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Grand Am brakes are scary!!!


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02-18-04, 05:15 PM   #1  
jazzman
Grand Am brakes are scary!!!

I have a 94 Grand Am V6 GT . with ABS.... Well its like this...
Had this car since Nov....everything works fine, no complaints..........But...this has happened twice..I go to drive to the end of my driveway and..NO BRAKES! I pumped them stomped on them..it just keeps going and I end up turning to the right to keep out of traffic. Then I slowly proceed and I have brakes again like nothing happened.
My husband thinks I didn't let the car warm up enough to let the vaccuum build up. Could that be it?...There are no squeeks, Squeels, grinding or any noise. They feel like they do normally just that they just don't work at the time. By the way I had my car to the car wash earlier and its in the 30's here not like they froze. Thanks......Stephanie

 
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02-18-04, 05:58 PM   #2  
Vacuum has nothing to do with it. I would suspect a bad master cylinder.

 
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02-18-04, 06:45 PM   #3  
Classic symptoms of a bad master cylinder.

 
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02-18-04, 07:20 PM   #4  
fordman30
i have to say i totally agree the other 2 guys...you know a woman knows more about the car than the man does just because she usually drives it all the time

 
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02-19-04, 05:48 PM   #5  
Sounds like the ABS is malfunctioning! I wouldn't drive it until I had it checked out!

 
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02-19-04, 08:03 PM   #6  
Originally posted by msargent
Sounds like the ABS is malfunctioning! I wouldn't drive it until I had it checked out!
I don't think so!!!

 
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02-19-04, 08:55 PM   #7  
mike from nj
as unlikely as it is, i wouldn't rule out anything. if a 'dump' valve were to stick open inside the HCU, it would vent all the pressure from the master cylinder back to an accumulator, and the driver would have 'no brakes'. i've seen this only twice so far.

even putting a non-abs master cylinder on an abs car would cause big problems. (this is only on certain cars)


this car needs to be diagnosed and repaired before it's driven even one more inch.

 
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02-20-04, 07:41 AM   #8  
jazzman
Thanks so much for the advice. I already had it at one shop. They couldn't do anything as they didn't have the diognostic equip. also the ABS was connected in with the master cylinder...So they told me sorry take it to the GM dealership...$$$$ Oh great...But I did make a appt for tuesday..So we will see...I'll let you know how it comes out....Thanks again, Stephanie

 
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02-20-04, 10:10 PM   #9  
I'd appreciate a "follow up" message when you find out what has caused this problem.

Car Nut- Why don't you think so? I'm interested in your line of thought.

 
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03-04-04, 06:28 AM   #10  
jazzman
Sorry not much to tell you..I took it in to the dealer they put it on the computer and it had codes only for the EGR valve. (old news)
I didn't have the $380. Then or now. So long story short. It didn't act up for them so they can only guess that the EGR is sticking and making the the abs lose pressure temporarily? But as he told me its only a guess. So the car is sitting til my Hubby can take a good look at it to see if there is vacuum lines loose or off and anything else he has time for...Thank you.....Stephanie

 
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03-04-04, 03:28 PM   #11  
What the dealer is telling you is that they think the egr may be sticking open causing a higher idle speed and lower engine vacuum making it unable to stop the car.When this occurs is the brake pedal real hard to push?Like it doesn't want to move?

 
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03-04-04, 08:39 PM   #12  
[QUOTE]Originally posted by msargent
I'd appreciate a "follow up" message when you find out what has caused this problem.

Car Nut- Why don't you think so? I'm interested in your line of thought.
[/QUOTE

ABS units are designed to not affect normal brake operation when they fail. When they go bad they are designed to lose the ABS function only. While it may not be impossible for the ABS unit to be causing this problem I think it is highly unlikely particularly since there were no ABS codes.

jazzman----let us know what the problem turns out to be.

