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Old 07-05-2011, 12:53 PM
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Vacuum pump problems

I have a 2003 PS Supter duty Van. I was up in Northern Michigan this weekend when my brakes started to fail. Felt like I was pushing againt a wall and had minimal stopping ability. Then it would go back to its normal squishy feel. I Tee'd a mytyvac to the brake booster line since I had one on hand and monitored the vacuum while driving. It rarely got above 10psi of vacuum. When I applied the brakes it would go down to zero. So I called all 3 parts stores in a 20 mile radius and a Napa store miracuously had a vacuum pump on hand. I bought the pump and a power steering pump puller that looked like it would get the pully off. The only other tools I had were a cresent wrench, screwdrivers and a dismal chinese socket set. With an extention on the ratchet I got the belt off. With the PS pull I did manage to get the pully off and then I got the 3 10mm bolts out with a combination of using my ratchet and cresent wrench. I will continue later when I have time.
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Old 07-07-2011, 07:16 AM
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Back again. With my trusty assistant cousin from Vermont acting as the mechanic's vise, he held tightly to the pump as the pully wheel went back on. Except it didn't want to go on straight. The top was machined at an angle. So with a lite hammer we tapped it straight and started to get it back on the shaft. To my shagrin, the installer tool would turn the wheel and not tighten. I needed to keep the wheel from turning. We tried some vise grips but noticed in time that it was going to burr the pully. Eventually we drilled two holes in the pully so a screw driver could go into the hole and wedge against the body of the pump. That did the trick and the pully went on. Too good in fact, we realized you can't get the mounting screws in once the pully is back on. So we had to back the pully all the way back off and do it again with the screws in first this time. That is a big trick for anybody going to change their own vacuum pump! Got the pump on and then the belt, but had to wait another day because I wanted to get the pump mounting bolts tight and couldn't do it with the cresent wrench I had. So with my sister coming up the next day she brought a 10mm line wrench to finish the job properly. It now brakes better than it ever has, and it is considerably quieter at idle. I wonder what other little bonuses will happen now that I have proper vacuum? Anybody know what the vacuum does other than supplying the brake booster? Thanks for reading.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:41 PM
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I had the same problem last year going down camping, I started to hear a clicking sound, then lost all vacuum so the cruise control disengaged, the brake warning light eventually came on (low vacuum) as I was stopping to check on the noise. I could see oil/dirt traces around the center of the vacuum pump, but I couldn't find the part locally (long weekend), so I had to drive back very carefully, as the vacuum would only come back after 10-15 minutes of not using the brakes, but still had to keep a extra safe distance (and put it in neutral to stop). Those 10mm bolts were very stubburn to remove, and I did have to put the bolts in before the pulley.
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Old 09-20-2011, 05:07 PM
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A pulley puller works really well with a pneumatic impact gun for removing and installing the pulley on the vacuum pump. The impact gun doesn't generate as much spin on the pulley and therefore the pulley can usually be held with your bare hand while removing and installing. My two sons and I have swapped many vacuum pumps and their pulleys in 10 - 15 minutes for our PowerStrokes. Our vacuum pumps go out every so often on our PS's (we own 3 PS's and have had one IDI).

Vacuum pump failure is one malfunction that does not have to strand you somewhere since your brakes still work; you just have to provide all brake boost with your leg (i.e. foot) on the pedal. Swapping out the vacuum pump is one job that can always wait until you return to your shop where the proper tools are easily accessible.

On Club Wagon's (like mine) the rear A/C door control is driven by vacuum so without the vacuum pump our rear A/C doesn't work properly. But it returns once the VP is replaced.
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