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Jan 7, 2020

How Do I Upgrade the Brakes on My Skyline?

Test fitting some 390 mm  R35 GT-R rotors and a 6 piston caliper in a 18 inch BBS wheel #bluecar. They don't fit. 
Brakes are bullshit. All they do is stop the car. We don't need that kind of negativity here! Here are some things to know about brakes, and a braking system before you go all HAM, and get that 14 piston, CCM rotor brake upgrade.

The tires really do the stopping. and here is why you should consider the tires you use:

The tire is the only thing touching the road. When we race, we can see different types of tires, effecting the temperature of the braking system components. Just about any brake caliper/rotor combination can lock up a tire.  Locked tires have a tendency to really not stop that well. They also go a little square, or flat spotted. So you do want to avoid that. A better, stickier, tire, will help you stop better.

The best newest Brembo R35 GT-R Nismo 410mm CCM rotors, and 6 titanium piston caliper brake setup, is still only as good as the tire used on the car.

Now with that said, the next thing to know about brakes is that heat is the enemy, and sometimes the requirement for the braking system to work.

Nissan Skyline AP Racing Radi-CAL ll Brake Kit from Supertec

The parts to the braking system:

  1. Tires
  2. Brake rotors
  3. Brake calipers
  4. Brake pads
  5. Brake lines
  6. Brake fluid
  7. Master cylinder
  8. ABS unit
  9. Brake ducting
  10. Steering Wheel Gasket

Brembo "F50" 4 piston Caliper. This car has a 355 mm rotor on it. Also notice brake ducting #bluecar


Like shoes, pick the tire for the occasion.  Some are really sticky and don't last long. Some are made for the road course, some for drag racing. Some are for 50,000 miles of life on your minivan. Look at the treadwear rating to get an idea. Decide what you do with the car.  If you want all around, then you have to pick the compromises that work best for you.

16 inch tire options for stock wheels
Drag Radial vs Street Tire - Motive DVD
What wheels fit?
How to properly select tires for performance

Brake Rotors

Bigger is better?  The reason that you go to a bigger/larger/thicker rotor can be two fold. One is for more heat capacity.  The friction of the brake pad rubbing against the rotor heats up the rotor, and the pad.  Once those items get outside of their operating range, they tend to degrade quickly, and not work as well.  The next factor is the brake torque. A larger disk will allow for more brake torque.  Brake torque is the force applied at the pad, multiplied by the distance from the center of the wheel.

Sean Kirby said that I forgot his favorite brake rotors. So here they are, Sean. 

Stock R32 GT-R - Non Vspec
  • Front -296 mm x 32 mm
    • 40206-05U02 Right Front OEM Cross Drilled
    • 40206-05U10 Right Front OEM Plain
    • 40206-05U03 Left Front OEM Cross Drilled
    • 40206-05U11 Left Front OEM Plain
  • Rear-  297 mm x 18 mm
  • The OEM rotors are cross drilled. Eventually in the GT-R racing range they went to a solid rotor, because cross drilled rotors crack. For racing use, usually a different kind of surface treatment is popular(Plain, slotted, J-Hook). Cross drilling looks good, and works well enough on the street. I like a two piece rotor as they weigh less than a solid disk. You can save several pounds per corner by going to a aluminum hatted rotor.
  •  DBA has their 5000 series of rotors but not in the stock 296 mm size, just the 4000 series rotors (Front DBA 4926 296MM   4000 Series Heavy Duty.)(Rear DBA 908)  Have to see if I can come up with anything, or do something like a bracket to put a larger rotor on the car. Larger rotors mean larger wheels, and I think I am sticking with the 16's. (I lied, I'm on R34 18" now)   Brake Weights - R32 GT-R  
  • EBC Brake rotors ~$250 to $350 for a set - Front RK1226  ~$85-120 for a set  Rear RK699

Brake caliper comparison R35, Brembo, Akebono, Sumitomo
Brake caliper comparison R35, Brembo, Akebono, Sumitomo from PPR

Brake Calipers

  • Brake Caliper Rebuild - NICO has a good guide on rebuilding the calipers. It is always a good idea to go though the calipers about once a season if you are taking a car on a track.  

