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Old 05-25-2012, 09:39 AM   #1
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Default Brake Bleed--ABS Module--can it be circumvented??

-2001 F150 5.4L V8 Supercrew 4X4

-Disc brakes (front & back)

-ABS Module has been disconnected (unplugged) for 2 years

Last week I replaced my brake pads (front), as I have done at least 3 times since I disconnected the ABS Module (a couple years ago, when I turned off my truck, the ABS Module remained on, making a clicking sound, so I disconnected it). Changing my brake pads has never been a problem even though the ABS Module has been disconnected.

Driving only a mile down the road with the new front pads installed, I noticed that the front left wheel was smoking, and I could smell the brakes. The pads were not releasing from the caliper.

I decided it was probably the caliper (240,000 miles--never have replaced them). So I took it to a brake guy (not a Ford dealership).

The guy puts new front calipers on, then tells me he needs to replace the rear PADS (and bleed the brakes) as well in order to calibrate the brakes. Although I didn't want to him to do the (rear) pads, he told me that right now, the pedal is going all the way to the ground, and that he had to put new rear pads on in order to resolve it. (Prior to taking my truck to him, the pedal was acting normally--not spongy, not going all the way to the floor, etc...)

The next day, he calls me to tell me that he has bad news--I need to replace the ABS Module.....because he replaced the two front calipers, front and rear pads, AND the master cylinder, and the problem (pedal dropping all the way to the floor) was still there.

Well, at this point, I can't figure out why the ABS Module needs to be replaced. I haven't had it connected for at least 3 brake jobs. And the brakes have always worked fine (no ABS, obviously), but besides that, they were perfectly functional.

I went and picked up my truck, and paid him for his work.

My question is this:

Is it possible to properly BLEED the brake system WITHOUT integrating the ABS Module in the procedure?

I am trying to avoid putting a new ABS Module in. Haven't had it in a couple years, and don't want it now.
I have an appointment today with another brake guy (I talked to him yesterday, and he said the logic would be that you could circumvent/avoid the ABS Module) and just bleed the brakes.......and that then they should work.

Has anyone successfully done a brake bleed with a disconnected ABS Module?

Last edited by jrrich4; 05-25-2012 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 05-25-2012, 01:55 PM   #2
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Default Fixed !!!

Turns out that the calipers that the guy put on were reversed (left on right; right on left), so that the bleeder valves were facing down. The system can't be bled that way. Got the calipers reversed. Everything works fine now.

And I didn't have to replace the ABS Module!! It's still disconnected. System works fine (without ABS, of course!)
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:39 PM   #3
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Nice going fella, take the new Bill to the original jerk and have him pay for it. Its expected that amateurs make basics mistakes, not the so call professionals.

Witnessed the same error by two local guys, to proud to ask for help, I eventually stuck my nose in their faces and gave a quick look at their calyper install, told them what was wrong, one guy told me I was nuts, so I walked away. Found out next day, they reversed their install and all was good.

Your ABS issue or original question about bleeding, I had to replace my ABS hydraulic valve, the thing that the electric module sits on top of, during the installation of the valve and connection of the brake lines (5), the system self bled. I am not the expert but it appears to me the ABS when actuated not only stops the flow of fluid to the affected wheel but also releases the trapped fluid to the affected wheel by the use of the unloader valve. This unloader valve on mine is what was at fault, it bled off fluid to rear brakes thus giving me a very funny soft pedal feeling. My solution came from the owner of the largest independent brake shop in Las Vegas. The cost of a quart of Seagrams VO was the best money this boy has ever spent.
Good old Bill

Last edited by Good old Bill; 05-25-2012 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:39 PM

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