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[Datsun 1200 encyclopedia]

Brake Upgrades

(Redirected from Remote Master Cylinder)

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Category: Brake Modifications

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.


Brake Booster

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

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
    Alternatively (though not recommended) just remove the check-valve out of the front-feed outlet of the drum-brake master cylinder:
    • 1399.jpg

Remote Brake Cylinder

If you are fitting a larger engine or carbs so there is no room for the stock brake cylinder, consider a remote cylinder setup.
381.jpg no brake cylinder?

Discussion: Wilwood Pedal Boxes has anyone fitted them to their 1200?
  • Nissan c20 van (Vanette) ???
  • Ford Escort?
  • PBR VH44 remote booster


379.jpg 380.jpg 4857.jpg

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).

As you can see, LHD cars have little room for both the brake cylinder (on left side of engine compartment) when bigger carbs are fitted:

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.

379.jpg 380.jpg

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

Remote Filler

To gain clearance on LHD cars with twin carbs, use a remote filler setup from circa 1976 Datsun F10.

21952.jpg 21953.jpg 21954.jpg

Brake Bias

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?

There are options for changing the brake bias:

  • Change rear brake wheel cylinders (larger or smaller). Alternate sizes are available from Nissan motorsports. Or from stock applications. For example, the 510 rear cylinders are 7/8, but bolt in place of the stock 1200 13/16 cylinders. Note that 1200s with drum brakes already have 7/8 rears.
  • Changing master cylinders will not change the bias
  • Use an appropriate factory bias valve (aka NP-valve or "proportioning valve"). Note that Datsun 1200s don't use one but B210/B310 did.
  • Maybe the easiest would be to buy a brake bias controller valve.
    • These are available thru your local high performance shop or mail order thru Jeg's or Summit, etc. for around $50 USD.
    • Some Volvos also have an adjustable valve you could use

'Changing master cylinders may change pedal feel but will not change bias. A master with larger diameter cylinder will result in a harder pedal, but less pedal travel. By contrast, a smaller diameter master cylinder will reduce required pedal foot pressure, but will increase pedal travel for a given result. Most Nissan master cylinders from the same era (1971-1982) interchange. You can locate almost any size with a cruise through your local junk yard (sizes are cast on the side of the cylinder).


The NP-valve used with USA B210 and USA/JAPAN B310 is integrated into the splitter and so serves as the circuit pressure loss safety switch.

It is functionally normally if -- during a 50km/h quick stop -- the rear the wheels lock simultaneously with front wheels, or front wheels lock first. Danger if rear wheels lock first.

Part Numbers

46234 CONNECTOR [brake splitter]
46224 BRAKE INDICATOR SWITCH [combo splitter+switch]
46400 NP-VALVE
North America 
46400-H7200 ASSY-NP VALVE 4WAY 0974-0777
* also used by A10 wagon
46400-S0801 ASSY-NP VALVE 5WAY 0877-
* also used by S110 0381-
46400-W5000 VALVE ASSY-NP 5WAY EUR,COM(A14,A15) OP COM(A12)
* also used by 910 0780- S
46400-U0506 ASSY-VALVE NP, 4 WAY -0775
46400-N3700 ASSY-VALVE NP, 4 WAY 0875-

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