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The calipers on my 03 look pretty bad looking out through the aluminum wheels. Can I paint them with a regular paint like Rust-O-Leum or do I need a high temperature paint like HTH? Do I need to do any particular prep work to get the paint to stick well?
 

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Originally posted by kodak_jack@Jun 9 2004, 02:12 PM
The calipers on my 03 look pretty bad looking out through the aluminum wheels. Can I paint them with a regular paint like Rust-O-Leum or do I need a high temperature paint like HTH? Do I need to do any particular prep work to get the paint to stick well?
I went looking in vain for the write-up that I had posted to the SHO lists years ago, and numerous folks have used it with success.

Anyway, here is my method for painting calipers that will hold up very well. I haven't done the current SHO, but my summer car was painted about 5-6 years ago, and it still looks great.

1. Smallest can of oil-base polyurethane from Home Depot, Lowes, etc, in your choice of colors. About $4.00. Enough for a dozen calipers.

2. Can of lacquer thinner (my cleaner of choice), acetone, etc. Couple of bucks.

3. At least three cheap disposable paint brushes (1" are OK). Less than a buck each.

4. A bunch of rags and newspaper. Optional is a wire brush if they are really bad!

Unless you want to get all four corners up on jackstands, do one side at a time.

First (after jacking the car up), spread the papers under the caliper, and clean the caliper with one of the brushes and the lacquer thinner (L/T). If deposits/flakes are heavy, wire-brush first, but I have never done that. Just brush the L/T all over the caliper, letting it drip on the paper. it will dry off quickly.

Use a clean brush to apply the first coat of paint. While the first coat on caliper #1 is drying, go and clean caliper #2, and apply the first coat of paint. If you happen to get some on the rotor, just wipe off immediately with a rag with a bit of L/T on it.

Aftert maybe 1/2 hour in warm weather, apply the 2nd coat to caliper #1, then repeat for caliper #2.

Let sit for maybe an hour, carefully put the tires back on, and do the other side. The cleaning brush can be reused, but use a fresh brush for painting the second side.

You're Done!!

Oveer the next week or so (if you park in a garage), you will smell the paint as it bakes in when it gets hot.
 

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cant i just take the lazy method and wire wheel, then use engine paint? im doin my drums 1st. makin em silver. i dont care if it holds out too long, just for a yr.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the welcome.
My car is silver. I don't know if I want to just paint the calipers black or go for red.
On a completely different topic, I'm not really tall (5'11"), but I feel like the sun visor is right in my face. I've never had a problem with headroom in any other car. Is it just me? :(
 

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Brake calipers take a lot of heat and should be treated as such. Eastwood makes a high heat paint that will LAST. Manifolds and other hot parts can be treated as well. The trick is to bead blast your part(s) and get down to bare metal before applying any kind of coating. The exhaust on my VW rail is over 10 years old and still looks decent.

http://www.eastwoodco.com/

Good Luck
Bill
 

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I think it would be better to take the calipers off the car before painting them, that way you can make sure you get everything covered with paint and don't miss anything. Of course, you'll have to bleed the brakes when you put the calipers back on, but you should do that every once in awhile anyway. My Sable is Toreador Red, so I think I'm going to do mine gloss black, not that you can really see my calipers through my wheels anyway.

JR
 

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Hey Ron, I just got back from home depot to pick up the stuff for this project. When I went to the paint section and asked where the colored oil-based polyurethane was, the guy looked at me weird and said he never heard of it. He told me where the clear polyurethane was, but that didn't help me. Then he told me to get some Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel in gloss black. It's oil-based and it says it stops rust, do you think it will work? It was like $3.50 for an 8 oz can. And the smallest can of lacquer thinner I could find was 32 oz for about $4

I got the paint brushes for $.59 each and the wire brush for $1.50 at a harbor freight store.
 

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Originally posted by mikehawk@Jun 10 2004, 06:39 PM
Hey Ron, I just got back from home depot to pick up the stuff for this project. When I went to the paint section and asked where the colored oil-based polyurethane was, the guy looked at me weird and said he never heard of it. He told me where the clear polyurethane was, but that didn't help me. Then he told me to get some Rust-Oleum Protective Enamel in gloss black. It's oil-based and it says it stops rust, do you think it will work? It was like $3.50 for an 8 oz can. And the smallest can of lacquer thinner I could find was 32 oz for about $4

I got the paint brushes for $.59 each and the wire brush for $1.50 at a harbor freight store.
Guy is obviously clueless!!

If you go to the paint section wih the decorative & spray paints (like Rust-Oleum), there is usually a display rack with all of those small cans (they are about 2" high and 2" in diameter). Virtually any hardware store also has these cans.

Good price on the stuff. Lacquer thinner isn't cheap, but the bigger cans at Home Depot are a deal. I also keep a 1-gallon can of denatured alcohol around. Also good for cleaning things...especially car carpets, but that's another topic!!

IMHO, the Rust-Oleum will work, but won't last as long as the polyurethane. Enamel, like R-O, is a softer finish, whereas polyurethane dries VERY hard.

As others recommended, but I do not, spending the $$$ for "special" caliper paint (the only thing "special" is the price!!!) or high-temp paint is not needed.

The hottest my calipers got (to my knowledge) was right after a session at Blackhawk Farms last year. As I pulled off the track, someone "shot" the calipers with the infrared, and they were 700F on the fronts, and 550F on the rears (I have bias plugs installed). Any quality paint can withstand that, but the harder-finish paints like polyurethane can better contend with the other factors like brake dust, road grime, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I ended up painting the calipers red and they look very nice. It gives that area a little color. I don't know if I'll go with red, black or blue on the drums. One drum looks brand new while the other has some rust starting already (16,000 miles).
 
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