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Old 03-08-2019, 08:34 AM #1
Ngonerogwu Ngonerogwu is offline
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Truly Fixing Seized Calipers

So, my 2003 has gone through 6 calipers at this point... it's getting old (literally LOL)

After looking at some pictures of failed calipers, I've got an idea. I picked up a set of new Raybestos calipers, and I'm going to coat the pistons and bores with a ceramic dry film lube. You spray it on with an HVLP at about a half mil thickness, 0.0005" so it wont affect fitment. The stuff prevents corrosion and isn't affected by brake fluid.

It's the same stuff I'd shoot on piston skirts.. NIC makes it, called Microslick.



Anyways, I've shot a piston so far, fits fine unsurprisingly. Next I'll see about doing the bores.


Here is one of the pistons coated.



Here is test fitting in a caliper half..



Someone wanna talk me out of this before I go further? I couldn't find anyone online who's done this with any caliper.

Last edited by Ngonerogwu; 03-08-2019 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:43 AM #2
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Not a bad idea. Interested to see how it holds up. What brand were the other failures?
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Old 03-08-2019, 08:47 AM #3
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Not a bad idea. Interested to see how it holds up. What brand were the other failures?
OEM, and something from Oreillys
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Old 03-08-2019, 11:59 AM #4
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Very interesting. BTW, Your pictures aren't working.

This is something you are going to have to report back in time (I dunno, several months, maybe more). I just replaced my front calipers (after doing the legendary 5th gen brake upgrade......... which is honestly a crock) a couple of months ago, but I'm not going to hold my breath on them lasting more than a couple of years. If they do, I'll be happy (which is pathetic).

good luck!
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Old 03-08-2019, 12:28 PM #5
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I've brought this up once before here and on another forum. The two big things are:
- Will coating create issues with clearance?
- Is the coating compatible with brake fluid - being that it will be in contact 24/7 for months and years?

The other options would be some sort of titanium nitride coated brake pistons like here:
4 x Titanium caliper pistons | Vehicles & Parts | https://titanclassics.com

LOVE that you are doing this!
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Old 03-08-2019, 12:37 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookieRoe View Post
Very interesting. BTW, Your pictures aren't working.

This is something you are going to have to report back in time (I dunno, several months, maybe more). I just replaced my front calipers (after doing the legendary 5th gen brake upgrade......... which is honestly a crock) a couple of months ago, but I'm not going to hold my breath on them lasting more than a couple of years. If they do, I'll be happy (which is pathetic).

good luck!
OOOKAY, hopefully they work now.
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Old 03-08-2019, 12:44 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZiaMan View Post
I've brought this up once before here and on another forum. The two big things are:
- Will coating create issues with clearance?
- Is the coating compatible with brake fluid - being that it will be in contact 24/7 for months and years?

The other options would be some sort of titanium nitride coated brake pistons like here:
4 x Titanium caliper pistons | Vehicles & Parts | https://titanclassics.com

LOVE that you are doing this!
Coating is VERY thin. Can't measure it on my calipers kind of thin. I have a coating thickness gauge and it meters out at an average of .5 mils. Which is 0.0005" thick.. its seriously thin.



I shot this test piece and sanded it down in different spots along the bottom. Part with 1000 grit, another with 1500, another with 4/0 steel wool, and then left a side alone. Soaked it in brake fluid outside for week to see what would happen. Nothing.. I mean not even a little bit, no color change on a white paper towel wipe etc. Does that change in a couple years? Maybe, but brake fluid seems to do its thing pretty quick.
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Old 03-08-2019, 01:30 PM #8
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Sub'd

Be interesting to see how the brake pistons and bores hold up long term....can only see the coating helping with the longevity.
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Old 03-08-2019, 02:26 PM #9
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@Ngonerogwu
I think something like this is the only thing that will work. The 4 caliper design was used in the 60's and failed then too. They work great on race cars but not so much in the real world. A single system piston moves a greater distance and with more force at a given pressure, pounds per square inch. A four piston caliper divides the movement distance and force by 4. So in the elements they stick. I think just coating the piston will solve the problem.
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Old 03-08-2019, 02:28 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by V8Man View Post
@Ngonerogwu
I think something like this is the only thing that will work. The 4 caliper design was used in the 60's and failed then too. They work great on race cars but not so much in the real world. I single system piston moves a greater distance and with more force at a given pressure, pounds per square inch. A four piston caliper divides the movement distance and force by 4. So in the elements they stick. I think just coating the piston will solve the problem.
It's easier to just coat the piston for sure.

