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View Full Version : How To: Remove Calipers for Powdercoating


uber e36
11-14-2005, 04:38 PM
Hey,

Anyone removed their calipers before? I want to take mine off to get powdercoated. I know it involves bleeding the brakes, which I've never done but have been told with good instructions is relatively easy...

Thanks!

-Geoff

JazzM
11-14-2005, 04:56 PM
remove the brake pad clip

remove the caliper by taking out the two torx bolts int the back...

remove the pads

open the brake bleeder valve. then disconnect the brake hose draining the brake fluid into a container. (FYI, this may be a good time to flush your brake fluid completely and put in new one)

You will need to bleed the brakes when you install them again.

T.

///MP
11-14-2005, 08:16 PM
Here: http://www.pelicanparts.com/bmw/techarticles/E36-Brake_Pads/E36-Brake_Pads.htm

Since you'll be removing the calipers completely, remember to crack the brake line loose before you do anything. It's quite a PITA to try to do this when the caliper is hanging in mid air! Also, there's no swivel on the brake line so you will have to physically turn the caliper (which will be covered in brake fluid and very slippery by now) in order to detach the line.

I've done this more than once, so just ask if you get stuck.

MP

thinair
11-14-2005, 08:18 PM
remove the caliper by taking out the two torx bolts int the back...


It's a 7mm hex/allen bolt, not a torx. (I just did mine a couple weeks ago and the e34 last week)

uber e36
11-14-2005, 08:58 PM
So in that writeup they just have the calipers hanging... In my case where I want to take the calipers to get powdercoated, do I have to clamp the hose carrying the fluid and then remove it from the caliper?

thinair - did you see my post in the sightings section? i think i saw you up in bradford a few weeks ago when I went to clean out my car's winter den...

///MP
11-14-2005, 09:12 PM
It's a 7mm hex/allen bolt, not a torx. (I just did mine a couple weeks ago and the e34 last week)


:D I saw that too. I think poor Jazz (still devastated by his loss to Revshot) was just a bit confused? Don't worry, it'll pass.

But you bring up a good point, make sure you have the 7mm allen driver before you start doing this. It's not commonly found in most tool kits so you may have to but it seperately. I think it's like $5 at CT.

///MP
11-14-2005, 09:31 PM
So in that writeup they just have the calipers hanging... In my case where I want to take the calipers to get powdercoated, do I have to clamp the hose carrying the fluid and then remove it from the caliper?


I've recently heard of someone using a golf tee to cap his brake line. I usually just wrap the end tightly in aluminum foil and put up with the drips (and it does drip). But since your calipers will be off the car for quite a while, you don't want all your fluid to drain out because it's a bit of a pain to properly bleed the system afterwards. I suggest you just wrap a rag around the line and use a small pair of Vice-Grips. Don't squeeze too much or you'll damage the line! It takes very little pressure to close off the brake line.

MP

uber e36
11-14-2005, 09:43 PM
Now this begs a whole new question...

My car is currently on it's tires (high pressure with 4 layers of carpet). I've heard that if I'm going to jack my car up and take the wheels off, it should be held from under the suspension so that it's in it's "normal resting position".

Any guidance on how/what to use? Jackstands? Where exactly do I put them so that I don't damage my brakes/suspension?

Thanks.

superman123
11-14-2005, 11:09 PM
i did it without bleeding my brakes .....easy stuff

superman123
11-14-2005, 11:10 PM
just take a clamp and push the pad back .....just open your cap when u do this ...slides right on ...least ammount off work

MGYVER
11-14-2005, 11:42 PM
Hey geoff@bmw,

Where are you getting your calipers powdercoated and how much are they charging you ?
I would like to do the same to mine.

Thanks.

Eurostyle
11-15-2005, 12:04 AM
I strongly suggest rebuilding the calipers at this point! A plase by my shop does them for $40 each...They get them sandblasted, all new seals, bleeder screws, etc...They look like brand new after. It will save you time and $$$ in the long run...since you cant powdercoat over rust anyways... :D

MGYVER
11-15-2005, 12:23 AM
Can you give me the name and number of the shop ?

Thanks

JazzM
11-15-2005, 09:41 AM
Both my cars have torx... the z3 with M3 front brakes and the e30. Axxe was very suprised by that too..

T.

SpoolinS6
11-15-2005, 09:44 AM
I strongly suggest rebuilding the calipers at this point! A plase by my shop does them for $40 each...They get them sandblasted, all new seals, bleeder screws, etc...They look like brand new after. It will save you time and $$$ in the long run...since you cant powdercoat over rust anyways... :D

do u think they would do them for 40 for my audi also ?? if so im interested in all 4 !

