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tdskip

Tips on replacing/refreshing brake calipers?

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 I’m happy to report that the front brake lines and calipers came off the car really easily, but as it’s been stored for a long time in dry but hot Nevada the calipers themselves appear to need some help. Any tips on where to source replacements or send them to be rebuilt? 

 

Thanks!

 

A2E9F94F-B53A-422A-83A7-F3757DFE4786.jpeg

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Calipers are easy to rebuild bud. The hardest part is getting the old pistons out. If you have a compressor, you can "blow" them out, clean them up, paint the calipers (if you want), replace the piston boots, clips and pads and you're good to go. 

 

Or, you can buy new calipers using your old calipers as a trade for the core charge. They come already done. Unfortunately, you may not be getting the OEM tii calipers back, but what you do get back will probably be ATE or similar and fine. This is what I did. 

 

Unloaded(no pads). This price is after you send them your old calipers:

http://www.brakewarehouse.com/catalog-2/vehicle/bmw/1974/2002tii/disc-brake-caliper?engine=&submodel=

 

Or, you can do it yourself:

http://www.brakewarehouse.com/catalog-2/vehicle/bmw/1974/2002tii/disc-brake-caliper-repair-kit?engine=&submodel=

 

Buy some pads of choice and you're good to go. 

 

Everyone should rebuild a caliper at least once IMO. I just did all 4 on the 911. The pistons were all rusted and frozen inside the cylinders. We fought them like crazy but got them out. I'm sure there's a Tech thread somewhere about this.

 

I can't believe your lines didn't break. Mine turned to dust as soon as I put a wrench to them.

 

GL!

 

Nick

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(edited)

 Hi Nick! 

 

 I’m going to rebuild the front brake calipers on the Elan this weekend  so, with your permission, I’m going to count that as my one time doing it and probably just order rebuilt ones to keep everything moving.

 

 Is it worth the core charge to come onto the original ones? I have no intention of selling the car but not sure how concerned the market is about that sort of thing. 

 

😃

Edited by tdskip

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(edited)
1 hour ago, NYNick said:

what you do get back will probably be ATE or similar and fine

This hasn't been my experience for about 2 years at least.  It seems like all the replacement calipers aren't rebuilt at all but are fresh castings that are generic  These calipers are in Cardone boxes and you can get a deposit back by sending them your ATE calipers.  You most likely will not get ATE calipers back.

So rebuilding original calipers is even a better choice than before.

Pics are of standard '02 and ti/tii calipers purchased in the last 1.5 years.  All generic.

02 Standard Caliper (1).jpg

02 Standard Caliper (2).jpg

tii caliper (1).jpg

tii caliper (2).jpg

Edited by halboyles
added pic
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(edited)

@halboyles -  thanks for the response, you actually submitted that when I was editing my reply to Nick and added that consideration in. 

 

 Thanks for the heads up that I won’t get same-same back, that leads me to probably just deal with the ones that I have ( unless I totally screw up the ones on the Lotus).

 

 Thanks!

Edited by tdskip

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(edited)

Thanks for posting that  @Buckeye , very helpful

Edited by tdskip

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I got ATE's back, but rebuilding is the way to go.

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If you do use compressed air to pop the pistons out, take a bit of wood or soft material, wrap it in a rag and put it in the caliper slot where the disk would normally go, that little bugger really pops under 90 psi of air.  I did it once and feel lucky that I didn't take a chunk out of the piston. 

 

 

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...and wrap the whole mess in a towel.  It traps the aerosolized brake fluid AND catches the pistons.

 

When one pops out, push it back in, put a THICKER block of wood in, and try to get the other

one to pop.  It takes some finessing.  IN NO CASE put your yingers in yere.  Yew will lews them.

 

Can you still get decent rebuild kits?  "Carlson" are crap.  Centric are crap.  I haven't tried to buy good ones in about a dekade.

 

t

has to do this later this week.

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Thanks for the tips, hopefully they will move freely.

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I recommend attempting to rebuild first.  You MAY get unlucky and find a badly scored piston and/or cylinder (I did one time), and at that point it's worth throwing in the towel and just getting a rebuilt replacement.  But if the metal walls are all good, much easier/cheaper/faster/more satisfying to rebuild them yourself, and then they'll be just as good (if not better)!

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I agree with NYNick:  Try rebuilding your calipers yourself.  Federal regulations should require everyone to do it at least once.  Can be exceedingly rewarding.  My first attempt at such a rebuild was educational and fruitful.  Bonus:  I learned new 4-letter words I never knew existed.  You wanted tips...

  • Use a small amount Tilton's grease (or equivalent) to reassemble the nice shiny polished pistons into the nice shiny polished cylinders.  I found the use of that grease to insert pistons to be much more beneficial than the use of brake fluid for the same purpose.
  • Marriage of reconditioned pistons and cylinders will not be consummated until you can push in and pull out lubricated pistons by hand, even if it takes a little effort, and you are sure of free and smooth movement.
  • Have some 600- and 1500-grit paper on hand.  Polish, polish, polish.  Polish.
  • Some posters have stated do not fill the back/inner side of the sealing/dust boots with grease.  I did not do so.
  • Do not split the calipers unless you find a compelling reason to do so.
  • Include new pins, clips, and nipples in your order for rebuild kits. 

See grease and before/after fotos below.  6 of 8 pistons were rusted solidly in place. 

 

You can do it.

 

Larry

 

IMG_0903.jpegIMG_0907.jpegIMG_0956.jpegIMG_0991.jpeg3306-001.jpg

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The air pop did not work on a pair of rusty calipers from a Spitfire so I used this Piston Popper KD-2105

 

(like one here https://www.ebay.com/itm/K-D-Tools-pn-2105-Piston-Popper-Disc-Brake-Stuck-Caliper-Piston-Retractor-USA/303544941278?epid=732619622&hash=item46acb03ade:g:YEAAAOSwV7ZenImQ )

 

Worked great - unique tool but was the only thing I could use to get the pistons out - no lost fingers, no spray of fluid and only minor swearing

KD 2105.jpg

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Excellent discussion gentlemen, thank you for all the responses and tips. 

 

My Elan sat for 25 years untouched and the as a result the piatons were a complete pain to get out, took several hours and I to learn some new four letter words in the process as well.

 

Ultimately I ended up replacing them with stainless steel units, my hunch/hope is that these will be OK as the brake fluid that came out when I disassembled everything was surprisingly clean so I don’t think the car was sitting quite so long.

 

I will, carefully, get some high pressure air on these later today to see what I am dealing with.

 

 

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