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Old 08-12-2016, 09:53 AM   #1
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Diesel pickup power steering & brakes

A power steering hose recently had an O Ring pop, and all the fluid in my power steering drained out of my 2003 F250 7.3 diesel. With 134K miles, I went ahead and replaced the steering gearbox and the power steering pump as they just cost $130 and $61 respectively.

Diesel trucks and even some gas powered cars (V-8 Mustangs) don't have sufficient vacuum to run a conventional power brake system. They use a HydroBoost pump that works off the power steering pump to power the brakes. Lose the power steering and you quickly lose the ability to brake.

Come to find out, any vehicle with HydroBoost really needs the power steering/brake system fluid changed about every 35,000 miles. It's not very difficult to do, either.

After I changed the power steering box and power steering pump, I had to bleed the air out of the system, which took two people 10 minutes.

You have no idea how good my brakes now work, and it takes very little effort to stop. And the new steering box took all the play out of my steering wheel--and the truck with new Michelins drives like new.

The reason I'm posting this is that anyone towing a travel trailer or fifth wheel trailer needs to maintain their steering and brakes in perfect working order. Have you replaced your power steering fluids recently?
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Old 08-12-2016, 11:11 AM   #2
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How does someone identify if they have HydroBoost?
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Old 08-12-2016, 11:20 AM   #3
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How does someone identify if they have HydroBoost?
Look at the brake master cylinder. you will either find a power brake booster (Pancake looking drum) in between the master cylinder and the firewall or you will find no booster. If you find no booster, You will notice hard lines running from the master cylinder to the power steering system.
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Old 08-12-2016, 11:49 AM   #4
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I never knew that. I am nearing 200,000 miles so its probably time to check that out.😁😁
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Old 08-13-2016, 06:05 AM   #5
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Diesel engines don't produce any vacuum. Since there is no throttle plate to cause a vacuum some of the older diesel trucks have a vacuum pump on them for the brakes.
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Old 08-14-2016, 03:19 PM   #6
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HydroBoost is manufactured by Bendix, and it's on virtually all diesel pickups. Even some modern high performance gas powered cars like a Mustang GT have Hydroboost to maintain braking.

The deal is that if your engine quits, there's another 3-4 braking stops left in the Hydroboost system before there's no power assist. It's a safety issue. After you go through all the stops, there's no way you're going to easily stop the truck--much less the truck with a heavy trailer behind you.

Since steering boxes have metal to metal wear, their fluid will often be full of metal shavings. That's why HydroBoost equipped vehicles need periodic flushing.
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Old 08-14-2016, 03:32 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
HydroBoost is manufactured by Bendix, and it's on virtually all diesel pickups. Even some modern high performance gas powered cars like a Mustang GT have Hydroboost to maintain braking.

The deal is that if your engine quits, there's another 3-4 braking stops left in the Hydroboost system before there's no power assist. It's a safety issue. After you go through all the stops, there's no way you're going to easily stop the truck--much less the truck with a heavy trailer behind you.

Since steering boxes have metal to metal wear, their fluid will often be full of metal shavings. That's why HydroBoost equipped vehicles need periodic flushing.
I don't know about your setup, but the brakes on my trailer will stop both the trailer and the truck. Maybe you should check your trailer brakes.
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Old 08-18-2016, 06:40 PM   #8
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I owned a lot of Fords with vacuum pumps over the years... we found that if you pulled the vacuum line out of the power booster once a year and allowed the vacuum pump to draw up 2-3 table spoons of oil annually the pump would not only run better but last longer... remember to put a rag around the pump... once that oil hits the pump it will discharge it out the vents/discharge.... and it looks nasty...

BTW all vacuum and hydro boost brake systems are designed to give you 2-3 power stops with the vacuum/power stored in the unit if there is an engine failure (it shuts down)....during testing of these units by the manufacturer/re-builder, they check to make sure that this safety function works as required...
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