Infamous Nissan - Hardbody / Frontier Forums

Infamous Nissan - Hardbody / Frontier Forums (
-   Hardbody Forum (D21) (
-   -   How-To: The Difinitive Dual Piston/Big Rotors Brake upgrade (

Tally HB 04-19-2013 12:07 AM

How-To: The Difinitive Dual Piston/Big Rotors Brake upgrade
For those of us with 4cyl D21's our brakes are a little on the wimpy side. They have the smallest diameter rotors of the D21 series, they have single piston calipers and likely have substandard brake pads from the factory.

Not everyone wants or needs to upgrade their brakes but, if you do, its simple.

Why upgrade anyway?

Well, for several reasons. Larger diameter rotors simply stop better than smaller diameter rotors of the same design and material. This is due to leverage and friction. Take a single piston caliper brake system and, if possible, put on larger diameter rotors and you would have slightly better braking. Larger rotors provide more contact surface for the brake pads in most cases. They are also usually thicker which stands up to heat a little better than thinner rotors.

Single piston calipers provide brake clamping force only from one side and using one larger diameter piston. Dual piston calipers apply clamping force from one side also, however, they use two pistons of smaller diameter and spread the clamping force more evenly across the pad surface. This provides better contact with the entire brake pad and provides better contact between pad and rotor.

Performance wise, adding a four piston caliper would be the ultimate but, without more major modifications, this isn't very feasible for most of us. So using what Nissan has already built, for our truck design, it makes it simple for us to upgrade to a better braking system at a relatively cheap price.

Brake pad choice is another area where it can make a big difference in braking. You can choose for better performance or for better wear characteristics with less noise.

Semi-metallic pads offer the best "bite" and best stopping force. Premium semi-metallic pads can also be quiet and not too dirty (black dust on wheels) but they will wear your rotors at a faster rate than organic or ceramic based pads. Ceramic pads offer quieter braking and a lot less brake dust but you sacrifice some braking power. Ceramic pads are also easier on your rotors and this is why they do not perform as well as semi-metallic pads.

The difference may not matter to most and, if you simply commute back and forth and never haul heavier loads, then ceramics are probably your best choice of pads.

So if you want to do this upgrade this thread will provide you with all you need to get it done.

On to the upgrade!

* NOTE: Brake rotors, whether used or purchased new, must be for or from any year D21 Pickup that is 2WD with a V6 engine. Do not buy or use rotors for a 4WD D21 or 4WD Pathfinder! The hub size is different and will not work with the 2WD hubs.

** NOTE: You need the calipers and brackets from any 2WD D21 with V6 engine or the 2WD Pathfinder with V6 engine. Pathfinder calipers and brackets are the same as the D21 V6 brakes. Again . . . do not use any model of Pathfinder rotors!!

*** You need the left and right rubber brake hoses from the D21 2WD with V6 engine.

**** NOTE: This upgrade may not work with all 14" wheels. It is recommended for 15" wheels and larger. It will work with 14" Pathfinder wheels due to different off set.

You will need the following parts (new or used):

- (2 each) Front brake rotors (preferably new)
- Left and Right brake calipers with the mounting brackets (the brackets are a must have item)
Left and Right brake hoses (preferably new)
- Brake pad set (semi-metallic for better bite, ceramic for quiet and clean)

Materials List:

- (1 each) Large container DOT 3 brake fluid
- (1 or 2) Cans of brake cleaner spray
- Brake caliper grease/lube (I recommend Permatex Synthetic)
- Blue Loctite thread locker (optional)
- CRC Disc Brake Quiet Paste (optional)
- Wheel bearing grease (if you want to service your hub bearings - recommended)
- Shop rags or paper towels

- **Caliper paint (if you plan to paint your calipers do so before this installation)

Part Name / Part Number / Brand / Source / $Cost

Rotors - #15890142 - WearEver - Advance Auto Parts - $29.19 ea
Left Caliper - #SLC8151 - Fenco/OEM - Advance - $36.30 ea
Right Caliper - #SLC8150 - Fenco/OEM - Advance - $36.60 ea
Left brake hose - #H38491 - True Torque - Advance - $18.99
Right brake hose - # H38494 - True Torque - Advance - $15.19

Tools List(may be more than necessary):

- Air tools if at all possible (impact gun, air ratchet, blower)
- 3/8" drive or 1/2" drive ratchet
- sockets in sizes 12mm, 14mm and 19mm
- Combination wrenches in 10mm, 12mm, 14mm and 19mm
- 10mm metric line wrench (optional but helpful)
- Large jaw adjustable pliers or crescent wrench (0" to 2" jaw opening or larger)
- Side cutter pliers or "dykes"
- Flat tip screwdriver
- Hammer
- 6" C-Clamp or brake caliper piston retraction tool
- Small air grinder or electric drill with wire brush
- Air tool with cutting wheel
- Hydraulic line clamps (optional)
- Torque wrench (optional)
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Drain pan for catching dripping fluid

**Please remember, brakes are an integral part of your vehicles safety system. If you fuck it up it may cost you your life and/or the lives of others.

