89 Chevy G-20 Van underhood vacuum chamber WHY?

What is the funny round ball vacuum chamber under my hood? What does it do? Why did it collapse? Can I drive without it if I plug the vacuum line?
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What you describe sounds like a vacuum "reservoir", used to store up vacuum for things like cruise controls, heater and A/C controls, brakes, etc. You may be able to operate without it or with it bypassed, but you may notice some hesitation with certain systems, your heater may shift around while stopped at lights, etc. It would probably be a good idea to get a similarly sized replacement unit. If you have any salvage yards nearby they shouldn't be too expensive. If the salvage yard soesn't sound appealing then a decent parts house should have a suitable substitute.

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Thanks Raven, yes that sounds just like what it is, because I see no other purpose for it other than buffering the amount of vacuum. I guess it just collapsed because of age, maybe because of heat as well because I noticed the cool air duct to my air cleaner was off and I imagine the engine was just taking in the compartment air for a bit. Thought I detected a very faint smell of fuel and thought that the EGR system may be acting up, perhaps the cannister needs replaced.
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First time I turned the heat on this morning, may have just did it.
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