Low-dust (ceramic ?) brake pads for w124

Discussion in 'Parts, Maintenance & Servicing' started by biggerhalf, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. biggerhalf

    biggerhalf New Member

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    Here's the topic no one has ever discussed before ;)

    I am looking for low dust (ceramic ?) pads with UK homologation.

    This is for a daily c124 in 90% urban cycle (no track/race use).

    EBC Red Stuff are the only ones I can find over here.
    Sadly, reading customer testimonials on EBC page and the interwebs brings up too many horror stories of pads disintegrating in use, leading to severe fright and actual accidents.
    At best the satisfaction ratio seems to be 60% negative at first glance.
    I won't be risking these.

    Is there any other low-dust ceramic pad brand that you know/use that is available in UK and has a sales network/customer service based here ?

    Akebono appears well-regarded but seems mostly USA-centric.

    Please advise.
     
  2. Petrol Pete

    Petrol Pete Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I have Akebono on the rear of mine , no dust (to speak of) and no noise BUT and as you can see it's a BIG but the rear rotors are pitted with what appears to be rust but the pads contain an element of copper, so who knows.

    Now , here is the back story. some time ago on here I posted how my local mechanic and I were chatting and he had not used his disc lathe for a while so we ran it up on my rear discs. The discs were ok but one had a mysterious 'dwell' like groove in it, so running the lathe on them seemed to be a bit of fun just to see what happened.

    At the time I posted that this was not really a fix for anything as rear discs for a C55 are as cheap as chips and it was just us giving the lathe a run.
    We put the Akebonos in and the brakes work fine but then a strange rust like pitting appeared, it's like when the car has been parked out in the rain for a few days, but unlike that rust it does not go away.

    Now, here is where it gets (mildly) interesting, today I am collecting 4 new Brembo discs (standard fitment) to fit to the car and I have a set of Akebono pads for the front.

    My guess is the tooling on the disc lathe may have contaminated the brake surface causing the pitting.

    If my guess is wrong I am about to ruin 4 new Brembo brake discs with Akebono pads.:eek:

    Watch this space.
     
  3. grober

    grober MB Club Veteran

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    I expect what you are seeing are fine copper particles. Because ceramic fibres are not good conductors of heat copper particles are used as a heat transfer material. Environmental regulations dictate that this copper content has to be reduced by 2021.
    It should be noted also that Akebono pads for the European market may be different to those sold in the USA.
    A technical discussion on ceramic pads here.
    quote:--
    The latest rules to affect friction materials is California's rule to reduce copper content in brake pads. California wants brake manufacturers to reduce copper to less than 5 percent by 2021 and .05 percent by 2025. The reason? Copper is an environmental pollutant that can be toxic to aquatic life. Brake dust runoff from highways can contaminate nearby lakes and streams.
    Copper is used in brake pads to conduct heat. Copper is a good thermal conductor but ceramic is not, so small pieces of copper have been mixed with the ceramic fibers to help the pads run cooler and resist fade when the brakes get hot. Reducing the copper content or removing it altogether has led to the development of new low-copper or copper free ceramic friction materials that actually perform better than before. These next generation ceramic materials provide better stopping power, reduced wear and quieter braking than the previous generation of ceramic materials they are replacing.


    Ceramic Brake Pads
     
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  4. Petrol Pete

    Petrol Pete Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    ^^^ I bought the Akebonos in the USA a few months ago. I was tempted to buy a bunch of front pads for various C/E 63's and stick them in the classifieds here, but they are so bloody heavy I just couldn't be bothered. Lazy git. I will put them in when I fit the new discs and see what happens , If I end up with discs that look permanently rusty but work well it will be my problem. I will of course report back so people can decided on whether to seek out Akebono pads or not. Should happen this week.
     
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  5. OP
    OP
    biggerhalf

    biggerhalf New Member

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    1995 c124 E320
    Thanks for that back story, @grober.

    Of note : this article is from 2003.
    The last sentence "These next generation ceramic materials provide better stopping power, reduced wear and quieter braking than the previous generation of ceramic materials they are replacing" looks hopefully into the (then) future.
    Now, 15 years later, where are those miraculous products ?

    One thing seems true : ceramics do produce less dust or less visible/adhesive dust than semi-metallic pads.
    But ...
    Having also started the same thread on w124-specific FB group, a common denominator of most answers from people who used both types of pads is : ceramic pads feel spongy, fade quicker and do not bite as well as semi-metallics.
    If true overall - it seems the new ceramic compounds which were being talked about with great hope 15 years ago still didn't arrive :(

    Those of you who have a direct comparative experience of using traditional vs ceramic pads :
    Would you characterise the main differences in the same way (with respect to pedal feel, fade resistance and stopping power) ?
     
  6. alabbasi

    alabbasi Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    We get WBR which I think is wordpac's house brand. They're not bad pads. The ceramic pads for my E55 were about $30 which is a heck of a deal.
     
  7. kowalski

    kowalski Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    I wudd recommend you Portersfield R4S street pads.
    Unfortunately they are US pads.
    Very quiet pads, never squealed on me and they are very low dust!!

    Compound is carbon/kevlar.
    Extremely rotor friendly, R4S pads been on my front rotors for nearly 13 years now.
    I still have plenty of meat to grind on my front pads!
     
  8. Petrol Pete

    Petrol Pete Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Kowalski. I have a competition motorcycle that that has been on the same front brake pads for 6 years now. It hasn't moved in those six years, I suspect if I keep it in the corner of my workshop for a further 7 years it too will have 13 year old brake pads.

    13 years is great for a set of brake pads. But how many miles , and what type of miles , they have done ? that is the only sensible way to judge them. Cheers
     
  9. kowalski

    kowalski Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    covered approx 55000km's on my R4S, mostly urban and highway driving.
    if I have to brake in stop 'n' go motion then I lose energy from my fuel tank ;)

    I wudd definately go with Portersfield again on my next set! :) :)
     
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  10. Petrol Pete

    Petrol Pete Hardcore MB Enthusiast

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    Further to my earlier post.
    It's done. I fitted the new Brembo front discs to my C55 today and installed the Akebono Carbon brake pads. Had a little drive around to bed them in a bit, unfortunately the install finished later than expected so I ended up driving out into our version of rush hour.

    Subsequently I have nothing much to report. Give me a few days or so....if you can stay awake that long :p
     

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