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TOPIC: ABS light on all the time

ABS light on all the time 1 year 3 months ago #1

  • Reattasteve
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I,ve been going back and forth with this problem. Before the ABS light would go on sometimes but go out by itself. I changed the Main Valve this past summer and it was OK for awhile. Then the light stated comong on periotically. Then I noticed if I pumped the brakes or sometimes when I steped on the brake pedal hard the red brake light would come on for a second, then go off. I had a repair guy bleed the brakes and he said he could only get the fronts to bleed. So I was reading in the service manual that the brakes have to be pressure bleed. Then I read Jim Finn's method on bleeding and he doesn't say anything about attatching a bleeder adapter to the resorvour.
I did get a code 21 when I checked for ABS codes through the ALDL. No other codes show up in the diagnostic screen.
I have noticed a couple of times that I got a slight kick back on the brake pedal and felt the brake system went out for a split sececond, but returned to normal..
I'm perplexed and just trying to figure out what to do next before replacing stuff that doesn't need replacing.
Any ideas are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Steve
Steve Squires
1989 White/Blue with factory sunroof
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 3 months ago #2

  • reatta
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The brakes don't need a pressure bleeder attached to the system. The brake pump supplies the pressure you need to bleed the rear brakes. The front brakes are bled like any other brakes system. You just have to bleed the brakes as described in the link below. Print the instructions and take to your mechanic if you don't do your own work. If he can't follow the instructions take the car to another mechanic.

How To Flush & Bleed Brakes

Bleeding brakes is not likely to help the yellow light and code 21 (main valve). A lot of times the code 21 will be set when a wheel sensor is actually the problem. You should check them for being frayed or broken before moving on to other ABS items.
Ronnie - Red/Tan 1988 coupe
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 3 months ago #3

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Thanks Ronnie. I had read your piece on how to bleed the brakes, but the manual says different, so I was just making sure.

Thanks again,

Steve
Steve Squires
1989 White/Blue with factory sunroof
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 3 months ago #4

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How does your manual say to do it?
Ronnie - Red/Tan 1988 coupe
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 3 months ago #5

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It states on page 5E-11 that the fronts are to be bled by using Bleeder adapter tool J-35798 ( basically a cap with a hose on the top that replaces the regular resevoir cap) and Diaphragm-Type pressure bleeding equipment. It states to depressurize the system then attatch the bleeder adapter and pressurize the sytem to 20 PSI. Then bleed the brakes in the usual manner by putting a hose over the zerk fitting and into a jar with bkake fluid and open the fitting until you see no more bubbles.
The rears it says to turn the car on to charge the system and bleed into jar until no bubbles.
Steve Squires
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 3 months ago #6

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OK, I see. You are reading the manual and maybe expecting the tutorials to be written with wording that is basically the same as the manual. The tutorials aren't written that way. They are written from past experiences of Reatta owners, (and experts on the Buick Reatta like Jim Finn), that may or may not be in step with the field service manual (FSM).

Sometimes the tutorials will give shortcuts or suggestions that are not in the FSM but are useful to the weekend mechanic who doesn't have all the special tools and facilities listed in the FSM. The end result of following the FSM instructions or the tutorials is usually the same. In this case, the part of the tutorial about bleeding front brakes suggests pumping the brake pedal to build pressure in the system instead of using the Diaphragm-Type pressure bleeding equipment because most Reatta owners will not have access to that type of equipment. The FSM and tutorial instructions are basically the same for bleeding the rear brakes. The tutorials take the approach that sometimes you have to make do with what you have as long as YOU feel you can do the job safely. You will run into that a lot in the tutorials on ROJ.

Please read the ROJ website disclaimer for more important information about using the tutorials.
Ronnie - Red/Tan 1988 coupe
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 3 months ago #7

  • Corvanti
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Ronnie, i think you "nailed it"!!! :)

the FSM's were written for Mr. Goodwrench in the GM's dealer service department. he had "special" tools available to him that we don't have without a significant cost that most of us can't afford for a one time fix. on the other hand, many tools that work on multiple vehicles may be worth (to me) the cost. some are here: thereattastore.com/other-buick-reatta-tools/

when i was doing my major repairs last year, i always used the FSM and any tutorials found on ROJ that were applicable. several times i'd ask myself: "what the (heck) ;) did i miss in the FSM? am i supposed to know how to fill in the blanks between step 1 and step 2?" that's where the tutorials filled in the blanks many times. some repairs i could close the FSM and rely totally on a tutorial.

