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Captain Obvious

How Do I hate Rebuilt Components? Brake Booster

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Let me count the ways.  :(

So I bought a rebuilt brake booster from RockAuto:
A-1 CARDONE - 535104 (53-5104) - Power Brake Booster $84.79 + $25.00 core = $109.79

I open the box and it's unpainted bare metal, and the metal that is exposed is deeply pitted. This thing was apparently a boat anchory rusty mess that they bead blasted back to "shiny". It's clear that someone sent in their completely tired worn out old dead booster as a core. There are also clear signs of physical abuse. Almost all of the clamshell retainer catches are split open and the case is dented where the master cylinder mounts. I guess I should expect some of that... As long as the pits don't go all the way through and split catch tabs still allow the clamshell halves to seal, I should get over it, right?

So I'm handling the unit and it feels slippery on the outside. Feels "silicone-ish"? I'm thinking I just clean it up and throw a quick coat of paint on it. I sprayed and cleaned and wiped and cleaned and sprayed and wiped... Then I sprayed a coat of rattle can black that instantly fish-eyed like I've never seen before. It's like a thousand guppies staring back at me. It's like someone dipped this thing in liquid teflon. Don't care anymore. It's mostly covered.

Bolt it into the car and while putting the master cylinder back into place I notice that the output shaft looks shorter than my original boosted. Sure enough, the shaft on my original booster sticks out about a quarter of an inch longer than the rebuild. Try to adjust the shaft length and it's frozen solid. Won't budge. Whatever... So my pedal engagement location will be a little different. I'll re-learn the new position.

Put the master cylinder in place and pull out of the garage. The pedal goes almost all the way to the floor before I get any braking action, and when I finally do get any action, there is no modulation. It's almost digital... Either coasting, or face through the windshield. No in-between.

Now for those of you who have been through this before, you already know where this is going, but I've never been here before. So, I pry the seal retainer out and remove the (rusty pitted) output shaft. Lots and lots of silicone grease, but you guessed it... no reaction disk. Can't see it in there anywhere and can't feel it. So I take the whole thing back off the car and shake the crap out of it for a frustratingly long time until the reaction disk finally falls out the hole.

Put the reaction disk back into place and put the booster back in the car. It works and will get me to my show this weekend, but I think I'm going to build some fixturing to take my old one apart. My old one is clean, un-dented, with the retaining clips intact. I think I'm going to investigate swapping over all the new rubber components from this rebuilt unit over to my old booster. Essentially paying $100 for a "rebuild kit" that I can apply to my original booster?

Unpainted, greasy, dented, case with snapped retainers. Rusty components where rubber seals are supposed to seal. Internals not assembled properly.

I hate rebuilt components... Starters, alternators, brake calipers, master cylinders, brake boosters. They all seem to be done by people who don't get paid enough to care what they're doing. Sheesh. Stark reminder of why I do my own work. Rant over.  :facepalm:

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That's a good idea on using the internals from the reman. I found booster diaphragms online  from several vendors but I would have to buy a minimum of 1000 and that would take a while to sell off to other Z owners! None of the booster rebuilders want to sell the internals to a DIY'er

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I was so frustrated by this booster that I didn't take photos of the entire process, but here are a couple. This is the front of the booster before I painted it. You can see the pitting. There is also a nice slip-joint pliers shaped dent at about 2:00  :
P1100315_zpsutknnrhr.jpg

Here's a pic of the snapped retainer loops. You can tell from how far those busted remains are twisted in towards the center that they wouldn't even fit past the dents in the other side of the shell. In other words... They bent those tabs in AFTER they put the two halves of the shell together. Because they certainly couldn't have gotten the two halves of the shell together in the first place with those retainers bent over like that. Nice to see thier blue "passed inspection" paint mark right next to the mangled metal:
P1100314_zpsqggedsgs.jpg

Here's a pic of the output shaft when I pulled it out. Their training manual says to "apply a small amount of silicone grease" to the seal before installing it:
P1100323_zpscrpxgyiu.jpg

Charles, Next chance I get, I'm going to follow your lead and build some fixturing to take my old booster apart. Or crush it trying.

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That Sucks about the reman booster.  I also got a booster from RockAuto but mine was just fine.  I still like them even though they have sent me wrong parts before.  I've had no problem returning them.   Makes me wonder though, if you got the core I sent in from my parts car?   I was surprised they even accepted it as a viable core.  :unsure:

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After seeing all your other lathe work I am sure you will come up with something that works really good. Maybe something with a threaded socket that takes threaded pipe for leverage. NPT pipe is readily available at Depot and Lowes in various lengths...

23 minutes ago, Captain Obvious said:

Or crush it trying.

If necessary!

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Seems like it's time for somebody to develop the "power brake booster upgrade".  Find a booster with the firewall bolt pattern and rubber seal diameter and the rest can probably be made to work.  The MC could be the one that came with the booster, the hard lines would probably fit.  Diameter might be off but might not be that noticeable.  The attachment to the pedal might just be a clevis swap.  Who knows.  Seems like many people are getting the wrong bolt pattern or damaged parts anyway.

I picked an example but it might not be the best, only Cardone makes a rebuilt on Rockauto.  But the right chose could probably have wrecking yards full of cheap replacements.  The MC is a bit odd looking too.

Nissan booster.PNG

oo Nissan boosters.PNG

goofy mc.PNG

Edited by Zed Head

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Well if you could come up with a later model that would work and not have terrible aesthetics that might improve the biggest weakness of the Z master cylinder in my opinion, and that is leaking into the booster!

