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
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
- B210 Power Booster (a 210 Power Booster may also fit)
- Aluminum spacer form a B210 (goes between booster and fire wall)
- Proper master cylinder for your application (outlined above)
- Vaccuum fitting for intake mainfold
- Inline "power brake filter"
- About 2' of 1/2" hose
- 2 New metal brake lines about 12"-18" long
- Metal line bending tool (Many parts store will "lend" these out)
Enjoy The Ride NOW
More to Come... Stay Tuned...
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