lee si­b­ley

Total 911 - - Living The Legend – 911 Owner Reports -

Bournemouth, UK @lee_sibs

Model 996 car­rera 4s Year 2002

Ac­quired April 2017

Part of the 996 Car­rera 4S’s unique spec­i­fi­ca­tion is its re­vised chas­sis taken di­rectly from the 996 Turbo. This of course in­cludes those ‘Big Red’ brake calipers, hous­ing four pis­tons and a set of brake pads which bite into 330mm drilled and ven­ti­lated discs all around the car.

Ex­cept on my C4S, those calipers had a less-than-iconic ‘Big Pink’ look, their orig­i­nal hue markedly faded due to sav­age lac­quer peel. They’d been like that since I bought the car, and af­ter a rep­re­sen­ta­tive at Poole Ac­ci­dent Re­pair gave me a rea­son­able quote to get them re­fur­bished at a re­cent cars & cof­fee, I de­cided it was about time those calipers looked as good as Zuf­fen­hausen in­tended! Luck­ily for me (and in the in­ter­ests of dili­gent jour­nal­ism), Poole Ac­ci­dent Re­pair were also happy for me to shadow for the two days re­quired to turn the brakes around.

Af­ter their break­down and re­moval from the car, the fac­tory calipers (orig­i­nally made by Ital­ian out­fit, Brembo) were sprayed with acid then wiped down with a cloth be­fore a jet wash to en­sure all road de­tri­tus had been re­moved.

It was at this point we dis­cov­ered the calipers had been ‘re­furbed’ be­fore, al­beit poorly, as ev­i­dence of shoddy mask­ing was present, plus the lac­quer lift­ing in cer­tain ar­eas sug­gests the calipers weren’t prop­erly clean last time out.

Mas­ter panel beater and paint ex­traor­di­naire, Ian, then got to work scotch­ing the calipers’ sur­face to give a key. This was done by hand with a mini DA and 1100 grit. Once done, the nip­ples and other gib­bons on the caliper were com­pre­hen­sively masked up be­fore an­other clean. A very light layer of etch primer was then ap­plied over the ar­eas where the calipers’ sur­face was show­ing.

With that ex­haus­tive prep work com­plete, it was time for paint. The colour of my Car­rera 4S’s ‘Big Red’ calipers is of course given away by their name, the spe­cial paint ap­plied be­ing re­sis­tant to heat by up to 300 de­grees. Their ap­pear­ance was gloss at first, yet this soon changed to a matte ef­fect as we left the calipers in the oven to bake for ten min­utes at 68 de­grees.

From here, the ‘Porsche’ script sticker is ap­plied to the caliper’s outer-fac­ing sur­face – as Ian pointed out, even ap­ply­ing the sticker is a del­i­cate job, as he needed to be care­ful each time not to leave any grease from his fin­gers on the sur­face which could com­pro­mise the lac­quer later on.

Stick­ers ex­pertly ap­plied, Ian then ap­plied a gen­er­ous layer of lac­quer, once again giv­ing the calipers a bril­liant shine. They were then placed in the oven for half an hour at 70 de­grees be­fore be­ing left to cool down at room tem­per­a­ture for 20 min­utes. Fi­nally, they were ready to go back on the car.

Ul­ti­mately, the task of restor­ing Big Red calipers is a timely one, so it’s not a cheap job, al­beit some­thing that can be done at home if you’ve clean fa­cil­i­ties and plenty of pa­tience to prop­erly pre­pare the calipers. As Ian ex­plains:

“95 per cent of any paint job is all about prep. Paint doesn’t hide bad jobs, it ex­ac­er­bates them, so it’s cru­cial you spend good time get­ting that first and cru­cial part right.”

The brake pads were then fit­ted back into their re­spec­tive calipers (com­po­nents from each hub were kept in their own boxes for straight-for­ward re­assem­bly) and the calipers mounted back on the car. Af­ter a fit, bleed and road test, the car was good to go, ‘Big Red’ re­fur­bish­ment com­plete.

I am so chuffed with the re­sult. As I say, ‘Big Red’ brakes are an iconic el­e­ment of Porsche de­sign, and I’m re­lieved that’s what I’ve fi­nally got re­sid­ing in­side my C4S’S ro­tors. I am de­lighted. Thanks to the team at Poole Ac­ci­dent Re­pair for a stel­lar job in re­furb­ing the calipers to a very high stan­dard, and to Ian for let­ting me shadow him for the job. I’ve learned a lot! I’ve also re­alised I need new lug nuts, as the rust on the cur­rent set is now at odds with an oth­er­wise im­mac­u­late whee­land-tyre setup be­neath the wide body of my beau­ti­ful 996 Car­rera 4S.

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