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Old 06-29-2013, 08:46 AM   #1
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Hydroboost brake upgrade question...

I have a 2006 6.0 EB with what I think is damn near every upgrade that SMB offered the original purchaser at that time. Mobi (its name) weighs in at a slight 11k lbs and has the stopping power of mile long freight train. I just replaced the entire braking system, and while having this done (Johns 4x4 in boulder) the mgr of the biz figured out that I have no hydroboost, only a vacuum boost, and is recommending that I go a bit further in my repair and that I will see substantial gains in braking power. Makes sense to me, but wanted to check in with the crew here at smbforum, and get your take. Just read ETBADGER's post about his upgrade, but have to say I am not very technically proficient. That said I am putting about 60k a year on this bad boy and always have a 12 foot enclosed trailer on the rear...
The question here: after 3k in totally new rotors/calipers all around (2 were failing), which did improve braking power slightly, is it worth another 900, to upgrade from vacuum boost to hydroboost? Will the increase be that substantial.
Opinions appreciated...
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:16 AM   #2
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Re: Hydroboost brake upgrade question...

My first question would be - does the trailer have working brakes?

I don't believe it would be a significant improvement as long as everything you have now is working correctly. Have someone put a brake fluid pressure gauge on your brakes at the brake calipers (attached at the bleeder port) and see what kind of pressures you are seeing, front and back. If you are not getting a minimum of 1000 Psi and hopefully close to 1250 Psi then you have a problem.

Brake boosters, whether vacuum or hydro only assist you in pushing in the master cylinder and anyone strong enough should be able to apply the same pressure - the key is fluid pressure.
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:11 AM   #3
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Re: Hydroboost brake upgrade question...

You will see higher brake line pressure with hydroboost. Will it help? Is some situations yes.

But what do you have for brake pads now? What 4x4 system do you have? Before going to hydroboost, you should really make sure you have the most pad swept area you can stuff in your wheels. Because without improving this first, higher line pressures will make your pads get too hot faster.

Also, when do you fill like you need more brakes? All this time? Only after coming down a steep pass?

One big deficiency of the diesels is the lack of engine braking, especially compared to the V10. Even if I'm pulling 15,000 pounds, I rarely tough my brakes coming down a grade, so they are nice and cool when I really need them. With how many miles you put on, I would really recommend an exhaust brake. It will keep your service brakes cool so they will be more useful when you need them, and they'll much longer!

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Old 06-29-2013, 10:22 AM   #4
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Re: Hydroboost brake upgrade question...

Also, what pads are you running?
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Old 06-29-2013, 10:46 PM   #5
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Re: Hydroboost brake upgrade question...

I know it's expensive but going with a F-550 brake system (or similar) would probably be better. I'd like to go that way but I'd have to change to 17 or larger rims and my trailer tires match my van, that means 8 tires and wheel plus the cost of the upgraded system. Yikes! My F-550 work truck weighs in close to my van and the stopping difference is way better in the 550.
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Old 06-30-2013, 07:09 AM   #6
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Re: Hydroboost brake upgrade question...

Plus one here on the Jake brake. I don't have any experience with exhaust brakes on vans but I've driven quite a few rigs with and without Jake brakes. They are great for descending passes. I rarely touch the brakes coming down 4-6% down grades with the Jake system in the Volvo I'm driving at work.

If you have the option of tying it in with your cruise control do that as well. The Jake on my work truck will keep me within 3mph of whatever speed I have set on the cruise on the descents. That's a nice feature when a trooper with a radar gun is taking pictures of everyone at the bottom of a hill.
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Old 06-30-2013, 12:48 PM   #7
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Re: Hydroboost brake upgrade question...

I added the F550 brakes a couple years ago and it really feels like it should. I have 17 x 35" Tires and the van weighs in at about 10,000 lbs. I think the $2000 plus for the conversion was worth it. A panic stop with the old brakes was really SCARY. I have also considered adding the hydroboost to get it even better but it's down the list of upgrades.

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Old 06-30-2013, 11:25 PM   #8
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Re: Hydroboost brake upgrade question...

I switched to Hydroboost when I switched to the F550 front axle. Big difference in Braking force and distance but also went to 15in rotors and bigger calipers but happy with everything. I do not know if just switching to hydroboost would be a big difference. Maybe braking charts with E350 Gas Vs Diesel would show the difference?
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Old 07-01-2013, 03:28 AM   #9
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Hydroboost brake upgrade question...

What Is involved in adding 550 brakes?

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Old 07-01-2013, 09:12 AM   #10
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Re: Hydroboost brake upgrade question...

You need to replace the steering knuckles, hubs, calipers, and rotors, also a new brake line needs to be fabricated for the change in calipers. I have photo's somewhere. If I was to do it again I'd add the Dynatrac rebuildable ball joints.

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