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Old 05-17-2021, 09:10 PM   #1
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Default L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On.

4 Wheel Disk, Front Discs have < 500 Miles Rear Discs about 10K. Does not appear to be any leaking, fluid all light & clean & to the top (perhaps overfilled?), does not stop any different.

Switch was replaced on the Reservoir with the Front brake job. These switches go bad that often?

I believe the brake warning trips the Service Lamp, do these store general codes?
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Old 05-18-2021, 11:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

Did the brake light turn off after replacing the reservoir switch? Did wrench and brake light turn on together the first time? The brake light is turned on for either low bake fluid (disc brake calipers lowers reservoir fluid as pads wear - fluid fills the void as pistons extend), the park brake lever isn't fully released, the park brake switch is faulty or fault in wiring associated with the reservoir or park brake switch. The wrench light may not be related to the brake light. Generic readers aren't capable of decoding wrench errors.

Stored wrench error codes are decoded with GMs dealer scantool, repair shops having better scantools or aftermarket readers specifically designated for GM vehicles.
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Old 05-18-2021, 08:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

Yes, exactly what it did in November, about 300 some odd miles ago. It seems like the Brake lamp trips the Service lamp, or vice versa. It did need front brakes & had low fluid at one point, yet we found out the switch froze (Closed?) & never would turn off. He had bad master cylinder laying around with good switch still in it so they swapped it out & good to go. I forgot if he said there was a reset for the wrench. They come on together (again & stay on) after starting. The revivor is full to almost the cap,

The Parking brake shouldn't trip that service Lamp I wouldn't think.

I'm thinking I will get another dishonest Mechanic that will tell me the master cylinder is gone. I'm tempted to try this myself, the switches run about $20-30 something. (just can I get it off) The plug seems a bit stuck, I seem to pull a bit too hard & break thing at this point, I wanted to check the connectors for corrosion.
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Old 05-19-2021, 03:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

Reviewing service manual descriptions, whether parking brake switch or low brake fluid level switch, when the switch closes (park brake lever pulled or low fluid level) a ground is connected and the ground signal is sent to the bcm. The bcm turns on the brake indicator. Troubleshooting both switches may be as simple as disconnecting one or both switch connections. The brake low fluid switch is the easiest of the two to disconnect to see if the brake light turns off. If the brake light remains on and presuming the brake fluid switch or wiring isn't grounded, disconnecting the park brake switch may be more difficult.

The wrench is decoded with GM, repair shop or aftermarket scantool capable of displaying GM specific error codes unlike generic emissions error codes read by moat readers.
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Old 05-24-2021, 05:56 PM   #5
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

So this switch is NO (normally open) then, & is that the only 2 items that would trip the Brake lamp (Low fluid & the parking brake switch)?

I've had catastrophic double line failure in a car years back & I never seen that lamp until the reservoir was empty (& would only go on when pressing the pedal).
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Old 05-25-2021, 02:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

Here's wiring for low brake fluid and park brake switch. Note each error code isn't a P type error and may trigger the wrench light.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg LBF sw.jpg (167.2 KB, 12 views)
File Type: jpg PB sw.jpg (134.1 KB, 10 views)
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Old 06-02-2021, 10:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

TY, so is that the only 2 conditions that would set off the brake lamp? I had catastrophic brake failure in my '92 SSei (both lines) yet my brakes failed long before seeing the lamp or hearing the warning chime.

No measurements on the power booster or anything like that?


Since it was recently replaced with a suppose used switch that appears to be a first point of suspect, I have yet to be able to release the wiring, the connector appears to be fused on, leading me to believe if even was the correct switch in the first place, or possibly something made to fit.
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Old 06-03-2021, 12:36 AM   #8
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

Yes, those are the only two conditions turning on the brake light unless someone contributes new found info not listed in Saturns service manuals.

The power assisted brake boost unit operates on intake manifold vacuum with a one way check valve. If the engine dies while driving, the brake vacuum boost unit stores reserve vacuum for several power assisted brake pedal applications before depleted vacuum occurs. Zero indications, electrical, electronic, indicator when power brakes fail. In the unusual event of losing power brakes, more force is needed to brake. Loss of power brakes is rare but when it occurs, the pedal will be firm, not bottoming out, while braking occurs using more distance unless a driver stands on the brake pedal. With most vehicles, anti lock braking would take over regardless whether or not the power brake unit failed as long as the driver stands on the brake pedal to let abs control braking. In this case the abs light will turn on or flash.
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Old 06-28-2021, 09:38 PM   #9
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

OK, disconnecting the sensor (finally, I needed a small screwdriver to pry it off), turns both lamps off, so the issue is in the sensor.

