**HOW TO - Re-Condition your calipers**

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CJ
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**HOW TO - Re-Condition your calipers**

Post by CJ »

This information has already been done on the net, its also in the BGB. I do find that the BGB has the bare essential information in it though and this is for people who prefer to have a little more explanation. Also, because this is on a forum you already sign in to, you'll be able to ask questions if you want.
If you havent had your brakes re-cond then chances are they need doing. Even the gen 5 owners out there.

I will be recondtioning the calipers but also replacing my hose lines with braided ones, replacing the pads and also painting the calipers. If you dont want to do these particular stages, just skip them. I will be doing the front calipers. The rear ones are a bit harder as they have more parts in them and also the parking brake to play around with. If you can do the front then the rear would be a good next challenge.
First off, i will stress that some things could be slightly different for you. My car is a 1990/non ABS. So some bolt sizes could be different and i of course dont have the abs sensor to take off. Also the caliper is smaller than the gen 2. Dont stress if you find a couple things different.

Things you will need.
-A set of sockets/wrench in 3/8 or 1/2 drive.
-Reconditioning kits. You can get them direct from Toyota, i got mine at BNT.
-Loosening spray or even some good ol crc.
-Brake parts cleaner
-New brake fluid
-Sliding pipe wrench
-Rags
-Caliper paint
-Sandpaper
-Dremel for cleaning of parts
-Braided lines
-A work light to see what youre doing.
-Disposable gloves or really good hand cleaner
-Masking tape

First of all, you will need to get the wheel off. Loosen your wheelnuts, jack the car up, and take the wheel off. I havent put up a pic of this because, well, if you need pics to do this then i suggest you stop here really. Lie the wheel down on a piece of cardboard or an old towel. Dont try to lean it up or stand it....
Im starting with the right caliper (just so the picture looks the same to you)
Image

First there are 2 14mm bolts holding the caliper to the cradle. Just loosen these. Dont take them right off. If they are a bit stiff, give them a squirt with the bolt loosener and wait a minute.
There is also 2 larger 17mm bolts that hold the cradle onto the main hub housing. They are over the back of hub. Ive tried to show where using the dots. These will almost certainly need a squirt of loosener if they havent been off for a while. Also use a 1/2 drive or a breaker bar. These are pretty tight. 14mm in green, 17mm in blue
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Once these 4 bolts are loosened, now is a good time to release the brake fluid. You will need a container, like an old icecream container or something. Warning, dont use the missus tupperware...Its shown here and is a 14mm. You can take this bolt right off. The fluid will only drip out slowly.
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Now you can remove the 17mm bolts. This will cause the whole caliper system to come away from the housing. Be careful as the 14mm you took off to release the brake fluid is now coming out of the caliper. You dont want to drip this on any paintwork etc.
You can now completely take off the 14mm bolts and seperate the caliper from the cradle. Also take out the brade pads.
Image
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Put the cradle to one side, we will work on the caliper first. What im doing here is using a flat blade screw driver to lift up the piston boot.
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Dont worry about wrecking it as theres a new one in your recon kit. Im doing this to be able to squirt a little brake cleaner down into the piston. If yours are like mine, they are probably a little seized and this will help to get out the piston without too much effort. Get as much of this seal ripped out as you can. You will need to find something pointy and small to flick out the little seal ring thats sitting inside the top lip. You can just make it out in this pic.
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Now to get the cylinders out the BGB suggests sticking an airgun into the brakefluid inlet and they should pop out. As i dont have compressed air, Im using a pipe wrench, a screwdriver and a soft rag. If you have a set of grips with nylon, use them. Make sure youve got a good grip with the wrench as you dont want the wrench "spinning around" and munching up the piston.
They could be wedged in there pretty good, so just go slowly and surely. You just need them to turn a little to try and get some of the brake clean/crc down there which will ease them. Then using a large flat blade screwdriver. ive loosened the pistons up, a little on the left, then a little on the right. There is a seal down inside the bore which is basically holding them in with air pressure.

