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Painted Brake Calipers

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Painted Brake Calipers

This appearance modification is really easy, but time consuming.

Here's a profile shot of my SS before any calipers had been painted. Looks good already if I don't say so myself :)
The *very* first thing you'll need to do is loosen the wheel nuts. Just brake the tension on the nuts..this should only take about a 1/4 turn on the nut (the nut will still be on there good, but it will be easier to turn). If you have locking lug nuts, make sure you have special socket that came with them.

Now, you'll need to jack the car up. Since you have 4 calipers, you'll need to jack up the front AND back of the car. I did the front first, then the back. If your car is lowered at all, you'll need to use ramps. I rolled my car about 6" onto the ramps, then jacked it up and placed jack stands underneath the car. MAKE SURE YOU DON'T JACK THE CAR BY THE BODY PANELS (you'll only need to worry about this when you jack up the front of the car). Block the wheels off on the end you didn't jack up so the car doesn't roll anywhere.
Now, take the 2 wheels off the jacked up end of the car. Since you broke the nuts loose before you jacked the car up, you shouldn't have much of a problem with the wheels spinning while you're trying to get the nuts off. Make sure you keep your lug nuts and plastic caps in a safe place.
You'll need to get some sort of plastic wrap now. I used plastic grocery sacks for this. (Crkhedmat gave me the grocery sack idea). Put one sack over the whole rotor, and tuck in the edges of the bag into the space between the caliper and the rotor. I also covered the outside of my caliper so just the main chunk of the caliper would get painted (see this photo. the yellow section is what I covered with the plastic bags, the red section is what gets painted). Click on the image to the left to see where to tuck the bags in. Go ahead and do this for the other wheel thats jacked up.
Next, place any plastic wrap over anything else you don't want painted. As you can see, I just blocked off a bit of the body panel on the edge of the wheel well. Again, do this for the other wheel.
Now you'll probably need to clean your calipers. I'd recommend getting a sponge and dipping it in brake cleaner or soapy water and srubbing the portion of the caliper that'll be painted. If you do this, just make sure you dry the calipers afterwards.

Now, the type of paint you use is *very* important. Unless you want smoking or flaming brakes, you'll need hi-temp paint. I used VHT 1200 degree flat red engine paint. I found this at a local auto shop for $4. You can see the paint can in the image to the left.

Now you are ready to start painting. In one hand you'll have the can of spray paint, and in the other hold a paper plate like a fan. I kinda cupped the paper plate behind the surface I was painting to isolate the surface to be painted and to reduce the amount of paint dust that goes flying around when you spray it. If you don't do this, you'll probably get paint on some of your suspension parts that weren't covered with plastic wrap.

Spray paint on from 12 to 15 inches away from surface in short half second bursts. The back of the paint can will elaborate on the best way to apply the paint. Wait 15 minutes between coats. The photo to the left is after after 5 *THIN* coats of the paint, allowing 15 minutes to dry between coats (during that 15 minutes, do the caliper on the other side of the car). At this point, I was happy with the appearance.

Now, do the exact same for the back of the car (or whichever end you didn't just do :), put the wheels on and make sure the nuts are tight and you're done! Total time for me was around 4 hours. You should probably wait 2 hours afterwards to allow the paint to "cure" before you drive it around.

In my opinion this mod really enhanced the appearance of my car, and since the calipers are fairly small and behind the wheels, its not too cheezy looking. I'm very glad I found paint to match the red SS logos perfectly.

Pics with painted calipers:

Front wheel

Back wheel

Profile shot

Here's a concept mockup of how I might paint brake calipers on a Red Firehawk with yellow firehawk decals. The yellow surface is the portion that won't be painted in the instructions above. Again, its just an idea.

Red/Yellow 2 color brake caliper idea
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