Tech Talk with Master Power Brakes

My Classic Car Has Manual Brakes. Can I Add a Power Brake Booster?

Posted by Master Power Brakes Team on Aug 11, 2021 8:52:06 PM


The experts at Master Power Brakes love helping classic car enthusiasts like you by answering your brake questions.

Here’s one we get a lot: “Can I add a power brake booster to my car even though it has manual brakes?”

The short answer is yes! But there are a few things to keep in mind.

Here’s how to install a power brake booster on a car with manual brakes plus what you need to consider during the process.

How Do I Add a Power Brake Booster to a Car With Manual Brakes?

To increase safety, you can add a power brake booster to a vehicle with manual brakes so that it takes less force to bring the car to a stop. Having this feature reduces your chance of accidents because you can react quicker behind the wheel with less effort.

There are three main types of power brake boosters: vacuum, hydraulic, and electric. In this blog, we’ll focus on vacuum boosters. Here’s a quick summary of the steps you need to take for proper installation:

  • Gather all of your parts
  • Remove the old master cylinder
  • Disconnect the pedal assembly
  • Prepare the firewall for the booster
  • Install the power brake booster assembly
  • Mount the combination valve (if required)
  • Bleed the braking system
  • Check the vehicle operation

If you’re tackling a power brake booster installation on your own, be sure to check out more details and instructions about the process here.

What Should I Consider When Adding a Power Brake Booster?

When you add a power brake booster to a classic car that has manual brakes, you will need to make some adjustments—primarily when it comes to pedal ratio. In manual brake cars, the pedal ratio is usually 6:1. However, in power brake cars, the pedal ratio is typically 4:1. 

You can correct the pedal ratio while installing a power brake booster in a few ways. You can change the location of the connection on the brake pedal, or you can use a bellcrank assembly which is included in the bracketry that mounts onto the vehicle. If you don’t adjust the pedal ratio, this will change the way the pedal functions and how much leverage it takes to make it work.

Another thing to keep in mind is just because you’re adding a power brake booster doesn’t mean you’re necessarily making the brakes better. You didn’t make any changes to the brakes; they’re still the same on the wheels. The power brake booster only changes how pressure is applied to the brakes once you put your foot on the pedal.



Adding a Power Brake Booster to a Car With Manual Brakes

Now you know that a power brake booster can be added to any vehicle whether it has manual or power brakes.

We’ve given you step-by-step instructions on how to properly install a vacuum booster as well as advice on what to keep in mind while you’re going through the process.

We offer Power Brake Conversion Kits for a variety of vehicles. Just go to our website and enter the make, model, and year of your car to check out our products.

The experts at Master Power Brakes would love to help you with your power brake booster installation and answer any questions you may have. Contact us today!

Topics: conversion kits, Brake Boosters, Parts

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