In the past I have done work for some local automotive dealerships in the area, one of them being the Porsche dealer. This time they had an in house project that they wanted some help with. The annual new car show is coming up and the Porsche dealer wanted a mildly modified vehicle to be able to put on display.
The vehicle to be used is a brand new 2015 Porsche Cayman base model. I am not sure of all the modifications that are planned for it however the one that concerns me is the color of the brake calipers. The dealership determined that they wanted the Cayman to be outfitted with a set of calipers to match the Porsche E-Hybrid line up of vehicles. The Panamera E-Hybrid and 918 Spyder come specially equipped with bright acid green brake calipers.
Normally I would shy away from work like this due to the fact that I am not a professional and that things could potentially go wrong. I explained this to the management of the dealership and made it very clear that “you get what you get and you don’t get upset”. Since the car was an in-stock unit and didn’t actually belong to a customer I felt a bit better to try it out.
Due to the fact that the brakes are somewhat of a safety item it was up to the dealership technician to perform all the mechanical work. The dealership would be responsible for removal, dis-assembly, reassembly, and re-installation of the components. It would be up to the service department to ensure the safety of the vehicle. I was only going to be responsible for the color and that was all.
It sounded like everyone was on board so the plan went ahead. I had always wanted to try my hand at powder coating calipers and here I finally got the chance. As usual you can follow along by scrolling through the pictures below. In the end everything worked out fantastic and the dealership was happy.
This is the 2015 Porsche Cayman that is going to receive the transformation.
The base model Cayman is identified by the stock black brake calipers. The S models come with red.
The calipers were removed from the vehicle and disassembled, by the Porsche technician, before they were passed onto me. Here they are stripped of the pistons, seals, dust boots, bleeder screws, and transfer lines.
Some people may consider this step a bit excessive but this is how I do things. The caliper piston bores need to be sealed off from glass bead blasting and powder coating. I want to ensure that nothing, unwanted, gets inside the calipers. Instead of masking off the bores I opted to machine aluminum plugs to make the sealing 100% secure as well as provide nice clean, crisp, lines. I had to machine a total of 8 bore plugs.
This is what the completed plugs look like. There is 1 set for 1 front caliper and 1 set for 1 rear caliper. Best part is that they are reusable.
This is how the plugs fit into the calipers. They will work for both glass bead blasting and powder coating.
Since the calipers have been in service I wanted to ensure there were no oils or contaminants on the surface that will destroy the powder coating. I baked the calipers at 500 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours to burn everything off. Once done baking the black turns to burnt brown.
Next step was to plug all the orifices and ship them into the blast cabinet to strip the old coating off and give the surface a bit of a rough texture to allow the powder coating to latch onto.
You can see how well the aluminum plugs work in protecting the bores.
Here are all 4 calipers blasted, cleaned, and ready to be prepped for the fogging.
Using silicone plugs I block off the brake pad securing pegs and bleeder holes. The surfaces that get bolted to the steering knuckle get taped off so that no powder gets applied. Clamping the brake caliper to a steering knuckle with baked plastic in between is not a good idea.
The person that was in charge of commissioning the work wanted a green powder to coat, something similar to E-hybrid calipers. I ordered, and sprayed, a few samples to allow him to choose what he wanted. In this picture the top and bottom colors are what was ordered, The middle color are the 2 ordered colors mixed 50/50. The Neon Yellow (bottom color) was what was chosen.
Here the Neon Yellow gets fogged on and ready to get baked at 392 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 minutes PMT.
Fresh out of the oven, the picture doesn’t do it justice.
I had explained that I can apply “Porsche” decals to the calipers BUT…they are DECALS! They are not nearly as durable as the factory Porsche crests but it is what I have to offer. They accepted the durability downfall and so using my vinyl plotter, and gloss black vinyl, I cut out factory dimension decals. I had measured placement of the old emblems before I glass bead blasted them.
All the bleeder screw and brake line holes were cleaned up using and chamfering bit to ensure clean, easy, assembly.
Once again you can see how well the aluminum plugs worked. They is a slight bit of over-spray on the left bore but not enough powder build up that will impact the dust boot installation.
Completed calipers with decals applied ready to be returned to the dealership for reassembly and installation.
Here the Porsche technician is reassembling the freshly coated calipers.
Front calipers ready to go. No issues sliding the seals and pistons in. The dust boots settled in with no problems.
Calipers installed and ready to be bled with fresh Super DOT 4 brake fluid.
The decals look factory! Just don’t put the pressure washer to them.
Brakes bled, wheels mounted, vehicle roadtested, calipers pass! The Neon Yellow certainly stands out. The dealership is happy with the work, and the color, so I guess it is all good in the end,