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

100 thoughts on “How to Rebuild a Brake Caliper (WITHOUT Removing it From Your Car!)”

  1. Rivas Gera says:

    You make it looks very easy
    GOOD WORK, I'll try do the same

  2. pssst3 says:

    Basically a good video, except that rust creeps. You don't need to be obsessive about removing all the rust from the body or painting it, but if you don't remove the rust from the rim and lip of the caliper body (a 5 minute job) around the cylinder that rust will promote rusting adjacent to the external seal and accelerate deterioration of the new piston. Id ypou plan to keep a vehicle a long time, that 5 minutes will pay off.

  3. Peter Carroll says:

    I used this technique to remove a stuck piston a few years ago but I had to start the engine to get the vacuum assist before it would budge.

  4. dbytor says:

    I assume that you still have to bleed the brakes. Is that correct? Thanks! Great vid!!

  5. lightmeupper says:

    I didnt know about piston caliper grease. Cool. Im sure its mail order here too. Thanks from canada!

  6. mark simpson says:

    Probably about time to replace that 19 year old hose also…

  7. Mehdi Moghisi says:

    Oh my god this video was absolutely awesome. Going to try this now that I know I do not need an air compressor!

  8. Kassim Mohd says:

    Nice video

  9. joe martinez says:

    a bit fast, what exactly did you clean the piston with.

  10. Harrison O'Neal says:

    Would this work for all pistons? I have a Lexus IS350 2015 and I need to do this procedure. Is the first plastic piece that's holding the piston car specific?

  11. Kody Clowdus says:

    I've had brakes freeze up, 90%of the time its internal failure to the brake line.

  12. Jett Rucker says:

    I should have loved a snap of your beautiful assistant.

  13. Joseph John Hernández says:

    Thank you for such a well explained process. I was thinking…once I get the piston out, to place the caliper on a table, clean it, insert the seals and the piston back in. Mount back the caliper and bleed it. But I don’t know if there’s a reason you didn’t take it out?

  14. Marcus Maure says:

    absolutely brill.

  15. Leighton Cross says:

    If the piston is ok and I want to change the piston boot only can I just push out piston a bit and slot new boot over. Cheers

  16. Robert anon says:

    great video, enjoyable to watch, only thing I was hoping for was for your assistant to say hello!

  17. Waterworld 360 says:

    One should refill the master brake reservoir with brake fluid at all times to avoid putting air to the other brake lines and having to bleed all of them later.

  18. Isaac Fuller says:

    Thanks for the great video. Im doing some investigative work in the case my caliper is bad and needs repaired.
    My question is.. if the caliper needs replaced or repaired its because its stuck right?
    Well if its stuck how could you pump the lines to get the piston out? If that was enough pressure wouldnt it cause it to not be stuck in the first place? Or is this an issue of sticking caliper pistons as in, not wanting to ease off the rotor once braking is decreased?

  19. finetrade finetrade international Benin says:

    Thanks good job.

  20. Burton Bao says:

    It was like popping a zit

  21. Burton Bao says:

    Nice watch ! Where can I buy one ??

  22. Ian Moone says:

    Today I was replacing my front brakes. When I started to put everything back together, I saw a bit brake fluid leaking. Since I had to go, I put everything together and drove with no problem. Bought new seals and going to replace when doing brake change on rear.

  23. Vleporama vinyl car decals and 3d prints says:

    can you pop in to my place and do my mazda 3? Im sick of it

  24. noxxi knox says:

    Fair enough, but id just take it off, itd be easier

  25. Nunya Bidness says:

    You rock dude, thank you so much.

  26. John Cochran says:

    Chris is there any difference between the one you did and say a 2017 Mercedes Benz slc 43 amg brake calipers

  27. PetrPospechApofis says:

    Clamp brake line? way to kill it, especially on older vehicles

  28. anupam chauhan says:

    How to clean piston space inside.

  29. 850 ARE says:

    Dont pinch brake hose!! Remove the caliper and Take caliper bleeder cap and cap the end of the line with it. Or a vacuum cap or equivalent..

  30. Jack Black says:

    Bolt at the top and bolt at the bottom, assume 14mm. But what if the bolts seized and applying too much force will shear the bolt?
    Real world Jack

  31. Jack Black says:

    Taking your watch off might be a thought.

  32. Jack Black says:

    Only one thing worse than doing a two-handed job alone; and that is getting No.1 wife to assist.

