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Suspension 4th Gen Dodge Ram Suspension Problems and Questions


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  #1  
Old 07-24-2015, 01:54 AM
CdnoilRAM's Avatar
CdnoilRAM CdnoilRAM is offline
I push the skinny pedal


 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Calgary, AB, CA
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Trim Level: Sport - Modified
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Default How to: 4th gen hydrobooster

I’ve had a few people ask me about my hydroboost install for my 4th gen so I found the pics I took of the install and decided to put up this how to. This how-to is only for people with an engine power driven pump, this won't work for people with the electric steering rack. There is a great YouTube video of the system layout that was done by Weedahoe on the 3rd gens and nothing is really different between the two generations when it comes to this swap. I give him full credit for the idea that I stole fair and square.


Some people will ask how much this costs, it will depend on what you can find the hydrobooster/master cylinder for, I bought mine for $200 from a junk yard and just cleaned it up, it ended up costing me another $85 for a reservoir with the sensor but if you get one with the sensor you won't have that cost. After that it was the cost of 5 bottles of brake fluid at $9/bottle ($45), and $12 for brake lines. My total cost for this was ~$350 but it could have been $250 if I'd known a few things ahead of time like the brake line sizes and the reservoir sensor. This swap is MORE than worth the cost for the major improvement in braking over the vacuum booster, especially if you have big wheels and heavy tires or are running higher performance and need better braking without going to a big brake kit and having to run a minimum 18" wheel.


First thing you need to do is get a hydrobooster with the matching master cylinder, the vacuum booster’s master cylinder won’t work on the hydrobooster. I picked mine up from a junkyard out of a wrecked Cummins. Important things I learned, you MUST get one with the level sensor in the reservoir and try to get one with both brake line ports the same size, the one I got had one smaller size and I needed to fab a new brake line with another 3/16" brake fitting snipped from a wrecked 2010's ABS module. I figure I got mine out of an early 3rd gen so I got a new reservoir with the sensor and all was good. While you’re at it, make sure you get the hydraulic hoses that come with the booster.

Now, on to the install.

Start by draining the reservoir, you can either use a baster to pull most of the fluid out the top or you can pull a brake line off and drain it out the bottom, I chose the latter.

Once it’s drained there will be residual fluid that will continually drain out so I just placed some shop towels into the brake line ports because I didn’t want brake fluid everywhere. Keep in mind, brake fluid will destroy any paint so you don’t want this stuff anywhere near a painted surface.

Now, move into the cab and look under the dash. Behind the brake pedal you’ll see the inner portion of the vacuum booster being held in place by 4 bolts.

There is also a clip that holds the vacuum booster arm to the pedal that needs to be removed, this is easily removed with just a flat blade screwdriver.

With the clip removed just pull the arm off the pedal and the pedal will fall back

[Tip]I found it easier to remove the lower nuts with the pedal all the way forward and the upper nuts with the pedal all the way back. I propped the brake booster on a 1” wrench so it was easier to remove the nuts.

That’s the booster removed now, TONS of room in there now, and here’s a size comparison between the two boosters


Now you can move onto the hydraulic system. Start by removing the hoses off the cooler to drain the system, easily done with a pair of slip pliers.

After that remove both the upper and lower hoses from the steering rack.

I then removed the power steering pump to remove the lower hoses and to give me some extra room. Pull the hose off the bottom of the reservoir and then remove the pressure line from under the pump as well.


I installed the hydrobooster loosely so I could do all the fitting without having to work around the booster all the time, I removed it a few times to get better access to the rack.
You need the two hoses that come on the hydrobooster. For my install on the 4th gen I ended up using the factory hose from the power steering pump to the rack instead of the top hydraulic hose because it was short enough to work with just a coupler.
You need to make 4 hoses for this swap:
1) The top hydraulic hose from the power steering pump to the top of the hydrobooster, this is where I used the original truck hose for cleanliness
2) The lower hydrobooster to the bottom of the rack shown below

3) The top of the rack to the cooler (use the original hose just fine)
4) The cooler to the power steering pump reservoir and hydroboost overflow, this one must be made but it’s really easy. Just cut the original hose at some point and use a brass tee. I used a PEX tee fitting with one smaller barb and it was a perfect fit for the job. The small hose is a 3/8” and the large hose is ½”.
Now, the first hose from the power steering pump to the top of the hydrobooster here’s where I just modified the original hose with a 3/8” tubing fitting. I have access to free ‘used’ Swagelok fittings which are true 316 SS and that one fitting cost $50 but trust me the plain brass fittings you can get at Home Depot will work just fine.

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Last edited by CdnoilRAM; 07-24-2015 at 02:05 AM.
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  #2  
Old 07-24-2015, 01:54 AM
CdnoilRAM's Avatar
CdnoilRAM CdnoilRAM is offline
I push the skinny pedal


 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Calgary, AB, CA
Age: 32
Posts: 17,601
Gender: Male
Vehicle: 2009 Blown 349 Hemi
Trim Level: Sport - Modified
Color: Brilliant Black/Snake Skin Green
Engine: 2009-2012 345ci (5.7L) Hemi V8 390hp 407lb/ft
Rep Power: 21
Rep:3308
CdnoilRAM has a reputation beyond reputeCdnoilRAM has a reputation beyond reputeCdnoilRAM has a reputation beyond reputeCdnoilRAM has a reputation beyond reputeCdnoilRAM has a reputation beyond reputeCdnoilRAM has a reputation beyond reputeCdnoilRAM has a reputation beyond reputeCdnoilRAM has a reputation beyond reputeCdnoilRAM has a reputation beyond reputeCdnoilRAM has a reputation beyond reputeCdnoilRAM has a reputation beyond repute
Default

The next hose goes from the bottom of the hydrobooster to the bottom of the rack. Now, the hose I got had the end cut off so I don’t know if the fitting that comes on it will be a direct fit so I just cut the end off the original hose and used another 3/8” coupler to join it together. Now, there are 2 different sizes of hoses on the rack so you actually can’t screw this up.

The next hose you need to install is the factory hose from the top of the rack to one side of the cooler. It doesn’t matter which port you use on the cooler.

And the last hose is the tee’d hose. The small 3/8” hose runs up to the hydroboost overflow return, and the main ends go from the other end of the cooler to the bottom of the power steering pump reservoir. These are not pressure lines so they are just held in place by the factory compression clamps or a worm gear clamp.


Tighten everything back up on the hydraulic side of things. The great thing about o-ring hydraulic fittings, tighten them until snug, no torquing required, just don’t crank down on them.

If you got a master cylinder with the same sized brake lines then just hook them up again. If you ended up with smaller lines like me, I just rented a double flaring kit from the local auto parts place and bought a 20” piece of brake line with the correct fitting for the master cylinder and made my own, it’s dead simple to do with lots of videos on YouTube about how to do it.

Make sure you tighten the nuts on the inside of the firewall holding the hydrobooster and reinstall the arm to the brake pedal. Plug the factory connector into the reservoir level sensor. The last step is to fill the power steering and brake fluid reservoirs and bleed both of them. Bleed the brakes as per normal, I had issues the first time I did this install just having someone pumping the brakes so I bought a Motive Power Bleeder and it was a night and day difference in how easy it was to do and not have any air trapped in the ABS module.
To bleed the air out of the steering just turn the engine on and turn the steering wheel lock to lock a few times, refill the reservoir, repeat until there’s no air bubbles coming out and the level stays constant after several cycles.

Now, besides the MUCH better braking of the hydrobooster over the vacuum booster, you can also see how much room you have to work with to change spark plugs!
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