Anatomy of a Safe, Reliable, High-Performing Reman Caliper
Does this sound familiar? You’re the second or third owner of an older tractor equipped with air disc brakes (ADB) and you need to replace the calipers. You don’t know how long you’re going to keep the truck, so you want a replacement option that offers the advantages of brand-new – but at a lower price.
You’re not alone. As air disc brake adoption for tractors and trailers continues to increase so does the number of fleets and owner-operators searching for cost-effective aftermarket replacement parts that check off the three big boxes: Safety. Performance. Service life.
For your replacement calipers, you can turn to remanufactured components because they cost less than new. But not all are created equal. How can you be sure the calipers you choose are safe, reliable, and long-lasting? By looking at how they’re made and who’s making them.
Remanufactured, Not Rebuilt
First, insist on a remanufactured caliper, not a rebuilt one. The difference is significant.
Remanufacturing always involves replacing or repairing critical components to bring the part up to OE specs. Rebuilders do not have full access to OE-quality components and production processes. The result? You’re rolling the dice as far as what components are going into it, whether all the proper quality control steps are in place, and how long it will last.
A company like Bendix, with nearly five decades as a leader in reman and 15-plus years as the foremost manufacturer of air disc brakes for the North American market, produces remanufactured calipers in accordance with OE spec – on a new, dedicated production line at our Huntington, Indiana, facility.
Here’s an overview of the process: After inspection and disassembly, used caliper cores are separated and cleaned, and a low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) coating is applied. The calipers are reassembled and quality checked with the identical equipment and standards Bendix uses to manufacture new calipers.
As a true remanufacturer, Bendix never reuses wear components – those are replaced with new OE parts. Bendix also takes things a step further: we not only replace the internal adjuster—we upgrade it and install our new proprietary adjuster. A boost to service life, the new adjuster better maintains the running clearance between the friction and rotor, to reduce residual brake drag and extend pad life.
Our reman calipers are produced in a facility that has received Manufactured Again Certification from MERA – The Association for Sustainable Manufacturing. The criteria align with the internationally recognized quality management standard ISO 9001 and IATF 16949, one of the automotive industry’s most widely used international quality standards. To receive Manufactured Again Certification, remanufacturers are required to submit third-party evidence of conformance to the accepted quality standards.
Returning Life to the Caliper
Ask your supplier about the process used to clean the caliper, and how much service life you may expect from their reman caliper.
Let’s take cleaning first. Rebuilders often use a corrosive chemical bath or bake the caliper at high temperatures to remove the dirt and old paint. This can degrade the caliper’s surface and shorten service life. Bendix uses a proprietary cleaning process that maintains the integrity of the metal.
As for service life, with most rebuilt calipers, it’s anyone’s guess how much life you’ll get. Bendix uses a patented process called “pre-stressing” to rejuvenate caliper durability. Normal braking wears and fatigues a caliper over time, but the pre-stress process – also used in OE and service new production – “recovers” a significant portion of the reman caliper’s life. With it, you’ll get up to 75% of the life of a service-new caliper and enjoy OE-level quality and performance.
Rebuilders lack the ability to conduct pre-stressing. Our testing shows that rebuilt calipers can have up to two-thirds less life than a Bendix reman caliper.
Standing Behind You
Lastly, when evaluating reman calipers, look at warranty and support. Most reman calipers come with one-year warranty coverage. Bendix offers three years or 300,000 miles for parts and one year or 100,000 miles for labor.
Support is just as important. At Bendix, a team of field-tested sales and service professionals support remanufactured calipers. They are joined by a veteran field technical support team and the Bendix Tech Team, an expert technical support group available at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE (1-800-247-2725).
Reman calipers can be a great replacement option for many fleets and owner operators. If you know what to look for, you can find a cost-effective option that keeps you rolling at a high level of safety and performance.
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