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Old 09-10-2018, 09:30 PM   #1
Amak
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1997 SL2
2001 SC2
Default 2001 SC2 Brake Fluid Flush

Yet another thread on this project car (thankfully everything is going ok!)

So I found I have ABS and read about bleeding the system (homing the ABS and all that). However, I'm having a hard time finding a concrete procedure as some links are dead and some mention a modulator bleeding while others don't. A few threads I found mention just a bleed but I'm doing a full flush so I'm unsure if anything differs.

My question is, after I home the system (by power cycling the car it seems), can I flush it (which accomplishes a bleeding I'd imagine) like any other car? The plan was using the soda bottle trick and pumping the brakes until I see clear fluid.

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Old 09-10-2018, 09:47 PM   #2
Waiex191
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1999 SL2
1998 SC2
Default Re: 2001 SC2 Brake Fluid Flush

My '99 SL2 has ABS. During the rebuild, we replaced all lines and the rear wheel cylinders. So it pretty much has all new brake fluid. I bled it just like any other car. All is well 7000 miles later.

...
Bryan Cotton
'99 SL2, 5SP bought new
Rebuilt at 204,067 September 2017
Engine, subframe, diff pin mod, brake lines, headliner, alternator, and so on!
'98 SC2, 5SP bought 2018

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Old 09-10-2018, 10:45 PM   #3
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2001 SC2 Brake Fluid Flush

Homing is an outdated term and basically relates to first gen Saturns with service manuals mentioning the phrase before brake fluid service is performed. In general, every abs unit starts out already in 'home position' as part of power-up self testing at every ignition ON cycle. Second and third gen abs (yours is third gen) continue self tests when the car moves above 5 mph - many hear the zinging sound like a spring resonating, once. This is the abs motor operating briefly without applying brakes when driving off in gear right after starting. If the two part self test passes, the abs light remains off. In essence, your abs is already homed when ignition is turned off. This allows normal brake fluid service whether bleeding one wheel or flushing the entire brake system. The abs unit is effectively closed off from everyday brake service.

From the service manual:

Hydraulic Brake System Flushing

It is recommended that the entire hydraulic system be thoroughly flushed with clean brake fluid whenever new parts are installed in the hydraulic system. Approximately 0.95 liters (one quart) of fluid is required to flush the hydraulic system.

The system must be flushed if there is any doubt as to the grade of fluid in the system or if fluid has been used which contains the slightest trace of mineral oil. All rubber parts that have been subjected to a contaminated fluid must be replaced.


This assumes brake hydraulics are intact and no air entered into the brakelines and abs braking occured. Once a compromised brake system has air in it and severe braking resulted in abs activation (foot massage as the abs vibrates loudly and feedback is felt in the brake pedal), abs bleeding procedures should not be done at home as GMs scantool is needed to actuate abs valves in order to perform bleeding the abs unit and brake lines of brake fluid to rid the system of air. The only complication is determining whether or not braking occurred with air in the lines and abs occurred. If not (no abs activation occurred) then normal brake flushing and bleeding can be performed by almost anyone familiar with brake fluid flushing/bleeding procedures.

As Waiex191 mentions, he never encountered issues with servicing hydraulic brakes with abs. I did the same on my L300 with abs. They worked fine before flushing/bleeding lines, replacing a caliper, several pairs of brake pads and rotors, with brakes working afterwards, including abs activation. I've practiced winter braking on icy, snowy parking lots deliberately jamming brakes to activate abs every year to remind me when traction is lost on slick roads so I won't be tempted to drive above the speed that won't allow abs to safely stop. I'm no slouch in wet or icy snow conditions but mindful of how easy traction can be lost so yearly brake tests with deliberately activating abs to test tire traction helps me. 103k miles and several brake fluid flushes and bleeding procedures with several pads and rotors with brakes still working as designed.

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Old 09-10-2018, 11:00 PM   #4
Amak
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 Brake Fluid Flush

Thanks for the info! That is what I wanted to know.

So if I understand correctly, it seems like unless a warning light is on I can flush/bleed as usual?

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Old 09-11-2018, 01:43 AM   #5
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: 2001 SC2 Brake Fluid Flush

Yes, flush and bleed brakes as if abs were never there. That's one way to look at brake fluid replacement as long as abs didn't turn on its light. ABS is invisible to the brake hydraulic system whether driving or not. Its valves are all closed so everyday braking is the same as if abs were never there. ABS is only active, valves opening/closing/abs motor running when emergency braking occurs to stop on dry, gravelly or slick surfaces. Just remember, although what is discussed is the same procedures with or without abs, every brake repair shop does the same work but they have insurance to cover mistakes and have experienced workers. You accept all risks and problems if not familiar with brake systems and something goes wrong. If you understand and accept responsibility then by all means go ahead. And make sure brakes work by moving the car slowly and testing brakes then trying it on a local street before racing up and down to jam the brakes.

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Old 09-11-2018, 01:49 AM   #6
Amak
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Default Re: 2001 SC2 Brake Fluid Flush

Oh of course! After I swapped pads I tested in my complex's parking lot to make sure they worked. I'd sure as heck do the same for a flush.

Thanks so much for the info! Never messed with ABS but I'm glad it seems to be mostly transparent for my area (pretty much dry and hardly slick enough to activate it).

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