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Need ABS front wheel sensors


JeremyD
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Sooooo... I got the yellow ABS light. pulled codes, 32 and 48. Jacked up the front of my lovely red convertible to find my ABS sensor lead coatings turn to a fine black powder at the slightest touch. Hoping for a miracle I swapped the relays to no avail. Of course I, like many of us, am on a shoestring budget and I am planning to use my rare Buick Unicorn in the Route 66 Fun Run in about 2 weeks. Does ANY one have a rebuilt/repaired/usable pair they'd be willing to part with so that I can represent among the other classic American Chrome Icons surely to sneer at my punchy little roadster?

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I was selling them for $125.00 each and sold my remaining inventory to Marck at East Coast Reatta to get out of this. The ;eads I had are for the 1988-1990 cars only. The 1991 leads are a one year only and now obsolete part. If I was to look for a 1991 lead [and I did find some] I would be in the $200.00 each range. You have to find a car, ask the yard to test the lead [most won't] then you have to buy what is called the knuckle, pay a higher freight cost to get it delivered, take the time to cut it out of the knuckle, then replace the sensor lead rubber [if needed and after 25 years most are needed].

 Way too much work to continue doing this. You should have been looking at the buy/sell for the last year, I was running an ad and had plenty of inventory.

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As Dave pointed out,  they are difficult to find. Finding them at anything resembling a "cheap" price is pretty well an excercise in futility. The closest thing to an inexpensive replacement I have seen are leads for a Saab that used them same Teves ABS system as the Reatta. There are some sellers on ebay offering them from $60-90 apiece, these are new old stock parts. The catch is that these sensors are 1/4" too long and have their mounting hole 90° out from the correct design Reatta leads.

 

This can be overcome by taking a scrap 1/4" sheet stock like Lexan (a type of high impact plastic) and making an adapter to take up the extra length of the sensor barrel and provide a mounting hole in the right place, but this requires custom fabrication and that adds cost in material and labor (if not rolling your own) so you are back to a rather costly proposition anyway by that point. Only advantage there is the parts are new and likely to last 20+ years as the originals.

 

You might check with Marck at East Coast Reatta to see if he has any of Dave's refurb leads left, otherwise your only alternative is to try the Saab sensor adaptation I've outlined.

 

This is, in my opinion,  one of the biggest challenges facing Reatta owners going forward. Keeping the stock ABS systems functional is getting to be a challenge due to lack of original parts and limited or no substitutes being available. I have stockpiled [almost] enough for my own needs having four cars - two 88's and two 91's - and help out with parts where I can, but brake leads are the most problematic part of the system by far.

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My red BRAKE light comes on and goes off as intended. I found a 90 Seville at my local yard but the sensors werent budging. I understand the car is perfectly safe to drive sans ABS. My only issue is that the lights are beginning to collect.. first the Door Ajar now the ABS. My OCD goes into overdrive with idiot lights, especially those that can not be resolved. I have bigger fish to fry. The front top latches rattle on every bump (with the windows down), the struts are definitely showing signs of age, and never having owned it during a Las Vegas summer I am concerned about cooling.. today the temp gauge went two bars above midway. My coolant is fairly new and clean but how efficient is a 26yo water pump and electric fans?

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Yeah, getting sensors out intact is a real dog. Pretty well have to take an angle grinder and cut (very carefully) into the steel knuckle/bearing unit and use a pry bar to spread the opening slightly in order to release a sensor without destroying it. I've done it and it is no fun at all. Have a pair of fronts right now I need to extract from fron hub assemblies of a 90 coupe I just parted out. The cable insulation is mostly shot but they test good electrically so will try to salvage them. 

 

Obviously, this is most easily done with the knuckle off the car from which the donor sensor is being scavenged. Don't know how you are set for salvage yards there in Vegas, but at least most cars there should be relatively rust free which makes things a bit easier (not much). If I can salvage these and re-insulate the cabling (as Dave was doing until recently) I'll let you know in case you are interested at that point. Can't make any guarantees right now until I extract the sensors.

 

KDirk

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I still have some refurbished ones for my own inventory. I didn't want to sell them because when I was going through a "learning curve" I actually would cut the sensor leads apart, pull the mounting boots,install the heat shrink, reinstall the mounting boots and then use Coaxial tv connections to put the two cut parts together again [the 88-90 leads are coaxial]. I would then put heat shrink over this coaxial connection to make a water tight cable.

 But that all changed when my buddy showed me how to remove the connection plug, which made the lead rebuilding idea look like new.

 Good luck with your search, but just because you are on a "shoe string" budget isn't going to make someone sell parts cheap. The last car was made 25 years ago and parts are drying up quickly.

 If your leads still test good and you can get them out I will rebuild them for you for $75.00 each [including return freight]. Email me at :   lemke1044@aol.com if you are interested.

 If you can find a better deal, take it.  

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My "shoe string" budget comment was not an attempt to get cheap sensors out of someone, it was merely to give perspective.. many people working on their beloved classics forget that there are those of us out here that do this for the love of the car and cant run to the dealer or a retailer for a solution (the dealer is a favorite suggestion on the caddy forum) Might as well suggest I call up David Dunbar Buick (he founded Buick) and ask for his help. I understand these are aging cars and parts are drying up. Fortunately we have a strong forum with a wealth of knowledge full of generally helpful people. I am always willing to pull a part at a local yard for anyone who needs it. Team work. Daves89 ; I am definitely interested in having you rebuild mine, assuming I can get them out without destroying them.

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