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Old 12-30-2019, 03:50 PM #1
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Coated Brake Pistons

Since basically everybody has issues with seizing brake calipers, the engineer in me came up with an interesting idea. Why not coat the caliper pistons, which are just polished steel, with something a little more durable such as TiN (Titanium Nitride/Gold) or DLC (Diamond Like Coating/Black).

The OEM pistons themselves are $15 each, so the front is $120, plus the seal rebuild kit $20

Total of ~$150 plus the coating cost

I have no idea what the coatings will cost but if its reasonable I think it would be worth giving it a shot for a group buy. I am trying to get quotes for TiN and DLC. If its reasonable we might be starting a list boys!!!

It's either that or try and get some machined from stainless steel.

Any other ideas? Who's interested?
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Old 12-30-2019, 04:28 PM #2
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1 - will the coating survive brake fluid?

2 - how will you account for the change in piston to caliper clearance with a coating?
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Old 12-30-2019, 04:56 PM #3
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I've got a guy I do some work for that has a CNC shop that mills maintenance/replacement parts for manufacturing equipment. Their tolerances are +/-.003" against whatever specs are provided. They mill stainless and tooling steel regularly, so this would be well within their capabilities.

Shops like this aren't particularly uncommon across the US, but if I can be of help, just tag me. I could theoretically buy a piston and model it in Solidworks to get a quote. If the coatings were to add an appreciable thickness, you could custom mill pistons to account for that.

As it stands, I don't yet have any skin in the game, because I've got lifetime warranty on my calipers, but it's fun to help out when I can.
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Old 12-30-2019, 08:53 PM #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 08TxRunner View Post
1 - will the coating survive brake fluid?

2 - how will you account for the change in piston to caliper clearance with a coating?
As long as the orings aren't leaking you shouldn't need to worry about brake fluid compatibility.

DLC coating is .00025 inches thick. Even if the metal surfaces were used to seal instead of the oring the coating wouldn't interfere with anything.


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Originally Posted by doofenshmirtz View Post
I've got a guy I do some work for that has a CNC shop that mills maintenance/replacement parts for manufacturing equipment. Their tolerances are +/-.003" against whatever specs are provided. They mill stainless and tooling steel regularly, so this would be well within their capabilities.

Shops like this aren't particularly uncommon across the US, but if I can be of help, just tag me. I could theoretically buy a piston and model it in Solidworks to get a quote. If the coatings were to add an appreciable thickness, you could custom mill pistons to account for that.

As it stands, I don't yet have any skin in the game, because I've got lifetime warranty on my calipers, but it's fun to help out when I can.
I've got a couple shops here I'm more or less friends with, and have calipers and modeling software as well but thanks for the offer.

Some more notes:
4th gen calipers us 45.5mm pistons, which have no aftermarket support that I could find.

5th gen calipers use 48mm pistons which apparently are used by Porsche 911 calipers and come in anodized stainless versions.
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Old 12-31-2019, 04:13 AM #5
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I feel the problem is half the piston, and half the bore. So they both need coated.

I've just replaced mine. Again. And have been thinking along this same idea for when I need to replace again.

Sub'd.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inv4drZm View Post
Since basically everybody has issues with seizing brake calipers, the engineer in me came up with an interesting idea. Why not coat the caliper pistons, which are just polished steel, with something a little more durable such as TiN (Titanium Nitride/Gold) or DLC (Diamond Like Coating/Black).

The OEM pistons themselves are $15 each, so the front is $120, plus the seal rebuild kit $20

Total of ~$150 plus the coating cost

I have no idea what the coatings will cost but if its reasonable I think it would be worth giving it a shot for a group buy. I am trying to get quotes for TiN and DLC. If its reasonable we might be starting a list boys!!!

It's either that or try and get some machined from stainless steel.

