Brake Issues with 1999 Z71 Pickup

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Brake Issues with 1999 Z71 Pickup

Postby Tony Turner » Tue Sep 25, 2007 2:56 pm

Hi Guys,
Marybeth has a '99 Chevy Z71 pickup. Over the last few days when she starts it the "ABS" and "Brake" lights are on in the dash. The next time she startes it they are not. I drove it last night and the brakes feel fine, maybe a little more pedal travel than normal but not anything to alarm you. It's full of fluid and stops pretty well..... any sugestions? Does those lights come on when it is needing brake pads? The rotors look good but without pulling the wheels I can't tell if the pads are ok. They're not making any noise or anything.

I'm open to anyting you have to say.

Later,
Tony Turner
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Postby minniemobuddha » Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:52 pm

a few things come to mind....first,if theres been a lot of moisture in the air(rain)there could be some in the connectors on the axle sensors.you might check to see if the parking brake isnt tripping the switch somehow.i dont know her driving habits,but sometimes heavy braking or "anticipation"braking(riding)will trip a light.i dont think worn pads or shoes would do it.make sure the tires are at the same pressure.that can confuse the abs computer.could even be a loose connection at an axle or wheel sensor.im sure thers more to check,but digging into my mind is like digging in sand.you start ok,then you end up moving so much stuff you forget what youre digging for.steve
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Postby Fraser Beatty » Tue Sep 25, 2007 6:54 pm

Worn brake pads or shoes will not cause the ABS light to come on. ABS stands for Anti-Lock Braking System. What this system does is basically pump your brakes way faster than you ever could, about 60 times a second, to prevent the brakes from locking up and causing loss of control of the vehicle. You do not feel this pumping as it occurs so quickly. The ABS system does not involve the pads or shoes. It is mostly compromised of sensors and electronic switches. I would suspect that the lights are coming on because of a fault in the electronics, since they come on intermittantly. The ABS light in our 1998 Pontiac Transport came on about 2 years ago. We took it into the local GM dealership to have the problem looked at. They charged a fee to read the codes and diagnose the problem, could find nothing after several hours, and then told us if we wanted it fixed they would charge an hourly fee, and simply start replacing parts till the light turned off. The GM mechanic simply told us to put a piece of tape over the light unless we wanted to get into lots of $$. We had it checked out at the garage where I work part-time, just in case. The mechanics could find absolutley nothing mechanically wrong, so we followed the GM guy's advice, and put a piece of tape over the light. Its been 2 years, the light is still on, and we have had absolutely no problems with the brakes. Replacing the pads, shoes, rotors, and drums a couple of months ago did not cause the light to go out.

Just to be cautious, though, I would take the vehicle in to your local garage to have it looked at. While they have it on the hoist, make sure they pull the wheels and check the pads, shoes, rotors, and drums. Get them to check the master cylinder, the brake booster, all the lines, the wheel cylinders, and have them use the OBD 2 to bring up any trouble codes. Doing all this will likely not turn off the light, but if you have any doubts about your brakes, it doesn't hurt to be safe. I am not sure what your local garage(s) is, but many will perform a thorough brake inspection free of charge. The garage I work for did them for free when we were a Midas, and we continue to do them for free after becoming independent.
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been there done that

Postby Tony Turner » Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:57 pm

I have checked the fluid, checked the emergency brake control, pulled the wheels and looked at the pads front and back, checked the sensors and wires and find nothing wrong. The owners manual that came with the truck says that both lights on indicate a "failure in the brake system".

Now I've been working on ABS systems for years on Volvos and Mercedes and have tried to use that knowledge to help with this but the entire system SUCKS!!!!

The manual says that with the ABS light on the ABS system will not function but I went out and stomped the brakes and the system functioned normally. Brakes pulsed, nothing locked and all felt well. Makes it hard to troubleshoot a problem when all works well.

With all due respect to the people on this board that work for american car companies but I hate American cars!!!!!!! We as a country forgot how to build a car in the '70s and we just keep making it worse. I have no idea why my daughter would buy something against my will but looks like I'm stuck with the piece of crap. :shock:

Again with all due respect, there is no one at any local shop that knows anymore about this system than I do. I'm fully aware of how the system functions and how to tell when it don't. What I don't know is why a system that functions correctly would give trouble lights and not set a code in the computer.

Sorry for sounding so pissy but I hate chasing my tail on a badly engineered piece of crap when even their own manuals give no clue as to how to diagnose the system past looking at the lights and knowing that something is wrong with the system. My 4 year old niece could have written it better even though I know it would have something to do with Dora :P

It also makes me mad that my daughter bought the truck knowing how I feel about fuel mileage, durability, repair-ability, and cost effectiveness, all of which a Z71 lacks but that's another rant for later. I have to work on something I would not own ------ I hate that!!!

