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DIY: Caliper Painting
Published by nexus66
08-10-2005
DIY: Caliper Painting

Here's a rough guide to painting your calipers.

Of course you can buy special caliper paint, but over 5 cars I've used Japlac High Gloss Laquer, Colour - Jet Black (of course) and never had any problems with heat. Another good paint would be a gloss enamel, but I have the Japlac, so...

For those of you thinking to paint them Silver, I would think again! I've never found a silver paint that has the same smooth enamel type finish, they all have a graininess to the finish which holds brake dust. A very smooth glossy finish keepsl the calipers very clean, since every time you wash the wheels, the calipers get cleaned too.

On with the instructions...

Unsurprisingly, this is another wheel off job, so jack up the car, remove the wheel and make sure the car is also supported by an axle stand - you don't want it falling off the jack and damaging the brake disk!

Depending on how dirty your caliper is, you might want to begin by lightly cleaning the caliper with a wire brush to remove any brake dust or corrosion already there.

You don't need to bother priming the surface - usually a single coat of paint is enough to last a couple of years. I find it easiest to apply the paint using a 1/2" paint brush - it's big enough so that it doesn't take all day, and small enough that it's easy to control exactly where the paint goes. Using a paint with a good glossy finish will ensure that you don't see any brush lines as the paint will set to a smooth finish.

When painting the caliper, there isn't really much to go wrong. Make sure you keep the paint away from the actual brake pads, and watch for the places where the pads sit, you don't want to restrict their movement as they wear down. Don't be paranoid - just be careful!!

It's also ok, to paint the little shield on the front one, and the springy tensioner thing.

Make sure and get a nice even finish, and use the opportunity you have with the wheel off to give the inside of the alloy a good clean!

You can remount the wheel while the paint is drying, just be sure to leave the car sitting for a few hours while the paint hardens. (Hard I know! )

Once you've done all four wheels you can stand back and admire your work!

Sorry - I forgot to take a picture of the front caliper painted, but I'm sure you'll all get the picture...
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  #1  
By CC 330i on 08-10-2005, 04:23 PM
Nice work. Thanks for posting!
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  #2  
By UncleWede on 08-11-2005, 09:44 AM
You didn't pull the line out of the caliper before painting, so no need for bleeding the brakes, right?
The wheel well seems pretty smooth, did you use something else to hang them from while painting?
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  #3  
By nexus66 on 08-11-2005, 09:51 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleWede
You didn't pull the line out of the caliper before painting, so no need for bleeding the brakes, right?
The wheel well seems pretty smooth, did you use something else to hang them from while painting?
I didn't even remove the calipers from their mounting to paint them - I just painted them in situ! So no hanging them from anywhere and definately no need to bleed them!!

Probably if you were under the car you'd see where the paint stops - but how often does that happen! Unless of course you're in the habit of running over people - but I suspect they'd have more to worry about than unpainted bits of your caliper!
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  #4  
By UncleWede on 08-11-2005, 10:25 AM
But I can still read numbers on the pads! You covered everything you DIDN'T want to paint pretty well!!!
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  #5  
By RichP on 08-11-2005, 03:05 PM
Good writeup, and NOW is the time to do them, when the car is brand new and one doesnt need to spend an afternoon doing cleaning prep!
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  #6  
By nexus66 on 08-11-2005, 03:24 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleWede
But I can still read numbers on the pads! You covered everything you DIDN'T want to paint pretty well!!!
I used a small 1/2" paintbrush so that it was easy to miss things I didn't want painted. I didn't mask any of the caliper - just be careful with the brush!

