Are you among the ranks of the elite who gets to experience true power behind the wheel with an iconic Pontiac GTO? This trendsetting muscle car, credited with starting a revolution in the automotive industry, boasts a high performance engine that leaves all competition in the dust. It was so impressive that all four domestic automakers offered their own competing models. The name GTO was inspired by the legendary Ferrari 250 GTO and stands for Gran Turismo Omologato, meaning it's been officially certified by the FIA for top-tier racing in the grand tourer class.
Get ready to bring your Pontiac GTO back to its former glory! Whether you're just trying to get it roadworthy again or embarking on a full restoration, there's a good chance you'll need to rebuild or restore the original power brake booster. But don't worry, we've got you covered. Read on to discover everything you need to know about tackling this exciting project and bringing your beautiful Pontiac GTO back to life.
Rebuilding & Restoring Your Brake Booster
The 1960s and early 1970s Pontiac GTO were equipped with a manual or power Delco Moraine brake system, the go-to option for GM vehicles of that era. But before you dive into your restoration project, it's important to assess the current state of your brake booster and overall GTO.
Is the car still in good running condition and simply in need of some TLC?
Has it been sitting in storage for years, accumulating rust and deterioration?
Is it missing essential parts like the dual exhaust pipes or does it have damaged engine block?
No matter the starting point, you'll be able to bring your GTO back to its former glory with the right tools and knowledge."
Suppose that you have all the parts needed to repair a brake booster, but they are all in poor condition. The front and rear housing of the brake booster are both rusted and corroded, the seals have become brittle and cracked, the valves are clogged with grease and debris, and some of the hardware is missing or has lost its shine. In this scenario, it would likely be necessary to replace most, if not all, of the components of the brake booster in order to repair it properly. That leaves you with three options.
Three Restoration Options (Read the pros and cons of each in this article):
1. Pay to have your brake booster and all its associated parts restored
2. Purchase an authentic replacement brake booster for your car that’s already been rebuilt
3. Purchase a knockoff reproduction replacement brake booster
About Brake Boosters and Detail Plating
At Brake Boosters and Detail Plating, we have a wealth of experience in rebuilding and restoring brake boosters for classic muscle cars. With nearly 40 years of expertise in the industry, we have a proven track record of improving the function and appearance of brake boosters and returning them to their near-original condition. Our brake boosters have been featured on numerous National Show Winners and are recommended by The Velocity Channel's Performance TV. In addition to brake booster restoration, we also offer services for master cylinder, metering valve, and distribution switch block restoration, as well as pit polishing.
We also have a wide range of plating materials at our disposal, including zinc dichromate, clear zinc, black zinc phosphate, and cadmium, to restore everything from dust shields and caliper brackets to hood hinges, springs, latches, bumper jack shafts, alternator fans, and pulleys. Our plated pieces are frequently featured on national award-winning cars and are recommended by several national magazines as "The Source" for detail plating for all vehicles.
In short, we are the go-to experts for classic muscle car brake booster restoration. Trust us to bring your brake booster back to its former glory.
Preparing & Shipping Your Pontiac GTO Brake Booster
It is important to properly prepare your brake booster before sending it to us for restoration. This includes cleaning it to remove any loose debris and giving it a thorough wipe down. A cleaner like Castrol Super Clean can be effective for this purpose. Additionally, if you are planning to have your master cylinder cover replated as part of our brake booster restoration service, you should also clean it before shipping. Wiping it down will help ensure that the replating process goes smoothly. works well.
Note: If you’re sending along any other auto parts to be plated (e.g., caliper brackets, dust shields, hood hinges, etc.), those require more thorough preparation and cleaning than boosters. Visit our Detail Plating site for details.
Make a Packing List
Once you’ve cleaned your booster and any other parts, it’s extremely helpful for us to know exactly what items you are sending so that we can keep track of them throughout the restoration process. We encourage you to include a packing list of every item you’ve included in your shipment, along with your full name, shipping address and contact information.
Take a Picture
Use your phone and take a picture or two of your packing list next to all your parts. Having this reference list and photo can be helpful if we have to call you do discuss the condition of a particular part. Keep your photos until your booster and parts have been returned and you’ve had a chance to check everything over.
Pack Your Booster Carefully
We’ve found the best way to keep the rear hub on the booster from breaking is to use zip ties, secured as shown to the brackets, to immobilize the rod. With your measurements in hand, go find a good, sturdy shipping box. Our motto is, the stiffer the cardboard, the better the box. Use plenty of packing material to protect your parts and keep them from tearing or poking through the box and possibly falling out. Please note that zip lock bags may leak during transit, so be sure to tightly or even double seal whatever you’ve enclosed.
