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Install Hydroboost in a Maverick or Comet Page 1

I have never been one to shy away from adding things to my Maverick to make it better...but for some reason this mod never made it to my radar screen until November of 2004 when FoMoDave started a thread on the Maverick.to message board asking if anyone had ever done this on a Maverick before.
Hmmm...interesting idea....but why bother?
I knew what Hydroboost was, but is there a reason to use it, and would it work in a Maverick?

 
What is Hydroboost?

Most cars that are equipped with "power" brakes(including '75-'77 Mavericks and Comets with this option) have a round canister between the master cylinder and the firewall that is connected to engine vacuum to assist the driver in applying the brakes, reducing pedal effort. Hydroboost instead uses pressure from the power steering pump to provide the assist. The way it works is very similar to the way the factory Maverick/Comet power steering works. When you press the pedal, a valve opens to let in the hydraulic fluid which provides the assist. The system only provides boost as needed...otherwise it just completes the circuit for the power steering fluid to go steering control valve and ultimately back to the pump.
It turns out I have been using a Hydroboost equipped vehicle for years...my 1995 GMC Safari van is equipped with it as are newer Mustangs, Dodge Rams with the Cummins Turbo Diesel, Ford SuperDuty Series trucks and all Hummers. Hydroboost has actually been around for years, and there were Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles so equipped in the '70s and '80s...

Vacuum Booster

Standard Vacuum Brake Booster


Standard Vanco Hydroboost

Hydroboost Setup


 
Why Hydroboost?
Standard Vanco Hydroboost

Typical Hydroboost Booster


Standard Vanco Hydroboost

Exploded View


Most people don't even have power brakes on their Maverick/Comet in the first place, but I am obsessed with making my Maverick as fun and comfortable to drive as possible. Since my '72 Grabber was built before Ford offered power brakes on Mavericks, I had already upgraded to a '77 power brake system and front discs. Then in the fall of 2003 I decided to install a Stainless Steel Brake Corporation rear disc brake kit. At that time I upgraded to a '76 Corvette master cylinder that was set up for front and rear discs. This is when I discovered that although front and rear discs are good for nice straight stops, the higher line pressure necessary make for a less than fully pleasing braking experience. In fact, now it felt like the Mav had no power brakes at all. Not a big deal since I had driven cars with manual brakes before, but still...there had to be a better way...Could Hydroboost be it?
As I researched Hydroboost, I discovered that one of the benefits is that brake line pressures of 2500 psi to 3500 psi can be achieved, where vacuum boosters can muster only 800 psi - 1000 psi. This would solve the hard pedal problem that I have been experiencing, and this is probably why Ford used these on vehicles that had four wheel disc brakes. This conversion would also be a benefit in cars equipped with radical cams that don't provide enough vacuum to power the booster(not a problem that I have at the moment... ;) ). Another interesting benefit is that the booster unit(the one I am using at least) is only 4 inches in diameter, saving space under the hood. In my case the addition of EFI had really caused a space crunch. Maybe this would give me more room to get to the driver's side valve cover without having to take the whole damn upper intake off? Hmmm...

Gathering Parts

In my further research on the 'Net, I found a place called Vanco Power Brake Supply in California. This company has been working with and building power braking systems since 1956 and had lots of experience with building custom systems for cars...custom systems? My kind of place! :)
A couple of emails and phone calls later to Van himself, I had the information I needed. It turns out that 1975-1982 Granadas and Monarchs (and the '77-'80 Lincoln Versailles) had an optional Hydroboost system available! This is very cool. Granadas, Monarchs and Mavericks are verrrry closely related in many ways. In this case the most important similarity is the power steering system, which is virtually identical to the Maverick system. This goes a very long way as far as making this a rather easy conversion. I now know that this type of power steering and a Hydroboost system will play nice together...(most Hydroboost systems are installed on vehicles with integrated power steering, where the boost is actually in the steering gear.)
I soon discover that stock replacement parts for the Monarch are available from PartsAmerica. I order the 4 high pressure hoses and the Hydroboost power steering pump. In theory, the stock Maverick pump would work, but the Hydroboost pump has two ports for return lines. It is possible to put a "T" in the existing return line, but Van tells me that this reduces flow, which can cause problems. I also suspect that this pump may have a higher flow output than the one I have since it was designed with Hydroboost in mind.
Although I could have taken a cheaper way out, I decided to purchace a rebuilt Hydroboost unit from Vanco since the price includes the custom bracket that will be necessary to make everything bolt up to the firewall. Unfortunately, although the Hydroboost unit is a lot smaller in diameter to the vacuum setup, it is nearly identical in length. This means that the funny angle at which the current master cylinder/booster are mounted will have to be duplicated for the Hydroboost to fit. "No problem", Van tells me. Normally this would also include custom made hoses and a new master cylinder, but I already have the nearly identical master cylinder he supplies and I was able to get stock replacement hoses.
I start removing the master cylinder and power booster...

Power steering pump with two return ports

Pump with two return ports
(Cardone 208619 $68.28 w/$10.00 core)


Pressure line(Hydroboost to control valve, control valve end)

Hydroboost to control valve (control valve end)
(Powercraft 70723 $20.99/ACDELCO 36P14075 $29.79)
Pressure line(Hydroboost to control valve, Hydroboost end)

Hydroboost to control valve (Hydroboost end)
(Powercraft 70725 or 80032 $17.99/ACDELCO 36P14096 $23.99)
Pressure line(Pump to hydroboost, pump end

Pump to Hydroboost (Pump end)
(Powercraft 70721 $19.99/ACDELCO 36P14075 $29.79)
   
Standard Vanco Hydroboost

Pump to Hydroboost (Hydroboost end)
(Powercraft 70724 $15.99/ACDELCO 36P14074 $26.79)
Remanufactured Hydroboost Unit

Remanufactured Hydroboost Unit
(Cardone 527078 $152.79-$35.00 core charge)
   
 


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