I spoke to the previous owner and he said that early in the trucks life both lights came on and replacing the front and rear pads fixed it........ go figure. I guess I will get out Saturday and pull the wheels again, replace the front and rear pads, remove, inspect and clean all the sensor connections and bleed the system because I have nothing better to do.

I, like you guys, can't believe that brake pads could effect the ABS system but I'm grasping at the known on my way to the unknown.

Thanks for the help you guys offered, I do appreciate it.

Tony
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Sorry

Postby Tony Turner » Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:37 am

After re-reading my post this morning I feel I owe you two guys an apology. I was not trying to be a smart donkey with either of you but I REALLY came across that way. I've been a mechanic for over 30 years and I was frustrated by not finding the problem and I was mad at my daughter (to whom I've already apologized).

I learned three very valuable things last night:

1. Never snap the heads off people that are trying to help you.
2. Never say "I told you so" in a harsh way to the people you love (sorry Marybeth).
3. Never post when mad......... period!

So I ask that you guys forgive me for being a complete jack donkey in my last post and know that I value and respect your opinions and the time you took to help me.

Humbly,
Tony T
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Postby Matt Porter » Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:45 am

Tony,

I know this sounds dumb, but check your battery terminals before you do anything. I have a '98 6.5 turbo deisel and a '98 chevy venture. On both vehicles there are gremlins running around the electrical system (air bag lite on, windshield wiper intermitent malfunction, stalling, overcharging... the list goes on). Almost every time, it has been corrosion on the battery terminals that has sent the gremlin brigade on a rant. To a fault, I am a die-hard GM fan, but I feel we, as Amercians, should be putting out a better product also.

Hope this helps. I forgive you. If I didn't, I couldn't forgive myself for doing a whole lot worse.

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Postby Matt Porter » Wed Sep 26, 2007 11:47 am

P.S.

Don't forget to pull the fuse in the theftlock for the radio before you unhook the battery. You will have to take it to a dealer to get it reset and they do charge you for the code.

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Thanks

Postby Tony Turner » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:19 pm

Thanks Matt, I would have never thought about the battery connections :?

Also, I'm the new kinder gentler Tony today :D trying to go with the flow and accept the things I can not change 8)

I too was a die hard Chevy man all my life until I bought three in a row that were just junk. It seemed they only wanted to make their dealers money at the expense of there customers and quality.

I bought my first volvo in 1989, it was a 240GL wagon. I sold the car when Elsie died in September of 2000, it had 303,000 on it and all I ever had to do was keep the timing belt changed (1 hour job once a year) and repair the overdrive solenoid relay. Now that's good service.

I've had three Volvos since and put more that 200K on all of them. I still have my 1991 740 wagon with 200K and don't se me getting rid of it anytime soon.

My 1980 Mercedes 240 DL diesel has 360,000 on it now and engine wise I've only changed the timing chain at 250K. It was done without even pulling the front engine cover. Use a chain breaker to break the chain at the top of the came gear, master link the new chain to the old one, rotate the engine by hand while holding lots of tension on the chain. When the new chain came to the top you installed the new master link and put the valve cover back on (30 minutes, tops).

I have burned everything from diesel to used veggie oil in the old girl along with almost every mix of fuels you can run and she just keeps going. And I've treated it like a log wagon most of the time. It was totaled by Marybeth a few years ago but I put it back together with parts I had laying around and it runs and drive as good as it ever did.

I had a 1982 Mercedes 300DL Turbo that I put way over 200K on until I dropped a socket down the front of the engine (I didn't know I had done it) while doing a valve adjust and it scattered parts of the front of the engine through the timing cover and big time killed the engine. When the manual says to stuff rags in beside the timing chain so nothing falls into the engine, they are not kidding :oops:

Anyway! Thanks again,
Tony
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Postby Tony Turner » Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:09 pm

I reposted for Joe to get it in the correct order. Joe, I rebooted the server and the time came back up wrong so the forum software thought your post was made at 7:36 AM instead of the correct time. I fixed the time and moved your post to here.... sorry for the mess-up! TT

Quote:
I dropped a socket down the front of the engine (I didn't know I had done it) while doing a valve adjust and it scattered parts of the front of the engine through the timing cover and big time killed the engine.



Ouch! I think my father-in-laws M has on of the tappet lock nuts in the oil pan. It was missing on #4 cylinder, so I pulled the cover off last week and found the tappet on the intake was missing the lock nut and it had backed so far off that the push rod was not touching it anymore. I put a new nut on it and adjusted it. The tractor runs a whole lot better now, but I have no idea where the original nut went. I guess we will find out the next time we change the oil?????

