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Old 12-01-2007, 11:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default ABS malfunction

We got our first real snowfall here today. So I went out for a drive since I've never driven the car myself in the snow. Also, for the first time, I got to see how my ABS works.

As it engages I get a strange and loud crunching sound and the peddle does not sink to the floor. If I push harder on the peddle, it sinks a bit but I get a lot of uncomfortable crunching feedback. It feels really strange and like something is wrong... it also doesn't seem to stop very well.

Though i was going very slowly... probably 5 or 10 kph. Is that possibly normal behaviour for low speeds like that?

I quickly pulled a fuse under the dash that disabled the ABS.

Is my ABS broken?
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Old 12-02-2007, 12:17 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Sounds normal on a slippery surface - which is why I disable ABS when offroad.
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Old 12-02-2007, 12:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The pedal is not supposed to sink but rather to push back with a given frequency (~10-20 Hz), so "crunchy" pulsation does not sound much out of the ordinary. Dry some different (old-ish) car with ABS to see if your case is noticeably more severe/loud/etc.

And yes, it does not work well in your typical snowy/icy road because these primitive ABS systems are triggered by the wheel with least traction (i.e., just one wheel on ice == no braking at all). It is also severely detrimental (assuming you know how to brake without ABS in low traction conditions) on dirt/sand/gravel/snow(moderately deep).

It is primarily useful on wet tarmac/concrete on moderate to high speeds, or when something unexpected happens during your "routine" driving in rain/snow, giving you a little time to react while doing at least some braking without catastrophic loss of control due to overreacting with the brake pedal.

I suggest installing an easy to access switch that disables the ABS when [not] needed. I am glad I did.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:43 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I see... thanks for the replies

One day I should really try to engage the abs at a higher speed so that I know how it reacts. I've never experienced ABS in any car.

What is the preferred method of disabling the ABS? I'm not sure if this is related or not as I only noticed it after I pulled the fuse, but now when I shift into reverse the "door open" light comes on. Also the defroster light is always on and pushing the switch just seems to toggle the open door light. Very Bizarre.
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Old 12-02-2007, 04:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by nast View Post
1. What is the preferred method of disabling the ABS?

2. ... but now when I shift into reverse the "door open" light comes on. Also the defroster light is always on and pushing the switch just seems to toggle the open door light. Very Bizarre.
1. Splice a switch into most any of the ABS wires going to/from the fusebox. I cut and spliced in a relay which is then activated by a switch (cannot quite remember why I did it that why). Find a good location of the switch (I out mine next to the handbrake (MT) - very quick access.

2. Wiring issues. No quick solution here (unless there has been a collision or something, so you'd know where to look) - get a simple electronic multimeter, look at the wiring diagrams and test all the circuits that might be involved (continuity/resistance, cross-circuit resistance, voltage in places where it should not be, etc.). You might have to get under some panels/carpeting off to get the the right locations. Could also use a needle probe in some place, but be careful (biggest problem - getting through a wire and short-circuiting it to another one or ground).
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Old 12-09-2012, 09:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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How can I turn the ABS idiot light off on my dash? Subaru read the code and said it was the control module and new it is 1300.00. I am wondering if it would be wise to investigate a used one. How can I get that dash idiot light off other then replacing the 1300 (thus far) part? I would apprciate any suggestiuons you might have , 2003 Subarub forester, Auto.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

Removing the fuse (#22 did nothing to turn the idiot light off). Are there any other fuses that might turn the idiot light off?

Thank you for your help.
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Old 12-10-2012, 12:01 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Remove corresponding light bulb from the instrument cluster.
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Stick a bit of duct tape over it! But, yes, do investigate replacing the module for your own safety.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I wouldn't suggest disabling ABS in an automatic car... In a manual, not as big of an issue...

Let me explain...

ABS is trying to get a stopped wheel moving... the ONLY means it has for this is by PUSHING you off the brake, until the wheel begins to move...

In a manual car, you can leave it in gear and/or downshift to use the drivetrain to get the wheels moving again... I've stopped in the snow in some insanely short distances by doing the "dance" .... in my manual Subie...

In an autotragic, there is FAR FAR less finite control of this... take your foot off the gas and the drivetrain goes LIMP... leaving nothing but the road surface to get those wheels spinning again... You can try feathering in gas, but it's a very "numb" feeling..

I just found out how numb it can be by nearly asspacking a truck yesterday... dove for the shoulder of the road to try and find some traction, finally got some and got it stopped... (frozen dirt roads, mostly ice)

Pucker factor of 12...
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:30 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Aaron'z 2.5RS/WRX View Post
In a manual car, you can leave it in gear and/or downshift to use the drivetrain to get the wheels moving again... I've stopped in the snow in some insanely short distances by doing the "dance" .... in my manual Subie... .
Problem though is time required to do this and also it won't insure the vehicle stays straight. I understand what you are doing though.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:54 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Problem though is time required to do this and also it won't insure the vehicle stays straight. I understand what you are doing though.
Do I need to put an "advanced driving" disclaimer in here?

I'm also talking about adverse conditions driving, snow, gravel, rain...ect..Mainly SNOW... . I wouldn't recomend bypassing the ABS for typical driving WHAT-SO-EVER..
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Old 12-15-2012, 04:51 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Deduction implies the only way is to disable the bulb/light is by accessing via the dash removal? I will also look for a used control module? I understand the implications re safety but unlikely to put 1300 plus labor in a 2003 with 130,000 miles to aquire a new control module. Any other thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. It's a great vehicle and has served us well. Our second, I also had a 1980 suby wagon.

Thank you for trying to help.
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Old 12-15-2012, 05:00 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Why not look for a used one at a salvage yard?

Car-Part.com--Used Auto Parts Market

I would expect to pay $50-$200 and most should offer some type of 10, 30.... day warranty.
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