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M-Class: How to Remove & Install FRONT brake pads and rotors. 1998-2005

Remove and install new front brake pads and rotors on an ML Model (W163). A step-by-step article with pictures will show you the necessary steps to change the brake pads yourself. You will also find a DIY video at the end of this article.

This guide applies to M-Class, W163 Chassis:

Models: ML320, ML430 ML55 ML350 ML500
Years: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005.

Parts required: 

Genuine Mercedes-Benz Front Brake Pads

Genuine OEM Mercedes-Benz Front Rotors. Check fitment. 

Before you start replacing parts, inspecting the pads and rotors’ condition is a good idea. While brake pads are easy to inspect, rotors require that you measure the thickness of the disk to see if it is within limits. Specification values are shown in the Brake Disk/ Rotor Thickness table below. Make sure to also check for hairline cracks and scores. Warped rotors may be hard to inspect visibly, but you know they are defective if your steering wheel shakes when you brake.

You can easily measure the thickness of the rotors using a caliper gauge. Even if you have never used a caliper gauge, this one on Amazon is very straightforward.

Model With a floating caliper. 163.113/136/154/172 With fixed caliper  Model 168.006/008/009/032/033/035
Thickness  25 mm for the new rotor 32 mm for the new rotor 22 mm for the new rotor
Wear Limit 23 mm for used/replace 29.4 for used/replace 19.4 for used/ replace


  1. Open the hood.Mercedes_ML_w163_open hood
    Mercedes_ML_w163_front_grille_hood release
  2. Locate the brake fluid reservoir (Hint: It is in front of the firewall, driver side). Unscrew the cap from the brake fluid reservoir.Mercedes_ML_w163_brake fluid reservoir location
  3. Jack up the car and remove the wheel you will be working on. Make sure to secure the car with jack stands. Mercedes_ML_w163_front_brake_pads_diy06
  4. Inspect: Check brake pad thickness and condition of rotors. Check for brake fluid leaks. Check dust seals for damage. Mercedes_ML_w163_front_brake_pads_diy09
  5. Remove the brake pad wear sensor connector. If the sensor is worn, showing bare wire, you must replace it. Otherwise, it can be reused. Mercedes_ML_w163_front_brake_wear sensor
  6. Get ready to remove the caliper. There are two caliper types: fixed and sliding.
    Fixed Caliper: You will need to use a drive pin punch tool
    Sliding Caliper:  Remove guide bolts. In this case, it uses T-40. Check out deals on Amazon for specials on T-Socket Tool Set. Mercedes_ML_w163_front_brake_pads_diy12
  7. Remove the caliper together with the brake pads. Be careful not to twist the brake hose too much. You should tie the brake caliper to the suspension component so that it is not hanging and putting pressure on the hose.Mercedes_ML_w163_front_brake_pads_diy15
  8. Pay close attention to the old pad’s position so that you install the correct pad on the correct side. The pads are different for left and right.Mercedes_ML_w163_front_brake_pads_diy16
  9. Press the brake piston using a pusher tool. You can use any pusher, but this Brake Caliper Press is a very neat compressor that you can use.
  10. Clean the contact surface of the brake pads in the caliper. You can use a metal brush cleaner.Mercedes_ML_w163_front_brake_pads_diy19
  11. Reinstall in reverse order.Mercedes_ML_w163_front_brake_pads_diy21
  12. Install caliper guide bolts and tighten them to 30 Nm using a torque wrench.
  13. Close the brake reservoir cap.
  14. NOTE:  Once you install the pads and/or rotors, start the car but do not drive. Press the brake pads four or five times until they are hard to push again. 
  15. Check the brake fluid to make sure it is at the correct level. There should be a Max and Min mark on the brake fluid reservoir.

VIDEO: Front Brake Pads & Rotor Replacement 1999-2005 Mercedes-Benz ML


Related Part Numbers:

Front Brake Pads



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