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Just went thru this on the 72. Tried the Z car Depot booster . I guess I was the one that got to discover they welded on the stud bracket incorrectly. This is supposedly fixed so it should be a good NEW replacement . I sent mine to a brake booster repair shop where it was rebuilt . I had already to cosmetics so don't know what they would have done as far as that goes. Booster does work good thougj


Sent from my iPhone using Classic Zcar Club

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wow those look terrible. I got a recent one that looks brand new but it was NOT a cardone, wish I could remember, but the guy there said they were NOT reman, but rather NOS that were refurbished or something like that. It did look new, only issue was the vacuum port was 180 degrees out of where it should have been.

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found it, power brake exchange got it from autozone, but you can buy direct, talk to them 1st etc... get the details on what you will be getting.

http://www.autozone.com/brakes-and-traction-control/brake-power-booster/power-brake-exchange-brake-power-booster/322592_131640_0_212659/?checkfit=true

Edited by Dave WM
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Wow Granny, that looks significantly worse than mine. Is that one pit on the vacuum port a rusted hole completely through? I wouldn't have paid for mine if I had seen it beforehand, and if I were to see yours beforehand, I might have thrown up right there on the counter in the parts store. Woof.

So I put a couple miles on the car and it works. Doesn't hold vacuum for long after you shut off the motor, but I'm supposed to be headed to a car show this Saturday and it should get me there and back. I'll mess with taking my old one apart and swapping the seals into it some time after the pressure is off.

Charles, I'm not sure the lathe will come in handy in building a device to take the clamshell apart, but the lathe will certainly be the perfect machine to reproduce one of these in stainless:
P1100328_zpsrzvoqqgh.jpg

Making a new one of those that won't rust and pit like the original is certainly on my list while I've got the patient on the table!

 

 

Edited by Captain Obvious

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Zedhead, I spent a couple cycles looking for an alternate booster from a different car that I could adapt to the Z, but I was pressed for time and didn't spend a lot of effort on it. The first big hurdle I encountered was that the booster for the Z does not have the input shaft location centered between the mounting stud locations. It's closer to the bottom than the top and seems to be unusual due to that.

Things like the size and location of the vacuum port is no problem, but the mounting to the firewall is more difficult to deal with.

Edited by Captain Obvious
Had my directions swapped

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Capt. O

What about the 10" booster option from a 79-81 ZX?   Did you consider that, Zcar Depot has it available.

I know originality is not a huge concern on your car.  Looking at the cardone boosters, I would want a better option.

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2 hours ago, Captain Obvious said:

 The first big hurdle I encountered was that the booster for the Z does not have the input shaft location centered between the mounting stud locations. It's closer to the top than the bottom and seems to be unusual due to that.

I see.  Some of the Rockauto pictures seem to be true to the part, where you can see the offset.  Here's the Prior brand image. Out of Stock, of course.  Edit - one more picture.

1978 master vac.PNG

1978 master vac 2.PNG

Edited by Zed Head

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CO, yes that rust hole goes all the way through, it would have cost me more to ship back then throw it out so I mounted it and it works but I have to have the hose clamp snug up against the face of the booster.  I would install modern brake booster at the drop of a hat, wishing you guys luck on your hunt.

 

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I didn't consider the 81ZX booster as I didn't see much of an advantage replacing one difficult to find booster with another difficult to find similar priced booster. The real trick, as Zedhead suggested, is to find a booster with the same firewall bolt pattern and the rest can probably be made to work. That's what I spent a little time on, but didn't turn up anything.

I don't even think it needs to be the same diameter. The stock booster on my 280 was the 8 1/2 inch version and I think an inch or two smaller would be fine. I might actually even prefer it. An inch or two larger (as evidenced by the ZX booster "upgrades") works as well. Just a softer pedal I assume.

I'm pretty much positive that there is a good alternative out there, but finding it without dimensioned drawings from the manufacturers is hunt and peck.

I'd be happy to be part of the team that does the investigative work into an alternative and so far, the asymmetric input shaft compared to the mounting holes has been a non-starter for me.

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4 hours ago, grannyknot said:

yes that rust hole goes all the way through, I have to have the hose clamp snug up against the face of the booster.

Woof. And I thought mine was ugly.

How can they sell that with a straight face???

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I just took a quick look at my booster, and the input shaft is actually closer to the bottom than the top. Had the direction of the offset wrong.

Doesn't really matter since the clamshell can be assembled in many different positions, but I did edit and fix that above.

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Thanks for the pic. So it looks like the sticker is just centered on the top of the booster. I can do that!

Really looking forward to this coming spring after all the salt is off the roads. I've made a couple improvements and customizations this off season that I'm anxious to test!

 

 

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Providing closure to this project. My power brakes work again, and the booster holds vacuum overnight, so I know it's leak-tight.

I put my sticker on, and I'm calling the project officially "done". Even though I'm getting pretty good at it, here's to hoping I don't have to open one of these things up ever again:
P1110874_zpsl7b9j7ya.jpg

I sure wish I had a source for the internal rubber parts that wasn't simply to buy a "rebuilt" unit. I know they're putting new rubber parts in the rebuilds, so I know they're available. Just not available to me without buying a whole unit!

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I found a source for the diaphragms a couple of years ago but I would have to have bought a 1000 units. They weren't very expensive but I didn't figure I could ever get rid of even half that so I didn't do it.

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