How to Rebuild a Brake Caliper (WITHOUT Removing it From Your Car!)

hello in this video I’m going to show
you how you can quickly easily and cheaply refurbish a brake caliper on
your car first of all you need to jack up your car and then support it on axle
stands there are plenty of other videos about this on youtube so i’m not going
to cover the procedure for doing that here we’re going to look straight at the
brake caliper we’re now going to remove the caliper from the vehicle and on this
car like on most cars to do that you only have a bolt at the top and a bolt
at the bottom in this case they are removed with an allen key depending on the amount of wear on your
brake discs and if there’s a lip on the outside edge here you may need to remove
the brake pads too at this point however on this car I’ve just checked and the
whole caliper for assembly including the brake disks will come off in one go so
here we have complete access to the brake caliper I’m now going to remove
the pads and store them to one side so they don’t get contaminated with brake
fluid we’re now going to remove the piston from the cylinder and there are
different ways of doing that you can put compressed air onto the bleed point here
however in my mind the easiest way to do this is to use the brake fluid itself so
I’ve got a beautiful assistant inside the car – Rossella my wife -and I’m
going to ask her to pump the brakes and then as she does that this piston is
going to be pushed out of a cylinder by the brake fluid so brake please there we go it’s moving just keep
pumping the brake so Rossella is continuing to pump the brake so she’s
braking and then releasing and then braking again and at a certain point
the piston will reach the end of its travel and then we’ll get a gush of
brake fluid and that will be the job done all stop there we go so we’ve now
got fluid coming out and if I just grab the piston there we go you don’t get much much
easier than that. you can buy special tools here to clamp the brake line
however you can also just use a piece of cardboard and a standard set of mole
grips so that’s what I’m going to do and there go you can clump off the brake
line and that avoids excess brake fluid being lost through what is now an open
hole so we now have an external seal which we will remove and once we’ve
removed that outer seal the gaitor then we need to clean up this mating area here
and we’ll make sure that that’s ready for the new seal to go on at a later
stage now if we look inside the brake caliper you can see just how simple they
are you’ve got the main pressure port down here which is where the hydraulic
brake fluid enters by the brake pipe and you have a tiny little port down here
for the bleed point on the caliperand then that’s it it’s just a cylinder and
the only other thing that we have in here is this very clever square profile
seal the piston sits inside the cylinder and of course is a smaller diameter than
the cylinder and that difference in diameter is made up by the square
profile seal now the clever part is that when you release your brakes the
pressure is released and the deformation of this square profile seal as that
re-seats itself into its original position
it’s that which then releases the brakes and removes the pressure of the brake
pads from the brake discs and that’s how you shouldn’t have the brakes squealing
or providing resistance when you’re not braking and that’s true on the other
side of this vehicle however on this side they were seized and this is why
we’re doing this job because the piston was actually getting seized in this area
it wasn’t releasing properly we’re now going to remove the square profile seal
and to do that I’m going to use a small flat blade screwdriver this is quite
easy to do but just make sure that you don’t score any of the surfaces around
here because if you do then you could cause a leak
but just be gentle and there you go you can remove square profile seal you’ll
now get some new hydraulic fluid clean out the inside of the cylinder and we’ll
get some lint free cloth and we’ll get rid of any small bits of debris and
we’ll clean everything up and make sure this is nice and tidy before we start putting it
back together I’ve cleaned out the inside of the
cylinder on the caliper and as you can see it’s in really good condition bare
in mind this car is 19 years old and it has lived its life in England in lots of
rain and salty road surfaces so it’s a very corrosive environment you can see
from the outside of the caliper it’s not in great condition but that doesn’t
matter this is the cast component the outside was never nice looking to begin
with that’s not important what is important is the miled cylinder section
and that’s still in really good order what normally happens with calipers and – that’s true in this case too – is that this the piston comes out of the nice oily environment
and into the horrible salty wet environment outside and they tend to get
pitting corrosion on them and that’s why they’ll get stuck but the good thing is
you can buy replacement piston so this is a new piston it comes
with new seals and also a couple of packs grease and some other bits and
bobs to get you back in perfect working order so this was around about $20 so a