Ok, so now ive got the pistons out, the top seal all off, the seal ring from before and now i can take out the bore seal, which is half way down the bore.
Image

Next im going to start cleaning up the caliper for painting. Use a brake clean spray or general degreaser, spray it down then give it a minute to work. After that you can wash it down in hot water and a dishbrush (again, the one the missus uses!) If you arent going to paint your calipers, you can simply stop here and put the caliper aside. Alternatively you could use the dremmel to polish the aluminium up. Im going to be painting, so ive got some duplicolor caliper paint. This is much better than using a basic enamel as it holds really well, is a little heat resistant and you dont have to use primer. I have previously painted with a nastier paint so im going to sand the caliper down with some sand paper to take the excess off and get rid of any loose dirt before spraying. If youd like to get a really professional finish, then id suggest you get it powder-coated.
Image

Here is the sanded down, masked off and clean caliper ready for painting
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Now ive done 2 coats, sanded it with 800 grit, then a third coat. All this takes a little time as you have to wait for it to touch dry between coats, then the last coat has to allow to fully harden before you can really start to handle it again. This is going to take a day or so. So, while we are waiting i can start to work on the cradle. Of course, if you are just sticking the caliper back on as is or polishing it up, you can skip all this.
Now, starting work on the cradle, pull out the shims that hold the pads in.
Image

Im going to give these a quick clean up using my dremel. By doing this i know they will work as they should and also being cleaner will keep the steel lasting longer. You could always buy new ones if you really wanted to. Same with the backing plates to the pads and the shims. Ive given them a quick going over with 2000 grit sandpaper to clean them off.
Image
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Next youre going to take both these pins out. The seal is held by a little collar. It comes off reasonably easy but best done with a flat blade screwdriver and a tap with a hammer. Dont worry bout wrecking it as a new one comes in the recon kit. Discard the seals(keep the pins!)
Image

Now you can start cleaning up the cradle. Follow the same process as the caliper housing. Spray with degreaser and wash. If you are painting or powdercoating then sand and spray it too.

Now ive waited a couple of days for the paint to harden i can start the rebuilding process of brake assembly. The paint will continue to harden further over the next 48 hours but for now its good enough not to get ruined as i handle it.
Reinstall the pad holders into the cradle.
Image

In the recon kit is a little packet of grease. This needs to be applied to moving/seal parts. Im just using a cotton bud tip to get the grease down inside the seal.
Image

Make sure you give it a good all over coating as you arent likely to be getting inside here again. Do both seals.
Now im using a 17mm deep socket for this. Ive stuffed the rubber seal down into the socket so that the metal collar is flat on the end of the socket.
Image

Line up the collar SQUARELY on the housing and give the socket light taps with a mallet to drive the seal down into the housing.
Now you can simply pull the socket off and the dust boot is in nicely.
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2 dust boots in and greased.
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Apply a little more grease to the 2 sliding pins and reinsert them too. Make sure the dustboot goes right up the end of the bolt over the lip.
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Put both sets of shims onto the brake pads. Install them back into the cradle. Dont forget about the little tension springs as well.
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This parts all done. Put it aside and we'll work on the caliper.
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First up, the main piston seal. Run a little more grease round the seal and insert it down into the housing. Make sure it is seated nicely with no twists.
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A little more grease around the piston and push it back down into the caliper. TIP. Dont push the piston right down as far as it will go. If its sitting up a little bit, it will make the next step a little easier.
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Next you need to install the main cylinder boot. This needs grease too. Its really important to grease the outer edges as this where water is mostly going to try and get into your caliper. They also should be installed with this final inside lip FACING UP.
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It will take a little playing around with to get it all sitting nicely. Dont be tempted to use anything pointy/sharp to "poke" it in.
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Once the cylinder boot is sitting nicely, you can reinstall the cylinder boot set ring. These should be provided in your recon kit.
Image
Once youve got the set ring in place, you can push the cyliners back down again. Repeat these processes for the other cylinder.

