Project 350Z- Improving the Brakes with Stoptech
By Mike Kojima
In our last edition of Project 350Z, we upgraded our wheels and tires to Motegi TrakLites and Nitto NT01’s. When Sera went back to the track she reported much more grip and good basic balance, which complemented the Whiteline Swaybars and KW Clubsports we had previously installed.
|Sera checking out her toys before it all got installed.|
Unfortunately more grip also meant more speed, more speed and more grip resulted in a greater demand being placed on the brake system. Our girl reported to us from the track that the Z was so seriously short of stopping power, the stock brakes were fading away within a couple of laps.
|The standard 350Z brakes are nothing to write home about. Smallish rotors and small floating calipers. The Brembo track package brakes are much better. Sera could smoke these in a few laps around the track.|
Since Sera not only uses her car for hot lapping and grip driving practice, but also for drifting and stunt driving practice, it was deemed important that her parking brake would remain fully functional. Because of this, we could not install a super trick 4 wheel upgrade with large rear rotors with alloy parking brake drums built into the rear rotor hats.
|Since Sera drifts and does stunt practice in her car (she does stunt driving for a living) we had to retain full functionality of the drum parking brake. No trick alloy brake hats in the rear, they would not stand up to e-brake intiation.|
Although an alloy rear parking brake drum is fine for holding the car in place for parking, it would not hold up to e-brake initiation and stunt turns for long. What we needed was a serious front brake upgrade that would not be unbalanced when used in conjunction with the stock rear brakes.
|The Stoptech front rotors are huge compared to the stock parts, at 355mm in diameter and 35mm thick, they will give much more heat sink mass, better venting and more leverage. Because of their alloy center section, the Stoptech rotors are also much lighter than stock!|
We were also aware of another problem that the 350Z has, weak front hub bearings. The wheel bearings on the 350 are known to be marginal for track use, wearing quickly when subjected to loads caused by sticky tires and track driving. When the bearings wear, they allow the wheel to wobble which knocks the brake pistons back into the caliper.