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. Sandy Grungerson says:

    Getting the piston out simply via the brake pressure system is BRILLIANT, no bloody air compressor needed, and no piston shooting out like a 2 gauge shotgun slug…

  2. Marc Simmons says:

    Great vid! I'm going to attempt it this week. My piston is sticking I believe as the disc has gone red with overheating. Would you suggest getting new front discs + pads as I've only just replaced them a couple months ago?

  3. my2centz says:

    I still would had taken it off. If you clamp the brake line and put a plug in it it's just as easy and you can have more room plus you can clean the calipers. I like to clean mine up and paint them. Also make sure you clean the guide pins well and replace if they look or feel stiff or pitted.

  4. Mauricio Rodríguez says:

    ¡Saludos desde México!

  5. Barry Holmes says:

    I 'm working on my 2007 chevy 1500 truck I like the way you make thing simple and save cost. Brilliant instructions thanks

  6. patrick lefevere says:

    that something i do totaly, the inside aswell as the outside ! ! ! that is the sadly here

  7. Aaron Ford says:

    Someone get this man some new gloves! 🚮🧤

  8. tubejulian11 says:

    Good video but please the cleaning part is VERY important, put some anti-seize and lubricants for prevents to get seize again.

  9. Big Rig Cooking says:

    I can't figure out why I would ever want to rebuild a caliper on the car instead of on the work bench.

  10. Scott Miller says:

    Not a big fan of using vicegrips (or anything for that matter) to crimp the brake hose shut. By crimping it, you compromise the integrity of the brake line. Older brake hoses can fail after doing this (they end up getting bubbles in them), or they might not return to the fully un-restricted state and give you uneven braking. It does not take much to bleed the line (one or two pumps of the brake pedal and the line is bled), along with the caliper when you are done. If all of the brake fluid runs out – no big deal – you most likely need new fluid in the system anyway! Brake hoses can be a royal pain in the butt to replace (especially getting the fittings loose)!

  11. Matt Cheatwood says:

    Nice trick with the cardboard and vise grips! I've ton tons of brake jobs over the years and never though of doing that.

  12. Sunghoon Kim says:


  13. Webchez says:

    HOw can you work with only one hand?!!!

  14. Michael Licitra says:

    Clean your hands when putting it back together! 🙂

  15. Florin Mihai says:

    good video,thanks for sharing.

  16. Fran Smith says:

    I've been a mechanic for nearly 40 years you did a very good job for the conditions being on the ground not having a lift or specialty tools this is how most people would do it and your explanation was great next time get your woman to just film the whole thing..Carry on mate

  17. hey you says:

    I like to put a regular tea bag and a mint tea bag in the dame cup of tea , and just a little cream and sugar

  18. Philip Xie says:

    Good idea!!

  19. garydeandeery says:

    Great help Iv just got new lines but same problem still so going to do this now many thanks

  20. Uk300prodrive says:

    Great video. Clear and well described. Keep it up !

  21. Uk300prodrive says:

    Great video. Clear and well described. Keep it up !

  22. Jeff Gee says:

    best caliper video on yt.. rock-and-roll !

  23. sminthian says:

    I don't know if you're using a phone or a camera, but I use my camera with a tripod always on it for youtube videos. I can move it around for most of the stuff, and then just sit it down and aim it when I need two hands.

  24. JT 1200 says:

    Gotta love putin on a fresh pair of gloves to keep ur hands clean and 10min into the job and all the fingers rip lol and u just take them off

  25. kev mar says:

    I know people like to diy. But f that. I'd just buy a new caliper.

  26. Tracey Millington says:

    Guess how I'm spending my Good Friday? This job plus both rear coil springs need replacing and then it's MOT time.

  27. MrTurboRotary says:

    Good Job!

  28. charliechimples says:

    Great vid, thanks for sharing.

  29. The1emerican says:

    Nice vid!

  30. Musaab Aleissa says:

    Thank you 👍⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

  31. Husam Abbas says:

    Gooooooooood work

  32. pmoore4321 says:

    excellent. I like the way you bled the brakes.

