3 Things You Should Know Before Buying a Vacuum Pump
Vacuum pumps are a good way to squeeze out more horsepower in your car's engine, but keep in mind that it's a rather advanced add-on to have. While vacuum pumps can boost engine output, installing a pump improperly or buying the wrong model can lead to combustion problems. This is why it is strongly recommended to have these pumps installed by a professional if you don't have a lot of experience in performance tuning.
There are many factors to consider when buying a vacuum pump, but the most important things to keep in mind are the following:
Vacuum pumps are rated according to their size; the bigger the pump the more air can siphon off that, in turn, leads to more vacuum inside the engine. However, this doesn't mean that you should get the biggest pump in the shelf, as smaller engines do not need that much vacuum and a big vacuum pump would not yield any additional benefit. Check with the mechanic handling the engine as to how big of a vacuum pump is best for your ride.
Another factor used to rate vacuum pumps is horsepower. Vacuum pumps in stores today can produce anywhere from 400 HP to more than 2000 HP, and the higher the horsepower rating the more air from the engine it can process. However, the more horsepower the vacuum pump produces, the more horsepower from the engine is required to make it work. A pump with a 1900 HP output, for example, may not function properly mounted on a small, naturally aspirated engine with stock rings.
Vacuum control valve
If you are going to buy a vacuum, make sure to include a vacuum control valve in your shopping cart. As its name implies, the vacuum control valve allows you to control how much air the vacuum pump sucks out of the engine. While it seems counterproductive to limit the maximum vacuum, studies show that engines perform better if it has maximum vacuum early in the power band, and gradually taper off once the cylinders are in full swing. It should be noted, however, that this effect is only significant in big vacuum pumps, as smaller pumps may only lead a slight change in horsepower output.
Step 1: If ever your car has a basic fixed mast configuration or a retractable antenna assembly. For the fixed mast, simply loosen it from the base with the wrench and it should come off easily. On the other hand if you have a powered antenna, you will need to remove the rear or front fenders (depending on the antenna's configuration) and pulling out the antenna and its motor from the inside.
Step 2: Take out any wires leading to the antenna. This includes the grounding strap, the signal wire, and the electrical wires leading to the motor. Be careful not to cut or damage these wires while disconnecting the antenna and motor.
Step 3: Open up the motor housing. Loosen the screws around the housing and the case should pop open. Next, take the bushing at the top of the guide tube and pull the mast out with pliers. We also recommend taking this opportunity to clean the insides of the motor assembly with the brush and inspecting the nylon rope and gear teeth for signs of wear and damage.
Step 4: Install the new antenna. Compress the mast and run the nylon rope down the tube, then seat the base into the housing. You may need to tap the mast with a hammer so that it sits flush in the case.
Step 5: Fully extend the antenna and wrap the rope into the gear drive and reassemble the cover and housing. Plug all the connections and replace all the panels you have removed beforehand.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Vacuum Pump Installation
Do you want to squeeze out more juice from your car's engine? A vacuum pump might just do the trick. Vacuum pumps suck the air out of the engine, reducing air pressure buildup caused by the combustion process for a cleaner, more efficient burn. These complex engine add-ons are best installed by a professional, but it is possible for you to do it on your own provided that you have significant experience in engine tuning.
The following are the steps to installing a standard vacuum pump in the car engine:
Difficulty level: Hard
- Ratchet and socket set
- Wrench set
- Vacuum pump kit
Step 1: Determine where the vacuum pump will be mounted. As a rule of thumb, the pump should be close as possible to the crankshaft to avoid whipping in the V-belt.
Step 2: Install the rubber O-rings into the pump fittings and screw both parts into the pump housing. Take note that the O-rings are very fragile, so be careful in handling them or they might end up being crushed.
Step 3: Plumb the intake side of the pump to the valve cover using the fittings provided in the kit. Let the oil from the valve cover seep into the pump, as this will help lubricate the pump's insides and reduce wear. In fact, many mechanics recommend coating the interior of the vacuum pump with a tablespoon of oil.
Step 4: Plumb the exhaust side of the pump to a dry sump breather tank. If your kit does not come with a breather tank, go out and get one first: the tank is meant to catch any oil residue pulled from the engine by the pump.
Step 5: Install the drive pulley onto the mounting hub and secure with the bolts provided. Make sure to tighten the bolts in a cross pattern or as indicated in the vacuum pump kit's instruction manual.
Step 6: Install the drive belt and tighten it according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Take note that over-tightening the belt may lead to excessive side load on the pump's bearings.
Step 7: Check that all bolts are tightened properly and the vacuum pump pulley is aligned with that of the crankshaft.
Step 8: Break in the new pump. The pump kit should have specific instructions on how to do this.