Project 370Z - Stillen Brake Duct Kit Install and Testing

by Clint Boisdeau

Brakes, the all so critical system of an automobile that turns momentum into heat as well as being the most important safety feature of any car.  Unfortunately, they're often over looked or marginalized, even by those who choose to track their cars on road courses.  Seems as though braking upgrades are not nearly as "cool" as power or suspension modifications, even though braking is far more important.

When Project 370Z was purchased, we opted for the "Sport Package" which included a few performance oriented upgrades including a fixed Akebono caliper (4 piston front, 2 piston rear) brake system with larger rotors than the base model.  Since the plan from the beginning was to see some track time with the curvy Fairlady, the "Sport Package" brakes seemed like a good idea for both the added stopping power/heat capacity, and ease of maintenance.  As Project 370Z's progression over this past year has lead to faster lap times and track speeds, the brakes have been seeing more and more stress.

In preparation for a track day with Speed Ventures at AutoClub Speedway's "Roval" configuration, which notoriously taxes brakes heavily, the Stillen Brake Duct Cooling Kit was implemented to give Project 370Z a bit of a stress relief.  Stillen has been involved in the Nissan performance aftermarket for over 25 years.  All of their products see extensive track testing and R&D.  The 370Z brake duct cooling kit is no exception, but nonetheless we were going to gather data ourselves at the event.  First and foremost, we needed to install the kit which comes with detailed instructions and all the parts you need for an efficient install.  With proper but basic tools and knowing your way around the front end of a 370Z, install time should be around 2 hours. 

The Stillen kit comes with everything you need for the installation including detailed instructions and proper hardware.  Plus, they supply you with extra brake hose that has to be cut down to size so you have more then enough to get the length right.

The brackets for the hoses sandwich between the wheel bearing and the knuckle arm using the OEM bolts and hardware. This configuration gets the most uninterrupted airflow to the rotors and brakes while still playing nice with all the stock suspension and brake parts

The brake hose entry brackets are designed to fit the shape of the 2009-2012 stock bumper "fangs" so prevalent on the 370Z.  Not only does this make for a clean look, but also takes advantage of the OE bumper design for max cooling and airflow potential through the ducts.

The first step is removing the rotors to allow access to the front hub/wheel bearing for removal.  We zip tied the caliper back onto the knuckle once the rotor was out of the way so there wasn't any weird or excessive tension on the brake line from the weight of the caliper during the install.
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Wednesday, March 19, 2014 7:49 AM
Very cool. I would love to hear some long term durability information once they have been on for a while.

Although I am sure it is installed securely, a few flexible hoses and hose clamps just doesnt seem like it would hold up with street driving. Since you mostly see dedicated race cars run brake ducting, it would be cool to see how it holds up on a normal car.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 8:35 AM
When I added spindle ducts to my Corvette, I noticed a difference but had no way of taking temperatures. I believe my ABS pump/TC module gives a mushy feel when hot no matter what, so the pedal did get a little less crispy on the infield. The biggest difference I noticed is that at the end of a straight, even a short one, those brakes were ready to rock! Right when I needed them the most, so very confidence inspiring which allowed me to push all session long without the fear of the brakes suddenly quasi-failing thus initiating a code brown.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 10:07 AM
Protodad, I've had a very similar kit on my Miata for two years now, and beyond much tracking and autocrossing, my car see's a lot of street driving, for some periods as my daily driver, and I've had no problems with the kit. The hoses are just fine and undamaged, because I took the same care in routing them. The only items that have broke were the zip ties I've had holding the tubes in place. Maybe from the heat and dryness of Nevada summers? I've replaced several of the more stressed zip ties with pieces of shoe lace, as it's flexible and durable, and have had no problems since.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 10:55 AM
This is pretty sweet.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 11:55 AM
Zissou: The zip ties are actually what made me think of it. I wonder if a hose clamp would server better depending on where it is mounted.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:32 PM
Be careful with the hose clamp because it can saw through stuff over time. Maybe wrap the clamp in rubber hose?
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 1:38 PM
Couple things bothered me about the article. The "carefully and properly designed" bracket is a piece of sheet metal with a tube welded to it. A simple way to improve the design would be make the inlet larger, and then have it taper down to the hose diameter. As it is, you'll have a vena contracta at the inlet with that sharp corner from the sheet metal to the tube.

Secondly, I certainly hope the hose is easy to attach. Last time I checked, hose clamps weren't that hard to use, whether they can from Stillen or the local parts store.

I'm also not sure what is so low profile about big orange hose. It would be totally ninja if it was all black.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 1:52 PM
I know on a 350z if you remove the backing plate, changing the distance from the hub bearing to the ABS sensor, its causes ABS problems.

This plate for the 370z is spacing out the hub bearing. Why would this not affect the ABS sensors reading?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 5:14 PM
If it doesn't then why worry.
Clint Boisdeau
Clint Boisdeaulink
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 9:08 PM
Dennis, i get your points, but fact of the matter is the data reflects the product still works well.

BlurVision, what wasnt shown in this article which i shouldve pictured was taking off the stock rotor backing plates at a different time, which happen to be the same thickness as the stillen brake duct plates
Thursday, March 20, 2014 6:43 AM
What would be the difference with these backing plates versus putting a tube on the stock dust shield? I'm not a fan of the orange tubing, but it all serves a purpose. Anyone who's had brake fade can attest to the "code brown" Supercharged111 mentioned.
Monday, November 24, 2014 9:05 AM
At the end of the article on Sillen Brake Duct for the 370Z, you talked about solving the right turn fuel problem in the next article. Have you done any work on this problem yet? It has become a large problem for me. When at the track, I can only run the tank down to between 1/2 and 3/4 full before I experience the issue.
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