Should I switch my brake system?

JoeMastro

New Member
So, after a while of diagnosing my powermaster brake system, (ive gotten some good answers from this forum) I have finally started to ponder whether I should just take it off and put a better braking system in my car. Should I invest in a rebuilt powermaster? or should I go for a vacuum or hydroboost system? I would like to hear some opinions on what is better, and the pros and cons of each before I make a big decision. I would like to keep the car stock if I can, but of course I prioritize safety and practicality. Any thoughts?
 
If you prioritize safety and practicality, take your powermaster, set it on the shelf, for the cost of a rebuild, it's not worth it in my opinion to put something on that is going to fail again. Earl Brown has a nice vacuum setup that is about half of what a rebuilt Powermaster costs, and a good Hydroboost system will set you back about $800, after mine took a shit, and the long white knuckle trip home, I set mine on the shelf, went vacuum, and never looked back.
 
If you prioritize safety and practicality, take your powermaster, set it on the shelf, for the cost of a rebuild, it's not worth it in my opinion to put something on that is going to fail again. Earl Brown has a nice vacuum setup that is about half of what a rebuilt Powermaster costs, and a good Hydroboost system will set you back about $800, after mine took a shit, and the long white knuckle trip home, I set mine on the shelf, went vacuum, and never looked back.
Agreed with everything stated here.

Only thing I would change is that an already complete hydroboost kit will cost about $800 give or take BUT... you can put together your own hydroboost system for about half of that which I did.

Go on the Tube and search for member VenomGT's channel and you'll find an older and a very recent video on how to do hydroboost and all the PN's needed.


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It's your choice, vacuum brakes, which I converted to, or go to the hydroboost system. I agree what was said above also.
I know some people like the powermaster unit, but unless you know how to maintain it properly it WILL fail when your least expected!
 
I've only had my Turbo Regal's since this summer, so my opinion doesn't have much weight but-
The money I've spent on a new accumulator and brake switch would have paid for a vacuum set up. I also had the first full brake failure in my life when the powermaster fuse blew. Beyond scary and thank the lord I wasn't racing and was just cruising my neighborhood at the time. I'm not wealthy and do my own repairs so I don't have the cash to sink into a brake system that is no longer manufactured and keeps getting more and more expensive to repair. I'm a rookie at this but I think that getting a Scanmaster and dumping the powermaster should be the first suggestions on the forum-
 
Thanks for your replies everyone. I think the best option for me would be replacing the powermaster with a vacuum system, that being said, I have a question about it. I have heard a lot of people say that a grand national or a turbo regal wont make enough vacuum to power the vacuum booster properly, and ive got some mixed answers so far from other sources, so will my completely stock car be able to run a vacuum system without problems? Thanks again.
 
Everyone is going to have an opinion and mine is if you go with hydroboost setup get a kit with a new Bosch unit... is it more expensive, yes but it comes with a new hydro unit with an accumulator and the kit has everything you need. I went with talon Hydraulics. $900 and everything I needed, great instructions and so far no issues at all.

The reman units in general can be problematic which is what you are going for. I say this because I have read multiple posts stating issues with the remanufactured units and having to swapped them out out as they were DOA on arrival or causing issues. If you sear hydro boost install you can easily find post where freshly reman units had to be swapped do to issues.

As with everything, you get what you pay for... The new units in my experience are the way to go but to each his own.

good luck.
 
I switched from Vacuum to HydroBoost too and absolutely love it!
Went with same unit as Rosey1968 mentioned above . Felt the extra insurance the accumulator offered was worth the extra money. Can't believe the difference and improvement in braking since changing over. Took a little bit of work, but well worth it in my opinion.
 
Yes vacuum will work absolutely fine on a stock/mild street driven gn. I converted mine years ago and best mod I've made to gn. Safety comes before maintaining original for me. I experienced multiple pm failures and wasted crazy money replacing them but the third near death experience was the last straw for me. My old pm is now a conversation piece in my man cave. If you will be racing then hydroboost is reportedly a better option.
 
Yes vacuum will work absolutely fine on a stock/mild street driven gn. I converted mine years ago and best mod I've made to gn. Safety comes before maintaining original for me. I experienced multiple pm failures and wasted crazy money replacing them but the third near death experience was the last straw for me. My old pm is now a conversation piece in my man cave. If you will be racing then hydroboost is reportedly a better option.
Awesome, I have one more question: do you know of any high quality vacuum boosters that I can look into? I was thinking about getting the booster and master cylinder from a regular buick regal, but if there are better ones then I would probably get one of those.
 
You need to swap out the Turbo Regal brake pedal for a vacuum assist G-Body brake pedal.

Supposedly the original TR pedal can be modified, but I don't know how well that works.

I think I used a double diaphragm vacuum assist booster & master cylinder from a G-Body Monte Carlo. A double check valve in the vacuum line to the master is not a bad idea.
 
Awesome, I have one more question: do you know of any high quality vacuum boosters that I can look into? I was thinking about getting the booster and master cylinder from a regular buick regal, but if there are better ones then I would probably get one of those.
Your best bet would be to buy a proven system provided by one of the vendors, Earl Brown has a nice kit, and Kirbans also has one, Earl’s kit, drill a hole in existing brake pedal and insert supplied pin, Kirbans kit comes with Vacuum brake pedal.
I got my kit from Kirbans, and installed it myself, also, just a quick note, 33 Turbo Buick’s at Woodward Wednesday for the Dream Cruise, 2 Powermasters still operating, 1 Hydroboost, 30 Vacuum systems, you do the math, and anybody that tells you Vacuum doesn’t work, is full of it, if your building a race engine, and drag race all the time, go Hydroboost, if your just going to cruising, and the occasional “I’m gonna smoke this guy”
Vacuum can’t be beat for the price, they have been around for how long??? On how many cars??? And are reliable.
 
Chiming in here. LOVE my vacuum system with Baer brakes and long shoes in the rear. Zero issues and solid, reliable braking.

I am glad that when I bought my car, it had been converted long ago. One less thing.
 
all engines make vacuum, there is no gettting around it,
your V6 Buick makes plenty of vacuum, and the correct working check valve-
makes sure your vacuum brakes work correctly,
yes, at boost, you do not make vacuum, ( check valve holds vacuum)
everyone has their favorite set up,
I prefer to keep it simple, (less expensive) and have used vacuum set up on 800hp turbo V6 ace car.
either way, upgrade to something more reliable .
 
Wow thank you guys so much for the informative replies. I am really considering converting to vacuum now that I have looked into it a bit more and I will probably get the kit from kirbans, or something similar. Originally I was quite concerned about my car not making enough vacuum, but thanks to all of your help I will have a lot of peace of mind putting a vacuum kit on my car.
 
Everyone is going to have an opinion and mine is if you go with hydroboost setup get a kit with a new Bosch unit... is it more expensive, yes but it comes with a new hydro unit with an accumulator and the kit has everything you need. I went with talon Hydraulics. $900 and everything I needed, great instructions and so far no issues at all.

The reman units in general can be problematic which is what you are going for. I say this because I have read multiple posts stating issues with the remanufactured units and having to swapped them out out as they were DOA on arrival or causing issues. If you sear hydro boost install you can easily find post where freshly reman units had to be swapped do to issues.

As with everything, you get what you pay for... The new units in my experience are the way to go but to each his own.

good luck.
Same here my friend. Tallon Hydraulics hydroboost on my car and it was money well spent.
 
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