JazzM
11-15-2005, 09:45 AM
rebuilding calipers is quite easy (I did that on my M3 calipers) as long as you have all the new gaskets (in essence that's all you're doing - changing gaskets)

http://www.bmw-m.net/TechProc/caliper.htm

T.

uber e36
11-15-2005, 10:24 AM
Eurostyle - can you post this shop's info?

I wonder if they would clean it up and give it back to me without putting the new seals etc in... then I can get it powdercoated... then give it back to them to put the new seals, etc. in?

uber e36
11-15-2005, 10:28 AM
UPDATE:
Rob @ R & M Metal Colouring says it will be ballpark $80 total to powdercoat 4 calipers black. I said I also wanted to powdercoat the caliper spring clip red and he said maybe $20 extra... I asked about sandblasting and he said he has a friend that he subs it out to and it might be about $20 to sandblast.

So basically it's going to be ~$120 to have the calipers sandblasted and powdercoated. I'll just have to rebuild the seals, etc myself (JazzM posted the DIY so it should be ok)

Anyone else interested?

///MP
11-15-2005, 11:58 AM
Both my cars have torx... the z3 with M3 front brakes and the e30. Axxe was very suprised by that too..

T.

Wow. Sorry to doubt you Tom. Torx on brake parts is a very General Motors thing to do. Surprising indeed!

Geoff: If you're around the west end (Etobicoke), I can take apart the calipers for you. It'll take all of 30 seconds. PM me if interested.

MP

uber e36
11-15-2005, 12:39 PM
///MP - Thanks. I live in the East End, but my car is stored up near Barrie for the winter :(

I'm pretty confident in removing the calipers from all the reading i've been doing. I'm just not sure how I can keep the car properly jacked for a few weeks while the wheels are off. I know you're supposed to stand them from under the suspension, but not sure where...

mirek
11-15-2005, 12:53 PM
geoff, do you want to borrow my rims for the winter? if you want something to put the car on you can use them the rubber is gone anyways.

I can't guarantee it will be for the WHOLE winter, i may be moving back to BC in march or april.

///MP
11-15-2005, 01:07 PM
I'm just not sure how I can keep the car properly jacked for a few weeks while the wheels are off. I know you're supposed to stand them from under the suspension, but not sure where...

Just place the jack-stands under the jack points (y'know, where those rubber pucks are supposed to be located under the car). Their location corresponds with the holes in your side skirts. Your car will be fine like that for a couple weeks...or just use Mirek's rims. :)

I took some pics last time I rebuilt my calipers. I'll post them up soon...it should help you out with the rebuild.

MP

mirek
11-15-2005, 01:11 PM
Just place the jack-stands under the jack points (y'know, where those rubber pucks are supposed to be located under the car). Their location corresponds with the holes in your side skirts. Your car will be fine like that for a couple weeks...or just use Mirek's rims. :)

I took some pics last time I rebuilt my calipers. I'll post them up soon...it should help you out with the rebuild.

MP

the only problem is that the suspension should have pressure put down on it. Put the car on wood :) or you can borrow my rubber

///MP
11-15-2005, 01:25 PM
the only problem is that the suspension should have pressure put down on it. Put the car on wood :) or you can borrow my rubber

If it was the whole winter I agree. But it's only going to be a couple weeks. I wouldn't worry about it really. Plus, this way it forces to Geoff to finish the project quickly instead of procrastinating. :D

MP

mirek
11-15-2005, 01:30 PM
If it was the whole winter I agree. But it's only going to be a couple weeks. I wouldn't worry about it really. Plus, this way it forces to Geoff to finish the project quickly instead of procrastinating. :D

MP

ah, i thought he was storing the car for the whole winter

uber e36
11-15-2005, 02:47 PM
I am storing it for the whole winter, but it will only be off it's wheels while the calipers are being rebuilt and sandblasted.

I'm going to take mirek up on his offer though, because it will save the new tires I bought this year from possible flats spots.



///MP - pics would be great, but no rush - I won't be doing this for 2-3 weeks

uber e36
11-15-2005, 07:23 PM
Here's the style i'm going for:

uber e36
12-04-2005, 12:58 PM
well, had troubles the first attempt (couldn't get at one of the spots to undo the caliper, so today i try again with the assistance of a friend and some tools my BMW Tech friend let me borrow... wish me luck!

///MP
12-04-2005, 03:37 PM
Hey Geoff, here's those pics I promised you (I hope it's not too late!). I took these while rebuilding my ///M calipers, but the process should be the same.

