How to Install Hydroboster Brake System
I’m writing this post as a way to contribute
to other members and I hope it helps. I by no means know everything. I am
a simple weekend mechanic with faults. If there any gross technical errors
I hope some of the gurus will chime in to correct me. Fear not I have my
flame suit on!
I purchased the hydratech braking system to solve my
soft braking issue. My system is as follows: new vacuum and Master
Cylinder from Ecklers (8 months old), Rebuild factory calipers w/
meticallic brake pads (8 months old), New plane jane disks from napa (8
months old), new rubber brake lines (8 months old).
would still work and lock up if the pedal went to the floorboard.
Otherwise they felt mushy like my waist line.
1: First things
first. Jack up the car (I use 4 stands on the frame, and then use the jack
itself on the front cross bar. This helps to support the weight of the
motor from tweaking the frame). Be Safe, Be Smart.
Do a no-BS inspection of your braking and Power steering system. If either
one is not up to par the Hydrobooster will not help. Look for leaks,
drips, or something that is “just-not-right”. This is an
excellent high performance braking system. If you have something wrong
with the brakes to start, adding a hydrobooster could amplify the problem.
In my situation I gravity bled all brakes. I did this for 2
reasons, A: to make sure there are no air bubbles in the system. B: to use
fresh clean fluid. In hind sight I should have used this opportunity to
change over to a DOT 4 brake fluid as the directions suggested.
Drain the fluid out of the Power Steering (PS) pump by removing the high
pressure line. It is the one located towards the bottom of the pump. Let
drip for a while.
The prior owner had used ATF (Automatic
Transmition Fluid nasty smelling red crap!) fluid for the PS system. ATF
does not play nice with the Hydroboost, so I decided to completely flush
the entire PS system and will use good quality PS fluid. One trick I did
was to aim the hose removed from the PS pump to the drain pan. Then I
moved the steering arm back and forth several times to purge the evil red
WARNING: move the steering arm very slowly! If you go to fast
it will squirt out like Old Yeller. Trust me, ATF stings like hell when it
gets into your eyes and it tastes worst than 3 day old taco bell food.
4: Remove the Master Cylinder (MC) from the Vacuum Assist Unit
(PoS). Carefully move the MC about 6 inches away from the PoS. Be mindful
not to crimp or tweak the hard lines from the MC to the distribution
this time to inspect the PoS for any unusual fluid or crud collecting from
the MC. Remember if the MC is not at 100%, you are begging for
5: Remove the drivers seat. This is not a must. If you
enjoy pain, S&M bondage, or spending money at a Chiropractors office by
ALL means leave it in. Go ahead, I dare ya! 🙂
5a: Removing the
Steering Column (SC). This is your judgment call if you want to pull it.
It will make the job easier to get access to the 4 nuts holding the PoS in
place. Crawl underneath the dash and determine if you can get the nuts you
need to get to with the SC in place. Pulling the SC is about a 10 min job
if you have done it before. If you haven’t done it before it will
take about 30 minutes (22 of those minutes will be “Dammit what the
hell blocking this *cursed thing?” *= insert your own 4 letter word
The procedure I list is for my car. Yours might be a little
different (extra nut, bolt or spring thingy) be observant, and use this as
5b: Remove the 3 screws that hold the plastic plate
underneath the SC.
Remove the 12point bolt located on the Rag joint that secures the SC spine
to the rag joint. I recommend moving the steering wheel so the 12point
bolt is facing up and thereby easy-pezy to remove.
5d: Remove the 2
� in bolts that are located at the 9 and 5 o’clock position on the
Cab side floorboard. Right where the SC goes through the
5e: Remove the plate that is on the Firewall (engine)
side of the SC. One of the bolts should come out to ease in the removal
process. This is what the plate will look like when out.
Disconnect the battery. Bummer there goes your radio station
5g: Unscrew the 2 support bolts. The SC will drop a few
inches but that’s ok. Be gentle tho.
Disconnect the 3 electrical plugs from the SC. One is thin, black, with
12 or so wires and, simple to get to (you can see it in above
Look above the SC ad you can see the other 2 electrical
Note: I added the dust to help earn NCRS points. If you want I sell
Official Corvette Dust, Dirt, and Grime for $120 per ounce. Just IM
5i: Gently pull out the SC. Be care full not to snag wires and
vacuum hoses. Do not worry the SC is not heavy. Take your time.
Remove the 4 bolts that hold the upper support bracket for the
the SC is finally out DO NOT turn the ignition key, rotate the steering
wheel, or move the steering components underneath the car. If you do the
steering wheel will not be centered and will be difficult to get back in
place. Then your friends and family will laugh at you.
installation: Installation is the reverse with 2 help full tips.1 Do not
tighten the 4 upper SC support bracket or the 2 support bolts. Just get
them started. Once the SC is back in place, align the SC so the Steering
wheel is parallel to the driver. Once set then tighten up those
puppy’s. 2 Grab a friend to help guide the spine end of the SC back
into the rag joint while you hold the SC.
