Flashback: Brake Caliper Refinishing Project 2009

Posted: July 12, 2013 in Toby Broadfield's S13, Wheels-Brakes
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I have had some interest lately on how I did the refinishing on the brake setup for the S13… specifically the plating of all the bolts/hardware. I tackled this project before the birth of this blog, so I’m going to revisit the process so it will now be in writing for others to reference.

I have Stoptech 4-piston BBK on the front and Z32 rears. The Stoptechs were the original black color and the Z32’s were the OEM dark cast iron color…virtually a flat black. Back in 2009 I decided that I wanted something a little more flashy. So I set my heart on white… not over the top but would still “pop” behind the wheels. I contemplated between painting the calipers and powder coating the calipers. After seeing how the paint on the OEM STi Brembos would discolor from high heat and the clear coat would come off the OEM EVO Brembos, powder coating was an easy choice. So the first thing was to disassemble everything:

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I used compressed air to easily pop out the pistons:

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I decided to keep everything organized the way it was removed… that way each piston etc. would be in the same exact spot as when it came out:

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Back from the powder coater… I also had the hats on the front rotors done in black and taped off the rear rotors to do those. I went ahead and also had them coat the front caps for the hubs:

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Next was all the hardware. Since I couldn’t powder coat those items, I did some research and decided I would zinc plate them myself. I stumbled upon Caswellplating.com… I was in heaven. I put together a kit to zinc plate my hardware and ordered it up. I wanted to try a couple different things, so I also ordered black chromate and gold chromate to “tint” the hardware. This is my at home setup:

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All of the hardware had to be completely stripped of all paint, corrosion etc. down to bare steel before plating. Here is what it looks like right before plating:

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This is a rough listing of the steps involved in plating:

  • Wire brush hardware to remove all paint and loose rust
  • Acid bath hardware to remove all corrosion
  • Bath hardware in distilled water
  • Bath hardware in a heated degreaser solution
  • Bath hardware in distilled water
  • Insert hardware in plating bath
  • Bath hardware in distilled water
  • Insert hardware in chromate bath if you so choose
  • Bath hardware in distilled water
  • Let dry
  • I did all the top hat hardware in a gold chromate:

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    I also coated some of the other pieces in a gold chromate. For some reason the 4 bolts and 4 pins in the picture ended up in the batch. So I had to strip those back down and do them in black chromate:

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    I did the crossover lines and all the main bolts that would be visible in a black chromate. If you are wondering why they look “wet” in the pictures, it’s because I sprayed them with WD-40 as a final step. This is suggested after they are taken out of the black chromate bath and they are dry:

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    Here are some pictures of the rears right after assembly. I also sanded the powder coat off the top of the raised “NISSAN” lettering and hand painted those with some Duplicolor gloss black:

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    Here are some pictures of the fronts right after assembly. I had a sticker place make me some high-temp die cut Stoptech stickers since the original “STOPTECH” lettering from the factory is painted on. The stickers are still perfect today!

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    Comments
    1. LC says:

      Is that black chrome coating hard enough to resist peeling from wrenches or sockets?

    2. […] to say, the results are beautiful. For more details and more pictures, check out the post right here, and we suggest subscribing to the RSS feed so you don’t miss out on more of Toby […]

    3. royboysays says:

      Awesome write up! I am just starting to research upgrading my s13’s brakes also.

    4. Jason says:

      Do you have a link or name of the company that made the decals or will the eBay vendors be sufficient?

      Thanks for the post too as I have a set of Stoptech calipers that need refinishing and this has given me some ideas.

    5. Lawrence Goedrich says:

      Are there any pictures of the inside of the calipers after they have been powder coated.

    6. Sean says:

      Those calipers came out beautiful. Great attention to detail. I am doing something very similar with the my 3000gt build, although I decided to do the powder coating in-house and farm out the plating. Since you did the plating yourself, I’m sure you would do great at powder coating too. http://www.powdercoatguide.com/

    7. YerRandO says:

      was the mating surface of the two caliper halves powdercoated as well or was this left bare? They look great BTW

    8. Jonathan says:

      Thank you for posting this “How-to” very informative.

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