Joe

P.S. I agree with the battery terminal thing too. A loose or corroded connection there will definitely cause gremlins in modern buggies.
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Ollie's tractor 1955 BG
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Robin's tractor 1949 UT

And the rest are all mine!!!! '53 ZB, '51 R, '63 100 L&G '47 Ugggly, '53 BF
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Postby minniemobuddha » Wed Sep 26, 2007 4:20 pm

yeah,forgot about the battery connection.heres another idea that comes from working on the dodge truck...pull the rear diff cover and see if theres any buildup on the wheel(or tone ring)sensor.its just a magnet,and if theres any filings in the oil,thats where they will go.it wont let the sensor read properly.i hate to but i must agree on the lack of quality from american vehichles.pretty bad when a company 5000 miles away knows what we need better than our own do.
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Postby Fraser Beatty » Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:46 pm

No offense taken :D With anything anymore these days, its all ELECTRONICS ELECTRONICS ELECTRONICS. When one small part malfunctions, the whole system goes ker-phooey, even if there is really nothing wrong. And the car manufacturers are laughing as they can now charge you ridiculous diagnostic and part prices to attempt to fix the problem, with no guarantees that they can or will. That's why I love workin on the old stuff, you don't have to mess around with all the electronic junk. I guess I was born in the wrong generation, cuz I certainly do not love electronics like everyone else my age :lol:
1948 Waterloo ZTE
1948 RTE
1952 Waterloo ZAU
1953 BFW
1953 UBU
1954 UTS Diesel
1967 G1000 Wheatland LP
107 Town and Country
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1974 White 2270
1974 White 2270
1981 White 2-180
Ford 5000
1982 John Deere 4640
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Postby Joe Leising » Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:43 pm

Another thought that I had is to check the wiring on all of the ABS wheel sensors etc. All it takes is one bare spot in the wiring harness to make a problem come and go like you describe. I am still chasing some gremlins in the wiring on the auto trans in my truck because of worn insulation.

Joe
The Leising Family

Joe, Robin, Olin, and Sydney

Ollie's tractor 1955 BG
Syd's tractor 1937 JT
Robin's tractor 1949 UT

And the rest are all mine!!!! '53 ZB, '51 R, '63 100 L&G '47 Ugggly, '53 BF '50 ZA
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Postby Tony Turner » Wed Sep 26, 2007 8:16 pm

I have a nice plan of attack now so Saturday I will unleash on it :D

Fraser, I love the electronics when they are well designed and working correctly but I'm with you on the old stuff, I think anything after about '74 was down hill.

Nothing better than a small block chevy with nothing but a simple point distributor and a 4 barrel carb........... ahhhh, the good old days.

Later,
Tony
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Postby Matt Porter » Thu Sep 27, 2007 5:37 am

Now come on guys, we all know that those old GM points distributors were a pain in the carcass. If they had a little wear on them they could give you fits. Set 'em for idle and they wouldn't run out on the top end; set 'em for top end and they would miss and carry on at an idle. HEI has been a good invention. But I do agree that the vast majority of elecronics seem pointless and costly. I can't say I don't like the performance and fuel mileage that you get from port fuel injection, but dang, why so complicated and pricey to fix.

Anyway, I keep two old trucks in reserve, just in case. One is an '86; the other is a '76. (Both Chevys of course.) Never know when you might need to bring something reliable back from the dead. Plus, I have the '67 caprice, so, I like the old stuff my darn self.

Good luck Tony. We just got Lorah's van back on the road last week. Spent days trying to kill a gremlin, turned out to be the battery terminals of course. I never have figured out why GM went to those blasted side posts.

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You're right

Postby Tony Turner » Thu Sep 27, 2007 6:31 am

Matt I was going for time frame and simplicity with the above reference, I wouldn't want to go back to points either. When we ran points we used the Mallory dual point setup to keep all the problems you mentioned above from happening but you did have to spend a lot of time adjusting them.

I love the HEI setup used on the V8 Chevys but not the 6 cylinder version (the straight 6, not V6). HEI made reliability second to none and other than a few bad pickup coils and modules they were rather trouble free. The modules got better through the years but the pickup coils tended to break a winding and was a real pain to replace.

One of the best setups we ran was a little point replacement unit called the "Ignintor" made by Perlux (it goes by another name now). That unit dropped right where the points went and did away with the points completely, they worked wonderful. We used a lot of them on 392 and 245 International engines in the '70s.

Those two engines had a solid copper strap on the condenser that would break and leave you stranded on the side of the road. We would replace the point setup with the Ignintor and never have to touch it again --- a complete god-send!

You can still get the Ignintor and they make them for almost anything that has points. I've used them on several tractors with Delco distributors and it makes the tractor crank much better.

Boy did I get WAY off topic :evil: sorry but it's been fun remembering the good old days.

The easiest EFI system to work on is/was the Jetronic system used in Volvos, BMW and several other cars. The system is made by Bosch and other than crappy relays they are reliable and easy to work on. Most of the relays can be replaced by those $3 lighting relays and you never have problems again ---- Life is good :D

O.K. Sorry for being so long winded.

Later,
Tony T
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