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Brake Caliper Painting Tips Do It Right The First Time
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Brake Caliper Painting Tips Do It Right The First Time

In this article we will discuss both on and off car brake caliper painting tips & procedures, to do the project right I would highly recommend completely removing the caliper assembly from the vehicle, but for those who may not be mechanically inclined enough to attempt this I would suggest you DO NOT OPEN YOUR BRAKE SYSTEM IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING! this is a skilled procedure and requires someone who has the know how.

Painting your calipers is easy if you know what you are doing but doing it the right way is going to take some time and a bit of planning; so I put together a list of items & recommendations you will need to help make your caliper painting project go a lot smoother.

Besides the obvious floor jack, 4 jack stands and lug wrench to get the wheels off the ground you are going to need:

  1. Set of mechanics tools to remove brake lines and calipers. (NOTE: Newer vehicle may require special tools to remove the calipers be sure to consult your vehicles service manual).
  2. Drip pan to catch any brake fluid when lines are removed.
  3. Cleaning solvent to remove brake dust and brake fluid.
  4. Clean wire brush.
  5. Masking tape ( if you are doing the on car procedure).
  6. 32oz. bottle of DOT 3 brake fluid. (WARNING: brake fluid will damage automotive paint do not get it on your paint job).
  7. Vacuum pump or a buddy for bleeding brake system when project is complete.
  8. New piston seal kit for your vehicle ( If your gonna do this do it right!)
  9. New set of brake pads if needed
  10. Compressed air source (off vehicle procedure)
  11. Approved high temp caliper Paint, recommend a two part epoxy formula (NOTE: Do not use regular spray paint it can't stand up to the heat generated from the brake system and will immediately start to chip and peel.)

Now that you have all your supplies I would recommend you have arrangements in place to have your car down for at least 48hrs as brake caliper paint should be applied at a minimum of at least three coats of caliper paint and takes approximately 24 hrs to completely cure.

Like I mentioned above I do not recommend the on car procedure cause you can't get the paint to cover the entire brake caliper. (NOTE: Do not get paint on your brake rotors).

On car brake caliper painting tips:

  • Place drip pan under side you will be working on
  • Spary caliper with an approved brake cleaning solvent; use wire brush to remove any brake dust contaminates. (TIP: it is critical you get your calipers as clean as possible or the paint won't stick)
  • Once you feel you have your calipers as clean as you can get them use your masking tape to mask off any areas of the caliper you do not want painted.
  • Start painting.
  • Let paint cure for at least 24 hrs before driving.

Off car brake caliper painting tips:

Before removing brake lines from the calipers it's a good idea to suck as much brake fluid out of the reservoir, this help prevent brake fluid from contaminating your work area.

  • Place drip pan under side being worked on to catch the brake fluid that will be dripping from the lines.
  • Remove calipers from vehicle. (repeat for all brake calipers)
  • Remove piston boot seal and remove piston from the brake caliper by blowing a shot of compressed air where the brake line goes (WARNING: be very carefull when doing this as the piston will pop out with extreme force, stuff a rag in between to catch the piston when it comes out).
  • Once the piston or pistons are out, discard the old dust boot and piston rings as you cannot reuse them.
  • Now that the pistons are out you can begin cleaning the calipers of any brake dust and brake fluid with a wire brush & brake solvent. (get as clean as possible with solvent)
  • Bring to boil a large stock pot full of water, tie a piece of 18" coat hanger or wire to the calipers and dip them in the water for about 2 minutes this will ensure you remove all contamination from the caliper and will give you maximum paint adhesion. Blow dry using compressed air.
  • Now that the calipers are clean & dried they are ready to be painted with a minimum of three coats of high temp brake caliper paint. (TIP: before painting place masking tape over piston bore and trim with an exacto knife just outside where the piston dust boot will seat; do not get paint where the seal seats or you won't be able to get it back in.
  • Once painted hang to dry for 24 hours.
  • Now that the caliper paint is dry you are now ready to install piston seal, piston and dust boot on to caliper. (TIP: to help install the piston rub a light coating of vaseline into the bore and around the piston it will help to lube it for easy insertion of the piston/pistons.
  • Install assembled caliper back onto vehicle and fill brake reservoir and bleed the brake lines to purge of any air in lines(TIP: consult your repair manual as there is a specific order in which you must bleed your brake lines).

Install your custom wheels sit back and relish in the new look of your freshly painted brake calipers.

Brake caliper paint can be custom ordered to match any paint color you desire be sure you know the paint color code in the VIN# on your vehicle before you order.(TIP: consult your vehicles owners manual for this info or call your local dealer for your specific vehicle.

Be sure to pass on the info if this article helped you out.

Street Talk

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