The difficulty of installing the iBooster from a Tesla in your non-Tesla car van vary per model. In modern cars that already have an integrated master cilinder / vacuum booster setup and four disc brakes it might be a more or less a drop-in replacement. Often older cars require more modifications.
iBooster dimensions and bolt pattern
Nowadays there are two versions available of the iBooster by Bosch, GEN1 and GEN2. The GEN1 is typically found in the Tesla Model S and the GEN2 in the Tesla Model 3. Both master cilinders have a bore of 26 mm and the brake nuts used are M12x1 (tightening torque 16 Nm). It is a staged master cilinder connecting to the front and rear brakes (see below). In my setup the pedal travel resulted in a 15 cm3 brake fluid volume displacement. In the below sections you will find the differences between the two generations of iBoosters.
The GEN1 iBooster weighs 5 kg. The length of a Tesla Model S version from flange to the end of the reservoir is 32 cm. Center to top is 12,5 cm and to bottom is 9 cm. Overall width is 15,5 cm (center to ECU edge is 8,5 cm). The booster can be rotated to align the ECU either at the right or left hand side.
The bolt pitch for the mount is 72 mm and M8 bolts are used. A 3mm mild steel GEN1 Tesla iBooster weld adapter is available. Or fabricate your own.
For my 1967 Volvo Amazon I developed a mount using an old original master brake cilinder, some tube and the above weld adapter for installing the iBooster. Due to the weight of the brake booster I did add an additional mount at the front.
You can contact me if you need any custom solution like this.
The GEN2 iBooster weighs 5 kg and the length from flange to the end of the reservoir is 39 cm but to the end of the master brake cilinder only is 24 cm. Center to top is 10 cm and to bottom is 16 cm. Overall width is 19 cm but keep in mind the ECU orientation is a bit odd.
A connector kit is available from EVcreate and ins and outs for wiring can be found in the “Wiring the Tesla iBooster” blogpost.
Push rod considerations
The iBooster as an onboard travel sensor. In failsafe mode (i.e. without correct CAN inputs from the car) the travel sensor is used to determine the level of assists. This is why the iBooster is so popular in stand-alone implementations. While studying an iBooster Gen1 I noticed that after enabling the iBooster with a 12V+ ignition signal (details in Wiring the Tesla iBooster) the iBooster starts calibrating.
When the calibration fails you will hear a rattling noise from the iBooster. This tends to happen when there is no pressure on the push rod. Once there is a slight pressure on the push rod (does not need to be depressed), calibration should be successful.
The noise could be a ‘sensor out of range’ issue and could perhaps also occur at the other end of the measuring range. So make sure the pedal leverage and thus maximum push rod travel matches the iBooster maximum travel.
Brake line size
Tesla and many other manufacturers who use the iBooster in their cars (see also Other iBooster donor vehicles) use large 6,25 mm brake line. In older cars 3/16″ or 4,75 mm is more common. While there are brake line nuts available that fit both the M12x1 thread in for example the Tesla master cilinder and are suitable for 4,75mm brake line, I would not recommend this. The seat is intended for a much bigger flare. You can for example use M12x1 to M10x1 reducers and from there use M10x1 brake nuts for 3/16″ or 4,57 or 5mm brake line.
iBooster in cars with rear drum brakes
When installing an iBooster in a car that originally has rear drum brakes often some more modifications are needed. Master brake cilinders for cars with (rear) drum brakes have an internal residual valve. Master brake cilinders for cars with four discs don’t or one with less pressure. Therefore adding an inline 10 lb residual valve is recommended. It prevents the drum brake springs to retract the brake shoes all the way back and thus reduces pedal travel and improves brake pedal response feel. Both position A and B in the below diagram are valid for the residual valve.
The above diagram also shows the Wilwood combination proportioning valve (260-11179). It features a knob that allows you to adjust (reduce) the rear brake pressure. This helps in fine-tuning your brakes as most stopping power should come from the front wheels. EVcreate offers both the residual valve and the proportioning valve.
The combination proportioning valve features a 1/8-27 NPT port and by default holds a brake light switch. However the port can also be used to hold a pressure transducer (via an adapter). In many controllers or vehicle control units, the signal from the brake pressure transducer can be used to activate regenerative braking when hydraulic braking is used.
- Pressure transducer kit (0-1000psi)€125,00 (inc. VAT €151,25)
Please check the max pressure of your brake system to ensure the sensor you select as sufficient range.
Wrap up installing an iBooster
In conclusion I prefer the GEN1 iBooster due to the more convenient dimensions and brake fluid reservoir orientation. However given the number of Model 3’s currently being produced by Tesla the GEN2 might become more easily available. Looking forward to hearing your implementation stories in the comments.
Thoughts on special implementations
In case you do not have room for implementing the iBooster in line with the brake pedal push rod you could consider a hydraulic master/slave remote setup. This typically applies to cars with a remote vacuum booster or no booster at all. Or if you need to create space for battery boxes.