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Old 06-12-2014, 01:12 PM   #1
KevinVarnes
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Default '95 ABS Code Reader

I've been searching around here and other places over the past few days trying to get an answer to this, but have not found anything definitive. I've got a '95 SW2 that has the ABS light come on after it tries to do its self test at 7mph. I believe the right rear wheel sensor is bad based on the resistance of the sensor, but I would like to see what the ABS controller thinks about this as well.

Has anyone found a scanner other than a GM Tech-I that will read ABS codes on the first gen S-Series? I've seen several threads that reference the Actron CP9580, but that would appear to only work on '96+ cars or at the very least has not been confirmed to work on prior years.

Any help would be appreciated.

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Old 06-12-2014, 01:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

Try using a paper clip, the only tool needed for OBD I systems; http://www.differentracing.com/tech_articles/index.html. Compared the suspect wheel speed sensor against the other three?

'96 began complicating things with OBD II and readers/scanners.

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Old 06-12-2014, 02:59 PM   #3
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

I was under the impression that ABS codes used a different communication protocol and could not be "flashed" like PCM codes.

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Old 06-12-2014, 04:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

The S-Series requires a special code reader on the same level as a GM's Tech II to read ABS codes. I'm not positive the Tech II is the right one for '91-'95's, but you aren't going to read ABS codes with a paperclip or any other low dollar reader.

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Old 06-12-2014, 04:08 PM   #5
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

You are correct. The ABS and airbag modules are on separate comm lines on some cars due to traffic and to isolate them from mandatory emissions diagnostics. There are no provisions to program any ABS system. Over design and proven use has shown very few faults occurring, negating any updating. The few real errors seem to be related to worn wheel bearings that's interpreted as an incorrect wheel speed that causes premature ABS activation at low speed like hunting for a parking spot in a mall. The ABS isn't at fault when a worn wheel bearing triggered the ABS response.

OBD I diagnostics are first generation USA mandated EPA regulations governing vehicle emissions control. You'll have to review OBD I on that site. There's very little info about ABS error codes and troubleshooting for OBD I systems as it was designed not for DIY servicing or repairs. Repair shops are required to follow guidelines too, in some states, to prevent reusing salvage yard parts due to unscrupulous repairs that may be illegal or incorrect resulting in premature or no reaction from incorrectly serviced ABS or airbag systems. Insurance companies take a dim view on poor repairs. Outside of insurance regulations, anyone desiring repairs have to dig up all the info on their own whether thru service manuals or online sources other than practical experience from repair shops and other DIYers.

There are two basic areas of all ABS systems; the module containing the electronics and motor to control all braking functions during ABS activation and the outboard wiring, wheel sensors and reluctors. Virtually all ABS failures are due to external parts exposed to weathering and road rash.

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Old 06-12-2014, 04:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

To actually read the ABS or SDM data requires a Tech -2 with the proper firmware. The probably good news is this was used through 99 so if you can find a Chevy dealer with a Tech-2 and the firmware for the GM ABS or SDM and a connector adapter they can read it and it is possible the later systems will as well but this is a trip to the dealer.
This would be the clue to your problem
Quote:
I've got a '95 SW2 that has the ABS light come on after it tries to do its self test at 7mph.
When the arming fails at ~7mph is the much crunching noise or just dead quiet?

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Old 06-13-2014, 01:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
To actually read the ABS or SDM data requires a Tech -2 with the proper firmware. The probably good news is this was used through 99 so if you can find a Chevy dealer with a Tech-2 and the firmware for the GM ABS or SDM and a connector adapter they can read it and it is possible the later systems will as well but this is a trip to the dealer.
This would be the clue to your problem


When the arming fails at ~7mph is the much crunching noise or just dead quiet?
On startup the ABS and brake light illuminate and then turn off as normal. At 7mph it makes the clicking and beeping sounds, but then the ABS and brake light come on. It has been a while since I've heard the "good" ABS crunch so I cannot remember what it used to sound like. When the lights initially started coming on it would go through its arming sequence, but it would keep clicking and crunching for a few more seconds like the ABS pump/motor was trying to find home, but couldn't and then the lights would come on.

Several weeks prior to the ABS issues I replaced the RR wheel bearing (all other wheel bearings have checked good) with a Moog/National unit and that is the wheel sensor that I am getting a low resistance reading on, but it just seems like with the noise coming from the pump/motor that something else may be going on.

This weekend I will probably swap an old hub back on and see if that takes care of it. All other wheel sensors, reluctor rings, and sensor/ring gap looked good.

It just seems crazy that I can buy a $200 Actron scanner and get ABS codes from a gen-2 S-Series, but to pull codes from my gen-1 I have to go to a shop where they have to hook up a $4000 piece of equipment to get them.