Steve, use what you feel comfortable with to help with repairs. there are several things i won't try to attempt, and "farm out" to a reputable repair facility - some since i don't have the correct machine or tools - a "valve job" comes to mind. some i just haven't done before (newer GM ignition key/lock steering column problems), that i'm sure i could repair, if i gave the effort to learn...

just my $0.02 :)
Kerry
Wilmington, NC
1989 Reatta Coupe, White/Blue. Sold 7/19/14 :(
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 3 months ago #8

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Thanks for the input. When I can get someone to step on the brakes while I bleed them is my next step. It makes sense to me me that if I have any air in the system the pump doesn't work right and effect the system.

Thanks again.
Steve
Steve Squires
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 2 months ago #9

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will one of these "brake bleeders" work on a Teves system? www.harborfreight.com/brake-bleeder-and-vacuum-pump-kit-69328.html

i've used mine on many other vehicles, but never on the reatta or any teves brake system. if not, i'll also need to find an "assistant"... :(
Kerry
Wilmington, NC
1989 Reatta Coupe, White/Blue. Sold 7/19/14 :(
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 2 months ago #10

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Kerry, I have a vacuum pump similar to that but I've never used it to bleed brakes. I have used the little plastic jar that comes with it as a catch can for the old fluid when bleeding brakes. I -think- the vacuum pump might work on the front brakes but I really doubt that it would work on the rear. There is a valve in the master cylinder that has to be open for fluid to move down to the rear brakes. I don't think the vacuum pump could pull it through that valve.

When I did the flush on the rear brakes on my car I used a stick between the brake pedal and the seat to keep the pump running while I opened the bleeders on the rear calipers. Key has to be on when doing the rear brakes that way.

On the front brakes I had my wife assist me with doing it the old way of "pump it up" and "hold it down" while I opened the bleeders. You don't need the pump running to do it that way on the front.
Ronnie - Red/Tan 1988 coupe
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Last Edit: 1 year 2 months ago by reatta.
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 2 months ago #11

  • lobsterdon
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On my 96 Buick Century ABS light keep going on and off to no aval. After bleeding the brakes many times, I ended up changing both front wheel bearings that had the ABS sensors built into them, Never saw that light again.
1988 Buick Reatta silver/blue
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 1 month ago #12

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OK, I ordered and installed the Accumalator and Pressure Switch, Blead all the brakes and the brakes do seem to working better, except fot the darm ABS light staying on from startup.
I've gone through the diagnostics for ABS light on with no codes showing. The oly ABS code is 21, which is the Main Valve, which I replaced previously. I was going to start checking each speed sensor individualy but I can't figure out why, if one or more speed sensors were bad, they don't throw a code. Is this possible. I took out the passenger seat and checked the wiring underneath. Everything is dry as a whistle. No signs of rust or degraded splices.
Any suggestions?

Thanks,

Steve
Steve Squires
1989 White/Blue with factory sunroof
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 1 month ago #13

  • DAVES89
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I have a little experience with this. I too was getting a code 21 and thought it was the main valve. Being a "junker" I had a number of Teves units, so I swapped out the main valve [not to be confused with the pressure switch] TWICE but still got code 21. I even tried my official EBCM tester and that showed everything good.
So I tried reading the front ABS leads for resistance by spinning the wheel and checking for resistance at the connector in the engine compartment. When the wheel is spinning [car not running key in on position car in neutral and on jack stands]I did not get a reading on the brand new ABS lead from Advance.
Replaced with another one from inventory and all was good.
Sometimes it just pays to have backups...
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 1 month ago #14

  • 89 MAUI
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Steve -

Have you disconnected the ABS sensors in the wheel wells and measured the resistance of each sensor with an ohm meter. Going by memory I believe a good measurement should be 800 to 1400 ohms. If you measure under 800 or over 1400 ohms then the sensor needs to be replaced.

Woody
Woody

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Last Edit: 1 year 1 month ago by 89 MAUI.
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 1 month ago #15

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OK will do.

Thanks
Steve Squires
1989 White/Blue with factory sunroof
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ABS light on all the time 1 year 1 month ago #16

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OK,

Here is my latest attemp at figuring the abs out. I do have a pin-out box, so I was going through testing each wss. I do not get any continuity from three of the four sensors. So scratching my head wondering if I have 3 bad wss or something else is wrong. I was looking at the wiring harness that goes into the ECBM and through the split I could see bare wires. I opened up the coragated sleeve and there is all this weird splicing going on. Wires split in two and going int 2 seperate wires. Is this factory or has someone been messing with it.
I've never seen this kind of spliceing with out soldering or butt joints.
Any ideas.

Thanks,

Steve
Steve Squires
1989 White/Blue with factory sunroof
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