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Author Topic: Caliper Rebuilding
blownmiata
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How do you know if your brake calipers need to be rebuilt or replaced? Do they only need to be replaced/rebuilt if they are leaking, or could rebuilding improve the performance of an already working caliper?

Thanks

[ 12-31-2007, 06:18 PM: Message edited by: blownmiata ]

Seabee
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A rebuild kit from Mazdaspeed is fairly cheap. Plus you get to inspect the piston. If it is pitted you may want to replace it.

The fronts are easier to rebuild than the rears. Not that it is hard but I recall needing four hands.

r/
Steve

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Steve

Ken Tubbs Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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For me it's a reliability thing. I rebuild mine each winter. Cheap insurance. Yes, the rears require four hands

BTW, the rebuild kit contains parts for two calipers not just one.

For the gurus out there the kit contains a packet of what I assume is silicone grease. Is this just intended to lube the sliders or is an assembly lube? I've always just used brake fluid as an assembly lube but would love to be able to use a little grease on the piston.

blownmiata
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Thanks- Any tips on doing the rears?

Z-MAN Verified Driver
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I rebuilt a set this year and I don't think I would do it again.

The Boot and Seal kits for the front cost right at $30 - the rear kit cost $43. Plus two to three hours each.

Reman calipers cost right at $70 for the fronts and $90 for the rears.

So either you pay $73 and spend the better part of a week-end taking them apart - cleaning and re-assembly them or $320 and your done.

I've been told you might be able to get the local Mazda dealership to take the old ones back if so you can get $80 back from the cores.

I do the math like this:
$320 for a set of calipers.
Or
$73 for the rebuild kits.
+
$247 labor to rebuild = around $30 per hour for my time - That is if you don't sand blast and repaint them if you do that you're talking double or triple the time - comes out to like $10 an hour. NO THANKS.


Z-Man

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quote:
Originally posted by blownmiata:
Thanks- Any tips on doing the rears?

The rears are the big problem - there is a ring clip down inside the caliper that releases the adjuster - without the right tool you will have big trouble getting it out and twice as much getting it back in.

I made a set of real long tips for my ring clip pliers to get in there and it was still a major pain in the ass...


You might be able to just clean them real good and replace the main seals and boots and move on without removing the adjuster but I don't think it is worth the time.


Z-Man

blownmiata
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Is there a trick for getting the dust boots on? I've tried putting the piston in first then putting the boot on, but then the gap between the piston and bore is too small to get the rubber into the groove in the caliper. I've also tried putting it on the caliper first then putting the piston in, but that didn't work either. Suggestions?

P.S. I now believe you're right about just buying new ones...

JD Morris Verified Driver Made Donation to Website
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First, get the new boot stretched out on the base of the piston (at the opposite end of the piston from where the boot will eventually seat). Put the widest part of the boot into it's retaining slot in the caliper with the piston ready to go into the caliper but not inserted, yet. Then try to get the piston started over the boot now located in the caliper and once the boot is correctly seated in the caliper with the piston started, push in the piston until the lip on the new boot seats in the slot at the top of the piston. I know it's still a pain at first but I've used the same method on several different makes of cars without too much trouble and I've done it almost every season on the Miata. Good luck!

JD

Sam Barnett
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On Partsamerica.com (Advance/Kragen)

$55 per front
$74 per rear
($258 for all 4 corners)

Hard for me to justify rebuilding them myself for that price...


quote:
Originally posted by Z-MAN:
I rebuilt a set this year and I don't think I would do it again.

The Boot and Seal kits for the front cost right at $30 - the rear kit cost $43. Plus two to three hours each.

Reman calipers cost right at $70 for the fronts and $90 for the rears.

So either you pay $73 and spend the better part of a week-end taking them apart - cleaning and re-assembly them or $320 and your done.

I've been told you might be able to get the local Mazda dealership to take the old ones back if so you can get $80 back from the cores.

I do the math like this:
$320 for a set of calipers.
Or
$73 for the rebuild kits.
+
$247 labor to rebuild = around $30 per hour for my time - That is if you don't sand blast and repaint them if you do that you're talking double or triple the time - comes out to like $10 an hour. NO THANKS.


Z-Man


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Is PartsAmerica the preferred place to get "remanufactured" calipers from? I don't particularly have the desire to rebuild all my calipers on my own either after having troubles doing the same on other cars.

Do these places rebuild with OEM-quality parts, or shoddy stuff from China? P.A. offers Bendix and Cardone remanufactured calipers...is one better quality than the other?

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jigou Verified Driver
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The fronts are S-I-M-P-L-E to rebuild. As long as everything (piston etc) is in good shape, you can pop the piston out, put in the new seal and have it back together in about 5 minutes. (OK, maybe 25 minutes the first time you try to get that boot on....)

The rears? Buy rebuilt...although a local racer went through two or three rebuilt ones before he got one that didn't leak as soon as it was installed.

Jarrod

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Z-MAN Verified Driver
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I have used two sets of rebuilt calipers from Mazda with no trouble - for the money and the peace of mind that they are OEM I recommend using them.

Jarrod's advise is sound:
Rebuild the fronts = Maybe - takes longer to clean them then it does to take them apart and put them back together again.

But Rebuild the rears - Never again...

Z-Man

Jim Boemler Verified Driver
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The Mazda calipers are rebuilds too. I'm not sure that Mazda's rebuilding is any better than anyone else's, and they probably don't do their own anyway. I will say that the finish work on Mazda's rebuilds is better than NAPA's, though. NAPA is my second choice.

One other thing to consider (which may be either pro or con) is that Mazda sells the calipers outright, where most auto-parts rebuilds take your old ones. I lean towards NAPA, just so I don't get a garage full of used calipers.

jim

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