steer clear of Foreign Autopart rebuilds

Bernie Benz b.m.benz at
Mon Apr 1 20:08:24 EST 2002

Brett, you maybe need an analysis from a more distant perspective, if you
are receptive.

The condition of the caliper bore cylinder is irrelativant to the caliper
operation, inasmuch as it has no direct contact with the moving piston.
Rather, of importance is the chrome plated piston surface which must move
relative to the seal.  In a bad caliper both the piston OD surface and the
surrounding fluid are crud.  to refurbish, the piston surface needs to be
cleaned and burnished with 600 grit paper prior to reassemble with fresh
fluid.  As long as the corrosion has not gone thru its chrome plating on the
OD, the piston is reuseable.

When buying rebuilt one is always subject to the skill(?) of the rebuilder.
If you do it yourself, you know first hand the skill of the rebuilder.  Too
many potential DIY rebuilders put down their skills and are afraid to tackle
a simple and obvious task.

Oh, relube your caliper slide pins and bushings, the only possible cause of
side to side uneven pad wear.

T'ain't broke, just needing a little TLC!


> From: Brett Dikeman <brett at>
> Date: Mon, 1 Apr 2002 20:43:49 -0500
> To: quattro at
> Cc: 200q20v at
> Subject: steer clear of Foreign Autopart rebuilds
> This is mostly for NE listers(I don't think FA is anywhere else
> except in New England.)
> Pulled both rear calipers this afternoon and turned out the
> pistons(used Fred Munro's great tip...use needle nose vicegrips set
> to match the notches, turn with a second set of pliers, took less
> than a minute to turn each out) and discovered why the caliper ran
> through the pad+rotor so fast(pads are almost down to the backing,
> rotor is worn 1mm more than the passenger side, .8mm from wear limit.)
> It wasn't the ebrake mechanism...the rebuilder put a ton of antiseize
> in there, so the lever action is quite smooth and it returns fully.
> Passenger side looks like it came off a california car...really
> amusing.  Not a single bit of rust near the ebrake caliper, the
> return spring, etc.  Rebuild unit looks like it spent 10+ years in
> VT, but the action on the lever was quite smooth; the silvery goo
> kept all the bad stuff out.
> No, the problem might be the rather large amount of surface defects
> on the sides of the piston, which has all sorts of scratches and
> discolorations(like there was rust that was removed etc.)  There are
> no large pits, but the difference from the much, much older passenger
> side caliper is simply astounding...the passenger side caliper's
> piston looks like it just rolled off the assembly line.  I'll post a
> picture later tonight of the two pistons next to each other.  It's
> obvious that the caliper was seriously neglected; I'm guessing that
> the previous owner let the boot tear and the caliper overextend, and
> probably never changed the fluid.
> I suppose this means I'm screwed, since you can't get the pistons
> separately, right?  I'm going to double-check the ebrake cable, since
> it's the only other thing that could cause this.
> I'll never buy another part(rebuilt or otherwise) from Foreign
> Autopart again.  The rebuilt starter from them has already completely
> rusted up(it WAS painted when I bought it) after less than 2-3 years.
> Oh, also, the caliper wore the rotor+pads unevenly, very thin inside,
> thicker outside...
> Brett
> --
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> safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Ben Franklin
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