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2002 Sport Trac ABS issue

Discussion in '2001-2005 Explorer Sport Trac' started by 429CJ-3X2, August 11, 2018.

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    1. 429CJ-3X2

      429CJ-3X2 Elite Explorer

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      About 6 weeks ago my '02 Sport Trac developed an issue with the ABS. The ABS kicks in just as the truck is coming to a stop, or should be, and it rolls another 2 to 5 feet than it would otherwise. If I ease up on the brake and basically let the truck stop mostly on it's own, the ABS doesn't kick in. The ABS light never comes on, except during the self check at startup. I drive defensively and try to leave adequate distance to get stopped, and I'm as easy on the brakes as anyone. So far I've been able to deal with this, but sometime, I'm not going to have the extra 2-5 feet to get stopped. Any ideas on what I need to do to fix this?

      I'm not opposed to disabling the ABS. Of the 4 vehicles with ABS that I've been the primary driver of, this one is the only one on which the ABS worked properly until this. I drove 40 years without ABS, and I'm not a huge fan. The few times it did work on my '89 Bronco II and '94 Explorer, it almost caused me to crash as it kicked in on patchy ice as I was parking. It braked on the ice patch and released on the dry, and I almost jumped the curb. This happened at least once with each vehicle. There were other times when the ABS kicked in and braked/released exactly opposite of how and when I would have when I could see the road surface. The ABS on my '01 ST hasn't worked since I got it over 4 years ago, except for a spell last summer when it would come on, make a horrible grinding noise, and not stop, but only the first stop after a restart. It stopped fine after that first stop. That lasted a few weeks and went away.

      Ideas on fixing the '02 before I hit something?
       
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    3. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      I don't have any suggestions on how to fix your issue, but until I got it figured out I'd disable the ABS. That has to be safer than always assuming you can leave enough room to stop safely. Sooner of later you'll lose that bet.

      I know I'm just old fashioned, having learned to drive in the early 60's without seat belts, air bags, crumple zones, padded dashes and ABS, but I don't rely on all that stuff to drive safely. Sometimes I think that all the "safety devices" that go into newer vehicles make people more dangerous than safe because they never learn how to drive w/out them. Instead they put on makeup, eat their lunch and text on their smart phones while driving. Why pay attention when my vehicle will stop by itself if something gets in my way?
       
      Last edited: August 11, 2018
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    4. 429CJ-3X2

      429CJ-3X2 Elite Explorer

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      YES!!! My thoughts exactly! A friend of mine was a Master Mechanic at a Ford dealership after working for years in his family's independent shop. He said the younger guys know how to change the parts the computers tell them to, but they don't know how to FIX what's broken.

      To disable the ABS, I just need to unplug a front sensor, correct?
       
    5. 429CJ-3X2

      429CJ-3X2 Elite Explorer

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      I pulled the 30 amp fuse from the Power Distribution Box under the hood to disable the ABS. The owner's manual shows fuse 14 in the fuse panel in the end of the dash is for ABS, but there's no fuse in that slot. Now the dash light is on, but the ABS now works like I want it to 99.99999% of the time, which is not at all.

      Researching this on the forum, it seems this is not an uncommon problem. There are a number of threads addressing this issue. Anyone doing a search should narrow their search to the generation Explorer you need help with because the fix may be generation specific. It seems dirty sensors are usually the problem and cleaning them is the fix.
       
    6. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      Yeah, I've read about dirty sensors and also dirty brake fluid can mess with the ABS. Let us know if you figure it out.
       
    7. 429CJ-3X2

      429CJ-3X2 Elite Explorer

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      Just an update. I haven't bothered to fix the ABS because I don't care (see above) and the truck is stopping just fine. In fact, it stops smoother than it has in the nearly 6 years and 30,000 miles I've owned it. The truck drives probably as well as it did when it was new. Steering is tight, and it goes straight with no hint of pulling to either side. It developed a vibration when braking shortly after I bought it. Below 35-40 mph, it was barely noticeable. At highway speeds, it was often very violent, but sometimes it wasn't there at all. I changed brake pads and rotors that first summer, and nothing changed. It seemed to get worse over time, especially at highway speeds, but then I've done more highway/interstate driving in '17 and '18, so maybe it just seems worse because of more stopping from highway speeds. Anyway, since I disabled the ABS, the vibration is mostly gone. I think the little bit of vibration still noticeable is from parts/tires that wore unevenly when it was vibrating so bad. Since the vibration went away when I disabled the ABS, the ABS was obviously the cause.

      Another example of why I don't like ABS - The road was wet when I came to work Monday. Traffic was moving around 50 mph or so, and suddenly stopped with no warning. I had room to get stopped, but no room for error (or ABS pulsing). I happened to stomp on the brake just before the front tires hit the 18-24" wide steel expansion joint on a bridge, so the truck slid across that without slowing. I headed for the shoulder and got stopped in good time as the tires were able to grip the pavement. Fortunately, the traffic behind me got stopped as well. If the ABS had been working, the truck still would have slid across the steel joint, but the ABS would have kicked in and released the brakes as I got back on the pavement where the tires could grab. No doubt in my mind I would have rear-ended the car ahead of me with ABS.
       
    8. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      I agree. to repeat myself, I learned to drive in the northeast w/out the aid of ABS. I don't like ABS nor have I ever felt it's helped me in the 25 years I've driven with it. I wouldn't miss it a bit and agree it can be more dangerous than knowing how to control your vehicle manually in an emergency situation. IMO ABS is an illusion of safety designed for people who don't know how to drive.
       
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    9. swshawaii

      swshawaii Explorer Addict

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      +3. Especially today with inattentive and distracted driving. Rant will NEVER be over for stupid "driving" and pedestrians. :banghead:
       
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    10. 429CJ-3X2

      429CJ-3X2 Elite Explorer

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      I wish I could give both of your replies more than 1 "like"! I spent most of my 45 year (so far) working career driving straight trucks. The last few years were mostly on interstates and 4 lane highways. Since January I've been working inside a hospital all day after a 7 mile commute. I don't like being cooped up, but I don't miss driving like I thought I would. There are more idiots on the roads every day, and I don't miss being out among them at all! I see enough of them on the short drive to work. Actually, I see enough just in the parking ramp at the hospital.
       
    11. swshawaii

      swshawaii Explorer Addict

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      ^ Couldn't agree more. My last before completely derailing your excellent "ABS issue" thread. Hawaii's pedestrian fatalities have reached an all time high this year. What they fail to say is how many deaths or injuries are a result of distracted pedestrians in crosswalks or bicycles riding on sidewalks while looking at their phones. Done for now, thanks for reading.

      Department of Transportation | Traffic fatalities reach 79 statewide
       
    12. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      I hear you. I used to love driving, now I pretty much hate it. I rode motorcycles for over 40 years w/out ever having/being involved in an accident. I gave it up a few years ago because I just couldn't deal with all the a-holes on the road and felt my days were numbered if I continued to ride between road rage and all the distracted driving. I'm a cautious, non aggressive driver these days, but I actually thought I was going to have to shoot a guy that I had somehow pissed off last month. (I still have no idea what it was I did, but he was freaking furious with me). I had actually taken out my pistol and racked the slide as I headed in the direction of the police station before he finally gave up and turned off. This after riding my rear bumper for about 8 miles and driving like a total nut.

      I never imagined I'd need to carry a weapon around with me, but that's the world we live in today.
       
      Last edited: November 10, 2018 at 9:20 AM
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