At the end of the day I'd just like to see what the ABS controller is thinking so I can try to refine my troubleshooting efforts.

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Old 06-13-2014, 08:38 AM   #8
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

Change the hub and see what happens, if that does not fix it then you have 1 or more failure in the motor box under the master cylinder. If that is the case I will look up what pick and pull parts to grab to just swap it out. The teeth come off the gears that wind up the springs and then it more or less eats itself.

A wheel sensor should show up once the car is rolling so that may be it as well.

Te code reader info is tied up in the intellectual property licensing mess.

Last edited by OldNuc; 06-13-2014 at 08:45 AM..

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Old 06-13-2014, 01:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

Have you tried testing the sensors with an ohm meter ? I think they should read about 1600 ohms, but not positive about that as I am going from memory. Or if you test all four you may find one that does not match the other three.
In the process you can get a good look at connectors and wiring.

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Old 06-13-2014, 02:05 PM   #10
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

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Originally Posted by el diablo viejo View Post
Have you tried testing the sensors with an ohm meter ? I think they should read about 1600 ohms, but not positive about that as I am going from memory. Or if you test all four you may find one that does not match the other three.
In the process you can get a good look at connectors and wiring.
Yes I've tested the resistance of all sensors and checked the gap on the front sensors. The FSM has different resistances for the sensors based on ambient temperature and three of them were within spec. The RR sensor which was part of a wheel bearing I replaced a few months ago read below spec. Following the troubleshooting chart in the manual (assuming I had a RR wheel sensor code) I then checked the harness going to the sensor for a short and that was fine.

I'm just going to swap on an old hub this weekend and see what happens. I am hoping the pump/motor assembly is okay because that does not sound like very much fun to work on.

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Old 06-13-2014, 03:35 PM   #11
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

The motor box is a replace with a JY part as the repair kits are all gone away.

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Old 06-14-2014, 02:09 PM   #12
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

Well that was a bust. I had a bad hub laying around, but I could not get a consistent reading on the resistance of the sensor. I threw it on there anyway, and the problem still persisted. Unfortunately the other bad hub I have took a few direct blows to the sensor housing and I am sure that one is shot.

I did discover that I have no back brakes though which is awesome. From reading the FSM it appears that no fluid will go to the back brakes if the ABS pump pistons are not in the home position so that would give some credibility to my thought about the pump/motor being shot. That would also explain why the ABS AND Brake telltale lights are on.

I did find some reman pump/motors for sale, but who knows how well they were "reman'd". I'm not sure when I'll be able to make it to a j/y next, but I'm also not sure how much longer I want to drive around with no rear brakes.

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Old 06-14-2014, 03:35 PM   #13
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

Before going on assumptions that your rear brakes failed from a dead ABS unit, some facts are needed to clear up any misconceptions of how brakes and ABS interact.

All ABS/TC/ESC systems are enhancements to the basic brake system. In every ABS equipped vehicle, the ABS self test is to determine whether or not the self contained and operated ABS unit will perform when needed so you hear/feel the momentary buzz as the electronics and ABS motor cycle. When the ABS light stays off, ABS passed its self tests and is standing by ready for activation. If the ABS light turns on and stays on, it didn't pass self tests and disables itself from interfering with normal braking. Whether or not ABS is operational, its always invisible to the braking system. A failed ABS unit doesn't interfere with braking; you can lock up brakes like it always did before ABS became available. Losing rear brakes has nothing to do with ABS - it was already disabled. When ABS is not enabled, activated or disabled, ABS is effectively invisible to the hydraulic brake system because all its valves are closed by default. Any ABS valve must be powered up when ABS is operating and only when an ABS event requires ABS operation - jamming brakes on for all they're worth and letting ABS take over braking.

ABS always returns to 'home position' regardless of failure. If this didn't occur, no one can perform any brake flushing or bleeding procedures. If your rear brakes failed, its because of a lack of brake service, not because of ABS failure. Make repairs to your brake system first. ABS repairs can be ignored for now until you determine why braking isn't working. If you like, remove all ABS fuses to turn off the ABS light; no power to ABS, no light. This doesn't affect the basic brake system that still needs repair.

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Old 06-14-2014, 04:52 PM   #14
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Before going on assumptions that your rear brakes failed from a dead ABS unit, some facts are needed to clear up any misconceptions of how brakes and ABS interact.