  33. J Rockly says:

    Do you have to bleed brakes after that

  34. Business Critic says:

    I perform a complete brake system overhaul. I even hone out the bore of it's pits.

  35. David Watts says:

    Absolutely fantastic video mate

  36. Michael Heimbrand says:

    Very good video. I just have one tip for blocking the brake fluid from leaking out. If you use a "one man brake light testing device" aka an umbrella, you can block the pedal just a very small bit from fully released. The pipe and hose will still be drained, but the reservoir will be blocked from the wheel circuits. Got this tip from a friend. Although i have worked on cars for decades, i suffer from severe Citroënitis, so all my brake experience comes from cars with real oil (LHM) in the brakes. And of course, when i started living in sin with other brands, i was immediately punished with sticking brakes and seized calipers. The Citroën system is actually very good, supersimple to bleed and due to the oil instead of fluid, they never seize inside. If someone is interrested, the Citroëns up to 2000 looks and works exactly like any other brake system. The oily bit is the difference. And because you have a simple brake valve instead of main cylinder it´s rather incapable of trouble. And the bleeding are a breeze too. Start the engine, suspension in highest position (for max pressure in the rear), activate your umbrella or assistant for pushing the pedal, and then walk around, opening the bleed screws one after one. No pumping, the car already has a hydraulic pump. Open bleeder=continous stream. And you have a large hydraulic reservoir, so you can bleed all day long if you like or at least use a hose and get free rust protection and air free brakes in one go. Thanks again for a good video.

  37. Michael Heimbrand says:

    Oh, i forgot one other tip. Don´t ever use air to push the pistons out. Use a grease gun. Less dangerous and much more easy. Or as we saw in the video, why not use the pedal? It´s only job is to push out pistons, and it´s very good at it.

  38. Rivas Gera says:

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

  39. 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.

  40. 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.

  41. dbytor says:

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

  42. lightmeupper says:

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

  43. mark simpson says:

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

  44. 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!

  45. Kassim Mohd says:

    Nice video

  46. joe martinez says:

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

  47. 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?

  48. Kody Clowdus says:

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

  49. Jett Rucker says:

    I should have loved a snap of your beautiful assistant.

  50. 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?

  51. Marcus Maure says:

    absolutely brill.

  52. 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

  53. Robert anon says:

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

  54. 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.

  55. 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?

  56. finetrade finetrade international Benin says:

    Thanks good job.

  57. Kevin Buns says:

    It was like popping a zit

  58. Kevin Buns says:

    Nice watch ! Where can I buy one ??

  59. 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.

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

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

  61. noxxi knox says:

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

  62. Nunya Bidness says:

    You rock dude, thank you so much.

  63. John Cochran says:

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

  64. PetrPospechApofis says:

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

  65. anupam chauhan says:

    How to clean piston space inside.

  66. 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..

  67. 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

  68. Jack Black says:

    Taking your watch off might be a thought.

  69. Jack Black says:

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

  70. 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.

  71. K Ryan says:

    perfect, thank you for all the correct steps

  72. Gavin Mitchell says:

    love your honest low tech approach.

  73. Don Santi says:

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

  74. Don F says:

    Those darn gloves didn't last long. 🙂

  75. 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?

  76. 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.

  77. FSAUDIOGUY says:

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

  78. SwapPart TV Repair says:

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

  79. gbsk12 says:

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

  80. 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.

  81. 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).

  82. 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.

  83. Owen Tate says:

    Where do I buy replacement parts?

  84. Salvador Gonzalez says:

    Cool thanks

  85. Cocson Mukadi says:

    Wonderful job 👌

  86. Cephas Dlamini says:

    Great stuff thanks a lots

  87. 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.

  88. Eduardo De alba says:

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

  89. eyes in the night says:

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

  90. 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 🙂

  91. 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.

  92. david brown says:

    the brit accent really gives confidence. cheers!

  93. Kenneth Sheets says:

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

  94. Timmy Ferrell says:

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

  95. 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?

  96. 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 🙂

  97. 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.

  98. 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

  99. Tod Davies says:

    Old trick that – 👍

  100. 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!

Leave a Reply

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