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Just back in the States and the brakes give out!


yellowdog
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A big Guten Tag to the Forum!

My tour in Germany ended and I returned to Virginia a few weeks ago. My car, on the other hand, had to take a slow boat from Bremerhaven to Baltimore, taking about 45 days to arrive.

On Monday, I went with my sons to the shipping terminal in Baltimore harbor. I can tell you I was so relieved when I saw her come out of the car wash they had. She looked so fine!!

Happily I signed the release docs and got on the road. Stopped at a gas station just outside of Balmer and happily tanked up (much less than the subsidized gas we got through the military and a fraction of what the Europeans pay). Was getting back out on the road when suddenly my brake pedal felt like someone just spot welded it in place yet the car barely slowed down. I had to use both feet to keep from drifting into oncoming traffic! It was then I noticed the brake warning light was on as well as the ABS light (but that one has been on since i got the car).

Managed to get home somehow and brought the car to our local mechanic. To make things even more interesting, a few other things cropped up:

*the temp gauge stopped working, then worked for a bit, then conked out again. Now it reads that the engine is ice cold.

*I parked her for an afternoon outside and when I get back, the battery is dead. I wondered if it had anything to do with the rear brake lights that tried to stay on all the time but I found if I pulled on the brake pedal with my toes, the lights went out.

*Once I got the car jump started, one the belts squealed like a stuck pig. Never heard that one before!

The mechanic told me that the control module for the brakes was shot. He wouldn't/couldn't tell me what might be wrong with the unit, just that it was toast and the car may be doomed because those units are impossible to fix or bypass. The only thing he managed to accomplished was to tighten the pulley on the belt. He didn't even look at the temp gauge.

When I had him point out exactly what the control module looked like, he pointed at what my service manual called the hydraulic assembly.

So, what are my options? Or are there any? He said that there are no new ones available and rebuilts shouldn't be touched with a ten-foot pole. If that is the case, are there possible substitutes or ways to bypass the unit?

HELP!!

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Well, first thing is you seem to be having a rash of electrical problems at the same time, which would point me in the direction of an electrical issue. If you haven't worked on the TCs brake system before, it is completely different from almost all other systems. To start with, all the hydraulic pressure that actually runs the brakes comes from an electric pump. Sounds like you lost several electrical systems, possibly due to bad connections on either the power side or the ground side (there are a number of ground straps throughout the car) and when the power stopped working, you lost things like the temperature gauge and the brake pump If the brake pump doesn't run, the brakes will work like you indicate - basically not at all.

Which belt was squealing? If it's the one that drives the alternator, that could mean there a short circuit somewhere drawing a lot of current causing the belt to slip. Or it could have just been due to it having to re-charge the battery.

I don't know your mechanic, but that many electrically related things happening at once isn't due to the "control module" which is really just a hydraulic valve assembly. I would ask around to find a really competent mechanic on the electrical side of things, especially someone familiar with Chrysler mid 80s vehicles. Someone who can really test and troubleshoot things, rather than just replacing random (and expensive) parts until they get it right...

Also, you should get a shop manual if you don't have one. You can usually find them on ebay - you need the blue one for 89s and the red one for 90-91s (unless yours id a 90 16valve and then you want the blue one). That will help both you and your mechanic to understand how our cars work, and is well worth the expense.

A number of people successfully rebuild both the pumps and the control valve. You should also find out why the ABS light has always been on - that isn't right at all...

Jim

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1st-- I would change mechanics. I would NEVER go back to who you had look at the car. Problems with what he told you----

#1--the Teves ABS controller is in the passager compartment right footwell side.

#2--you can do what I did--REMOVE the teves pump and install a 1987 Shelby Daytona master pump, It added a whole 2 feet to my 70 to 0 stop.

#3--what is the color of the oil pressure sending unit? If it's gold-that is your problem. ONLY MOPAR silver can will give you proper readings. This comes from 30 years of 2.2 mopar work. The only place I know of that has the proper Mopar unit left is Arizona Parts.

If you find a tech in your area to work on the Teves system and you want it to work---I have a known good abs controller and the Miller tool for the teves system you are welcome to borow.

The first things I would try----

1--Put in a tested and fresh battery.

2--test the altenator output AND check the belt alignment AND the altenator bushings.

