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89 Reatta - what is this brake problem?


Reattatude

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The lady with this car told me the following, what does this sound like to you guys Im not a Teves expert.

The automated monitoring system announces "a problem with the electrical system has been detected" = No power brakes. Both the Brake and ABS indicator lights come on. A few minutes later they go out and power brakes are back. I drove it home slowly on surface streets so I could stop the car if the power brakes went out again.

If this isnt a major problem I might buy this Reatta. want to look at it tomorrow so I hope someone posts soon!

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Both the Brake and ABS indicator lights come on. A few minutes later they go out and power brakes are back.
If that only happens when you press the brake pedal my guess would be the accumulator is bad. If it happens randomly it is likely to be the pump is loosing power due to a bad relay, a bad connection or a bad motor.

I have never saw an error message that specifically says "no power brakes" but I guess it is possible.

Edited by Ronnie (see edit history)
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have never saw an error message that specifically says "no power brakes" but I guess it is possible.

Yeah, lol. Well I am hoping to be able to test drive the car, as long as there are some brakes, power or not should be able to stop at lower speeds. Its a nice looking claret/tan w/ body color moulding.

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Back in 2007, shortly after I got my Reatta, I had read so much about how the Reatta could not be stopped if the power assist quit working that I decided to do a test to see for myself if it was true or not. Below is what I posted to the forum about my experience when testing. Since I wrote that in 2007 I have read here that the rear brakes do not work when there is no pressure in the system but I didn't know that at the time.

It's kind of ironic that you brought that up. Just today, after reading this thread about the Teves braking system, I decided to put it to the test without power assist. Near my home here in the hills of Tennessee we have a long, steep grade where you can see for about 2.5 miles and it is all down hill. When I crested the hill and started down the steep grade I was doing about 65 mph (in a 55 mph zone). I could see there were no cars in sight. I turned the ignition off and lightly pumped the brake pedal to relieve all accumulator pressure. The red and yellow warning lights came on. Then I started to increasingly brake harder and harder to test the function of the brakes without any power assist. The final time I really stood on the brake pedal and although the tires didn't slide I felt I could stop in all but the most drastic situations. The brakes did feel different and required a lot more effort on my part but they just seemed like normal power brakes with no power assist.

I really don't see why the brakes should function any different from a normal vacuum assisted brake system. You still have a fairly normal master cylinder if you ignore the motor and accumulator and you still have a good set of calipers that clamp on rotors of ample size. Seems to me unless there is a blockage in the system, the brakes on our Reatta, should function pretty much as a normal brake system without power assist. My test today pretty much proved that out, at least to my satisfaction. I no longer fear the Teves system without the power assist.

Any car that has 4 wheel disk brakes will require much more brake pedal effort than a car with drum brakes if the power assist is not working. The reason for that is because a drum brake has so much more surface (friction) area of the brake lining contacting the metal brake drum compared to a disk brake setup. You never see a car, equipped with disk brakes, come from the factory without power assist for that reason.

I don't mean to be confrontational. I don't doubt your stories. It well could have happened. It just didn't happen to me today. Maybe someone else will give it a try when they have an open road.

BTW, the steering felt like a normal power steering system without the pump running also. No problems steering.

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I know some Reatta owners that made some real deals on Reattas because they were looking at cars with brake problems.... dealers and mechanics seldom know much about the brakes so they look up the cost of a new master cylinder and labor and give that number to the owner....... they go into orbit when they hear $3500 and put the car up for sale.

Today, worse case a rebuilt Teves unit from SIA is $600.... but the cars seldom need a complete unit. The most common problems are (1) accumulator (2) pressure switch (3) relay.

You can do the test I recently posted about testing the accumulator. However if you get strange results, it may be because the pressure switch is going.

Jim Finn suggests pulling the pressure switch connector and looking for moisture. If it is damp, brake fluid is leaking past the seals and the switch is failing. New pressure switches are selling for around $130, but you could try a used one as they seem to last a long time and seldom fail unless the seals go.

The relay is more difficult to determine a problem unless it has totally failed. Replacement relays are available and for testing you can switch the relays on the firewall.

As for driving a car with no boost.......... it is like driving on ice, give yourself lots of stopping room and don't get into a situation where you need to stop quick.

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Lol - tested going down a steep grade - good thing you were able to stop!

