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Thread: e36 M3 rebuilt vs new calipers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Miami
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    1995 BMW M3

    e36 M3 rebuilt vs new calipers

    With the help of several helpful members in this forum I have concluded my issue of constantly warping rotors on my track hungry 95' M3 after only 2-3 sessions on track is due to calipers needing to be rebuilt. This leads me to the question of whether I should purchase rebuilt calipers or purchase new calipers. I will not be rebuilding the calipers myself. I will be purchasing all 4 calipers. I don't run cooling to the brakes. I will be running PFC-08 pads.

    My questions to all of you awesome helpful members of this community are:

    1. Is a rebuilt caliper just as SAFE as a new one? (I am not interested in saving money if there is a concern with safety)
    2. Has anybody had any issues with buying a rebuilt caliper for a track dedicated car? If yes, what kind of issues? (stripped threads on caliper, using cheap seals...etc)
    3. Which brands do you recommend for rebuilt calipers and purchase from where? (If i'm buying rebuilt I would prefer sticking with best rebuilt caliper I could find)
    4. Which brands do you recommend for new calipers and purchase from where?
    5. Should I replace the caliper bracket as well or is that not really a big deal?
    6. How often should calipers be rebuilt / replaced for a track dedicated car?
    Last edited by BeeHemDoubleU; 07-10-2018 at 12:32 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    Seattle, WA
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    1999 BMW M3 Coupe
    1. Yes, there are no moving parts. It's just a big chunk of iron with a steel piston. When you rebuild you replace the wear items which are the rubber o-ring, boot, and bushings. If the piston is corroded enough you can replace that relatively cheaply too.

    2. No idea, I rebuilt mine.

    3. Make sure they are the OEM ATE calipers. Some may or may not have the ///M stamp on them, but I believe they are all functionally the same. Multiple places online sell them.

    4. Don't buy new calipers unless you just want to spend money or you can't find rebuilt calipers for some reason.

    5. No, there's no reason to replace the bracket unless you've crashed you car hard enough to bend it (which would probably destroy that whole corner). It's just a big piece of metal and won't wear in any way. It is probably a good idea to replace all the bolts if you are doing a caliper rebuild though.

    6. I'll let the more frequent track people here chime in on their habits as well, but I wouldn't think you'd need to actually rebuild the entire caliper on a regular cadence. If you have solid guide pins/bushings you'll definitely need to service those regularly to keep them clean and lubed, but I don't think the o-ring or boot should really take excessive wear. They can handle well over 100K miles in a street car, and they should be engineered to handle any brake temperatures you'd see in track use. Personally I'd only rebuild mine if I observed boot damage on inspection, or if a caliper was exhibiting symptoms which would lead me to believe something was corroded or stuck inside (very unlikely given they are well maintained and recently rebuilt).


    Have you at least trimmed your front backing plates for better airflow to the rotor hub? That made a substantial difference in my front brake temps. There's really no downside for a track car, as the main function of the plates is to prevent water from splashing on the rotors and you shouldn't need to worry about that.
    Last edited by TostitoBandito; 07-10-2018 at 09:52 PM.
    1999 M3/2/5 - Titanium Silver - Daily Driver and Track Toy


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2016
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    Miami
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    1995 BMW M3
    Quote Originally Posted by TostitoBandito View Post
    1. Yes, there are no moving parts. It's just a big chunk of iron with a steel piston. When you rebuild you replace the wear items which are the rubber o-ring, boot, and bushings. If the piston is corroded enough you can replace that relatively cheaply too.

    2. No idea, I rebuilt mine.

    3. Make sure they are the OEM ATE calipers. Some may or may not have the ///M stamp on them, but I believe they are all functionally the same. Multiple places online sell them.

    4. Don't buy new calipers unless you just want to spend money or you can't find rebuilt calipers for some reason.

    5. No, there's no reason to replace the bracket unless you've crashed you car hard enough to bend it (which would probably destroy that whole corner). It's just a big piece of metal and won't wear in any way. It is probably a good idea to replace all the bolts if you are doing a caliper rebuild though.

