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Vacuum operated accessories


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Hello.

 

I've been wondering what in old cars was actually vacuum - powered. I know about vacuum wipers, vacuum operated pop - up headlights, vacuum operated convertbile tops in 40s convertibles, vacuum operated wiper doors in Corvette C3, vacuum gearshift control in 1938 Chevrolet. Was there anything else?

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Vacuum power trunk release

Vacuum power door locks

Vacuum operated cruise control

Vacuum operated (or technically, lack thereof) air intakes on various muscle cars

Vacuum operated carb pre-heat air

Vacuum operated HVAC systems

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Some of the accessories on my '65 T-Bird aren't operational, so I can't know for sure, but it appears that the console controlled real interior vent is/was vacuum powered. At least there's what looks like a vacuum line fitting on it.

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19 minutes ago, Rusty_OToole said:

The obvious - vacuum spark advance

 

Well, if we're getting into that level of detail, there's the vacuum modulator on automatic transmissions, vacuum break diaphragms on carbs, and vacuum secondaries on some carburetors (or vacuum operated secondary carbs in the case of some tri-power setups). Also, EGR valves were vacuum operated initially, as are the canister vent valves on fuel evaporation charcoal canisters.

 

My 1952 Chevy two ton truck has a vacuum operated two speed rear axle.

 

And the most obvious, vacuum power brake boosters.

Edited by joe_padavano (see edit history)
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3 hours ago, joe_padavano said:

Vacuum power door locks

 

Mercedes used this for years, up into at least the mid 80s. 300D  and 240D are good examples. Chassis W123.

 

Most interesting is vacuum is used to turn off the engine! 😨

 

If the vacuum system leaks, you have to get out and press the red lever on the injection pump to shut off the fuel. I worked on  lot of them that you had to lock the driver's door (which then locked the other doors) to shut off the engine. Locking the doors fixed the vacuum leak.👍 As long as the driver could do this, they did not want to fix it. 

 

If you suspect an EMP pulse is going to wipe out electronics, get one of these cars. Only the starter motor is electric as far as the engine is concerned!

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4 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

The obvious - vacuum spark advance

Not so obvious - vacuum heater controls. I know they came on 59 Olds, no doubt lots of other cars as well.

 

Vacuum powered heater / cool air doors were found on lots of vehicles.

A '75 Camaro I had at one time would only blow out of the defrost vents until I figured out there was a massive leak in the vacuum line feeding the heat / blend door assembly.

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3 hours ago, 8E45E said:

The Startix automatic starter used vacuum as a regulator for it to know when the engine stalled and had to restart it.

 

Craig

Not that I am aware of -  I have only seen fully electrical examples using voltage drop to cause restarting

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7 minutes ago, John_Mereness said:

Not that I am aware of -  I have only seen fully electrical examples using voltage drop to cause restarting

John,

Series 16 & 18 Franklins used a vacuum operated switch mounted in the middle of the intake manifold and wired to the Startix. It's only shown on the Series 18 Operator's manual wiring diagram., even though it was used on both Series. Franklin called it a "Backfire circuit breaker". On some aftermarket wiring diagrams it's called a, "Current interrupter".

 

You may not have seen an all original setup because most have been removed - it's common that they fail.

 

Paul

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18 hours ago, PFitz said:

John,

Series 16 & 18 Franklins used a vacuum operated switch mounted in the middle of the intake manifold and wired to the Startix. It's only shown on the Series 18 Operator's manual wiring diagram., even though it was used on both Series. Franklin called it a "Backfire circuit breaker". On some aftermarket wiring diagrams it's called a, "Current interrupter".

 

You may not have seen an all original setup because most have been removed - it's common that they fail.

 

Paul

So did Studebaker, and I also have the Shop Manual for a 1936, the last year Studebaker offered Startix, which clearly shows that vacuum operated switch in the diagram.   I suspect it was a common item to any vehicle that came equipped with a Startix.

 

Craig

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On ‎5‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 6:08 PM, c49er said:

Late 40's early 50's Mopar vacuum operated  cigarette lighter...

Studebaker also offered a 'Drawmatic' cigarette lighter:  http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.com/showthread.php?94724-RARE-Studebaker-accessory-on-Ebay-1950-1951-1952-Drawmatic-!&highlight=drawmatic

 

Presumably, the same supplier as Chryco's version.  Evans Products, perhaps?  They also supplied the 'Miracle Shift' vacuum assisted transmission shifter for Studebaker in 1938.

 

Craig

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As an after market accessory in the early 1930s you could have bought a small fan that mounted to the steering column and was in a wire cage or by the late 1930s a bullet shaped one with rubber blades and both were used for cooling off the driver in hot weather. I have never seen either pictured or listed in factory accessory brochures or catalogs.