Are all these Teves brake parts like accumlator still available as new parts, again sorry I dont know much about the subject and just wondering if my mechanic would have trouble getting these brakes back up to specs.

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I've "lost" my brakes a number of times over the years. While not optimal, you do have some stopping power.

New Teves parts are readily available. I would strongly suggest troubleshooting the brakes online here prior to taking it to your mechanic.

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"I turned the ignition off and lightly pumped the brake pedal to relieve all accumulator pressure. The red and yellow warning lights came on." - Huh ?

Might take both feet on the pedal since power brake wheel cyl are smaller diameter than manual but can stop. Be aware that with the Teves a non-power stop only uses the front brakes.

If looking at a car with the yellow light on I'd knock $1000 off the value. Have run into a few owners who do not understand if just the yellow is on since it may feel like it stops normally (but no ABS).

BTW the 88 diagnosic is "ANTILOCK BRAKES low brake pressure".

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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"I turned the ignition off and lightly pumped the brake pedal to relieve all accumulator pressure. The red and yellow warning lights came on." - Huh ?
Doesn't make much sense does it?

It's been a long time ago when I wrote that. I must have turned the key on momentarily to see if the lights were on. Still the test results were as I said. I remember doing the test. The test was done with the system depressurized. It took a lot of force on the pedal to stop but it was possible even going down hill. I don't recommend driving like that if it can be avoided. From my experience I can say that Barney gave sound advice when he said: "As for driving a car with no boost.......... it is like driving on ice, give yourself lots of stopping room and don't get into a situation where you need to stop quick."

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Drove the car yesterday it ran like a champ but of course the brakes did not fail at all during the test drive. Reatta is in amazing shape 168k with all maintenance records from one owner. Had a professional repaint a few years ago and has lived in a garage barely driven since then. Impressed enough that for $2200 we are adding it to the stable.

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  • 3 months later...

Hi Padgett.....My 1988 Coupe has three relays at the center of the firewall under the hood. Previous teenage owner broke one while swapping engine with a low mileage replacement. Arent all these relays the same? Also, whats the best way to disconnect these relays? I had no luck and stopped before I broke something:eek:!

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Yes, they are the same (two are ABS and third on 88 (90 has two for ABS only) is fuel pump. They are the same. You remove the "safety wires", release the catch, and remove the plug.

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Thanks pagett....now with warmer weather coming I might be able to get to work on my red/grey '88 Coupe. Been preparing the garage for a spring project. I also have a chance to acqiuire a red/red '89 coupe with 135K and the same exterior/interior as my '88. But the '88 is too good to cannabilize. What a dilemma:eek:

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Hello all. On the subject of "no power assist" for the Reatta braking system: My 1990 suddenly lost power assist. Both the yellow and red lights are on. The pump motor is not running. I replaced the two relays at the firewall (just as a precaution, since they are also cheap), and no change. Upon checking at the wiring harness connector to the pump motor, I have a strong 12.7v. present, and a good ground. Also, providing 12v from the battery directly to the pump yielded the same result...no running of the pump. My conclusion....the pump has failed. Could not run further tests due to the pump not running. Comments? Also, if the pump has indeed failed, can it be replaced alone, or must the entire underhood unit be replaced. My local salvage yard has advised me that the '88 unit they have is different from the '90 unit. If I need a unit, does one of our members have one they will part with? Particulars can be discussed via e-mail or PM. Sorry for the long post. Thanks, David. (1988 & 1990 Reattas)

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88 (first design) is different from later, earlier one has a rubber return line, later is metal. Nothing to do with pump AFAIK. Did you make sure it had a good ground ? How is Redstone doing ?

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Padgett......Thanks for your reply. I have a solid 12.7v at the wiring harness connector on the + side, and show to have a good ground at the wiring harness connector on the - side. I did not however check to see about a good ground at the assembly itself. I just assumed since it is bolted to the firewall, it is properly grounded. Is this what you meant (to check - at the unit itself)? I did apply 12v to the pump itself, but it still would not run. Thanks, David. ('88 & 90 Reattas)

Redstone is still very operational, and we have some new commands coming in, as well as personnel from the BRAC operation.Still, it is quite different from when I was doing Electro-Mechanical work on RSA about 30+ years ago.

Edited by edselsouth1 (see edit history)
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