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Old 12-10-2009, 11:39 AM   #1
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Default First Snow Brake Problems

Car is a 1993 Bonneville SSEi

We had our first snow here last night, so this morning I make a Tim Horton'* run, get in the Ei and head out. I encountered my first bit of difficulty at the stop sign on our street. Basically, I can push the pedal with all my weight and the damn car just "growls" and feels like theres zero brakes, or maybe its sliding, I don't know. I tested it a few times on the way back, and if you hit the brakes any harder than extremely gentle, the pedal pulses like crazy and the car keeps going (sliding I think) I have a 1.5 year old daughter I need to be concerned for, this is ridiculous. No ABS lights on, I had a problem in the summer of the brake reservoir losing fluid enough to make the brake light come on, but I park my car in the same spot all summer and there was never any leak. Please help me to understand what could be wrong here.

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Old 12-10-2009, 12:12 PM   #2
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Sounds like your ABS is actuating. Try this since you probably have cleaner roads now.

Leave daughter at home with family. Take the car out and get going a good 50-80kms. Jack on the brakes and when the growling occurs push just as hard or harder. You should feel a bit of jerking as the abs pump locks and releases each caliper repeatedly.

Stomp and steer was the commercial motto for ABS. The part I don't like is how hard you must keep pressing the pedal to keep the brakes going and how much further ABS extends your stopping distance, although they say it'* shorter than skidding.
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Old 12-10-2009, 12:14 PM   #3
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so you are driving on snow, and the car is sliding and ABS is engaging? go easy on the brakes and make sure you have good tires. I hate to sound totally obvious but it just sounds to me like the car can't stop on snowy roads.

as for you losing brake fluid, I would suspect a bad master cyl, from what I understand those went bad fairly often.
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Old 12-10-2009, 05:09 PM   #4
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have someone stand outside the car and observe the tires when you are stopping. also, a not-so-sciencific way to check if the master cylinder is working is to open the cap on the brake fluid, without the car running, and have someone *gently* pump the brakes and see if the fluid appears to be moving. the front and rear resivoirs should both do this.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:56 PM   #5
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The problem with ABS is that while it allows you far better directional control when braking hard on slippery surfaces, the stopping distance is markedly increased vs. skidding to a stop... My shop teacher always said "With ABS, you get to choose what you want to crash into"

When ABS is operating, you should feel pulses from your brake pedal, and usually you can hear the valves buzzing and grinding in the ABS unit... In my old Bravada, I could actually see the voltage drop on the gauge (and the headlights dimming) when the ABS was engaged.

It is a good idea to get someone outside to car to check for ABS operation. This is most easiest on a snowy road. If the wheels skid a bit and then rotate a bit, repeating quickly, the ABS is doing its job.

Another thing to remember is that with ABS, the pump can only direct as much braking force as you apply to the pedal. Also, The ABS module is programmed to work with only the factory-size tires. If your wheels/tires are larger than factory, the computer may get screwed up when trying to determine which wheels are skidding and which are rolling. The only other tire that the ABS module will recognize is the compact space-saver spare tire.

Nick

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Old 12-16-2009, 02:39 AM   #6
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I took the advice of poster #2 and upgraded my wheels. i put 17" aluminum rims and brand new 225 55 17 kumho all seasons on the front and firestone'* on the rear. much, much better on snow, but the abs still freaks me out. the fronts actually lock up completely, but the pedal pulses and grinds, but it barely slows me down, even if i stomp hard on them. the pedal tries to push my foot up, and i get no greater braking action with more pressure on the brake pedal. i can feather the brakes to stop on ice/snow, but if i ever have to emergency stop, i'm screwed unless i can swerve out of the way. :(
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:17 PM   #7
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Does the ABS light come on when you start the car? Do you have traction control?

If it'* becoming a safety issue, it seems like it might be safer to pull the ABS fuse until you can find a solution.

You said there was a leak in the system. It might be possible that you have air in the ABS module causing a malfunction... If I remember correctly, you have to use a Tech2 to bleed the ABS controller correctly... Just a guess.

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Old 12-17-2009, 05:30 PM   #8
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yeah, i had a nasty leak, the back brake line broke off completely, and it drained out of the line. i bled the brakes, completely and properly. The brakes work nice on dry, but crap on ice or snow. no abs light is on, but it comes on for a sec when i key up. My abs is obviously not working properly. the other day we had an ice storm, and i had to go out. One intersection was black ice, and the fronts locked completely. As I slid toward the intersection. Lucky there was a small patch that had salt on it, or i would have slid through. Where is the abs fuse on a 1993 bonne ssei? PS thanks for the advice and help.

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Old 12-17-2009, 07:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 93bonnieNclyde View Post
yeah, i had a nasty leak, the back brake line broke off completely, and it drained out of the line. i bled the brakes, completely and properly. The brakes work nice on dry, but crap on ice or snow. no abs light is on, but it comes on for a sec when i key up. My abs is obviously not working properly. the other day we had an ice storm, and i had to go out. One intersection was black ice, and the fronts locked completely. As I slid toward the intersection. Lucky there was a small patch that had salt on it, or i would have slid through. Where is the abs fuse on a 1993 bonne ssei? PS thanks for the advice and help.
The ABS fuse is located in fuse panel under the dash on the driver'* side. It is fuse number 19. It'* a 10A fuse. Pulling the fuse will set off your ABS light, but it will allow you to brake normally as if you had non-ABS brakes.

It doesn't seem like a sensor problem, which would most certainly set the ABS light off... Perhaps the EBCM or PMV assembly is bad?

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