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I spent about an hour disassembling the Lucas rear calipers and carriers I picked yesterday. The seals are actually in very good condition, but I need to media blast the calipers to get them clean enough to refinish. Pleasant surprise, the calipers themselves appear to be aluminum. I will photo them later tonight. I thought I would start my step-by-step now with a little prelude traipse through piston removal.

:wrench:

Some before shots:


They are a little dirty:


Ok, a lot dirty:


So to remove the piston, you can do it on the car using hydraulic pressure through the brake system, or you can use compressed air. Since mine were already on the bench, I hooked one up to the little trim nailer compressor I have through a pigtail of severed brake line and held my breath for a few moments.


Nothing happened for several minutes while the compressor pressure built up. Per the instructions I was following, I put a block of wood to keep the piston from becoming a projectile.


This photo was such a happy accident. I was waiting for the piston to move and it did eventually, then "POW!" that bugger came out with a bang. Since I shot this with my iPhone, it is a total coinky-dink that my shutter caught the actual piston release. Pressure needed to remove the piston ended up being about 85 psi.


Once the piston was released, the remaining brake fluid dribbled out as the piston cleared the inner seal:


More step-by-step later. I have to get both of these stripped to drop them at the powder coater tomorrow for media blasting before I meet Pete (B-5) for coffee and timing belt change prep. :thumbup:
 

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I thought about rebuilding mine. But on the one side it was leaking through the seal where the parking brake cable attaches. On the other side the parking brake was starting to seize. Rebuild kit seemed to be boot and o-ring only.
 

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Did the rear's screw out first, then pop out like that? I've been thinking about doing a project like this to start "dusting" off the old look of my 98'.

Forgive me for I'm a bit new at outsourcing to other people, like machine shops and such, but
Where do you get them media blasted?
How much does something like that generally cost?
How much does it cost to rebuild with new seals and such?
Do you plan on painting them on your own, or having someone else do it?
What kind of paint do you plan on using if doing it on your own, an enamel based paint? What color?
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Did the rear's screw out first, then pop out like that? I've been thinking about doing a project like this to start "dusting" off the old look of my 98'.
AFAIK, they can only "screw" in when they are reset. I tried to screw them out, but they didn't seem to like that, so I looked up the how-to. Turns out the only was to remove the pistons is with hydraulic pressure (pump pedal while caliper is still mounted to brake line) or air pressure (which is what I used).

Forgive me for I'm a bit new at outsourcing to other people, like machine shops and such, but where do you get them media blasted?
I believe machine shops can clean them, and possibly some custom shops will have the right equipment. Because I am probably going to do two or three sets of calipers to cycle through for my own refurbishing and an additional set/s (offered above), I may pick up a canister blaster, which is a media canister that can be attached to you own compressor an will hold abrasive media so you can clean your own parts. A modest size one can be had for about $125 from Harbor Freight, IIRC.

How much does something like that generally cost?
Don't know yet, haven't had a chance to shop them as yet.

How much does it cost to rebuild with new seals and such?
A full set of seals for the rears are about $15. New pin boots are about another $10. A single rebuilt OE Lucas rear is $110 with a $110 core charge (which you get back if you send in your old one).

Do you plan on painting them on your own, or having someone else do it?
I will likely have the set for my own car powder coated, because I hope to track it a bit when I get the SC installed, and I have been told that caliper paint doesn't hold up well to track brake temperatures. I will refinish the set offered above myself using caliper paint, which will hold up well for a daily driver/occasional auto cross setup.

What kind of paint do you plan on using if doing it on your own, an enamel based paint? What color?
I used Rustoleum brand caliper paint in brilliant silver for my current setup, and it has held up like iron. Looks great too. For my new brakes, I am probably going to go with gloss black or brilliant silver again. I want a sleeper, not a loud finish that screams I am setup to go fast and stop faster. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I thought about rebuilding mine. But on the one side it was leaking through the seal where the parking brake cable attaches Bon the other side the parking brake was starting to seize. Rebuild kit seemed to be boot and o-ring only.
Yes, most rebuild kits are for the piston seals only. But there are kits for the whole assembly, e.g. this one from Centric at PartsGeek. This particular part is for an older Passat, but I am guessing a similar kit exists for B5/5.5 years.

Replacing the parking brake seal will require some very slim snap ring pliers. I found this tool on Amazon that will reach into the interior of the piston bore deep enough to release the parking brake spindle core.

:wrench:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I thought about rebuilding mine. But on the one side it was leaking through the seal where the parking brake cable attaches Bon the other side the parking brake was starting to seize. Rebuild kit seemed to be boot and o-ring only.




These did the trick to get the parking brake spring barrels out of the calipers. Inside the caliper on the stems that stick through to the parking brake levers is a single small o-ring. If yours are leaking, that is probably the fail point, not the dust boot that is visible from the outside. Pics of the exploded view parts arrays later, I am soaking all the internals and seals in DOT-4 while I continue to prep the calipers for high-temperature primer now that all the sensitive stuff is out of them.

As for the o-rings, I'll measure one, and if you can't find a full kit to refurb yours, you can probably get just the o-rings to spec. But you are absolutely going to need the snap ring pliers pictured above. All the general purpose snap ring pliers I found at auto and hardware stores were not trim enough to reach into the caliper and release that parking brake spring barrel retainer.

