheels should be not able to spin after just one click with the E-brake on when the shoes are new.

The next step is to find an incline to test with. Here usually you will find that more adjustment is needed. I really like when there only needs on or two clicks for the car to stand still when there is an incline. I had to go back and adjust a couple of times before I could find the right adjustment with the cogs. If the cogs will need a large adjustment, then rather adjust the cable under the car. Because when next E-brake adjustment is needed, it is more easy to just have the extra available adjustment for the cogs with a screw driver, for example at the next wheel change. Instead of crawling under the car and doing the cables.

Hope it was helpful. This job really sucks and in order to avoid it more times, better use the E-brake frequently so they do not rust. I have never seen worn out E-brake shoes rather than rusted out mechanism. Cables also wear out or stretch faster than the brake shoes gets worn.

Body shop W245 edition

– A tale about rusty body panels and Mona Lisa

I cringe when I see rust on on cars. It clearly shows neglect and non interest on the owner’s part. It could be as simple as lack of washing the car, ignoring stone chips or heavy use resulting in deep scratches. However car use in winter conditions where the use of road salt is common, small openings in the paint can cause large rust areas to appear quite fast and the owner can’t always be to blame. Therefore it’s more important to regularly wash the car in the winter than in the summer time. Due to the impossibility to avoid any rust appearing in these conditions, is the reason I keep the vintage classics parked in the winter time. It is very hard to maintain older cars during winter time and the rust is very pervasive into every area. So why not use a disposable B-Class during winter?

So when I took over the B-class of course it had rust after many years winter use in Norway. Luckily all of it is just surface rust, but if not attended to it can develop into holes already in the next winter. Along with the other issues on the car I needed to get this fixed before using it.

Attraction points for rust due to stone chips from the narrow wheel arches.

The B-Class has a design issue in my opinion since the wheels slightly go too far outside the narrow wheel arches and stone chips really eat away the paint on the edges as well as along the sides of the skirts. This is most apparent on the rear wheels, but also an issue in the front. This happen even with the standard tire widths. So expect the paint to be chipped away by default. The car should have really have installed some mud flaps.

I had to address all four wheel arches of varying degree of rust, as well as the area beneath the side skirts and the underside of the drivers door. There was also beginning to form rust in the drain area for the window wiper mechanism on the passenger side. I think the main cause here is winter use,, but it could have been prevented more by washing it more often to get the salt off.

With paint it’s better to do all areas you want to paint in one go since the process of masking and drying of multiple coatings take forever to prepare and do. The painting in itself is the fast part of it. Then you have the surface preparation such as rust removal and making sure it’s completely clean. There could be additional steps of applying filler and sanding to make it even nicer. With this car I totally neglected filler and sanding since achieving the Mona Lisa with this cheap car is not worth it. Remember the longer time you use on a paint job the better the result. I tried to get a balance between visual satisfaction and function. Protect the car from rust while looking nice from 1-2 meters away.

Starting out. There is a small area of rust on the edge of the door as well. And multiple bubbles on the wheel arch needs to be attended. Rust continues on under the side skirt. Need to remove side skirt to get access.
Rust is sanded away with a narrow belt grinder. Super useful tool. The black is a rust converter paint which is clear in colour but turns black in contact with rust and forms a hard coating. This can be used as a primer, but I use a thick primer anyway over it.
Masking and priming paint. After priming the masking have to be removed. To avoid edges in the paint the edge from priming should be sanded down. If not Mona Lisa, you can skip it.
Before applying the metallic paint. Move the masking out and bend the masking paper without sharp edges to feather the new paint against the old. The result will be 100 times better than sharp edges, since the new paint will never have the exact colour of the old paint.
Painted with metallic and clear coat. I used 3 layers of metallic and 3-4 layers of clear. Not perfect but much better than rust. I’m very happy with the results!

Now let’s hope this lasts through the winter. I’m pretty certain that I will have to tend to new stone chip spots in the spring, but that’s the life when they put sand and gravel on the icy covered roads to grind away my paint. Then pour salt in the wounds so the chipped paint can start top rust. Thank you so much, sincerely! Looking forward to the summer already.

So about that Mona Lisa. Close enough huh?!?!?

Funny mona lisa

Robs Out!

Unmodding the W245 B-Class

The B-Class has some extra headlights mounted. Not only are they ugly, they are also completely useless when not working! I’m unsure whey they are put there in the first place since the B-Class has quite good original headlights. Also there is some weird power drain on the battery when the car is parked, and it could be part of the culprit. This must be removed promptly!

B-Class with extra headlights
Those headlights must be removed!

Following the spaghetti wire into the car and under the passenger side floor is the location of the battery. There a surprise was waiting, turns out the positive power for the extra lights relay is connected to the negative battery pole. Great.. We’ll remove that crap and throw out the spaghetti.

Headlights relay
Spaghetti wiring of extra lights relay. Red power wire connected wrong to the battery.

To remove the extra headlights I had to remove the grill. There were quite a lot of bolts attached into the plastic of the grill and bumper. The whole assembly job smelled of cheap. The headlights themselves are Hella and of ok quality, but the the water and coronation attracting wiring job without solder and drilling straight into the plastic of the car is not ok! It really felt good ripping the whole assembly off.

w245 without grille
No grille

So finally after removing the crappy extra lights I could put everything back together. I’m quite displeased with the holes in my grille. Might need to replace it now. The holes in the bumper can at least be hidden behind the front number plate.

Looking better already!

Job well done, at least it doesn’t look like a turd.

Robs out!