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Old 04-19-2015, 07:11 PM
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Master Wrench
Join Date: May 2014
Name: Gale and his cats
Location: San Juan Capistrano
Year: 1970
Model: El Camino
Region: 18(CA)
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Lightbulb Conversion to Hydro Boost Brake System - 1970 El Camino

Conversion to Hydro Boost Brake System - 1970 El Camino

I am not an expert, so this is intended to only present some thoughts and ideas from a novice that you would need to research and verify prior to putting on your brake system. Your brakes are important so please verify first.

Problem Statement: Blower cam does not allow engine to produce enough vacuum for power brake booster to be effective. This can occur on high overlap “cammy” high performance engines, those with forced induction, and those with turbo. My current engine set up produces 10 to 13 inches of vacuum at sea level. Rather than vacuum, boost is produced when RPM ramps up. Brakes are not functioning well. Inconsistent pedal pressure required. Sometimes marginal, other times no assist at all, requiring “standing” or “two footing” brake pedal to stop.

Goals: Produce improved and consistent power brake assist. Stop prior to the rear bumper of the car ahead.

Options: Considering new parts and some labor cost estimates
1) Change camshaft to a milder cam that allows vacuum above 18 inches
PRO: Affordable at about $300-500
CON: Changes character of car and performance
2) Convert to manual brakes
PRO: Affordable at about $200-400 (depending on selected master cyl)
CON: Not many that I see. If done right, this is a viable solution
3) Add a vacuum reservoir (or increase booster size)
PRO: None for situation of not producing enough vacuum
CON: Not a viable solution when minimal vacuum produced
4) Add electric vacuum pump to current system
PRO: Affordable at about $300-400
CON: Noisy, with vibrations (yet I would not hear it with Flow Master 40s and 3 inch exhaust)
Many I spoke who used this solution removed it later
5) Replace vacuum booster with Hydro Boost
PRO: Provide higher pressure to brake calipers and stopping capabilities
Will support later upgrades to bigger brakes with more calipers and higher flow/pressure
Increases clearance for tall valve covers (not a problem for me, I am not “big block”)
CON: $800 – 2000
May expose weak points (lines, caliper leaks) in current brake system
May expose weak points (leaks, low volume, marginal pump condition) in power steering

Last edited by Old Bear; 04-19-2015 at 07:51 PM.
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