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Registered 2002 SLK32 AMG
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello everyone! I just wanted to take a moment to share my experiences and some information that will hopefully help someone out in the future, should they decide to upgrade their rotors and pads on their SLK32. Forgive me in advance, as this post may (ok, will!) get a little long-winded. As I write this, it's been a very long day and my brain isn't letting me put this story into words very well :grin:

Ok, here goes: My beloved SLK32 was due for front brakes a couple months ago, so I decided to upgrade to ceramic pads and slotted rotors. For pads, I chose Akebonos due to the positive reviews I've read on them, and the reduction in brake dust which is ever-present on German cars was of great appeal to me. Now, one of the downsides of ceramic pads is their lack of 'bite' when cold, so I decided to go with slotted rotors to help alleviate a potential issue.

Now, having done my research, which presented limited choices, I ordered a set of Stoptech slotted rotors (P/Ns 126.35054SL/126.35054SR, listed in their catalog as fits the SLK32) and the Akebono pads (EUR682) and awaited their arrival. I received them, and went about installing them. Here's where things take a bit of a turn- the Stoptech rotors were drilled for the wrong bolt pattern! I double-checked the drawing Stoptech had for them online, which was correct, but the actual part was different. All the actual photos I've seen of these rotors (Needswings website comes to mind) match the rotors I received. I'll post a couple photos illustrating the difference:

Stock rotor (Note the location of the retaining screw vs. the lug holes):


Stoptech rotor (Once again, note screw hole vs. lug orientation, screw hole is in correct location vs hub):


Quite a difference! Now, the hard part- Stoptech only deals with their distributors, so there's no e-mail address or hotline to call to make anyone at the company aware of the issue. So, the only option that they give is to return the parts to the distributor for a refund, which I promptly did.

Now, what's the solution? As luck would have it, I came across a company called R1Concepts in my research. After e-mailing them about my previous dilemma, they double-checked the fitment for me, and I got them on the way. Another photo, and you can see that they are of great quality, and more importantly, fit correctly!


I now have over 2,000 miles on this braking setup, and the rotors/pads have performed flawlessly. One important thing to note about the Akebono pads: they are super quiet, stop the car well, and hardly dust at all compared to the MB pads. There is a trade-off, however. You will notice that there is less overall 'positive' feel on the pedal end, it will feel a bit spongy unless the pads are hot, but this is a characteristic of all ceramic pads. They are also very gentle on the rotor, after 2,000 miles I can still see the crosshatching on the rotors, which would have been long-gone with semi-metallic pads.

So, in closing: The Stoptech rotors are the wrong ones for our cars, don't make the mistake I did! I hope somehow, someway this helps out one of my fellow SLK32 owners that are looking to upgrade their rotors. I wish there was some way to inform Stoptech of the issue, as the rotors themselves were of very high quality. However, the R1 rotors are very nice as well. If you've made it this far, thank you for reading my long post, and good luck with your brake upgrades!
 

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Registered 2002 SLK32 AMG
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Just did it!

My 32 also needed brakes and I decided to go the exact route you did. You are correct in that the location of the flat head screw countersink is not located correctly in the StopTech slotted and drilled rotors. I am not concerned with eliminating that screw since it's only function is to keep the rotor holes aligned with the holes in the hub behind while the wheels are removed. I use an alignment stud when I mount my wheels onto the car to prevent damage, so the rotor and hub are automatically aligned. Once the first lug bolt is installed, the rotor and hub remain aligned. I think this is a small price to pay to have these great rotors. The brake feel is terrific and they look great. I'm glad I did it.

Ken
 

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Registered 2002 SLK32 AMG
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Discussion Starter #4
My 32 also needed brakes and I decided to go the exact route you did. You are correct in that the location of the flat head screw countersink is not located correctly in the StopTech slotted and drilled rotors. I am not concerned with eliminating that screw since it's only function is to keep the rotor holes aligned with the holes in the hub behind while the wheels are removed. I use an alignment stud when I mount my wheels onto the car to prevent damage, so the rotor and hub are automatically aligned. Once the first lug bolt is installed, the rotor and hub remain aligned. I think this is a small price to pay to have these great rotors. The brake feel is terrific and they look great. I'm glad I did it.

Ken
Good to hear that the drilled/slotted Stoptechs worked out for you!