All ABS/TC/ESC systems are enhancements to the basic brake system. In every ABS equipped vehicle, the ABS self test is to determine whether or not the self contained and operated ABS unit will perform when needed so you hear/feel the momentary buzz as the electronics and ABS motor cycle. When the ABS light stays off, ABS passed its self tests and is standing by ready for activation. If the ABS light turns on and stays on, it didn't pass self tests and disables itself from interfering with normal braking. Whether or not ABS is operational, its always invisible to the braking system. A failed ABS unit doesn't interfere with braking; you can lock up brakes like it always did before ABS became available. Losing rear brakes has nothing to do with ABS - it was already disabled. When ABS is not enabled, activated or disabled, ABS is effectively invisible to the hydraulic brake system because all its valves are closed by default. Any ABS valve must be powered up when ABS is operating and only when an ABS event requires ABS operation - jamming brakes on for all they're worth and letting ABS take over braking.

ABS always returns to 'home position' regardless of failure. If this didn't occur, no one can perform any brake flushing or bleeding procedures. If your rear brakes failed, its because of a lack of brake service, not because of ABS failure. Make repairs to your brake system first. ABS repairs can be ignored for now until you determine why braking isn't working. If you like, remove all ABS fuses to turn off the ABS light; no power to ABS, no light. This doesn't affect the basic brake system that still needs repair.
I understand what you are saying, but this seems contradictory to what the FSM says on the matter. According to that when the pump pistons are in the home position and it is operating is base brake mode then yes, hydraulic operation is normal. When the brakes are in ABS mode then the fluid from the M/C no longer acts on the calipers/wheel cylinders, but instead that signal comes from the ABS pump.

From reading, when the pistons are in the home position they are under spring tension and it is the drive gears which keep them from being back-driven and out of the home position. It would seem then that if a gear stripped then the motor pack would no longer be able to drive the piston to its home position and could/would cut off flow to either the rear brakes or one or both of the front calipers. I could be misinterpreting that, but I believe that is how the pump/motor works.

Also it does state that "the red brake telltale can be commanded on by the ABS controller in the event that base brake performance is downgraded by an ABS fault (such as an open rear motor circuit when the piston is not home)."

This would also seem to indicate that under normal operation, yes, the ABS does not affect normal brake hydraulics. But, if something were to fail in the modulator or pump that it could affect normal brake hydraulics. This wouldn't be completely unheard of. I know in the old Bosch Teves-III ABS systems when the pump fails you effectively lose your front brakes. Not much fun trying to slow a 2 ton car down with only rear brakes.

I also know that the rear brakes were working just a few weeks prior to the ABS and brake light coming on. They could be two separate issues, but it seems strange that they would both happen at the same time.

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Old 06-14-2014, 05:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

Technical discussion aside, remember that ABS units are self tested every time a car is started and driven. Every time. The same for the OBD I or II system to test all emissions controls. This is lost on many not willing to dwell on superfluous info until knee deep into troubleshooting and making presumptions. While you are not presuming anything and have the service manual to read to understand how ABS operates, the basic operation still separates hydraulic brakes from ABS. Ignoring the separation can confuse anyone when reading the technical explanation of ABS operation. Remember, ABS performs self tests every time the engine is started and car driven. At any time, if this self test determines ABS failed, its disabled immediately. No more ABS. Basic braking still works as it always did before ABS became available. If you can accept this basic premise then you can see how anyone can perform brake flushing or bleeding procedures. ABS is closed and shut whenever brake bleed procedures are performed. If any ABS valve were inadvertently open, air may enter the ABS unit and corrupt ABS operation. No one has ever done this, yet.

ABS contains electronics, a motor and several solenoids to control distribution of hydraulic pressures. Once ABS activates, these solenoids shut off brake pedal pressure and motor pressurization along with electronic controls apply brake pressure on and off to each wheel brake to prevent wheel lock. Once ABS braking is released, ABS turns off, standing by for the next hard braking event. At no time is ABS out of "home position" or misinterpreted, when a valve is opened. When ABS passes self tests, its armed or home position is achieved, standing by. If ABS failed its self test then home position is not a factor as ABS is disabled. No ABS valves are ever opened at any time unless 1)ABS passed initial self tests and 2)brakes are applied HARD. If ABS passed its own self tests then ABS is on standby. If ABS doesn't pass self tests, the ABS light turns on to alert the driver that ABS is not available. Braking is still available. Getting in-depth with 'home position' is way off base in separating whether ABS is available or not. The question to ask is simply "is ABS available or not?" ABS light OFF = ABS is available and in standby mode. ABS light ON = it failed self tests and is disabled, not available for ABS operation in emergency braking conditions.

If you insist on ABS interfering with braking and affecting brake operation then you will have to determine how to approach repairs. That's your choice. In actuality, ABS is not necessary for braking and should be considered here very carefully to see the perspective. The basic hydraulic braking system is a priority and does not need ABS. Every vehicle brake system is designed to operate on the basic hydraulic brake system first. ABS is secondary and designed so if it fails, it does not interfere with braking. You may be insisting on wagging the dog with the tail when its the other way around.

