Wanted 1969+/- ATE caliper cores rear and front - Page 2 - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

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post #16 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 05:52 AM
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Originally Posted by justcallmefred View Post
Guys be careful when you post opinions about suppliers. The Alfa calipers Rock Auto sells look like they are done by Centric- one of the biggest and most experienced in the rebuilding business owned and staffed by car enthusiasts (including Alfas) I and many others have been using their stuff for decades.
Fred,

You are right, we need (I need) to be careful with comments. However, wrong or right, we are entitled to post our comments. Folks like yourself, who have had experience with certain brands or vendors can step up and dispel comments such as mine. I don't mind making mistakes, but I do mind contributing to mis-information. It's nice to know that the Centric brand is a good brand. I respect your opinion and appreciate your correction.

I tend to stay away from the cheap option on any replacement part for my car, especially something so important as brakes. A friend of mine once bought re-manufactured calipers for his Alfa. The cylinder bores had a small amount of media in them that should have been remove prior to assembly. He's really lucky he caught it before it became a problem.
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post #17 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 06:09 AM
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According to Rock Auto, the front calipers are unique to Alfas and 1976 Porsche 912. The rear calipers are unique to Alfas.

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post #18 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 11:34 AM
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I have some caliper cores available. Not sure how the credit will work since you will be paying by NZ CC. I see that Ken had problems with that. I bought some Rock Auto calipers and they seem to be fine. The Ate logo was NOT on the castings, however, so maybe they are using some Chinese casting? Pistons were installed correctly and all the hardware was new. (pistons, seals, pad retaining springs and pins)

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post #19 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 11:35 AM Thread Starter
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I have some caliper cores available. Not sure how the credit will work since you will be paying by NZ CC. I see that Ken had problems with that. I bought some Rock Auto calipers and they seem to be fine. The Ate logo was NOT on the castings, however, so maybe they are using some Chinese casting? Pistons were installed correctly and all the hardware was new. (pistons, seals, pad retaining springs and pins)

Stu
Hi Stu, I will be paying with a US credit card registered to a US address in USD, so I doubt that will be an issue. Shall I PM you?
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post #20 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 10:03 PM
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Just make sure the caliper cores are the early ATE ones with the pin in the centre of the piston bore. If the later 2000 cores there is no pin and the pistons are different AND therefore you will have to change your master cylinder.

Best
Pete

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post #21 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 04:04 PM Thread Starter
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... it amazes me that you are so not willing to just rebuild your own calipers yourself. The seals are cheap and available and there is nothing simpler on a car than a brake caliper, absolutely nothing. You could have all 4 rebuilt in 2 hours (max) and brakes bled in another 30 minutes. Sure they won't be painted or plated but otherwise will be perfectly serviceable.
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Your comments prompts me to write an essay. I should be writing government papers for the PM advisory committee on a different approach to housing, but any excuse to procrastinate is welcome.

One of the things I learned with Alfas is the Kiwi Rule that every 30 minute Alfa job takes three months when you live in paradise (aka New Zealand).

Things go wrong. The parts are unavailable in New Zealand. Searches on the Internet involve time zone delays where each question then waits 24 hours for a reply. Shipping can become a problem - a $3 part is sent using a $50 courier. The right part is ordered, the wrong one arrives. Installing it results in unanticipated problems that tend to snowball.

In addition, when one ventures into unknown territory, the obvious stuff is not obvious the first time and much of the collective wisdom on AlfaBB presumes prior knowledge. My first questions are often utterly obvious to the experienced, but not to the owner who has never encountered that particular challenge before (for this reason I try to document my initiation so other newbies can find enlightenment).

In the Kiwi Rule, rust is ever present and with half-century old cars, earlier repairs done by prior owners turn out to be non-standard (such as my dual brake booster system that has only one booster).

Consider this story: After 20 years sitting, it's time to get the old girl running again. The brake pedal goes to the floor. Attempts to change the fluid are hopeless. The bleed screws are frozen. Finally getting them to work, nothing comes out. Buy a $100 German-made brake vacuum extractor. No change. Remove one of the hoses and discover that the fluid has turned to orange jelly.

Start working backwards, undoing the various connections until fresh fluid is found. Some connections are frozen on and instead of coming off, the steel tubes fail. Decide to replace the hoses as well. They won't come off either. Lock nuts rusted on. Every simple 60 second removal takes about 30 minutes and great care has to be taken to not bend or break the adjacent mounting parts.

