ABS light problem with an 01 Explorer Sport after replacing the front brakes. | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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ABS light problem with an 01 Explorer Sport after replacing the front brakes.


New Member
February 18, 2008
Reaction score
City, State
San Diego, Ca.
Year, Model & Trim Level
'01 Sport
I recently had my front brakes done including replacing both rotors on my 2001 Explorer Sport. I had a friend who is a mechanic do it. Since then my ABS light comes on now and then, and sometimes when I'm coming to a stop I can feel pressure changes in the brake pedal (harder to brake, and shuddering in the break pedal). I took it back to him and he checked it out. There was an error message on the computer that said "left front ABS sensor" or something like that. But upon testing it the sensor is working. He checked a couple other things out but can't figure out the problem. The ABS light only comes on about 10 percent of my driving time and the pressure changes and shuddering only happen occasionally when stopping but it is a little troubling when it happens.

Anyone have any ideas what the problem could be?

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Well there is a whole list of possibilities. If the shuddering and pressure changes are the result of the ABS kicking in it would explain all of your symptoms. With new pads and rotors you won't have to press the brake in as far as before, if you do it will kick the ABS into effect.

If that's not the case it could be anything from bad calipers, a leak in one of your lines or even air in the system. Does the pedal feel spongy at all when you press it? If so it's air in your lines.

No, there is no sponginess in the pedal. I was just reading in another thread that someone else had a similar problem and after a lot of hit and miss he figured out that it was the rear ABS sensor located on top of the differential. He replaced it and the light went off and no more adverse brake symptoms. Does this sound like a possible cause?

Only thing I cant figure out is that my problems seemed to happen immediately after I had my front brakes and rotors replaced, so I figured there was a connection there and it must have been some problem with the front ABS sensors or brakes. Maybe it was just just coincidence that the rear sensor failed at the same time, or is there some connection there? I am not a mechanic and my knowledge of this stuff is pretty limited so any help you could give i would appreciate.

Welcome to this forum! I've renamed, and moved your thread to the stock 95-01 section. I would suspect a problem with the sensor or the wiring.

I have the same problem. The only qualifier being that the brake pedal shuddering has only ever happened at slow parking lot speeds. Does this match your problem? very intermittent problem. But the ABS light comes on immediately afterwards as the ABS becomes inactive.

I had a dealer look at it under an extended warranty. They diagnosed it as a faulty master cylinder. That was replaced earlier this week. The problem reappeared this afternoon. It will go back next week.

I really believe it has to be in the ABS system, whether electrical or hydraulic.

Regards, Don

Don, yes your symptoms are exactly the same as mine. The pedal shudders and actually kind of pushes back against my foot, but only at very slow speeds like when I'm approaching a stoplight. It is very intermittent and the ABS light always comes on right after. A friend of mine also suggested to me that it was the master cylinder, but I guess you found out that may not be the case now? This problem seems to have a lot of knowledgeable people disagreeing on what it is. I've heard several different things and now I really don't know what to think. I don't know if you read in my earlier post that another guy with the same problem said they replaced the rear ABS sensor and that fixed the problem but who knows.

I'm very curious to see what happens when you take yours back to the dealer. Could you keep me posted on what happens? I'm gonna hold off on taking mine in to the shop. Thanks.

It's been awhile since I replaced my front brakes and I have bled my lines several times. I've bled the lines several times because my ABS light came on now and then. Now, my light stays on constantly and in the last couple of days when I just start out in my 94' Explorer my brake pedal will freeze up and I have no brakes. I push so hard that I get a cramp in my leg! Thank God no close calls at the stop light yet! I haven't figured it out yet. ABS module bad?, sensors dirty? master cylinder bad? Proportionary module bad? I checked my fuses and they are good. Don't know. Any help out there?

Took my 01 back to the dealership once the problem resurfaced despite the new master cylinder. Since they couldn't get the ABS light on, couldn't diagnose anything. Sigh. I took the vehicle home. Next day, light came on, drove back to service dept w/o stopping engine. They pulled code for a bad right front sensor and are replacing that....just wish they would replace the entire hub. Anyway, we will see if that takes care of the problem next week. I have my doubts.


Forgot to add.. the service tech said that he had found a lot of metal in the brake fluid when changing out the master cylinder. He speculated some of the filings, metal may have moved to a sensor located near the master cylinder. Not sure which sensor that might be.