89 454 vacuum/brake issue

Discussion in 'GM Powertrain' started by 89R2500, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. 89R2500

    89R2500 New Member

    I have a 2wd 89 3/4 ton Suburban with a 454 TBI and TH400. I've had the truck about 4 years and while it's great for towing and hauling, the brakes have always been scary. It stops straight, but even if pushing on the pedal as hard as you can, it's impossible to lock up the tires. Normal stops are ok, but trying to stop quickly is impossible. It actually stops better with the trailer because the trailer brakes haul it down. I've changed the front pads to Hawk Super Duty and replaced the brake hoses. Master cylinder, booster and rear brakes were replaced shortly before I bought it. Adjusting the level sensor to use more rear brake helped, but not a lot.
    I checked the engine vaccum yesterday and it only has 14" of vacuum at idle, which seems very low, but I can't find a spec for it. Most sources show 18" minumum for proper booster operation. I checked for vacuum leaks and found none, so I'm wondering about a possible plugged exhaust system. As far as I know the engine is completely stock and it won't rev above 4000 rpm (not that it really needs to). It has 2 cats (both seem to be original), one ahead of a Flowmaster 70 muffler and one behind it.
    What is the normal vacuum level for this engine? Has anyone had a similar problem with the brakes and solved it?
    Any thoughts or advice would be appreciatted.
  2. Crawdaddy

    Crawdaddy All hail the Mad King!! Staff Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts Platinum Contributor

    It should not have 2 cats on it as far as I know. My 91 only has 1. I'm not quite sure how many inches of vacuum you should have, but I'm sure someome here will have the answer. However, I'm not quite sure either that a plugged exhaust would cause a reduction in vacuum. Does the motor bog down when you try to accelerate?
  3. 89R2500

    89R2500 New Member

    I'm not sure what engine, year and GVW combination had dual cats, but dual cats was the factory setup for this combination.
    From what I've read , the low vacuum may be a sign of a plugged exhaust, but there are other possible answers. It seems to run fine other than it won't rev over 4000 rpm, but with this much displacement it may be hard to tell.
  4. jlsparky7

    jlsparky7 Rockstar

    If you think it is a plugged cat try some seafoam.

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