DIY: 1LE-look Red Painted Brake Calipers
Hi everyone, I know there are a quite a few threads on this topic (because I read all of them for this project) but
here is how I painted my stock SS Brembo brake calipers to look like the RED 1LE Brembo calipers. Of course you
could use this technique with any color and any decals to get the look you want! I wanted a glossy finished
product (think powdercoat-look) but wanted to do it myself inexpensively with minimum disassembly and no
bleeding the brake lines.
Here are the supplies you'll need:
Red Scotch Brite Pads
Prep-all cleaner (or something like it to wipe calipers clean)
1 can VHT SP148 Engine Enamel Light Gray Primer Can - 11oz $7.99
2 cans VHT SP731 Real Red Brake Caliper Paint Can - 11oz $9.71
1 can VHT SP145 Engine Enamel Gloss Clear Can- 11oz $6.05
eBay "Chevrolet" and "Brembo" high temp stickers $16.00
Floor jack, 18mm socket to remove calipers, 22mm socket to remove wheels, 10mm socket to loosen each brake
line so you can get the calipers out in the open, cheap-o lightweight disposable car cover, masking tape, scissors
and something to set the calipers on while you paint them
If my photos don't post, this will be a glorious waste of time, but here we go. Please no red X's.
This is how they looked originally:
Jack up the car and remove the wheel. With the caliper still bolted in place, scuff the entire surface with the Red
Scotch Brite pad - be sure to REALLY scuff the Chevrolet and Brembo lettering (it feels flush but trust me, you'll
see the lettering through the paint if you don't scuff them smooth). I'm going to skip ahead and assume you
can remove the bolt that keeps the brake line in place on the suspension, remove the 2 bolts that hold the caliper
onto the spindle, lift the caliper off and set it on some kind of stand - I used a 2 step ladder. Here is where I use
the cheap-o car cover...throw it over the car, tear a hole in it so you can pass the caliper through and set it on the
stand. You are now able to finish scuffing 100% of the caliper front, back, top and bottom and mask off EVERYTHING
you don't want painted. Note: some people do not paint the cross over tube on the bottom of the caliper, but I
wanted mine painted. You don't have to remove the pads, just take your time and mask them off.
You don't want to touch the caliper after you start painting, so I came up with the idea of sliding a large allen
wrench through one of the holes in the caliper to position it so I could paint the front, back, and underside of
the caliper. Then, wipe them clean with Prep-all or another cleaning agent so the paint will stick.
The actual supplies:
Before you start painting, just realize YOU ARE GOING TO MISS SOME SPOTS - no matter how hard you try to
paint everything, once you're all done and bolt them back into place you're going to see a light spot. So, position
the caliper in a way so you can SEE every important part of the caliper. During the painting process, I
would LOOK at the same caliper on the opposite side of the car and make a mental note of what part of the caliper
MUST look perfect! Okay, shake that first can, the Primer, and get after it. Plan on one light coat, wait 10 minutes,
then 2 more heavier coats 10 minutes apart.
I set up a heat lamp to help with the drying process, but if it's at least 70 degrees where you're painting, you
should be ready for the color in 10-15 minutes. Use the same technique, one light coat, wait 10 minutes, then
two heavier coats 10 minutes apart focusing on nice even coverage, no runs.
Once you are done with the color, then it's time to take a break. You'll want the paint to cure before you go
trying to stick decals on them. I found 1-2hrs was the minimum acceptable drying time. Once the paint is dry to
the touch, it's time to add those decals. Again, once you touch them down, it's forever, so know exactly where
you want them to be positioned! I started with the "Chevrolet" and tried to position it as close to the natural
contour of the caliper at the top - the eBay stickers aren't exactly the same size and font as the factory lettering,
so you kind of have to do your best. HINT: It really helps to "trim" the backing paper as close to the decals as
possible so you can see where you are sticking them!
Then, apply the "Brembo" decal centered under "Chevrolet" in the remaining area.
It's all downhill from here. Time to clear coat over everything and protect your gorgeous calipers and decals.
And because I hate rusty rotors and since I had the calipers off anyways, I went ahead and scuffed my rotor hats,
masked off the lugs and torx key bolt head and shot them with a gun metal gray high temp engine enamel (cast iron color).
If you get a little on the brake sweep area, it's no BFD, your brake pads will clean that right up.
Here are a couple of pictures of the finished product. Red calipers with "Chevrolet" and "Brembo" decals, clear
coated and the hubs painted gun metal gray so they won't rust.
And a couple of shots of the car.
I hope this helps motivate some members to tackle this 2 day project!
Great job. It's amazing how much better they look red than the factory dull grey. Like little jewels inside the wheels. I had mine powder coated the same color and couldn't be happier with the look.
I've also painted my hubs like you did. Twice now. They look great for a season but after going through a winter, they still rust. So, I've submitted to the fact that I'll just do it every spring when I change my winter wheels/tires back to the summer tires.
Now if i can only get my lazy ass up and do mine…lol
One of the best DIY brake caliper painting I seen.
very nice job!
looks very nice!
Awesome. I want to do red calipers as well but was thinking a metallic red.
Looks like it came like that from the factory.
Hello from a neighbor in Nebraska.
Looks awesome and great write-up as well
That's pretty sweet men.
Looks Good! Great DIY Write up.
One of the best DIY write ups I've seen in awhile. Great job OP.
Looks great man!
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