View Full Version : Painting the master cylinder

05-12-2004, 12:36 AM
Over the weekend, I pulled the rusty, leaky, horribly grungy looking master cylinder out of my Bugeye. I brushed off the accumulated gunk and am preparing to rebuild the unit with new seals from Moss. My question: the master cylinder appears to be made of cast iron and it has already (2-3 days) started to develop a layer of surface rust. I would like to give it a coat of paint, but am very well aware that brake fluid will try to eat it off. Is there any type of paint / powder coat / epoxy that will resist the brake fluid? Any ideas?

05-12-2004, 09:34 AM
I'm about to do the same w/my bugeye M C.
Black epoxy paint (rattle can). Wire grind first w/ cap on.
It must be way more humid in tex than in upstate n y.

05-12-2004, 01:23 PM
Thanks for the reply. I will let you (and the forum) know what happens. I am also planning on doing something with the pedal box and pedals, which have been gunked up pretty bad with leaking fluid. What a mess. At least it is making it easy to get the old paint off.

05-12-2004, 11:11 PM
In the past I have used cast blast rattle cans from Eastwood and it's OK until you dribble fluid down it. I have also powdercated some with good results.
Pedals and box too. I like the black wrinkle finish, it hides any pitting.
since I have switched to DOT 5, I don't worry about the fluid spills.

05-13-2004, 02:39 AM
Your using Dot 5 and not worrying about spills! Dot 5 is silicone and if you get it on any metal surface it is very difficult to really remove and will create Fisheyes in your paint jobs next time you try to paint it.

Trevor Jessie
05-13-2004, 11:23 AM
Yup, silicone is hard to clean. I wash with a hot water and detergent then follow with "Pre" (an Eastwood product). I haven't tried other grease/wax removers, but they may work as well. FWIW, I'm using DOT% fluid and I have no complaints yet. I've never used it before, so I thought the Midget would be a good experiment.

05-13-2004, 07:46 PM
Last night I painted the master cylinder with Dupli-Color flat black engine paint. It is supposed to be heat and chemical resistant once cured in a 600 degree oven for an hour. It's cooking as we speak, but I have to finish before the wife gets home. She doesn't understand. I will let you know how it turns out.

05-13-2004, 10:27 PM
way to go
I always use the barbeque

05-13-2004, 11:32 PM
Our BBQ is out of commission with a regulator malfunction. It is one of the household projects that I have ignored since getting my Bugeye. The master cylinder came out of the oven a few minutes ago. The paint sure looks impervious. The kitchen, however, smells like an oil refinery. After a fire. I think my wife noticed. All of the windows are open. Maybe I can use this as an excuse to get a new BBQ. images/icons/smile.gif

05-15-2004, 12:49 PM
VERY interested in the results here... I have the same problem with a Midget... I used clutch fluid when I put in a new slave and rebuilt the master... and replaced the hose inbetween (eaten by Texas squirrels). Since installing the slave (only a few months back) and the vehicle has not even started; there is a lot of build-up on the outside (ie corrosive looking granular yellow-brown stuff). I know brake fluid and clutch fluid are similar but decided to use true clutch fluid for the system. Not sure if Dot 5 would have been better in the long run.

By the way; when using "moms" oven... just make a mess on the counter-top with flour, butter, and misc stuff and claim you were trying to bake A "surprise" and it burned before she got home. The smell is from your attempt at a surprise. She will help clean up and be touched by your thoughtfullness; and maybe show you how to bake a cake.

Dave Russell
05-16-2004, 06:05 AM
<blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr>Originally posted by StevenA:
I know brake fluid and clutch fluid are similar but decided to use true clutch fluid for the system. <hr></blockquote>

What is "true clutch fluid"? I'm not aware of anything but brake & clutch fluid such as dot 3,4,5, being used in clutch actuators. With the exception of a few vehicles using a central hydraulic system that use a mineral oil.


05-19-2004, 12:21 AM
I have now painted and baked the pedal box and pedals and have reassembled the master cylinder. Everything looks great. I have not filled the resevoir or tested for leaks, so I still do not know if the paint will hold up against the brake fluid. It sure looks and feels like nothing will get through it. Very spiffy. I will let you know what happens when I fill it up.

I had one "wire wheel" incident while cleaning up the brake components. I was using the wire wheel to remove the rust, paint and grunge from the smaller pieces. I was wearing gloves and a full face shield. My T-shirt was tucked in. I had the metal cap to the MC in a pair of Vice-Grips and was knocking it clean when it disappeared. One moment it was in the Vice-Grips, the next moment it was just flat gone. Like very fast magic. My brain registered that it was gone and went to work trying to figure out what had happened. I even had time to think, "Crap. now I'll be stuck with one of the plastic caps from Moss." (All of this took place in about .001 seconds) At about that instant, the cap exited the wire wheel housing and struck me just above my navel. At that moment, it occurred to me that "Ouch! That hurt!" Then I thought, "Uh oh, I haven't heard it hit anything else. It must be lodged somewhere inside, around my pancreas." Then I heard it hit my lawn mower. I had a brief moment of relief, glad to know that I would not have to have it removed surgically. Then I worried that it had gone through me. Yes...it hurt that bad. I started looking for blood. The intervening .001 seconds having now passed, I lifted my T-shirt, and I was relieved to find that I did not have a hole in my stomach. I did have a perfect imprint of a 1960 Austin Healey master cylinder cap stamped into my stomach, complete with a little crease where the cap is notched for a screw driver. Word to the wise: wire wheel brushes go really fast and they develop more horsepower than our little cars. If they launch something, it will hit you and it will hurt. Be safe.

My next hurdle is to reinstall the fittings on the brake lines. When I was removing the lines from the MC, I had to cut them, as they were "frozen" into the MC and I could not get enough torque to break them loose. I have ordered a double flare tool. Any advice or tips on using it? I think I only have enough brake line left for one shot before they will be too short. If I do mess up the remaining line, are there any alternatives to installing new ones? Can they be spliced?

05-19-2004, 07:51 PM
I lost the return spring wire wheeling also. After looking hard for 1/2 hr, put it on future order list. 2 hrs later going to fetch a beer, I just spotted it in the grass. Another reason not to have a garage fridge.
Just painted my M C today. POR-15 then epoxy black. Then read the can. Interior /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/shocked.gif appliance paint &amp; no mention of heat cure. I'm sure your's will last longer. Also painted spare piece of steel to dribble fluid on to see if it holds up. will do that tomarrow. Won't know how it will take the weather though. I'll keep posting results.

05-21-2004, 09:29 PM
well after curing for 24 hrs, dribbled DOT3 on epoxy paint. after about an hour it blistered. going to experiment again next week (longer cure time). I'm sure I'll be doing it over next year. gotta get it on the road first