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Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 04-23-2013, 01:18 PM   #1
ClaytonL
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Revitalizing your brakes, hub, and rotor hat

What catches my eye while driving on the highway is the brake calipers on other cars. This is what sets the old cars from the fresh, new ones. I feel the clean, bright metal look on the brakes shows the car is either new or well taken care of. So I decided on cleaning mine. I tried brake cleaner, soap and water, hand wire brush. Nothing seemed to worked enough to my liking until I found this.

 photo brush.jpg

Spent a whole $5 on a wire brush kit that attaches to a drill. Took me about one hour from pulling the jack out to torquing the the wheel bolts back on.

I'd say this is one of the easiest and best ways to take years off our aging e46s.

Bought the pack of brushes from Harbor Freight and just used a power drill to clean the calipers and hub. This do not take off metal or hurt anything. Just stripping and cleaning years of brake dust and road grime from the car.

Before:
 photo oldbrake.jpg

After:
 photo newbrake.jpg


Even with the awesome BMW brake dust, they have stayed clean this past month. I usually hit them with Meguiars Hot Rims when I wash my car. This seems to put them right back to clean.
Plus, just as I expected, all of my wheel vibrations have been cleared!

Hope this helps anyone that has vibration problems or never could find a way to clean the calipers.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:19 PM   #2
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Good post. I can't see the pics yet (at work) but will check them later. I think I need to do these to mine. I tried painting them but the paint turned brown (maybe I drive too hard and the heat got to it) will see if i can strip it away. i have the same wire brush kit and a $20 HF drill. i'll try it out!
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:20 PM   #3
yetieater
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Revitalizing your brakes, hub, and rotor hat

Nice


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Old 04-23-2013, 01:21 PM   #4
Mango
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Oh and btw steam also works the same way and is a lot less invasive. could give that a shot too.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:22 PM   #5
ClaytonL
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mango View Post
Good post. I can't see the pics yet (at work) but will check them later. I think I need to do these to mine. I tried painting them but the paint turned brown (maybe I drive too hard and the heat got to it) will see if i can strip it away. i have the same wire brush kit and a $20 HF drill. i'll try it out!
Pull them up and you'll want to clean yours today!

I stripped old red brake paint from my friends Honda a couple of weeks ago. This way worked amazing and his brakes also looked brand new.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:22 PM   #6
yetieater
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Revitalizing your brakes, hub, and rotor hat

How does one use a steam cleaner on the brake calipers?
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:22 PM   #7
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Nice


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Old 04-23-2013, 01:23 PM   #8
Mango
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How does one use a steam cleaner on the brake calipers?
by holding the steam wand to the brake caliper using your hand
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:25 PM   #9
ClaytonL
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Oh and btw steam also works the same way and is a lot less invasive. could give that a shot too.

This did cross my mind at one point but I didn't like the idea of steam water so close to my brakes and fluid. I just knew i'd screw something up!
I'm sure I will try this for the maintaining part! Thanks!
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:25 PM   #10
yetieater
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Revitalizing your brakes, hub, and rotor hat

Having never used such a tool in my life, I have only read about them briefly on Wikipedia. I thought that there was a suction element involved. Shrug.
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:35 PM   #11
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Looks great OP!
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Old 04-23-2013, 01:35 PM   #12
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Having never used such a tool in my life, I have only read about them briefly on Wikipedia. I thought that there was a suction element involved. Shrug.
That depends on what sort of steam cleaner. Some do have suction- though they wouldn't work worth a damn on brake parts.
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:24 PM   #13
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I tried painting remanufactured calipers last summer and since then they have actually rusted a LOT worse than the original ones on the car before I started. Even leaving traces of rust on my wheels from water coming off the calipers. Not sure what I did wrong... Used High Temp Black paint and prepped them with brake cleaner as they had a oily residue on them out of the box.

Will this procedure here still be a good idea? Should I paint them after doing this as well? How did you get the brackets so shiny without taking them off?
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:29 PM   #14
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Revitalizing your brakes, hub, and rotor hat

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...Not sure what I did wrong... Used High Temp Black paint ...
Some of the high temp paints s do not seal and are actually porous -They will soak up water.



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Old 04-23-2013, 05:32 PM   #15
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Could a Dremel with the wire brush attachment give similar results?
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:36 PM   #16
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wow, I'm gonna do this. thanks for the info.
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:37 PM   #17
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Could a Dremel with the wire brush attachment give similar results?
high speed probably. wear safety glasses whatever method you try
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Old 04-23-2013, 07:21 PM   #18
ClaytonL
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Revitalizing your brakes, hub, and rotor hat

yes, everyone please wear goggles and a breathing mask for sure. no need to breath in all that junk and danger health just for car looks.


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Old 04-23-2013, 07:26 PM   #19
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Revitalizing your brakes, hub, and rotor hat

Always have done this. Stays clean for months.
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:22 AM   #20
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Would this take caliper paint off? I'd like that because then it's a great excuse to redo
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