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How to Check CRT Codes to solve ABS Light & Electrical Warnings

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Greetings to all.  I am a new owner of a 1989 Reatta and will be attempting to follow the advice of the experts here and the huge Shop Manual to diagnose some warning lights and CRT electrical warnings.  First, a brief history of what the symptoms are and the driving characteristics with these issues:

 

The first symptom was that the ABS light would come on when I hit the brake pedal, and it would go off when I released the brake pedal.  I had just bought the Reatta and was making the 3 hr drive back to my home.  During the drive, the ABS light then came on and stayed on for awhile, and I believe it was at this point when the "Electrical Problem" warning light came on which caused the CRT screen to flash up a warning which I had to "Reset" to make it go away while I was driving.  Resetting would let the "Electrical Problem" warning light go out.  Then, about every 10 minutes the "Electrical Problem" light would come on, the CRT screen would issue an alert, and I would have to "Reset" to make it go away. 

 

At one point the ABS light went off for awhile.  Then, both the yellow ABS Light and the red "Brake" light came on, along with the "Electrical Problem" light........once again I had to reset it on the CRT screen.  Then the ABS and Brake lights went off for awhile, but the ABS light eventually came back on.  So, the ABS light was coming on/off during most of the 3 hr. trip, and the "Electrical Problem" light was also being a nuisance during the entire trip.

 

The Shop Manual lists "brake fluid level" in master cylinder as one primary cause of the ABS warning light coming on.  Upon checking the master brake reservoir, it does appear pretty darn black and a bit low......so, my plans are to suction out the old fluid in the master cylinder and add fresh fluid.  Then remove all 4 wheels and and begin bleeding all the lines to get fresh fluid into the entire system. 

 

Ronnie gave me the link on this site which describes how to perform a diagnostic check using the CRT screen, and I will give that a try first to see what codes might pop up.  Will post more as I get more information.

 

 

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As you might guess you have more then one issue going on. You have an electrical issue and a brake issue.

 I would get familiar with the the repair "how to's" on the top of this page. This is a much simplified version of you shop manual compiled by Ronnie over the years. 

  The electrical issue;

 Make sure your amber "Service Engine Soon" light works in your instrument cluster. That is the first thing to check. If that works then go into the CRT and read the codes. Write them down and we can advise you on what to do.

 The Brake issue;

Your amber and red brake light could go out simply with a brake fluid flush. The rear brakes are bled just by opening the bleeders, turning the ignition key to "run" and foot on the brake. The fronts are bled the conventional way. Directions are also in the "How to" section.

 Read them over and let us know what other questions you may have.

 It's always easier if you do one issue per topic posting.

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Here is a pic of the dash with test-light button pushed:

 

 

STA75452.JPG

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And here is the CRT screen after going to the Diagnostic System.......all 4 sub-sections show "OK".

 

 

STA75446.JPG

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Dave......Thanks for your input.  I was not sure if the "Electrical" and the "ABS/Brake" issues were related or totally separate.  I agree.....it makes sense to keep the discussion separate, so I will first tackle the "ABS/Brake" issue on this thread.

 

"Service Engine Soon" light does work, so I will next go to CRT and read the codes (following the directions in the How-To Section).  Will let you know what I discover.

 

I will also go to the "How To" section and read over the brake bleeding process.  I had intended to just start on the rear brakes and use my vacuum pump to draw the new fluid down and out, as I do other vehicles......but maybe this is not the best method, and then go to the front brakes.  (Would be great if a brake fluid flush would turn out the two lights).

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1 hour ago, Studebaker said:

Dave......Thanks for your input.  I was not sure if the "Electrical" and the "ABS/Brake" issues were related or totally separate.  I agree.....it makes sense to keep the discussion separate, so I will first tackle the "ABS/Brake" issue on this thread.

 

"Service Engine Soon" light does work, so I will next go to CRT and read the codes (following the directions in the How-To Section).  Will let you know what I discover.

