ABS Question | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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ABS Question


Well-Known Member
September 18, 2009
Reaction score
City, State
San Antonio, TX
Year, Model & Trim Level
94 Eddie Bauer
My 94 Ex has 4-wheel ABS. The ABS warning light comes on every now and then.
When the ABS light comes on, my ABS does not work.
When my ABS light is off - ABS works like a charm.

Short of spending 90 dollars to get the brake codes read, Any ideas what to look for with these symptoms ?

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without pulling codes you can check to see if your wheel speed sensors are clean and not all gunked up and check there connections for corrosion other than that not sure wheat else you can check without codes

There is a sticky in this forum for reading the codes on the ABS system. I would start with that and see what codes come up.

Most likely there is an issue with either of the wheel speed sensors. There is one in the rear end housing and one at each front wheel for a total of three.

The system is designed to shut down if there is any problem detected so part of what you posted is normal. See what you get out of it code wise, and post it here.

Check for end play in front wheel bearings the reluctor is on the disk and must be very close to the sensor mounted on the backing plate

Once you've checked the codes and the sensors, I recommend you take your truck in to a reputable shop and have them run their diagnostics on your ABS system. I did all that was recommended and more, short of taking it in to a shop. Once I finally did, they discovered that my Master Control Unit was bad. $800+ later, and my brakes system has been like new for the past 8 years.

Just my two cents.

When the ABS computer detects a problem and throws an error (the yellow ABS light comes on) it disables ABS breaking. Most often the problem is related to the wheel speed sensors getting full of debris causing them to go blind and not longer detect the passing of each tooth on the ABS tone ring.

this whole talking about abs got me thinking on my truck i think i have the second bulb over from the 4x4 light is missing..could it be my ABS?i have haven't really stuck a bulb there to see what it is nor can i read my dash as it looks like it blacked out but its not.If it is my ABS light bulb and its missing because it was on then is my truck still safe to drive?

i looked for the reading of the ABS system but cant find it..I have only had the truck for a little over 7 months but with all this ABS talking it got me thinking

I'm going to tack on another ABS question, simple, I hope. My ABS works fine.

This afternoon, I was driving in snow and ice and had 4WD engaged on my '94. I came to a stop sign and braked, it was icy and my ABS engaged. My stopping distance was really bad, and it almost seemed like 4WD was causing an issue for the ABS. Any thoughts on this? Should I punch off 4WD to stop on ice?

69Explorer69: If you ABS Yellow warning light is on your vehicle is SAFE to drive. In a working system the wheel speed sensors send a signal to the ABS computer basically telling it how fast each wheel is moving. So If you were braking on a wet/slick/loose surface and one of the wheels was going to lock up the ABS computer would quickly pump the brakes via the ABS hydraulic unit to prevent a lock up.

If the Yellow warning light is on it simply means the ABS computer is OFF and normal braking is unaffected.

Roadrunner777: The 4x4 system being on or off has no affect on ABS braking. If 4x4 is on then leave it on as it provides twice the traction of rear wheel drive only. As you have noted sometimes it seems to take forever to stop with ABS pumping the brakes.

on my GFs 92 2 wd she had so many problems with the rear ABS never working ,,, so i just bypassed it all together , problem solved