 
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03-06-04, 06:53 AM   #13  
crt8
Grand Am Brakes

Hello Jazzman,i can only take a guess as to what is happening with your brakes.but it sounds like the abs is going through it's self test when you hit the end of your driveway.How fast would you be going at the time this happens? this is just a possibility.

 
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03-06-04, 08:46 AM   #14  
mike from nj
most abs self-checks cycle the solenoids for .1 of a second, and if that ever caused a car to have no brakes, you would either have a recall to fix it or a class action lawsuit faster than you could spell 1-800-ambulance chaser.

at the most, the self check will give a noise or a slight pedal pulse.

 
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03-06-04, 07:23 PM   #15  
Originally posted by mike from nj
most abs self-checks cycle the solenoids for .1 of a second, and if that ever caused a car to have no brakes, you would either have a recall to fix it or a class action lawsuit faster than you could spell 1-800-ambulance chaser.

at the most, the self check will give a noise or a slight pedal pulse.

 
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03-07-04, 05:10 PM   #16  
jazzman
Lets see..my driveway is maybe 50-60ft long. I don't think I even get to 5 mph... And about how the brakes feel when they weren't working...normal.. just like they always do ... no noise. just no stopping...The peddle doesn't go all the way to the floor either.
Any suggestions before I take it back to the garage and start replacing everything? Thanks for trying to figure this out..Stephanie

 
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03-09-04, 04:48 PM   #17  
I have a 92 grand am

Find a different dealer Sounds just like mine behaved It WAS the master cylinder.

 
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03-09-04, 07:38 PM   #18  
I just replaced the master cylinder on a '93 Bonneville V-6 w/ABS with the same symtoms
The leak was hard to see (it slowly dripped down the booster, messing up the paint on the mount)
Easy as pie to replace
I bench-bled it before installing and have had no problems so far
With this particular vehicle the ABS is not particularly sophisticated
and is not a problem for the DIY
I would say get a second opinion/get another dealer

 
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03-10-04, 04:42 PM   #19  
Master cylinders will often leak internaly with no external leakage. The result can be intermittent poor or no brakes. If it goes long enough it will be no brakes at all.

It needs to be fixed because you can never be sure when you will have NO brakes.

 
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03-16-04, 06:57 AM   #20  
jazzman
Well I have a appt today for my car to get its physical. I drove it to the store (not smart I know) and the abs light came on ( 1st time ever) then on the way back it came on again.. So hopefully it will get figured out today..I told the mechanic over the phone everything. He said it could possibly be a vacuum line collapsing causing temporary loss of brakes. Before I forget again.. I don't know if this has anything to do with all this but a few times now when I started it it would idle real high then get back to normal....
I'll let you know if there is a end to my mystery today..thanks again-Stephanie

 
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03-16-04, 03:09 PM   #21  
[QUOTE]Originally posted by car nut
Originally posted by msargent
Car Nut- Why don't you think so? I'm interested in your line of thought. [/QUOTE

ABS units are designed to not affect normal brake operation when they fail. When they go bad they are designed to lose the ABS function only. While it may not be impossible for the ABS unit to be causing this problem I think it is highly unlikely particularly since there were no ABS codes.
That's an incorrect statement. It is only true for the electrical portion of the ABS system. It can be electrically disabled and not effect the rest of the system but the hydraulic components of the ABS system can fail and can cause pedal failure. They are an integral part of the pressure system and a failure in any of their valves can result in pressure loss and brake failure.

