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Cosmetic Modification (Interior/Exterior/Lighting) Discussions about cosmetic mods.


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Old 05-28-2020, 05:24 PM   #1
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Painting calipers

I'm planning to paint my brake calipers, front and rear. I plan to fully remove them so I can do a very high quality job. What is the best procedure for a clear, glossy finish that is as permanent as possible? Please chime in with paint recommendations, procedures, anything helpful. I have access to to an ultra sonic cleaner as well.
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Old 05-28-2020, 05:43 PM   #2
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Clear glossy finish .. my guess is that you'll have LOT of sanding to do at surface preparation stage, due rather rough surface of OE calipers.
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Old 05-28-2020, 05:47 PM   #3
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If I was going to paint my stock calipers I'd probably do a bead-blast and then use a silver hammer Rust-Oleum aerosol. I'd avoid the bright primary colors-it would look super tacky. They're stock calipers after all. I've given this some thought because I dislike how the raw aluminum castings look stained all the time. I doubt I'll ever do it though. good luck.
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Old 05-28-2020, 06:20 PM   #4
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If I was going to paint my stock calipers I'd probably do a bead-blast and then use a silver hammer Rust-Oleum aerosol. I'd avoid the bright primary colors-it would look super tacky. They're stock calipers after all. I've given this some thought because I dislike how the raw aluminum castings look stained all the time. I doubt I'll ever do it though. good luck.

Just in case this helps anyone, use appropriate paint for your calipers. They can get really really hot and generic all purpose paint will break down at those temps. Paints specifically made for calipers are tested at up to 1000F, but honestly any high heat paint is better than a can of rustoleum from Home Depot.
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Old 05-28-2020, 06:36 PM   #5
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Just in case this helps anyone, use appropriate paint for your calipers. They can get really really hot and generic all purpose paint will break down at those temps. Paints specifically made for calipers are tested at up to 1000F, but honestly any high heat paint is better than a can of rustoleum from Home Depot.
Thanks! I guess I just thought it was high-temp because it had that enameled machinery finish. I used to use it on small engine parts that didn't seem like they were worth the cost to powdercoat. The last thing I used it on was the cast aluminum engine belt cover on my 2.0l Fiat twin-cam. Not exactly red hot.

About fifteen years ago I purchased 5 lbs of Cardinal red hammer powdercoat to do mounts, brackets, and valve-covers on my 1st-gen Celica coupes and I think I just fell in love with that industrial hammer finish back then.

Can calipers be powder-coated or ceramic-coated? Can the internals be separated from the castings? Can the internals withstand the oven temps? I've never done brakes but the more I think about it, the more I'm thinking that might be a good Covid project.
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:06 PM   #6
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You have a few options.

Given you are in Cali and rust isn't an issue, I'd suggest g2 caliper paint. It's an epoxy based paint which covers WAY better than aerosol stuff. It also will be more durable and it looks great.

I literally just finished doing this project this past weekend. I went with POR-15 caliper kit which includes their rust stopper. For me being in the rust belt it was what edged it out for me. The caliper paint it self is also very good.

I can suggest my procedure, take it for what's its worth. I used a wire brush on a drill to knock anything lose from the surface. Clean everything with a strong degreaser, and then a metal prep to etch the metal.

If you are fully removing the caliper then actual painting should be quite simple. I did everything while the caliper hose was attached. Painted the underside first then reassembled the next morning, and painted the outside. Take time and mask off the areas where the brake pad and hardware sits. If you paint over those areas you'll need to go back and sand them down to bare metal.


Here were some shots from the passenger side after two coats of the black sealer and two of the caliper paint.
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Old 05-28-2020, 08:39 PM   #7
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Thanks! I guess I just thought it was high-temp because it had that enameled machinery finish. I used to use it on small engine parts that didn't seem like they were worth the cost to powdercoat. The last thing I used it on was the cast aluminum engine belt cover on my 2.0l Fiat twin-cam. Not exactly red hot.

About fifteen years ago I purchased 5 lbs of Cardinal red hammer powdercoat to do mounts, brackets, and valve-covers on my 1st-gen Celica coupes and I think I just fell in love with that industrial hammer finish back then.

