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Brake Caliper Zinc Plating and Refinishing

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  • Brake Caliper Zinc Plating and Refinishing

    Hey guys,

    Getting down to a short list of major components on my build. Brake calipers are one of them. My calipers need a full rebuild, which im happy to do myself but I need to have the caliper parts cleaned and plated in yellow zinc, and make sure the bore is cleaned up for the piston to fit in perfectly.

    Have any of you done this before? Any recommendations for plating/machine shops that could do this?

    Here's what I'm looking for as an end product. The Zinc needs to be very durable with a strong yellow/gold finish.


  • #2
    I've always wondered if the calipers were the bright yellow since plating, I always thought they were silver.


    • #3
      Not much help, but I chose to just get them powder coated a similar color to the zinc plating. The zinc doesn't hold up at all and the calipers just end up looking like shit (but perhaps not so bad on a car that will never see much mileage or rain).

      Below is a picture of my setup if you care to see...the retaining clip is OEM zinc plated, so you can see the color isn't an exact match, but not far off

      Attached Files


      • #4
        I would have thought they were silver too?


        • #5
          I did my callipers and all attach hardware, first stripped down and bead blasted all the corrosion from the parts then cleaned up any burs on the bolt heads with a file.
          The plating I used is Ni-cad coating which I used on most of my M3 projects, later projects were gold zinc due the first plating shop closed.

          I my experience there a few key things to do if you want a good job with plating, bead blasting to remove all corrosion, for bolt heads or any part you want a shiny finish light sand or polish with scotch-bride cloth. Ask around and be fussy with where you send your parts, what I did was take photos of the parts all spread out and supply the photo in the bag with the parts.

          I did have one disaster where the shop zinc coated bolts and they were all rough finish and felt very corse, they were the cam carrier and cylinder head hardware luckily for me BMW could supply new hardware.

          E30 M3 1987
          Mini Clubman GT
          BMW E36 323 Msport
          Toyota Corona
          KTM 200EXC
          Honda CB50 (1979)


          • #6
            From your restoration thread, you are using the same plating system as this guy doing the same, so maybe perfectly possible to DIY ? Vid 1 of 3

            Brake calipers are usually the first thing to corrode on a new car, so thinking about paint might be a consideration. But as it seems you are going for originality, maybe plate and use any of the ceramic coating left over from paint protection as another barrier.

            The actual bore of the caliper is nearly always in perfect condition , unless that caliper has been left unused for a time with no brake fluid. In normal use it's filled with fluid keeping it corrosion-free and won't need anything other than removing all traces of fluid before plating. The caliper piston is riding on the rubber seal and not riding the bore of the caliper.
            This space is a sanctimonious shit free zone.


            • #7
              Thanks guys. I have had a lot of success with the Caswell plating kit, but it is super messy/corrosive and the larger items tend to be harder to get a nice shiny/iridescent finish without a ton of surface prep. This would be particularly challenging on the calipers since the surface is uneven. I spoke with Korman and they're going to send them through their plating guys (who did a great job on my engine hardware and have a much more formidable plating operation than i have in my garage). I'll be packing them up shortly and will post results when i get them back