Remove caliper, drain it (through the brake line hole) and place "upside down" on table. Place piece of wood (good wood: 1/2" thick plywood, not some crap particle board!) as shown. KEEP YOUR HANDS OUT OF THE WAY!!! Using a blow gun (set it low, 30-45 psi should work) pop that piston out of there. Wear safety glasses and please, keep your hands out of there. That piston shoots out like a bullet!
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c48/mpM3/IM001747s.jpg

Then remove the inner O-ring:
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c48/mpM3/IM001756s.jpg

And then you're going off to powdercoating. When it comes time to reassemble do the following:

Inspect the piston and clean it (I buffed mine) so it's nice and shiny!
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c48/mpM3/IM001750s.jpg

Buy the rebuild kit. I could only find mine at the dealer$hip, but you might have better luck at an auto parts store.
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c48/mpM3/IM001757s.jpg

Install the inner o-ring into the caliper and then coat it with new brake fluid. You need to coat (sparingly though) the shiny surface of the piston in clean brake fluid so it'll slide on and not catch on the ring or boot. Now here comes the fun part! You also need to install the edge of the boot into the large groove in the caliper. Here's a trick I use: stretch out the boot like so (see pic) and secure it with zip ties (this step will save you much frustration!):
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c48/mpM3/IM001765s.jpg

Now with a small screwdriver (do not puncture boot!) seat the boot into the groove. It's important that the boot be fully seated. The previous owner had the calipers painted and they didn't put the boot on properly, so water got inside and corroded the caliper, and that's why I had to rebuild them...both sides! Give the piston a little tug to make sure the boot is seated.
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c48/mpM3/IM001766s.jpg

Then cut the zip-ties and push the piston straight down. As you push, the boot will catch the groove in the piston and flip the right way. Then you're done.
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c48/mpM3/IM001768s.jpg

And don't forget to bleed the brakes when you put them back on the car!

MP

uber e36
12-05-2005, 10:17 AM
///MP - thanks!

Well I started with the rear drivers side and with a bit of a roadblock (having one of the bolts get stuck in my tool) managed to get everything off.

Moving to the rear passenger, I got the caliper off, but when trying to take the other piece off the bolt that was stuck in my tool previously is stripped on this side (both bolts). Any suggestions on what tool to use? It's supposed to be a 16mm, but that didn't catch at all. I went to a 15mm which held it a bit, but the bolt wouldn't move and the wrench still slowly slid around the bolt...

Went up to the front and BOTH front wheels are stuck on! I tried pulling/kicking/etc and nothing worked... I also put a 2x4 behind the wheel and tried hammering it out... Any thoughts on how to free a stuck wheel when the car is just up on one jackstand?

Thanks,

-Geoff

///MP
12-05-2005, 10:31 PM
Moving to the rear passenger, I got the caliper off, but when trying to take the other piece off the bolt that was stuck in my tool previously is stripped on this side (both bolts). Any suggestions on what tool to use? It's supposed to be a 16mm, but that didn't catch at all. I went to a 15mm which held it a bit, but the bolt wouldn't move and the wrench still slowly slid around the bolt...

Which part are you talking about? Point it out on the diagram:
http://tinypic.com/i6wcn4.jpg



Went up to the front and BOTH front wheels are stuck on! I tried pulling/kicking/etc and nothing worked... I also put a 2x4 behind the wheel and tried hammering it out... Any thoughts on how to free a stuck wheel when the car is just up on one jackstand?


I usually give it a couple swift kicks and it comes off. It seems your wheels are realy caked on there. Pop the centre caps and spray some penetrating oil in there -- between the wheel and the hub-centre. Let it sit for a few hours and then try again. This may do nothing, but it's worth a try. Also, try doing a search on Max or bimmerforums.com for "stuck wheel", I'm sure some people have a good method for this kind of thing.

MP

uber e36
12-06-2005, 12:38 PM
Which part are you talking about?

Hey,

It is #4.

-Geoff

edit: see the attached pics for the stripping of the bolt

uber e36
12-06-2005, 03:33 PM
attached:

JazzM
12-06-2005, 03:39 PM
take off #8 first then #4 if you want to powdercoat the calliper carier piece too..

T.

uber e36
12-06-2005, 03:43 PM
Taking off #8 allowed me to remove the caliper (#1). but now I want to remove #2, which requires me to undo wrench out #4. But #4 is stripping... :(

Bruno
12-06-2005, 04:49 PM
What kind of wrench did you use to strip #4? Did you use a ratchet and a socket? or a pry bar and a socket?

Don't use open wrench on bolts, else they strip. I have special sockets for stripped bolts

JazzM
12-06-2005, 04:52 PM
like Bruno said, you want to use a socket on bolts, not a wrench.

