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Brake Idiot Light On 89 Chevy 1/2 Ton

Discussion in 'Chevy Trucks' started by plowcrack, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. plowcrack

    plowcrack Member
    Messages: 79

    I got this old truck stuck in the snow the other day and was rocking it back and fourth to get it out. Ya know....reverse and hard brake, forward and hard brake, reverse and hard brake, etc. Well during one of these hard brakes the idiot light for the brake comes on the dashboard and I thought that I blew a brake line. This is my daily driver and after I got it out of the snow the brakes work fine with the light still on. Pulled it in the garage and bled the front and rear calipers and still the light is on. Pads and shoes are good. Good fluid in the reservoir. 400 miles on this truck since the light came on and the brakes are still just fine. No ABS on this truck.

    What would be causing the idiot light to stay on?
  2. Check your parking brake. Pull on the release and manually lift the park brake pedal. You might have bumped it around with all that rocking. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.
  3. plowcrack

    plowcrack Member
    Messages: 79

    Man I had this old truck for 2 years now and never touched that parking brake. I plan on bringing it into the garage tonight to thaw it out and I will do just what you said. Maybe while jamming the brake while stuck in the snow I clipped that E brake with my foot. God I hope it's that simple.
  4. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    You don't have to have a functioning parking brake for inspection? I use mine all the time.
  5. No state safety inspection here in Ohio. I wish they would. I use my e-brake all the time too, until this last storm. Broke the cable. We've got about a 2 week break now though. Gotta get that fixed.
  6. mossman381

    mossman381 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,410

    I think you have to pull the fuse out for so many seconds to get the light to go off.
  7. plowcrack

    plowcrack Member
    Messages: 79

    Here's an update, the brakes still work fine, and the idiot light is still on.

    Pulled the fuse for an hour, even disconnected the battery after that, and no luck.

    Parking brake checked over and over, lubed, checked switch, no luck.

    No inspection needed here in Indiana...lucky me.

    The light is still on.:mad:

    I just need to drive this truck until it dies. I paid $650 for this thing last year and have put 15K miles on it with 280K total. Good old truck man! I'd like to get another 15K outa her.
  8. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,362

    I'd leave it be...JMO- on a 20 year old truck you paid $650 for...if you think it's safe (brakes are fine), I'd just run it...
  9. MeeksCo

    MeeksCo Senior Member
    Messages: 214

    I agree with the first reply...
    Usually, there is a 1/2 inch play in the parking break that it needs to come all the way up.
    Are you completely sure you pulled the release, and then pulled the parking brake up as far as it will come?
    Especially after replacing/pulling the fuse and the battery, and after making sure your brakes are fine, I would say leave it alone, as well.
  10. plowcrack

    plowcrack Member
    Messages: 79

    Yep, leave it be at this point. I went through the parking brake good and no issues with it.

    Good motor/tranny/tires/heat on this truck. When she dies sooner or later, I'll get another for around the same price.

    Thanks for the replies guys.....
  11. mossman381

    mossman381 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,410

    Did you check to see if the wire is still pluged in? Or the wire is not cut?
  12. plowcrack

    plowcrack Member
    Messages: 79

    All wires were checked and tested, and here's the kicker....the light went off today. F me running.

    So guess it's a non-issue at this point.

    Thanks for all the tips guys.
  13. Snowzilla

    Snowzilla Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 397

    You may have blown out a decayed brake line (usually the one that runs in the frame rail to the back) when you were braking. These things notoriously get rotten and may have a crack in it. You might be introducing air into the line. I have an '89 and have replaced my brake line from the union a few feet down from master cylinder to the back about 3x now.

    I have sometimes even blown mine when I have had to brake suddenly in traffic. The first time I reran like they did in the frame rail. Anymore I just run it externally. Too much rust and plastic clips brittle.

    I was also thinking there is a float switch within the master cylinder to sense fluid level. If too low triggers brake light.

    The last time after I replaced and bled the brake line my light came on intermittently for quite a while. I was puzzled also. I might replace the whole master cylinder this year. Brakes seems weak.

    I just don't seem to retire mine either. I still like the truck.
  14. Snowzilla

    Snowzilla Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 397

    One more thought. Your rear brake cylinders might be leaky and/or sucking air.