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Old 03-17-2015, 07:10 PM   #1
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Power Brake Vacuum Assist Failure on Diesel Vehicles

Ford diesel owners should know about this. You have a mechanical vacuum pump that is providing the assist to operate your brakes. Mine just catastrophically failed @ 11 years / 80K miles. When the failure is immediate like mine you will have these 2 symptoms: A new noise emanating from under the hood drivers side (probably the impeller vane pieces rattling around in the housing) and a very hard brake pedal with very little braking action unless you press really, really hard. Really HARD! On the 6.0 the pump is a $250 item and the radiator needs to be pulled in order to R&R it to the tune of $450 labor. + plus a few $'s for the extra 3 miles on my 7 mile AAA tow. I don't know the failure rate but if you are in there for other reasons it might be a good idea to replace it after the 10 year mark. This could have been a very hairy experience on Banner or Montezuma grade here in San Diego county. The van reliability for me has now reached a point where I will be upgrading to the AAA Plus service when I can so I can get a 100 mile tow.
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Old 03-17-2015, 08:43 PM   #2
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Re: Power Brake Vacuum Assist Failure on Diesel Vehicles

Happen to me in my 2007 SMB 6.0 last year with 70,000 miles on it. Was not all that fun because I was coming down a grade out of Bend from being up in the Cascades. Cost me $650.00 to have it fixed by the Ford Dealer.
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Old 03-17-2015, 09:06 PM   #3
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Re: Power Brake Vacuum Assist Failure on Diesel Vehicles

Same here on the way to the the way to Valley of Fire group meet. The Ford dealership in Las Vegas burned me for over a thousand bucks.
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Old 03-17-2015, 09:19 PM   #4
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Re: Power Brake Vacuum Assist Failure on Diesel Vehicles

I just replaced the vacuum pump on my van at 115k miles last week.

Never had a problem, but know this can be a failure point and after 10 years and more than 100k figured it was time.

Still love the SMB, but yipes these things are expensive to maintain.

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Old 03-17-2015, 09:24 PM   #5
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Re: Power Brake Vacuum Assist Failure on Diesel Vehicles

Mine failed at 5 years 3 months, about 50K miles. Well, mostly failed...it would work once and then not again until the engine ran for a minute or two without the brakes being applied.

I got a Dorman replacement for about $112 + shipping from RockAuto.com. I don't think it's quite as good as the OEM part. Next time, I'm going with OEM.

The pump only has 3 bolts holding it to the block, but the trick is getting to those three bolts.

I replaced mine without having to remove the radiator or fan shroud, but I did have to Dremel a chunk off one of the fins of the shroud.

R&R took several hours, with the hardest part getting the 2nd and 3rd bolts to go in the holes.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:40 PM   #6
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Re: Power Brake Vacuum Assist Failure on Diesel Vehicles

I worry about backcountry failure. Would be nice to be able to have an electric backup just to get you to a dealer or home. Seems somebody had mentioned this in the past...maybe me.
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Old 03-17-2015, 11:50 PM   #7
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Re: Power Brake Vacuum Assist Failure on Diesel Vehicles

Are there detectible symptoms which could indicate an impending failure?
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Old 03-18-2015, 05:39 AM   #8
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Re: Power Brake Vacuum Assist Failure on Diesel Vehicles

Symptoms include a banging noise (the inside of the pump is banging as the diaphragm is deteriorating?) and the fact that you have to stand on the brake peddle to get the vehicle to stop. I have replace the vacuum pump on my 7.3L PSD twice. So that's 3 it when through. Mine was relocated to just below the firewall probably by Auragen when they installed the 5Kw AC generator. So it is very easily accessible. I can take a picture if you would like. Is relocation an option for you guys?
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Old 03-18-2015, 07:09 AM   #9
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Re: Power Brake Vacuum Assist Failure on Diesel Vehicles

Mine went out around 110,000. No warning signs. You could replace with a hydro-boost system from the E-450.

viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4464&hilit=hydroboost
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Old 03-18-2015, 09:08 AM   #10
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Re: Power Brake Vacuum Assist Failure on Diesel Vehicles

Dang, I just had my radiator out at 90,000 as part of an EGR delete. I might have stuck a new brake vacuum on there just for piece of mind. But the Badger hydro-assist mod is interesting. Thanks for posting that link. Need that guy to come back to the forum.
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