T.

uber e36
12-06-2005, 05:03 PM
I used a 16mm socket first, but it was so loose and didn't grab at all... the only thing else I had left was wrenchs :(

I'm going to see if my buddy who's a BMW tech can lend me a socket that will fit a stripped bolt. If not, I might be owing Bruno a favour for the use of his tool :P

mirek
12-06-2005, 06:01 PM
you should have coated that thing in wd40 before you removed it.. or hammered it a bit to loosen the rust. Try some WD40, then use the stripped bolt remover..

or a propane torch... make sure you pick up a replacement bolt...

///MP
12-06-2005, 09:28 PM
you should have coated that thing in wd40 before you removed it.. or hammered it a bit to loosen the rust. Try some WD40, then use the stripped bolt remover..

or a propane torch... make sure you pick up a replacement bolt...

^^^ Yes! Hammer that thing a few times then get the mounting ears on the spindle nice and toasty with a torch (I prefer oxy-acetelyne (it heats up much faster) but I suppose hauling those tanks around wouldn't be much fun -- just go with propane). And of course, do this with the caliper removed and the brake line far away from the flame.

MP

Oh, and sockets >>> open ended wrenches. Always use a 6-point socket whenever you can.

uber e36
12-07-2005, 03:59 PM
The purpose of the torch is to heat it and therfore make it easier to spin?

-geoff

mirek
12-07-2005, 04:56 PM
torch burns off the rust

thinair
12-07-2005, 06:16 PM
I've used our propane/oxygen and acetylene/oxygen many times, I've never seen it burn off rust. To the best of my knowledge it's all about the metal expanding ever so slightly and sorta unsticking itself from the other object.

I've been wrong before, that is just what i've been told.

///MP
12-07-2005, 07:26 PM
I've used our propane/oxygen and acetylene/oxygen many times, I've never seen it burn off rust. To the best of my knowledge it's all about the metal expanding ever so slightly and sorta unsticking itself from the other object.

I've been wrong before, that is just what i've been told.

That's right. It's thermal expansion of the threaded hole. When you heat metal it expands. If you heat metal with a hole in it, the hole actually gets bigger. That's why you always heat the hole, not the bolt.

On a general note: be carefull when heating aluminum parts with an Oxy-Acet torch. I've actually melted aluminum parts this way. And you don't even know you're melting anything it until it's too late!

MP

mirek
12-07-2005, 07:31 PM
that's correct, you're actually right, it's to expand it and break the rust bond. So heat up only the bolt to a nice red, not the carrier

thinair
12-07-2005, 07:38 PM
that's correct, you're actually right, it's to expand it and break the rust bond. So heat up only the bolt to a nice red, not the carrier
You don't want to heat up the bolt. The bolt will expand inside the threads.

///MP
12-07-2005, 07:52 PM
So heat up only the bolt to a nice red, not the carrier

*no-no* This only works coincidentally due to thermal transfer and differing expansion rates of the various metals. You have to heat the area surrounding the threaded hole. Besides, if you heat up the bolt too much it becomes brittle and useless. OK fine, there's a safety factor designed into most assemblies, but that's not the point. As a general rule: do not reuse a bolt that you've heated red-hot...especially not on a brake part!

MP

mirek
12-07-2005, 09:30 PM
my bad, dont listen to me

uber e36
02-05-2006, 07:34 PM
Well the brakes are finally off on all four corners!

I now have to prep my calipers and caliper guides for sandblasting and powdercoating.

Should I soak everything in some type of fluid to clean them up before taking them to to get sandblasted?

I'm going to try to thread bolts into all the holes with threads so the sand doesn't do any damage...

uber e36
03-02-2006, 01:28 AM
Everything's been sandblasted and coated (expect the spring clips which will be done in red on Monday).

See attached pics for before and after...

chevale
03-16-2006, 03:35 PM
Nice work!
I got my calipers sandblasted and rebuild at East end. Place called Protec, 12 Principal Rd., Scarborough, 416 752 1551. $40 each.
Powdercoating was done by Simba Powdercoating, 235 Nugget Ave., Scarborough, 416 321 3909. $100 for the set of 4 calipers with carriers.
Before:
http://img507.imageshack.us/img507/5315/brakes14dq.jpg
After:
http://img220.imageshack.us/img220/3913/rebuildcaliper11ak.jpg

uber e36
03-16-2006, 04:36 PM
Real men rebuild them themselves... haha... J/K

Sounds like a great deal!

p.s. Your "after" pic is not showing up.

markw
03-20-2006, 11:39 PM
Hey Geoff, where did you / are you , getting this done? I'm going to see if Ben will let me leave my car in his bay for the weekend so I can do this....

uber e36
03-21-2006, 12:18 AM
Give me a shout tomorrow at work and I'll hook you up with all the #s...

uber e36
03-22-2006, 09:43 AM
Here's a pic with the retaining clips powdercoated red.

I have all the rebuild parts, but can't find a good DIY on reinstalling the caliper piston & seals. Anyone know of a link?