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Old 06-14-2014, 06:26 PM   #16
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

The easy fix is to carefully extract both the motor box and the master cylinder from a dead car. If you think ahead you can swap these units and not induce air into the system. Late 92 through 99 are the same part. You will need rubber plugs for the main brake line outlet ports and the donor MC must be full. Mechanically disconnect and bend tubing so the ABS parts you want to not drain when removed and carted off.

Quote:
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Well that was a bust. I had a bad hub laying around, but I could not get a consistent reading on the resistance of the sensor. I threw it on there anyway, and the problem still persisted. Unfortunately the other bad hub I have took a few direct blows to the sensor housing and I am sure that one is shot.

I did discover that I have no back brakes though which is awesome. From reading the FSM it appears that no fluid will go to the back brakes if the ABS pump pistons are not in the home position so that would give some credibility to my thought about the pump/motor being shot. That would also explain why the ABS AND Brake telltale lights are on.

I did find some reman pump/motors for sale, but who knows how well they were "reman'd". I'm not sure when I'll be able to make it to a j/y next, but I'm also not sure how much longer I want to drive around with no rear brakes.

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Old 06-16-2014, 01:13 AM   #17
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

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Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Every vehicle brake system is designed to operate on the basic hydraulic brake system first. ABS is secondary and designed so if it fails, it does not interfere with braking. You may be insisting on wagging the dog with the tail when its the other way around.
I guess we'll just have to disagree on this. Consider ABS fault code 42: "Rear ESB does not hold motor - The expansion spring brakes (ESB) are used on both front and rear actuator motor assemblies. The spring expands to provide friction to prevent the modulator piston from being back-driven by hydraulic pressure. This condition will disable rear base brakes and turn on the antilock and brake telltale."

Essentially the pump motor is not able to hold the piston in the home position and the mechanical check valve(s) close off fluid flow to the rear brakes and thus no rear brakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
The easy fix is to carefully extract both the motor box and the master cylinder from a dead car. If you think ahead you can swap these units and not induce air into the system. Late 92 through 99 are the same part. You will need rubber plugs for the main brake line outlet ports and the donor MC must be full. Mechanically disconnect and bend tubing so the ABS parts you want to not drain when removed and carted off.
That is the plan at this point. I'll report back after I've got it swapped out to update the post.

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Old 06-16-2014, 02:17 AM   #18
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

Its fine to disagree on discussions as we all have different views. What's important here is that your brakes operate safely, with or without ABS. You say that you determined no rear braking. How did you determine this? If half the brake system is lost, according to your findings, then braking distances should double or at the least present a hazardous condition when braking. If not hazardous then downright dangerous.

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Old 06-28-2014, 07:14 PM   #19
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

Well I finally was able to make it to the junkyard today where I liberated a brake master cylinder/ABS modulator/ABS motor and pump assembly from a '96 SL2. After getting back home I took out the air cleaner and battery tray to gain access to the ABS pump on my car. I took off the bottom cover on the pump/motor assembly and lo and behold the nut that retains the gear on the front modulator piston jackscrew was sitting in the bottom of the cover. Upon further investigation I found the other two nuts loose as well. I reinstalled the one nut and retightened the other two nuts and closed it back up.

I started the car up and got up to 7-8mph and the ABS and brake telltale lights still came on. Discouraged I pulled back into the driveway and tested the rear brakes and they were now operational so that was good.

I pulled out of the driveway to take it around the block and the ABS system initialized and no more ABS or brake telltale lights. Perhaps it took a couple of key cycles for the ABS modulator and pump motors to figure out what was going on.

So now all is fixed, but I never did find a way to scan ABS codes on my car (other than finding someone with a GM Tech-I scanner of course).

Thank you for all the help and suggestions.

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'89 Cougar XR-7 5 Speed
'95 T-Bird SC 5 Speed
'93 T-Bird SC AOD
'91 Crown Vic P72 351W
'00 Saturn SL1 5 Speed (wife's car)
'95 Saturn SW2 (automatic for now)

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Old 06-28-2014, 07:43 PM   #20
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Default Re: '95 ABS Code Reader

So two ABS nuts loosened over time to allow zero ABS operation and zero rear brakes? That's not something that occurs at all. You are the first to post an unusual and very abnormal problem. I can only make an initial guess that those two nuts loosening caused ABS failure while allowing brake fluid to circumvent normal brake lines to the rears. Reattaching those nuts with ABS somehow passing its own self tests to allow ABS to operate, at least in standby mode? You have no real assurances that ABS will work unless you deliberately test ABS.

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