Nissan REAR Disc brakes for W/D21 Hardbody / Pathfinder and W/D22 Xterra/ Frontier

Updated 1/6/2011

OEM Disc brakes from a  WD21 Pathfinder 1987-1995 installed onto a D21 truck that had drum brakes. The hardest part of this conversion is the parking brake cable. Click on small pix for larger versions. I am still using the disc/drum Master cylinders on truck and pathfinder. They work great.

The axles/disc brake parts you want are from a 87-95 WD21 Pathfinder. Optional on autos only. These are all 31 spline axle shafts.

Parts needed:

44001-64G00- caliper assembly RH w/o pads
44011-64G00- caliper assembly w/o pads lhd

44000-88G10- brake assembly rhd
44010-88G10- brake assembly lhd

You will need new cables and pads.

The d22 (Frontier 1998-2004) Has 33 spline axles so does the R50 (96-2004) pathfinder and WD22 Xterra. I have never tried pressing the backing plate off the putting on the 33 spline axles yet. I read it can be done. I swap axles when I install the discs in the below examples.

This is the d21 stock setup. Note this has aftermarket 4" lift springs, upper spring plate and a U bolt flip. Just unbolt 4 17mm nuts and axle slides out, very easy. Disconnect brake line and p brake cable.

I removed the dust shields since they where trashed. Dont need them anyway. Dont want dirt and rocks stuck in there. The shields are welded on so I used a cut off wheel and grinder. I just removed all the flimsy light gauge steel. The caliper bracket is part of the backing plate.

I did replace one of the studs. I think there is a slight difference in length. There is a procedure in the FSM to shim the end play. Or you can grind 20th off the disc axle. I think its a hair longer.

I had to relocate the hard line connection. I did not have the WD21 axle hardlines. I just cut it off and welded it up top. Hose still allows caliper to swing on pin.

Another option is to swap the backing plates. You will need a press. See more details below. Backing plate and caliper mount with the shoes removed.

Drives great. Much better I think. Especially back wards. I Install these Super heavy duty 4x4 brake pads. The ones that came with the used parts were paper thin. Got these from

  87-95 Pathfinder rear brake parts are all the same. Rotors, pads calipers etc.

Parking Brake cable modifications.

Pathy (WD21) on top, Truck (D21) on bottom. Note the pathy handle dumps the cable out a SECOND hole in the rear seat area.

UPDATE: I converted to a Pathfinder handle. I had to make a oblong shape hole in floor but it works AWESOME! The cable was easier to lengthen also. I reused part of the drum brake cable and 2 stainless u bolts.

I first moved the handle over towards driver seat 1.5" for cup holder room. This is not required for disc brakes.  

Remove right seat, ECU, seat belt and fold over carpet. Bolt in the pathfinder handle assembly and mark the floor for the holes. Drill 2 holes and connect with airsaw.


Since the pathfinder has 2 nuts welded to the bottom of floor I had to weld to bolts to plate. Then add 2 nuts from bottom. Use some gasket sealer to seal up the plate.


Now the pathfinder wheel base is 104 compared to my king cab 116. So I made an extension using old cable parts. Updated: 1/5/2011: I decided to make a steel tube extension instead of the cable to cable mess. Works much better,


I used the OEM pathy cables at the axles.

I had to add a cross member above the Y to keep the cables above the driveshaft under flex. Its a 1.5 tube 1/8 thick about 23" long. With a 3x3 3/16 flat tab. Its only welded to drivers side now. Later will attach to future 3/16 gas tank skid plate.

I modified the OEM skid plate for clearance. If You have a lift block and or a Body lift the cross member may not be needed. The cable can be pulled upwards via a bracket instead of using the cross member.

I added a small bracket to keep the cable off the driveshaft under compression. It really made the parking brake work better.

Update this bracket is no longer needed since the new cable is shorter and higher.

WD21 Pathfinders are super easy to convert.

R50 pathfinders have 33 spline axles and will need the backing plates swapped. The axle lengths are different so will have to press the backing plate on. The backing plate is the caliper mount.

Just swap out the hard lines and plug in the axles. Its that easy.


W/D22 Xterra and Frontiers are a little more involved

You need to swap the backing plate because the backing plate is the caliper mount.

Here is a drum 33 spline axle tear down The ABS is easy to pop off. Do NOT cut it off. 



Differences in H233 axles between models

Some facts:

  • d21 only has drum 31 spline. 

  • wd21 was available in 31 spline disc and drum

  • R50 33 spline drum only longer than above

  • d22 31 and 33 spline drum only. only 2 years of king cab 2wd 31 spline LONG axles.

  • wd22 33 spline drum only

So to put disc brakes on the rear of a R50 and W/D22 you need to swap the backing plates and RETAIN the original bearing retainer. The bearings are all different. BUT the outside dimensions of retainers are all the same. So its plug and play.

Axle splines and bearings.


Here is the 33 compared to a 31 drum axle. Note 31 spline disc have 2 bearings also.

You will need a press to remove the bearings to access the backing plate. I made this from some old steel and end of a rusty axle housing.

To press bearing back on reverse tool.

The bolts are all different.

All for the infamous disc rotor.

Shoes installed

All axles have the same style bearing retainers. 31 and 33 are different sizes.