Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: France - down by the Spanish border
Vehicle: 2014 SLK250
Other Toys: RS3, MacanS, MGBV8
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I hate to make your day worse than it is already, but yes, the hub and shaft have to come off to get the backing plate on. Not a pleasant job - needs pullers and large torx socket (cannot remember the size) and then it is also new bearing and oil seal while you are at it.
However, depending on how much you do not want to pull the rear to bits, it is possible with a judicious cut into the back plate.
Take yours off and you will see what I mean. At one position, the plate will nearly slide over the hub. It is possible, and you will see this I am sure on many MBs, to make a shallow cut into the back plate so it will slide over the hub. Once you have the plate in front of you, it will apparent where to make the cut into the recess that is already cut.
The backing plate does not do anything stucturally, so a cut is not going to weaken anything, but bear in mind that it will allow dust into the brake drum, so, after the new plate is on cover it up with a small layer of GRP or such like…
I too am surprised the worm has attacked the plate. Do you live in a particularly salty environment? My concern is that if the plate has rusted, where else has it attacked? I am thinking of the lower swing arm which, under the plastic cover, is only pressed steel. Might be worth having a look.