As many owners of classic Mercedes know, a common symptom of an aging vehicle is a reduction in braking performance. Gradually and sometimes imperceptibly, brake pedal pressure slowly rises, resulting in an increase of the vehicle's stopping distance as well as an increase in the force required to safely stop vehicle, especially in emergency braking situations.
Quite commonly, these symptoms are the result of an aging brake booster, a component whose primary function is to ensure that the pedal pressure exerted by the driver is raised in the hydraulic lines of the brake system so as to bring the car to a standstill quickly and reliably.
Up to this point, a remedy for this situation did not exist, save for a number of makeshift components that owners would sometimes use to fix the problem. Oftentimes, these components did nothing to increase braking performance, and upon inspection, it was evident to Mercedes the parts did not coincide with the rest of the brand's trademark quality.
To arrive at a solution for classic Mercedes owners facing this predicament, the Genuine Parts department of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center enlisted the help of A.T.E., the manufacturer originally responsible for producing the brake booster. After a two year reproduction campaign consisting of both assembly and testing phases, the two companies have produced a completely-redesigned brake booster, not only equaling but actually bettering the performance of the original brake booster.
How much better?
Testing determined that after some 150,000 maneuvers, equivalent to approximately 50,000 kilometers of driving, the new brake booster exhibited virtually no signs of wear. After 300,000 simulated braking applications, it was determined that each of the brake booster's 96 precision parts still met Mercedes' stringent safety requirements, and that they all could continue functioning even after the endurance tests.
If you're interested, Mercedes' new brake booster is available in two models - the T50 and the T50/12. While it's best to check with the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center for model compatibility, the brake booster will fit a number of popular Mercedes models built from the 1950's to the early 1960's. Model series listed include the W105, W120, W121, W128, W188, as well as a number of other models that vary based on the VIN numbers. Pricing for the brake booster is the same for either version - EUR 2,500 plus VAT, and because it is a genuine Mercedes-Benz replacement part, each brake booster comes complete with a two-year warranty.
For more info on the brake booster as well as the full listing of compatible model series, keep scrolling for a number of photos, followed by the full press release.
OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
New T50 brake booster for Mercedes-Benz classics
New edition of booster brakes for Mercedes-Benz classics from the 1950s and early 1960s
Reproduction at the original manufacturer to original specifications with improved quality
Fellbach, Jun 29, 2006
Good news for all owners of Mercedes-Benz classics from the 1950s and early 1960s: as of now, the Mercedes-Benz Classic is offering new brake boosters – type ATE T50 and T50/12 – for historical Mercedes-Benz cars such as the 190 SL (W121), the 300 SL (W198), the 300 Sc (W188) and the Ponton models. In one of the most extensive reproduction campaigns, the Genuine Parts department of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center cooperated closed with Continental Teves AG & Co. oHG in the reproduction of the brake boosters. “Complete brake boosters, individual parts and repair kits ceased to be available from the manufacturer years ago, which is why the reproduction run had become necessary,” says Stephan Bornert, Technical Product Manager for Genuine Mercedes-Benz Replacement Parts at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center.
Consisting of 96 precision parts, the T50 brake booster is one of the most complex safety assemblies of historical Mercedes-Benz cars. Its function is to ensure that the pedal pressure exerted by the driver is raised in the hydraulic lines of the brake system so as to bring the car to a standstill quickly and reliably. However, not all owners of classic cars know that the brake booster ranks among the wear parts which are crucial for safety – and that it wears out gradually and almost imperceptibly. Few drivers realize that their brake boosters no longer decelerate their cars as effectively as possible. They have got used to a slowly but steadily rising pedal pressure, without noticing that stopping distances are becoming longer and clearly higher pressure is required for emergency braking maneuvers.
On the basis of experience gained, the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center proceeds from the assumption that some 80 percent of all brake boosters currently operating in classic cars from the 1950s and 1960s are worn. Even if replacement parts were still available – for instance one of the most important components, the so-called brake piston – replacement would not guarantee impeccable functioning and safety. The reason for this lies in the large number of different and precisely matched parts. In spite of this, this crucial part can be found in the form of hair-raising contraptions especially on classic car markets. The offer includes make-shift pistons, consisting of rubber discs which are bolted down between two sheet metal panels and even carry the A.T.E. logo, albeit in hand-writing. The question of the operational reliability of a brake booster with makeshift piston was answered in the very first test by the manufacturer: these would-be replacement parts did not survive the quality check.
This is why the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center decided to have the complete brake booster redesigned – rather than individual components reproduced. The decision was backed by the observation that a significant proportion of the brake booster housings and a large number of other components no longer meet safety requirements due to aging.
However, reproduction involved a lot more work and organizational effort than had originally been expected. When the reconstruction campaign was launched in 2003, it was clear that only the manufacturer of the original assembly had the competence to tackle reconstruction to original specifications. A major part of the design drawings had to be compiled anew to be able to pass on precise specifications to A.T.E.’s suppliers as well. The next difficulty on the road to reproduced T50 brake boosters came up in conjunction with the suppliers – some of the companies no longer exist today, while others are meanwhile engaged in the production of other engineering products.
It took two years to enlist the services of all the suppliers required, to compile all the design drawings and to complete all the preliminary tests. Each small part – each bolt and each spring – has to live up to Mercedes-Benz’s strict quality standards, after all. And each part has to prove its fatigue strength in arduous test series.
After the first brake boosters had been produced in late 2005, they were submitted to relentless endurance testing. On this occasion, it was established that the new brake boosters’ quality was even clearly superior to that of their historical counterparts. This is because many materials have been made much more durable in recent years – something that applies in particular to rubber seals. Today, they withstand much higher stresses and remain elastic and fully operational for much longer than their predecessors from the 1950s and 1960s. After some 150,000 braking maneuvers on the test rig, the newly built brake boosters virtually showed no signs of wear. These 150,000 load changes correspond to a distance of roughly 50,000 kilometers covered. There was no reason for complaint even after 300,000 simulated brake applications: all individual components met the requirements and could continue to be used without restrictions even after the endurance tests.
The Mercedes-Benz Classic Center offers the T50 brake booster in two versions for the model series set out below:
Part no.: A 000 430 21 30
Model series: W105, W120, W121, W180*, W188, W198*, O319*
*depending on the Vehicle Identification No.
Designation: T50/12 Part no.: A 000 430 19 30 Model series: W180*, W128, W198*, O319*
*depending on the Vehicle Identification No.
The price is the same for both brake booster versions, amounting to 2,500 euros plus VAT. Being a genuine Mercedes-Benz replacement part, each brake booster comes with a two-year warranty and is available at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center or every Mercedes-Benz partner. Each brake booster is numbered and supplied with its own certificate confirming the pressure and function tests performed and passed by the unit.
Mercedes-Benz Classic Center
Tel.: +49 (0) 711-17 8 40 40