Service information for an electric vacuum pump
Here you will find useful information and valuable tips on all aspects of electric vacuum pumps.
Important safety note
The following technical information and practical tips have been compiled by HELLA in order to provide professional support to vehicle workshops in their day-to-day work. The information provided on this website is intended for use by suitably qualified personnel only.
In this video we show you the relevant installation positions and system components and explain the testing and fault diagnosis of an electric vacuum pump by using the example of an Opel.
For vehicles whose engine geometry means that they have too little or no vacuum at all to operate the brake system, electric vacuum pumps are used in order to ensure the reliable operation of the brake booster. The electric vacuum pump guarantees that the reliable operation of a brake system functioning with pneumatic brake boost is maintained.
Electric vacuum pumps can be used in the following engine types:
Advantages of an additional electric vacuum pump:
The rotary vane pump, sometimes called a vane pump, is a positive displacement pump, which is designed for suction and pressure tasks. The vacuum pump operates according to the rotary vane compressor principle.
The pump contains a rotor off-centre to the pump chamber. One or several movable slides can be incorporated in this rotor. The electric motor enables the pump shaft and thus the rotor to be rotated. The movable slides are pressed against the inner wall of the pump chamber by means of the centrifugal force and they seal the cells. The result is that the air in the cells, which are formed by the housing wall and by each of the two slides, is displaced from the suction side to the pressure side.
This change in the chamber volume generates a vacuum causing air to be sucked in by the brake booster through the vacuum pump via the pneumatic brake line system.
The chassis area in the engine compartment is usually the place of installation for the vacuum pump. Depending on the vehicle, the pump can be fixed on the left or on the right next to the engine or on the lower supporting frame (engine mount). For acoustic reasons (transmission of structure-borne noise and vibration), the pumps are secured on a support with appropriate isolating elements (vibration dampers).
The electric vacuum pump is connected to the flexible pneumatic brake line system via a suction nozzle. The sucked-in air is filtered and moves from the passenger compartment to the vacuum pump via the brake booster and the flexible line system. The pneumatic lines, valves and the brake booster must be free of particles and all types of contamination which, if drawn in, can lead to pump damage.
Depending on the type of vehicle and on the required use, there are two kinds of vacuum pump variants which can be installed. This is where we differentiate between controlled and regulated electric vacuum pumps.
The following effects can result when failure of an electric vacuum pump occurs
The following causes can be responsible for the failure of the electric vacuum pump
The diagnostics will now be illustrated by using the example of an Opel Cascada 1.4i 16V Turbo, model year 2013 with a mega macs 77 diagnostic unit. This example, however, also covers vehicle models which are identical in construction. This vehicle with a turbocharger and STOP-START system has a HELLA UP28 vacuum pump with a pressure sensor on the brake booster installed.
The electric vacuum pump, or rather its functioning, is monitored by the relevant higher-level electronic control unit. Any occurring errors are stored in the control unit's error memory and can be exchanged by using a suitable diagnostic unit. Furthermore, the driver is warned about a system error by way of the display on the instrument cluster.
However, before control unit diagnostics are undertaken, it is first of all advisable to carry out a visual check on the individual system components as part of initial troubleshooting activities. In conjunction with this inspection, the pneumatic and electric connections of the vacuum pump and the condition of all other vacuum lines to the brake booster should be checked. In this way some errors can be eliminated during the control unit diagnostics.
A simple functional check of the electric vacuum pump can be performed in the vehicle in the following way.
If everything in the system is in good working order, at the same time it should be possible to hear the vacuum pump temporarily running up in order to increase the required vacuum in the brake booster or alternatively balance it out.
If necessary, another option would be to connect a diagnostic unit so as to show the pressure gradient in the brake booster using the "Parameter" function.
As part of control unit diagnostics, it is possible to employ the help of various functions and vehicle information as and when needed.
The respective test depth and variety of functions can be set out differently depending on the vehicle manufacturer and is dependent on the relevant system configuration of the control unit.
Because of the mounting position, removal of the electric vacuum pump is carried out on this vehicle model from the underside and can be completed without the need for any special tools.
Then, if necessary, the vacuum pump can be replaced with a new one. Installation occurs in reverse order. Finally the functioning of the electric vacuum pump is to be tested.
When carrying out repairs on the brake system, please pay careful attention to the following information: