Cure Those Big-Cam, Low-Vacuum Blues With An Electric Pump

No matter what way you go with your build, there is always a trade-off or two that must be addressed. When you’re going for speed and performance, do you want to go all out and dump the excess weight? Or do you keep the stock upholstery and street trim? One common compromise is giving up some engine vacuum when you install a big cam.

We often see that a healthy sounding cam and a high-horsepower build leads to a lack of vacuum for things like a brake booster. Let’s face it, if your car has gotten faster, stopping is just as important as going. Trading vacuum for power can be a thing of the past thanks to LEED Brakes’ Bandit series vacuum pumps.

“Once you start modifying your engine by adding bigger cams and turbos, it greatly reduces the amount of vacuum that your engine can produce,” Bill Cummings, of Leeds Brakes, explained. “Your power-brake booster needs 16-18 inches of vacuum in order to properly function.”

With lower vacuum, your booster will not function as well and it will lead to a stiffer pedal and less effective braking. To cure that, Leeds offers its Bandit electric vacuum pump, which is a standalone unit that works without any engine vacuum and can provide up to 25 pounds of vacuum.

There are two major types of vacuum pumps that you can get — a piston-style or a rotary-style pump. The piston pump is noisy and vibrates a lot while operating, while the rotary pump offered by LEED Brakes, is quiet, smooth, and develops vacuum instantly.

“Now which would you choose?” Bill asked. “Something that’s quiet and reliable with no vibration, or something you are going to hear coming down the road?”

The Bandit series pumps come in chrome, black, or naked. The chrome and black pumps come in an ABS plastic housing made to resemble an classic vacuum canister, so they are more attractive than the naked pump. The naked pump is smaller and easier to hide if you want to put it somewhere tight. All of the pump styles can be taken apart and used the same way as the naked pump. These are a great way to get your vacuum for brake boosters without sacrificing power.

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About the author

Kyler Lacey

A 2015 Graduate from Whitworth University, Kyler has always loved cars. He grew up with his dad's '67 Camaro in the garage and started turning wrenches at a young age. At seventeen, he bought his first classic, a '57 Chevy Bel Air four-door, and has since added a '66 Plymouth Valiant and '97 Cadillac Deville to his collection. When he isn't writing for Power Automedia, he's out shooting pictures at car shows, hiking in the forests of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, or working on something in the garage.
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