Looking at pics of failed calipers, it appears that the seals suck, and let water past, and the top part of the bore above the seal becomes a horrible mess. If I apply the ceramic to the bore, then we should be good to go.
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Old 03-08-2019, 05:58 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CookieRoe View Post
I just replaced my front calipers (after doing the legendary 5th gen brake upgrade......... which is honestly a crock) a couple of months ago, but I'm not going to hold my breath on them lasting more than a couple of years.
My plan was to flush out the calipers twice a year and see if that helps. The thought process is doing so will get out any moisture that's in there causing them to freeze. Am I wasting my time?
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Old 03-08-2019, 06:36 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montego Murph View Post
My plan was to flush out the calipers twice a year and see if that helps. The thought process is doing so will get out any moisture that's in there causing them to freeze. Am I wasting my time?
No, I dont think so, preventative maint seems great.

Look at some of the pics you can find on the forum of people whove managed to get the pistons out. The bore above the seal gets absolutely trashed.. feels like if I could prevent that corrosion, wed be good to go.

I refinished a set of calipers off a Lexus LS400 recently, and noticed the pistons were coated with something, and the bores had been anodized. The calipers themselves were in awful shape, but the bores and pistons were pristine. Got me to thinking.. we cant anodize but if we could do something to prevent that corrosion from starting.. at the very least wed extend the life of them. Theres loads of room in the bore around the piston, as the seal is the only bit that touches.

Id think really the ideal thing would be a stainless piston and a coated bore. I cant afford to have pistons made so this is what Ive come up with instead.
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Old 03-09-2019, 09:06 AM #13
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Very interesting experiment. I just wish someone like Powerstop that already sells nicely coated calipers would go the extra mile and use stainless pistons. I mean, how much would it add to the manufacturing cost? Maybe $10 per caliper at most? Id gladly pay an up charge for that, as Im sure most here would, just to save the worry and hassle of having to inspect, flush, clean, or replace these things as frequently as we do! When mine failed, I opted for the 5th gen upgrade, only to find out that the old, seized stuff had already been upgraded by the previous owner! I opted for Powerstop stuff mainly for aesthetics and extra corrosion resistance, but Im sure Ill still need to check the pistons and clean/relube them to get some longevity out of them. I will say that the parts and overall assemblies seemed to be much higher quality than any parts store rebuilt Ive ever used, so hopefully they last.
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Old 03-10-2019, 11:48 PM #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ngonerogwu View Post
Coating is VERY thin. Can't measure it on my calipers kind of thin. I have a coating thickness gauge and it meters out at an average of .5 mils. Which is 0.0005" thick.. its seriously thin.



I shot this test piece and sanded it down in different spots along the bottom. Part with 1000 grit, another with 1500, another with 4/0 steel wool, and then left a side alone. Soaked it in brake fluid outside for week to see what would happen. Nothing.. I mean not even a little bit, no color change on a white paper towel wipe etc. Does that change in a couple years? Maybe, but brake fluid seems to do its thing pretty quick.
Had this same thought about coating the piston (next time I do brakes). Sub'd..
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Old 03-18-2019, 07:05 AM #15
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I did some more thinking and looking at the pics of failed calipers and this is what I decided would help.

I may still do the pistons, but it looks like most of the corrosion happens above the seal inside the bore. The pistons appear to be plated (hard chrome maybe), so not sure coating those is gonna do me any good.. that's unfortunate because its easier to jusy coat the pistons for sure :-)

I didn't mask anything other than the mating surfaces, so all the ceramic that's not on a machined surface is going to be blasted off. Not like the overspray will hurt anything, but figured if I'm going to do this, I'm going to do them properly.

I tested the fitment with the coated piston and they drop right in like normal, no issues.



I am likely going to leave the coating on the machined sliding surfaces you can see.. not sure if it'll matter though. I've done calipers that have slider/shim inserts that the pads ride on.. our calipers don't have those. Pretty sure the powdered calipers you'd buy from powerstop are powdered there so it probably doesn't matter. I also decided to coat the pins in the hopes that will prevent binding.

Last edited by Ngonerogwu; 03-18-2019 at 07:09 AM.
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