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2 hours ago, 8E45E said:

So did Studebaker, and I also have the Shop Manual for a 1936, the last year Studebaker offered Startix, which clearly shows that vacuum operated switch in the diagram.   I suspect it was a common item to any vehicle that came equipped with a Startix.

 

Craig

 

Craig, thank you for adding that. Yes, about a dozen top manufactures used the Startix system in the 30's.

 

First units I ever saw were on a former customer's  Pierce-Arrow collection. It's been over 20 year since I worked on Pierce-Arrows and I can't remember if there was that vacuum switch on their intake system. Not sure if all used that switch because it's not always mentioned in literature about how the Startix works. That's why I just mentioned the Franklin setup, which I know for certain had it.

 

Paul

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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Somewhere in my stash of stuff I have an accessory that one would open and flick his ashes into it.

It would suck the ash and deposit them into a glass jar. That thing is vacuum operated.

I think I also have one of those rubber bladed vacuum fans that Walt mentioned above.

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I can't believe that all you guys forgot the famous Wolf Whistle.  You can still buy one.  A gentle series of pulls on the actuator string could make all kinds of noises.

 

See 

 

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2 hours ago, JACK M said:

Somewhere in my stash of stuff I have an accessory that one would open and flick his ashes into it.

It would suck the ash and deposit them into a glass jar. That thing is vacuum operated.

I think I also have one of those rubber bladed vacuum fans that Walt mentioned above.

I remember them.  As I recall, it was called an "Ash-a-way".

 

Craig

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4 hours ago, PFitz said:

 

Craig, thank you for adding that. Yes, about a dozen top manufactures used the Startix system in the 30's.

 

First units I ever saw were on a former customer's  Pierce-Arrow collection. It's been over 20 year since I worked on Pierce-Arrows and I can't remember if there was that vacuum switch on their intake system. Not sure if all used that switch because it's not always mentioned in literature about how the Startix works. That's why I just mentioned the Franklin setup, which I know for certain had it.

 

Paul

You are correct. Only later systems had that vacuum-operated circuit interrupter switch, as per an older post on Startix here --------->

Craig

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Thanks for posting that link, Craig.

 

Not sure when others started using them, but Franklin did use the intake manifold mounted backfire circuit breakers on 1932 models same as the units shown in that link. Those I have worked on in recent years. But rather than try to get that not-so-reliable complexity working again, the customers have gone for installing a simple 6 volt starter relay mounted under the toe board near the starter motor and leave the Startix system all in place for "show" only.

 

Paul

 

 

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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Thanks for all replies;

I'd like to ask one more thing. If the car is equipped with combination fuel - vacuum pump, should it be connected directly to wiper motor etc. or should it be connected, using tee - joint to the manifold vacuum line and wiper motor?

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The Stewart vacuum tanks I'm familiar with all came with a tee fitting screwed into the top cover of the tank. The intake manifold vacuum line and a thinner line to the wiper motor, both connect to that tee.

 

Paul

DSCN1319.JPG

Edited by PFitz (see edit history)
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My 1935 Cadillac has vacuum assisted mechanical brakes. I'm sure other models/makes did, also. The brakes work very well. There is some

fade on mountain roads, probably due to the lining material.

Phil

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On 5/4/2019 at 7:01 PM, JamesR said:

Some of the accessories on my '65 T-Bird aren't operational, so I can't know for sure, but it appears that the console controlled real interior vent is/was vacuum powered. At least there's what looks like a vacuum line fitting on it.

The rear vent for the 64 and 65 Tbird was vacuum operated.  Also unique to that car was that the wiper motor was hydraulic, driven off the power steering pump.  That gave you a variable speed wiper.

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1 minute ago, kgreen said:

The rear vent for the 64 and 65 Tbird was vacuum operated.  Also unique to that car was that the wiper motor was hydraulic, driven off the power steering pump.  That gave you a variable speed wiper.

Thanks Kgreen. I got the car not long ago and there are still things that are slightly mysterious. When I turned the wipers on briefly, I definitely got the impression they weren't electric, but I knew the car was far too late to have vacuum wipers. I now have an explanation, thanks to you. I have the shop manual, but it's thick and it'll be a while before I get to the wipers.

 

Or maybe not. I just ordered a power steering pump because I need the steering gear replaced so it's a good time to replace the noisy pump too.

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10 hours ago, JustDave said:

If I remember right my dads 49 olds 98 to door hardtop had vacuum operated power wiindows

They were electro-hydraulic, not vacuum.  An electric motor pumped fluid from an underhood reservoir to individual cylinders below the windows to raise them.  A solenoid-operated check valve allowed the window to lower.   Convertible tops, front seats, and radio antennas on certain cars were also hydraulic.

 

Craig

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