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Cortana 02-20-2007 09:36 PM

ABS making grinding noises
Always nice when the safety bits make those happy RRZZZRRTTTTT kinds of noises.

ABS works... SOMETIMES. Generally only for a few seconds, before degrading into an off pseudo-grinding noise. I hear some kind of motor kicking in, associated with a rotary grinding noise... the closest thing I can think of is the sound you'd get if someone was drilling into your frame.

It gets worse the farther I press the brake. I've never had the guts to floor it and find out what happens.

Ideas on what might be wrong? ABS is tough to blindly test since I can't find a good way to be braking, sliding, and examining the ABS system at the same time;)

harsha 02-20-2007 09:46 PM

Re: ABS making grinding noises
Is it time for new brake pads??

madpogue 02-21-2007 12:41 AM

Re: ABS making grinding noises
[QUOTE=Cortana;1004517]ABS is tough to blindly test since I can't find a good way to be braking, sliding, and examining the ABS system at the same time;)[/QUOTE] Um, dry pavement, empty street. Stand on the brakes. If none of the tires squeal, the ABS is kicking in.

Also, to isolate whether it's the ABS or the brakes themselves, pull the ABS fuse and do some test stops.

fdryer 02-21-2007 01:38 AM

Re: ABS making grinding noises
Posting without pertinent information related to your vehicle doesn't help as harsha has asked you about your brakes and if its time to replace them. Less a guessing game for everyone. Post more information.

If you have an owners manual read it. No owners manual then Google ABS systems and read up on how, when , where, and why ABS works. The more you find for yourself the more you'll benefit from the basic knowledge of ABS operation. If you are reluctant to try engaging your ABS brakes then there are several ways to check it. This is assuming your brakes are operational.

1-Arrange a service appointment with your local Saturn service center with the explicit purpose to have them check the ABS system to verify the ability of your vehicle's ABS operational capability. Nothing more, unless you approve any other service Saturn brings to your attention.
2-One alternative is to find an enclosed race track and ask for authorization to perform an ABS brake test by yourself or to have someone you designate to test your vehicle's ABS system.
3-The other alternative, and important if you've done some research to understand the workings of ABS systems, is to find a large even leveled lot covered with snow, to allow some amount of poor traction, free of obstructions for an abbreviated straight acceleration up to 30-40mph, and plenty of braking room at the end of this straightaway should anything wrong occur. A rain soaked lot will suffice also. Be absolutely sure there is room for mistake if the car should drift off to one side. This is at your own risk and be aware at all times prior to and during the ABS test. By experiencing a safe ABS test engaging your vehicle ABS system you will have first hand experience as to what will occur when the brakes are jammed to the floor completely, duplicating as near an example of a panic stop situation as possible without actually being in a panic stop.

When forcefully applying the brakes and NOT letting off, the ABS system will immediately react the moment any wheel locks up creating a skidding potential. You may hear the ABS motor but you'll definitely feel the brake pedal pulsate very fast as if a vibration is causing a problem in the brake system. This is the human/machine connection telling you the ABS is operating to unlock the skidding wheel and allow it to rotate at the same speed as the other wheels then reapplying the brake(s) according to the ABS computer that monitors all wheel speeds. All the wheels will be controlled by the ABS system, when operating correctly, as long as you forcefully apply the maximum braking effort and NEVER release the brake pedal as you come to a controlled ABS stop. This is the physically felt feedback built into virtually all vehicle ABS brakes and allows the driver to steer with as much control to avoid a collision while continually braking to a stop much more so than if there were no ABS installed. A snow covered lot is the best low traction environment to experience vehicle ABS without endangering you, anyone, anything near you short of an enclosed race track. Do this alone or with one other person as you will be surprised the first time if you've never experienced brake lock up or ABS operation. The slow speed is more than enough to engage ABS without overshooting miscalculations of side drift, if any, or not allowing run out room straight ahead. Of course it is assumed that safety belts are worn lest you desire being tossed through the windshield. Leave the cameras and loose paraphernalia home as they'll get tossed around. Take a serious attitude when performing this and you'll come away with a brief exposure to ABS but don't assume this will get you out of a jam as imbeciles have learned the hard way that even ABS won't save them from idiotic speeding while maneuvering close to other vehicles then suddenly finding themselves braking for their life only to find themselves rear ending the car in front of them!? To sum it up, ABS is for panic stops when one least expects it and still no guarantee of safe stopping and avoidance if the speed was far above road conditions.

Cortana 02-21-2007 10:58 AM

Re: ABS making grinding noises
Ok, let me fill in some blanks then.

The brake pads are fine. They have less than 4000 miles on them. They were replaced by a dealer, and have and continue to operate fine under normal conditions with very solid braking power. The ABS failure started about 500 miles ago.

I know what ABS is supposed to feel like. It was operating properly prior. Now, instead of feeling that pulsating, I don't feel anything different about the brakes when the ABS is on or off except a bit of vibration which clocks itself with the grinding noise. Nowhere near enough resistance or movement to classify itself as pulsing. The car DOES skid in snow or ice, (I understand ABS or not this can happen) but instead of feeling the ABS pulsing, I simply hear the grinding noise.

I've tested this NUMEROUS times in the snow. I know it's bad. My previous comment was that I can't trigger the ABS failure while examining the ABS system externally to see what is going on.

I also notice that sometimes, I will get a few pulses out of the system the first time it kicks in, but this behavior generally stops after the first few times it kicks in (It was snowy out here, so the ABS got a lot of abuse)

More info:
Recently, the car has been stuck in two snow drifts (Snow plows created barriers of snow too high for the car to get over, had to be dug out) and it has spun out once after being tapped by another car on an onramp. None of these seemed to cause any visible damage to the tires, brakes, or general drivetrain, but the ABS stopped working around this time.

fdryer 02-21-2007 11:36 AM

Re: ABS making grinding noises
Oh, ok, now we got some information!? Youse (my best Brooklyn accent)definitely gots a broken ABS!? Most likely one or two wheel sensor(s) and/or the cabling somehow was torn breaking the electrical connection. Possibly one wire is chafing causing the intermittent ABS failure. Looks like somebody's gonna have to do some hunting around the wheels looking for breaks in the wiring, torn sensors, etc.. Sorry to hear about the broke ABS, I like mine when it reminds me of traveling a wee bit too quickly. Better some sensor broken or wire than the ABS unit itself. When you do find out where the problem presented itself and the repairs necessary would you mind posting the results?

madpogue 02-21-2007 07:12 PM

Re: ABS making grinding noises
I take it the ABS warning light isn't coming on during any of this, right? Does the light work on "bulb check"?

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