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CTFordTech, Ford Technician
Category: Ford
Satisfied Customers: 4976
Experience:  Ford Master School Certified, Kia Elite School Certified, ASE Certified, A/C 609 Certified
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2003 Ford Explorer: 6cyl..abs light coming on..interior lights

Resolved Question:

2003 Ford Explorer 4 DR, 6Cyl, 2WD. Problem with ABS light coming on. A few weeks ago worked on the vehicle to chase down a problem with interior lights remaining on and warning chime sounding whenever key was inserted in the ignition. At this time the ABS light was on and the cruise control was not working. Repaired a broken ground wire in the drivers door wire harness and due to problem with cruise and ABS warning light, changed the rear speed/ABS sensor. That seemed to correct all problems. But ABS light came back on and cruise not working again. ABS light comes on but on the next startup, it will not be on. Do the front wheel sensors also give input to the cruise control system? How can I verify the rear sensor is good? I pulled and "cleaned" all ABS sensors and checked connector on the rear (new) one also. Light out cruise worked but light came on and cruise quit again. Does brake pressure switch affect ABS? How do I run a bypass test on the brake pressure sensor?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Ford
Expert:  CTFordTech replied 7 years ago.

Hello and Thank you for choosing Just Answer.


Before I can help you, I will need to know:


  • Do you have the trouble code number that a scan tool would give you for the ABS?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

I don't have any scan tool results. Attempted to include that info in the initial contact. Ran out of letters. Attempted to get scan results at an Advance Auto, but they said their tool would not read the necessary codes, that I would have to take the truck to a Ford dealer. Would like to avoid that expense if necessary.

My thought was a bad connection at the rear sensor, because that sensor as I understand is a combo sensor for ABS/speed. Drove the car 8 miles with a couple of stops the other night and the ABS indicator did not come on until I made a low speed right turn without using the brakes.

I read info on a forum online that the front sensors could be dirty. These sensors are contained within the front hub assemblies and the only contaminatioin in there is a bleu/green grease. I didn't think the infor applied toXXXXXexplorers.

Expert:  CTFordTech replied 7 years ago.
The sensors are incorporated into the front hubs on all Explorers. It very well could be a bad front sensor. Also, there is currently a recall out on Explorers for a speed control wiring harness that needs to be installed on the brake switch on the aster cylinder. This may be your problem and you may want to look into having the recall done if it has not been done already.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I had previously checked the Ford site and there are no recalls listed for the VIN number on this Explorer, rechecked today and still no recalls. I understand there is a pressure switch on the Master cylinder that is included in the cruise control circuit. Is that pressure switch also part of the ABS circuit? What is the procedure for bypassing that switch to perform a test for it's reliability? Would it be as simple as disconnecting the wire connector from the switch and testing the vehicle? Are the front sensors used in conjunction with the cruise control? What should I expect as a normal cost of having the codes read at a Ford Dealer without getting a complete diagnostics? When Advance auto does a check for engine/emission codes, it takes about 5 minutes or less. Is runniing diagnostics for brakes and cruise more time consuming?
Expert:  CTFordTech replied 7 years ago.
The switch on the master is part of the ABS/Cruise circuit. And you are correct, the recall may not be on your vehicle as it is not for every explorer.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Wow you guys don't like to answer mutiple questions. I called a dealer and they want $119.00 to run the diagnostics. Won't just read the codes and tell me what they are. They do a bunch of what they call pinpoint checks to track down the cause of the problem.

One thiing mentioned was if the sensors are shown up on the code, they inspect the "tone ring" for cracks. If a tone ring is cracked, does the entire hub assembly have to be changed?

One more time, can the master cylinder switch be checked by simply removing the wire and possible adding a jumber across the connector on the harness?

Expert:  CTFordTech replied 7 years ago.

Sorry about that, A tone ring very well may be cracked. They are only on the rear axles, but if you have just a sensor on the differential, then you do not have this design. The tone rings are for traction control equipped vehicles. The dealer yes would like to do a pinpoint test to verify the problem. Lets say a wheel speed sensor codes comes up and the sensor is not faulty and its the wiring or even the module. They would at least like to tell you the correct part to replace. A jumper cannot be used as the switch works of of brake fluid pressure.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

OK, if the brake sensor reads "open" with an ohm meter, does that mean it is probably functioning? It seems that an open condition would be normal until pressure closes the switch, such as during braking. This is probably the same switch involved in the thousands of fire related recalls on the earlier model Explorer. Is that a simple open or closed type switch?

Do most diagnostics shops have the equipment to check the necessary component on the ford explorer?

Expert:  CTFordTech replied 7 years ago.
Any repair shop should be competent in diagnosing the vehicle. Unfortunally, the Ford tech website is down, But I will let you know about the switch as soon as I can. Sorry for the delay.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

It would appear that I am going to have to get the diagnostics on this thing. I will wait for a reply about the function of the brake switch before going down that path. If I throw a $100+ sensor at the problem, it could very well not correct the issue.

Maybe a local diagnostics shop can get the codes withoug charging all the extras for pinpoint checks.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

One more question. Checked with a diagnostic shop and their cost is much lower than the dealer cost but they can't get to it today. My question is, if I were to correct the problem by throwing parts at it, would I still have to go to a shop to have the codes erased? If the problem is corrected, although the codes are still present in the computer, will the vehicle perform as it should? I didn't think stored codes would affect operation after the problem is solved. What say you?

I guess the Ford tech site is still down since my previous question has not been addressed.

Expert:  CTFordTech replied 7 years ago.
The vehicle will perform as intended if al the parts are fixed, The ABS Slight should go off, but the codes will still be in the computes memory. I just checked, the switch looks like it is normally closed, then when the brakes are pressed the circuit is open.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

OK, I pulled the connector from the switch and it tested closed, which you said is normal. Started the vehicle and stood on the brakes and rechecked the switch and it was open and remained open for quite awhile. So, I jumpered the connector to close the circuit and test drove the vehicle. No ABS light, and cruise control functions.

Thanks for the help; it took us awhile to get there, but I believe you helped greatly in solving the problem.

I would click the Accept button but wanted to be sure you got this message. Just send a reply and I will click the Accept button.



Expert:  CTFordTech replied 7 years ago.
Glad I could help you out today!
CTFordTech and 4 other Ford Specialists are ready to help you

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