Project 350Z- Improving the Brakes with Stoptech

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.

 Project 350Z- Improving the Brakes with Stoptech
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.

 Project 350Z- Improving the Brakes with Stoptech
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.

 Project 350Z- Improving the Brakes with Stoptech
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.

 Project 350Z- Improving the Brakes with Stoptech
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.

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Hey Guys
Hey Guyslink
Thursday, January 19, 2012 6:48 AM
Maybe its just the picture but with those wheels and tires stuck that far out are the tires going to hit on fenders before they can go thru their full range of suspension travel?
Thursday, January 19, 2012 7:01 AM
Mike is probably either already writing about how to do fender rolling the right way or it's not as bad as it looks. Either way I have to say it....HELLAFLUSH YO!
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, January 19, 2012 7:12 AM
The don't stick out at all or even come close to hitting anything.
Thursday, January 19, 2012 7:30 AM
Mike commented on how much tire you can fit on these cars when they did the wheels and tires. I was amazed at how much tire you can get under there when I went to purchase tires and wheels for my new 350Z. I got the same size as Project 350Z with 245 up front and 275 in the rear. Mike commented on being able to fit a 275 up front and something like a 305 out back. That's big dawg stuff there.
What was the biggest appeal to the StopTech brakes? A common upgrade for the 350Z is a Akebono setup from the 370Z. They're relatively cheap, but I don't know about their performance. Any other brake choices you were looking at?
Thursday, January 19, 2012 8:20 AM
Why not go for either picking up an OEM brembo or akebono rear set-up. Both will be an increase in perfomance and work with the factory e-brake. Just a thought.
Thursday, January 19, 2012 8:38 AM
How much rattle is there in the floating rotors, and are there any techniques designed to reduce the rattle? I'm paticularily curious about the statement "race spec usign flat washers" - is there a "street spec" with spring washers to make it semi-floating or something?

On my team's FSAE car, the floating rotors are pretty loud, and not something I would consider streetable.
Thursday, January 19, 2012 8:49 AM
bigBcraig, read the article again. It specifically mentions those types of rotors and how they didn't want them.
Thursday, January 19, 2012 9:06 AM
@bigBcraig. There is a few ways to setup a floating rotor. For example the stock Nissan GT-R brakes have a floating rotor. The GT-R uses what is called a McLaren spring They make a little bit of noise, but compared to the rest of the car, they normally aren't noticed. These are going to be a little more quiet than the conical washer setup above.

On the DG Spec Scion, we use this same method/STOPTECH of full floating rotor. Its a race car, but I move the car around a bit, and I can't remember ever really hearing the rotors making much noise. If you pick them up, you can hear the float if you shake them.

I think it gets down to someones tolerance of noise. If you put a big brake kit on a car, you are looking for performance over non important things like NVH.
Thursday, January 19, 2012 11:16 AM
@jeff, congrats on picking up the 350z!

@bigB, the standard 'street' spec uses conical washers to apply pressure and prevent rattling while still allowing the hat and rotor to move independently. I have these on Project S2000. Not a peep out of the rotors.
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Thursday, January 19, 2012 11:56 AM
You can mostly hear the rattle if you are driving by a reflective wall, like a flat cement wall, you might hear a very slight noise. Every once an awhile they might make a clunk. Like Tyndago says, some people are real sensitive to noise, others are not.

A Brembo track package rear would be pretty cool and Stoptech could accommodate that with their calipers if we told them. However we put those brakes on our Project G35 Sedan. Mostly we wanted to see how the big brakes would work around the most basic stock brakes. Due to Stoptech's flexibility, it works quite well.
Thursday, January 19, 2012 1:30 PM
I just noticed the upper control arm sitting in front of Sera. Has that been installed already or is that in an upcoming installment? Looks like some rear links on one of the boxes as well.
Thursday, January 19, 2012 8:20 PM
@ jeffball610: Patience grasshoppa, that's coming in the next installment :)
Saturday, March 29, 2014 2:58 PM
How do you guys plan to deal with brake balance? Front stock brakes on this only had 1 piston. Have you experienced any problems with the ABS system?
Mike Kojima
Mike Kojimalink
Saturday, March 29, 2014 3:14 PM
Read article. The pistons are balanced in area with stock.
Thursday, May 29, 2014 3:39 AM

What pads were being used with the stock brakes? I race time trials with NASA and usually run for 6-8 hot laps. Do you think the stock brakes would be fine if using race pads, such as Hawk DTC-60?
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