FWIW, I purchased a set of Lucas caliper rebuild kits from PartsGeek.com that were spec'd for the W8 rears, but I think they do the trick. The kits include the parking brake spindle dust boot, inner spring barrel o-ring, inner piston seal and outer piston dust boot. I'll post pics when I get them, they should arrive tomorrow or Monday.

:wrench:
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Episode II: Baked Dust Menace

When I last posted directly about the caliper rebuilds (not the tool post above but the piston release) I had only completed disassembly as far as I could go without the above snap ring pliers. After removing the rest of the parking brake internals, and after not getting to the machine shop to have them media blasted due to an emergency detour (see MkIV seats in Passat Pickin's thread), I was bored to night so I hit them with degreaser and let them soak for a half an hour and then assaulted them with a variety of wire brush wheels on my drill press, followed by a tiny wire wheel on my Dremel tool for the tight nooks and corners. Really deep corners filled with baked brake dust and road grime I ground out with a ball mill bit on the Dremel. I think I can dunk them in isopropyl alcohol and air dry them, and they are ready to go for color coat. I am now thinking gloss black might be sinister without being overly flashy...

Ugh! They both started out super nasty, with a thick coating of kiln hard brake dust, road grime and other contaminants.


I knocked 95% of the hard stuff off with several passes under a pair of wire brush wheels on my drill press. The more difficult to reach areas required a little Dremel application:










The carriers are letting the side down. I am definitely going to hit them with the color coats too:




And the rebuild seals kits came from Parts Geek yesterday. They are the correct parts for the Lucas rears on the 2004 B5.5. Here's a pic with stock number:



And here's a pic with the package contents:



:wrench:
 

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Great job! Those calipers look amazing!:thumbup::thumbup: Personal preference, but I would go clear powder coat on the calipers and a silver to match carriers.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great job! Those calipers look amazing!:thumbup::thumbup: Personal preference, but I would go clear powder coat on the calipers and a silver to match carriers.
I am doing these to match the Porsche Boxter Brembos I have on deck for the fronts which I am leaning towards black for. If I did them in black, I would definitely do the carriers in a contrasting silver, kind of like this (without the decal):



:wrench:
 

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Keith, you have the patience of a god. How long did that take you?

They look really good! I wonder if that's how they came from the factory...
 

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Keith, you have the patience of a god.
Thanks, I think. IIRC the gods did not have a lot of patience, especially when it came to dealing with pesky mortals. Lots of spite thrown around freely and such. :hmmm:

How long did that take you?
Anything can be rapidly accelerated with the enthusiastic application of power tools. I didn't do it in one sitting, but if I had to replicate the process again (which I will in a couple of weeks when I refinish the second set for sale here in classifieds) I think it can be done in about 2 hours per caliper, including disassembly. It of course helps to have the right tools on your bench, e.g. the compressor to pop the pistons and snap ring pliers to get the parking brake spindles out—the latter of which I did not have, hence the stop-start engagement.

They look really good! I wonder if that's how they came from the factory...
They appear to be sand cast aluminum with machined mating surfaces, so I don't think they were ever burnished to this much refinement. It is certainly growing on me, and now I am leaning to clear powder coating calipers and epoxy painting the carriers gloss black.

I enjoy short projects like this. I can take my time with them because they are not the brakes from my car, but they will go on my car when they are done. As I peruse the offerings of various donor cars in the salvage yards, ideas like this rebuild and refinish pop up when the gettin' is cheap. The used calipers from a 2004 GLX with seemingly pretty low miles cost me $50 for the pair, an easy "yes" of convenience so I don't have to rush trying to refinish the ones on my daily driver overnight to not be without a car.

And to pay for the parts and supplies, I will rebuild and refinish the ones presently on my car in the same fashion and put them up for sale here later this month or in early December, along with similarly rebuilt and refinished fronts.

Thanks for the kudos. I am happy you appreciate the work!

:wrench:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Going to keep the polished look...

Polished and clear powder-coated calipers with black epoxy painted carriers it is. I have just grown to love the polished aluminum look, especially after I hit them once more with a fresh brass wire wheel, the steel wire wheels I had been using were tarnishing them a bit. The brass wire is non-reactive with the aluminum, and the bright that results is stunning white.

So today I heated up the carriers with my heat gun and shot them with a couple of smooth coats of gloss black caliper paint. Once the carriers had cured for an hour or so, I had to test fit the polished calipers on the freshly painted carriers before dropping them off for their beauty finish. Hope to have them powder coated and back later this week. Then I can assemble them for real, with fresh caliper grease on the slide pins and all the new rubber seals in the rebuild kits.

Here's a preview of the caliper and carrier assemblies:












 

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Polished aluminum is definitely the way to go with these. Bright aluminum is a great looking metal. Save painting for metals that need to be hidden. Great work & awesome look you've got going.
 

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just watchout keith, if you build up too much paint on the caliper mount the brake pads wont slide easily and they could get hung up against the rotor and cause issues.

ask me how i know :banghead:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
just watchout keith, if you build up too much paint on the caliper mount the brake pads wont slide easily and they could get hung up against the rotor and cause issues.
I thought about that, going to remove the paint from the top and inside edges of the tab slides. :wrench:
 
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