This all started with Andy and the STI brake swap he did on his GTSPEC BRZ. It turns out that as others have also found out the STI Brembo brakes are a direct bolt up fit (well almost bolt on, but we will get to that later) on the FR-S and BRZ. If you get rotors and calipers from a 2004 STI you can basically bolt them on. With the STI calipers you need to swap the bleeders because they would be on the bottom if your just mounted them up and you would not be able to bleed the brakes.
Then Brian said that he had an extra set of the brembro calipers from an EVO X and that they were basically the same as STI calipers, they accept the same pads and all. The difference is that they have different mounting holes. As a bonus the bleeders are on the correct side so you don’t need to swap them.
First off let me say this is not a DIY. I would not recommend anyone else try this, just get the STI calipers and swap the bleeders. The only way I would say to go for the evo calipers is if you basically get them for free and you know a personal friend with a shop, lift and is a genius at fabrication and willing to work for beer and food.
I happen to have a friend like that, the owner of East Coast Garage in Tampa. For some of you OG Orlando people you may know some of his work from his days at Racingzone Autohouse. Well Doug has moved to Tampa and set up a pretty nice shop with all the tools you could possibly need for any job. Doug is also quite a perfectionist and takes an amazing amount of pride in his work. I don’t trust many people to work on my cars but Doug is one of the few I do.
Most people have done factory 2004 STI rotors and pads, but not us. I decided to go with a set of Project Mu Club Racer Slotted Brake Rotors and Project Mu NS400 Club Racer Brake Pads. When we unboxed the rotors they were so huge looking. Just look at the difference between the stock rotors and the new Project Mu rotors.
I originally thought we would need to have an adapter plate made to matte the Evo Caliper to the FR-S mount. I thought this because that is how the Nissan 240 guys have been doing it for years. As it turned out there was no way to get an adapter in there, just no space. The holes for the Evo Calipers were actually just slightly off from the FR-S factory mounting locations. All we had to do is figure out how to make them line up, sounds easy right. Well it was not easy at all. It took a grinder, welding, custom metal fabrication and a lot of patience from Doug at East Coast Garage.
The rotors just bolt right on in the front. The rears needed a little modification. There is a lip on the back of the rotor that sticks out. If you just bolt the rotors on the will not turn, as this lip is touching the backing plate. Some other people have used a spacer to move the rotor away from the backing plate. Doug decided to modify the backing plate a little and machine the lip on the rotor down. Once done it fit like a glove and turned freely.
The most important thing about having the brake kit work properly is to make sure the caliper is positioned correctly and centered on the rotor. After mocking everything up we took it a step further and prepped and painted them to match the Project Mu teal color on the rotors. As to not look like I was trying to pose as having Project Mu calipers I had a set of Brembo decals made to go on the caliper.
The process to paint the rotors was pretty straight forward. Clean and degrease the hell out of the calipers and dry them off. Since the finish on the calipers we had was not so bad we scuffed them using a red scotchbrite pad. This process took forever to make sure there was no left over residue or anything to stop the paint from sticking. After I prepped all the calipers Doug got to work on dusting them with a coat of light grey primer and then a coat of the custom teal paint we had mixed. We left them to dry for a few hours and then came back and stuck the decals on. We put the full Brembo logo on the front and decided to put the circle “B” on the rears. Then Doug dusted a nice coat of high grade clear over the whole caliper and let them dry overnight.
The next day we got to the shop and put the whole thing together with a set of stoptech stainless steel brake lines. Once everything was bolted up we got to bleeding the brakes. My leg was killing me from pumping the pedal and we went through almost a whole liter of brake fluid. We took the car off the lift and bolted the wheels back on and tested things out. A few rounds of some tweaking on the caliper alignment on one side and we were ready to test them out.
I hopped in the car and took off the bed in the pads according to the procedure that Brian from Mackin told me to use. Basically it is just one hard brake from 60MPH to 0 without locking up the brakes or getting the abs to kick on. God this thing stops like hell. The first time I hit then I had the wheel lug tools on my seat and they went flying. It is not an upgrade really it is more like a whole new car. Now I just need to save up the money to get the power to make the car need these brakes.
So much thanks go out to Doug and East Coast Garage for all the hard work on this project. If you a car in need of just about anything you should really give him a call. He can handle bolt ons, fabrication work and even paint work. All the work is top notch and the prices are great too.
Check out the gallery on our flickr page for more pics of the process.