 
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03-17-04, 05:46 AM   #22  
jazzman
I'm very discouraged.. 4 mechanics from different shops have looked at it and are unsure of what the problem is..... All I found out yesturday was I need new brake pads in the front and that both lower A arm rear bushings are separated from the arm and have to be replaced as a unit. I was told approx. $ 175 a side... It was put on every test they knew of electronically . Drove it around testing it and only the EGR comes up. He didn't think that would do it (EGR).
I don't know what the heck to do. I asked him if I should be driving it .....he had a long pause and said I don't know what to tell you. He said I have one of those situations that the part is going to have to completely fail before its found.
I didn't like to hear that.........Anyways my hubby replaced the brakes last night and found that the other stabilizer bar? was broke off like the other was a month ago..He repaced that to.
End of story.... What would you guys do if you were in my shoes? thanks again, Stephanie

 
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03-17-04, 02:56 PM   #23  
What EGR code is it?If the EGR is sticking open the brakes will not work right.You can find them online for $248 I just did a quick look you may find one even cheaper.Not to sound mean but if you don't have $380 to fix the EGR you don't want it to be the abs unit.It's $488 plus more labor than an EGR.Let us know when you get the code.

 
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03-17-04, 03:36 PM   #24  
That EGR valve hasn't even been activated yet when your leaving your driveway in the morning. If the car is idling smoothly, then it's not stuck open. I'm sure you have an EGR problem but I'm just as sure it's not your brake problem. Even if a mechanic could duplicate the problem, if it's not electrical, he's still going to have to guess between the ABS and the Master cylinder. You may have to just take a chance and replace the master. It may not be the problem but you have to go somewhere with it.

 
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03-18-04, 09:17 AM   #25  
Hi, here's a couple things to consider.
If it's the abs acting up, u would hear the activity, like you normally would say if u tried to stop too quickly on a slippery surface. Are u aquainted with what that sounds and feels like? So if you were getting what we call un-wanted abs activity, when the abs engages on a slow stop on dry surface, the brake effectiveness goes to near zero and you keep going no matter how hard u apply the pedal, accompanied by the clicking a buzzing.
So if you are aquainted with what this feels/sounds like, but is not the case when it acts up in the morning, chances are the master cylinder is failed. \
If you are getting this checked out at a dealership, they will be able to diagnose NOTHING unless they observe the vehicle in a failed state.

 
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03-18-04, 09:54 AM   #26  
Not really, your again describing an electrical failure. Internal valve leakage would not act that way. I've had bad dump valves act EXACTLY like a bypassing master cylinder.

 
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03-18-04, 10:16 AM   #27  
in a grand am?

 
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03-18-04, 11:03 AM   #28  
that's an unfair opinion...

...and it doesn't belong here...

If you are getting this checked out at a dealership, they will be able to diagnose NOTHING unless they observe the vehicle in a failed state.

as a veteran dealer technician who has solved uncountable intermittant dilemmas (challenges are how we hone our diagnostic skills), i personally think you should refrain from making these types of general statements in this forum

 
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03-18-04, 12:24 PM   #29  
Originally posted by bigguy05641
in a grand am?
It may not use a dump valve per se but it does have valving designed to retain/relieve pressure that CAN leak. Don't say it can't happen.

 
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03-20-04, 05:02 PM   #30  
gmtech
No stopping, hard or normal pedal, high idle, sounds like a bad power brake booster to me. when the problem happens, is there a louder than normal hissing sound under the dash?

 
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03-22-04, 12:22 PM   #31  
jazzman
The brake failure only happened twice. I didn't notice any hissing then or now. Thanks..Stephanie

 
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03-23-04, 01:11 AM   #32  
mike from nj
Originally posted by jazzman
And about how the brakes feel when they weren't working...normal.. just like they always do ... no noise. just no stopping...The peddle doesn't go all the way to the floor either.

did you describe this to the person trying to work on your car?

this points to a lack of power assist to the brakes. depending on the type of abs system, it's either a vacuum or hydraulic assist problem.

what did the abs light yield, when the light is on, there will be a stored code. did anyone retrieve this and work from there?

 
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03-23-04, 09:20 AM   #33  
jazzman
Yes I told everyone that has looked at my car all the details. I'm sounding like a broken record. The ABS light wasn't on when I brought it in. It came on on my way home...figures.. Nothing came up for a code on the abs....thanks

 
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