I don’t know whether you would consider this an upgrade or a downgrade, but swapping the CLK55’s front rotating assemblies for a set of CLK320 brakes and wheels will definitely make the car quicker at the dragstrip.
I’ve been running the heavy 18″ Mercedes-Benz E55 wheels on all four corners of the CLK55, which look great, but they aren’t be best for drag racing. Each corner weighs-in at over 50 lb, leaving a lot of room for improvement. The factory CLK320 wheels are the hot ticket for drag radials on the rear, but they also make a good low-budget “front runner”. They only weigh about 13 lb each (because they’re forged), and at 7″ wide you can fit a fairly narrow tire on them. I bought a pair of inexpensive V rated 205-60/16 tires that can be used as daily drivers, while still saving a good amount of weight for the track.
The problem is you can’t just slap a set of the 16″ wheels on the front of a CLK55 because the front brakes are too big, so I “downgraded” the brakes to the CLK320/430 units. I got a pair of calipers from the junk yard and a new set of pads and slotted & drilled rotors. While I was in there I removed the sensors and backing plate to shed another pound or two. The result is a nice, clean setup without any extra crap getting in the way. I also removed the front sway bar for another 20 lb savings. I was a little concerned about driving on the street without it, but I drove the car to work all week (~40 miles round-trip) and it feels pretty normal. In fact, it’s quieter now that there are four fewer bushings to squeak!
|Rotating Weight (lb)||Before||After||Total Savings|
|Wheels/Tires (each)||54.2||34.2||40 lb.|
|Rotors (pair)||38.6||33.2||5.4 lb.|
|Non Rotating Weight (lb)|
|Calipers (pair)||38.6||12.2||26.4 lb.|
|Sway Bar||20||0||20 lb.|
|Grand Total:||91.8 lb.|
I actually bought all the stuff to do the front and rear brakes and wheels, but I broke out only the front axle for this article.
|Calipers – Used||$41.96|
|Pads & Hardware||$65.25|
|Rotors – Slotted & Drilled||$126.00|
|Mount & Balance, valve stems (Local Firestone)||$63.76|
|Lug Bolts (black)||$15.99|