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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 12-18-2012, 04:09 PM
irishman_irl irishman_irl is offline
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HELP - Has my indie mechanic ripped me off?

Hi All,

I had the brake pads replaced on my 2002 E39 530i less than 1,200 miles ago by a local indie garage (part number on his invoice is "wp 34-11-6-761-252"), the next day the trifecta of lights came on & I had to get the ABS module replaced - he quoted $1400 for this job.

I ordered a new module, installed it myself & had it coded by a different indie garage yesterday - total cost $600.

However, after coding the module they did a full inspection on the car for free & in the report it says that my front brake pads are NOT OEM parts and that they have only 11mm of thickness left of them.

My concern is that 11mm sounds very thin given that the car has less than 1,200 miles on it (easy driving) since he replaced the brakes - how thick should new OEM pads be for my car? Is it easy to tell if they are OEM parts? Just wondering if after 1,200 miles it might be hard to tell.

Last edited by irishman_irl; 12-18-2012 at 04:21 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-18-2012, 05:00 PM
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Many indies don't use OEM parts.

11 sounds thin, I believe they are supposed to be around 18 new. Could easily be an idiot measuring them at the new shop as well.

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  #3  
Old 12-18-2012, 05:07 PM
irishman_irl irishman_irl is offline
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Originally Posted by E36 Phantom View Post
Many indies don't use OEM parts.

11 sounds thin, I believe they are supposed to be around 18 new. Could easily be an idiot measuring them at the new shop as well.

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I hear you - except he has OEM part written on his invoice & told me he uses BMW parts.

Can anyone else confirm what thickness they should be when new?

If they should be 18mm thick then I'll get a 2nd shop to check the current thickness again. He replaced the rotors & caliper as well.

Going to go ape-**** if I've been ripped off - been taking my car to this guy for over a year & spend a lot of money with him.
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  #4  
Old 12-18-2012, 05:09 PM
vavet5308 vavet5308 is offline
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11 mm is near new.
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  #5  
Old 12-18-2012, 05:15 PM
irishman_irl irishman_irl is offline
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One vote for 11mm & another for 18mm
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  #6  
Old 12-18-2012, 05:20 PM
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Just researched it, 19.3mm is new thickness front axle, 17.3mm is new thicknesses rear axle per ATE.

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  #7  
Old 12-18-2012, 05:25 PM
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Usually, when someone comes up with this kind of question, the answer is 'yes'. This topic proves this theory. They already tried to rip you off with replacing ABS for 1200, now they are trying to rip you off on brakes. Non-OEM, huh? 11 mm is a hell lot of pads, how thick do you think is the brand new pad?
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  #8  
Old 12-18-2012, 05:28 PM
irishman_irl irishman_irl is offline
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Originally Posted by Nervous View Post
Usually, when someone comes up with this kind of question, the answer is 'yes'. This topic proves this theory. They already tried to rip you off with replacing ABS for 1200, now they are trying to rip you off on brakes. Non-OEM, huh? 11 mm is a hell lot of pads, how thick do you think is the brand new pad?
I have no idea how thick a new front pad should be - I appreciate that 11mm is a lot still remaining but its not good if it was at 18mm 1,200 miles ago.
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:30 PM
Nervous Nervous is offline
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Well, you don't know what kind of pads are installed, right? Another possibility: 1200 miles ago they installed you used pads. Anyway, 11mm is a lot, just keep an eye on them and find a new mechanic. Or, better - DIY.
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Old 12-18-2012, 05:31 PM
Mikes530 Mikes530 is offline
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Just checked a new boxed set of Akebonos that I'll be putting on soon. They measure about 11mm of friction material, 18mm including the backing plate.
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  #11  
Old 12-18-2012, 05:36 PM
irishman_irl irishman_irl is offline
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Originally Posted by Nervous View Post
Well, you don't know what kind of pads are installed, right? Another possibility: 1200 miles ago they installed you used pads. Anyway, 11mm is a lot, just keep an eye on them and find a new mechanic. Or, better - DIY.
Used pads - yeah, I'm wondering about that to.

I would love to do more work on my car, replacing the ABS module was really easy & I'd love to do more but I live in an apartment building which does not allow repairs down in the garage / nor do I have access to ramps.

