The stock 1200 front-disc/rear-drum system was good for 1971. In fact, stopping power was better than most 'muscle cars' of the era. However, fading under repeated hard stops was a problem as these were not ventilated rotors. But compared to modern cars ... well, they don't really compare at all -- even the cheapest new import car has better brakes than the 1973 Datsun 1200.
There are two easy ways to get better brakes. This article will discuss these methods:
- Better brake pads, using premium materials
- Simple brakes swaps requiring no machining
There is also more complicated methods, which allows you to have world-class brakes, as good as any new car. For details see Brake Swaps.
Better Brake Pads
Better brake pads can make a big difference. If you are a racer you know this. But for a street car, if you live in a hilly or mountainous area and your brakes fade, consider new pads.
Spend the money and put something good in the coupe- Pagid or Mintex 1155's etc and if you can't get them to fit your caliper then put something else on that you can get a good quality pad for.
And if anyone tells you that they are no good on the street thats simply not true - the new generation compounds work just fine from cold. Sure they get much better when hot, but are more than adequate for driving around the streets on.
reference: BENDIX ULTIMATE FRONT PADS
A booster will not improve the braking ability of the car. But you may want one so that it is a bit easier to press the brake pedal.
See main article: Brake Booster Swaps
1200 brakes work fairly well if in good shape. The drum brakes will stop as quickly as discs -- IF adjusted correctly.
1200 Disc Swap
If your 1200 has all-drum brakes, take note that disc brakes are:
- easier to work on
- More resistant to fading -- safer after repeated stops (they dissipate heat far better)
Swapping 1200 drums for discs is easy. See 1200 Disc Brake Swap.
Brake Warning Switch
Don't forget to use a brake warning switch.
Master Cylinder Choice
If you change to all front-discs, you can either use:
- master cylinder and brake-line "splitter" (warning light switch)
- The "tandem" cylinder is recommended (it has two reservoirs)
- IMPORTANT: Don't use a single outlet cylinder. It is less safe as all four brakes can fail at once. A double-outlet cylinder is safer
Remote Brake Cylinder
Reverse-Mounted Master Cylinder
Fitting an under-dash brake master cylinder is sometimes done to LHD 1200s so we can fit dual sidedraft carbs. It is legal in USA (very few states have any kind of mechanical inspection).
Take a master cylinder mount from a 510 and weld it to the top of the 1200's steering colum support. Then weld an extension to the top of the brake pedal and makee a rod to connect the master cylinder from the brake pedal.
Changing the position of the rod from below pivot point to above changes the direction from pushing out toward front of car to pushing out towards rear.
280zx master cylinder reverse mounted under dash
- A remote fluid reservoir would be easiest (e.g. Datsun F10 style)
- It only take a minute to remove dash for access
Sometimes the same is done when fitting large engines or turbo setups which leave no room for the stock master cylinder.
For more ideas, see Clutch master cylinder
To gain clearance on LHD cars with twin carbs, use a remote filler setup from circa 1976 Datsun F10.
So you've changed brake types, now has the front brakes are locking up well before the rears come into play. How can this be cured?