3--with the battery disconected-pull clean and check the ABS cans and the large power wire under them. When you open the hood-they are on the left side inner fender as you face the car. After cleaning with contact cleaner ,use some dieletric silicone then replace.

4--Hook everything back up and see if the pump runs normaly.

I would be happy to tell you my Horror stories with the Teves system and try to help as I can. Just let me know.--Tim Cowan

www.pentrident.com cowancom@tampabay.rr.com Skype--- cowancom

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Jim and Tim,

Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies. Hopefully, I can tear myself away from family obligations tomorrow or early in the week to check the car out as much as possible with the help of my oldest son and one of his mechanic friends.

Once we have had a chance to poke around, I'll get back on this forum with new questions as I try to figure out what the next step should be. I agree with you that something more must be afoot for everything to be going Tango Uniform all at once.

Vielen Danke

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That fuse box on the passenger side fender well is a likely culprit for the failed brakes. The main fuse gets hot and or corrodes. I and many have replaced the fuse with an external one bypassing the troublesome fuse in the box. Check that fuse box, pull the fuses.

Hard pedal, what Barely said, that main 30A fuse in the passenger side overlay fuse box is corroded/damaged. Quick fix is to replace it, a better fix is to add a new weatherpack style fuse holder *outside* the little fusebox and bypass the affected fuse holder.

Alan

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Hard pedal, what Barely said, that main 30A fuse in the passenger side overlay fuse box is corroded/damaged. Quick fix is to replace it, a better fix is to add a new weatherpack style fuse holder *outside* the little fusebox and bypass the affected fuse holder.

Alan

SUCCESS! My son and I went to Advance Parts and picked up a replacement ABS relay. After a bit of hunting, we found the old unit (wrapped in a plastic bag along with several other fuses/relays) and swapped it out.

The result...I have brakes again!! The pedal moves normally and the brake lights go out once I take my foot off. Saints be praised!

While the plastic bag may have seemed a good idea at the time to someone, there was moisture inside the bag and one of the relays (not the one we replaced) was covered with a film of rust.

Still have to tackle the temp gauge (it started to come back to life on the test drive but then, like someone with ED, it just gave up the ghost) and the ABS light. But those are for another day.

I think I will save the defective relay and drop it off with the local mechanic who so confidently wrote my car off....icon10.gif

Thanks everyone for your input!

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I will look into it. I'm not entirely sure it is the accumulator that's the culprit.

I had to have the car inspected just before leaving (my military registration expired and they would not grant me a few days waiver before she went on the boat). The German inspector thought it might be a sensor issue that had caused the ABS to shut down.

I have to find a more competent mechanic to run the diagnostic to zero in on what ails my baby.

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As far as the temp gauge is concerned, remove the single wire from the sending unit and ground it out, with the ignition switch "on". If the guage goes up to hot, then the sending unit is bad. Normal operating position is somewhere around the quarter position. There are two sending units close to the t'stat, the one with the single wire is the one you need to check.

Good luck.

Bob

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Ok. The problem has been solved (again).

Visited a local mechanical engineer who moonlights as a mechanic specializing in auto electronics. Long story short, with his testing gear, he figured out that the reason the brake pump was not getting any juice was that the "Aux Relay" (almost dead center of the schematic on page 8W-105 of the blue service manual) was giving up the ghost. The internal switch was not closing until he tapped it with a wrench.

While his solution helps me keep her on the road in the short term, I want to get rid of the problem for good. Problem is that I tried both Advance Auto and Rockauto but no joy.

Any recommendations as to where I can score one? Is there another name i should be using in my search?

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just a quick note to provide a final update on the outcome of my brake problems.

The auxiliary relay arrived from TCParts and after a long delay as other issues took over my attention, I installed it and, voila, she is purring like a kitten now.

At some point, I will tackle the ABS issue (light that never goes out) and some other minor irritants but those can wait until after the holidays. Right now I just like driving her around, kicking up the leaves, and having the December sun sparkle off her chrome.

Doesn't get much better than this.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

You should have picked up a supply of parts before you departed Germany..... the Teves system is made over there.

I think most of you here already know that the Buick Reatta came standard with the Teves ABS system in 1988-1990. If you go to the Reatta discussion (here at AACA) you will find lots of Teves information. Link = Buick Reatta - AACA Forums

Also we have discovered that Amazon.com has the best price for accumulators, before Christmas they were under $100 including shipping.

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