You know what I hate about computers? Anytime I buy something, it never seems to work. For example, if I buy a new program, download a player, try to play some type of game, it never works. Brake systems are similar to computer systems. If each piece of the system is not up to par, it is not going to clamp down and stop the car like it's supposed to. But what separates a computer system from a brake system is that if your brakes don't work, you ain't gon' be driving your car.
Many auto enthusiasts think that as long as they have the latest and greatest master cylinder, booster, calipers, disc, etc., their car should stop on command. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. When designing a brake system, you have to think about master cylinder bore sizes, booster sizes, and especially, vacuum. Vacuum is often overlooked, or, at best, an afterthought. Without it, however, no matter what parts you have, the car won't stop. In today's performance market, people are running such hot cams that it's killing vacuum, and is therefore killling the braking. On top of that, other areas of the car, such as automatic transmissions and A/C systems, also need vacuum, which then takes it away from the brake system. To compensate for the loss of vacuum, people install vacuum pumps, which, in some cases, still don't get the job done.
Power Brake Service in Long Beach, California, has come up with another alternative--the hydroboost, which replaces the power booster in the system, and requires absolutely no vacuum. Instead of running off of vacuum like a power booster, the hydroboost is powered by pressure from the power steering pump. The hydroboost taps into the power steering pump and uses the pump's pressure to help the system to deliver the necessary clamping force to the calipers without overworking your right leg. Not only is the hydroboost smaller than a 7- or 8-inch booster, (which opens up room to drop in some added cubic inches), but it can also generate anywhere from 1,200 to 2,000 psi of brake line pressure. Because the hydroboost doesn't run off vacuum, the calipers will be given the same amount of pressure from the minute you hit the brakes until the second you lift off them.
You might ask, "Does using fluid from the power steering pump require more horsepower?" Yes, because anytime you add strain to the motor, it's going to result in horsepower loss. But why would you need horsepower in the middle of mashing the brakes? On top of that, by simply lifting your foot off the brake, your horsepower loss is gone. "What happens if you lose your power steering pump or the motor dies?" Once again, no worries. The hydroboost's accumulator stores enough high pressure to have three full-power stops if the engine dies. If the three stops aren't enough to stop the car, then the system resorts to manual brakes. Power Brake Service offers kits for a variety of applications, including Chevrolet musclecars.
To see how the PBS hydroboost works, we found this '68 Camaro that had all kinds of vacuum issues, due to the performance cam. We switched out the old brake setup for the hydroboost in a matter of hours. Once it was all said and done, the car had gone from having no brakes to stopping on a dime.