I purchased the Cardone rebuilt ultra calipers for about the $32 per corner (Rock Auto) – hard to beat that price. I was quoted 30 per corner locally for just a used part. Here are my thoughts on the units I received.
The ultras are powder coated which is nice – no rusting. The paint is a bit thick but for brake calipers that’s really no big issue. They are a semi gloss silver color and they look nice.
I planned to replace the slides, the slide bushings, the seals and the dust seal with ATE parts. Unfortunately I tore one of the ATE dust seals due to lack of experience so I had to use what came with the Cardone rebuilts. In my opinion, the seals and dust seals that came installed in the units seemed to feel and look like the ATE parts I bought – at least on the surface they are similar quality. They may not last as long – time will tell.
So, I replaced them with the ATE parts I had for a significant improvement.
The installed slides looked like low quality parts. The plating was rough and sketchy looking. The slides on one side were allen style and the other side used torx style. I replaced both sides with the OE slide hardware I had on hand. Replacing the slides was also a significant improvement.
The rebuilts came with a what looks like a new stainless steel piston. Its a nice looking part.
The new springs were inconsistent. One side was so loose it was super easy to install. The other side was so tight I had a problem getting it on. A pair of lineman’s pliers and some effort got both sides to behave. So, I ended up using the new springs since the old ones were probably at least 10 years old – maybe nearly 20. The new springs appear to be cad plated.
I decided to trust that the bleed screws would be adequate. While they were acceptable – one side ended up with rounded shoulders on the nut portion. I have pretty good quality tools and this honestly irritated me quite a bit since I was careful with them. My nearly 20 year old bleed screws came off the cores I’m sending back with no rounding even though they were practically welded in place. Well, I probably wont need to mess with the rounded bleed screw for 3 or 4 years but, still, they saved a few pennies and left me with a future problem.
Would I buy them again? absolutely at the $32 price – IF I could do the upgrades. They’re ok without the upgrades but much better with them. Next time I’d know how to replace the dust seal without tearing it so I wouldn’t have to wonder how long the no names cardone uses will last – the fact that they seemed like decent quality is reassuring. I don’t regret replacing the slides or the slide bushings and I wish I had replaced the bleed screws. Live and learn, right?
Oh – and a surprise from Cardone was in the box. Your ability to return the cores is time limited — a fact that would be nice to know when you order the part. Mine sat in the garage for weeks because I’ve had other more pressing projects. Now I’m going to have to scramble to get them in on time. I can still make it but it annoys me that I wasn’t told this up front so I could plan for it.
I gave up on Cardone a long time ago.
The best approach is to find OEM caliper at junk yard or used on ebay.