Any other ideas? Who's interested?
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Old 12-31-2019, 06:23 AM #6
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Haven't needed to replace a caliper yet, but I'm all for bullet proofing everything I can. Count me in. I have several machine shops and coating and plating shops that I do regular service for. I could likely get this done in exchange for services and keep the price low, especially if there is a decent volume on it, depending on the approach used. What about cerakote? Not sure final thickness, but if it's only a couple of thousandths, it wouldn't be a problem to get pistons either machined from scratch or turned down to allow for tolerance.
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Old 01-01-2020, 02:05 AM #7
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Truly Fixing Seized Calipers
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:04 AM #8
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Quote:
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+1 what I plan to do if I ever need to replace mine again.
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:22 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inv4drZm View Post
Since basically everybody has issues with seizing brake calipers, the engineer in me came up with an interesting idea. Why not coat the caliper pistons, which are just polished steel, with something a little more durable such as TiN (Titanium Nitride/Gold) or DLC (Diamond Like Coating/Black).

The OEM pistons themselves are $15 each, so the front is $120, plus the seal rebuild kit $20

Total of ~$150 plus the coating cost

I have no idea what the coatings will cost but if its reasonable I think it would be worth giving it a shot for a group buy. I am trying to get quotes for TiN and DLC. If its reasonable we might be starting a list boys!!!

It's either that or try and get some machined from stainless steel.

Any other ideas? Who's interested?
are the pistons polished, or chromed?


years ago I had a customer with a 79 corvette. those cars have terrible issue with the pistons seizing up, due to lack of use. the cars typically get parked much more than they get driven.


anyway, he was doing a full restore on it, and knew it would be sitting for a long time. so he sent the calipers off, and had stainless sleeves pressed into the bores. apparently it was at a company knowing for dealing with that issue. it cost him a lot, well over $1k for this work.


when it came time to get the car out on the road again... he had the same old problems. some pistons were seized and others were leaking. the extra prep work on calipers made zero difference..
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Old 01-02-2020, 12:57 PM #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nevada View Post
are the pistons polished, or chromed?


years ago I had a customer with a 79 corvette. those cars have terrible issue with the pistons seizing up, due to lack of use. the cars typically get parked much more than they get driven.


anyway, he was doing a full restore on it, and knew it would be sitting for a long time. so he sent the calipers off, and had stainless sleeves pressed into the bores. apparently it was at a company knowing for dealing with that issue. it cost him a lot, well over $1k for this work.


when it came time to get the car out on the road again... he had the same old problems. some pistons were seized and others were leaking. the extra prep work on calipers made zero difference..
Not sure on that one, some have said they are chrome plated, and that seems the norm elsewhere the more I do research so they probably are.

But assuming the pistons are already chrome plated, I would only really need to coat the calipers.

Cerakoting is very popular and some websites offer caliper coating services pretty cheaply, and it's thin enough it can be applied everywhere and comes in any color.

DLC is stronger though if I can find a place that will do calipers for the right price.
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:24 AM #11
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Couldn't get a quote from anyone for DLC coating, but got one for Cerakoting.

I asked if they could do the piston bores and potentially the pistons since they are prone to seizing. This is what he had to say:
"I would advise to not do the pistons and the bores if there is a known problem."

I'm still not sure why not, the coating is only 1 thousandth thick? It should only help right?
For 4 calipers it will be $60 each.
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Old 01-20-2020, 12:23 PM #12
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Does anyone know if the remanufactured semi-loaded caliper options out there have as good of pistons as OEM? I believe OEMs are chrome plated. Has anyone seen aftermarket last as long as OEM? I might just swap out the pistons for OEM if they are better, I can buy an OEM piston to compare with.
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Old 01-21-2020, 11:33 AM #13
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I'd look into a different caliper altogether since the 4th and 5th gen calipers are steel aren't they? Take a look at Lexus IS350 calipers.

I know on the 1st gen Lexus IS300 forum I'm on they have a guy selling 2nd gen Lexus IS350 caliper adapters (look up 350phi on IG) that bolt onto the IS300. The rotor width and diameter is similar to the 4runner so I'm sure it could physically fit, plus the caliper is aluminum. Obviously it would require someone creating an adapter.
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