Who are you callin’ yella?

Posted: April 4, 2015 in Garage projects, Powder coating
Tags: , , , , , , , ,


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,


  1. Jason Garber says:

    Very nice work Gord!

  2. Chris Muncy says:

    Great work as always but man they look fugly on that Porsche.

    • gordsgarage says:

      Thanks Chirs, your fugly comment is an understatement. Although the color choice was not my decision I did express my opinion to the person who commissioned the work and my color suggestions did not revolve around anything close to that color. Oh well, they were happy with the color. Ick.


  3. Roscoe says:

    Don’t quite understand the color choice either, but the process looks great. Nice job.Those Caymans are great looking cars, I think I prefer the shape to the 911.

    • gordsgarage says:

      Thanks Roscoe, car salesmen work in mysterious ways. Regardless of the color the process worked out. Things like this project always take me longer then the pros but I find the results are worth the time.

      I agree with your Cayman statement, I think they have the best lines out of the entire Porsche family. The first generations looked good but the new ones are even better.


  4. Stu says:

    I think I would’ve gone more green if it was my car, but I think the yellow looks sharp on there, reminds me of a couple well built cars I’ve seen around town.

    Top quality work as always!!

    • gordsgarage says:

      Thanks Stu, in my color samples I posted the green (middle color) was the favorite among some of the other employees but in the end the sales manager spoke.


  5. Craig says:

    Your work is always cool.

    • gordsgarage says:

      Thanks Craig, I always appreciate the comments. What is ironic about cool projects is that I seldom like to repeat any of my previous work. I like cool projects and learn lots from doing them however I never want to use the skills learned on the first go to do it again. I just want to do something else that is new and cooler!


  6. Stu says:

    Is this the same car that got the partial wrap for the auto show?

  7. Keven says:

    Great work Gord! Do you find that glass bead blasting works as well as aluminum oxide or coal slag for a paint base? It would seem that a sharper edge would hold better, although it may thin the coat too much and allow oxidation to get through. Also, did you use some sort of high temp powder coat for this? Those calipers can get really hot. I’ve never seen such a thorough caliper painting job. You’ve obviously mastered the powder coat process now!

    • gordsgarage says:

      Keven! Good to hear from you. Side note: For those of you out there that follow the comments of my blog Keven is the guy who gets credited for getting me into powder coating.

      The powder coating has certainly been going well. It was a huge, much needed, addition to the shop.

      I use 30-60 recycled glass bead for 99% of the blasting I do. I have tried other media but found that the glass gives a good finish without too much abrasion. I hate swapping out my blast media so I usually don’t. I have a bucket of aluminum oxide that I have used in the past, I can not remember why I don’t use it since it’s been so long ago.

      As far as coating goes I did not use high temp powder. It was definitely a concern when choosing the powder however my research, at the time, convinced I would be alright using standard stuff. The calipers have been in service for awhile now and there has been no signs of any issues with the actual coating. The only issue I can see is that the neon yellow is starting to fade. I knew that the neon colors are not UV stable and I had forewarned the customer prior to performing the work.

      I have been enjoying the powder coating process as it is a great way to finish off many of my projects (as you know). It’s funny that sometimes before I start a new project I measure the size of my oven to ensure that whatever I am building will eventually fit into it. If it’s too big I will sometimes build in sections in order to make it fit. Kinda pathetic that I let the coating process drive the entire project.

      Thanks for checking in!

      • Keven says:

        Recycled glass bead? Hmm. I’ve heard of recycled glass media, as in crushed bottles, or glass bead, but not recycled glass bead. Glass bead does seem to be a good solution for those who need an attractive finish without dimensional change. I haven’t gotten my cabinet up yet, so my knowledge is mostly academic, but I’m hoping to get a cabinet made from a plastic 35 gallon drum up sometime soon. I’ve lived without and used wire brushes, etc., but a nice blasting cabinet sure looks handy. I just wish someone made a nice folding one so they didn’t take up so much room!

        I wouldn’t expect a problem with the regular temp powder on calipers for the street, but if he takes it to the track it may get soft and/or burnt. Maybe not though, there is some debate on how hot calipers usually get. Disks can glow from braking, but the calipers themselves must keep significantly cooler since the fluid will boil.

        I think the fact that you think about the oven fitment before you start is a testament to how organized you are! Just a point though, remember I talked about the IR heating outside the oven. It works really well for those long thin type projects that would never fit in an oven. One great way to do it is to get a 220V oven heating element and put it on an adjustable stand with a homemade reflector behind it.

        Two of these, one on both sides, would work fantastic and speed up the process considerably. Just move it 1/2 it’s length every half baking time (so every 10 minutes for most 20 minute powders) and keep an eye on the temps with an IR gun. If you just can’t keep it hot enough that way, a little fiberglass insulation above the heating units would help.

        I’ve done an engine compartment crossbrace that way and it worked great, although a lot more trouble (and takes longer) than an oven.

        Good luck with it. It’s always nice to talk! I hope Santa is kind to you this year 😉

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