1986 GN brake upgrade ?

bgndobe

86 GN
The brake system on my car is stock. I have read somewhere here that the system is known to just stop working. I am starting to notice mine is acting up....(real hard to push pedal sometimes......then when the brakes finally do grab.......they grab real hard). Other times they work fine.
Can someone point me in the right direction where to find the complete upgraded master cylinder ?
My memory sucks......and cannot find it.
Bottm line is I want to switch it over to the way I have seen most others here do.
Thanks so much in advance.
Chris
 

Bescurred

BOOSTED SHAMU v2.0
A few of the vendors sell a kit that you can swap out the powermaster for a vacuum setup...is that what your talking about. Check around I know kirbans use to sell em.
 

bgndobe

86 GN
I appologize in advance for my lack of in-depth knowledge.
Is that what I want to do ? Do I want to convert it to vaccuum ?
I did search ebay (just to get ideas as to what is "for sale" out there) .......and I see a lot of new Master Cylinders for sale.
Is that the way most of you are going ? Should I be looking in that direction ?
Thanks again.
 

Shawn N

The ghost of NRH
Are you wanting advice to fix the powermaster or get rid of it all together and go to a vacuum type setup?
 

bgndobe

86 GN
I guess I just want to do whatever is the norm. I know that the brake systems in these cars atart to go over time.
I guess I'd rather just replace to a new master cylinder..........if that's what the "common" problem is that happens to these cars over time.
I don't know where I got the vaccuum system in my head................I figured that is what we are "supposed" to convert to over time.
IDK.......lol.......understatement there huh ?
What does most other GN owners do ? Just upgrade the existing system ?
 
The previous owner converted my GN to a vacuum system and gave me all the PowerMaster parts. I guess they break down a lot? I don't drive the car a lot but the brakes feel weird to me and aren't like the power brakes in my truck.
 

GNGAL

86 GN T-Top
I guess I'd rather just replace to a new master cylinder..........if that's what the "common" problem is ...


The most common and least expensive thing to do is convert it to vacuum setup.

I just did the conversion on my GN. There are GREAT step by step instructions on gnttype.org. Its easy to do... just a few pesky brake bolts.

Buy a Monte Carlo vac brake set up.
Definitely check out this websites vendors for the part.... but I heard people have also bought them from local auto parts store. Less than $200.

You will also need the monte carlo brake pedal... can be found online or local junk yard.

Bleed the brakes when ur done and ur ready to roll :)




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Shawn N

The ghost of NRH
I guess I just want to do whatever is the norm. I know that the brake systems in these cars atart to go over time.
I guess I'd rather just replace to a new master cylinder..........if that's what the "common" problem is that happens to these cars over time.
I don't know where I got the vaccuum system in my head................I figured that is what we are "supposed" to convert to over time.
IDK.......lol.......understatement there huh ?
What does most other GN owners do ? Just upgrade the existing system ?
The powermaster is a good brake system when it works the way it's supposed to. It is however an expensive system to maintain and few places can fix them right. I've seen both sides of the coin with some owners with no problems and others with nothing but problems. If you choose to keep it learn the thing inside and out to repair it yourself.
 
I remember buying stainless lines from some vendor on here.. that along with pads/rotors and some good fluid should help too. especially if its swapped to vacuum.
 

scojack_2001

Livin' Like A Refugee
Just go to the parts store and get a master cylinder/brake booster setup for a 87-88 Monte Carlo SS. Will bolt right on. May need to drill the brake pedal or swap it with a base Regal unit. Also will need vacuum line and a source as well. Usually the aluminum vac block on top of the TB.
 

Roger

Active Member
I believe the early 86 had hydroboost. This would make a hydroboost conversion an original upgrade. I got a hydroboost off an 85 & it works much better than the PM (did have it rebuilt - more $). It was a pricey upgrade, however I've seen them listed for about the same as the vacuum kits. I tried vacuum & wasn't happy with it, however, I have local buddies who are pleased.
 

TexasT

Texas, Where are you from
I believe the early 86 had hydroboost. This would make a hydroboost conversion an original upgrade. I got a hydroboost off an 85 & it works much better than the PM (did have it rebuilt - more $). It was a pricey upgrade, however I've seen them listed for about the same as the vacuum kits. I tried vacuum & wasn't happy with it, however, I have local buddies who are pleased.

The powermaster was actually started at the end of '85. Hydroboost in 84 and beginning of 85 until powermaster was phased in.

I will concur that my hydroboost swap is head and shoulders above the powermaster. We all know vacuum works too. Just seemed like a harder swap to me in my planning stage as it required mods or a swap to the pedal.



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TLIMITED

I want all the Buick's
I used the larger dual diaphram unit that fits earlier Chev.Caprice and it works as good or better than the powermaster.Bought it at Oreileys for around $120.00.
 

captndave737

Well-Known Member
I wouldn't touch a powermaster with a 10 foot pole. I almost wrecked in a parking garage using a rebuilt powermaster from Kirbans that was 3 months old. This was after driving around Chicago for a few days in traffic. The thing just crapped out just like the original had only quicker.

I replaced it with a vacuum system in the garage at night but the Hydroboost is a far better system, just much more braking power. I had one for years before going back to the powermaster because i had been lead to believe they had worked out the reliability problems, NOT.

The Hydroboost is better than either a perfectly functioning Powermaster or vacuum system. Harder to install but well worth it.
 

dnoel

Member
Vacuum is the quickest, easiest and cheapest to do! Gnttype has a great how to. Check the marketplace on here, someone should have a vacuum pedal. I went to the part store and bought a refurbished booster and M/C for a Monte SS.


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sscamino

Member
Heres the total s-10 brake conversion with Summit Drilled and slotted Rotors(rotors are 10.82 not 11.00 across like everyone thinks)
driver
driver
 
H

Heisenberg

Guest
Why fix it if it ain't (really) broke?

If the pedal is hard on occasion - try an relatively inexpensive accumulator ball on your PM.
Do a fluid change on the PM as well at the same time.

Unless the below has already been done - think about:
Do your basic front caliper rebuild or replacement, with some fresh pads and decent rotors.
Replace the 25 year old rubber brake lines on front with stainless braided.

The rears should always be looked at for leaking brake cylinders or what have you.
freshen those up with some S-10 cylinders and stock replacement shoes - maybe a cheap set of aluminum drums while you're at it
Same for replacing the rear lines.

You can do all this in parts, without taking the car offline for long period of time.
The cost for that basic - round the horn brake job - is well within a hobbyist budget.
And you'll have the basic brake system in top form for if you decide you have to - or want to - replace the PM.

Me - I'd do HydroBoost swap before I did vacuum - uses same brake pedal as your PM's - but that's just my 2 pennies worth.
 

Ken Adams

Member
I used the larger dual diaphram unit that fits earlier Chev.Caprice and it works as good or better than the powermaster.Bought it at Oreileys for around $120.00.
Could you share the part number for the Caprice dual diaphram unit? Is this unit a 9" or 11"?
 
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