    6. I'll let the more frequent track people here chime in on their habits as well, but I wouldn't think you'd need to actually rebuild the entire caliper on a regular cadence. If you have solid guide pins/bushings you'll definitely need to service those regularly to keep them clean and lubed, but I don't think the o-ring or boot should really take excessive wear. They can handle well over 100K miles in a street car, and they should be engineered to handle any brake temperatures you'd see in track use. Personally I'd only rebuild mine if I observed boot damage on inspection, or if a caliper was exhibiting symptoms which would lead me to believe something was corroded or stuck inside (very unlikely given they are well maintained and recently rebuilt).


    Have you at least trimmed your front backing plates for better airflow to the rotor hub? That made a substantial difference in my front brake temps. There's really no downside for a track car, as the main function of the plates is to prevent water from splashing on the rotors and you shouldn't need to worry about that.

    As soon as I install some rebuilt calipers i'm taking off the front backing plates. I'm still considering running the bimmerworld cooling kit but i've read some people don't run any cooling and even block off the ducts in the bumper so i'll try it like this first and if I have any issues i'll run some cooling.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    NJ
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    E36 M3 SEDAN
    I suggest you try and rebuild the calipers yourself. It's very easy to do and there are some very good youtube videos on how to do it. I did all four of mine in a few hours, including cleaning out corrosion and rust. Highly recommend at least trying.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2017
    Location
    NoVa
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    My Cars
    E36 M3 GTS2
    Unless you have a seized piston, rebuilding is really not a lot harder than doing a set of pads. No real magic actually. For what you pay for rebuilt, you will be shocked at how big a markup there is for what you are doing. For the Porsche calipers on my race car, I bought all new seals, AND pistons for < $300, all four wheels. About half an hour to rebuild each one, and that's only because doing 4 piston calipers is a PITA...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Ottawa, ON, Canada
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    e90 M3,X5,e46 racer
    I got some rebuilt calipers for e36 M3 ... was pleasantly surprised that they were genuine ///M calipers with the logo and all. Super cheap for me (like only 3x the cost of the rebuild kit ... which is $30). Have yet to test on track, but I don't see any issues so far. They were super clean, and basically looked brand new.
    Check out the 8legs Racing page: https://www.facebook.com/8legsRacing/


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Columbus, OH
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    87 M6, 95 M3, 04 325Xi,
    Bought a set of 4 centric remans last fall for 95 M3 for under $300 inc shipping and no core charges, so I now have an extra set to rebuild to keep as spares. I seem to need to rebuild every 2-3 seasons, mainly as the dust boots harden/melt. Never seen damage to the inner rubber seal though. The centric ones were very nice - all new hardware including piston and ready to paint. Were properly //M marked and came with brackets, not that they were needed. Have used centric several times before in my street cars and I'm at about 6 years of service on the oldest set and going strong.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Metro DC
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    798
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    79 323i, 94 325is, 13 M3
    Agreed, I have bought many rebuilt calipers over the years, mostly for BMWs, from whichever vendor was cheap. Never had an issue.
    If God meant for man to motor-swap LS engines into track cars, He wouldn't have created Corvettes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    North Texas
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    2001 MCoupe
    Quote Originally Posted by arctic745 View Post
    Bought a set of 4 centric remans last fall for 95 M3 for under $300 inc shipping and no core charges, so I now have an extra set to rebuild to keep as spares. I seem to need to rebuild every 2-3 seasons, mainly as the dust boots harden/melt. Never seen damage to the inner rubber seal though. The centric ones were very nice - all new hardware including piston and ready to paint. Were properly //M marked and came with brackets, not that they were needed. Have used centric several times before in my street cars and I'm at about 6 years of service on the oldest set and going strong.
    That’s what I’ve done. Over the years I’ve picked up centric remains when I found really good deals and I now have 3 sets, front and rear. Each year one set goes on the car, one set is rebuilt/refinished and ready to go in my track box, and the set I just took off I can take my time cleaning and readying for the next year.
    2001 Steel Gray MCoupe - 140,000 miles and owned since new. Gaz gold suspension, Hotchkiss swaybar, poly bushings all around, cat delete headers with custom tune, 3.73 LSD, and Clownshoe Motorsports rear subframe reinforcement.

    2014 Porsche Cayman S / 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee / 2012 F-250

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Central, MD
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    1995 M3
    rockauto, rebuilt. GTG.
    I did have a problem with a set I got from rockauto years ago, there was some obvious internal rust as seen from the inlet. Rockauto made it right, and had a replacement within 2 days.
    I tend to go Centric. All the rebuilts I've ever gotten have had the //M logo, and looked to be OEM.

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