  33. Jack Black says:

    The blue collars are a lot nicer to each other than them white collar assholes, with respect. Because they are addressing a common problem.

  34. K Ryan says:

    perfect, thank you for all the correct steps

  35. bushcraft scotland says:

    love your honest low tech approach.

  36. Don Santi says:

    Thanks so now i have a project for the weekend !!!

  37. Don F says:

    Those darn gloves didn't last long. 🙂

  38. John Richardson says:

    I would have clamped the brake line literally as soon as fluid started coming out, because as soon as fluid starts coming out, aren't you risk getting air into the system?

  39. P J Cronshaw says:

    Great video, but could you tell me or show us how the rear caliper differs, if you need to do the same thing to that one, thanks.

  40. FSAUDIOGUY says:

    Well done Christopher!! TY For Sharing Salute From The U.S.A. 🙂

  41. SwapPart, LLC says:

    The Blake's have bred. OK, there should be some little Blakes being born in a few months.

  42. gbsk12 says:

    The piston on my Subaru rear is not going into the caliper. Why not? I am pretty sure they are lined up.

  43. John Mixon says:

    Nice video! Easy to follow. That "other lube, not for fluid area" probably should go on the 2 support pins for anti corrosion and less binding.

  44. alan may says:

    Hi Chris, yes I do have a question for your opinion. I am having this sticking/stuck piston problem right now (this is how I came by your vid), similar type/age car, a Honda Jazz 2005. Watched your vid with great interest, twice. I am wondering, when the piston comes out can't it be derusted and cleaned by using fine wet&dry paper or very fine emery etc? and re-used? is it essential to buy a new one? I've not had to do this job before, plenty of other jobs on many cars tho, but would value your opinion on this. Thanks Chris, from Alan (Norwich).

  45. Host MAX says:

    Very nice tutorial! 🙂 Though it is a lot easier to just unbolt the brake hose and have fun with the caliper in an open space. It is very easy to prevent the hose from dripping: you just need to depress the brake pedal and hold it in that position, e.g. place a wood log between the brake pedal and the steering wheel.

  46. Owen Tate says:

    Where do I buy replacement parts?

  47. Salvador Gonzalez says:

    Cool thanks

  48. Cocson Mukadi says:

    Wonderful job 👌

  49. Cephas Dlamini says:

    Great stuff thanks a lots

  50. Michael says:

    That was a great video. You should join the British Special Forces. You did more with one hand than 99% of men can do with both hands. And you showed us many Red Neck work-arounds like bleeding your brakes with your fingers, criming the brake line with a cardboard piece and vise grips etc. Btw, I know men of your generation are SUPERMEN, so dont take this the wrong way please, but you should have asked your wife to do more for you before praising her. You only asked her to pump the brakes but she could have held the camera for you when you needed two hands during the procedure. Just saying.

  51. Eduardo De alba says:

    How much can i drive with a ripped piston seal i cant see the damage only that its leaking

  52. eyes in the night says:

    great vid. clear. informative. well edited. super job. thanks

  53. michael sabella says:

    Great video, but next time to save your hands where gloves 🙂 – Of course I can suggest this but I also never think of wearing gloves. I guess getting dirty is the boy in us 🙂

  54. alan may says:

    Hi Chris, refering to about 2:30ish, my piston just will not move, unlike yours. Similar type car & age,(jazz 2005) and the calipers are very similar to yours, so everything should go for me here like it did for you there, straightforward. But I've really pressed hard and fast on the brake pedal, engine running too, something will break if I keep on doing this, but the piston has not moved a single mm out. Chris, help! , what would you do next if you were here, why won't my piston move out, what can be done here? I'm really getting beaten down with this problem, please help, Alan, in Norwich.

  55. david brown says:

    the brit accent really gives confidence. cheers!

  56. Kenneth Sheets says:

    Will the cardboard and the vice grips damage the inside lining of the brakeline?

  57. Timmy Ferrell says:

    I believe any one could do this if they watch the video ,great job

  58. scott L says:

    Yep great video, will have a go at mine tomorrow.. But why tell us the price in dollars instead of pounds? Your on the UK right?

  59. vilde vils says:

    Just the right video i need to understand and fix my car's rusty piston. Thanks!

    You should have asked your Beautiful Assistant (i first heard it as a Beautiful System) also to hold the camera for you 🙂

  60. GereDJ2 says:

    Nice job, but your method only works because it's a single piston caliper with no obstruction on one side. Couldn't do this on my Ghia.

