Stoptech's Nissan 350Z Bombproof Brake Upgrade
By Mike Kojima
Team Falken Drift Ace Dai Yoshihara is currently developing a Nissan 350Z roadster for competition in Time Attack street classes. Unfortunately the 350Z roaster did not come with Nissan's excellent performing Brembo track package brakes. In the cars maiden outing at the Buttonwillow Superlap Battle, the car was hampered with multiple problems with the brake system on the car. The car had been fitted with an aftermarket prototype performance brake system for the SEMA show. Fortunately this kit didn’t become a production piece as it should have stayed on the show floor. The car was plagued by cracking rotors, fade, long pedal and the rotors separating from the hat section. This prevented the car from doing well. The brakes would only last a lap or so before problems started.
In order to cure the brake issues a more race oriented kit was obtained from Stoptech and installed on the car. We chose Stoptech for its track performance but in this case this system will also work exceedingly well on the street. We selected Stoptech's standard big brake kit. The kit features Stoptech's venerable ST-60 six piston front calipers and ST-22 2 piston rear caliper. Stoptech also features a kit with a larger 4 piston ST-40 rear caliper but there is no actual performance difference although it looks super cool. Since there is no advantage for performance we stuck with the smaller and lighter ST-22 caliper for less unsprung weight.
One of the Stoptech caliper's coolest features is a forged aluminum alloy body. Forging is a superior method of forming aluminum when an aluminum billet is heated and basically smashed into shape using many tons of force into a die. Forging produces a part with compressive stress for increased strength. It also orients the metal's grain in alignment to the parts shape. Putting the grain in the right direction increases strength and dimensional stability, much like how putting the grain of a piece of wood in the direction of stress makes for a stronger wood part. The pressure and stress of working the metal during forging also refines the aluminum's grain making it finer and eliminating voids and other internal flaws that can weaken the structure. This also makes for a much stronger part.
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