This article will go over a few of the more popular brake upgrade options starting with the most simple and lowest cost.


There are a few big-brake options for the front and rear of your 240Z or 280Z. For any application, the early production 260Z will match the 240Z parts and the later production of the 260Z matches the 280Z. If you are a 260Z owner, you need to figure out where your car falls in this line or just switch all your suspension out for the more heavy duty 280Z parts.
1970-78 Datsun Z
The first generation of Z-car has small disc brakes in front and drum brakes in the rear. For many road and track conditions, these brakes are adequate.

FRONT  BRAKES

Larger Brake Calipers Only

Toyota made a 4 piston brake caliper that has the same mounting points as the 240Z caliper. It bolts right on to the Z-car spindle and is centered correctly over the stock brake rotor. All you have to do is trim away some of the backing plate (dust shield) to allow the larger caliper some clearance. You may also remove the entire backing plate if you wish. Carefully bend the brake lines a little and they will connect to the Toyota caliper. Be careful when bending the brake line to make sure you do not kink the line.

The Toyota 4x4 truck (1979-85) and 4runner (1984-85) has the correct 4-piston calipers. Those trucks had solid front rotors just like the 240Z so they are only wide enough to fit over the factory solid rotor on a 240Z or 280Z.
Calipers are stamped S12-8

​With this upgrade you approximately double the surface area of the brake pads. Optionally, you can increase the diameter of your brake master cylinder by installing a 1979-81 280ZX brake master. This will flow more fluid with every inch of brake pedal travel. (firms up the pedal feel) The brake master upgrade is not required but is recommended for all of these brake caliper upgrades.
​​You can buy used calipers from a wrecking yard. These are even lower cost if you have a couple junk calipers from any car to turn in for a core. Some places may charge you a core charge for calipers while others will not. With used calipers you will want to buy new seals for around $10 and you always buy new brake pads. Professionally rebuilt calipers cost more but are clean and already have new seals. You may use your existing 280Z brake rotors but with new pads you should definitely take them to a shop to be turned. (resurfaced) This generally costs $12 to $15 each if you bring them in loose. (off the car)
​​ Used calipers: $30-50 pair​​
New seals: $8-12 pair
New pads: $12-20 complete set
Resurface rotors: $25 pair

Total: $75+
​​ New Rebuilt calipers: $140-200 pair
New pads: $12-20 complete set
New Z-car rotors: $60-90 pair


​Total: $212+

Vented Rotors and Larger Brake Calipers

Toyota 4x4 trucks in later years had thicker rotors that were vented for added cooling. The calipers were nearly the same but were made wider to fit over the thick vented rotors.

The calipers for this conversion are found on Toyota 4x4 truck (1988-95) and 4runner (1988-91). Those trucks had vented front rotors similar to the 300ZX (Z31). They will bolt to the Z-car's spindle and fit nicely over the 300ZX rotors.
Calipers are stamped S12-W
300ZX rotors are only found on 1984-85 non-turbo (4-lug)
The Turbo models and all of the later years had 5-lug rotors


​With this upgrade you not only get larger calipers and brake pads but you dramatically increase the cooling effects of the rotors to keep the rotors from warping under hard braking.

When bolted to a 280Z spindle, these wide Toyota cailpers are not perfectly centered over a 300ZX rotor. Because the caliper is fixed and not a floating type, you need the rotor to be perfectly centered for proper braking response. There are a couple places that you can buy spacer rings made in the correct thickness for this exact brake conversion. Slip the rings over your four mounting bolts and bolt the rotor with rings right to the 280Z hub. Now the rotor is centered correctly.
​When ordering spacer rings be very careful to specify if you will be using these on 240Z hubs or 280Z hubs. The set of spacers will have slightly different thickness depending on the application.

​​ Again you have choices to buy some parts new or used. The spacer rings will likely not show up used very often. Brake rotors, pads, and rebuild kits should always be purchased new if possible. Used 300ZX rotors along with having them turned often costs more than buying new rotors.
​​ Used calipers: $30-50 pair​​
New seals: $8-16 pair
New pads: $15-40 complete set
Used 300ZX rotors: $28-40 pair
Resurface rotors: $25 pair
New spacer rings: $95-110 pair

Total: $201+
​​ New Rebuilt calipers: $240-250 pair (loaded with brake pads)​​
New 300ZX rotors: $32-70 pair (4-lug only)
New spacer rings: $95-110

​Total: $367+