Powermaster Issues

Got the car running today and brakes were okay as it was idling. I go to leave the house and the pedal gets hard. Drive it about five miles near the house on back roads, hard pedal all the time - barely stops. I get home and can hear it running when ign on, start doing some research. Was hoping accumulator. Go back out, pump pedal with ign off, turn on - can't hear it running, level doesn't change in reservoir. The fuse is good, the light isn't on. I've looked at the diagnosis chart and text on gnttype without much help. I'm afraid it's looking like the unit might be dead, but would like to go through every cheaper step first to look for a fix. Ideas?

I want to fix what I have or if the Powermaster unit needs to be replaced I would like to come to that conclusion after figuring out what's wrong...the answer isn't just "get rid of Powermaster" for me. I do not want to switch to vacuum brakes or another system.
 
Edit: Checked again and light is on and unit wants to run with ign on. Not sure why it wasn't the last time I tried or maybe I just missed it....still hard pedal though. Accumulator maybe?
 
The more I look the more it looks like a reman whole unit from one of the major parts stores is the best bet with a lifetime warranty. Best price I've found was at O'Reilly for $379, but they also have just the accumulator listed...will need to call for a price on it tomorrow. Buicks are money pits :( :D
 
I was more planning on getting a PowerMaster from O'Reillys and being done with it. I REALLY don't want to convert over to another brake system, like I said. PowerMaster with a lifetime warranty, how can I go wrong?
 
I would never put a PowerMaster back in my car. Even the rebuilt units have issues. They are a poor design with many fail factors. It's very very easy to install the HydroBoost and it's a far superior brake system to the PowerMaster. And it would cost you less than half of the cost the PowerMaster is.
 
Nick,

How old is the Powermaster?
What is the condition of your fluid?
Have you ever changed the fluid?

The simpliest answer is that the accumulator is dead (they don't last forever). If you know someone that has a known good accumulator, you can swap it out for testing and it won't hurt a thing. You can do the same with the pressure switch, it may also be at fault.

If you can see through the fluid to the bottom of the bowl, look into the p/s of the bowl while the motor is running. If you see fluid returning into the bowl from the rear port (see pic in my thread - link in my sig) while the motor is running you have leaking internal seals and your P/M will need replacing/rebuilding.

If the fluid is not returning into the bowl as above, and the fluid level is not dropping with the motor running, the pump is either dead or has lost it's prime. If you swap out the accumulator and the fluid level doesn't drop when the pump runs, the pump is dead. If the motor has been running a lot, you have probably burned up the pump vanes.

Keeping the PowerMaster alive is a preventitive maintanence issue. O'Reillys get's thier units from CarDone...just like Kirbans. I have installed a few of them now and they work just fine if you set them up correctly.

Z
 
Thanks for all the info. No clue how old it is as I bought the car just over 2 years ago. Fluid is okay, hasn't been changed in a while...plan was to do so after the winter mods were done. Will check what you specified a little later today.

Nick,

How old is the Powermaster?
What is the condition of your fluid?
Have you ever changed the fluid?

The simpliest answer is that the accumulator is dead (they don't last forever). If you know someone that has a known good accumulator, you can swap it out for testing and it won't hurt a thing. You can do the same with the pressure switch, it may also be at fault.

If you can see through the fluid to the bottom of the bowl, look into the p/s of the bowl while the motor is running. If you see fluid returning into the bowl from the rear port (see pic in my thread - link in my sig) while the motor is running you have leaking internal seals and your P/M will need replacing/rebuilding.

If the fluid is not returning into the bowl as above, and the fluid level is not dropping with the motor running, the pump is either dead or has lost it's prime. If you swap out the accumulator and the fluid level doesn't drop when the pump runs, the pump is dead. If the motor has been running a lot, you have probably burned up the pump vanes.

Keeping the PowerMaster alive is a preventitive maintanence issue. O'Reillys get's thier units from CarDone...just like Kirbans. I have installed a few of them now and they work just fine if you set them up correctly.

Z
 
I've decided to go ahead and replace the whole system with a rebuilt unit. I'm clear on the bleeding procedure..any tips for the actual swap of systems?
 
Swapping out one P/M for another is straightforward.
There are 2 precautions I would recommend -
1 - make sure the system is pumped down and powered off.
2 - spray a little penetrating oil on the flare nuts (for the fluid lines) for a day or so before you remove them and use the proper wrench.
 
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