Try to find new tubes. Go on line, ask AlfaBB, look at web sites. Finally realize pre-made tubes from the US means a 4 week delay and not cheap. So, buy a $100 flare tube to learn how to flare cuprinol tubes. Take the old tubes and hoses to the local hydraulic shop (bike to ferry, 40 minute ferry ride, bike to train, wait for train, 30 minute train ride, bike to shop, repeat on return... 20 minutes in the shop involves the better part of a day, but at least all transport is free, so it is just time). Discover that some parts are metric (10/1) but the hoses are imperial and match a Hillman hose. Buy all the parts needed.

Back home, practice flaring until perfect. Then make up new lines. Work out how to run the tubes with the engine in. Finally, months later, begin to bleed the brakes. Discover that the one-year-old compressor has a cracked reed valve, so the one-person bleeder does not work; persuade wife to assist. Voila, in 15 minutes the pedal is firm and the system has new fluid. One step forward.

Then put the tires back on only to find three of the four calipers are frozen. Use vice grip to retract, wheels turn. Press brake pedal, calipers locked, won't retract. Seek online AlfaBB advice. Remove one caliper. Try to remove using air (compressor only puts out 45 pounds), no joy. Try grease, no joy. Go back to the hydraulic place (see trip required, above) to get the parts required to rig up a way to force the piston out using the brake pedal, only to discover the first piston that pops out is pitted and a complete rebuild is required including cracking the calipers.

Go on line to AlfaBB and discover that the bolts that hold the caliper together are rare and one must not break them. Alarm bells begin to ring as it is almost certain one of the bolts will fail (why? because they are rare, the car is ancient and the Kiwi Rule is operative). A complete rebuild kit is required... pistons, rubber parts, etc.

Finally someone on Alfa BB mentions RockAuto. A completely rebuilt Centric caliper for $48, plus $80 core and $30 to ship to New Zealand. Or the Cardone (fronts only) for $31 with a $10 core charge and $30 shipping (per caliper). Brake pads that cost $50 in New Zealand start at $6 at RockAuto and add only a few dollars in postage if ordered with the calipers. I could pay less for shipping by consolidating the order, but if the total attracts over $50 in customs duties (5% duty, 15% tax, $0.70 exchange rate, meaning over US$200), it gets delayed by weeks at the border and attracts an additional $47 handling charge... which is another thing to juggle.

Sure, returning the cores is a pain (shipping from New Zealand is more than the total order being sent the other way), so I either have to wait until someone is flying up (and willing to use up their 20kg suitcase limit on my cores) or find someone with old cores sitting in their garage who is in the USA. Or hope I get to the USA before September when the 6-month return window expires.

I began this job around Christmas. We are now a week away from March. All I am trying to do is get the brakes to work. So, I now will wait until mid-March for the calipers to arrive and hope they match my car.

Before that I was trying to get the clutch to work. You can do a search on my postings to see how long that one took (remember the Kiwi Rule: a half hour job takes 3 months). Turns out that the adjustment of the master has very little margin of error. Even with all new parts (ordered from England... took a month), it did not bleed until I figured out how carefully one has to set it up. I documented that one on AlfaBB as well.

The car arrived in NZ in 1997. To pass the state inspection (VIN) it required a new floor and rockers. The shop did the work, but was milking the job and damaging the car, so I gave up and brought it home. In 2004 I started putting the car back together only to discover the the transmission support had been lost by the restoration shop in 1998. I ran out of time, and it was not until 2013 that I began work on it again. I ordered the support brace from the only Alfa wrecking yard in NZ, only to find it did not fit. AlfaBB correspondence finally revealed that the 1969 model is unique. It took many calls and emails to find one in Connecticut almost a year later which I collected on a visit to California... not cheap, but I finally was able to get the transmission to bolt up. A half hour job that took almost a year... or a decade if you count when I began. I wrote up a complete documentation of that one as well, so the next 69 owner who loses their transmission brace will know what to look for.

So in 2017, I really would like to get the car to pass the VIN. Either that or get it in nice shape and sell it in the USA since the value of these cars seems to have skyrocketed and after this job I have a 1970 Bristol 411 needing the exact same process.

So, after I get the brakes working I have to start the car. Then ensure all the mechanicals work. Then put the windshield back in. Then convert to RHD lights. And install the new convertible roof I bought in 1996, and the new seat covers. Probably the new tires (vintage 1996) will need replacement. And after all of that I have to have the car pass the ($500) VIN which may turn up new surprises. It will, for example, require approved seat belts, and unless I install the roll bar as permanent, I will probably have to apply for a shoulder belt exemption. And finally, the new rockers and floor panels that remain in primer will need to be painted.

