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ABS activates below 5 mph on 1997 Chevy

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by Lawn Lad, Nov 3, 2002.

  1. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    I have a 1997 Chevy 2500 that keeps giving me trouble. Wondering if anyone has had a similar problem and knows how to fix it.

    With or without a trailer (elec brakes) when you're slowing down in this truck, at about 5 mph or less just as you're coming to a stop the ABS kicks in, so you get the vibrating and the pedal goes soft as the ABS does it's thing, then the pedal tension comes back. It can be unnerving - and it happens all the time when stopping. Dry pavement to boot.

    Both ABS sensors in the front have been replaced. The computer doesn't show anything according to my mechanic - who is stumped as well. He's not one to tell me to take one of my trucks to the dealer - but with this problem, he's advising just that.

    Any thoughts? Thanks much.

  2. Knightcrawler

    Knightcrawler Junior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 28


    when you say the sensor I hope you mean the bearings. On that truck the abs sensor is a cap on the bearing, and it cant be changed without changing the bearings. I know this because I work for GM and we make all there bearings here.
  3. Mike 97 SS

    Mike 97 SS Banned
    from U.S.A.
    Messages: 1,106

    This may be the stupidest thing you have ever heard, but here goes. Besides my Chevy pickup trucK, i also own a 97 Camaro SS. I was having a similar problem with that car as well, id be slowing down for a stop sign and then boom, all of a sudden the ABS kicked in for no apparent reason, on dry pavement like you have said. I had no idea why this was happening and i was considering bring it to the deal, until one day, i got a thought. The tires on the car were pretty much shot and i was getting ready to put 4 new ones. I was thinking to myself, hmm, could it be that when im coming to a stop, maybe, just maybe the tires being close to being completely bald, their skidding a little and setting off the ABS cause the car thinks im sliding on wet pavement or ice? Sounds stupid and maybe im wrong, all i know is i put 4 new tires on the car and that ABS thing never happened again. So it had to have something to do with it. How are your tires? Mike
  4. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393


    Our 97 K2500 did the same thing. Never did find out what was wrong, the ABS finally went into fail mode and now we can stop it reliably, something we were never really sure if when the Anti-stop Braking System was functional.
  5. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Knightcrawler - yes I do mean the bearnings. The right front was replaced initially, and then the left front because the bearing could not be separated from the abs sensor when we had to replace the bearing (so I understand from my mechanic). So both have been replaced.

    Mike 97 SS - it has new(er) Bridgestones on it, with fewer than 10,000 miles currently. But this has been happening since I bought the tires at least... if not since before.

    Alan - thanks for the input. When you say fail mode - do you mean the ABS no longer works?

    I have a hard time believing that Chevy hasn't figured this out and doesn't have a solution for it. It's obvious I'm not the only one.
  6. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    That's right, Doug, the ABS is no longer working. There may be ABS systems that help stopping under adverse conditions, but this was not one of them. Granted, you could steer out of trouble, but far too often you had to because you could not stop with the ABS squealing and pumping while you were just along for the ride. They might have been ok on pure ice, but on the sort of stuff we usually have to drive in, slush, they were nothing short of dangerous.

    Let me expand a little on that. A rolling tire, when traveling on a shushy surface, has just about zero treaction. In order to stop reliably on that stuff you need to stop the wheels, so they act like a squeegee and wipe the slush from their path. ABS prevents this from happening by keeping the wheels rolling. Having a whole bunch of experience with winter driving I pretty much know how much distance I need to stop. The ABS would trip me up constantly, it's pretty much a pucker factor experience to approach an intersection, with plenty of safety margin, and find yourself a passenger in a vehicle which you are now unable to control.

    The other thing we hated about them was that if you got into a pile and broke traction the normal routine was touch the brakes, stop the wheels, shift, and back out. With anti-stops working you had to wait for several of those pulses of the brake system to finally stop the wheels so you could shift safely. That's a real problem with the new transmission which are tender in the reverse band. Last thing you want it to grab reverse when the wheels are still spinning forward.

    Sorry for the rant, but ABS is one of those things that were rammed down our throats by government and insurance company hype. To me, all they are is something that is intended to compensate for the woeful incompetence of so many modern drivers. I had more close calls in the three winters the ABS was working on that turck than I had in my whole life to that point. Give me the option of buying into them, but don't handicap me by making them standard equipment.
  7. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Alan - should I ask your opinion on Over flow prevention valves on propane tanks and government intervention? Nah, I'll leave that one alone.
  8. Knightcrawler

    Knightcrawler Junior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 28


    I have to disagree with you on the abs brakes I would rather drive a car or truck with them. I hate the fact I dont have them on the 76 c-10, and I have to ask were you pumping the abs brakes?
  9. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    If you're asking me... the answer is no. I was not pumping the brakes. If you're asking Alan, then......
  10. Snoworks

    Snoworks Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    If you are still having the same problem with your ABS Braking system, there are two things that I can suggest.