Reinsert the caliper bleeder screw back into the housing. dont over tighten it. It only requires slightly more than finger tight. Besides we still need to bleed the system later anyway.
Image

Thats it! They are pretty much ready to go back on the car. Im going to be installing new Goodridge lines. Im doing this to get a better pedal response when the brake fluid is hot. You could replace the lines with OEM ones if you wish. The rubber does tend to lose its integrity over time and is good to do this now as re-bleeding the system at a later date is a PITA. If you arent going to replace the lines, just skip this part and head to Re-Assembly.

First, if your shocks have been replaced at all, and most peoples will, the tab on the side will likely have a cut through it. Have a feel around the area and you will feel a little tab which is holding everything together. This just pull out sideways. Then you just need to use a strong set pliers to pull each side of the tab apart enough to get the line free from the shock. If your shocks have never been replaced....time to get out the hacksaw....
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Next, the support tab where the steel line changes to rubber..FIRST..There a little 10mm nut at the steel side. You need to undo this first. A little crc or quick break spray goes a long way here.
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Then theres another little tab (like the previous one) holding the line into the tab. Pull this out with pliers. Then the rubber line should just fall out.
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Ive cleaned off the tab and bolt with a little degreaser just to make reassembly of the line clean and easy.
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Now my new lines come with clips to insert the hose back into the tab. Theres a small clip at the top and a larger one at the bottom (which is the same as the OEM you just took off).
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If youre using OEM, then just stick the sliding tab back in. I found this really hard going as the holding tab welded to the the arch just seems to be thicker than the space allowed between the two clips. Why they cant give it another mm or so i dont know.
Both clips in and the 10mm nut tightened back up.
Image

Repeat the process with the tab on the shock..
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Ive put the lower clip onto the line. Insert it into the tab, close the tab up with pliers. Then insert the top clip.
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This one for me, was a bit of a nightmare really. Ive bent this tab back a couple of times now for various reasons and trying to flatten it back out is not easy. Coupled with the space between clips not seeming big enough in the first place.....But it seems to be holding well now.

For those who skipped doing the new brake lines. This is where to lead in again. We're going to reassemble the caliper back on to the wheel hub.

First is to drop the whole assembled cradle down into the caliper. Get as much space in between the pads as possible.
Image

Reinsert the two 14mm bolts back into the cradle sliding bolt. I gave mine a little clean up with the dremel. You could buy new ones or just throw the old ones on again, depending on the finish you are going for. Touch tight for now. We will tighten everything once its on.
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Then slide the whole assembly around the disc. It should be a lot easier as the pistons are probably moving/compressing a lot better than they were before.

Reinsert the 17mm bolts holding the cradle to the main strut.

Last and not least, put the banjo bolt back on to the back of the caliper. My new ones dont have the same locating pin that the OEM ones have. Your recon kit should come with new copper compression washers. Always use new washers of these kind.
Image

As the aftermarket lines dont have the locating pin, just try to keep this part of the line as straight as possible without a bend in it.
I personally think these lines are just a bit too long. Theyre even longer than the stock ones which are long to start with.

Tighten up the 14mm bolts with your rachet while holding the 17mm nut with a spanner.
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Then tighten up the 17mm bolts holding the cradle to the hub. Youre DONE!
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Put the wheel back on, and you can start on the other side.... Once youve completed the other side then you need to bleed the brake lines with new fluid.
With this recon youre going to feel that pedal response is much better. The brakes come on faster and feel more firm. The pistons in the caliper will be able to move much more freely. Also they will be able to return to their full rest position much easier and quicker than before which will lower the temps in your caliper and rotor disc.

If you were going the whole hog, then youd be replacing the discs or at least having them machined as well. I did however discover during this, that my dust boot around my shock is completely stuffed so the shock wont last long. My sway bar mount is bent, maybe the sway bar too...And also the sway bar end link is looser than a kardashian. So, might be a couple phone calls to BNT for whiteline products next..

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Re: **HOW TO - Re-Condition your calipers**

Post by Benckj »

Good write-up CJ with plenty of pics. I might add that if people are not comfortable with this work then they should have a specialist do. Brakes are something which need to work when required.