 

I will also go to the "How To" section and read over the brake bleeding process.  I had intended to just start on the rear brakes and use my vacuum pump to draw the new fluid down and out, as I do other vehicles......but maybe this is not the best method, and then go to the front brakes.  (Would be great if a brake fluid flush would turn out the two lights).

Dave is very experienced with what works and what doesn't for servicing. The one item you mentioned above such as pulling the brake fluid through the rear with vacuum will not work, at least not properly. Read the brake bleeding instructions as suggested. One other item from personal experience. When doing the rears, it is possible to drain the master and it's a good idea to have a helper under the hood watching the level😁

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Dave/2Seater/Ronnie........Thanks for suggesting the "How To" section.  Took me awhile to actually find it, but I did......and I read all the articles on the Teves brake system, and the instructions for bleeding, etc.  These were very concise, well-written, articles that summarized all this complex stuff nicely.......glad you mentioned these, as it steered me in  the right direction.  I have bled ABS brakes before, but nothing like this type with the electric motor attached to the system.

 

 I hope to find some time today to check the CRT codes and will be updating this thread when done.  I also want to do those tests to see if perhaps the black high pressure ball (with the pressurized nitrogen gas in it....forgot the name) is showing signs of failing.  I notice a fill valve on the top, and wonder if anyone has ever detected a leak at the valve, replaced it, and then refilled with the nitrogen gas.

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One would think that you could fill the accumulator ball through the top but there is a rubber bladder that over time leaks fluid [back to the resivoir]. There have been attempts to do what you suggest but the best way to go is another ball.

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Would you be so kind as to post a photo of an accumulator with a fill valve on top? I know in the past I have seen posts about modifications and attempts to add a filler but I don't know how successful or long lasting that may have been. The gas charge is 1000psi+ so it would need to be pretty robust plus how does it clear the strut tower brace. The Wabco accumulator seems to be the most readily available plus it is larger capacity.

Edited by 2seater

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2 hours ago, Studebaker said:

These were very concise, well-written, articles that summarized all this complex stuff nicely.......glad you mentioned these, as it steered me in  the right direction. 

I'm glad you find the how-to guides useful.   I built this website to help new Reatta owners like yourself fix common Reatta problems.  As you probably have already figured out, the Factory Service Manual (FSM) can be very confusing as it was written for trained GM mechanics who understand the terminology used in the manual.  The information you find in the how-to guides on ROJ comes from hands on experience of long time Reatta owners who have learned the best ways to repair the most common Reatta problems.  I took the information they provided to me and organized it into categories in a way to make it easy to find.  This forum was added later so Reatta owners could get answers to questions about the how-to guides or get help with problems not covered in the how-to guides.

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Update on checking the ABS error codes:

 

Today I used this sites well written "How To Access ABS Diagnostic Codes" in an attempt to get some details as to my ABS/Brake issues.  I placed a jumper wire between terminals A and H.....see pic below:STA75489.thumb.JPG.88d110a42c90f3578426c6a773d8a1a6.JPG

 

STA75487.thumb.JPG.1f626f367ed9d694f4308587cb45c824.JPG

 

I did notice that my terminal block does not have actual connectors (metal tabs) in all 12 slots.....I assume this is normal.  "A" terminal is the top left one and "H" is the second from the bottom on the right.

 

I inserted the jumper wire and then turned the ignition key "On" (not starting car).  I expected to see the ABS light flashing to give me some useful codes, but in my case the ABS light just stayed "on" and did not flash.  This pic shows the yellow Anti-Lock light on.  I then followed the instructions by leaving the key "on" and pulling the jumper wire and re-inserting it......once again, the Anti-Lock light just stayed on and gave no flashing code signals.  I did hear the ABS pump run about 1 second when I unhooked the jumper wire.  With the Anti-Lock light not giving any flashes for a code, does this mean that there are no error codes in the EBCM?  And further advice?

Thanks.