In all of this, I have to balance costs, time, and keep the surprises to a minimum.

Do I miss the USA? For the most part no. We live in a wonderful place, spectacular water views, winter 50-60 degrees, summer 70-80. An ebike ride to the ferry takes us to the center of a dynamic city. Wonderful outdoor life. Non-polarized, clean politics. Simple taxes. Very international populace. Great fresh food, fantastic coffee, casual lifestyle.

But when it comes to consumer heaven, you bet I miss America. You guys have no idea how good you have it. Need an Alfa part. Order it online. It's cheap. It arrives in a few days. If you can't find it, there are specialized wrecking yards (long may they survive) with used stuff, and of course AlfaBB and other groups. And when you fill up the car, you hardly notice the price. On my island, I pay US$6 a gallon. Of course, we have some advantages. No liability insurance on cars - we have national no fault insurance built into the registration cost which for a car older than 1977 is $52 (US$36) a year.

OK, time to get back to work.
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post #22 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 11:52 PM
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1750Spyder,

All the problems you are having and gone through sound very frustrating and similar to what I have experienced UNTIL I joined the Alfa Romeo Owners Club of New Zealand.

There are lots and lots and lots of people in New Zealand that own and run Alfa Romeos, repair them and know what they are talking about. BTW I also live in New Zealand, and yes a lot of the reason I make (or try to make) my own panels is because it is easier than ordering them from overseas and also the quality used to be sh!t.

The AROC of NZ is I believe the second biggest single make car club in NZ, with only the MG one being bigger.

I don't know where you live in New Zealand but there are Alfa specialists in at least Wellington and Palmerston North. I actually worked, for a very short time (uni holiday break) for the Palmerston North one and he (Peter Beck) would have those calipers rebuilt without concours plating in one week max and for a reasonable price.

So I suggest giving Peter a call: Motor repair Palmerston North - Peter Beck Auto Services Ltd (I'm not sure Peter Beck still runs the place though and therefore not sure it is still Alfa focused) and joining the club (which I admit I have not yet redone since returning to NZ. Was a member for over 10 years previously). It is a great friendly club.

Best
Pete

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post #23 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 02:08 AM
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Classic Alfa have a rebuild kit with new pistons and seals for just over 100 aussie dollars for 2 calipers they also have the flexible brake hoses. I find their freight prices reasonable and I can order online on say a Monday and the goods are on my doorstep in Sydney by Thursday.
there is only 2 moving parts and 4 bolts in a caliper so they don't come much simpler. I just did the fronts on my 1750. if I added up the time to remove them dismantle and clean , reassemble and re fit, I doubt it was more than a days work.

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post #24 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 02:52 AM Thread Starter
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I don't know where you live in New Zealand but there are Alfa specialists in at least Wellington and Palmerston North.
I live on Waiheke Island where we now have a Kiwi mechanic who worked in Nantucket for years where he did work on Alfas. However, shop rates are no longer the $30 hour that they were when we moved here in 1997. Old Alfas are not difficult cars to work on; it's just the fact that 105's are old and there are so few in NZ that it does not pay to keep the sort of stock that I need. I'm not complaining, just observing for our American friends who may not appreciate the luxury of supply they have.

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(I'm not sure Peter Beck still runs the place though and therefore not sure it is still Alfa focused)
It does look like Peter Beck is still working there; see (Alfa Romeo Specialist | Trade Me). When the car is ready to go into VIN, I expect to pay Tony Morgan, Alfa Specialist in Auckland, to go over it to catch and correct the errors before VIN does.

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Classic Alfa have a rebuild kit with new pistons and seals for just over 100 aussie dollars for 2 calipers
RockAuto is selling rebuilt front calipers for US$31 plus $30 postage each and rear for $46 plus postage. The work will have been done on precision equipment by people who rebuild calipers all day long. Hard to argue with those prices. Thanks to the AlfaBB members who pointed me in that direction.