hell of a lot cheaper than a new caliper and also it’s a shame to be throwing
things away that are still good you know there’s nothing wrong with this so it’s
a shame to throw that in the bin so with that’s what we’re going to do today
we’re going to replace these seals and the piston and we’re going to put back
together and we’ll be ready to rock and roll
inside the packet we have two little packs of lubricant one says do not use
on parts in contact with brake fluid so we won’t and the other one says
compatible with brake fluid so we’re going to use this lubricant to lubricate
the internal surface and also the square profile seal and then we’ll replace that
and then we’ll move on to the next stage as I’m putting the seal i’m trying
not to touch outside the caliper too much where there’s still dirt there we
aren’t that was very easy so that’s back in position and we’re now ready for
either the other seal or the piston now I’m going to experiment a little bit see
which way round is easier before telling you which you should do next. I’ve done some
experimenting to save you some hassle and this is the easiest way that I’ve
found if you get the piston and the new seal slide the seal on that way then if
you bring the seal forward that engages itself in the slot there and that’s now
ready to fit and I’m hoping this will go on quite easily with this seal already
fitted and it will just be a case of engaging this part of the seal onto the
chamfered edge before I insert the piston I’m just going to open the bleed
points here and that would avoid me from forcing air
up the brake line towards the servo now going to use some
more of this correct lubricant on the piston just around the edges now where it’s
going to meet the seal that we square profile seal we inserted earlier there we are and now I need to insert the piston
into the cylinder and push it in nice and square now I need two hands for this
so I’m going to have to come back to you in a minute that was actually really
easy to get in and if I get this hammer I’m trying to film here at the same time
so they apologize but yeah if I push we go we are really easy as long as it
goes in square and now all I have to do is engage this seal onto the outer edge
of the cylinder I can’t film this and do it at the same time but just to explain
to you what I am doing I’ve got a large flat blade screwdriver and I’m starting
at the most difficult part underneath here which is kind of hidden away and
I’m pushing the seal in this direction onto the chamfered edge but like I say
I’m starting at the most difficult part down here and then that will leave me
this section that I’ll hopefully just be able to pop on at the end okay so I’ve
got the seal on all the way around apart from this last section and I really
would love to show you this going on it would be very satisfying to film that but I really
do need two hands so I’ll come back to you in a moment when it’s on but it’s
really quite easy to do it this way okay that’s the new piston in position and
the new seals have been fitted it was actually really quite easy to do it only
took about 10 minutes and this kit also comes with brand new grommets and caps
so I’m just going to pop out the fasteners here just remove them and then the screwdriver
I’m going to remove the old grommets and put the new ones in you can actually use
flat blade screwdriver to pull that into position like that and
then you can replace this we have a nice new cap there for afterwards perfect before we refit the caliper to
the car I think it’s a good idea to bleed the brakes now while we can move
it into any position we want we can turn it upright like this we saw the internal
construction before and by doing this the air inside the cylinder will
naturally want to come out of the bleed at the top so I’m just opening the bleed
there I’ve also placed the old piston inside here so the new piston will
bottom out against that and it won’t have anywhere to go
or build up pressure and then we can bleed the brakes I’ll now get my
beautiful assistant Rossella to press the brake if you can brake please rub I’m just going to open the bleed valve
once more to make sure it is free of air yes that’s air free oil so the brakes
are bled thank you we now have a refurbished caliper and
I’m going to refit it which is the reverse of the removal now going to de-grease the brake and get
rid of some of this oil so it’s not so smoky once I start to break and use the
car after I put it all back together and I’m going to check the brakes make sure
they’re not spongy which would indicate air in the system and yeah I’m going to
refit the wheel and we now have a refurbished brake caliper if you have any comments or suggestions
then leave them below this video I look forward to reading those and before you
leave check out my other videos I make videos about all kinds of different
subjects and if you like what you see then subscribe to my channel I’ll see
you in the next video until next time don’t forget love life! [Outtakes] once more just to
see if there’s any more small air bubbles nope that’s clean oil so the Blakes
are bread if you have any comments or suggestions then leave them below the
video I look forward to it if you have any comments or suggestions then leave
them below the video I look forward to reading those and you