    1.) Pull the fuse on the anti-lock brakes and forget about them. My 1998 2500 suburban was doing the same thing, I got so frustrated that I pulled the fuse. Truck brakes and drives fine know, with no more rolling over those pesty thick white lines in the street. All my ABS vehicals seem to skip over these puppies alot.

    2.) The broblem probably lie's in the connection between the hub and the anti-lock brakes sensor. One of the sensors probably has dirt in it or the o-ring is cramed into the hub. This is probably whats wrong with my truck as well, do to the fact that I replaced both my hubs durring a recent brake job. (A mechanic had suggested this to me) I just don't feel like tearing the front hubs out to get at the connection, big pain in the you know what!

  11. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393


    No opinion on the propane bottles. I'm not sure there was really such a safety issue or if it was somebody on a crusade who got that going.


    Disagree all you want, there's no point in it. You are welcome to whatever you are comfortable with. I dislike antilock brakes as they exist on the 97 2500. I'd probably not have any problem at all with your C10.

    In talking to people I know about anti-stop brakes there seems to be several factors which influence their preferences.

    Age: A lot of under 30 drivers have never driven without anti-locks in one form or another. They have no clue about how to drive without them. To them a hard stop is simply hammer the pedal and let the computers take over. Heaven forbid they ever have an ABS failure. Older drivers learned how to stop.

    Attitude: The young, in a hurry, SUV drivers, almost to a person, are not particularly good drivers. They overdrive in bad conditions and trust technology to keep their impatient butts out of the ditch.

    Experience: No bit of finicky technology can replace a lot of time at the wheel in nasty conditions. ABS will let you maintain control so you can avoid a collision, but far too often a driver has no idea where their escape route is. Me and several buddies used to spend time in open parking lots, late at night, spinning out and throwing our cars into long slides. We learned to drive in those open lots, until then we were merely operating the vehicle.

    For myself, I don't tailgate, I watch my mirrors so I have some idea of where the vehicles around me are. I plan my moves, maybe not consciously but I have an escape route in the back of my mind. I log a lot of mileage and other than backing into a parked car while plowing I have not had a collision in over 30 years. For me, ABS is something I can (and do) live without. However, I am forced to buy an acccessory that I do not want becuse some bureaucrat got a regulation put in force that mandates a device to keep me safe.

    It rates up there with helmet and seat belt laws. Common sense dictates both, but that is an individual choice and no business of government.
  12. Knightcrawler

    Knightcrawler Junior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 28


    You are right we can all make that choice, and there is no regulation saying cars have to have abs. GM was the only company that was puting them on there cars and not calling it an option, now starting in the 03 models you can choose to buy the car without abs, trucks on the other hand have to be special ordered or they will have abs.
  13. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Alan... much like seat belts and bike helmets, OPD on propane tanks were mandated since the people filling the tanks were overfilling because they couldn't operate a scale. So now, "because of your safety" you've had to turn in what were otherwise good tanks. It's minor, but again, society having to pay price for the idiots out there who don't know how to do their job, drive, etc.
  14. Ohiosnow

    Ohiosnow Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 415


    I did a brake job for a friend this summer because his ABS was coming on at low speeds. I found the rear wheel cylinders were leaking just a little bit of fluid. ;) Replaced the wheel cylinders & cleaned everything, changed shoes & problem was & is gone. :waving:

    PS: On his you couldn't see any fluid leaking without taking off the drums.
  15. 90plow

    90plow Senior Member
    Messages: 734

    Mine kicked in the other night in the dry. I was coming to a stop sign and my truck wouldnt stop so i pushed hard the abs kicked in and i lost control of my brakes. Almost went into intersection and I wasnt going fast. Could my brakes just be going?
  16. Nova

    Nova Member
    Messages: 58

    I have a '98 GMC Sierra 1500 with similar symptons, pulled the fuse almost a year ago and never looked back!

    Plowing and ABS don't mix, there are times when I want to be in full control of the truck and ABS just doesn't give me that freedom.

    I agree 110% with Alan, it's all experience. I've never owned a vehicle with ABS until I bought the truck, and I've never had a problem with any previous vehicles under any type of condition.