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Hydratech Power Assist Unit - Boost For Your Brakes

Installing a Hydratech Power Assist Unit

Dan Ward
Dec 1, 2011
Photographers: Dan Ward
Power is fun, sexy, and one of the first desires for all hot rodders and custom truck enthusiasts. It takes your breath away and it helps knock out the cobwebs in your head after a long 9-5. Power can also be dangerous, especially if you accelerate so fast that your brakes can’t slow you back down. Out of control with you holding on for dear life, your truck can easily be turned into a 5,000-pound missile if you don’t plan ahead. As a wise man once told me, “Plan ahead, it wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” If you’ve been wondering how to make your truck safer, stop better, and keep yourself out of precarious situations, we have the solution for you—hydraboost.
Photo 2/18   |   2001 Gmc Sierra Hydratech Braking Systems front Angle
Used in diesel truck and military applications for decades, hydraboost uses hydraulic pressure created by the power steering pump to force the brake fluid to each corner rather than vacuum pressure created by the brake master cylinder power booster. This setup is perfect for truck guys who are running superchargers, turbos, or even high-lift cams where constant vacuum isn’t always guaranteed at slower speeds or sudden stops. This upgrade works on trucks equipped with factory or performance brake kits, and it can be used with four-wheel-discs or disc/drum setups.
For Project Novakane, our in-house performance truck, the Stillen/AP Racing big brakes were stopping the 4,300-pound truck with ease, however, during sudden high-speed stops, the MagnaCharger supercharger wasn’t providing enough vacuum pressure to support the power brake booster. This caused several panic stops because we had our foot on the floor and the truck wasn’t coming to a complete stop. After searching for a viable upgrade, we came across Hydratech Braking Systems. As one of the leaders in the hydraulic power assist world, we ordered a bolt-on kit specifically designed for ’99-’06 GM fullsize trucks. The install was straightforward, using only common handtools, and the end results were quite impressive. One of the great things about this upgrade is big brakes aren’t required, as the Hydratech is compatible with factory brakes, as long as you upgrade your hoses to stainless braided. Check out the install, and if your truck could use some better brakes, give Hydratech a call.
From the Driver Seat

Brakes are one of the biggest areas where you don’t want to skimp, and thankfully the Hydratech kit was topnotch, both with its materials and ease of installation. Other than joining the fittings to the hoses, everything was a breeze. After several autocross sessions, the extra use of our 150,000-mile power steering pump did take a toll and we had to replace the power steering pump. Looking back, we should have done that when everything was torn apart anyways. Novakane stops with intensity now and the only issue we had was the rear brakes getting more bite from the added fluid pressure, but the Wilwood proportioning valve fixed that. Now, no matter what RPM we’re at, the race truck easily comes to a halt.
Your Questions Answered
Degree of Difficulty: Mechanical Ability Needed
Time Spent Working: 5 hours
Tools Needed: 13mm and 15mm deep sockets, 10mm Allen socket, 3/8-drive ratchet, flat screwdriver, 9/16 and 5/8 flarenut wrench, torque wrench
Parts Used:
Hydratech Braking Systems Level III hydraulic brake assist system 3545 $845.00
SSBC Sure Stop brake pressure gauge kit A1704 $49.95
Wilwood Brakes proportioning valve 260-10922 $45.30
Total: $940.25
(prices from manufacturers and do not include tax or shipping)


SSBC Performance Brake Systems
Clarence, NY 14031
Wilwood Brakes
Camarillo, CA 93012
Hydratech Braking Systems
Lebanon, TN 37090