Stay tuned as I will post my review of the products when they arrive and I bolt them up.
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post #25 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
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I live on Waiheke Island where we now have a Kiwi mechanic who worked in Nantucket for years where he did work on Alfas. However, shop rates are no longer the $30 hour that they were when we moved here in 1997. Old Alfas are not difficult cars to work on; it's just the fact that 105's are old and there are so few in NZ that it does not pay to keep the sort of stock that I need. I'm not complaining, just observing for our American friends who may not appreciate the luxury of supply they have.
Oh fnck now I understand as my sister and her family used to live on Waiheke Island. Please understand that while that is part of New Zealand it is NOT a representation really of New Zealand automotive wise. Personally a beautiful place but I could not stand living there as nothing, not just car parts, is available and sourcing anything is a right royal pain.

You continue to have the opinion that there are few 105's in New Zealand (well on Waiheke Island you likely have the only one ) but that is not true. As I said it is the second largest car club in NZ and I estimate there are more 105's in NZ than many states in America.

Here is a link to the AROCNZ: Alfa Romeo Owners Club of New Zealand - AROC. To help with the next project on your car I suggest giving the Auckland reps a call and get the car OFF Waiheke and into a workshop in Auckland. Also Australia is close and there are plenty of cars over there too and Alfa places to source parts from.

I wish you the best of luck and hope to see you at a classic car meeting soon
Pete

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post #26 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 09:48 AM
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RockAuto is great, but I've had problems with Centric calipers. Nobody is perfect. I wouldn't romanticize about "precision" equipment and "specialists" either - it's a big box rebuilder. The calipers also won't be zinc plated from those vendors at that price - they will be bare iron; they will oxidize and appear rusty in VERY short order after installation.

I've rebuilt countless calipers from basic re-seal to total disassembly, tank, blast, x-ray, re-plate, etc. so can comment intelligently on such things. You do, at the end of the day, get what you pay for in many respects. These calipers were NOT plated when new for looks, they were plated for longevity. Poor condition as yours are, they are still many decades old! To put it in perspective: one of the largest vendors in North America gets more "recently" rebuilt unplated/bare calipers turned in as cores than originals. Derive what you may from that.

I would not want to imagine dealing with returns or faulty parts from "paradise" (I'm doing just fine here in the greatest country on Earth, the United States of America!)



Truthfully, I do wish you the best whatever you decide - but try not to skimp on brakes! Happy motoring.

Rob
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post #27 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 12:28 AM Thread Starter
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they will be bare iron; they will oxidize and appear rusty in VERY short order after installation.
What is your opinion about me painting the calipers for longevity?
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post #28 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 01:59 AM
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why don't you post some good photos of your calipers and pistons, it might be easier than you think

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post #29 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 05:47 AM
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What is your opinion about me painting the calipers for longevity?
I painted mine with Eastwood's caliper paint. My car hasn't been on the road for very long. So, I have no idea how it will hold up.

Excuse the red arrow. I'm using a picture I posted on the BB some time ago.
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post #30 of 33 (permalink) Old 02-23-2017, 09:31 AM
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What is your opinion about me painting the calipers for longevity?
A few things here. Keep in mind these are my preferences and opinions, and your rebuilt calipers will probably last a while before needing work. That said, I take brakes seriously and I use original type parts and processes whenever feasible.

1) The paint is for looks - and will look great on the exterior, but it will only last if you get the bodies surgically clean. Most of those rebuilt units are oiled and require heavy solvent to remove. Leaving them in the sunshine helps. If there is any oil at all, the paint will come off in big chunks. Remember: on calipers paint is for looks, plating is for longevity.

2) The primary advantage of the plating is inside the piston bores, especially between the pressure seal and the dust seal - an area that theoretically should be "dry." That area will be heat cycled rapidly and will oxidize and that will eventually affect piston travel. There are some modern "greases" to help minimize this. The fluid passages of the calipers should always be anaerobic with fresh fluid so the plating is just extra protection there BUT old fluid does hold water, and if calipers are stored for a long time it can lead to oxidation.

3) If you go the route of the cheap rebuilt units, you could always disassemble them yourself and have the bodies plated by a local shop. Then you can reassemble a set of calipers that will truly last. It will also allow you an opportunity to properly polish the pistons. *Every* single re-used piston I've extracted from a "big box" rebuilt caliper is NOT polished, but rather tumbled. Some do come with new pistons but you won't be able to control that in a RockAuto purchase. Countless tear-downs of original ATE and Girling (and other) calipers have shown me that the original finish is a fine polished surface. You can feel the difference (polished vs tumbled) when installing pistons in the bores past fresh seals... this cemented my process when I rebuild calipers: I polish the pistons.

4) If you decide to tackle your calipers yourself, you've got a great resource: all of us here on the BB

Rob
Alfas first, then everything else.
racingswim2006 is offline  
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