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ABS light frustration

Discussion in 'Stock 2002 - 2005 Explorers' started by EdmondsXLT, July 29, 2019.

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  1. EdmondsXLT

    EdmondsXLT New Member

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    2003 Explorer XLT 4.0 AWD
    My ABS light comes on intermittently when driving and stays on until I turn the car off. When I turn it back on the light is off. I can't pinpoint what causes it exactly, but it seems to happen most often when accelerating hard from a stop, usually while turning - such as turning onto a busy road and trying to get up to speed quickly. One time when the light was on I stopped at O'Reilly's to get it scanned (while idling in the parking lot) and the reader couldn't find any codes.

    I've recently replaced both front hubs with units that included new sensors. The light came back the next day, so I figured the rear sensor was bad. Finally figured out where the rear differential sensor was located and replaced it. The light came back. So now I'm stumped. Any thoughts on what else to check? The rear hubs/bearings are at the top of the list to replace, but seem like a huge pain which is why I haven't gotten to them yet.

    I have an '03 V6 with ~185K miles on it.
     
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  3. fordysenior

    fordysenior Active Member

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    I recently had a problem with my vehicle and took it to the auto parts stores to get scanned -- they came up with nothing. I then took it to the dealer, they scanned it and told me what was wrong with it. You might want to open the wallet and get a diagnosis done at the dealer.
     
  4. EdmondsXLT

    EdmondsXLT New Member

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    Boooo! (lol) How much does a dealer scan run?
     
  5. imp

    imp Well-Known Member

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    @EdmondsXLT
    There are various "grades" of scan tools available. The "cheapies" cannot read ABS, Air Bag, and transmission codes. It's possible the place which checked for codes for you grabbed and used a scan tool unable to read ABS. I cannot imagine your problem NOT generating a code. ABS codes are "thrown", most of them, by the ABS Module itself. It even has the capability of "killing" the engine (happened to me). imp
     
  6. mountaineer2004

    mountaineer2004 Elite Explorer

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    My ABS light has been on for many years. My airbag light has been on for many months.
    My solution to both problems was to cover them with black tape, and forget about them.

    Especially as the car ages and increases miles (mine has 221K),
    I care less and less about the small problems.
    As long as the car goes, stops, has no "red" warning lights, and passes inspection. I'm happy. YMMV.
     
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  7. fordysenior

    fordysenior Active Member

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    Depends on the dealer in your area -- from $80 to $105 in my area. Until that was done, I was chasing repairs that weren't the problem. And I find that frustrating.
    Also, have you tried ForScan -- it's a downloadable free scan software. I had an ABS light go on, and it told me it was my left front. You can get a connector cable from Amazon. I really don't know how to work ForScan worth a darn as I have no training in scan tools since the old days of big machines sitting in front of the vehicle. And I have too many other things to deal with and frustrate me. :)
     
    Last edited: July 31, 2019
  8. Gilligan

    Gilligan New Member

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    First Thought: I purchased a code scanner from Harbor Freight for less than the cost of your dealer scan. It reads brakes and transmission codes. Most auto parts stores will read you codes for free. You may have to look for one with a better code reader.

    Second: I've fixed several ABS light issues when I found breaks in the door harness wire bundle where it bends at the hing. Check any door that has a seatbelt coming from it. The ABS light will turn on if it is unable to get indications from the seatbelts.

    Third: Because the ABS system has a direct affect on the control of a vehicle, for safety, the ABS system will disable itself any time there is any other trouble code in the system. So, even an catalitic converter code can disable the ABS system. You will have to fix any other soure of codes to get the ABS LED to clear.

    Forth: Dealer mechanics can be as worthless as any mechanic I've encountered and 4 times the price.

    And Fifth: Harbor Freight has a 10 dollar panel removal tool kit and you can get a package of any panel mounts you might need at any auto parts store for less than that.

    Hope this helps
    Gill
     
  9. Gilligan

    Gilligan New Member

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    About the airbag light...

    All air bags are required to be inspected every ten years. Many systems will turn this on the light when this inspection is required.
     
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  10. imp

    imp Well-Known Member

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    You have been lucky, and I was not. My ABS Module had failed, it's main "chip" was found to be dead. That fact shut down the vehicle. I replaced the module with a used one, and things are working well again. imp
     
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  11. mountaineer2004

    mountaineer2004 Elite Explorer

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    Wow, that's not good. Didn't even know ABS stuff could shut down the vehicle. Another reason not to like it.
     
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  12. imp

    imp Well-Known Member

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    As I see things, having also Automatic Traction Control, or whatever the hell they call it, confounds the issue even more. A far more complex ABS system capable of applying the brake at any wheel independently of the others, at any time the program demands it. When faults occur, watch out!
    imp
     
  13. TechGuru

    TechGuru Well-Known Member

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    It would be cheaper to just use ForScan ($30 for the USB OBDII adapter) than to take it to a dealer to be read. ForScan can even force the ABS pump on for ABS bleeding.
     
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  14. TechGuru

    TechGuru Well-Known Member

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    How would the system know the current date?!
     
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  15. mountaineer2004

    mountaineer2004 Elite Explorer

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    My airbag light only came on a couple of months ago. It's 15 years old.
     
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  16. Mrobs146

    Mrobs146 New Member

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    Did you ever figure out the problem cause everything you’ve replaced I have as well. Front hubs with sensors, rear abs/speed sensor, and light comes on when taking off too it’s annoying as hell!!
     
  17. TechGuru

    TechGuru Well-Known Member

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