    • R32 GT-R
      • Front
      • Rear
        • 44001-43P00 - RH   Alternate - 44001-05U00
        • 44011-43P00 - LH Alternate - 44011-05U00
    • R32 GT-R Vspec
      • Front
      • Rear
        • Right side 44001-24U00
        • Left side - 44011-24U00
    • R33 GT-R and Stagea 260RS
      • Front
      • Rear
        • Right side 44001-24U00
        • Left side - 44011-24U00

Brembo Caliper Guide

P/N Description
First Digit: Kit TypeThird Digit: Disk TypeFifth to Seventh Digit:
1 = Street Front Kit0 = No Rotor in KitKit Revision Designation
2 = Street Rear Kit1 = Drilled 2-Piece Rotor001 - 999
3 = Race Front Kit2 = Slotted 2-Piece Rotor
4 = Race Rear Kit4 = Drilled 1-Piece Rotor
5 = Slotted 1-Piece Rotor
7 = Smooth 1-Piece Rotor

Second Digit: Caliper TypePiston SizesFourth Digit: Rotor SizeEighth Digit: Side Designation
0 = No Caliper in Kit4 = 11.5 to 12 inchesA = Both Left and Right Sides
1 = Lotus-Type 4-Piston36 - 405 = 12 to 12.5 inchesL = Left Side
2 = F40-Type 4-Piston38 - 446 = 12.6 to 13 inchesR = Right Side
3 = F50-Type 4-Piston40 - 447 = 13 to 13.5 inchesNinth Digit: Caliper Color
9 = Porsche 4-Piston36 - 448 = 13.6 to 14 inchesBlank = OEM Colored Caliper
A = GT2 4-Piston (Lotus-Type)36 - 409 = 14 to 15 inches1 = Black with White Logo
B = GT1 4-Piston (F50-Type)40 - 442 = Red with White Logo
C = GT3 4-Piston (Mini Jag)28 - 303 = Silver with Red Logo
D = Mechanical Parking Brake
E = OEM Cast(Cobra has 36/40 mm pistons)
F = BMW / Lotus -Type 4-Piston36 - 40(Black Only) (Different mounting then std lotus calipers.)
G = GT8 Street 8-Piston(Cast Mono-Block 4 pads / caliper)
H = GT1-S 4-Piston36 - 40(F50-Type)
J = GT6 Street 6-Piston(same pad as "N") (SUV Cast 2-piece Caliper)
K = Billet Race Caliper
M = 6-Piston Cast Mono Bloc Caliper(Xa571m4 pads available as "Narrow Mount Mono 6" from Porterfield.
N = 6-Piston Cast Mono Bloc Caliperfor Tall Annulus Rotors like EVO VIII (207.9551.13 pad)
P = 4-Piston Cast Mono Bloc.(F50 Pad)

Brake Pads

Everyone that tracks their car, has a favorite. If there is someone you know that runs a certain pad and likes it, works well for them, by all means try it out.  A street pad generally has a good mu or coefficient of friction at low temps, but then the mu decreases as the heat goes up. Great for a street car. Great for the freeway or around town. However coming at 140 mph into turn 1 every couple minutes can overwhelm that pad.  

Brake pads use a reference number to refer to the shape of the pad. For the regular R32 Nissan Skyline GT-R the front shape is FMSI D460, D647, D1182  HB178  with a .564 thickness. At the rear the shape is a  FMSI D461 HB179 with a .630 thickness(although I have seen a thinner thickness listed from Porterfield).

R32 Vspec/R33 GT-R black Brembo brake caliper

Brake Lines

Brake lines. I like high quality brake lines. Stainless steel brake lines expand less than the stock rubber lines, and have extra abrasion resistance.  