 

STA75496.thumb.JPG.4f2dd36cb4643440023963106fcc0bf9.JPG

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2Seater......Here are some pics of the Accumulator: (Black Ball beside Brake Fluid Resevoir)

 

STA75511.thumb.JPG.ee0dbb278f1f90b5e398df010a237d63.JPG

 

I had initially "thought" that there was a simple fill valve on top, like used for filling AC lines:

 

STA75499.thumb.JPG.66d49fcbf3b3149f4b39b84eb9720178.JPG

 

But looking close, it must be a more complicated fill valve that requires special equipment to access:

STA75504.thumb.JPG.e75226106a59e8afd5b3d9cdcadb76b6.JPG

 

So, Dave is correct by saying that replacing the Accumulator is the best choice.  Are these Accumulators still available, and about how much do the cost now?

 

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44 minutes ago, Studebaker said:

But looking close, it must be a more complicated fill valve that requires special equipment to access:

 

 

It's not a fill valve. What you are seeing is actually where you insert an Allen wrench to turn the accumulator (ball) to unscrew it from the pump.

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1 hour ago, Studebaker said:

I placed a jumper wire between terminals A and H.....see pic below:

What is inside the black box your orange jumper wire goes into?  I suggest you try just a straight piece of wire and see if the light flashes.

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First off I use a paper clip to count the flashes. The second thing is if your EBCM in the trunk is not plugged in correctly it won't flash. You may want to check that. It also may not work either. I don't know how to test the EBCM.

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1 hour ago, Ronnie said:

What is inside the black box your orange jumper wire goes into?  I suggest you try just a straight piece of wire and see if the light flashes.

Ronnie.......You are brilliant!  I was using a simple in-line fuse with a wire on each end, and I "assumed" that the new fuse was good.  I just did a continuity test and found that the darn fuse was defective.....put a new fuse in it, and now it works.  I just did the test twice and got the following codes:

 

32 - RF WSS

48 - 3 Sensors

76 - RF WSS

 

Im not sure why a different code number would show the same issue..."RF WSS", but thats the case.  So, looks like maybe its a bad right front wheel sensor, but not sure what the "3 Sensors" means......perhaps and indication that I really need to replace all 4 sensors?

 

Thanks for alerting me of my mistake.

 

 

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Ronnie.....If I were Homer I would be doing a big "DOHHHHHHH!".....so the Accumulator does not have a fill valve on the top....its just for inserting the allen wrench to twist the ball off.  I wonder how they do fill the gas into the accumulator.

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Dave89.....You are right.....a plain paper clip would work better than that darn multi-strand wire that I was using (kept bending/twisting and not wanting to fit into the small plug hole).  Since I got flashes now, we dont have to worry about the EBCM in the trunk (crossing fingers as I say this).

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28 minutes ago, Studebaker said:

Ronnie.......You are brilliant!  I was using a simple in-line fuse with a wire on each end, and I "assumed" that the new fuse was good.  I just did a continuity test and found that the darn fuse was defective.....put a new fuse in it, and now it works.  I just did the test twice and got the following codes:

 

32 - RF WSS

48 - 3 Sensors

76 - RF WSS

 

Im not sure why a different code number would show the same issue..."RF WSS", but thats the case.  So, looks like maybe its a bad right front wheel sensor, but not sure what the "3 Sensors" means......perhaps and indication that I really need to replace all 4 sensors?

 

Thanks for alerting me of my mistake.

 

 

You have ONE bad sensor and replacing that one sensor lead should make the rest "clear up". However what you think is the right front sitting in the driver's seat is the passenger side sensor lead but that would be wrong. The ALDL reads backward so the one that is bad is the driver's side front wheel speed sensor.

 You should verify this by disconnecting the sensor lead under the hood. There is a plug right by the Teves master cylinder. If you go to You Tube I have a video on how to disconnect them. Just check the plugs with an ohm meter. If they read between 900-1400 ohms you are good.

 You may want to check the condition of the rubber on the lead as well.

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Ronnie....Excellent info.....I would have thought it was the passenger front wheel sensor.....thanks for alerting me that it is actually the drivers front sensor.  I will go look for your youtube video.  Huge thanks.

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