The Definitive 300ZX Brake Swap – Front Brake Swap

The front brake swap is the easiest part of the entire project. The only parts involved in this swap are the front calipers, rotors and brake lines.  If you are planning on doing a 5 lug conversion, make sure you have all of the components necessary prior to starting.

Parts Necessary

  • 300ZX or Skyline Rotors
  • 300ZX or Skyline Calipers
  • SPL parts or PDM racing SS brake lines

Tools Necessary

  • Jack, Jack stands and Wheel Chocks
  • Metric Sockets and Wrenches
  • Flare Wrench (optional but handy)
  • 12 mm x 1.25 pitch tap
  • Cut-off Wheel (optional)
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Start removing the brake hardware by pulling the caliper. This is done by removing the two bolts on the back side with a 19mm socket.
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You will need to remove the brake line at this time. Disconnect the brake line at the chassis mounting point.

You will want to put a pan under the car to catch the oil that will be oozing out of the hard line on the chassis.  Once you get the caliper out of the way, pull off the rotor.  You may need to use a hammer to persuade the rotor to come off. 

After  you remove the original hardware, you will need to decide whether or not you want to keep the splash shield.  The splash shield’s main purpose is to keep water away from the rotor.  You don’t need this, so you can remove it.  However, I chose to keep it.  You will discover that the splash shield is too small for the new rotors. 

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I removed the outer edge using an air cutting tool.
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Take a moment to spray some paint on the exposed metal of the splash shield.
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If you removed the splash shield, slip on the new rotor. If you cut the outer edge, you will need to bend back the back plate to allow for proper clearance before you can go on with the rest of the installation.
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Once the rotor is in place, you can install the calipers. If you look closely, you will see that both calipers are almost identical, except for the fact that he bleeder screw can be either on the top or on the bottom depending on which side you attach the caliper. Obviously, bleeding the brakes will be easier if the bleeder is on top. Arrange your calipers to make sure the bleeder is on top. I would suggest running a tap through the threads. A 12mm 1.25pitch tap is what you need. Also, using the same sized die would help with cleaning the threads on the bolts. Nissans like to hold on to their caliper bolts! Make sure to use plenty of anti-seize on the bolts when you reinsert them.

With the calipers in place, it’s time to attach the brake lines.  You do not want to use the 240’s lines.  People have used the stock banjo fitting with a shorter bolt, but it is not the right fitting for the 300ZX caliper.  The 300ZX caliper does not have the tabs to hold the banjo fitting in place.  Without the tabs, the banjo fitting can spin and loosen the bolt.

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I was able to get the 300ZX’s stock lines and installed them for the sake of illustration. Note the bleeder location.

Using the 300ZX lines is a nice way to save some money, but I wanted to go with stainless steel lines.  PDM offers stainless steel lines that will make the conversion easier and more effective than standard rubber lines.  Installing either line is as simple as attaching one end to the caliper and the other to the hard line on the chassis.

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When I did this swap in 2002, only the front lines were available.
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Attach the line to the chassis hard line.
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Attach the other end of the line to the caliper.
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Use a zip tie to secure the line to the strut. Make sure the rubber sleeve is caught in the zip tie to avoid chaffing.

If you are only installing the front brakes, then bleed the brakes using your favorite bleeding method.  If not, continue with the rear swap process.

The next part of the series will cover the installation of the rear brakes.  Click the link below for the complete series.

The Definitive 300ZX Brake Swap Series