2002 Cavalier ABS brakes

I have 2002 Cavalier with ABS on all four wheels. I am very disappointed with their performance (design?). I drive in Northern Canada, so one reason I bought this car was ABS, because we have a lot of slippery (frozen) roads.
These particular ABS are scary how their work. Normally, on slippery road, when brakes (ABS) are applied they go Brr---Brrrr-------Brr to prevent skidding.
The brakes on Cavalier go Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. They go berserk once they are activated. They do not stop "pumping" unless you release the foot from the pedal. You hear them for about another 1.5 sec when stopped already. The bottom line is that it is impossible to stop when you need to. I estimate that I need 3 times longer to stop compared with normal brakes or ABS on my Ford Taurus. I bought this car for my wife with ABS so she has better control in the winter. She is scared to drive it in winter!
This weekend I went to GM dealer, the foreman took it for test drive and he told me that the brakes work as they were designed. He suggested not driving it in the winter and said that people are complaining about these particular ABS.
I still cannot believe that it was designed like this. If it was designed like that then the GM people must be brain dead!
I need some comment and suggestions, please.
Thanks
Jan
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Personally I'd ask to take another Cavalier out to see if that's how it's supposed to work. On the Cavaliers I've driven once it kicks in it goes for maybe a second at the longest at a time. Well, every GM I've driven is the same way.
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This car seems to have the Delphi DBC7 system on it.. I'm not familiar with that exact system, but what you describe doesn't seem normal for a system of that design (this is a 4-channel system with 2 solenoids for each wheel, unlike the older Delco ABS VI systems that were a 3-channel system using motorized pistons). You may hear the pump continue to run for some period after the ABS activates, but you should not be getting pedal pulsations when the wheels are no longer locking. I would suspect some kind of wheel speed sensor malfunction or something - have they checked for trouble codes?
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Robert Hancock Saskatoon, SK, Canada
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I had a '98 Cavalier a few years back with the same exact symptoms as described earlier. The GM technician told me it was normal.
Bruno Hache
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A '98 has a totally different ABS system on it than an '02 ('98 has a Delco ABS VI system, '02 has a Delphi DBC7 system). Definitely on a '98, that sort of unnecessary ABS operation is not normal.
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Robert Hancock Saskatoon, SK, Canada
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Proper brake maintenance and adjustment is essential to proper ABS function.. Remember the way the 6000's and Century's used to lock the back wheels on wet days?
Feel free to bash me, but...the back brakes get worn and out of adjustment....when the shoes move out towards the drum, they hit the drum and sort of go cock-eyed because they had to travel so far to get there. This can result in premature lockup. On a slippery road, this translates into you going brrrrrrr all the way through the intersection. If the shoes are adjusted so they're just skimming the drum, they apply smooth, even pressure as you brake...rather than hitting the drum and jamming, causing the wheel to lock up. You'll really notice this on wet days, when the brake dust is damp and tacky.
Depending on your mileage, might be a good idea to have the rear brakes cleans and adjusted.
As the previous owner of an Astro with ABS, I know where you're coming from...push the brake and you seem to speed up.
If the brakes are properly adjusted, and all wheel speed sensors and systems are working correctly, the ABS should never come on (in theory). It only comes on when one wheel starts to lock, and if a wheel has locked, you've lost control already. This is ABS reasoning, anyway..
I lived in the North, where is stayed cold enough that they didn't even salt the roads in town. Coming to a stop light, I used to have to aim for the snowy patches between the polished ice wheel tracks, and hope the tires bit on something.

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Also tires make a big difference. ABS is not a replacement for correct tires for the road conditions. Worn or summer tires will take a lot longer to stop regardless of the ABS....

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Jan,
ABS is not designed to stop faster. Any Joe can pump the brakes. ABS gives you control while braking and turning on a slippery surface.
Your traction is dependent on the tires mounted on your vehicle. Tires have everything to do with stopping, and control.
GMdude
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Yes that has been our recent experience;
We were approaching the intersection of a county road and the main highway (we were on the county road) at the same time that an 18 wheeler was approaching the same intersection on our left on the main highway. We had the stop sign the truck did not.
As it turned out the entire intersection was glare ice with almost zero traction. Both of us put on the brakes to no effect. I was headed right into the middle of the trailer when I instinctively turned the wheel to the left. The car responded and I was able to just barely miss the back end of the trailer as it passed us. Otherwise we would have been wedged under the trailer. We slid across the highway and gently ended up in the ditch on the other side. No harm to us or the car.
The ABS system did exactly what it was supposed to do-give us control, not better traction, and that control very likely saved our lives.
A Minnesota Buick driver.
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