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Festiva caliper rebuild

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  • Festiva caliper rebuild

    I just finished getting 2 left and 2 right calipers ready to put new seals and boots in. It was 11.45 for 4 seal kits shipped from rockauto and 11.50 for a brake hone tool from Amazon.
    I already had some brake parts cleaner and silicone grease that I had bought earlier. The least expensive 2 left and 2 right rebuilt calipers from rockauto with shipping would have been $164.68. (would have gotten a little back if I returned the cores but not much).
    The pistons and cylinder walls were all still good and so were the rubber slider boots and pins but cleaning everything and honing the cylinders took many man hours.
    I'm not going to put the seal and pistons in until I am ready to mount since I will be using brake fluid to lubricate the seals and it would just attract moisture and lead to rusting in the meantime.
    If I had know how much work it was going to involve when I started, I would have just bought the rebuilt ones from rockauto. Four Festiva Rebuilt Calipers.JPG
    Last edited by 1990new; 05-30-2021, 07:46 PM.

  • #2
    From my experience if the pistons and cylinder walls are good there is absolutely no need to touch them with a hone. Actually I don't see any reason that you need to clean a rusty bore. A rusty piston is different. A rusty piston can't be used. If yours are rusty they should be replaced. To rebuild the calipers blow the pistons out with air, being careful to keep your fingers out of the way as they can come out with a lot of force. You might want to stuff a rag in the right place to catch the piston as it comes out of the bore. Clean everything with brake clean or 91 proof alcohol, lubricate the square seal with brake fluid, put the square seal on the piston along with a new dust boot on the main body, put the piston in the dust boot opening, put your air (I use a blow gun with a rubber tip) where the brake line threads in and slowly increase air pressure til the air blows up the dust boot like a ballon and at that moment push the piston down into the bore as you decrease the air pressure. I've used this on dozens of motorcycle calipers and don't see why this method will not work on the Festiva calipers. I've owned Festivas for over 15 years and never had to touch a caliper. One of the benefits of living in the desert. No rusty brake hydraulics. Rebuilding the Festiva calipers shouldn't take more than 30 minutes each and if they are not to dirty and you are in a hurry you can do them in half that time.
    '88 Festiva LX 5 speed, A/C, Carb, restored $$$ body paint, badly wrecked @ 200k.
    '93 Festiva L, 5 speed, Aqua, bought from the original owner,.Zero rust but very nasty otherwise. Awaits the B6T.
    '91 Festiva L, 5 speed, bought to drive while putting the B6T in the '93. now B6ME powered.


    • #3
      I've owned seven Festivas and worked on many more since I bought my first one (Bessie) new in 1990.
      The pistons on these calipers were all good in these 4. I had another caliper but the piston on it was rusty and pitted so I junked the entire caliper.

      These had been sitting in boxes in my garage for a few years so the remnants of brake fluid in them had attracted moisture from the humid air here in Charleston.
      Most of my time doing these was spent at the wire wheel cleaning them up to look nice and new on the outside. Also cleaned all the rubber parts and greased the sliders with new silicone grease.

      Have not put the seals and boots on any of them.
      Thanks for the advice about how to do that when I get ready to install one on a car.