View Full Version : Hydraboost mod
12-14-2013, 12:44 PM
Has anyone added a hydraboost power brake system to a Little Bird? I was checking a friend's street rod and the system looks to be small enough to instal and keep the battery in stock location.
12-15-2013, 09:28 PM
Joe, if it's an electric hydraboost, I am opposed to it. Buick Reatta had the Teves ABS system from Germany. If you search the AACA or the net, you will find that system caused many deaths and terrible accidents:
Accounts included folks who stood on the brake pedal with NO slowing down.
Many Teves owners stripped that system off and retrofit Camaro vacuum boosters. Others spent two grand for brand new Teves components just to find they failed early as well.
I come from an electrical background and normally I would rave about any electrical advancement. This is different and I would not have it on my car or subject my family members' lives to it.
I know Classic Car power brakes are not easy to retrofit and I believe your car needs power brakes in today's traffic. If you need to relocate the battery to the trunk to get power brakes, that is a small concession. You should do it. I retrofit Granada spindles and disk brakes on my '55 Ford Customline. I urge Classic Bird owners to do the same.
Joe, it is possible to fabricate a firewall booster bracket on an angle. That would raise the booster and move it toward the fender. Yes, the battery is in the way but after it is moved, a conventional vacuum power brake system with a dual master cylinder and proportioning valve can and should be used. - Dave
12-15-2013, 10:29 PM
Joe - I'm a Squarebirder but thought I would offer this idea.
I guess you are trying to add power brakes to a "Little Bird" that did not originally have power brakes?
Use these on the old British cars I work on because many of those cars did not originally have power brakes. Maybe it would fit in front of the battery like the original ones on the "Little Birds"?
We probably have more room in the Squarebird under the dash but have you considered installing a Kelsy Hayes brake booster under the dash? Guess you would have to install the whole brake pedal bracket etc. That's where Ford put the booster on the Squarebird that had air conditioning - there wasn't room next to the evaporator box on the firewall. There was finally a bracket to extend the master cyl and booster out to clear the box but I can see that type bracket wouldn't work on the "Little Birds" with the battery location.
Good luck - I went through converting my Squarebird to front disc's 10 + years ago so know how problematic it can be to retrofit these old cars.........
12-16-2013, 10:42 PM
I changed my 57 to disk brakes several years ago and have the stock fender mounted Midland booster which felt like it added very little boost. I now have the booster out of the system and the brakes work very good but of course the pedal effort is a bit high. The system my buddy used was from a GM truck which I think he said was the same as used on GM diesel cars and used hyd pressure from the power steering pump. I will try and find a part number or picture to post.
12-17-2013, 02:10 PM
I know the one you are speaking of Joe - my brother-in-law has that system on his 1988? GMC 2500.
Is it possible that your original booster is just bad? I've had this fellow rebuild 2 Bendix boosters for me with great results. Maybe he would also know of a retrofit that would provide more boost for the discs than the original.
12-17-2013, 08:58 PM
I'm sure the booster was not working at its best, but now it is completely disconnected. The GM hydraboost system has given my friend excellent brakes. He also had several of the Bendix systems on cars over the years and highly recommended switching. My brakes are fine now, just a bit high on the pedal effort. I want to improve on that since the car will be given to my daughter (after I am done having fun with it) and I want to give it a more modern car feel with light pedal effort.
There really isn't much room to work with and when I saw the master and booster unit I was thinking there will be enough room and was hoping someone had already converted. My buddy lives in OH and I have moved to FL, so taking the car to his house to do some quick measuring isn't possible. I will have to take several pictures and get the measurements from him and then we can decide.
Thanks for the help
12-17-2013, 09:12 PM
No problem at all - wish I could have "really" helped.
Hopefully you'll be able to re-create your friends set-up. At least you have one known example to draw from.
Years ago when I was doing the front disc conversion on my '60 everyone said it was easy but as soon as I asked for pictures of their completed system so I could copy it - I would never hear back from them again.
Good luck on it...
(your daughter is a lucky gal)
as it turns out I inherited my car from my Dad who bought it new back in 1960 :D
12-18-2013, 09:15 AM
Home from vacation last night - I just measured the left to right area and there is 5.25" between the battery heat shield and the left valve cover! Not enough room to the engine so relocating the battery won't help either.
It was worth a shot - thanks for everyone's help.
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