Is that a proximity type sensor that is separate from the reservoir, or am I going to need to drain the fluid for this? The switch felt a bit loose, so I didn't think it was sealed to the Brake Fluid Reservoir.

As you mentioned about power brakes, this car needs a bit more pressure to stop it than my Hyundai, though I believe I felt harder pedals, It would be harder to lock it up.... but you say the lamp isn't related to the booster.

I know the switch installed in October was used, I'm wondering if was even correct now.
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Old 06-29-2021, 01:07 AM   #10
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

Unfortunately, you confirmed what I found when I bought my car (off a 2yr lease), power assisted braking isn't anything like most power brakes on other vehicles. My brakes, no matter whether ceramic or other brake disc pads, takes more pedal effort to stop. My personal preference, and often frightening to some passengers, is braking at the last moment rather than braking a long distance away from stopping. Others note that my braking is at the last moment but my explanation has always been that I rely on brakes (even when I service them) on faith to feel completely comfortable (when others are frightened at my last second braking). Whether driving other vehicles or mine, other vehicles braking is more powerful as I almost have my body thrown forward using the same braking effort. This comparison to many vehicles had me concerned enough to ask others to test my brakes without commenting on the differences. My sister's Nissan Sentra, a lightweight 4dr sedan brakes quicker than my L300 and if I'm not careful, will throw my body forward as I brake. Apparently, I have become accustomed to less powerful power assisted braking in my L300 and have automatically adjusted as soon as I bought it back in '05. Since this is my first abs equipped vehicle, I waited until winter snow to test it by deliberately hard braking on fresh snow covered streets when all vehicles were off the streets, expecting abs to kick in (the vibrating foot massage on the brake pedal). I wasn't disappointed. Knowing abs will activate in emergency braking and realizing abs will not save me, just allow me to steer into a different crash, adding distance to slick road surfaces, I'm confident the lack of powerful power brake boost is adequate. I refrain from tailgating or following closely to any vehicle in front of me as many drivers are too accustomed to in the Big Apple of congested traffic. I've managed to avoid low speed bumper to bumper hits as well as highway speed emergency braking with abs activation so I'm comfortable with less than stellar power brakes. I do consider from time to time replacing the brake vacuum boost unit but haven't as I expect it won't make braking more powerful, lightly stepping on the brake pedal and being thrown forward. If I did entertain thoughts of another brake boost unit, it would have to be a different unit, perhaps a larger diameter one equating to more boost but with a 18yr old car, the idea is moot. I don't know enough of mechanical engineering to simply try another boost unit in hopes of more power assisted braking.

I'm not certain of type of sensor used in low brake fluid but use analogies to washer and coolant fluid levels. The washer and coolant fluid low level sensors use a sealed magnetically activated reed switch with a float containing the magnet. The reed switch is normally open with float above the low level switch. When fluid level/float drops to the proximity of the reed switch the magnet closes the reed switch. Normally open, magnetically closed when the float drops to designated low level.

The S-series cars are the oldest in these forums with reports of the low level coolant sensor triggering low level when the container is filled. Over the years, the float builds up slime and weighs it down. Many remove the coolant container and soak it in hot dishwasher detergent to remove the buildup with good results returning the float to operate as designed. I don't know if buildup occurs in brake fluid reservoirs since its assumed periodic brake fluid replacement should prevent the float from building up to remain lower than it should. I don't know if the float can be seen in the brake reservoir or if its the same type as used in coolant and washer containers.
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Old 06-29-2021, 12:46 PM   #11
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

Being long winded, I may leave out important facts. In my opinion, if my/our L300s have less powerful braking, it's relative because a more sensitive brake pedal can lead to locking up brakes but when brakes lock up, abs automatically activates to prevent this. As it is, I prefer a less sensitive brake pedal that isn't prone to braking sensitivity to the point of abs activation. Far too many believe abs will avoid crashes so drivers assume tailgating is safer...... until they rear end In a crash from ignorance of physics. In my case, a more sensitive brake pedal isn't needed simply because I don't tailgate, leave distance between me and the vehicle in front and scan traffic at all times for trends when it's easy to see vehicles maneuvering for best "I must get aheaditis" when they're cutting into my lane in front of me. And in heavy traffic moving at moderate speed, all the brake lights coming on with my ideas of spacing allows me to release the gas pedal and coast without braking as most lemmings follow herd mentality, gassing and braking simultaneously. I simply lift off and coast to slow down until traffic begins to accelerate. Most times there's enough space for me to coast without stomping on brakes. Other times as I'm decelerating from coasting, I'll have to brake but gently since I'm already slowing down. In effect, I'm not the gas and brake driver many have become, accelerating then braking immediately. This seems to be the way of most drivers habits. This also leads to front and rear end crashes from too close spacing.