Can calipers be powder-coated or ceramic-coated? Can the internals be separated from the castings? Can the internals withstand the oven temps? I've never done brakes but the more I think about it, the more I'm thinking that might be a good Covid project.
I'd imagine that caliper components can withstand oven temps. They are brake components after all. Some companies like VHT make caliper specific paint.
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:09 PM   #8
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Ok here's the quick and awesome way to have a high gloss finish on your brake calipers.
Powder coat them.

No amount of prep work would lead to a long lasting gloss finish. Sure the paint on stuff would last a few months, but it would faid. Yes you could re paint them, or skip all that and get a nice high gloss finish for years if you with powder coat.

Only down side is it takes longer, and costs more. But if you got a week, and a second car, why not.
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:22 PM   #9
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Ok here's the quick and awesome way to have a high gloss finish on your brake calipers.
Powder coat them.

No amount of prep work would lead to a long lasting gloss finish. Sure the paint on stuff would last a few months, but it would faid. Yes you could re paint them, or skip all that and get a nice high gloss finish for years if you with powder coat.

Only down side is it takes longer, and costs more. But if you got a week, and a second car, why not.
Noted 😉
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Old 05-29-2020, 02:34 AM   #10
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Mr.ac: hmm, not sure on that. Imho track temps can fade even most durable finish (eg. fading paint on brembo calipers), but just daily driving light braking .. acquaintances that i've seen painted theirs even using rather generic paint, had paint lasting rather well through few years.
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Old 05-29-2020, 11:45 AM   #11
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Mr.ac: hmm, not sure on that. Imho track temps can fade even most durable finish (eg. fading paint on brembo calipers), but just daily driving light braking .. acquaintances that i've seen painted theirs even using rather generic paint, had paint lasting rather well through few years.
Quality of preparation > quality of paint
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Old 05-29-2020, 02:06 PM   #12
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Mr.ac: hmm, not sure on that. Imho track temps can fade even most durable finish (eg. fading paint on brembo calipers), but just daily driving light braking .. acquaintances that i've seen painted theirs even using rather generic paint, had paint lasting rather well through few years.
My MR2 has seen 4+ years of daily driving, and about 10 or so hard long track days and countless autox. And those brakes are still glossy. Not has much as new but still glossy. Compared to my rear brakes which I got lazy and just paint them, they are a dull red. But eh, no one looks at the rear calipers anyway.
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Old 05-29-2020, 09:11 PM   #13
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i was in the same boat heres what i did.

1) properly lift car up and secure it
2) removed wheels took off the caliper + bracket
3) sand them down to the point where you think youve overdone it, then keep going some more
4) i know people paint them off the car but i put them back on and then masked off the wheel well and painted them.
5) i used high temp block + caliper paint, started off with a primer layer, let it sit for 1 hr then started painting with the red. I applied 5 coats of red + 2 of clear.
6) then removed everything, baked it in my oven as hot as it would get for 3 hours then put it back on the car (rotors and pads and everything)

its been over a year, Canadian winters are worse than anything youll ever see in cali and i put on close to 30k km a year, no chips, no paint fade, it all looks mint
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Old 05-30-2020, 07:08 PM   #14
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I'm planning to paint my brake calipers, front and rear. I plan to fully remove them so I can do a very high quality job. What is the best procedure for a clear, glossy finish that is as permanent as possible? Please chime in with paint recommendations, procedures, anything helpful. I have access to to an ultra sonic cleaner as well.
For stock brakes, donít bother doing such a thorough job. Just do what I do. Every year when I change from summer to winter tires and then from winter to summer tires, as I change I touch up the silver calipers with silver caliper paint. Simple method, is just spray down with brake cleaner and give a good wipe. If you have air, blast then with air before and after to get rid of dust. Then I spray the paint on cardboard and use a Qtip to touch up the calipers. They look perfect year round, only takes a little bit longer to switch tires. I also bleed brakes, and inspect suspension parts and touch up any undercoating to prevent rust. Twice a year, maybe 2 hours to do everything. Seriously , the calipers look new.

Years ago on my WRX I did what you are thinking, itís not worth the effort. Unless you go all the way and completely take them apart and powder coat and then rebuild. But I donít think itís worth it, for cost, your labor, car downtime etc.
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