6: Remove the brake pedal
rod and clevis pin.
OK here is where the “fun” begins. Remove the 4 bolts that
hold on the PoS. In my car this is the worlds most PITA bolts to remove.
It sucks, It sucks, It sucks. I hate It.
one hour of scraped knuckles and blood rushing to my head. I gave birth to
a Vacuum Brake Booster.
going to take a break and eat some Ice chips.
7: Before installing
the hydrobooster into the car. I suggest installing the High and Low
pressure lines on the unit.
8: Transfer brake pedal rod clevis from
vacuum assist unit to hydraulic assist unit. Make sure you have proper
thread engagement. The book suggests 6 threads minimum. My install ended
up being around 10 threads.
More fun! Install the Hydrobooster into the firewall. The brass can should
be towards the top and drivers side of the car. The Pressure lines should
be facing down. While installing the hydrobooster the brake pedal clevis
should “interface” the brake pedal at the same time. It sucks,
It sucks, It sucks. I hate It.
Ok the hard part is done. Its all
down hill from here. Take a break.
is me dreaming of how great my breaks are gonna work.
hydrobooster at this stage.
10: Lube up and install clevis
pin/retaining clip into the brake pedal.
When routing the High and
Low pressure lines be mindful of the A-arms, hot exhaust, electrical
connections, and movement of the steering control valve.
Connect the shorter High pressure line to the bottom of the PS
Connect the longer High pressure line to Power Steering Control
all of the High pressure lines are connected you will end up with an extra
High pressure line that came with your car originally. Don’t fret
this is normal. Simply give the extra hose to a friend as a “crazy
straw” to drink soda out of.
13: Connect all of the low
pressure lines together with the brass “T” connector. Make
sure the hose clamps are secure and tight.
14: Install the SC. The
reverse of step 5.
15: Connect the MC to the Hydrobooster with the
16: Adjust your brake pedal height to your liking.
Pay attention to when the Brake light switch engages during the brake
pedal travel. Don’t forget to adjust the Brake light engagement
distance from the pedal and Tighten brake pedal rod to clevis jam nut
OK all the goodies should be back in the car (except for
your friends “crazy straw”)
Now check your work. Look at
the details, for clearance, rubbing, lose nuts ect. Try moving the
steering wheel back and forth to vefery that there is no rubbing.
you are satisfied move on to priming the system.
17: Fill the PS
pump with high quality PS fluid. I suggest you buy it in the gallon size
if you drained the system completely in step 3.
ignition system and crank engine for 5 full seconds. Check fluid
(repeat this step until the fluid level is consistent at each 5
second cranking session)
19 : Cap PS pump reservoir, engage
ignition system and start engine. Run the engine briefly and check for
fluid leaks (60 seconds or so). DO NOT PRESS THE BRAKE PEDAL. Top off
fluid if necessary. If the Pump was noisy and there are tons of bubbles in
the reserve tank when you look. Let the car sit for 15-20 minutes. Repeat
this step until the fluid level is consistent
20: With the engine
off. press the brake pedal fully a few times to purge any air from the
Nitrogen reserve tank.
21: Start the engine and let it warm up.
Rotate the steering wheel 5 full sweeps. Shut off engine. Check fluid
level. Repeat until the fluid level is consistent.
22: Start the
engine and apply moderate brake pressure slowly 5 to 6 times. Shut off
engine and check fluid level. Repeat until the fluid level is
23: Stare engine and apply full pedal pressure 2 to 3
times to vefery system integrities.
24: lower the car (with the
wheels on of course) and road test the vehicle.
Things to look for
while testing: Pump squealing, leaving a fluid trail behind you as you
drive, the brakes actually working, leaks, Power steering working while
pressing the brake pedal.
25: let the vette sit overnight and check
ALL connections and ALL fluid levels in the morning. Look for
26: Test drive and enjoy your hard work.
hydrobooster, now I leave skid marks on the street instead of skid marks
in my underwear”
Here are some finished Pictures of the
BAD things= The hose clamps were to small (minor). The
installation directions could be written clearer, and more detailed for
the “weekend” mechanic like myself. Include a picture diagram
of the system (what goes where ect.). Include in the directions how to
loosen the Steel braded High Pressure lines and rotate the 90 degree
GOOD things= Awesome product! I mean the brakes work
great! While road testing the car I almost kissed the steering several
times. Woo Hoo! Customer Service was phenomenal! Paul was truly helpful
with any questions that I had during the installation (no matter how
minor), and was genuinely concerned that I was happy with his product.
Everything was of top quality. Very impressed.
I have contacted
Paul the owner of www.hydroboost.com and shared with him the bad/good
things I have listed here. And he plans on making some changes based on
suggestions. It is debatable that the price is too high for the setup. IMO
I disagree. I tried to price out buying the parts separately and for me
Its worth the extra money not to have to deal with the hassle of finding
the right hoses, fittings, and hoping that the junkyard booster will not
fail. I personally cant go cheap when it comes to safety.
this helps out the forum members or gives you the courage to tackle this