People who are helping diagnose certain brake problem conditions - in particular a hard brake pedal - often suggest that you measure the vacuum pressure. The advice will sometimes mention that your engine must produce more than 18” of vacuum to give that nice easy pedal feel. In fact, we just provided that explanation in our recent Tech Talk article on diagnosing causes of a hard brake pedal.
We have been asked a number of times if there is such a thing as a manual disk brake conversion kit? The simple answer is yes. The power booster component almost exclusively affects how your brake pedal "feels" to you under foot.
In a situation where your classic car has multiple drivers, some of whom are used to the "foot feel" of power brakes - maybe they spend most of their time driving a newer car or light truck - a power-assisted brake pedal can makes it easier to go between vehicles. The power booster allows you to maintain relative consistency with how much pressure to apply when stopping either of the two vehicles.
You DO NOT NEED to upgrade or convert to a power assisted apply system, however, when making the upgrade to disc from drum brakes. Recently, we got an email from a customer planning on making that drum to disc brake conversion but interested in sticking with a manual set-up.
"Dave" has a '66 GTO he uses as a daily driver and wanted the enhanced performance and stopping ability of disc brakes. But as the sole driver of the car, Dave was comfortable with the pedal effort the manual brakes currently required and wanted to keep that same level of brake feel.
We started this 4-part series examining possible vacuum pressure as the cause of a hard brake by picturing a driver's inability to apply his brakes in traffic because the brake pedal is too stiff - requiring an inordinate amount of pushing power. An extreme scenario for sure, but the horror of a hard brake pedal can strike at any time. In power booster equipped vehicles, the issue is more common than you may think. Fortunately, you don’t need a degree in Rocket Science to diagnose and fix the glitches that are hardening your pedal.
Converting from manual to power-assisted brakes is a major upgrade and one of the most common projects that we discuss with customers. Due to the different size requirements for brake boosters and master cylinders, you may need some help sorting out the available options to optimize your vehicle’s brake system performance. That’s where the tech pros here at Master Power Brakes really shine.
Most classic car owners fall into one of two camps. On the one hand, we have a small minority of owners with rare, museum quality cars. In most cases, these folks are reluctant to make any changes to their cars because even the smallest modification means losing an important part of automotive history. On the other hand, we have classic car enthusiasts that modify their vehicles for better performance and safer operation.
Topics: Tips and Info, Master Power Brakes, conversion kits, tech tip, rear disc brake conversion, front disc brake conversion, Power Assisted Brakes, Drum Brake Upgrade Kit, Disc Brakes vs Drum Brakes, Better Classic Car Braking