well, i got it done. it was a long process. here's a brief version with pictures.
- Jack (I have a 2.25 ton hydraulic jack that I figured I'd use. Turns out it's not tall enough - mainly for cars. Had to use the jack that came with the Jeep. Note to self: get new hydraulic jack.)
- Jack stands (4 if you want to do all four calipers at once, which you do. I bought 4 3-ton jack stands.)
- Breaker bar (not a requirement but makes life easier)
- Torque wrench (for putting tires back on)
- Caliper paint (I used G2)
- 1" Foam brush (highly recommended)
- Flat head screwdriver
- Painter's tape
I had gathered everything I needed for this project and was only waiting for the paint to show up. Tracking said it was supposed to be here Saturday, but I was skeptical and didn't want to do all the pre-work in case the paint didn't show up until Monday so I could use my car. Paint showed up at 2pm. Looks like it's time to go.
The project started like this:
Hey, thanks G2! Maybe shipping a box wrapped in bubble wrap and shoved in an envelope isn't the best way to ship a box? Still, the paint, activator and brush were in there, which is all I really needed. It also came with brake cleaner, which I didn't need. Car has 1300 miles on it, brakes are still very clean.
Jacked the car up, got all the wheels off and took a look.
Those mustache-shaped brackets are what I was talking about in the first post. I figured these have to come off. They appear to be held on simply by tension, so I grabbed the screwdriver and started pushing. They popped off easily enough.
Now on to masking:
This is where you should spend most of your time. If you take your time masking, it will make painting a lot easier. Be prepared for lots of time on your back masking up the rear of the calipers.
From opening the box of paint to being done masking was a little over four hours. It is nerve-wracking seeing your car suspended by four metal triangles!
Now ready to paint. The kit comes with a tiny brush, which is good, and how I decided to start painting. Figured I'd get the close/detail work done first then use the 1" foam brush to cover the larger areas. This was a mistake. The first coat on the first caliper (driver's front) took over 30 minutes using this method. I know I'm on the clock - once you pour the activator in the paint, you have 2-4 hours of viability (so I had read) before the paint is too "cured" to use. So on the next caliper, I started with the 1" foam brush then moved to the tiny brush for detail work. This went much faster. The paint gets tacky after 15-20 minutes, so by the time I was done with the first coat on all calipers, I started the second coat straight away. Was finished with both coats on all four calipers in a little over 2 hours. I took an hour break then went back out to do some final touch-up work on areas that needed more coverage. Some paint bubbles popped, some brush strokes (which you can eliminate with the foam brush), etc. Had my wife triple-check to make sure there was nothing I missed. I was not too concerned about some of the areas on the back of the calipers. I did what I could quickly, but knowing the paint was curing quickly I didn't want to spend a ton of time on areas that weren't visible then end up with no paint to finish the visible areas. After the 3rd "coat", I was done for the night. It was 10pm.
I wasn't sure when to remove the masking - "wet" or dry? The only write-ups I could find about this said they removed the masking dry, so I left it on. G2 says it takes a full 24h to harden entirely. In the morning, I was getting more nervous about the car being on jack stands and wanted to set it down. Figured the paint can finish curing then. So I started the process of mask removal. Went much quicker than application, but still took an hour.
I discovered during removal that there were areas I somehow missed that I wish I could have covered. I don't know how we missed them - both me and my wife looked them over several times. Chalk it up to a long day, I guess. Oh well, paint is useless now and it was the only can I had.
Now I had to put the mustache brackets back on. I assume there is probably some kind of tool that makes this easy, but all I had was my screwdriver. I tried to be as careful as possible, but as it's a metal bracket scraping against paint, I scratched up the parts of the paint job where the bracket goes. This was disappointing. I wonder if I had waited a full 24h if it would have made a difference? Again, oh well - no more paint. Have to deal with it.
After about 20h (I got impatient and was exhausted from the day before and spending all day messing with the links, but that's another story), we took it for a spin. While I had the wheels off, I installed 1.25" BORA spacers. They recommend going five miles then re-checking torque. So we went about 3 miles away from home so that when I got back I could re-check. Took a pic in the parking lot:
She needs a bath but I'm pretty happy with the look of her new earrings.
Things I wish I'd done differently:
- If at all possible - meaning, if you know what you're doing with the brake system - obviously, removing the calipers is the best idea. You get full coverage. As mentioned above, I don't know anything about it, so I left them on. I'm a little concerned that, over time, the paint line where the areas I didn't cover and the areas I did meet will begin chipping. I will have to do some touch-ups at that time. I'm hoping these last at least until I need new pads, at which point I'd probably pay a shop to re-do paint while they have them off.
- The bracket re-application - wish I had waited for the paint to fully harden before putting these back on, but I'm still skeptical that it would have made a difference. I don't know how to get these on without scratching up the new paint. That was frustrating. If I were to do it again, I would have bought a second can of G2 paint for touch-ups after bracket re-application. As it stands, I'm going to do that in a few weeks (next time I can be without my car for a weekend) in hopes of avoiding further chipping where the paint is scratched off.
Overall, this was a giant pain in the ass to do. From far away, I'm happy with the results. From up close and the back, I know I cut corners. But it's the best I could do, and I did it myself, so I'm basically happy with the results.
PS - the torque on the spacers didn't budge. Was not happy to have to jack up and remove tires AGAIN after this long weekend, and it ended up being for nothing, but would have felt like an idiot if I didn't check and wheels went flying off. Still, kind of a frustrating ending to it all.