Pay attention to what you are doing and if you don't know, ask someone who does know. If you think you made a mistake you probably did.

Double check your work!

Tally HB 04-19-2013 12:08 AM

Here are some tips and suggestions before you begin the job.

- Have a flat, level and clean area and surface to work on. Dirt is an enemy of brakes parts

- Check your tools and parts list twice. It sucks to not be able to finish and call someone to get a ride to the parts store

- Have a plan in mind as to what you are doing and be sure you understand what you are doing

- Brake calipers are position specific. There is a left and a right. Same with most brake hoses. If you put calipers on the wrong side they will never bleed completely of air and your brake pedal will be soft.

- Support the front end securely and safely so that the wheels are off the ground. Leave your steering unlocked so you can turn the front spindles as you need. Makes it easier to work with the calipers and brackets.

- Lay your parts out on the side that they will be installed on and make sure they are correct

- Remember . . . brake fluid will very swiftly remove auto paint. DO NOT get brake fluid on your paint or any painted parts. If you do, immediately flush it with water until there is absolutely no fluid remaining. Make sure your hands and fingers are not wet with brake fluid if you are about to touch your painted surfaces.

Parts Used


Tally HB 04-19-2013 12:08 AM

Lets start by getting the truck front end off the ground till the wheels clear and can be removed.

Use a jack to get it up enough and please, use jack stands to support the vehicle. Put them under the frame rail just behind the front wheels.

Make sure they are secure and truck will not roll off the jack stands. Use your rear parking brake to make sure it does not move!!

Tally HB 04-19-2013 12:08 AM

Now we have the real work to do!

Start by removing the front wheels to expose the brakes.

Leave your steering wheel unlocked so you can easily move the spindle back and forth. Makes things easier.

It is best to go ahead and suck out the old brake fluid out of the master cylinder reservoir. You can use a suction device such as a brake vacuum bleeder or even just a turkey baster syringe. Make sure you use paper towels to wipe out the gunk from the bottom of the reservoir once empty.

Tally HB 04-19-2013 12:09 AM

Once the fluid is out of the master cylinder lets move to the line connections.

To change the brake hoses you will need to break the connection from hard line to the rubber line. This is where I recommend the 10mm line wrench.

Tally HB 04-19-2013 12:09 AM

Remove the old calipers.

Now remove the old caliper brackets

Now to remove the brake rotors and hub assembly. Now is the time to service your wheel bearings or replace them along with the seals.

Mine have already been serviced so I will not cover that repair in this thread.

Start my removing the bearing grease cap. Then remove cotter pin and wheel bearing nut lock and the nut itself.

Tally HB 04-19-2013 12:10 AM

Once the bearing nut is off and the outer bearing removed you simply pull the rotor and hub assembly off the spindle.

Lay it down with lug studs down so you can access the rotor retainer bolts from the back side of rotor.

In the photo I show myself using my DeWalt battery impact in 3/8" drive. With a fully charged battery it would not break these bolts loose. I had to take them inside and use a 1/2" air impact gun.

Once the bolts are removed tap the rotor with a hammer and it will come off of the hub assembly.

Tally HB 04-19-2013 12:10 AM

Clean up the hub mounting surfaces before you mount the new rotor. This insures a vibration free installation.

I used a small hand held 1/4" air grinder with a Roloc disc.

Clean the wheel mounting surface as well.

Clean the surface of the new rotor with some brake clean. They usually come shipped with some kind of sticky coating.

Mount your new rotor to the hub and tighten the bolts good and tight. I suggest some blue Locktite thread locker to the tip of each of the six bolts to ensure they stay put.

Locktite these bolts. I also need a manicure

Install your inner bearing (if removed) and tap the seal back in place.

1968f100 04-19-2013 12:15 AM

I like the way you planned this down to the reserved spots. Do not let us down.

Tally HB 04-19-2013 12:41 AM


Originally Posted by 1968f100 (Post 335259)
I like the way you planned this down to the reserved spots. Do not let us down.

I promise you I will not. :dathumb:

All times are GMT. The time now is 12:38 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.