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If you ever need work done on your brakes, it’s best to avoid brake shops for a variety of reasons — not the least of which is that they’ll often use a Jesus wrench (the biggest Channel Locks in their box) to compress the pistons, a procedure capable of cracking cheap calipers, and almost guaranteed to mar the piston. The right way is a brake caliper compressor, a sort of high-powered caulk gun designed to slip into the pad recess. Lisle’s model 25750 is a perfect example, and pretty inexpensive at just over $32 before shipping from Amazon.

It’s also possible to make your own piston compressor. This version from Hinode is a good concept, but generally poorly made in the Far East. Some good steel and a few hours will produce a very nice home-made compressor, but it’ll be hard to beat the low asking price of Lisle’s version. It probably won’t fit high-performance calipers with more than three or four pistons, but those are scarce enough to be ignored unless you’re a Ferrari mechanic.

Via Amazon [What’s This?]

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7 Responses to Multi-Piston Caliper Compressor

  1. Shopmonger says:

    C-Clap and some soft wood have worked for me for years. But be mindful that not all pistons compress…. Some of them need to twist in. So be careful with putting too much force… Look for grooves or pin holes before getting out the Almighty Jesus Wrench.


  2. Dave says:

    I used this exact tool for a brake job a few months back, and could not for the life of me figure out exactly how it was supposed to work. I mean, I know what it is supposed to do, but it didn’t really fit into the caliper in any reasonable way.

  3. browndog77 says:

    C-clamp on the old pad has always worked for me.

  4. Jeff L says:

    ditto on the c-clamp. except for Hondas (specialty tool) and a rear caliper for a Ford Probe/Mazda MX6 that had to be screwed in by means of an allen wrench.

  5. Old Donn says:

    C-clamp and 5″-6″ piece of an old hockey stick shaft does quite nicely, and the Lisle tool for those that thread back in.

  6. DaveD says:

    I ditto the c-clamp and wood method….on my Hondas. Not sure what Honda Jeff L is working on. I’ve used this method on my ’94 Accord and ’03 CRV.

  7. Tom says:

    The GM piston with integral e-brake function (circa 80’s as used on Fiero). The crank lever on the backside of the piston housing must be removed by first removing the crimp head hex nut. Otherwise the screw type piston cannot be retracted for new pad installation. (A frustrating design).

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