On your instrument cluster, there's an orange light in the middle that says "ABS" or "ANTI-LOCK" or something like that. Ordinarily, the only time you see it come on is when you start your engine.
The way that that light flashes at you when you start your car is telling you something about your ABS. (In the below description, replace "2 flashes" - which is for an FWD - with "4 flashes" for a turbo, if applicable).
Turn your key to the first click (ON or ACC I think, I'm not in the garage right now). Your light should flash twice in about one second, and then go out. (All your other idiot lights come on too, but ignore them).
Turn your key to START (i.e. start the engine). While the key is in START, the light should be on solid.
Release the key back to ON or ACC or whatever. The light should go out, and then flash twice again, and then go out.
That is the "all is well" pattern. The shop manual lists at least three other possible patterns, each of which is indicating its own error, and each of which is accompanied by a trouble-shooting flowchart which usually ends with "take out a bank loan and replace everything".
I've seen the light on a turbo model, and there is no problem seeing the flashing, it is quite obvious. On my R/T, and on one other R/T that I checked, the flashing is not as obvious, more like the light comes on, dims a bit, gets bright again, then goes out.
If you read a pattern other than what I described above, let me know, and I'll see what the manual says, but I wasn't kidding about the "replace everything" part. Well, not much anyway.
Friend here with a VR4 told me to get it up to about 45 and then slam on the brakes, and then I'd notice the ABS kicking in. The next day, I tried that on freshly-rained-on pavement going downhill - the car came to a smart brisk stop without any obvious ABS noise or chattering (which is nice since, after all, it means your car has been engineered properly and doesn't need this ABS greasy kid stuff). So that proved nothing. This morning, though, with a cold engine racing, I came out of my garage with my foot on the brake, hit a bump, must have been airborne for a nanosecond, and there was no mistaking the ABS chattering away while the wheels were in the air. Nice to know that I have ABS when I'm in my own driveway, but not on a wet road.
Thanks for the help, Andrew! I was getting worried that I may be on my own on this one, as I know nothing about ABS, but am eager to learn. I did the skid test as you did with similar results. Jamming the brakes at 60mph on wet pavement, did not activate ABS, stopped on a dime. However, on my own street the other nite, locking them down at about 35 mph, yielded a skid, even some smoke, and the smell of rubber, but no ABS pulse. Looked at my dash today, no ABS light comes on at all, ever. Does your manual have any suggestions?
Diablo (and I don't believe for a minute that your mother christened you that way),
You may be almost the luckiest bastard in the world.
Page 5-8 of the 1991 Stealth shop manual lists 4 trouble conditions. The first of these is "ABS warning light does not light up at all". The "Major Causes" for that one are "- ABS warning light bulb is burned out" and "- open in ABS warning light electrical circuit (check for blown fuse)". In other words, not an ABS problem at all, just a hosed warning light.
The "Remedy" is to "Check, using flow chart A (refer to P.5-10.)". Said flow chart is two pages long, and as much as I like you, I'm not prepared to type all that crap in, especially as one page of it is a circuit diagram. The solutions involve replacing fuse number 11, repairing a harness, replacing some combination meter, or replacing the ABS light bulb. Buy a shop manual.
Just to be absolutely clear - the ABS warning light is the second from the top (second of 4) below the fuel gauge. It lights up orange, and says "ANTI LOCK".
One thing you can check for free - "When the vehicle speed reaches approximately 4MPH after the engine is started and the vehicle starts off (for the first time), a whining motor noise may be heard from the engine compartment if the vehicle is travelling in a quiet place, but this noise is simply the result of a self-check being made of the anti-lock braking system operation". Manual says that this sound is normal. For some time now, I've been aware of such a hissing sound when I leave my driveway, and now I know what it is. It lasts about two seconds, sounds (to someone in the driver's seat) like it's coming from behind the radio somewhere, and sounds to be in the range of middle C (256 HZ or so). I can hear it even with the windows all rolled up, and over the engine noise. Try listening for that sound yourself. If you hear it, then maybe it *is* just your bulb burned out, and your ABS may be just fine.
Whew! Thanks for the info, Andrew. I'll check it out. Definitely havent seen the Antilock light. Good to see you back again. Seems you were AWOL for a month or so.
BTW, you're right, Momma didn't name me Diablo....she came up with something much worse!
Yes, I specced out ABS prices on wrenchead.com last night, all are very expensive. Incidentally, Andrew, I found a disconnected connector under the car, just in front of the pass. rear wheel, and slightly towards the midline of the car. Perhaps related to the ABS malfunction? The light still does not come on however.
[This message has been edited by Diablo (edited December 08, 1999).]
Andrew, my light doesnt stay on till I actually start moving. When I first turn the car on it just flashes like its supposed to. Then after I start backing up out of the driveway there goes that damn light and it never goes away till I shut the car off.
Sorry Mike, but I'm not Joe ABS. I just happen to have inherited a shop manual with my Stealth, so I'm able to look these things up for guys.
Kevin Kline - "Apes don't read Neitzsche".
Jamie Lee Curtis - "Yes they do, Otto. They just don't understand it".
THe shop manual only describes the light patterns upon application of ignition. The only thing I've read that applies to you is the Owner's Manual, which mentions that the ABS light may come on, but that it's normal, so just switch off, switch on again, and it should be off. But your problem sounds vastly more serious. Post separately and see if you get a response, and then try a real mechanic.
Andrew, I have had a brake fluid leak under my passanger side front tire. I have a 91 R/T. I took it to a local shop that does brakes to see what it was coming from. The guy there told me that it was coming out of the bottom of this little box directly in front of the fender well on the passanger side. It is kind of bronze in color and has several hard lines coming out of the top. He told me that it was called a brake proportioning or equalizing valve. Is that what it is really called? He told me that I would have to take it to a dealership. Is there anything I should know before I go?
Pearlman, that is what it is called. It effectively determines the ratio of brake pressure between the front and back brakes. I'm surprised they didn't want to change it for you, I've never known there to be anything complicated about proportining valves, other than you'll probably have to bleed your lines out after the new one is installed. Incidentally, it has nothing to do with ABS. Almost all brake systems have them.
It occurs to me now why you guys keep asking me brake questions - you think I have the shop manual with me. Sorry, I do my internetting at work (might as well get paid for it), but I keep the shop manual at home. I only brought it in a few days ago in order to answer Diablo's ABS question.
Brandon, FWIW (close to nothing), I just looked under my hood, and sure enough, there is a box just like you described. It even says "Mitsubishi ABS Inc" on it and, given all the hard lines snaking in and out, I could sure believe that it's something to do with the ABS.
I would guess that, if yours is indeed leaking, then it would need replacing. But I'm not a professional mechanic.
I firmly believe that, unless one knows what one is doing, brakes are best left to the pros.
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