Switching To Toyota Four Caliper Front Brakes for your First and Second Generation Z Car

Gathered Together FYI - By:
Carl Beck, IZCC #260

The Purpose of this page is to provide some experience and feed back from our Members whom have undertaken the conversion to Toyota Four Piston - Front Calipers for their First Generation Z Cars. It is intended to provide some "Lessons Learned" so that others can benefit. As always - use your own judgment when taking on this conversion.

Our Thanks to Following IZCC Members for their inputs and comments to this section:
Corey N. Edwards
Don Leamon
Jerry Barvinek
Doug Miller
Dave Cerutti

Date: 18 Jul., 1998
From: Corey N. Edwards
To: Carl Beck
Subject: re: Toyota Brake Swap

Hey Guys,
I did a little research when I changed mine over. I found out that...you can use 80-83 Toyota 4WD truck calipers (ed - the original write-up called for 79-84 Toyota 4WD Truck calipers)...or...84 Toyota Forerunner. They are the same part #.
Hope this helps.
There are probably alot more possibilities too.

From: Donald Leamon
Sent: Wednesday, July 08, 1998 12:03 PM
To: The Z Car List
Subject: <240> Impressions of Toyota brake upgrade

OK, so after reading the banter for the past couple of weeks about the installation of Toy brake calipers, I was somewhat hesitant about doing the conversion without changing the master cylinder. So far, after 500 miles of mixed highway and city driving, I can safely say that that the original master cylinder works great and so do the calipers. Here's the details.

I ordered a set of Powerstop rotors from NOPI. I was a little nervous since I could not find much information about the manufacture of these, nor could I find any Z'rs out there that have given either thumbs up or down. So, I decided what the heck and got them. NOPI gave me a 5% internet discount (yippee, I think they were about $150 for the pair) and sent them out right away.

They looked to be well made, and they add an interesting sound upon brake application. Will the cross-drilling prevent them from warping and fading like the stock ones do? That will remain to be seen.

I called my local NAPA dealer for the calipers. They were about $45 each, loaded (with pads, semi-metalic) but there was a $70 core charge, and they DO inspect the cores for correct match. Bummed about the high $$$ for the cores, I was able to find a Toyota only salvage yard and purchased used calipers for $10 ea. To complete the swap I also got a quart of DOT4, bearing seals, grease, and solvent from NAPA. Total out the door from them was $136. Oh yeah, I also got SS brake lines from Motorsport auto for around $70.

Now, I have heard pros and cons about using these lines on a street car, especially in cold weather areas, but my old ones needed replacing so again I said what the hell and got them. As a side note, these are made by Earl's, and probably could have been order directly from them rather than MS which I would have rather done. As a side note MS wants $500 for these calipers (loaded) and $229 for the cross drilled rotors.

I removed all the old brake components, pulled the hub, removed the> rotors, removed the dust shield, cleaned-inspected-repacked the bearings, put rotors back on, bolted up the new calipers, bent the steel brake line to fit (hardest part of the whole job, which was not that tough) bled the fronts, replaced the rear lines, bled the rears and I was ready to go.

Total time 4. 5 hours. Beer bladder relief brakes not included. An important note, this mod will not work with stock rims. Do one side first to make sure that everything clears OK, esp. with 14" rims.

Bottomline, I'm very pleased. Yes the pedal travel is greater (~.5"), but seems to be much easier to modulate. As to which end locks up first, seems to be the front. The pads are still new, so I have restrained from really cranking down on them, but rest assured the fronts locked first on wet pavement. I didn't put the shields back on at this point, as I want to have a metal tube welded on to them, so I can attach a hose to go to a future air dam with scoops.

My current dam is solid. I don't know if this is really need for everyday use, but I guess it couldn't hurt. As to the Powerstops, as long as they don't warp, I'll be a happy camper. So for roughly $350 my 240 stops like never b4, and the wheel doesn't shake the watch off my arm!

For those of you out there on the fence about this conversion, worrying about the volumetric differences of calipers, swept area calculations, proportioning valve propaganda, suspension stiffness, yaw/pitch and center of gravity minutia; Suck it up and just do it!

Don Leamon IZCC #765 '72 240

From: Jerry Barvinek To: the Z Car List Subject: Toyota Front Brakes On 240-Z Hi All To add to "Donald Leamon's" post, I also have the Toyota set up and they hold up very well.

Ontario Z Club (OZC) had the Mosport Kart track (short track with lots of braking!!)last weekend and many of the guys complained that their brakes were fading or qoing soft. My Toyota set up did not. I can also say that many of the guys had fresh brake jobs and we all had very hot and smokey brakes after our runs.

My only wish is that I do not have as much peddle movment; all the time, but they do stop quick. jerry

From: Craig
To: the Z Car List
Subject: Toyota Front Brakes On 240-Z

I have been running my Z with the Toyota brake conversion for almost 2 years now and couldn't be happier. I use the stock rotors with aftermarket wheels: 14 x 7.

I did have to use a 1/8" spacer (purchased from Western Auto) so that the calipers didn't rub slightly during hard braking. I am also using the stock master cylinder. Pedal travel is increased only enough to notice. I am using stock brake lines.

The mod cost me approx. $150. I opted to get cores from a junkyard and then trade them in for a rebuilt unit (Bendix, I think) that comes assembled with pads and hardware. The cores were $20 each and the assembled units were $50 each.


Date: Thu, 9 Jul 1998
From: Doug Miller
To: the Z Car List Subject: Mods and tribulations 280ZX-V8


Local M3 and Lingenfelter dudes have been getting pretty durned quick, so time to spend some big bucks this year!!!

So this year I bought the carbon metal pads advertised here from Canada and put them on my front toyota calipers. Very good, they do need to get hot once to really cook off, which is worrisome, but afterward they work well hot, and for carbon pads, very well cold.

Next I tried to figure out why rears no worky. Turns out one rear piston on the ZX calipers was frosen, and idiot mechanic cocked a pad on the other rear, so no rear brakeys. (I'd fire him but I'm cheap!!!). Fixed that, removed the porportioning valve in the right rear of my 71 car, and all of a sudden had big troubles with tooooooo much rear brake. Took me three runs at the autocross to crank the valve down to about right. (remainder of post snipped - different subject...cjb)

-Doug Miller
71 570Z

From: David Cerutti
Date: Wed, Jul 17, 1996
Subject: Two- Four Piston Calipers
To: z-car-digest

I just finished the installation of a new stock master cylinder and 1979 Toyota 4x4 front calipers on my 76Z.

I got the calipers, anti-rattle springs, retaining pins, and pads from a good auto parts store. They are rebuilts and I guess much less expensive than the originals. You use the same bolts from the original calipers and the brake line location gets carefully bent upwards about 3/4".

They barely fit inside my 14x6 wheels. Make sure you can return them if they don't fit. The brake shield cut-out for the caliper gets trimmed about 1/2" on either end of the caliper. You take the rotor off for this and don't bother using a screw driver for the philips screws that mount the sheild. My impact driver wouldn't get them out!! I have a real small pipe wrench about 4" long that worked extremely well on the philips heads.

Oh, yeah! Get a 10mm brake line wrench for the caliper fittings. Open end won't cut it.

Here's the sad part of the story. I was all alone and couldn't bleed them properly so stay tuned for the final results. Probably around July 24th or 25th I'll get back to it. If you think the suspense is killing you, try being me. Better yet does anyone have a good ending for this sad story?

Dave Cerutti