  61. Powder Hound says:

    Subscribing. You should get equipment to better hold your camera so you can use both hands it's super helpful to see everything. I recently changed brakes and rotors on the front and when I adjusted the Piston it leaked, is that normal or should I replace Piston like what brought me here. Nice bloopers hahahaha

  62. Tod Davies says:

    Old trick that – 👍

  63. stephanie Mowery says:

    Nice job on the video, but I watched the entire thing looking for information on how to install the four metal clips!

  64. 7Gooo says:

    Thank You Chris for your precious effort 😃👍

  65. Magnet Man says:

    Dint c anything between 930 and 1045. According to u the most difficult part, and then I heard you saying that was easy.

  66. Paul Borg says:

    First time I've seen this done it's a lot easier than i thought. Well done.

  67. Costas Schuler says:

    Brilliant video thank you…going to work on my Mercedes 350sdl;)

  68. Kizito William says:

    What am I doing wrong? My friend was able to compress the piston out with about a 1/4 of it left. I disconnected the brake fluid line hoping I would be able to depress the piston down with the c-clamp. I failed miserably, then decided to put the brake fluid line/hose back onto the caliper to use that technique again in order to remove the piston. Long story short; the piston is not coming out.

  69. dan NEWYORK says:

    How about a dual piston calipers?

  70. izzzzzz6 says:

    He starts off wearing gloves and finishes with skin cancer. Also i would have used a piece of tubing to contain the brake fluid into a jar while bleeding the brakes rather than spraying it all over the place. I don't really see the point of keeping it on the car when there is only one more hose to remove.

  71. Meguel Riddle says:

    Good job

  72. Christian Andersen says:

    Great video, mny thanks mate.

  73. Godzilla555 says:

    Excellent video. I have been watching multiple videos to understand what returns the piston back to its original position when the pedal is released and I’ve finally found out through your video. Grateful.

  74. Afzaal Khan.M says:

    Nicely done rebuild . Informative ,thank you

  75. Scales of Justice STINGS says:

    Very good vid bud. Thank you, helped me out loads

  76. aleksi haapasaari says:

    Thank you, very good and educational video 👍 i've been looking for this info, but not found anything, until this

  77. T. S says:

    Hope you cleaned your brake discs

  78. Patriotbadass says:

    Thanks for the free knowledge sir.

  79. kenf15bowman says:

    From across the pond Marietta, GA: Very simple and practical techniques to remove/install piston. I also liked bleeding the caliper while not mounted. The bleed port can be positioned at the top to ensure all of the air is out of the cylinder.

  80. Fábio Marques says:

    Great video… 👏🏼👏🏼

  81. lostintime86 says:

    I'm in the USA. Good luck getting parts. Used to repair mine many years back. Easy to get the parts then. Not anymore.

  82. maverickwest81 says:

    One handed brake caliper rebuild! Bloody Legend.

  83. Juan Gonzalez says:

    Good video👍

  84. Isreal Perez says:

    It's all that hard work that you need that you created and got it all done why couldn't you just clean the outside part of the caliper and make it nice and clean and remove all day grease buildup would have been nice

  85. Erli Bittencourt says:

    Great video! It is practical and efficient. Thank you!

  86. Steve A says:

    great job only need some men at work music in the few parts but once again great my type of go get em repair !

  87. john thornton says:

    Thanks. (try a head cam)

  88. Borivoje Travica says:

    Common man you have plenty way to fix camera. If your oather videos are like that……..

  89. Prem Prakash Dubey says:

    good video

  90. Alex Morgan says:

    Hi Chris, Hopped over from your sailing channel. As good as your sea cock replacement videos. Wouldn't it be advisable to refurb the other side brake caliper as well so they are both exactly the same in terms of braking performance and safety? Just saying.

  91. grunherz fw-190 says:


  92. unclealig says:

    how did you get off the rust inside the calipers cylinder? the rust on the groove for the rubber seal was rusty. a lint free cloth was probably not enough…

  93. Abrar Baig says:


  94. Serge R says:

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

  95. G Burns says:

    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

  96. MrPurepecha87 says:

    Wow thank you so so much

  97. J C says:

    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.,

  98. Christopher Barr - Random Chris says:

    Hi guys, thanks for watching!
    Want to know how I make money online? ➜
    And don't forget: LOVE LIFE!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *