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ABS to Vacuum conversion


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About 6 months ago, after being ripped off by the local Buick dealer 2 times and my girlfriend almost wrecking her 1990 Reatta 2 times, I succesfully removed the Evil Teves system and replaced it with a more conventional vacuum assist/master cylinder non-ABS system. The brakes work great and I sleep much much better now.<P>I guess the reason I'm posting this is for 2 reasons. I see alot of people having problems with the system and contmeplating a conversion. I would be glad to help anyone with any questions they may have regarding the conversion or brake system otherwise. I wouldn't consider myself an expert but I'd hate to see any more pictures of wrecked Reatta's because of brake failure. And the conversion did work, quite well too. The 2nd thing is, if anybody wants any ABS parts I've got some for sale. The master cylinder/booster is no good. The pump and pressure switch are brand new GM parts installed at the Buick dealer and has about 5 miles on it (car got 5 miles from dealer and brakes went out again - hence the conversion). Accumulator is good. Basically everything is good except the booster/master assy.

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a) if you do not mind, what parts did you use for the conversion ? Did you run a second line to the rear ?<P>B) would be interested in your system to dissassemble the M/cyl and hydraulics, and to have some extra spares, what would you want for everything inc. the ECBM from the trunk ?<BR>can reply via e-Mial mailto:Padgett@gdi.net<p>[ 10-07-2001: Message edited by: padgett ]

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For parts I basically used everything that would be installed in a non-ABS Riviera. I did run an extra line to the rear, and I also removed the original proportioner valve inside the rear drivers side wheelwell. The new master cylinder/vacuum booster I just got at a local auto parts store. I think it was about $150 with a lifetime warranty. It didn't come with proportioners or a level switch, but I got these at a local salvage yard. The same system was used on Rivieras, Eldorados, Toranados and I think one other car from the same years.<P>It was basically an easy conversion, the hardest part was fabricating and installing new brake lines. Every port on the master cylinder was a different thread. But it was well worth it.

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Coop, I found your post very interesting. If you wrote out a short description of what you did and posted it here I know a number of Reatta owners would be interested. Questions I can think of are:<BR>Did you keep the Reatta brake pedal and did it feed into the Riviera master cylinder OK?<BR>Did the Riviera vacuum booster fit in the Reatta OK?<BR>Did you have to move anything in the Reatta to make room for the Riviera brake system?<BR>What brake electrical systems did you disconnect and where?<BR>What year Riviera did you borrow parts from?<BR>Did you rerun hydraulic lines to all four wheels?<BR>Do the brakes now feel like a normal Buick without ABS?<BR>A description of what you did would really be nice. smile.gif" border="0

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Wow, lots-o-questions... Hope I can answer all, here goes...<P>Before I say anything else I just want to say that before I began this task my plan was to do as little alteration as possible to the car with the exception of the brake system. I kept the original brake pedal, the travel was the same and location of the "pin" that actuates the booster was the same. But the "pin" on the Reatta is larger in dia. than the mating hole in the pushrod of the vacuum booster. Instead of altering the brake pedal I opted to drill out the hole in the pushrod. It didn't leave a whole lot of metal, but it left enough where the actual stress points would have been, and I was also prepared to throw a little weld on it if I had to, but I didn't. (I did rigorously test after the install)-OK.<P>The booster was a little tight, but it fit fine and I didn't have to move anything. As far as the vacuum connection, the engine actually has a port that is blocked off with a cap. It's sort of a pipe coming from the plenum/intake on the right hand side going back towards the master cylinder. This provision is actually for non-ABS vehicles.<P>Electrical connections. Hmmm I hope I can remember everything. The EBCM I basically just unplugged everything. Then I unhooked A 6 wire connector under the dash called the "ABS" connector. I did this just to make the BCM "happy" so to speak, and so the ABS light on the dash would not come on. I did have to reconnect one wire in the connector (butt-splice) so the red brake light would work with the new level switch. Wire #33 tan/wht. I then just wired the new level sensor connector in parallel with the old one under the hood. The master cylinder and vacuum booster were actually new at an auto parts store. I told them I had a 1990 Reatta w/o ABS and that's what they got for me. (even though I'm fairly sure there never was a Reatta w/o ABS). But the Reatta and Riviera are basically the same car mechanically. The new unit only came with the booster, master cylinder, reservoir, and some 'o'-rings. I went to a salvage yard and got the rest out of an '87 Cadillac Eldorado (I think). They sold me the entire complete master cylinder/booster with proportioner valves/level switch and all, I did make sure I got the level switch connector of the harness of the donor vehicle before I left though. I then robbed all the parts off of it I needed (proportioner valves/level switch/etc.) and took this unit back to the auto parts store as a core. I figured for $150 for a new one why use some old crummy thing at a junkyard with no warranty or guarantee.<P>I did have to run new brake lines and this was the most ummmm.... fun, part of the whole job. I did have the luxury of owning a 1990 Reatta service manual, which also the same manual for the 1990 Riviera. The manual showed the correct connections to the master cylinder (looked exactly like the one I had purchased) and all the proper hyd. line routings. I used this as a guide, but not to a tee. The original proportioner valve I removed, disassmbled, took all the guts out of it, put it back together, and plugged the port on the side with a hyd. straight thread plug. Effectively it was an easy way to complete one circuit with no bending or cutting tubing. Then I just ran a separate line back and tied it into the line that was tied into the side port of the proportioner valve. I had to extend one of the front wheel lines a little bit. and the other one I just re-bent. The most "fun" part of this was discovering all the different kinds of brake lines, fittings, flares, and adapters available. The master cylinder had 4 ports and 4 different threads. All flares were ISO flares which is not a very common thing I've found. I adapted all ports to a standard double flare with these cool little screw in connectors. I did have to buy a double flaring tool. (Spend the extra $10 and get a good one, it's worth it!!!) And I got a bunch of brake line couplers, and just put the whole jigsaw puzzle together. This was not an expensive part of the conversion, but it was extremly tedious work. <P>Next came bleeding the system, just the same as any other conventional brake system with this exception: After bleeding the master cylinder, bleed in this order RR LF LR RF, I don't know why but this is the only way I could really get it to work, and it's also the way it's stated in the Reatta manual. Once I made sure all the air was out and drove it, the pedal felt a little spongy. I bled again, got no air, and it felt the same. After about 2-3 days though the pedal firmed up and has been great ever since. <P>I don't know if it feels like a normal Buick w/o ABS because I've never driven one, but it does feel like a normal Chevy Celebrity w/o ABS. (Actually a little better)<P> shocked.gif" border="0 Wow, that was exhausting but I hope it helps. Good luck, and any more questions feel free.

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Coop, thanks for taking the time to give a excellent description of what you did. I had a few questions, but most were answered when I looked at my 89 Reatta/Riviera manual. At first the level switch you mentioned left me in the dark but after the manual review I believe you are talking about the master cylinder fluid level sensor. I think you took the guts out of the existing proportioner valve because as you say you used the proportioner valves for each rear wheel from the Eldorado parts car. I assume these two rear wheel proportioner valves screwed into the master cylinder as in the Riviera. Did you do some hard stops to see if the proportioner valves worked about right so all the wheels started to lockup at about the same time? <P>I wonder why they used four different threads on the four master cylinder ports. Possibly someone else knows why.<P>Again thanks for your excellent description. It is good to know that a fairly inexpensive mod works. Possibly others concerned about their brakes and considering selling their Reatta will just mod it instead.

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Hey there Coop. Only two questions...<BR>1. Are you interested in doing the same to another '90 Reatta if it's driven up there to you, and<BR>2. How much would you charge?<BR>Just considering for now, but I'm sure it's a question many want to know. Thanks.

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Dick Brollier:<P>Yes, you are correct about the proportioner valve, and yes, all 4 wheels lock up as they should, I had to test when my girlfriend wasn't around though since it's her car.<P>As far as the 4 different threads on the master cylinder, I'm guessing it was done to prevent getting the lines mixed up on a car that was originally equipped with this master cylinder. Best answer I can come up with there.

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Consultants_1:<P>I wouldn't mind, except for three reasons.<P>1) I'm sure there's alot of liability involved with this sort of a mod and I'm not exactly in business for myself.<P>2) It was a rather time consuming mod that I did in my spare time, an hour here an hour there, just because I had 2 extra vehicles and we could use one of those while the Reatta was out for the count. (There was also alot of new 4-letter vocabulary with the brake lines)<P>3)This is probably the biggest reason, I've moved and don't have a garage anymore, since the conversion 6 months agao.<P>Sorry, but if you attempt the mod on your own and run into trouble I'd be glad to give advice.

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Thanks a lot. I'll definitely keep you in mind. Still debating though, as I hate mech work (LOL) and am hesitant to do anything other than flush/bleed the brakes on mine at this time, as I've been truly blessed. She'll cook the pads and grind the rotors in a panic (which is why both were just replaced... again!), but she'll stop on a dime and give 10 cents change when the going gets rough and the <road> idiots get going <in front of you>. No probs as yet. How does that song go... "Don't rock the boat, if it ain't broke, don't fix it... just relax and let it float". smile.gif" border="0

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  • 10 years later...
There are over 1000 posts {in 20 years} detailing what a dangerous hunk of crap the

Teves ABS has PROVEN to be. Facts are facts.

Where are you getting that mythical "1000 posts" number?

I said it once, and I'll say it again. The system only failed because the owner was not in tune with his braking system, and let it get bad in the first place.

If you take care of your braking system, it will take car of you.

And if you're such a Teves hater, stop complaining and swap the Riviera system already. Until then, please stop spreading lies about how terrible the system is. I have seen many cars with well over 250k with the original braking system and they've had no problems at all. Why? Because it was taken care of.

Edited by NCReatta (see edit history)
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There are over 1000 posts {in 20 years} detailing what a dangerous hunk of crap the

Teves ABS has PROVEN to be. Facts are facts.

Probably about 90% of those 1000 posts were made by people who didn't know a spark plug from a spare tire and just came here to complain because they didn't understand anything about the Teves system.

If you will read the discussion, Master Cylinder, you see that it isn't the nightmare that you describe. The discussion is between long time members here that do understand the workings of the Teves system. In that discussion I did a test with my car to see how the Teves system performed under the worst conditions (pump not running and no pressure in the system going down a steep hill). Although it didn't stop as well as a normally operating system would, I felt I was still in control of the car and I didn't feel like I was driving a dangerous hunk of crap.

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im with ronnie. I hated the teves system until i had to bleed my entire system because i replaced calipers and it bled out. He showed me how the system works and it's very simple and much better than the standard vacuum controlled boosted system. It even only took me about 10 minutes to bleed the entire system from master to calipers once I knew how it worked

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Does the RR LF LR RF bleed order apply to a Bosch (1991) system as well?

I had the brakes overhauled and the pedal is still soft/ sinks close to the floor.

They replaced almost all the brake lines many were bad.

The 89 has great brakes, sometimes the yellow light comes on though I dont worry about it. Teves is as good or better than the Bosch ABS.

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Imagine much the same was said when juice brakes replaced mechanicals.

One thing that has amazed me for years is just how rugged the electrics in GM cars have been. Of course I grew up at a time when the owner's manual included instructions on how to remove the head (1) for decarbonizing and the wiring diagram was one page.

Personally, I like the computer controls, fuel injection, ABS, and radial tires. AFAIR in 1973 the average mpg was 13.3.

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But Juice braked DID replace Mechanicals....

Death trap Teves systems that come w/o an emergency brake DID NOT replace anything...

Except for a short time on a very specific group of cars over a very short time.

If they were so great, why dont all cars come with it now?

Just like when Juice brakes came along and replaced mechanicals.

Reality.

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The only mechanical brake that I would consider useful brake in an emergency would be hand operated brake and those are rarely used in modern cars. Even with a hand brake, foot brake, or whatever, there is just not enough stopping power when pulling on a cable connected to the rear wheel brakes to classify it as an emergency brake. Today I have been looking at every owners manual that I could get my hands on to find one that refers to an emergency brake. I have looked at a dozen or so of different brands and I found non that mentioned an emergency brake. Does anyone have a manual for a car made in the last 20 years that even mentions an emergency brake?

It makes me laugh when I picture in my mind what it would be like in a panic situation to be stomping the regular brake pedal with your right foot trying to get the car to stop, and stomping around in the floorboard with your left foot trying to hit that tiny parking brake pedal. It makes no sense to think it was intended that anyone do that when the parking brake pedal is designed specifically to be out of the way. I have a hard time finding it when I'm sitting still and I doubt I could find it at all going down the road in a panic situation. I would rather spend my few seconds in panic mode avoiding other cars than looking in the floor for the parking brake.

As Padgett has pointed out, having a mechanical brake for emergency use went out of production about the time the dual master cylinders went into production. The dual master cylinder system is essentially two separate braking systems in one. If one fails the other will continue to function. Each half of the system is connected to two wheels, usually diagonally one front and one rear for even stopping [but not in the case of the Reatta].

Complaining about the Reatta not having a true emergency brake is like complaining that it doesn't have a hand crank on the engine. Both are obsolete and no longer relevant.

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A flyoff hand brake is nice for doing a J-turn but can accomplish the same with a piece of garden hose on a TransAm.

Thing is that parking/emergency brakes operate on the rear wheels only (except for some SAABs) and the rears just do not do that much braking since unload under decel.

Edited by padgett (see edit history)
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ANYYHING CAN FAIL, LOOK AT THE SPACE SHUTTLE THAT WAS AT FIRST FIGURED TO HAVE ONE CATASTRPHIC FAILURE EVERY EIGHT HUNDRED FLIGHTS OR SO. THEN CHALLENGER, AFTER OVER TWO YEARS OF REWORK THE NUMBER WAS BROUGHT DOWN TO EVERY TWO HUNDRED. THEN ENDEVOUR COMES APART FROM A PIECE OF FOAM, THEN NO MORE SPACE SHUTTLE. THESE SYSTEMS WERE DESIGNED MAN RATED WITH TRIPLE AND HIGHER REDUNDUNCEY. MY Properly maintained 145,500 mile 90 coupe has never had anything but normal maintaince as did the 90 coupe bought new. I am sorry you have had trouble with your Teves, do you folks have the fluid flushed at least every two years even if it looks perfect? Back in my teens if a car hit 100,000 miles it was considered done, used up and you were lucky to go that far. Now it seems that if a valve cover starts a small leak at 100,000 folks gripe they don't build 'em like they used to.

Sorry for the rant.

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Kingsley, I don't call them the same. An emergency brake works with one push. The Reatta must be pumped up-------Not much use in an EMERGENCY!!!!!!

my rear brakes will lock now after i adjusted the rear rotors.back brakes will never stop a car fast because all the weight is on the front but it will stop the car.i think i can pump the parking brake pedal pretty fast if i need it.

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ANYYHING CAN FAIL, LOOK AT THE SPACE SHUTTLE THAT WAS AT FIRST FIGURED TO HAVE ONE CATASTRPHIC FAILURE EVERY EIGHT HUNDRED FLIGHTS OR SO. THEN CHALLENGER, AFTER OVER TWO YEARS OF REWORK THE NUMBER WAS BROUGHT DOWN TO EVERY TWO HUNDRED. THEN ENDEVOUR COMES APART FROM A PIECE OF FOAM, THEN NO MORE SPACE SHUTTLE. THESE SYSTEMS WERE DESIGNED MAN RATED WITH TRIPLE AND HIGHER REDUNDUNCEY. MY Properly maintained 145,500 mile 90 coupe has never had anything but normal maintaince as did the 90 coupe bought new. I am sorry you have had trouble with your Teves, do you folks have the fluid flushed at least every two years even if it looks perfect? Back in my teens if a car hit 100,000 miles it was considered done, used up and you were lucky to go that far. Now it seems that if a valve cover starts a small leak at 100,000 folks gripe they don't build 'em like they used to.

Sorry for the rant.

Richard brings up a variety of good points. The space shuttle accidents were both failures of management not engineering. Properly maintained, Reattas and its systems (including Teves) are one of the most reliable cars on the road.

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In a real emergency, you can move from "D" to "R" very quickly. Once.

Now that IS funny!

Joke:

A lady comes in to Caddy dealer and her brand new Eldo has a blown engine and transmission. They give her a new one. A few days later she comes in again with a Blown Motor and Transmission. The Service Manager asked for a more detailed explanation. She responds... I was driving along the parkway at about 65MPH, when another Eldo just like mine pulled up and wanted to race. So I put the car into Race mode by putting into R and that is when my trouble started!

You may return to your regularly scheduled broadcast.

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  • 11 months later...
  • 5 years later...

Coop I'm looking to do this to my 1990 Reatta, I'm located in PA in Bucks, would you know of anyone who can do this set up. I rather pay someone that knows how to do this. My email is Chrisangelortiz@gmail.com, I know this post is old but ?? hopefully someone can help me

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This website can supply you with an accumulator that will work on your Reatta at a reasonable price. Less than $200 shipped.
http://spinningwheels-sc.com/hydacaccumulatorballs.aspx  They always show them as being out of stock. You will have to call them to order one. Phone between the hours of 1pm-10pm EDT at 352-732-5013

 

Contact one of the forum's Reatta Parts Vendors for a  proportioning valve or any other used parts you might need.

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