Bernard Jenkins


  1. Would have been easier if you took it off the car. But anyway nice job done.
    Thank you for the vid

  2. Got to do this on my 04 bora, the pratt who done the last brake job before me had the boot all crumpled on the OS front. Guna be doing both front calipers next week. Good job fella

  3. Thank you !! Going to do my calipers and your my first video. Nice and clear as well descriptive. Of course we want those lost moments but u gave good instructions betwn those cuts.,

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  6. Here in Minnesota you wouldn’t bother buying a piston and seals because it would cost more than just buying a rebuilt caliper

  7. The fact of the matter is you may as well take the caliper off. Too much hassle to work with it on the vehicle

  8. I often wondered why the piston draws back a hair when the foot comes off, it didn't occur to me it was a result of the pressure induced twist of that square cut seal. What an elegant solution!

  9. Thanks for the detail! I suspect a sticking caliper on my wife's car and now know what to do with it!

  10. It's easier to slide the seal back from the cilinder so it sticks out a bit. (At 09:15) Then put the seal in the caliper and when u push the cilinder in the caliper, the seal will settle itself 😉

  11. @0:22 "We're now going to remove the caliper from the vehicle" Title: "How to rebuild a brake caliper (without removing it from your car) Guessing you leave the line attached?

  12. One should try replacing the brake hose first, the old hose might be broken inside and cause the seized calliper.

  13. At the end seal fixing method was totally wrong because when piston is inside the clipper its difficult to put seal without damaging it from screwdriver so better way to put it back is lube the whole piston and seal and then put the seal on piston and press it slightly to the clipper inner and then press the piston behind it step one : seal head in klipper round profile step 2: press the piston in while the rest seal was on it with much greasy condition

  14. Great video, very useful for us DIYrs the difference is that you show us how to use common tools and not fancy ones. I need to do this in my right rear caliper but the difference would be that the piston is the spinning one, do you know if the procedure is the same?

  15. Good job. Your glove made the grease a bit rusty.maybe doesn't matter. I'm doing my Corolla piston seals.thanx to ya know how can do.

  16. The perfect amount of info! Thanks. I think with the brake line pinched (great trick btw), I might just pull the entire caliper and clean the whole thing.

  17. Great video. Wish I hade time to get a replacementkit but I didn't so I friend bought a new caliper. Even in Biltema who is the big cheap store for tools and part here in Sweden the caliper was 900sek(~90$ or ~75£). Time to go out and change the caliper. Hope a got the right one haha.
    I heard that I got to be careful not to squeeze the hose to much because it can separate/be damaged on the inside. Thanks for the video and marry Christmas from Sweden 🙂

  18. Great job. My Corolla may need it. Although may be cheaper to replace the whole caliper.

  19. Thanks for the helpful info, especially the use of brake pressure to remove piston! Bloody well done ole Chap! Reno, NV USA

  20. Informative But lacks Profesional cleaning a little sloppy , it will work but not confident it will last due to cleaning properly . Also the original piston looks fine a little 2000 emery to clean bore and piston. A good video but more attention to profestionalizam. Lots of people pinch the hose but the older the hose may lead to brake failure later down the road pinching a pressure hose is poor practice. !! Take Note – my comments do not match most of the scroll but what was stated is not mention to belittle .I like the video but have Whatch calipers rebuilt keep it clean thumbs up on your video.

  21. Personal choice, but I'd be using a lot less Of The Flathead screwdriver, the risk of scoring cylinders or puncturing seals is much higher when using a sharp metal implement, instead I typically use the sharp end of a cocktail stick to remove the oil seal, and for the dust seal I use the blunt end, just make sure it's the wooden ones as they are not likely to score the metal if you slip (it might be possible) whereas the screwdriver can easily ruin your caliper at the slightest slip!

  22. Excellent job would advise more clean gloves when you reasonable and clean cardboard on floor good job in real world conditions

  23. Keep in mind the brake hose that you clamped might need changing..good idea to change them because they break down from inside and plug your fluid flow.

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