New mechanic found that the feed & return power steering hoses need to be replaced & wants $450 for the job....wish I could do it myself.
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  #12  
Old 12-18-2012, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mikes530 View Post
Just checked a new boxed set of Akebonos that I'll be putting on soon. They measure about 11mm of friction material, 18mm including the backing plate.
Good to know. ATE's site had the friction material highlighted in color where the specs were so it looked like the dimensions were for the material only. Thanks for the correction, although 11 seems a little low to me for brand new.

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  #13  
Old 12-18-2012, 05:43 PM
JimLev JimLev is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E36 Phantom View Post
Just researched it, 19.3mm is new thickness front axle, 17.3mm is new thicknesses rear axle per ATE.

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Your talking about rotor thickness, he is asking about pad material thickness which a few have correctly answered at about 11mm.
The steel backing plate that the pad is bonded to isn't included in the measurement.
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  #14  
Old 12-18-2012, 05:51 PM
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How old are the rotors? Bad rotors ate my front brakes in 12,000 miles now i get more than double that. Check repairpal.com for average estimates. I recommend buying OEM parts yourself to avoid being bam boozled. I always also carefully watch the few repairs I do not do myself. Some shops dont allow customers to be around repair for legal reasons but some will allow you to watch.
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  #15  
Old 12-18-2012, 05:53 PM
irishman_irl irishman_irl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nervous View Post
Well, you don't know what kind of pads are installed, right? Another possibility: 1200 miles ago they installed you used pads. Anyway, 11mm is a lot, just keep an eye on them and find a new mechanic. Or, better - DIY.
Quote:
Originally Posted by energizedmortal View Post
How old are the rotors? Bad rotors ate my front brakes in 12,000 miles now i get more than double that. Check repairpal.com for average estimates. I recommend buying OEM parts yourself to avoid being bam boozled. I always also carefully watch the few repairs I do not do myself. Some shops dont allow customers to be around repair for legal reasons but some will allow you to watch.
Old rotors - he "replaced" the old rotors & calipers as part of the same job so they should be brand new, the other indie mentioned nothing about them so I'm assuming they are all good.
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  #16  
Old 12-18-2012, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimLev View Post
Your talking about rotor thickness, he is asking about pad material thickness which a few have correctly answered at about 11mm.
The steel backing plate that the pad is bonded to isn't included in the measurement.
For accuracy's sake, no, I was talking about the pads and was looking at the part in ATE's catalog. Apparently ATE included the backing material in the measurement. Go figure.

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  #17  
Old 12-18-2012, 06:26 PM
irishman_irl irishman_irl is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E36 Phantom View Post
For accuracy's sake, no, I was talking about the pads and was looking at the part in ATE's catalog. Apparently ATE included the backing material in the measurement. Go figure.

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Thanks E36 - 11mm, sounds like he did indeed replace the pads with new ones.

Still, don't think I'll go back to him after the ABS module issue i.e. his quote $1400 vs $600 I got it done for.
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  #18  
Old 12-18-2012, 06:54 PM
vavet5308 vavet5308 is offline
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Your indie won't be able to compete with parts you order yourself. Shops operate by turning cars around quickly and most customers want their cars back ASAP. They don't have time to bring a car in, diagnose, sell the work, order parts, wait 3 days, then install the parts they finally received through an online source. They probably get their parts from a local dealer. You pay a premium for this. If you know the exact parts your car needs and can order them in advance, then it will certainly be cheaper to do that.

The other thing is that if they happen to forget to order a small low-dollar part (washer, clip, crush ring, etc) the dealer will likely be able to get it to them same day instead of waiting another 3 days or trying to make do without it.

$1400 for the ABS module? Probably a little high, but not obscenely out of line. What's list price on that part?
Where did you order it from? Is it a genuine BMW part? Is the part the indie was going to install a genuine BMW part? Make sure you're comparing apple to apples. Don't confuse dishonesty with high pricing by saying he ripped you off.
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Old 12-18-2012, 07:02 PM
irishman_irl irishman_irl is offline
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Originally Posted by vavet5308 View Post
Your indie won't be able to compete with parts you order yourself. Shops operate by turning cars around quickly and most customers want their cars back ASAP. They don't have time to bring a car in, diagnose, sell the work, order parts, wait 3 days, then install the parts they finally received through an online source. They probably get their parts from a local dealer. You pay a premium for this. If you know the exact parts your car needs and can order them in advance, then it will certainly be cheaper to do that.