The slotted ones are a different matter, unfortunately. It's hard to tell from the pictures, and I neglected to take a picture of this, but the rotor is actually drilled out for the wrong wheel bolt pattern as well. So, not only does the locating screw not line up, the holes for the wheel studs don't line up either. The locating screw is actually closer to the correct placement than the lug holes, which are way off from where they should be (drilled for a larger bolt pattern).

Oddly enough, this only seems to be a problem on the slotted rotors, as I haven't heard of any complaints on the drilled or the drilled/slotted ones from Stoptech. As I mentioned earlier, there doesn't seem to be a way to contact Stoptech directly to inform them of this as they only sell to authorized suppliers, so my intention was to warn others before they end up in the same boat. :smile:
 

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Howdy SR/Concepts. Thank you for the rotor and pad info, but i'm curious what edition of rotors you are testing from R1 concepts? they offer various lines.

eLINE Silver Zinc Brake Rotors
R1 Premier Series Brake Rotors
EBC Brake Rotors
Hawk Performance Brake Rotors
eLINE Gold Zinc Brake Rotors
eLINE Black Zinc Brake Rotors

Thanks
 

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Registered 2002 SLK32 AMG
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Discussion Starter #6
Howdy SR/Concepts. Thank you for the rotor and pad info, but i'm curious what edition of rotors you are testing from R1 concepts? they offer various lines.

eLINE Silver Zinc Brake Rotors
R1 Premier Series Brake Rotors
EBC Brake Rotors
Hawk Performance Brake Rotors
eLINE Gold Zinc Brake Rotors
eLINE Black Zinc Brake Rotors

Thanks
I went with the silver eLine rotors. The only reason that I didn't go with the Premier series rotors is that they are made by Centric, whom also supplies Stoptech. Both Stoptech and R1 Premier rotors are the same exact high-carbon 'blanks' from Centric (p/n 125.35054, this number is also etched into the edge of the rotors themselves), and each company machines their own slots in them. I didn't want to risk those being drilled out incorrectly as well and having to pay return shipping twice, not to mention my SLK being down another week. The eLine rotors are from a different supplier.
 

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I went with the silver eLine rotors. The only reason that I didn't go with the Premier series rotors is that they are made by Centric, whom also supplies Stoptech. Both Stoptech and R1 Premier rotors are the same exact high-carbon 'blanks' from Centric (p/n 125.35054, this number is also etched into the edge of the rotors themselves), and each company machines their own slots in them. I didn't want to risk those being drilled out incorrectly as well and having to pay return shipping twice, not to mention my SLK being down another week. The eLine rotors are from a different supplier.
After reading these posts, I too, went to R1 concepts and ordered the drilled and slotted eLine rotors with the ceramic pads for my car. Interesting to note, that when I checked them out, there were two attaching screw holes in different positions. Anyway, they fit great. All that's left to do is bed them in and I'll be ready to go! Or stop!
 

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Registered 2002 SLK32 AMG
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233 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
After reading these posts, I too, went to R1 concepts and ordered the drilled and slotted eLine rotors with the ceramic pads for my car. Interesting to note, that when I checked them out, there were two attaching screw holes in different positions. Anyway, they fit great. All that's left to do is bed them in and I'll be ready to go! Or stop!
Good to hear they've worked out for you! What sort of ceramic pads did you go with? I know that R1 offers their own, so I am curious as to what choice you made, as well as how you like them compared to the stock brake pads.

On a side note, there's not a lick of rust on my rotors even after all these months, so the zinc coating on them also does it's job very well.
 

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Good to hear they've worked out for you! What sort of ceramic pads did you go with? I know that R1 offers their own, so I am curious as to what choice you made, as well as how you like them compared to the stock brake pads.

On a side note, there's not a lick of rust on my rotors even after all these months, so the zinc coating on them also does it's job very well.
I bought the kit so I believe they are the R1 pads. I have not really driven the car other than to bed in the brakes so I'm not sure how they compare. I have some errands to run later so I'll find out more then. I've heard that the ceramic pads get better as you go on but I don't know since I have never used them before.
 

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Registered 2002 SLK32 AMG
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Discussion Starter #10
I bought the kit so I believe they are the R1 pads. I have not really driven the car other than to bed in the brakes so I'm not sure how they compare. I have some errands to run later so I'll find out more then. I've heard that the ceramic pads get better as you go on but I don't know since I have never used them before.
Those should be the R1 pads then. :smile: You're correct that they get better as they wear in, but there's one important thing that makes ceramics work well: heat. I've had to adjust my braking style a bit, as I'm very easy on the brakes and generally just let engine braking slow me down. I can brake much more aggressively with the ceramic pads without the fear of wear (I can still see the break-in crosshatching on the rotors even after all these miles as evidence), and also to build up the heat that they like so much.

