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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 07-07-2009, 10:30 AM
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nattyderek nattyderek is offline
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Painted Calipers

I finally got tired of looking at my ugly rusty calipers behind my beautiful 135 wheels, so I decided to give them a paint job. Nothing ground breaking here, but it was so easy, I had to share. I chose Duplicolor silver caliper paint because I like how they look with the factory finish & I just wanted a clean new look, no bling...

I kind of followed a DIY I found at www.bimmerdiy.com, (Another good BMW DIY site) in that I just hand painted them in place with a very small paintbrush.

Here were my steps:
1. Jack up & remove wheel.
2. Spray brake cleaner liberally over caliper.
3. Wire brush the sh^&*t out of the caliper. Careful around any rubber seals, brake sensor etc...
4. Spray brake cleaner liberally over caliper. Wipe with cloth & let dry.
5. Spray caliper paint into paper cup, maybe 20-30 seconds worth.... then, re-fill as necessary.
6. Hand paint calipers. Take your time. Different sized brushed would have helped make this even easier, but I did it with just a tiny kids paint brush. I painted about 3-4 coats, 10 min. apart.
7. Put wheel back on and move to the next caliper.

I then let the paint cure for 12 hours before driving. All in all, this took less than 1 hour per wheel and would have been less with better paint brushes.

Here are the pics:

BEFORE:



AFTER:


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  #2  
Old 07-07-2009, 10:34 AM
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MUCH! better!!
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  #3  
Old 07-07-2009, 10:56 AM
Toona79 Toona79 is offline
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I like it a lot.. all these good ideas you guys have are gonna keep me under the car and in the doghouse for quite some time
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  #4  
Old 07-07-2009, 11:00 AM
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Just in case... you can buy brush-on caliper paint kits.

http://duplicolor.com/products/caliper.html
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  #5  
Old 07-07-2009, 11:27 AM
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I like the "Before" pictures better....















(JUST KIDDING !!! :-) Nice job....very clean look....
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  #6  
Old 07-07-2009, 11:41 AM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Certainly a much better look and worthy of the wheels! Of course, the next that will happen is that this thread will devolve into a free-for-all of what would have been the best color to use instead of plain old silver....

Now this is definitely one thing to put on the to-do list for the next time you'll be flushing out the old brake fluid and replacing the pads. Much easier to do with the calipers out of the car and on a workbench. Having thus eliminated the risk of spattering, spraying would make it faster. Heck, some of our more picturesque members might even suggest using contrasting colors for the inner angles and such. And if you're really anal about it, might as well rebuild the things, replacing the mounting rubbers, seals, etc. That way you'll get form and function in one sweet package.

With the caliper out and completely disassembled, just stick it under the sink and scrub away with Simple Green to clean and degrease before painting. Here's a caliper rebuilding DIY:

http://www.bmw-m.net/TechProc/caliper.htm
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Last edited by jcourcoul; 07-07-2009 at 11:45 AM.
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  #7  
Old 07-07-2009, 12:36 PM
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Very nice. I thought I was out of cheap mods but here's another.

Thanks.
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  #8  
Old 07-07-2009, 01:22 PM
smilez smilez is offline
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so much better. 1st i did red, then went to silver
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  #9  
Old 07-07-2009, 01:27 PM
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I will be doing my brakes this weekend and thinking about painting my calipers, looks nice!
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  #10  
Old 07-07-2009, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smilez View Post
so much better. 1st i did red, then went to silver
The downside to this project is that the stock calipers lack pizazz....they`re too puny and pedestrian-looking to call attention to them by painting them yellow or red....IMHO, black or silver is the only way to fly....when you trade up to some big-ass Brembos or Wilwoods, complete with 14-inch rotors, THAT`S the time to call attention to `em ! :-)
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  #11  
Old 07-07-2009, 02:05 PM
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Gonna do this in black.
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  #12  
Old 07-07-2009, 02:06 PM
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Looks great!