The other thing is that if they happen to forget to order a small low-dollar part (washer, clip, crush ring, etc) the dealer will likely be able to get it to them same day instead of waiting another 3 days or trying to make do without it.

$1400 for the ABS module? Probably a little high, but not obscenely out of line. What's list price on that part?
Where did you order it from? Is it a genuine BMW part? Is the part the indie was going to install a genuine BMW part? Make sure you're comparing apple to apples. Don't confuse dishonesty with high pricing by saying he ripped you off.
He wanted $1000 for the part & $400 to install it, the ABS module I ordered is brand new & the exact same Bosch part that came off the car.

I bought the part off Amazon for $430, paid $12 extra for next day shipping & replacing the part took me 20 minutes (and I'm no mechanic). Local indie garage coded the part & did a full inspection (with written report) on the car for $170. Its the guts of $800 saved & only took me an extra 24 hours.

None of the techs or indie shops I spoke to would install customer sourced parts - they claim it violates their insurance & would expose them to legal issues if anything went wrong.
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Old 12-18-2012, 08:18 PM
vavet5308 vavet5308 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irishman_irl View Post

None of the techs or indie shops I spoke to would install customer sourced parts - they claim it violates their insurance & would expose them to legal issues if anything went wrong.
Yeah, that too. I meant to bring up that point but forgot. It creates a bad situation if a tech/shop allows a customer to source and provide their own parts.
What happens if they don't fit or are broken when the box is opened. Suppose the car is now disabled and taking up a spot on a lift that now can't be used to generate revenue. It's either that or the shop has to reassemble the car with the old parts. Who pays for that labor? It just opens a whole can of worms. It's one thing to bring in a different brand of oil and ask for that to be used.

You don't take your own steak into a restaurant and ask them to cook it for you.
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  #21  
Old 12-18-2012, 09:24 PM
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11 mm Brake pad lining is OK, min thickness is 3mm, ABS module from local dealers is 1200+ not including programming or labor, Bosch is less (same but the nametag).
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  #22  
Old 12-19-2012, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irishman_irl View Post
my front brake pads are NOT OEM parts and that they have only 11mm of thickness left of them
This thread covers what brake pads most of us use:
- Most often recommended brake pad thread (1)

This thread covers all the specifications, including rotor/pad thickness:
- One user's example of a complete brake job with all torque figures, specs, measurements, fluids, decisions, tools, tricks, mistakes, suppliers, costs, etc., that it entails (1)

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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #23  
Old 12-19-2012, 11:57 AM
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Minimum thickness not of much help, but 11mm will last a long time. Make him show you HIS invoice for the brakes and rotors he installed in your car. He can block out the cost-that is his right, but he should tell you what parts are in there. Lot of aftermarket as good as oem. Odd your ABS module went out at same time. good guess.
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  #24  
Old 12-21-2012, 04:57 PM
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Irish, sorry for your troubles but you need to spend a bit more time here researching.

Quote:
I ordered a new module, installed it myself & had it coded by a different indie garage yesterday - total cost $600.
You still paid way too much. You could have had the old module fixed, no need for coding, six screws to remove, ship module, get back, six screws to replace. Much discussed item here. I paid $255 a few years back and I've read people are paying less since then. http://chrisparente.com/2008/11/12/d...o-abs-problem/

Quote:
None of the techs or indie shops I spoke to would install customer sourced parts - they claim it violates their insurance & would expose them to legal issues if anything went wrong.
There are some out there. You need to be persistent. Or compromise - you make it plain what parts you want purchased, from where, for how much. The shop can still do a small markup, but you won't be paying OE BMW stealership prices.

This approach works best for preventative work, not responding to emergencies obviously. Also, as the various pad width responses in this thread show, be careful before you blow up on someone and accuse them of ripping you off. I understand the impulse when the number is so large, but educate yourself first. The $1,400 estimate wasn't way off, based on dealer part pricing.
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  #25  
Old 12-21-2012, 05:54 PM
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ABS module with labor $1200 that's cheap. last time i check just the ecu is $960 employee price from dealer. 11mm Pad is within specs of new. Many euro yndie shops dont buy there brakes from bmw but worldpak. Textar and jurid make the bmw pads. Bmw doesn't make any parts expect, engines

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