Goodridge makes good brake lines. They list fitting 1989-2002 cars. The Vspec R32's and R33/R34 all have the same Brembo caliper, but the early car has Nissan(Sumitomo) calipers. The part number is listed as 22160. Phantom SNN0800.   
Nismo R32 GT-R 46200-RSR25 
OEM hard lines Right 46245-05U01 (Heritage part 46245-RHR20)
Left 46246-05U01 (Heritage part 46246-RHR20)

R35 GT-R rear brake caliper and rotor

Brake Fluid

  • Brake fluid. We ran Motul 600 on the Scion tC World Challenge race car. Worked out fine, didn't need to bleed it often. On the R34 GT-R when we used Motul 600, we had to bleed it often, like every session. Switching that car to Castrol SRF(in 2006) was the best thing we did for the brakes all year. Its expensive, it was worth it. Look at the wet boiling point. Consider any system has some water in it. Don't mind the exact numbers much, I know what we had, and what we saw.  From Pegasus Racing

Racing Brake Fluids
Brand NameDOT
Compatible with
Brake Fluids*
Fl Oz
AP Radi-CAL R44644399Yes16.93310-004
Motul RBF 6604617401Yes16.9MT660
AP Radi-CAL R3
(formerly PRF)
Red Line RL-6004604400Yes16RL600
Motul RBF 6004594421Yes16.9MT600
AP Radi-CAL R2
(formerly Super 600)
n/a594399* No *16.93309-17oz
Castrol SRF4590518Yes33.8NLA
Prospeed RS6834583394Yes16.93340-201
ATE Type 2004536396Yes33.83327-Liter
Motul DOT 5.15.1516369Yes16.9MTDOT5.1
AP Radi-CAL R1
(formerly AP 551)
Castrol Advanced Performance
(formerly GT-LMA)
(was 446)
329Yes12 or 323308-Size

  • Speed Bleeders - 639560 10mm x 1.0 front and rear are the same bleeder. I have heard some good and bad things about Speed Bleeders. I tried them out, and so far I like them. You can bleed by yourself, and everything is A-OK so far.  I also want to install them in the clutch line. Eventually I am going to change the slave cylinder, and bleeding the Nissan Skyline GT-R clutch is a pain in the ass. 

Silver Brembo calipers with a big one piece front rotor

Master Cylinder

  • OEM Sumitomo R32 GT-R
    • BM44
    • Nabco 
    • 15/16" piston
    • 46010-02U20
      • Rebuild Kit
        • 46011-52F26
        • Alternate 46011-22P26
  • BM50
  • OEM Brembo R32 GT-R Vspec/R33 

  • R32 GTR (Non V-Spec) BM50

    Master Cylinder diam (mm)25.4 area 506.71mm²
    Front Caliper Piston(diam x qty)40.4×4 = 5127.58mm²
    Front rotors (diam x thk)296×32
    Rear Caliper Piston(diam x qty)38.18×2 = 2289.78mm²
    Rear Rotors (diam x thk)297×18
  • R32 GTR V-Spec / R33 / 34 GTR with Brembos BM57

    Master Cylinder diam (mm)26.9 568.32mm²
    Front Caliper Piston(diam x qty)(44+3Cool×2 ... leading pistons smaller then trailing 5309.29mm²
    Front rotors (diam x thk)324×30
    Rear Caliper Piston(diam x qty)40×2 2513.27mm² ratio FR = 2.1125
    Rear Rotors (diam x thk)300×22
    Brake to master ratio13.76

ABS Unit

ABS Wheel Speed Sensors for R32 GT-R

  • Front
    • Right Side  47910-05U00
    • Left Side  47911-05U00

Group A R32 GT-R rear brakes

Brake Ducting

Brake duct under the bluecar. This is something I purchased in Japan, I don't know the manufacturer. 

Brake ducting or deflectors. Air is free. Getting air to where you want it to go isn't free. The stock Nissan GT-R has brake ducts, that put air into the wheel well, but its not directed to the rotor. Brake rotors are cooled from the center outward. Most rotors pump air to the outside edges to cool. Over at MotoIQ Khiem Dinh made some pretty cool brake ducts for his S2000

Steering Wheel Gasket

How you use the brakes is an important consideration. Some people seem to be really hard on brakes, some people much easier.  Depending on what you are doing with the car, you can effect the longevity and performance of the braking system.

Brembo monoblock brake calipers on the R34 GT-R World Challenge car. This car has 72 vane Brembo 355 mm rotors on the front. 

Buy USA Legal R32 and R33 Skylines at! for Nissan Skyline GT-R and GT-R parts.

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