Makes me wanna go do mine.
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  #13  
Old 07-07-2009, 02:10 PM
jack_ski jack_ski is offline
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Note to self: "Do this next time you do a brake job"
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  #14  
Old 07-07-2009, 02:46 PM
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nattyderek nattyderek is offline
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Thanks for everone's comments

Quote:
Originally Posted by Toona79 View Post
I like it a lot.. all these good ideas you guys have are gonna keep me under the car and in the doghouse for quite some time
My wifes comment when she saw me working on them: WHAT are you doing NOW ? WHY do your calipers need to be painted ??????

Quote:
Originally Posted by jvr826 View Post
Just in case... you can buy brush-on caliper paint kits.
Dang, I looked all over locally for brush on caliper paint. Oh well, turns out I made my own kit without knowing it ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcourcoul View Post
Much easier to do with the calipers out of the car and on a workbench. Having thus eliminated the risk of spattering, spraying would make it faster.
Getting to this point would take MUCH longer, however. Definitely could have been more thorough with the calipers off, but painting them in place was easy and not messy at all with a small paint brush...

Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
Gonna do this in black.
Black was my second choice. Black will look great with your color & wheel combo. Plus I figured, they may be black in a few months anyway...
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Old 07-07-2009, 03:15 PM
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Looks great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fast Bob View Post
The downside to this project is that the stock calipers lack pizazz....they`re too puny and pedestrian-looking to call attention to them by painting them yellow or red....IMHO, black or silver is the only way to fly....when you trade up to some big-ass Brembos or Wilwoods, complete with 14-inch rotors, THAT`S the time to call attention to `em ! :-)
Agree 100%

Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
Gonna do this in black.
On this note... what are peoples opinions on going with black calipers on my car which is already black? Too much? Waste of time (since black would be hard to see)?
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  #16  
Old 07-07-2009, 03:16 PM
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That looks amazing! very nice
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  #17  
Old 07-07-2009, 03:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razzman View Post
On this note... what are peoples opinions on going with black calipers on my car which is already black? Too much? Waste of time (since black would be hard to see)?
The main advantage is that it`s *clean*, and not crusty-looking like stock, unpainted calipers.
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Last edited by Fast Bob; 07-07-2009 at 04:19 PM.
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  #18  
Old 07-07-2009, 04:08 PM
ThreeTwoFive ThreeTwoFive is offline
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Glad you picked silver, and not red..
I have silver too...And the brake calipers look beast after the paint
Good job!
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Old 07-07-2009, 05:52 PM
jcourcoul jcourcoul is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nattyderek View Post
Getting to this point would take MUCH longer, however. Definitely could have been more thorough with the calipers off, but painting them in place was easy and not messy at all with a small paint brush...
Well, yeah, but like I said. If you're gonna take'em off to change the pads, and you're gonna flush the juice out, and you suspect a piston might be sticking and want to change the seals, painting them will just be the cherry on top of the cake...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Razzman View Post
On this note... what are peoples opinions on going with black calipers on my car which is already black? Too much? Waste of time (since black would be hard to see)?
Ideally, the best color would be.... Brake Dust!

Too bad that ain't too sexy. But at least black would conceal some of the inevitable and everpresent dust. And of course, the worst color would be white for that same reason, although it might conceivably look good with some body color combinations.

Functionally, matte black would be best, since that would help dissipate yet more heat. But shiny black looks sexier... oh, well.... decisions, decisions, decisions...
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by TrickTizzle View Post
And the brake calipers look beast after the paint
Your English teacher is giving you a facepalm and punching your picture in the yearbook for that sentence (if you can call it that)
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  #21  
Old 07-07-2009, 06:19 PM
ThreeTwoFive ThreeTwoFive is offline
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Your English teacher is giving you a facepalm and punching your picture in the yearbook for that sentence (if you can call it that)
The funny part is that is how my english teacher speaks....He's a
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:21 PM
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The funny part is that is how my english teacher speaks....He's a
Your English teacher is a pimp?
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:23 PM
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Your English teacher is a pimp?
a big pimp
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:25 PM
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a big pimp
So that is over 250lbs? Or is it quantity and sales volume and not physical size that makes one a "Big" pimp?
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  #25  
Old 07-07-2009, 06:26 PM
ThreeTwoFive ThreeTwoFive is offline
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Your English teacher is a pimp?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
So that is over 250lbs? Or is it quantity and sales volume and not physical size that makes one a "Big" pimp?
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