Don’t forget to include the packing slip that includes your contact information, including email and phone number. Please label the outside of the box with your name and address, also. We primarily use UPS to ship. We recommend you go directly to a terminal office (as opposed to a privately-owned satellite office) for the best pricing. Allow 5-7 days for transit each way. You are responsible for the cost of shipping the brake booster and master cylinder cover to us, but we will repay return shipping. For all other parts, you are responsible for paying for shipment both ways.
Rebuilding & Restoring Your Original Delco Moraine Brake Booster
Upon receiving your shipment, we will immediately review the packing list to confirm that all the necessary parts are present. If no packing slip is provided, we will create our own inventory of the parts and take a photograph for reference. This helps us ensure that we have all the necessary components to begin the restoration process.
"We always contact the customer for clarification any time there is a question or potential discrepancy in expectations, or before performing any additional restoration step that has the potential to increase the stated cost of the service. For example, if the customer asks for a certain type of plating that we know was not the kind used on the original model, we will call to make sure they are of aware of that."
Next, we will begin the disassembly process, carefully inspecting all the components as we go. As you can see by the original 1970 Delco Moraine Service Manual below, brake boosters contain many different parts made of various materials, including metal, plastic, and rubber. We will examine each component to determine its condition and whether it is still functional.
Generally, metal parts such as the front and rear housing, internal support plate, push rod, and master cylinder cover are in good condition and can be set aside for plating. Plastic parts such as the power piston and reaction retainer may also be in good condition, but if we do find any cracks or deformities, we will replace them with new components. All rubber parts, including the diaphragm and O-rings, will be replaced.
Any remaining parts that are still in good working order, such as the back boot, air valve springs, and reaction levers, will be thoroughly cleaned. Any parts that have deteriorated will be replaced with new ones. This ensures that your brake booster will be fully restored to its optimal condition.
Blasting, Polishing & Plating Your Auto Parts
To restore your brake system to its original luster, we put it through a three-step process. First, we use a special media to blast away any paint and corrosion that remains on the surfaces. Next, we use a proprietary polishing step to prepare the front and rear housing, support plate, etc. for the plating process. Finally, we use an electroplating process to plate your booster in its original color, usually zinc dichromate. Electroplating uses an electrical current to attract the zinc plating to the part.
We’re sticklers for detail, so we make sure to include your master cylinder cover so that it matches your booster. And, for good measure, we include the internal support plate, even though that’s only visible when the housing is open!
The Final Step: Testing Your Restored Brake Booster
With everything clean, shiny and new, we reassemble the booster and test it to ensure it’s working properly. What many don’t know is that the Delco Moraine boosters were designed to hold a few extra pumps after a vacuum failure. So, as a double check, we remove the vacuum hose and test to see that we can produce these few extra pumps to ensure that it’s performing properly.
This testing process is just one more reason we recommended restoring your brake system with a reputable restoration service like Brake Boosters rather than buying reproduction booster kits, which tend to have a higher failure rate.
Fully Restored Boosters Available for 1964 – 1976 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
If you don’t have the original booster components or they are too corroded to repair, we do supply fully restored, mint condition boosters for '64-'80 Pontiac GTOs, Tempests and other models. Many, but not all, are available with the original matching numbers, meaning they have the correct matching code and date as your vehicle. Pricing generally increases for boosters with matching numbers as they are more difficult to source.
1964 - 1970 Full Size (when available)
1971 - 1976 Full Size
1964 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
1965 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
1966 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
1967 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
1968 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
1969 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
1970 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
1971 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
1972 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
1973 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
1974 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
1975 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
1976 Pontiac GTO/Tempest
1967 - 1980 Firebird
More Pontiac Restoration Resources
If you are new to classic car restoration and are seeking guidance, these resources are a great place to start. They feature a range of industry experts, dealers, service specialists, show representatives, and other car owners who can provide valuable advice and support during your restoration project. Whether you are interested in muscle cars, antique cars, or any other type of classic vehicle, these resources can help you navigate the restoration process and connect with others in the industry.
We understand that restoring your car can be a lengthy and costly project. However, we believe that it is worth investing in the full restoration of your original brake components. After all, there's nothing quite like the feeling of driving one of the greatest automobiles ever built!
At Brake Boosters, we are passionate about muscle cars and are dedicated to helping you bring your vehicle back to its former glory. If you are ready to take on a brake component restoration project, don't hesitate to reach out to us. You can contact us through our website or give us a call at (805) 441-5390. We are here to support you every step of the way.