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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
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Old 10-14-2014, 03:47 AM   #1
gjm
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My Ride: 2002 320d Touring
Brake caliper rebuild - stainless pistons?

My E46 Touring is nudging 260,000 miles, and the nearside front caliper started to stick a few weeks ago.

Removed it, stripped it, and the piston showed some significant rust on the outside of the seal land, but also some rust above the land. Not ideal. The pistons are hard-chromed steel; after a significant period of time or mileage, seals get tired, and water creeps in.

I had a couple of seal kits but no replacement piston, so spent some time thoroughly cleaning the piston. There's no rust now, but there is some pitting... I've reassembled the caliper with the slightly pitted piston, but I'm obviously going to replace it.

There are suppliers offering stainless steel pistons for M3 calipers, but I've not found anyone doing the same for the more mainstream models. I'm sure I could find an engineers somewhere that could help, but thought I'd ask here first - does anyone know of a supplier of stainless steel caliper pistons?

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Old 10-14-2014, 05:31 AM   #2
-lynel-
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cant help on the stainless pistons though any machine shop worth its name can make you something up. I do have a question though; where did you get your rebuild (seal) kit?
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Old 10-14-2014, 06:22 AM   #3
paraklas
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Why not just get replacement piston i.e. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/BMW-5-SERI...item4d2171648c

I mean, if you successfully reached 260000miles on original pistons, then an equally quality/grade product should last the same..
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Old 10-14-2014, 01:26 PM   #4
gjm
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The first seal kit came from BMW - there's little available over the counter here in NZ and BMW could supply quickly, albeit at significant cost. I've got th part number here, somewhere.

Brakeparts in the UK is where I'm looking for future kits.

We've put 100000km on the car in a bout 12 months. When something needs sorting, it gets sorted to the very best of my ability. In the case of brake caliper pistons, that would mean stainless steel if I can find it - they don't transfer heat in the way normal chromed steel ones do, and should never corrode.

Similarly I'll be looking at replacing the turbo in due course, with one from Turbo Dynamics. Not the cheapest option, but a very good one.

(And for those who're wondering - I use Penrite Enviro+ 5W40 full synthetic oil, changed every 7000 miles or so.)

Apologies for mixing my distances. The car was originally sold in the UK - hence miles - and imported to NZ where kilometres measure the roads.
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Old 10-15-2014, 12:37 AM   #5
gjm
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Part numbers for the kits are:
34 11 1 157 038 - contains the two rubber tubes for the slider pins and three caps - two plain, and one to hold the wear sensor lead
34 11 1 153 202 - contains the piston seal, and the ring seal that fits into the land in the caliper bore

As mentioned, brakeparts.co.nz will supply a complete kit containing all seals and a piston. They'll ship internationally, and exclude tax for shipments destined outside the European Union.

Chicane Motorsport in Aurora, CO, sell stainless pistons. They don't appear to do anything for the E46 (other than for the M3) though, but I've asked if they could.
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Old 10-15-2014, 01:42 PM   #6
gjm
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Received an apologetic email from Chicane - their supplier ceased making stainless steel pistons a while ago, and they should have been removed from the website.
So - stainless pistons appear to be a locally sourced option, rather than available from a regular supplier.
Back to Brakeparts in the UK!
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