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Need some guidance on goon brake options.

Eric Happy Meal

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So i have a goon that has just been sitting and now i am finally itching to start working on it, but i am at a loss as to what i should be doing with brakes.  there seems to be a lot of conflicting opinions on what should be done.  it would seem like the best option is 200sx rear discs, but what about the fronts?  it seems like the coupe/sedan guys go with 280zx all around, but what about the goonies?  200sx rear+280zx fronts?  Is getting a vacuum booster a preferred method as well?  i see a few write ups on people doing it, but it also doesnt seem to be very common from what i can tell (im new to the datsun scene)



Basically my goal for the car is to just be my DD, with a focus on MPG and safety, hence the brakes.  car has an L16 which is running well enough for me to not bother with, but if it goes out soon i am figuring an L18 swap, if it goes out much later, all bets are off.



So knowing this, what would you guys suggest?  or just say F-it and roll with the stock 1" square pads in the front?  its a 72 4spd FWIW.




side note: what do the guys with E30 seats use for seat belts?  the ones in the car dont fit the receptacle  (not sure if the belts are stock, and i dont have the stock female parts either)

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I would also say put new pads and soft lines if needed.  Drive it, and enjoy it while you evaluate other items on the car if it has been sitting for a long time.  A booster won't make it stop any better.  It will only make the pedal easier to push. 


The stock brakes should be just fine with the stock drivetrain, IMHO.  Just get 'em working as designed. 

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A vacuum booster only does some of the braking work for you, they don't allow you to brake 'better' there's just less effort for you. Less effort reduces fatigue (a good thing) and also allows a larger diameter master cylinder which is handy later if you go with larger zx brakes.


80+% of the stopping is done by the front brakes because weight shifts forward when stopping increasing traction on the front tires making them harder to lock up. Likewise the rears loose traction from this weight shift and so brakes can't be too aggressive or they lock up. The only advantage to rear disc brakes is they have almost zero maintenance on no adjusting. For the street they stop about as well as properly maintained drum brakes. Yes they are more fade resistant to heat but unless doing panic stops from 120 or racing your goon you'll never ever need this. Keep the stock drums adjusted and you're good.


The 510 sedan or goon front disc brakes are the same and were pretty good for a 2,000 pound car..... 45 years ago. However a lot has happened since then. Tires today have better grip and can take more braking. Disc brakes pad compounds are better so new rotors and good pads can work wonders. However 280zx front brakes won't fit your 510 struts and probably won't clear your 510 13" rims. The preferred method is to swap the 280zx struts with the brakes onto the 510. But there is some work involved in this. For one, the zx spring is too wide to fit up into the 510 strut tower so your springs will need to be put onto the zx strut. Here again the welded on lower spring mounting perch is too big for the smaller diameter 510 spring and will need to be cut off and your 510 spring perch used. No worries, you don't have to know how to weld it on, it can be supported in place with a 2" split collar below it*. Likewise the top of the strut that bolts to the body has to be the one from the 510 to fit the smaller spring also. 


Swapping your 510 struts to zx struts will also give you a very large caliper with pads twice the size of the 510 and a dinner plate vented rotor. Also a larger wheel bearing and your camber may be affected. Just so you know.


The zx strut is slightly shorter and will allow you to lower the ride height more (see split collar mentioned above*) than you can with the stock strut. A lower ride height also lowers the center of gravity of the car, making it more stable in corners and reducing weight shift to the front.

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Swapping your 510 struts to zx struts will also give you a very large caliper with pads twice the size of the 510 and a dinner plate vented rotor. Also a larger wheel bearing and your camber may be affected. Just so you know.


Not to mention the fact that ZX brake parts are very easy to find. I searched before doing the swap and could not find calipers or rotors anywhere other than used. There are caliper rebuild kits available, but they're only as good as the calipers you have and rotors, well they can only be turned so many times. At least the pads are easy to come by, but that's about it really.

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What is the brake bias on the stock 510 at? And the 280zx? I don't drive like an asshole on the street anymore, but I like the added piece of mind that if need to get on the brakes, I will stop in time. Most of the driving on my commute is 80mph since anything less than that you are just a moving traffic cone.


How well do the 280 brakes stand up with higher speeds? I know I'm planning on a slower DD, but my original plan was to out a 13b in it. (I used to have an rx-2 and repu).

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Cheap upgrade would be to use late 510 caliper and disc. They were designed for cars heavier then the early 510, much stiffer and a bolt on, just make sure the mounting face of the wheel clears. Lotsa pad options also, the pad is the same size as some Girling racing calper.



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Right, the pads dont matter, just use the pads for the caliper your putting on.


The caliper bolts right to the strut. You just need the larger disc to go with it. In the pic above is a early caliper off of a 73 610, which is the same as the early 510. Next to it is the calper from my 75 610 and next to that is the calper off of the last year 510. The caliper sticks out past the hub mounting surface a bit, maybe a 0.5", but the wheel clears.

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