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Steve, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 5494
Experience:  25+ yrs experience as a professional working technician; ASE L1 master technician
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92 Acura Integra 1.8L 113k ABS/Brake Light Oddities

Customer Question

92 Acura Integra 1.8L 113k

I bought my car in July 04 with 93k and it ran perfect up until recently. I replaced the radiator due to a leak in my old one and all has been well. Over the past few months my ABS light has been coming on and off. I heard the clicking sound that it makes when it's not working properly (when the light used to come on). I had heard that it's usually the first thing to go out and to just disconnect the fuse to disable it because replacing it just costs too much. Well it had not come on for some time, so I didn't worry about it. Recently, driving on the highway or in town I would tap my brakes and the ABS light would flashy; my stereo, dash lights would turn off and turn back on. It did this for about 2 weeks when it suddenly stopped. I can't recreate it anymore.

My CV joints have been getting bad lately and knew I need to replace them. But one odd thing is usally shifting from 1st and 2nd gear or while in those gears my emergency brake light will flash randomly. Happens more when I turn than anything. Also happens when I am driving or shifting and going over bumps. (i.e entering driveway over the curb)

So I'm asking first, is disconnecting the ABS fuse or whatever the right thing to do about the weird ABS stuff. Secondly, is the random e-brake light due to my CV joints being bad or is the going out ABS system the cause of it? Or possibly do I have a more serious problem?

Thanks in advance.
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.

 Hello, Oscure;

   Removing the ABS fuse will disable the ABS system by removing power from the ABS control unit.   This may hide the symptom of teh light coming on, but with the power removed from teh controller the ABS is not working and will not activate in a panic stop when needed.      The ABS light comes on to warn you that something is wrong in the system; when the controller sees something such as a wheel speed sensor signal becoming erratic or a solenoid not responding to commands, it turns the warning light on and should store an ABS service code in memory to give a technician some starting place to begin diagnosis.    Although a failed modulator would be pretty expensive, this is rare on these vehicles, it is more likely to be something else such as a speed sensor failure or a poor ground connection possibly.   I would suggest taking the vehicle in to a technician equipped to diagnose the ABS system, and at least find out what is wrong that is causing teh light to come on.   Removing the fuse to make the light go away diesnt make teh underlying problem disappear...  

   By "cv joints going bad" I asssume you are getting a loud clicking noise on turns; this is the usual symptom of a worn outer CV joint.   Usually, a reman axle is the way to go for repair of this problem; a complete remanufactured axle is actually much cheaper than one single CV joint, and much easier to install.    You can buy reman axles for most front wheel drive vehicles for less than $100 pretty much anywhere these days.   A worn CV joint will not cause the ABS light to come on, unless there is a damaged tone ring that is part of an axle assembly.   If one of the teeth on a tone ring is damaged, it will result in an erratic speed signal from that paarticular wheel.   

   The other odd electrical problems you are describing sound remarkably like a poor ground connection somewhere in the vehicle, possibly in the dash area or in the rear of the vehicle.   With the fuse out of the ABS system, teh ABS light should never come on; the fact that it still flickers during braking would seem to indicate that some other circuit active durig braking may have a poor electrical ground and is seeking a ground path elsewhere through some instrument panel circuit.    The same with the radio illumination dimming during braking; this could be related to a ground problem.

   Try taking a look at your breake lights while someone sits in teh car and holds the pedal down.   You may find a brake light not working, or a corroded ground connection or lamp socket in teh rear of the vehicle allowing the brake light circuit to seek a ground path back through the tail lamp wiring through the instrument panel illumination circuitry.   Try removing the tail lamp bulbs and see if the electrical issues you are experiencing when pressing the brake pedal go away; if so, you know that you are on the right track.     Try locating and cleaning any ground connections you can find, especially in the rear of the vehicle.


Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.
 Especially check ground #521/621
Expert:  Steve replied 11 years ago.

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