Also, don't be surprised if the pedal feel is less 'positive' than it was before, as ceramic is softer than metallic/semi-metallic pad material.
 

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Also, don't be surprised if the pedal feel is less 'positive' than it was before, as ceramic is softer than metallic/semi-metallic pad material.[/QUOTE]

Ah-ha!!! That explains the "ooops did I do something wrong?" feeling I got when I first drove it. :smile:
I wonder if some braided stainless steel brake lines would help that?
 

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Registered 2002 SLK32 AMG
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Discussion Starter #12
Ah-ha!!! That explains the "ooops did I do something wrong?" feeling I got when I first drove it. :smile:
I wonder if some braided stainless steel brake lines would help that?
Unfortunately, it wouldn't help unless your rubber hoses were severely deteriorated anyway. It is a bit of an odd feeling when you first use the pedal, however it's very normal. One of the reasons I went with the slotted rotors is the increase in bite that they offer, and I believe this helps with ceramic pads. Don't be scared to be hard on the brakes, they actually work the best when you are, whereas metallic/semi-metallic pads are prone to fading from heat. I haven't measured actual before/after stopping distance, but it feels the same if not better. The biggest benefit you'll notice is that there should be a distinct lack of brake dust accumulation, which is why I went with them in the first place, as I grew tired of cleaning the wheels every weekend :laugh:
 

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Thanks, that's good to know! The dust was one of the reasons I went that route, although my car came with dust shields on the front. But they're kinda ugly although they do keep the dust off the wheels. Problem is, it stays under there! Lord what a mess! I have been wanting to get rid of them and what better excuse than ceramic pads and drilled and slotted rotors that now I will be able to show off without having to clean my wheels every week! I think my hoses are still good, but it made SUCH a difference on my bike, I thought it might mitigate some of that "soft" feel. Plus they look cool. :)
 

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Registered 2002 SLK32 AMG
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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks, that's good to know! The dust was one of the reasons I went that route, although my car came with dust shields on the front. But they're kinda ugly although they do keep the dust off the wheels. Problem is, it stays under there! Lord what a mess! I have been wanting to get rid of them and what better excuse than ceramic pads and drilled and slotted rotors that now I will be able to show off without having to clean my wheels every week! I think my hoses are still good, but it made SUCH a difference on my bike, I thought it might mitigate some of that "soft" feel. Plus they look cool. :)
Hey, if you like or want the S/S brake lines, I'd say go for it- there's nothing to be lost by doing so. They may or may not make the change you're looking for, but you'll also be completely sure the hoses are in good nick, which is important as even the newest R170 is now over 13 years old. FWIW, I also have S/S brake lines on my bike (Harley).

Also, if you'd like to tidy your brakes up a bit more, I highly recommend the POR15 caliper kit. I did mine in silver because I like the clean look it gives, but it's also pretty nuclear stuff (can't even chip it with a sledgehammer) and it'll help when cleaning the calipers as well. Just make sure to follow the instructions EXACTLY as the paint goes on in very thin coats. I like the extra 'bling' it gives, myself:grin:
 

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Also, if you'd like to tidy your brakes up a bit more, I highly recommend the POR15 caliper kit. I did mine in silver because I like the clean look it gives, but it's also pretty nuclear stuff (can't even chip it with a sledgehammer) and it'll help when cleaning the calipers as well. Just make sure to follow the instructions EXACTLY as the paint goes on in very thin coats. I like the extra 'bling' it gives, myself:grin:[/QUOTE]
Yes, I definitely want to do my calipers. Can't have them looking all dirty and ugly! Especially with the new rotors! I'm thinking I'd like to do mine in red, I think it looks more "racy". :grin: Where did you get the kit?
 

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Registered 2002 SLK32 AMG
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Discussion Starter #16
It can be had right here: POR-15 42809 Caliper Painting Kit RED Hi-Temp | eBay

It's a touch more expensive than other kits (Duplicolor and the like), but it's the best one I feel. Also, there's enough there to do at least 3-4 sets of calipers since it goes on in such thin coats, so with that in mind it's actually pretty cheap. I still have to find some calipers to paint to use mine up!
 
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