Installing Vaccuum Assisted Brakes on a Datsun 510

There are many modifications that can be done to improve the performance of the Datsun 510. There are also many modifiactions that can make 510's more civil. Modification that do both are rare. One modification I have done to Orange Crush that increased both the performance and the civility is adding a brake power booster. Many people are reluctant to use power brakes on their car fearing that it will reduce the brake "feel". having driven some large american cars I can appreciate this fear. I am however pleased to report that my car lost none of the feel that the brakes had before the swap.

A Little Background on My Brakes
A couple of years ago I upgraded the rear of my car to disk brakes using the calipers and rotors from an '82 200sx. At the time I did nothing with the master cylinder; I left the stock 510 cylinder in place. The brakes stopped the car better but the pedal effort was quite high. I subsequently upgraded the front brakes to 280zx vented disk brakes. At that time I again left the master cylinder stock. Pedal effort remained high and the stopping ability seemed reduced. I decided that I needed to take the advice I had been give when I had upgraded the rear. I needed to istall the master cylinder off of a car that has four wheel disk, preferably the car I had taken the rest of the brakes from. The best choice in my case was the 280zx since it uses rear calipers similar to the 200sx's. All of the 280zx's that I had seen had power brakes and I was reluctant to use a master cylinder from a power brake equipped car without a power booster. I decided to go with power brakes on my 510. I soon found that the 280zx power booster is too large to fit a five ten. I went to the local U-Pull-It junk yard to see if I could a booster that would fit I found that a B210 power booster would not only fit the 510 but would bolt in with no other modification necessary. My brakes are now excellent. The pedal is firm but not over firm and the car stops much more aggressively.

Using This Booster on Your Car
Even if you have stock brakes, adding a power booster may improve the brakes on your car. Although it probably won't reduce stopping distance by much it will reduce pedal effort. It may be possible to use your stock master cylinder. There are two different catagories of master cylinder available for the 510. One has the rod that connects to the pedal held in with some sort of snap ring. The other just has a small tapered hole that the rod goes into. If you are going to use a stock 510 master cylinder you will need the latter tyoe. If you are getting the power booster new (or remanufactured) you might just want to buy a "loaded" power brake booster. This will come with the master cylinder already bolted on. It will be a B210 master cylinder but this should work just fine with the stock brakes. If you jave upgraded to larger brakes in front but have stock rear drums you'll probably want to go with a 280z (not a 280zx) master cylinder.

What all you'll need Installing Everything The actual installation is pretty straight forward. The power booster simply bolts in place of the plate that your stock master cylinder bolted to. The power booster's rod hooks up to the pedal the same way. Bending the new brake lines (or rebending the old ones) is the toughest part of the whole job. The only other thing to do is hook up an adequate vaccuum line and bleed the brakes. Fire it up and take it for a test drive. After my first drive I found I needed to adjust the pedal height. This may also necessitate adjusting the brake light switch.

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