'87+ Brake Upgrade
All you need to upgrade your 85/86 to the bigger
87+ rotors are the rotors themselves and the caliper mounting
brackets. If you want to go all out for this upgrade, you will
need the dust shields from the 87+. You'll need new brake pads
too, since you are using new rotors. Any year brake pads will
work, they are all the same.
*Note: You will probably notice that I mixmatched
front and rear pics throughout this writeup. I'm not trying to confuse you,
it's just the best pics I had when I threw this page together.
1) First off, put the car on jackstands, and remove the wheel.
2) Remove the two 12mm bolts holding the caliper to it's mounting
bracket. Slide the caliper out of the way and secure it in place so as not
to bind or put pressure on the brake line.
3) Remove the two 17mm bolts circled below holding the mounting
bracket to the hub. (Ignore the fact that the strut assembly is removed from
the hub, you don't have to do that.) Remove the mounting bracket and brake
pads off from the rotor.
4) Remove the rotor from the hub. It should just wiggle right
off, but it could be stuck on there good. You may need to get two bolts the
proper size to push the rotor off the hub.
5) Now you need to decide what to do with the dust shield. There's
3 possibilities, each involve snipping off part of the shield:
- Replace it with the larger 87+ dust shield
- Cut/Trim it to fit the rotor
- Remove it completely
Notice one of the options isn't to replace the axle carrier
(hub) with the 87+. Here's why you can't courtesy of Bill Merton as he tried
going this route:
"Can't be done. The tabs where the axle carrier (hub)
mount to the struts on 85-86 are too thin to accommodate the wider 87+ hub
assy. And larger bolts are used on the 87+, as well. You'd have to shave
down the edge of the hub and drill the holes in the strut to do this. Ah...so
I'll just change the entire strut assembly...solves that problem, right?
"Next problem...the big metal pieces that the strut
arm and control arm bolt to (that are bolted on right behind the engine
compartment) are different. No problem...I'll just shorten the control arm
by using the 87+ arm and thereby account for the fact that the 87+ axle
assembly's control arm mounting point sticks out farther. Wrong. The angle
is too steep and you end up with an amazing amount of rear wheel toe-in.
"Okay...so those damn mounting blocks need to be swapped,
too. Wrong. The mounting holes on the frame are in different spots between
86 and 87+. Only one really lines up and without significant modification,
those 87+ blocks simply won't bolt on. Even IF you managed to do all this,
remember to swap your ball joints while you're at it. The mounting bolts
for the 87+ are much larger and the 86 ball joints won't bolt up. "
Here's how you can use the larger 87+ dust shields, courtesy of Bill again:
Remove the three bolts holding the dust shield on the 87+
Cut a wedge out of the bottom of the dust shield wide enough
that you can wiggle it free of the hub assy.
Remove the 85-86 hub the same way.
Slide the 87+ shield on the 85-86 hub.
Note points of interference, especially where the strut
arm mounts up.
Cut away material or bend as necessary to make the shield
I just went ahead and remove the shields completely. I haven't
had any problems for the year it's been done (2500 miles). Here's how you
Remove the 3 torx bolts. Just use a 10mm socket to remove
them. Here's a pic of the bolts, there's a third one on the opposite side
as well. You have to go at these at an angle, becuase the hub is in the way.
It also took a pair of pliers on the nut driver to get these loose.
Now the dust shield should be loose. However, you can't just
pull it off over the hub. So you need to cut a slot in it so you can. Do that
in the spot below with a dremel or rotozip type tool.
I ended up having to cut off more than indicated above, since
the metal was not as flexible as I thought. Used the side-cutting bit on a
Rotozip. Here's the dust shields off, to show you how much you need to cut
6) Now that the new bigger rotors will fit (no matter which
method you picked above), slide those bad boys on.
8) Here's some pics of the mounting brackets. These are the
heart of the conversion; what you'll have to find from a fellow MR2 owner
or the junkyard. I believe the Toyota dealer will only sell these with new
calipers, never asked them though.
8) Move the various spring clips that hold the brake pads in
place over to the larger mounting brackets. If you get lost doing this look
in the BGB or Haynes manual for a diagram to help. It's not that great of
a diagram, but it works. It may be better to do this after you get the bracket
on the hub. You decide...
9) Place the larger 87+ mounting brackets onto the hub with
the two 17mm bolts.
10) Insert the new brake pads.
11) And finally, slide the caliper over the pads and attach
it to the mounting bracket by the two 12mm bolts.
12) Replace wheel and lower from jackstands. Repeat for the
other 3 wheels.