Personally, I believe sensitive brakes are to accommodate women with less physical leg strength who may complain of taking more strength to press on their brake pedal to stop. Brake sensitivity is a compromise and I think sensitive brakes are tuned towards women so the lightest touch of brakes will satisfy them. Men will never admit to having weak leg muscles but will gladly like sensitive brakes. The crashes tends to prove this in braking accidents.
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Old 06-29-2021, 03:44 PM   #12
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

I like to leave much space ahead of me, but if you leave a car length someone thinks they are entitled to it further compromising my safety. Even jumping from the Vue to The Hyundai was different in breaking. I still like the option of stopping on a dime with enough pressure. The 300's break lines were replaced in '18 with high Nickle replacements... even 6 years in Florida couldnt save it from the chemistry on the angry white planet Ohth.

Duralast Brake Fluid Level Sensor SU1319

Looks like a proxy sensor, I'd have to see if I can get at the release point.
Slides out but I can't really see underneath the tank.

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Old 06-29-2021, 04:01 PM   #13
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

That's the first time anyone's put up an image of the sensor. And it appears to be a replaceable part? If you're successful in replacing the sensor, can you disassemble the faulty one for show and tell? I like autopsies to have a better understanding service manuals leave out.
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Old 06-29-2021, 09:41 PM   #14
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bismarck318 View Post
I like to leave much space ahead of me, but if you leave a car length someone thinks they are entitled to it further compromising my safety. Even jumping from the Vue to The Hyundai was different in breaking. I still like the option of stopping on a dime with enough pressure. The 300's break lines were replaced in '18 with high Nickle replacements... even 6 years in Florida couldnt save it from the chemistry on the angry white planet Ohth.

Duralast Brake Fluid Level Sensor SU1319

Looks like a proxy sensor, I'd have to see if I can get at the release point.
Slides out but I can't really see underneath the tank.

I doubt it is a actual proximity sensor
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Old 06-29-2021, 10:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
That's the first time anyone's put up an image of the sensor. And it appears to be a replaceable part? If you're successful in replacing the sensor, can you disassemble the faulty one for show and tell? I like autopsies to have a better understanding service manuals leave out.
If & when my arthritic fingers can get this out. (I was finally able to figure out how it unplugs, I had to use a small screwdriver)

Quote:
Originally Posted by lrbraner View Post
I doubt it is a actual proximity sensor
It would be a metal non contact sensor coated by plastic that senses a liquid on the inside of the reservoir, I would imagine there is a hole molded in the tank but not through the tank.

These are rather simple capacitive switch, I worked for a company that made these for plastic chemical processing tank level indicators, & that was in the 80's. The sensor was just a metal slug dropped in a PVC Pipe & coated with epoxy.
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Old 06-30-2021, 09:56 AM   #16
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

Rock Auto carries them under several brand names in the brake system section of the Saturn L series. Between $6.00 and $12.00, so won;t break the bank item
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Old 06-30-2021, 12:50 PM   #17
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

$10.76 @ my local Auto Zone, correct, not bad on the wallet at all, I don't order online anymore.

The trick will be getting the old one out.
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Old 06-30-2021, 01:13 PM   #18
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

Looking at rockauto parts, several views of brake master cylinders shows the low level sensor plugged into the bottom reservoir sideways suggesting either on the car removal/replacement with at least draining the reservoir to minimize spillage or removing the reservoir (draining fluid before removal) for bench repair. I'm assuming O-rings are used between reservoir and master cylinder.

If this were my project, I would anticipate a messy repair with brake fluid everywhere. A wide drip pan under the master cylinder might lessen my mess.
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Old 06-30-2021, 11:34 PM   #19
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

It is difficult to reach but all you do is squeeze the tabs together and the sensor will slide out. Do not drain the reservoir or remove the tank. This is a common type of sensor across many car and truck lines. The Navistar trucks at work use a similar sensor for coolant level in the expansion tank. The Fords use one for master cylinder level.
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Old 07-03-2021, 02:32 PM   #20
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Default Re: L300 Service Wrench with Brake Warning Lamp On

Everything is difficult to reach!

The tabs accessible from the side opposite the connector I assume?

It slides in a square chamber through the center of the tank from your description.
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