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DIY Painting Brake Calipers Red

Has anyone done a DIY project and painted their Model 3 brake calipers red (or any other color)? Having them professionally powder coated obviously seems like the best, but most expensive option. Having looked at a lot of info/videos online though, the painting route seems to be an inexpensive DIY option (and likely good enough for something that is hidden behind the wheel rims anyhow).

I already have a list of work to have done as soon as I take delivery (PPF on front, CeramiPro coating, black out trim satin black, powder coat rims satin black), so I am trying to figure out a healthy balance of what maybe I can do vs leaving to the professionals.

Has anyone painted the calipers themselves? If so, what did you use? And any suggestions, guidance, etc.
 
I used G2 brake caliper kit on my model 3. I just looked at multiple YouTube videos, taped off my calipers well, and took my time. The kit comes with a paintbrush, it helps to buy a cheap craft brush that is very fine to get into the small areas. This is going to take two separate days though, I only had two jacks so could only do the back calipers today but will do the front ones in a few days.
 

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R1Fast

P3D Blue/White
Sep 11, 2018
464
319
Seattle
I went with Plasti-dip since I didn't want it to be permanent. 2 coats each of grey base, white and camo green + 6 coats of blaze green then the Tesla decals. Then 2 more coats of clear to seal those in and finished with 3 coats of glossifier. It took most of a weekend because I'm OCD but it turned out better than I had hoped for.

PD may not be as heat resistant as caliper paint but IMO the removal factor is worth it. Plasti-dip guarantees it to ~200F which is more than enough for our cars (unless you drive like you stole it or do track days. In real-world it's good to 250F+ or so. I used it on my STi for 5+ years and it looked as good as day one when I sold it, and that job only had 6 total coats. I'm hoping it will last at least that long this time around.


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I used the G2 kit as well. I'd recommend it, since it seems somewhat self leveling. It will take your car out of action for at least 1 day, but likely 2 unless you have 4 jacks. I also used the DIY hockey puck jack stand pads. I only had one low profile jack , so to use the jack from another car I had to drive onto some scrap wood to get the jack and jack pad under the car.

Hardest part is the lettering, where the vinyl you might buy on Ebay won't perfectly match the Tesla lettering. The spacing between the letters is wider than most decals. For the other side I cut the letters apart and placed them separately with a little more space in between.


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R1Fast

P3D Blue/White
Sep 11, 2018
464
319
Seattle
These are the decals I used - good quality and cut and the spacing was good, no modification needed.

Would highly recommend allowing your base coats to cure (G2, Plasti-dip, whatever) before applying then sealing them in with clear as it looks much more OEM than decals on top of the clear.
 
I did the front calipers today with G2 kit, here are some pics. I agree with letter spacing suggestion from a few other posts ( most decal letter spacing is closer than OEM letter spacing), but I’m good with these anyway!
 

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I did the front calipers today with G2 kit, here are some pics. I agree with letter spacing suggestion from a few other posts ( most decal letter spacing is closer than OEM letter spacing), but I’m good with these anyway!

I used a G2 kit on another car years ago, and while I generally was satisfied with it, I always felt as though I could see brush strokes in the finish. Seeing as the front calipers are already finished (smooth surface) I worry that the brush strokes could be even more visible. What's your take?
 
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I used a G2 kit on another car years ago, and while I generally was satisfied with it, I always felt as though I could see brush strokes in the finish. Seeing as the front calipers are already finished (smooth surface) I worry that the brush strokes could be even more visible. What's your take?

Hi, I did my calipers in 2 separate days by mixing half the product each day, here’s some info on brush strokes i noticed: Day 1, it was warmer outside (like 60-62 degrees?) and I used the enclosed brush ( hard bristles) plus a fine craft brush for crevices on back calipers. Day 2, I had to use a regular paint brush with fine, hairlike bristles since the original brush was ruined with dried paint after day 1 and I painted front calipers. Also, it was cooler outside, like 57 degrees.
Day 1 seemed like the paint ‘self-leveled’ and it was easy to get a smooth finish. Day 2, I struggled more with hiding the brush strokes. I think because it was colder outside, and the fine bristles seemed to just clump up and not paint on as smooth. A final thought was, maybe I didn’t mix EXACTLY the same ratio of paint and activator each day ( but it would’ve been pretty close each day cuz I measure it out into separate containers before I started). So front calipers were more difficult, but I did like the end result and the product was very good overall. I also did 3 coats each time, each coat got better color saturation. So my tips would be: I like the stiffer brush better than a fine brush, paint in warmer weather. Hope that helps!
And just for fun, here’s a picture of my FLOATING TESLA!
 

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Hmm got a quote from a shop (in Dallas, TX) to paint my calipers for $380. For what it’s worth, they take them off and paint them, then reassemble.

I’ve seen some crazy quotes of over $1K so this is kind of enticing...

But this thread is making me wonder if I should try and do it myself... for the cost of the paint ha
 
Just gave this a shot! Pretty easy, but definitely takes time. Masking and prepping was probably 30 minutes per tire alone. I got the front 2 done today... and am still on the fence about even doing the back ones since they're different shaped.
Also heard the back ones are really hard to mask perfectly. True?

Waiting on my TESLA decals to arrive! Ended up getting this decal set from from eBay. Prob going with the smaller font option.
 

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Hayden

Active Member
Apr 12, 2016
1,533
820
Belgium
Just gave this a shot! Pretty easy, but definitely takes time. Masking and prepping was probably 30 minutes per tire alone. I got the front 2 done today... and am still on the fence about even doing the back ones since they're different shaped.
Also heard the back ones are really hard to mask perfectly. True?

Waiting on my TESLA decals to arrive! Ended up getting this decal set from from eBay. Prob going with the smaller font option.
Those decals are for de model S.
 
Dumb to only paint the front ones? The rear ones don’t really have the same look (non performance)
I would do front and back. Just looks odd just doing the front. Most vehicles have bigger calipers in the front.
I never tape off , cuz with the POR-15 stuff you can apply by brush and it doesn't leave brush strokes as it seats well. You can fine tune with the brush. On my Beemer, I will be painting a little black in some shadow spots, so it should make it pop more.
Congrats on doing it yourself.
 
Done!!! Got the high temp model 3 caliper decals and knocked out the back wheels this weekend too. Clear coat over the decals so hopefully they stand the test of time.

The back calipers were definitely a beast to mask around... goodness. I need to do some touching up (got a little bit of overspray in places as you can see haha) But overall, am happy I save myself hundreds $$$

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