Painted Calipers go faster!

I’ve been wanting to paint my calipers for a while. For my driving needs, I’m pretty happy with the stock brakes (with Hawk Ceramic Pads). I may do the bronze bushing upgrade and maybe SS lines – but I don’t need a Big Brake Kit – at least no time soon. But I DO like the bling factor of painted calipers. And I thought red calipers would make some of my Union Jack wheel accessories “pop”.

Here are the “before” pix…

Front Brake Before Painting

Rear Brake Before

So a while back I bought a G2 Red Caliper Paint Kit. I’ve been waiting for a weekend where I had enough time, and the right temperature range, to do this (G2 recommends 56F-70F for proper paint curing speed). Yesterday all the planets aligned.

G2 Paint Kit

The G2 kit includes paint, stir stick, brush, brake cleaner and paint hardener. It’s important to get the brakes VERY clean, so you’ll also want a wire or stiff nylon brush. You need to get everything clean and masked before mixing the hardener with the paint, because you only have 2-4 hours of working time once these are mixed. I chose the G2 kit because the reviews I’ve read suggest that the colors stay bright and last a long time. Folks have reported that other paint kits required periodic re-painting…

First you need to get the car up on stands and all four wheels off. A lot of folks have posted questions about how to get on four jackstands. I use a race jack with a 3′ long piece of 2×4, and lift under the sill, between the two jack points, then insert stands on that side. Then I repeat on the other side. Takes 2 minutes and is VERY easy… Here are the results – shine courtesy of Prima Epic…

Four Jack Stands

Cleaning is important. I just changed my pads a couple thousand miles ago and cleaned the calipers pretty well then. Look how much gunk came out with the brake cleaner!!! You definitely want to put down some paper to catch this stuff… because you’ll end up with a small lake of brake cleaner fluid and brake dust (oh yeah, and you want good ventilation, and no flames or sparks…). I removed the pad retainer springs because I didn’t want those painted (or glued on by the paint).
Brake Gunk

Here’s what you want your calipers to look like before painting… nice and clean…
Front Brake Clean

I chose to mask ONLY the small parts on the caliper that I didn’t want painted (brake bleed nipple, rubber guide pin cover, brake line, parking brake hardware on rear). The brush allows good control during application. So as long as you’re willing to go slow and careful, you can avoid a lot of masking of disks and pads.

Rear Brake Masked

Painting first coat took me about 10 minutes per caliper to make sure everything had a nice, thin, even coat with no accidents. By the time I finished the first coat, it was ready for second coat which only took a few minutes per caliper. Here are the results – pretty clean…

Front Brake Painted

Rear Brake Painted

It’s VERY important (did I mention that it’s VERY important???) to let the paint cure for the full recommended time (or pretty darn close to it) before trying to reinstall the springs or wheels. The paint is VERY susceptible to marring with the springs before it fully hardens. So do NOT get impatient (like I did – twice) and try to put the springs back on the same day. Wait until tomorrow. Use great care and two pairs of pliers to get the springs back on without scratching your new paint job. I still ended up with a couple of little spots that I touched up with model paint…

But with the wheels back on, it looks GREAT, at least it does to me… The color looks less “orange” than the flash here makes it appear. It looks like the same red as the “S” logo on the side vents.

Front Brake Finished

Rear Brake Finished

I’m VERY happy with the results. Adds just a little bit of bling and dresses up the wheels and the side view of the car in general. It was a “must” for my Union Jack scheme. Anyone can do this – just takes a little time and patience – and a jack, and stands, and lug wrench, and pliers, and a brush, and paper to catch the gunk, and masking tape, and lots of paper towels, and more patience.

6 Comments

  1. Perfect!Well written,excellent pictures!Best “do-it-yourself” article I’ve seen!You and Octaneguy should be Producers!

  2. Love it. Clara’s getting black paint on the calipers when I get some time 🙂

    Great job!

    And who DOESN’T paint in the nude? 😀

  3. I dont know how you got your calipers that clean, I spent the last two days and 3.5 cans of cleaner on them and there nowhere near that clean.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.