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Brake lacquer application guide

Brake Caliper Lacquer Application Guide - written by us gear heads at Redline Tuning.

Preparation is the key to an incredible finish on your calipers. We recommend that you purchase or gather the following items to make the job easier.

Purchase or gather the following items:

  • 2 cans of Brake cleaner or Carburator / Choke cleaner - used to remove oils from surfaces and clean everything.
  • 4 small art brushes - purchase high quality brushes - they may be a dollar or two more, but they work much better and the bristles will not fall out into your paint job as you are working. Better brushes will give a better finish.
  • Grab some cardboard to put under each area you are working - there is a lot of grease and junk that you will be removing from your brakes that you do not want to ruin your floor or driveway.
  • Roll of masking tape - a couple of different widths if possible.
  • Newspaper or something that you can use to mask off paint.
  • Lots of baby jars or small glass jars to hold to portions of paint and hardener before mixing and during painting.

Prepare vehicle

  • Jack up your car, putting your vehicle up on 4 strong and tall jack stands - be sure that you working surface is flat (be smart and safe).
  • Remove the wheels.
  • Unbolt your calipers, slide out the brake pads (labeling them so that they can go back on the same wheel). Then loosely bolt the calipers back in place. If you decide to leave your brake pads on during the painting, you will be sorry. The lacquer will set and lock the pads to the calipers and can cause a lot of problems down the road. Not to mention, it is very difficult to paint around the edges and back side with the pads in place - REMOVE THE BRAKE PADS. With the pads removed you will be able to paint all visible areas of the calipers.
  • Be sure to note what surfaces of the caliper that the brake pads
    slide on - there should be a tab on each end of the brake pad steel backing that slides in a section of the caliper. This allows the pads to move as they wear out and get smaller. YOU DO NOT WANT TO PAINT THIS GROOVE OR SLOT. Keep this area free from paint so that the pads work as they are intended - it won't be noticable.

Let the cleaning begin. This is where all of the work is in the job. The painting will go fast, but if you do not prepare everything properly, the lacquer will not adhere and the job will be less than satisfying. However, if you follow these steps, everyone you see will be asking you where you bought your new brakes!

Cleaning - Vital, do not skip this step. Spend a lot of time cleaning and masking!

  • Spray and clean each caliper and rotor with brake cleaner - use the stuff you purchased and save the supplied cleaner for the final cleaning.
  • Using a wire brush or portable wire wheel, give all areas of your calipers a lot of rubbing. Hopefully you can remove most of the buildup and get down to the bare metal. Repeat these two steps until you have clean brakes.
  • Using the final cleaner that came in the kit, spray each caliper.
  • Use a clean rag to help scrub each caliper as you go so that they are squeeky clean. FYI - you will never be able to make them perfect because of the brake dust buildup and road grime, but eliminating the oils and greases and dust from them best you can will help for a perfect lacquer finish.

Masking - this is a tedious part of the job, but will make all the difference when you are done. The better masking job you do, the more professional the job. We go into all of the detail about cleaning and masking because we don't want you to have to remove your calipers. However, if removing them is easier then this job will speed up incredibly - however, the ultimate goal is to have the brakes looks as though they were purchased and bolted onto your vehicle - this is only possible if the cleaning and masking steps are followed.

  • Now that the brakes are clean, you will need to mask the areas that you do not want painted. We have found that it is best to mask the entire rotor. You can do this two ways, either remove the rotor or just cover it.
  • Since the brakes do not have pads in them, you have room to mask the rotor - to do this, get a small plastic bag (like those you get at a grocery store). These are thin and hopefully big enough to fit around the rotor. Slip the bag over the rotor and then rotate the rotor until the bag is under the brake caliper in all areas where the painting will be taking place. This method might not work for you - if this is the case, carefully tape sections of paper to the rotor and rotate the rotor such that all areas of the rotor are protected.
  • The paint will drip - it is hard to avoid when painting all of the small tight areas, so be sure you masking so that the paint won't get on anything you don't want it to.
  • Use small pieces of tape and mask off the main brake hose that feeds the caliper - you don't want to paint the nut - you want to be able to take off you calipers if need be in the future.
    Mask or avoid painting the small groove that the brake pads slide as mentioned earlier.
  • Repeat these steps for all calipers - you see, lots of time, but well worth it once you start painting!

Painting - Ideally, this process works the best if you have two people working at the same time. Both of you will be painting one side of the vehicle at the same time - this will allow you to put about 3-4 coats of lacquer on before you run out or before it starts to set up. We recommend you find a friend and bring them for this part of the process. Since everything is masked, you can really move along and this step doesn't take that long, however, if you plan on painting by yourself you will want to divide both parts of paint and hardener into 4 equal jars (8 total before mixing) because you do not want to be half way through the brake when it is setting up.

  • Begin by thoroughly reading the directions that come with the 2 part lacquer. We will be dividing the both parts in half. You will need some small glass jars - large baby jars. Pour half of each into the new container. We will now be mixing the first half to complete one side of the vehicle.
  • After pouring the paint into the hardener jar, mix thoroughly for the indicated as described in the booklet. There is then a waiting game for a certain amount of time before you can begin painting.
  • Once the paint is ready, divide it into two parts (one for you and one for your friend). Each of you pick a caliper on the same side of the vehicle and begin painting away. We recommend you get one good covering over everything and then work back over the key outer areas. You should be able to easily put on 3 coats or more before the paint runs out. If you get short, dip into your partners because the front will take more than the rear. Also, help each other out and use all of the paint up.
  • Apply this same process to the other side and you should be able to have them looking like Brembos before to long.
  • Now that you have completed the painting - let you vehicle sit. We recommend at least a day before you put the pads back in and go drive it. The paint will become harder each day until it has a hard glossy look. Remember, if you are like us you probably put on a ton of coats - this means it takes longer to dry... be patient and drive your friends car for a day or so!

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