I’ve read a lot of articles over the years about removing brake caliper pistons which can’t be removed with caliper pliers. I don’t have access to compressed air tools, which is common way of removing caliper pistons in garages. However this doesn’t always work for calipers with multiple pistons because it requires all pistons to be in place to create an airtight seal.
Fortunately there is another way which is often overlooked for removing brake pistons which doesn’t require air tools or caliper pliers. My top-tip involves using a blind bearing puller and a vice, which I’ve recently demonstrated on my Suzuki GSXR750 front brake caliper overhaul.
Step by step guide
Removing brake caliper pistons using blind bearing puller
Total Time: 1 hour
Clean your brake calipers
When the calipers have been removed from the motorcycle ensure you have also removed the brake pads and stored away from contaminants. Clean the calipers thoroughly using a suitable brake cleaner. If you are potentially looking to reuse the brake seals don’t use an aggressive cleaning agent which could damage the main seals and dust deals.
Mount blind bearing puller in a vice
Locate a suitable size blind bearing puller which approximately matches the inside diameter of your brake caliper piston, then proceed to mount within a vice. You should use two pieces of scrap wood or plastic to prevent damaging the bearing puller clasp when mounted within the vice.
Tightening the blind bearing puller
Insert the brake caliper piston over the blind bearing puller clasp ensuring clasp is seated well within the recess of the caliper piston. When you are satisfied the blind bearing puller clasp is seated correctly tighten the clasp by using a suitable sized spanner or adjustable wrench.
Separating the piston from the caliper
Gently start rotating the caliper in opposite directions until you start to feel movement, then rotate the caliper whilst gently applying upwards pressure to separate the piston away from the caliper. To remove the remove the brake piston from the blind bearing puller clasp, simply undo the clasp using the reverse of the previous step.
Blind bearing pullers
Blind bearing pullers are relatively cheap and easy to buy at local tools suppliers and online. They are one of those ‘I was I had something that could..’ tools when you really need remove something but have no access to the rear face of the item to knock out with a drift, use a pry bar or normal bearing puller.
Also remember to check out our recent workshop tools article for other tools and equipment which could save you time and effort during motorcycle maintenance or restoration project.