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Old 09-16-2009, 15:49   #1 (permalink)
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99 ABS module swap / bleeding the brakes.

Hello all. New here, and would appreciate any help I can get regarding the ABS on a newly acquired 99 Taurus wagon with ABS.

Went through a long, ultimately unsuccessful process of trying to swap only the computer side module (ABS computer). (For full story... see my thread on the Taurus Car Club forum a few weeks ago - 99 Abs Module Replacement - Taurus Car Club of America ). There are also some pics linked from there.

Through that process I succeeded only in going from having a completely unresponsive ABS - no light at all & no ABS function - to having a solid constant ABS light & no ABS function. Part of it may have been due to what I had to do to get the junkyard one apart- the 'through bolt' was corroded solid into the computer. And when you split the 'computer' side from the 'pump side', you find that you are actually pretty well into the guts of the electrical side - it isn't self-contained at all. The junkyard one did self test OK until I took it apart.

I have a notion to try swapping a complete working ABS pump and module - i.e. without splitting the unit as I did before.

I.e. break the system open at the brake lines, swap in the new module, bleed the system.

For this specific vehicle, how practical is it to properly bleed the system after breaking it apart at the ABS? Will the vehicle need an 'ABS service bleed', and does this have to be done at a Ford dealer?

I appreciate any and all input on the wisdom of attempting such a thing. I really want to get this to be successful, because we picked this car for the ABS. Having the whole job done professionally at the dealer is going to be cost-prohibitive, I am almost sure ($1200 for the part I saw somewhere). It is mostly home repair, or drive as is. (It stops fine- just no ABS.) (I don't mind taking it in to get the specialized bleed procedure if necessary.)

Thanks for any help!
Pete
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Old 09-16-2009, 17:04   #2 (permalink)
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Re: 99 ABS module swap / bleeding the brakes.

If you take it off of another car and plug the lines until you install it on yours, you shouldn't have a problem bleeding it as a normal system. Here's what the Ford manual states:

"The service ABS hydraulic control unit is supplied filled with brake fluid. Therefore, a conventional bleed procedure should be adequate to remove all air from the brake system. However, if a spongy pedal is present and air in hydraulic control unit is suspected, use the following procedure."

The procedure they mention is with a Ford scanner. If it needs to be done, a reputable Brake shop should be able to do it. If you replace the Module, bleed the brakes and the brakes feel normal, you should be alright. You can test it by going over 5 MPH and locking the brakes. you'll feel a kind of buzz and the pedal will drop a little. The next normal stop will be "normal" again.
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Old 09-16-2009, 18:59   #3 (permalink)
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Re: 99 ABS module swap / bleeding the brakes.

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Originally Posted by rtg143 View Post
If you take it off of another car and plug the lines until you install it on yours, you shouldn't have a problem bleeding it as a normal system. Here's what the Ford manual states:

"The service ABS hydraulic control unit is supplied filled with brake fluid. Therefore, a conventional bleed procedure should be adequate to remove all air from the brake system. However, if a spongy pedal is present and air in hydraulic control unit is suspected, use the following procedure."

The procedure they mention is with a Ford scanner. If it needs to be done, a reputable Brake shop should be able to do it. If you replace the Module, bleed the brakes and the brakes feel normal, you should be alright. You can test it by going over 5 MPH and locking the brakes. you'll feel a kind of buzz and the pedal will drop a little. The next normal stop will be "normal" again.
Thanks for this information!...
It sounds like they are talking about the new dealer part having been preloaded with brake fluid.
I think a take-off part should theoretically be fine too- presuming it was fine when it was on the car, there should have been no way for the internal valves to have got opened.
I was thinking, as you said, it would be a good idea to road test the ABS and check if it leads to a drop in the pedal; maybe even rebleed after a few activations. I guess I'll give it a try.
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Old 09-20-2009, 18:36   #4 (permalink)
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Re: 99 ABS module swap / bleeding the brakes.

My 'new' old ABS unit from ebay showed up on Friday. I was able to put it on and bleed the system out; that part of the job wasn't too bad. The two rear bleeders were easy to get to using ramps- took the wheels off for the fronts. I bled at the outlet pipes of the ABS unit first. The master cylinder didn't drain all the way down when I switched them over, which I guess helped me.

Hardest part is probably getting the battery support bracket in and out. Right now, things seem good. ABS light comes on and goes off, and the antilock seems to be working. I guess the light doesn't flicker on when the ABS is activating on these cars. I guess I put about $100 into the job, including brake fluid, so it wasn't too bad. Ready for winter now...!
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Old 09-20-2009, 18:45   #5 (permalink)
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Re: 99 ABS module swap / bleeding the brakes.

That's great to hear. I don't believe the light is suposed to come on when it's operating.

Now that you have the experience, you may be able to help someone else. Others may search the forum and find this one. Thanks for letting us know.
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Old 09-21-2009, 16:01   #6 (permalink)
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Re: 99 ABS module swap / bleeding the brakes.

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Originally Posted by rtg143 View Post
That's great to hear. I don't believe the light is suposed to come on when it's operating.

Now that you have the experience, you may be able to help someone else. Others may search the forum and find this one. Thanks for letting us know.
Right - I figured I would leave a record to try to help the next guy because there wasn't a lot of info out there. Biggest conclusion of the story for me was- don't split the two halves of the unit apart- swap it out as a unit. You can test that the light comes on and extinguishes (self test) before swapping it over - I had to jump power from the battery to the car using jumper cables (since the unit resides under the battery, and the connector lead isn't terribly long.) (If it isn't obvious --- one must insulate the positive side of the whole connection from the car using rags or whatever- actually that part requires a lot of care and is a bit scary!!)

From what I can tell it is not a very common thing to have fail; much more common to have bad wheel sensors etc. Don't know much about parts compatibility across years- I know the 2000+ are totally different; I got '99 Taurus units for both the ones I had. 96-98 might also be OK for a 99. One was $45 inc. shipping, one was $37.50 inc. shipping; couldn't complain.

Thanks for your insight and encouragement!
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