On your sway bar problems it will pay to add supports to the strut tabs, replace links with stronger ones and check your chassis for cracks on bar mounts. All common defects regardless of mods.
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Re: **HOW TO - Re-Condition your calipers**

Post by ClanFever »

This is a great write up I'm in the process of completely re doing my brakes with new rotors and rebuilding the calipers. I had a half ass idea of how to do it but this gives me full confidence! Cheers :mrgreen:
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Re: **HOW TO - Re-Condition your calipers**

Post by Grrrrrrr! »

Dont forget to check the pistons for pitting & corrosion when you pull them out, if you have to order new ones the sooner you inspect them and order them the better.
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Re: **HOW TO - Re-Condition your calipers**

Post by CJ »

Grrrrrrr! wrote:Dont forget to check the pistons for pitting & corrosion when you pull them out, if you have to order new ones the sooner you inspect them and order them the better.
Fair enough. Id second that. There would have to be some fairly major leaking/wear to be pitting the pistons though. I hate to think how badly they would have been abused for it.
I havent seen any that bad yet. Although one of mine was so badly jammed that only 1 of the pistons was moving/clamping when applied. That one took a bit of patience to get out.

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Re: **HOW TO - Re-Condition your calipers**

Post by born disturbed »

Awesome write up CJ, this is a job that really needs to be done every 5 years or so for best reliability & performance.

With brake fluid being hygroscopic (draws in water) I would suggest it be changed yearly or bi-yearly for best condition & if you drive hard or do any track days then the braided lines & some racing brake fluid (Motul RBF660, Penrite SINRBF or similar) would be a seriously good investment to help keep you out of ditches & gravel traps.

Brakes & tires are the most important safety devices on your car, keep them in best condition :)
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Re: **HOW TO - Re-Condition your calipers**

Post by madaboutv8s427 »

thats great mate thanks for the write up i need to do my brakes this will help alot

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Re: **HOW TO - Re-Condition your calipers**

Post by CJ »

sweet, hope it helps somewhat.

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Re: **HOW TO - Re-Condition your calipers**

Post by Benckj »

I pretty much followed every aspect of your write-up when I did both my cars. Its a good reminder now to keep things in check by changing and bleeding the fluid.

I read an article recently on the advantages of DOT 5 and 5.1. Can't quite remember which is silicone based but the other had some good properties especially for those of us who get on the track a few times a year. Any comment on brake fluid to add into this well written thread?

Tempeted to make this thread into a sticky. Yes or no?
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Re: **HOW TO - Re-Condition your calipers**

Post by Grrrrrrr! »

Don't use DOT 5 (the silicon one), its rubbish in every possible way. You'll be hard pressed to find it anyway, i've never seen it stocked anywhere.

Use DOT 4 or DOT 5.1 for a road car, and the harder you are on your brakes the more often you need to change it.
Change it at least every 2 years even if you aren't hard on your brakes.


Many racers change the fluid after every meeting. Which gets expensive for the good brake fluids, if you dont know where to shop you might pay the over the top prices like $38 per 500ml for Motul RBF600(The same fluid is sold as TRD sport brake fluid at half the price from most Toyota dealers), or if you want a good laugh Castrol SRF @ $120/ltr
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Re: **HOW TO - Re-Condition your calipers**

Post by CJ »

Agreed. I use a 5.1. Its suitable for most cars that the specs suggest 4. It has a higher boiling point for if you use the brakes a bit in corners or light track work. I personally dont like or use the 5.0 silicone stuff. Brake fluid needs to be able to soak in water. Prevents the water from sitting in the lines. Then when the fluid is replaces. The water drops/vapors are gone with it.
I dont know the difference in brands really so id go for motul or castrol or something that has a reputable brand behind them.

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Re: **HOW TO - Re-Condition your calipers**

Post by Benckj »

Thanks for the advice on fluids. I'll wait until I drop engine later this year to do cam belt/clutch work to replace brake fluid. I never had any fade at Highlands but there was a couple corners when at Levels which I felt the brakes were less than ideal. Might have been my fear factor when hitting sweeper at 180km/hr as next corners were OK.
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