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichP
Good writeup, and NOW is the time to do them, when the car is brand new and one doesnt need to spend an afternoon doing cleaning prep!
Couldn't agree more - especially since doing it now saves cleaning the corrosion off the caliper beforehand, and gives you a nice base to apply the paint to!
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  #7  
By UncleWede on 08-11-2005, 03:51 PM
Oh, you brushed them. That's missing from the write-up, I was assuming a can.
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  #8  
By nexus66 on 08-11-2005, 03:56 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleWede
Oh, you brushed them. That's missing from the write-up, I was assuming a can.
Good point - I've amended the write-up! Cheers
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  #9  
By longtran on 08-15-2005, 08:41 PM
it be black after a couple of years, why paint it black? paint it a color that would stand out. nicely done with the brush i thougt it was can too.
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  #10  
By nexus66 on 08-16-2005, 11:10 AM
Yeah but at least it'll be a shiny black

I don't think bright red calipers would suit the car. Any other colour suggestions? I couldn't think of anything else apart from silver - and I mentioned why I don't like silver!
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  #11  
By UncleWede on 08-16-2005, 11:47 AM
Depends on what look you are going for with the paint. For cover-up and to match exisitng, black is the right choice. Want people to think you did some mods, gotta get something flashy. Is there a brushable clear coat?
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  #12  
By nexus66 on 08-19-2005, 04:02 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleWede
Depends on what look you are going for with the paint. For cover-up and to match exisitng, black is the right choice. Want people to think you did some mods, gotta get something flashy. Is there a brushable clear coat?
The first time I painted calipers black I wasn't sure at first with the result - but now I absolutely love it! Red does suit a black car - my mate has a Mondeo ST24 in black with red calipers, but IMO it's too flashy/ricey for a bmw! (I await a flaming on that one maybe!)

Don't think you need a clear coat UncleWede... A nice gloss finish is best. I tried a clear laquer on top of silver calipers once, but even then the result wasn't that great! (Again it was with a brush though - spraying might yield a better result!)
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  #13  
By tightie on 08-28-2005, 04:21 PM
hey can you please post a picture from your car like from far? so we can see how it looks.
i have a jet black one too i want to see if theres a difference really.
thanks.
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  #14  
By nexus66 on 08-28-2005, 04:28 PM
I tried that once I'd finished tightie! Unfortunately my camera didn't really pick up the calipers because they're shaded within the wheel. Unfortunately, it's really something you can only see in person. Unless of course you pick a brighter colour like red or something...
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  #15  
By tima on 08-28-2005, 09:39 PM
Has anyone painted their wheel hubs?

When I got my '95 M3 the dealer painted the hubs to match the rest of the car (Avus Blue) and it looked really trick. Likewise best to do when the car is new.

Thanks for the great write up!
.
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  #16  
By Daddu on 10-05-2005, 01:37 PM
Do you suppose gloss black Rustoleom enamel would work and stand the heat?
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  #17  
By nexus66 on 10-06-2005, 05:35 AM
'Fraid I don't know - haven't heard of that paint!! But the stuff I use is nothing special so go for it! Worst case is you have to paint them again in a few months...
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  #18  
By DEbmw on 11-23-2005, 12:01 AM
Calipers

Those calipers look wonderful. I am going to take on this project this weekend. I will let you know how it turns out. Thanks for the great instructions, I am very excited.
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  #19  
By Pretender on 11-23-2005, 12:48 AM
I saw lots of Porsche boxters and 911 with red calipers, no matter what color. I saw silver, black, white and blue with red calipers and they all looked awesome. I also saw them in Nissan 350Z. Nice.
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  #20  
By nexus66 on 11-23-2005, 04:03 AM
Yeah - but the Porsche ones also have "Porsche" written in white on them! Unless you have Porsche's carbon ceramic brakes fitted when the calipers are yellow! I don't think Red goes with a BMW but hey - that's just me!
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  #21  
By ase2dais on 11-23-2005, 01:00 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by nexus66
Yeah - but the Porsche ones also have "Porsche" written in white on them! Unless you have Porsche's carbon ceramic brakes fitted when the calipers are yellow! I don't think Red goes with a BMW but hey - that's just me!
Unless of crse you upgraded your brakes to these, I thk its cool, but it voids your warranty, maybe I will do it after 4-5 yrs.
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